Those negative, downgrading, nonproductive, thoughts have been creeping back into my mind lately.  Those ones that when you look in the mirror instead of seeing a strong, loving, fun and caring wife and mother, they cause you to see a tired, fluffy, weak woman.  It is such an easy trap to fall into and can be such a hard one to get out of.

And then as he always does, in the moments you need it the most, God gives you a day like today.  A “Top 10” day, the sun was out, there was a cool breeze, and the air was warm but not too hot.  He gives you the courage to enjoy the day by going for a run.  Something you haven’t done for a while and maybe haven’t even done this year, but the weather is far too perfect to pass up this opportunity.  You think to yourself if the weather were like this year round, I might actually be a runner.

You set out with low intentions because of those thoughts that have been swirling around in your head. Turning on the music, you head up to the almost finished highway that is still closed for construction and hit Start on your running app.  The road is flat, the path is smooth, and you continue putting one foot in front of the other.

Soon you find yourself in a rhythm, your mind drifts off and you get lost in the music.  Every so often you get an update on your app about your distance and pace, with each one you become slightly more impressed with yourself.  While you know you won’t be setting any records, you slowly feel your mind shift.

Your focus shifts from the extra fluff you feel you have around your middle, to the power of your legs as they carry you down the highway, the strength of your lungs as your breathing steadies, and the rhythm your feet fall into as they make contact with the ground.

You are passed by some bikers who after exchanging hellos, make a comment about the amazing weather.  You think to yourself just keep following those bikers, you might just catch them.  After another progress update from your app, you look up and are pleasantly surprised that you in fact caught up to the bikers.  As you pass them taking a break, you are greeted with a “slow down, you are making me look bad” which causes you to laugh and smile as you continue on your way.

You suddenly hear the update that you have been running for 3 kilometers, you decide at the next construction sign you will turn around and head back towards home.  On the way back you find yourself smiling, you had no goal in mind when you started out but you do now, at least a 5K.  You think back to when you first started running and that you had to train daily to work up to running a 5K and here you are out for a Sunday jog, going to do that with no problems.

Without the breeze in your face, the sun feels a little warmer butnonetheless you keep going.  Watching the road a few feet in front of you as you make your way, glancing up and looking around at the sights every so often.  Eventually the update you have been going for, “distance 5.0 kilometers”, and instead of stopping you pick up your pace.  What is there to lose at this point?  You have exceeded all expectations you had set for yourself.

You begin to feel yourself growing tired as you reach the turn off the highway and you decide to end your run there.  As you pause your running app, you see 5.82 kilometers and you could easily get lost in the fact you only had 1.8 more to go to get to 6, but instead you see a number that is further than 5 and you tilt your head up towards the sky and say “Thank You”.

 

The thing about life is, you can accomplish more than you ever imagine you would, if you show up consistently every day.  Whether it is your fitness, in your marriage, as a parent, or for your career if you put in the work over time you will see the benefits of that hard work.  You are guaranteed to have ups and downs along the way and might not realize how far you have come, and then God gives you a day like today. A Top 10 Day and a little nudge to go for that run.

Any Mama who has gone through bedtime (especially with a toddler) knows that it is a mental battle.  Often times, after bedtime is a Mama’s only chance to get things checked off her never ending to-do list.

You know the scene and maybe have been there before yourself, rushing through bedtime, crossing your fingers as you turn out the light in hopes that you can make it out of the room before the toddler requests start.

You know the ones I am referring to, right?  Lay with me, hold my hand, I need a drink, or the absurd I need to eat dinner! Out of your mouth comes “Goodnight, I Love You.” But, on the inside you are saying, “Please stay in bed,” “Please just go to sleep” or maybe a little more desperate without the “Please.”

I have SO been there, and recently tried the “tough love” approach, denying my son’s request to lay with him to go on about my business and my never ending to-do list. This approach ultimately resulted in me spending a large amount of the time returning my baby back to his room after he got out of bed.

I soon found myself feeling ANGRY. Angry at this little boy who just wanted to some loving attention from his Mama. Angry with myself that no matter how hard I tried that to-do list would continue to grow. And, angry that I felt angry.

One particular night during bedtime, my toddler and I switched roles. He became the parent, teaching me a lesson. It took him requesting that I rock him in the chair for me to snap out of the angry cycle. While we sat rocking together, I realized that these moments won’t last forever. Something needed to change. At that moment, it dawned on me. Instead of expecting my 2 1/2 year old to be the one to change his ways, maybe I should be the one to change my ways.

After that night, I shifted my mindset. I have given in to the requests to lay down and hold my little boy’s hand as he drifts off to sleep. As I lay there, instead of thinking about all the things I “should’ be doing, I find myself grateful that I get to be his Mama.

 

Especially in the world that our children are growing up in these days, knowing that by simply holding his hand or providing a comforting kiss solves my child’s most difficult issues – that is amazing.  My only hope is that as he grows older and those difficult issues shift from falling asleep by himself to something more challenging, that my holding his hand will still provide him that same comfort.

Our shift in toddler bedtime routine has also resulted in me having to let go of my expectations of what it means to be a mother with a young child. The housework may go undone longer than expected. And I may go to sleep earlier while laying with him, but I do so knowing that I will be able to get up earlier to tackle my to-do list. Simply changing how we view a situation can make all the difference.

Tonight, when you get that request, I encourage you to lay down with your baby and hold their hand!

 

 

 

 

It was tough. It was painful. It was hard to understand. I spent time grieving. At the end of the day, I decided God was telling me that I cannot control everything at a point in my life when I was attempting to do just that. Seeing pregnancy announcements or families with newborns, I immediately reach for my belly. I still think about how, right now, I should be just a month away from having a baby.

While everyone’s loss, heartache, and story is different, the baby we never met turned into our blessing. I have thought a long time on how to approach this post, and if I should even share it at all. But, as we approach the due date of our second child, I decided it was time.

This is my story.  Visit Her View From Home to view the rest of my story.

Life creates learning opportunities all the time. We may not realize it in the moment, however if we take time to reflect back those lessons present themselves to us.

I recently got to spend time helping my best friend move.  Their housing is related to their employment, so a recent job promotion meant moving to a different house.  During my 6 hour drive home, I had plenty of time to reflect back on the weekend and what I could take away from it. Three main lessons (that aren’t just about how to make a move go smoothly) presented themselves – lessons that can apply to anything in life.  Here they are:

Priorities Change

Over time priorities change and this became apparent as we were digging through the “items” that had accumulated throughout the house.  Things that were once high priorities were now at the bottom of drawers or the back of closets, and other things had replaced them. The new priorities are the items sitting out more readily available.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this happening.  Over time we change, we grow, and situations become different than before. It causes us to reevaluate how we spend our time and what our priorities are in the here and now.

“If this was put here when we moved in 2 years ago and I haven’t used it since, is it worth still keeping.” Well, I guess that all depends on who you are asking and whether it’s a priority any more.  I am a firm believer in “if you haven’t used in recently and wouldn’t miss it, then it needs to go”.  Take the time to reevaluate your life. What are your priorities now? What are you trying to hold on to that no longer fits?

Planning is Necessary

Moving all of your belongs (especially if you have a family) is a large task.  Packing everything up, coordinating help to move, cleaning the house, arranging rides between houses, feeding the help and yourself – there is a lot to think about and there are many lessons that could be learned here.

The biggest lesson that I learned was we have to take the time to plan. If we don’t take the time to plan and remove those things that are no longer important to us, we continue to throw the “items” in boxes and move them with us.  This could be mentally or physically. In this case, it was mostly physical items that, because of the time crunch, we threw in and took along to the new house.

This could easily apply mentally as well. How many times do we hold on to unimportant thoughts, or the “how it used to be” ideas in our heads making us cluttered and feeling like we don’t have enough time?

Mindset Matters

Being (mostly) an outsider in this situation, I was able to look at things more objectively.  Change is hard, no doubt about that. In every situation there are multiple ways to look at things.  This move was part of a tough decision for my friend and her family. There were pros and cons.  There was a lot of discussion and prayers that went into making their decision.  While asking various people related to the situation for their thoughts on the move, there were mixed emotions. This all brings me to the next lesson I took away, which happens to be something I struggle with at times, so I totally understand where they were coming from –  your mindset matters!

This is definitely easier said than done, but we have to learn how to speak to ourselves in a positive way!  When something has potential to line up with our current priorities, and especially when it requires change, we have to pump ourselves up about it.  Once a decision is made, the tone that you use in your head absolutely will affect how the new situation plays out for you – positive or negative.  Start out with a positive thought and the chance of ending the day on a positive note is much greater, same with the opposite.

This trip was energizing for me. It was a chance to step out of my own normal routine to help out a friend, have some good laughs, and learn some valuable life lessons.   I came home refreshed with new perspectives. Life can be tough, change can be hard – take the time to learn from everyday situations and never stop growing as a person.  What can you do to make each day be a little better than the last?

 

 

 

Can we talk about marriage for a minute?  Anyone who tells you marriage is easy ALL the -time is a liar!

Please Note: I am not a marriage counselor or expert, these are just my opinions after 6 years of experience.

Love is crazy but can make life so much more interesting and exciting.  While you are learning about the ins and outs of your partner you are learning about yourself in the process. Similar to most things in life, it can be compared to a roller-coaster.  There are days in marriage that you feel on top of the world. Everything happens exactly as you imagine – you glance over easily seeing the sparkle in their eye and all things that originally attracted you to them.

Then there are other days – days that you wonder if you have anything in common, if you can do anything except push each others buttons, and if it is possible for two individuals to actually live in the same household. These days are the flat stretches after having gone down a thrilling drop and now all you see is a HUGE climb in front of you. With each clank of the track, you feel like you will lose hold and fall backwards.

A major career change happened for me recently and I found myself pulling the arm of my husband to go on that thrilling ride with the short line, the one that everyone else feared.  Not stopping to allow any fear to sink in, the adrenaline from the previous ride carried me.  I got buckled in the seat and was ready for an adventure all while he was scared and didn’t know how to show it. It wasn’t until part way through that I stopped my screaming to look over and see that he was white knuckleIMG_1878[1]d.

My reaction at first was anger and disappointment. Did he not trust that this ride would be a great one? He had gotten in line with me and said he was on board – what changed? Maybe there were a few surprises early that we weren’t expecting, but doesn’t he see those amazing loops coming up that will be awesome?  In all of my excitement, I had forgotten to reach over to grab his hand. I forgot to make sure he was ready and as excited about the ride as I was.

The important part to remember, especially on the tough days, is that it is not about just you. It is about the “us”.  As hard as it may seem at times, put your partner first and show them genuine kindness.  Fear and the unknown are what have caused the tough times in my marriage. But, I am learning to sit by and hold the hand of the passenger next to me in the car as we climb up each scary hill.  Once we make it to the summit safely and are at the point of a thrilling drop, then we can throw our hands up and enjoy the adventure!

An alternative ride to choose in the theme park of life would be the lazy river – flat and relaxing, but lacking excitement, growth and adventure. While it may sound exciting to have the same routine and do the same things day in and day out, after a period of time that routine becomes boring.

Life happens during the ups and downs. Being able to reach over and grab the hand of your partner is much more exciting than riding the lazy river or going it alone on the roller-coaster!  Fasten your seat belts and get ready for a ride!

Originally posted on Her View From Home

 

 

VISION WITHOUT ACTION IS MERELY A DREAM.  ACTION WITHOUT VISION JUST PASSES THE TIME.  VISION WITH ACTION CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.   — JOEL A. BARKER

Do you have a vision of what it is you want in life, for your family, for your health, etc? THIS IS YOUR CALL TO ACTION. Don’t put it off any longer – stop to think about it right now.  Check out these three simple steps to pursuing your life vision.

Step 1) Bring your Vision into Focus

What is it that you want? Who does that impact? Is it something that you are willing to fight for? If you couldn’t fail, what is it that you would be doing?  Picture all aspects, how would you spend your time, where would you live, would you travel, etc.

Step 2) Take Action 

Once you have a vision of what you want, the next step is to put it into action. Think about your priorities. Do your current priorities align with your vision?  Does something need to go to free up time?

If your vision includes a health aspect have you previously pushed fitness and nutrition to the bottom of the list? Does that need to change?

If your vision includes a financial aspect, are there expenses that can be eliminated in the short term to free up cash to put towards your long term vision?

Is your vision worth getting up an hour earlier, is it worth turning off the TV or logging off Facebook to work on, is it worth researching to learn more about?

Step 3) Surround yourself with Support

Next step surround yourself with people who will support your vision!  You must be willing to share your vision with others.  Be proud of your vision and find those that have a similar vision to hang out with. Lean on them for support. Find out what it is they do.

And most likely during the process you will become uncomfortable and fear will kick in.  So remember what Theodore Roosevelt said about that “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing.  The next best thing is the wrong thing.  The worst thing you can do is nothing”.

If you are willing to share, I would love to hear your visions for life!

“A ship is always safe at shore but that is not what it’s built for.”  – Albert Einstein

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

“Great things never come from comfort zones.”

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.”

“The quickest way to acquire self-confidence is to do exactly what you are afraid to do.” – Anon.

The quotes regarding this topic are endless.  Do you know why that is? In my opinion because it is the TRUTH.  In order to learn, grow, and develop we are required to push ourselves outside of that safe place that we are comfortable in.

Think about it.  I mean really stop and think about it. When is the last time you did something that scared you, gave you butterflies, caused you to doubt yourself, or was something you never imagined doing?  How did you feel in the moment AND how did you feel after you did it? You must have lived to tell about it (otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this!). Reflecting back, I am reminded of a particular series of outside-my-comfort-zone moments that lead me to where we chose to build a house that is our forever home.

When I went to college I chose to live in the dorms and my roommates were chosen for me.  Talk about scary – here I was a 17, almost 18, year old moving into a room for a whole year, having no clue who the other two girls I would be living with were.  We are not talking about an apartment style dorm room where we each had a bedroom and shared a living room and kitchen.  We are talking a 20×20 room (since it was a corner room and there would be 3 of us), where you sleep, get ready, and study.   We got to know each other and while we had some differences, we all survived the year together.

The next year, I moved into an apartment with my best friend and a friend of hers, who quickly became my friend.  That was a safe and comfortable move, which eventually lead me to the next move.  My best friend had gotten a job at the University of Nebraska Research Feedlot and met Tom. Tom was renting a farm house near the feedlot.

My bestie had been driving 60 miles each day back and forth to work and with her new class schedule would have had to increase her daily mileage to 120 miles if she wanted to keep working at the feedlot. She had also been keeping her horses at a friend’s acreage outside of Lincoln. It was nice, but it wasn’t the most convenient.  So, we started to discuss the possibility of moving into the farm house with Tom. That would mean this City Girl would have about a 30 mile drive to campus for class every day, be moving in with more people she didn’t know, all the while going against her parent’s wishes (who were extremely concerned about her having to drive because it was outside of THEIR comfort zone).  After much debating, we went for it and over the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I was officially living the country life!

It was scary. It was unknown. It caused me to go against my parents. And… it was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.  I fell in love with this slower, quieter, peaceful life. That same year, I met my husband, who shared my passion for country living. We made it our goal to find an acreage to build a house on and that is exactly what we did!

Moral of the story, push yourself to do that thing that scares you, gives you butterflies, causes you to doubt yourself – you never know where it will take you!

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Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail….

While it may not be rocket science, it is often easier said than done sometimes.  Last week I failed to plan and ending up failing.  For a long time I have tried to prove that I could choose to make healthy choices for meals as I get hungry during the week.  At times it may have worked, this last week proved otherwise.

Without having a plan and preparing ahead of time it became too easy to grab the unhealthy choice like cookies, frozen yogurt, the drive thru, etc.  Last week won’t be repeated again this week.  You have heard it before I am sure, meal planning and preparation is so important.  By spending a few hours on Sunday getting things in order, I will be freed up during the week, not feeling rushed, as busy or as tempted.21 Day Fix Meal Prep

Here is what my Sunday included:

1) Pulling out our schedule and recipe books to choose meals for the week.  I look at what we have going on and plan around our schedule.  Coordinating recipes that have similar ingredients for the week or require similar preparation can be helpful on your budget and save on prep time.

This week, I chose Spaghetti and Chicken Stuffed Peppers as two of the meals because the same sauce is used in both recipes and it can be prepared ahead of time.  I write out my meals for the week including breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner.

2) Preparing the grocery list and going shopping.  Taking an inventory of what you already have and want is necessary after you’ve decided on meals for the week. Often times new recipes require items that you may not have in stock, but by repeating those recipes again you won’t need to purchase as much as the first time. Don’t forget to factor snacks into your inventory, making sure to think about snacks for both your husband and kids, if they differ from your snacks.

3) Deciding what items could be made ahead of time. The concept of cook once, eat twice is a great time and resource saver! This week I chose to cook some chicken in the crockpot, steam veggies, mix up a salad, and cut up veggie snacks making lunches and snacks ready to grab and go. Once the chicken was done, I added Greek yogurt and avocado to make chicken salad for my lunches throughout the week. The spaghetti sauce for the recipes I mentioned above needed to simmer for a few hours, so I chose to make that as well. That way, it will just need warmed up, which can happen as I brown the hamburger and cook the noodles.

By doing these somewhat simple steps ahead of time, I already feel so much more successful than I was last week. Now if I get hungry, I have a ton of healthy options ready at my finger tips.  Whatever your goals may be (career, fitness, relationships, nutrition, personal development, etc), I encourage you to spend time up front planning and preparing otherwise you may find that instead you have planned to fail.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start”

About 4 years ago, I decided it was time to change something about my lack of exercise.  Running was were I started, and it started off slow.  Prior to that, the last time I ran a mile without stopping was probably sometime in middle school, if ever.  I found a race to get started, a coach who put together a training plan, and a running partner. All the necessities to be held accountable.IMG_3322

The race was a cancer fundraiser on Father’s Day that consisted of a 5k, 3×1 5k relay, and a kids run.  The event was a perfect opportunity, at the time 3.2 miles (5k) seemed so far, I wasn’t ready for that.  Why not split that distance between three people!  I got a team together: my husband, his sister and myself with their Dad as our “coach”.  Jena, my sister-in-law, was a runner and on a college cross country and track team.  I relied on her to put together my training plan, how many times a week, what type of workout, how far, how fast, etc. Who knew that if you are training for a race you don’t just go out and run that distance multiple times a week!  There were sprint workouts at the track, faster shorter runs and slower longer runs.

A plan without action is not worth much. My running partner, a.k.a. my husband, ran sprint races in high school so he was used to training. He just doesn’t enjoy running longer distances so this race was perfect for him.  We followed the plan Jena put together for us, I paced him on the longer run days and he pushed me during the sprint workouts. Over time we grew stronger, and found that we could run further and faster.  My mile time got down to just above eight minutes!
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Race day came and we named ourselves “Rog’s Runners” since it was Father’s Day and all. Coach Rog determined our running order and gave us a speech.  Bo would start it off, handing it over to myself, and Jena would bring it home.  We lined up and there were about six teams total. We sized up our competition and thought we had a decent chance.  Bo started us off and got us in a good position, a few runners passed me while I was running, but Jena had no troubles passing a younger boy to get us the 1st place trophy!

Moral of the story is that it all started with a decision to try. Followed by setting a realistic goal, a plan on how to get there, and surrounding myself with a support system.  Since IMG_3329.JPGthis relay race I have run one other 5k (all 3.2 miles by myself) and the 10k Corporate Cup twice.

Don’t be afraid to start, you might just end up with a first place trophy for doing so!

Here is the scene…a mother and toddler at the kitchen sink together, both still in their pajamas at 10:00 in the morning.   Mother is attempting to do the dishes and the toddler is going after every chance to catch the running water, tipping cups while spilling water all over.  To many this would look like a disaster and the scene of someone who is struggling, but it just hit me how amazing it all is.

This is my beautiful disaster, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

The books maybe prepare you for what to expect physically when you have a child, but nothing can prepare you for the emotional, beautiful disaster that happens when you become a mama.  Turning down the millionth request for cheese, the billionth “lay down and go to sleep” or “please sit down” and too many “out of your mouths” to count.  The constant tornado that comes through your house, the battle of going back inside the house after playing outside, and of course, the loss of any regular sleep schedule can take its toll on you.Beautiful Disaster.jpg

At times you wonder if you will make it, if you are strong enough. And then comes the “couch mama” followed by a pull at your leg and a pat on the couch when he just wants to snuggle, tiny arms and hands that reach up as you hear “hold you.” A toddler rubbing your arm for comfort as he falls asleep and the occasional kiss from those little lips.

While pregnant, you get the warnings from those who have been there.  They say motherhood changes things. And from the moment your child is placed in your arms, you feel it – love like no one could ever explain.  There are absolutely no words to describe how beautiful this love is.  With the right mindset, there are moments every day that will reveal how absolutely blessed you are.  Often times that beauty can be hidden beneath a disaster, if you look at it from the correct angle, suddenly you see that beautiful disaster appear in front you.

Find the patience and creativity to view the mother and toddler at the kitchen sink from a different angle.  Instead of looking at the water on the floor and the soaked PJs they are still wearing at 10:00, listen to the laughs. Watch as that child learns to say “Where are you?” while putting his hands up, frantically looking for the brush that has disappeared under the suds.  These are the moments where you will find the beautiful disaster.