New Beginnings

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I hinted that I was embarking on a New Beginning. Well, after 17 years, I’ve decided to leave my current employer and start something new. I’ve loved the work, my peers and our customers. I’ve loved all my old managers. Especially Dava who was the epitome of someone who looked out for her team. She fought for me to get the largest raise in my whole 17 years. But everything went downhill after she left the company. The beautiful, ergonomic, stand-up desks, the gorgeous offices, the wonderful campus that I got to enjoy every day on my walks, the wonderful lunch spots and the enjoyable drives to the remote locations in Virginia and North and South Carolina, my company cars. Nothing could make up for so many other negatives that I won’t go into detail here about. Anyway, 3 weeks ago, I got my courage up to just see what else was out there. I applied, interviewed, and was offered a new job in what felt like the blink of an eye. After the interview, I prayed so hard. I was nervous about starting over but I really feel God put this opportunity in my lap. I feel so much peace with this decision.

So goodbye to these memories:

And HELLO to being a Replenishment Manager at my local Food Lion.

Look at this cute Food Lion gift bag my good friend, Connie, got me!

Working at home for 19 months, taught me that I do better away from home. I got too lonely. I lost focus. Yes, working from home has some amazing benefits and I was so grateful to have been able to do that when it was needed. I loved walking Lily at lunch. I loved doing my Beach Body workouts.

However since Lily crossed the rainbow bridge, the house is so very lonely. Ron had to work late one night last week and the house was downright spooky to me. I’d love to adopt a rescue dog but Ron is vetoing that right now. You know we are on a strict budget and pets really are expensive.

When I looked for places to work, I knew I wanted to work outside my home but I did not want to drive far. Food Lion is only 3.5 miles away! Heck, I could run there! I’m not gonna lie. I am a bit nervous but I am so excited too! I have already worked about 6 hours just attending an evening Belonging meeting and doing all my computer based onboarding training. Every single person I have met is amazing! I met an 86 year old butcher that just loves to work. I met the sushi chef. I met some amazing (truly freaking amazing) teenagers. I met the deli team members. And the stockers! And the Food Lion To Go team!

I am in awe of every single person at our store!

I’ve scoped out a nice walking area in a fancy neighborhood right beside the store. I could come home for lunch but you know I don’t like wasting gas or a single minute of vitamin D and fresh air time.

I can’t wait to share my new adventures with you!

How about you? Are you team work remote or do you do better around people?

My Beauty Routine

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2019, I threw out so much stuff. If it didn’t have natural ingredients, I didn’t want it anywhere near my body! I can remember throwing away 2 large bottles of perfume. I think it was Romance and Beautiful. And dang! Those were expensive. And I loved Beautiful! It had been my signature fragrance since Ron got me my first bottle our first Christmas together in 1987. Since then, I still try to keep things mostly natural but I’ve slowly started letting a few things back in my life. Beautiful is one of them. Lydia got me a small roll on bottle and I use it on special occasions.

But for hair care, skin care, and makeup, I’ve switched almost totally to Pacifica. One of my favorite bloggers uses Pacifica and I decided to give it a try. I have been hooked ever since.

Here’s my hair care choices.

I know this is a lot of plastic here and I’m trying so hard to get away from plastic. The good news is at least Pacifica is using 50% PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) plastics. For a while I was using a shampoo bar from Lush and I do like them a lot. However, since I was putting in an order with Pacifica, I decided to go ahead and try the Coconut shampoo. I love it! I’ve used the Coconut conditioner for a long time and it is my very favorite. The Coconut Milk Detangle Elixir is a leave in conditioner. I don’t wash my hair every day but I do wet it down and on these days, I love using the leave in conditioner. Now for the hairspray. I’m old school. I used to use Adorn back in the day and a lot of other aerosol ones. This is my very favorite non-aerosol hair spray that I’ve found. On days that I don’t want the hairspray, I usually use the hair balm on the end. Just a very small amount on my finger tips and then massaged in a few places on my hair.

Here’s my skincare products.

I really like Sea Foam cleanser in the middle! That’s my go to. But on my recent order, I spied these sample sizes and decided to give the other 2 a try. The Kale one is a no go for me. I love the way it cleaned and it felt wonderful. The smell though. It really smells like Kale and I was not a fan. The Glow Baby one was fantastic! Felt great and the smell was amazing! I think I am going to keep the Sea Foam one by the sink and the Glow Baby in the shower.

Now for my moisturizer.

This one is new to me and I am loving it. I’ve used the Vegan Collagen moisturizer but it let my skin get a little shiny during the day. This new Mattify and Protect one still has the SPF that I love and it goes on smooth. Smell is amazing too. I think smell is super important to me for some reason. Ha!

Now for the serums and overnight creams.

This Vegan Collagen Serum is my favorite! I usually use it on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights and the Overnight Recovery Cream on the other nights. I love the Serum better and I may just start using it exclusively. My face is so smooth in the mornings!

Many beauty companies have cute sayings on their boxes and Pacifica is no exception. True beauty really does come from the inside. By the way, here’s a beauty and fashion blogger I follow that lives by this saying. She is the best!

Next comes the makeup.

I’m very thankful for pretty good skin. And now thanks to menopause, I don’t get many breakouts at all. Or maybe it is the good healthy eating? Anyway, I don’t wear much makeup. Of the above items, I use the eyeshadow the most. I like the other items, I just don’t wear them often.

Here’s a few more makeup items.

I have tried the Pacific pressed powder and I did like it but I tend to go back to this Physicians Formula airbrushed one. I’ve seen that Physicians Formula has some pressed powders in some neat scents and I can’t wait for this one to get used up so I can try them. This one smells good but those new ones sound fantastic. The bronzer and the mascara are from Thrive. I love how Thrive gives back to the breast cancer community! They are amazing! I got these for free when I attended a Casting for Recovery Retreat last fall. I’ve never really used a bronzer before and I love the way it just gives my cheeks a sun kissed look. I don’t even wear a blush anymore. The mascara is also from Thrive and I am crazy about it. I don’t wear mascara often but when I do, this one is tops. I like that it doesn’t smudge and that it washes easily with just water.

Here is a picture of some lip gloss I got for free.

Both are fantastic! Aren’t the directions on the box so cute? Apply to your lips or skin and head out into the world and do great things! Yay! I like that. To be honest, I don’t like that you have to apply with your finger but the taste, smell, and feel are so amazing, I get over that one inconvenience. You have to try them! And you can put them on other chapped areas. I often put the coconut one on my chin if it gets chapped and it does often. The estrogen blocker pill that I am on makes my skin so dry!

Here’s a couple more health and beauty products I like.

The Each and Every deodorant is my very favorite deodorant I have found. And I have tried them ALL! Back before breast cancer I used Secret Clinical Strength. I was a huge sweater all my life. I think I actually had hyperhidrosis but I was never officially diagnosed. I don’t sweat anymore under my left side. I think it is because they removed 25 lymph nodes on that side during my unilateral mastectomy. I do still sweat on my right side but not as much. I think that may be a menopause thing too. There is some research that says that the strong antiperspirants are links to breast cancer. I did use the very highest power ones I could find for many years but you never really know. I firmly believe my main cause was the hormone replacement therapy that I took, Prempro. No one knows for sure and I try not to worry about the why. Sometimes cells just go rouge for no apparent reason. Anyway, I’ve switched to all natural deodorant and Each and Every is the best! It goes on like butter and the smell (again- ha!) is lovely! This citrus one is great and I also love the Lime and Coconut one.

The Dr. Bonner’s soap is fantastic. I love the almond one the best. I like getting this soap to help reduce our plastic consumption and the good thing is Ron loves it too. You can use it as a shampoo too and I have a few times. Ron uses it all over! It is a bit strong and since I color my hair, I try to be careful.

When I was snapping all these pictures yesterday, I grabbed the powder to show you. I wanted a talc free one again for health reasons and I love Lady Anti-Monkey Butt! I don’t use it much but it is great for anti-chafing. Andie and Lydia used the kids version when their little ones were in diapers.

You guys see me all the time on Instagram Trekking Tuesdays and you know how I look most days. I decided to put on a full face of makeup and snap this picture.

There you go! I do like to get dolled up on occasion and I do like my lotions and potions. I refuse to pay the super high prices of some skin care lines though. We are trying to get out of debt and I cannot justify paying so much. Pacifica is low cost and just right for me.

What health and beauty products do you love?

Forever Fruitful

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I started a new challenge last Tuesday. This challenge is one that I made up and I did base it loosely on the famous 75 Hard Challenge. I love challenges! They really help keep me on track. I love the idea of lists and checking things off each day. I love to highlight a spreadsheet and keep calendars and such. All these acts are the secret sauce to assist me as I trek along striving for a happy, balanced life.

I’ve come up with 10 practices. Really 9 things because 1 of the 10 items is a rest day. Back when I was trying 75 Hard, I found it very difficult to work out every single day. Rest is so critical and I’m taking Sundays as my rest day from working out.

I’ve got the 9 challenge items grouped into 3 categories. The first is what I am calling my self care. #1 is to stick to my diet. I feel so much better when I stay on track. I went way off track last summer when my daughter and her family were visiting from Illinois. I’m talking way off track! I was eating Little Debbies that I bought for the grandchildren. I even got a cheeseburger and a milkshake when I took the grandchildren to Cookout! Whenever I go off track like this, I tend to go crazy! Even after the vacation was over, I slowly gained back 20 pounds! Right before Thanksgiving, biscuits and gravy, were my kryptonite. I had to drive a lot for work and I found myself stopping at Hardee’s for this deliciousness. I don’t want to give too much information, but my body quickly let me know this was not good for me. Along with the weight gain, I developed a UTI. I thought I was going to die! Okay, a little dramatic, but for someone who normally stays so very healthy, I knew right then and there I had to get back on track.

#2 is drinking enough water. The gallon of water that is required in 75 Hard, was too much for me. But water is critical and I’ve set the goal of drinking half my weight in ounces. I still have to stay focused though because I want to get in all my water before 7pm, so I can sleep better.

#3 is the exercise. I did like the 2 workouts a day in 75 hard. And I loved that one of the workouts needed to be outside. What I’ve been doing is getting in my outside walk on my lunch hour and then either doing a Beachbody workout in the morning or a getting in yoga session at night.

Now the next section is all about my faith. #4 is by starting each day with a prayer of Thanksgiving. I thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed on me and I pray I can be a blessing to others. #5 is making sure I am taking some time each day in prayer and devotion. I’ve been listening to Joyce Meyer and Proverbs 31 ministries. Joyce Meyer has been convicting me the most this week. I love her! #6 is to perform an act of random kindness (ARK) each day. The fine print of the challenge says to keep these ARKs anonymous and secret if possible. I mentioned on Instagram, this part of my challenge has been the most transformative. When you start your day in Thanksgiving and then look for ways to be a blessing to others, you don’t have much time left in the day for troubles.

The last section is pretty random. #7 is to work on my Big Sky Goal. I learned about big sky goals from Kris Carr. I use her Results Journal and they really help keep me focused. If you try to keep in mind the most important thing you are trying to accomplish in your life and schedule time to work on it, that’s when you start to see RESULTS!

#8 is one that I learned from The Fly Lady years ago. She advocates shining your sink each night. And let me tell you, you can’t shine a sink unless you have all the dishes done. I’m very bad about letting dishes pile up. I always rinse them out but if the dishwasher needs to be emptied, I often just leave my rinsed dishes on the counter until I get time to put the dishes away. Ron is a big help but he doesn’t like to help at night. He’s all about helping in the morning. Funny thing this week was now that he knows about my challenge and that I’m not going to go to bed until I shine the sink, he hopped out of his Lazyboy the other night and started helping. (Turns out he had an ulterior motive about getting me to bed but hey, I’ll take it! Ha!)

#9 is a small self care habit that I struggle with. Flossing my teeth. I go on spells when I’ll floss every night but it is so easy for me to slack off if I’m not careful. I have a dentist appointment coming up and I’d like to not get fussed at for once about my gums.

There you have it! All 9 steps that I’m shooting for to help me live a Fruitful Life. 10 steps if you count making sure you take a rest day. Even though I’m aiming to try and hit 100 days in a row, don’t forget that all your blessings are renewed each morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 Good News Translation

22 The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
23     Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

Galatians 5:22-23 New International Version

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Do you like challenges? What are you working on these days?

75 Hard

Hi everyone! If you’ve followed me on Instagram and Facebook, you know I started the 75 Hard Challenge on February 1st. What!? You haven’t heard of 75 Hard? Let me introduce you.

The rules are really quite simple. Just follow a diet. But no cheat meals or cheat days for the entire 75 days. Do (2) 45 minute workouts per day. Caveat, one of them has to be outdoors and you should take a break of approximately 3 hours between the 2 workouts. No alcohol. Take a progress picture each day. Drink a gallon of water daily. And lastly, read 10 pages of a non-fiction, self-help type of book. If you miss ANY of the steps, you have to start back over at day 1.

A friend in my Beachbody group introduced us to the 75 Hard Challenge when we were on a Beachbody Zoom call. My coach and several in our group all started the challenge on February 1st. My coach is blogger and you can read several of her updates. She is such a badass! Most of the women in my group live in the midwest and they have been slammed with really cold and snowy weather. They were so very inspiring me each day. We’ve had some cold and rainy days in North Carolina but nothing to compare with what they were facing.

Anyway, I need to give you all an update. I only made it 17 days. It is a TOUGH challenge. I should have started over at day 1 but I tapped out for now. Wowzer is this one HARD!

I didn’t struggle one bit with following a diet. My nutrition has been spot on for months now ever since I started following The Starch Solution and the 50/50 plating plan that I learned from Plantiful Kiki. No problem at all for me anymore with my eating plan.

I was already doing my Beachbody workouts most days and I walk EVERYDAY so the 2 workouts weren’t that terrible. I’ll be honest and admit though that never taking a day off of to rest was a bit draining to me. And remember, I only made it 17 days. I cannot imagine how my team members in the challenge are keeping this up! You know I love my walks so much and I really didn’t even mind the cold and rainy walks. I have some nice warm waterproof pants and a fantastic rain jacket. But, if I didn’t get my Beachbody workout done in the morning, when I got home from work I found I was settling for a nice indoor yoga video most nights. Not that yoga isn’t a great workout. It is!

The no alcohol wasn’t a problem either. I never really drank all that much anyway and back in 2019 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I gave up all alcohol.

Taking a progress pic was the easiest. Here I am on day 16.

Curiously enough, I’ve heard that forgetting to take a progress picture is one of the most common areas that trip people up.

The gallon of water! That was HARD! Even though this was hard, this was the one thing that has cracked the code for me on my weight loss plateau.

I dropped 5 pounds from the fist day of the challenge! Unbelievable! I know it’s not all about the number on the scale and it is so much more about how you feel. But it is really is cool to see so much progress. I’m only 1.8 pounds away from my ultimate goal weight!

The 10 pages of reading was difficult for me. I’m a big Audible fan and I love listening to books when I drive for work. Sitting down to an actual book and reading was HARD. I did well though and I actually made progress with this old book that has been on my bookshelf FOREVER!

So why did I quit? That the secret. All the steps aren’t that hard if you look at them individually. The hard part is the time management and making sure you can squeeze them all in and still get the rest of your life done and get the nourishing REST that your body deserves.

On day 18 I didn’t wake up in time to do my indoor workout. That normally wouldn’t have been a problem, because I could still walk at lunch and then do my indoor workout after work. My issue was that particular day it was freezing rain and I was afraid of how much of an idiot I’d look like to my friends at work. There was no way I could discretely step out and walk without them seeing me shaking off my rain coat when I got back in. The other problem was that I had forgotten that my sister was coming to visit after work and I forgot to leave a key out for her. I really needed to work through lunch so I could leave early and let her in. When I realized I wasn’t going to make the workouts, I took one look at my gallon of water and said FORGET IT!! I quit right then and there.

I need to do some soul searching to see why I was so concerned with what my work friends would think of me. I shouldn’t of cared.

So there you have it! Tell me. Would you ever consider trying the 75 HARD challenge?

Keep being the Badass that you know you are!

The Mighty Microgreen

I first heard of microgreens from my sister when she was battling cancer a few years ago. Microgreens are up to 40x more nutritiously dense than the mature versions of the plants. So if you want to add a powerful nutrient dense punch to your food, go with the small but mighty mircogreen!

My sis and brother-in-law taught me all I know about microgreens and since I’ve had several friends to inquire about how to grow them, I thought I’d attempt to jot it all down here to get you started. It can be a little pricey in the beginning but once you have your trays and seeds, it is super economical.

Here’s what we do!

First get your organic soil. Organic can be a little tricky to find but keep looking. I got this at Home Depot this year I think.

Then get your trays out. When I started, I only had the ones with the holes. You will need that so the roots won’t get water logged. When I began, I just kept the trays on my kitchen table over a waterproof tablecloth. I’d wipe up the excess water daily. Now I have a set without holes that I stack and it keeps things a lot tidier. Be careful though. If you get your trays from different companies, even though they may be the same dimensions, they may not stack perfectly. Mine get crooked a little but we make it work.

Put about an 1-2 inches of soil in and press it down gently.

Now you are ready to sprinkle the seeds in. I use about 1 1/2 TBSP of organic seeds and I just sprinkle them freehand.

I’ve seen other micro growers use a shaker jar. You just want to make sure you sprinkle them evenly. After that, press the seeds down gently.

Next you need to water the seeds gently. My sis and brother-in-law gave me this sprayer and all I’ve ever had in it is filtered Berkey water!

Now you are ready to cover them. I use some old cardboard and some brown paper bags. You’ll need to water them 2 times a day and keep them covered for about 3 days. My kale seeds require a longer germination but the radish, cabbage, and broccoli all do great with only 3 dark days. ON the 4th day you can take the covers off. Keep watering 2 times a day for about 3-4 more days and keep them in a sunny place. Our kitchen doesn’t get a lot of sun so we added some old AeroGarden lights. You can see a little of the lights below. They are blue.

Here’s what they look like after about 3 days in darkness. See that kale on the lower left. They always lag behind for me. But the radish at the top right grow so well and they are my very favorite!

Here they are with the radish ready for harvest. I let the broccoli go for about 2 more days and the cabbage another 3 days. I still haven’t harvested this kale batch!

When it is time to harvest, just gently gather a few greens in your hand and use kitchen scissors to snip off. I store them in these containers and use paper towels to line the container with. They will last in the fridge for about a week or so.

I love microgreens in my daily salad and you can really add them to just about any dish you can imagine. I love them on avocado toast and hummus tortillas!

My biggest piece of advice is to be generous with the water. The very fist time I tried to grow them, when they started to germinate, my hubby said there was mold on our seeds and told me I was putting too much water. It turned out it was not mold. It just looks that way when the seed first start to germinate. You’ll see little hairy stuff all over your seeds. Don’t be stingy with the water. When I water mine I always pray over them for a successful harvest and I often sing this song. 🙂 Just like juicing, microgreens helped me through my own cancer trek and each time I eat them, I feel like a health rock star!

Be sure to click the highlighted words to follow the links! Happy growing!

Love, Jesus, juice, and health always!

Melissa

Silence

I’ve stayed mainly silent on my social media posts and also on this blog. I’ve done it because I don’t know what to say. Just like so many others, I don’t feel I can articulate what I am feeling. I don’t feel well educated enough and I don’t want to say anything that will cause harm.

But I cannot keep silent any longer.

2020 has been so very hard. So very hard on so many. Covid-19 has changed our world on so many levels.

This meme is very meaningful to me and sums up my feelings.

For me and my husband, Covid-19 hasn’t really hurt us at all. Ron is in the cable business and more than ever, people have needed their cable and internet. He works alone and has gone in to work every day. He stays in the hubs and works tirelessly to make sure ten of thousands of people in our neck of the woods are able to stay connected.

My work can be done at home and my company closed our offices on March 12th. I’ve worked every day and have never missed a beat. Yes, my days have changed and I have gotten used to WebEx and Microsoft Teams meetings as the new normal.

Our storm has been the sprinkling one and has been quite peaceful. I struggled a bit being alone and was sad for a while but I snapped out of it pretty quickly and have really gotten into a great routine.

However, some people that are very close to me are experiencing this storm so very differently:

  • I have a niece that works in a furniture factory that has come down with the virus. She has several auto-immune diseases already and when she called me to tell me she tested positive for Covid-19, I could hear the fear in her voice. Thanks be to God that her symptoms have been manageable so far and her husband and children have tested negative and are symptom free.
  • I have another niece that has a small business that was forced to close down for many weeks. This storm for her has nearly killed her financially.
  • I have several close friends and family members that have lost their jobs. At first they were furloughed but now their companies have terminated them. The fear in their voices is so very real as they try to find new employment in the worst job environment since the Great Depression.
  • My 2 daughters work in retail and they have worked all through the pandemic. They’ve struggled with the fear of bringing home the virus to their small children and have stripped each day as they come home and do not hug their families until after they have showered and changed clothes.

I’m still scared about the virus but I know I cannot live in fear. I’ll keep wearing my mask. I’ll keep social distancing. I’ll keep washing my hands and trying not to touch my face. And I’ll keep praying every day for a cure.

Now for the other pandemic.

I first learned of what happened to George Floyd from my youngest daughter’s boyfriend. I watched the video and a part of me died right there along with George. I was numb for days and couldn’t speak about what happened.

This meme made me break down and ugly cry like I have never cried before.

I can’t embed the Facebook post that hit home the most for me. The privacy settings have changed or something. But it is the one of the man walking his fluffy dog holding his young daughter’s hand. I hope you have seen it.

You see, I can go for a run at most any time without a single thought for my safety. Yes, I carry mace for the random stray dog but I don’t worry about getting shot or harassed by the police. My granddaughter’s father cannot do this. The only way he can safely go for a walk is if he is walking my fluffy dog and holding on to my sweet grand-daughter’s hand.

On my social media feed you’ll continue to see my posts of micro-greens, juices, runs, workouts, and selfies with my hubby. But with every glass of juice, please know that I am so much more. From this day forward I am going to do my very best to become educated and not stay silent. When you see my feeds from now on, I hope you will know where I stand. And I stand with my granddaughter and her dad.

Much love and prayers for peace always!

How I’m Eating (and moving) Lately

So you guys already know that at the weekend before the pandemic hit, my daughter and her little family moved out and got their own apartment. I miss them so much but luckily they are only about 15 miles away and I have gotten to see them a few times over the last 10 weeks. Lydia and Cam both work at Target and have been on the front line every day. Our oldest daughter and her family live in Illinois and she works at Target too. Her husband is a professor and he has been teaching online but Andie just like Lydia and Cam has been out there making sure we all have the groceries and other essentials that we need. A huge thank you goes out to them and all the other essential workers that have kept our country going.

Anyway, with Lydia and Cam moving out, I was able to get rid of EVERY single cheat food in the house. That has proved to be the biggest secret to help me stay on track. For the first 2 weeks of staying at home, I got my hubby to go vegan with me and we did the Chef AJ program. Chef AJ is SOS (salt, oil, sugar) free and promotes eating potatoes similar to the Dr. McDougall program. I did really well but Ron missed his omnivore ways and went back to mostly veggies and healthy meats.


I am still following Chef AJ mostly but I do have a little salt now. Not as much as I did in the past but since I exercise most every day, a nutritionist friend of mine, wanted me to not be to afraid of the salt shaker. She says we need some sodium!

Here’s some shots of what I eat on a typical day.

I’m not having overnight oats or smoothies like I have lived on in the past. Now I’m having these awesome quinoa banana oat muffins.

I made the below video last Sunday when I was making them. But go here for the recipe. Tami at Nutmeg Notebook is amazing and I love her SOS recipes!

Sometimes if I am hungry mid morning I’ll have some steamed broccoli and a twice baked JSP. (Japanese Sweet Potato) I get my JSPs at Whole Foods and then I put them in the Instant Pot for 10 minutes on manual. I use the wire rack and put a little Berkey water in. Then I keep the potatoes in the fridge until I am ready for them and then I air fry at 400 degrees for about 12 or 13 minutes. These JSPs are amazing this way and you just have to try them!

For lunch I almost always have a huge salad topped with a yummy balsamic vinegar. Chef AJ and Tami and Nutmeg Notebook lead me to this awesome balsamic provider. I am in love!

That’s a lot of food so far so for dinner I’m usually not too hungry. I often get a bean burger and have some more steamed veggies and call it a night.

Here’s a shot of a wrap I got yesterday from Trader Joe’s. We had gotten the chips and guac from Costco and they are dangerous to have in the house. We cannot buy those often!

So that’s it! That’s how I eat most days. Oh and I have been getting back in to juicing. I made these this week and they are very yummy and so very healthy! The pears in there make it! Recipe from Kris Carr.

I’m down 8 pounds in these last 10 weeks and now that I’ve been getting out a little more, people are noticing. Yay! I had to go in to work for a few minutes last week and 2 work friends commented and said I looked great! Then yesterday I went to an in person physical therapy appointment. I had been having video therapy sessions but I hadn’t seen my therapist since the pandemic hit. She noticed too!

Our book club met on Thursday and they commented! One friend even said it wasn’t the weight so much but that I looked toned! I’m crediting the Beachbody On Demand videos I’ve been doing with that!

For the first 7 weeks I did LIIFT4 and now I’m doing Barre Blend. I am crazy excited over how much better my shoulder is feeling and how I’m feeling in general.

What are some fun things you’re making? Have you ever tried juicing? Have you ever tried the Beachbody on Demand workouts?

Much love and peace!

Melissa

How I’m Moving Lately

If you remember, how you’re moving is one of Kris Carr’s pillar’s of good health.   I know this can be an area of everyone’s lives that is difficult to find the time to do.  For me, I’m 10 years in on the exercise thing so it is second nature to me now.   Moving comes as natural as breathing.    Last year after complications with my reconstruction surgery after breast cancer, I developed “frozen shoulder” and movement was taken away from me for about 6 weeks.   It was the most painful time in my whole life and I will never take my health for granted ever again.

If you’re interested in my shoulder recover, I made a YouTube video.  Click here to see my progress from March 9-today.  I am getting there!  Woohoo!

But anyway, I do get it.  Moving can be so challenging.  Before I started running, I was right there with many of you.  Finding the time to exercise is HARD.

Let me slip down memory lane and reminisce on my movement trek and offer some hints and tips to help get you moving.

Back in 2009, right about the time I made my first Facebook post, my hubby got us a treadmill.  I can remember one of my first posts was commenting on how I had run for 3 days that particular week and was hopeful that I could keep it up.  What happened next changed the course of history for me.  My friends and family began liking my posts and encouraging me to keep it up.  Before long, I would post my weekly treadmill intentions and I swear, it was Facebook that helped me stay accountable.  After I posted what I was hoping to do, there was no way in heck that I’d let my friends and family know that I didn’t make it during any particular week.  I can remember jogging for 1 minute and then walking for 3 minutes and being thrilled about my progress.  I remember picking out a mailbox on my street and jogging from one mailbox to the other and then walking to the next mailbox.  Over and over and over again.

My niece commented on one of my posts and said, “Hey Aunt Missy, we should train and run a marathon.”  Now remember, she made this suggestion to me when I was still struggling to jog from mailbox to mailbox.  She had this book, The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer, and wanted me to order it and start training with her.  The crazy thing was I agreed and was immediately psyched to run a marathon.

That was the beginning.

I can’t imagine anyone really wanting to read all these old posts but if you are interested, check out my Race Recap Page and you can see what occupied most of my life for the last 10 years.

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What can I say?  I was hooked.  I drank the Kool-aid and dove in hook line and sinker into the running scene.  I loved every single thing about it!  My hubby (who was already a life long runner} and I ran so many races together over those years, I can’t even keep track of them all.  And come to think of it, that Races page isn’t even up to date.  I know there are some races I haven’t written a recap on.  Whenever it was time for vacation, our first thought after we decided on where we were going, was to see if we could find a race to run there.

Right about this time my sis had lost a lot of weight on a vegetarian diet and was encouraging me to give it a try.   When I started dabbling in the plant based movement, many of the healthy eating blogs I started to follow, were runners too.  If they weren’t runners, they were doing Cross-fit, or yoga, or they were tri-athletes or doing some sort of wonderful movement.

Here are the top reasons I have been able to make moving a habit:

  1. Facebook accountability
  2. Making friends and having an accountability partner – I loved running or working out in the mornings but I also loved sleeping in.  By having a friend I was going to meet, it helped get me out the door.
  3. Having a race on the calendar to train for.  Don’t like running in the cold?  Plan an pay for a Spring marathon.  That will keep you going and on track all through the holidays!  You’ll learn to love the cold.  Don’t like running in the heat?  Plan a fall marathon.  That will keep you running all summer long.Spring marathon
  4. Excel is your friend.   Back in 2009 I actually was just learning Excel for my job.  I know it had been around forever at that time but I had never needed it until then.  Once I learned Excel, I created so many running spreadsheets it was crazy.  I had them color coded and would print them out and check things off every day.  I got a lot of joy checking things off.  If I put down that I was going to cross train on M-W-F and run on T-Thur-Sat and then rest on Sunday, I wouldn’t let a week go by without being able to check those blocks off.  Kinda the same thing as the Facebook posts.  I loved having my spreadsheets to motivate me.
  5. Put your alarm clock a few steps away from your bed so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
  6. Pack your workout bag and your lunch the night before.
  7. Have your workout clothes set out already.
  8. Just the knowledge that sitting all day may be harder on you than smoking is enough to get me out the door.
  9. For every hour you run, you may gain up to 7 hours to your life!    I know this is debatable but you can’t deny movement is so very healthy!
  10. Grant yourself grace and modify when you need to!

 

I’m still running and I did enjoy The Donna Marathon (the national marathon to finish breast cancer) this past February.  (I’ll write a race recap soon I promise!)  It was fantabulous!

DonnaThe gang

However, with Covid-19, my other spring half marathon was canceled and all my running groups were closed.  I’m still going to do the half when they have it later this month but I’m going to walk it with Ron and we are going to do it virtually.

What I’ve been doing lately is LIIFT4 from Beachbody on Demand.  I LOVE it!  I have to modify a lot but I’m giving it my all and it really is helping my shoulder.

And you know I have a tracker!  Check it out!

LIIFT4How are you moving lately?

I pray you find some time to move someway during this difficult time in our world.

Much love and well wishes!

Melissa

 

 

In the Blink of an Eye

Last Sunday on one of my 2 daily walks with our dog, Lily, my world could have changed in the blink of an eye.

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We were almost home from our 1 mile walk and I spied 2 dogs trotting towards us.  I hadn’t seen them before in the neighborhood and since they were running loose, I immediately was on guard.  One of them was a Pit bull mix and the other one was some sort of Shepherd.  The Shepherd stayed farther away but the Pit bull started coming right up to us.  I yelled very loud with all I could muster for the dog to GO AWAY!  He paused and at first I thought he was going to go.  But then he came forward.  I was praying so hard that he’d just do the stiff thing and then leave but in the blink of an eye, he was attacking Lily.  I didn’t hesitate and started kicking him and hitting him with Lily’s leash.  Her leash and collar had slipped off in the struggle.  Thankfully, just as fast as he attacked, he left and trotted on off through the woods with the Shepherd.

Lily was okay.  She only had one puncture would on her hip.  And I didn’t have a scratch.  It could have been a different situation though.  Lily could have been killed and in all reality, that Pit bull could have killed me too.  My heart was racing!  I was scared out of my mind.  A neighbor that had heard me screaming came out and I’m sure she would have come to help if the attack hadn’t ended so quickly.  She did holler over to me and let me know that those same 2 dogs had killed her outside cat.   We are going to try and alert the Animal Control if we ever see them again in our neighborhood.

Later in the afternoon, on my daily Amazon order, I included some mace that I really should have had with me in the first place.   I also tightened Lily’s collar.

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It has been 23 days now since my office sent us all home to work remotely.  At first, I was so out of it.  I had home projects all around me that were in some stage of incompleteness.  My daughter, her boyfriend, and our granddaughter had just moved out of our home into their own apartment just the weekend before.  We had given them our old washer and dryer and when Ron hooked up our new ones, something went awry.  I noticed a wet spot in the carpet in our bedroom and I had no clue it was the washer.  The washer is in the kitchen for Pete’s sake!  I totally blamed poor Lily.  I thought she had had an accident.

It took us one full day to figure out that the hose on the washer was the culprit.  After Ron got the leak stopped, he ended up pulling up the carpet and the padding.  We had decided to replace the carpet and since we are laying the new flooring down ourselves, he said he’d just rip this spot up now.

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We were also in the middle of painting the laundry closet and putting up new shelves, so EVERYTHING was in an upheaval.  Luckily now, the new shelves are up and at least the laundry area is neat and tidy.

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My sis and niece and their husbands were going to help us with the new flooring and even though they said they’d still come up and help us, I’ve decided to heed the Shelter at Home advisory and just tackle the flooring later when this virus gets past us.   I know this is the right thing to do even though this flooring situation is so frustrating!

I’ve been trying to stay off social media as much as I can.  I try to limit myself to 2 quick sessions each day just to keep up with friends and family.  The one thing that I’ve really been noticing is all the memes that people are posting about the struggles they are having with food now that they are working from home.

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I’m not sure how I’m doing it but I’m really rockin’ the healthy eating!  The only thing I can think of is that I have absolutely zero cheat foods in my house thanks to Lydia and Cam moving out prior to the pandemic. When they lived with us, it was all I could do to not partake of all the pizza Friday’s they’d have.  The cinnamon rolls they’d bake all the time were also my downfall.  Heck if they were out of stuff, I’ve been known to eat all of Harley’s goldfish crackers or mini pretzels.  I’d always replace them the next day but it was so difficult for me to say no.

Ron has really been trying to lose weight and he just can’t make the scale move much at all!   So when they moved, we really did a huge pantry purge.  We decided to go on the Chef AJ ultimate weight loss program.

Chef AJ

I actually started the weekend before the pandemic so it has been a whole 4 weeks for me.  I’ve lost 6.1 pounds and feel fantastic.

weight

Ron stayed on the program for almost 2 weeks and he did lose a little but he said he didn’t feel good only eating plants and he has gone back to being an omnivore.  In fact, he went to Costco and stocked back up on meats and nuts and all his favorite Paleo foods.  He did promise he wouldn’t go back to the Bulletproof coffee though.  Ron had an AFib (atrial fibrillation) episode last month and even though AFIB is not the normal heart disease with clogged arteries and such, it is still very serious.  He promised me he’d cut down on the fats.  He also came home with 2 canisters of mixed nuts.  That little blip you see in my weight loss is me cheating and eating nuts last weekend.  I know that some fats like nuts and avocados are so very healthy but I can’t seem to partake of any without overdoing it.  They are such trigger foods for me.  Well nuts and a take out meal from my favorite vegan local restaurant.  I’m happy I was helping to keep the small restaurants in business by ordering take out but I swear, you can totally eat vegan food and gain!

Garden of Eden

That carrot cake was divine though and it was my only sweet in a whole month.

Here’s some shots of my normal daily meals.  I’ve really been cooking up a storm and eating oh so healthy!

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Quinoa Banana Oat muffins

Lots of Hugh Jass Salads topped with balsamic vinegars

caramelized onion gravy over rice

beet burgers

lots of potatoes air fried in Ron’s awesome new oven

mashed banana butter on Ezekiel muffins

I pray that that you are finding ways to cook and eat healthy while we weather out this Covid-19 storm.    Jesus and our health is all we really have.  Everything has changed so much and it really does feel that this all happened in the blink of an eye.

Much love and peace!

Melissa

 

Results!

If you have been around me in the last month and a half, I have probably showed you my Results Journal.  I’ve been showing everyone and singing its praises.

Results!

I mentioned it in my last post but I wanted to go into more detail now.  It really has been a game changer for me.  I found out about it from Kris Carr.  She’s that wellness advocate and cancer thriver that I discovered during my breast cancer trek last summer.

Every morning, usually after I work out, I take a few minutes and fill out my weekly checklist page and my daily page.  All the goals are focused on what Kris calls her 5 pillars of wellness:

  • What you’re eating
  • What you’re drinking
  • What you’re thinking
  • How you’re resting
  • How you’re renewing

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Weekly checklist

Kris wants you to eat 3+ fruits a day and 4+ veggies.  I was doing the 3 fruits a day back in January but I got to the point that it was too much for me.  I’ve cut that down to only 2 fruits and I’m hitting that every day.  I have banana in my oat muffin in the morning and then I have either an apple or a clementine on my salad for lunch.  My 7 cup salad at lunch every day hits the veggie goal out of the park!

For the what you are drinking goal, you are supposed to halve your weight and drink that amount of water in ounces.  I’ve been all over the place with this.  Half my weight in ounces is 72.  The cancer med I am on really sucks all the moisture out of me so I wanted to up that goal.  I settled on 83 ounces and I hit that most of the time.  I’m not gonna lie though.  It is one of the toughest of all the daily goals.  Some days I feel like I live in the bathroom!

The next goal is to take 2 mindful breaks a day.  I love this!  All you have to do is stop for a few minutes and take a deep breath and meditate or pray.  It doesn’t have to be a long break but it is meant to ground you and bring you back to what your intention for the day was.

Recording how much sleep I get is so helpful.  It really helps me stay focused on getting to bed on time.   Sleep is so crucial to our well being.  I’ve been going to the YMCA lately and participating in the LiveSTRONG program on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  I also go to Tea and Yoga at my church on Wednesdays.  I try to run on T/Th with my run club, run on Wed with a group of my very good girlfriends, and on M/F, I try to do my arm exercises at the gym before work.  With all this exercising I have to focus and get to bed so I can make it for the next workout the next morning.

As I am writing this I know it is a lot of exercise but by going in the morning before work, it helps me beat all the very bad traffic.  I have to leave early anyway so why not work out?!  Exercise is not an area that I need to work on.  I’ve got this pillar down!  Getting enough sleep and enough of healing H2O are my toughest 2 pillars!

The next to the last row on the weekly checklist is my very favorite!  It is how you are renewing.  On the snapshot above, both my “fun” outings also involve exercise.  I noticed that week after week, I was struggling to find things to do that truly made me feel renewed that didn’t involve exercise.  Running on Wednesday mornings with my girlfriends is more fun to me than exercise.  Yoga on Wednesday night at church is the same thing.  I love visiting with all the other ladies at church and hearing the devotion that we have before the yoga.  I wanted to make sure I had some variety in the weeks and I am doing better now.  Some of my fun things that didn’t involve exercise was a date night out to the movies with Ron, a brunch date with Harley and Lydia, and my monthly book club get-together.  Tonight Ron and I are going to the RV super show and tomorrow we are going to a Murder Mystery dinner theater.

The last row you get to pick a goal and I chose flossing my teeth.  I hate to floss but I’ve been doing it almost every single night.

Now for the daily pages.

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Daily thoughts and goals

 

You start the day off with reflecting on how you feel.  Every single day that I work out in the morning, I feel fantastic!  Almost every single morning that I don’t work out first thing, stress starts to creep in on me.  In the month and a half that I’ve been doing this I have noticed this pattern and I’ve decided to really strive to get to bed on time so I can wake up early enough to get a workout in first thing!

Next on the 2nd page, you write down 3 things that you are thankful for.  I LOVE this!  No matter how bad we are feeling, there is always something to be thankful for.

Then you write down your intention for the day.  Another LOVE.  You are in control of your day.  By writing down and focusing on how I want my day to go, I feel so much more focused.  During my 2 mindful breaks during the day I really try and come back to this and not let the day get away from me without working on what I intended to.

Then you write down your daily affirmation and your Big Sky Goal.  For me these are the very same thing every day.  I want to maintain vibrant great health and for Ron and me to get out of debt once and for all.

The last part is when you write down what you are going to do that very day to help you get closer to your goal.  Most of the days so far for me in January and February are exactly the same.  I have been working very hard to gain 100% mobility in my shoulder since my breast reconstruction surgery.  I write this down and then you have to write specifically what you are going to do and WHEN that day you are going to do it.

Like I said, TOTAL GAME CHANGER.  If you focus every single day on your most precious goals, you really look at all the millions of choices you make every day with a tremendously different mindset.

Here’s a choice I made this morning.  My favorite whipped banana oatmeal and some Glory juice from Wegmans.

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What are you drinking and eating?  What are you daily thoughts?  How are you resting and renewing?

Best wishes always and may all your Big Sky Goals come true and all your little choices you make every day help you get there.

xxoo,

Melissa