Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Motivational Monday – Don’t let your inspiration be quarantined

“Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” John Muir

“…My inspiration has been quarantined in some faraway place called COVID19 (Ann Whitfield Paul-author). Ann expressed the feeling many people (that I’ve talked to) are experiencing as they are confined at home-feeling stuck. Don’t be discouraged. Be encouraged.

Find something each day that brings a smile to your face and spreads joy in your heart. Take a walk and observe things in nature that you may not have paid attention to in the past. In a short walk through my neighborhood, I heard frogs croaking in a nearby pond, and saw birds perched in yards.

Be inspired. What can you do to be creative at home and stimulate inspiration? Look through your junk drawer (assuming you have one), your box of scrap materials and crafts, old clothes; turn these things into projects. I pulled a crochet needle and yarn from a bin that has been packed away for years.

I began making loop, after loop, with my yarn and hoop. I work on it in the morning after breakfast and before stay-at-home work, then again in the evening. There is no finished product in mind, I have no pattern, it’s just loop, after loop, circle around and repeat. It doesn’t matter what the final project will look like, the process is relaxing.

If you feel as though worry is engulfing you and stifling your inspiration, let it go and cast your cares on God. He cares for us. It has been said that worry is interest paid on trouble that never happens. Joyce Meyer said, “worry sees the problem, but doesn’t see God. Faith sees the God who can handle the problem.”

Don’t let your inspiration be quarantined. Don’t be infected by fear or let fear control you. You can still have peace. I heard a preacher say, “Peace comes from God, not the CDC (Center for Disease Control). In this time of uncertainty in our communities, the world, and our families, God will give you the strength to push through.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. What will you do to keep your inspiration from being quarantined?

Friday, March 27, 2020

Feel Good Friday – Finding the Silver Lining During a Crisis

Photo Credit: tricia - silverlinings blog

Have you ever driven through a storm? Thunder booms, rain beats down onto your car windshield, the sky bursts with a flash of light, momentarily blinding you. You desperately want to arrive at your destination, but you need to rethink your plan. You’re in crisis mode. How can you possibly find a silver lining? You can do it.

Here are 3 ways you can find the silver lining (the good) in a crisis situation.

1.      See this as a time to reevaluate
2.      Think of reasons to be grateful
3.      Find the blessing

We are currently living in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a crisis no one anticipated or planned for. Many people are struggling to establish a new normal or hold onto as much of their normal routine as possible.

The new normal at my house is anything, but normal. Journey with me.
The alarm sounds early morning, but a little later than usual. No need to rush off to the fitness studio because the doors are closed. Temporarily. I dismiss the alarm a couple of times then drag from the bed and dress in my workout attire.

My phone soon dings again. It’s the fitness Coach letting viewers know she is ready for our live workout. Determined not to have our fitness efforts derailed, the coach keeps us motivated and our bodies moving.

Sweat washed away, body clean and cozy in leggings and a t-shirt, it’s off to the kitchen. Eggs are scrambled with spinach. Strawberries join them on the plate. Breakfast is ready. The tea kettle whistles signaling its readiness for instant coffee.

Breakfast devoured, it’s off to the office, the makeshift home office. The new normal. The difference in working outside the home and at home? The kids are there too (big kids/young adults). The presence of kids home with you can be a silver lining, when the right approach is used – quality time together.

At the end of the workday my son and I played Jenga and watched the movie Barbershop. Just because I felt like doing something out of the norm I said, “Hey do you want me to give you a facial?”

“Sure,” he quickly agreed.

I’m no licensed professional, just a Mama Bear having fun with her cub.

“Sit in my (office) chair, I’ll get you prepped.”

I grabbed a clean bedsheet, gave it a quick shake, then draped it across my son, like a barber’s cape, closing it with a hair clip near his neck. I pressed a warm cloth over his face, removed it, then spread a thin layer of cool charcoal mask over his face; careful not to brush any over his sideburns. Success
I am grateful for time spent being silly with my sons. I am grateful that I can work from home. I have reevaluated the things I consider important. I am blessed.

Find your silver lining.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Fun Friday – How to tackle weight loss goals during menopause?

Menopause is fun, Menopause is fun…said no one ever. You don’t have to be afraid of the big bad wolf, just know she’s lurking around. That girl called Minnie Pause will try to rob you of your senses (brain fog) and steal your energy (leaving you tired and not wanting to workout). Don’t fret, regroup and reassess your goals and priorities.

Weight gain. My grandmother used to call it the middle-aged spread. Experts say hormone changes during menopause can cause weight gain, but this is not the only factor; lifestyle and genetic factors also play a role. How do you handle weight loss challenges during menopause? Get right in their face, point your finger at them and say, “I’m not going down without a fight.”

Here are 3 ways to change your thought process for better weight loss success, by changing your goals

New Weight Loss Goals

1.      Ability to wear a shirt tucked in
2.      Ability to breathe normally after climbing a flight of stairs
3.      Make healthy eating choices

As soon as you become determined to set new goals there will be distractions and temptations. What do I mean?

I’m a nighttime snacker (daytime too), my food of choice is sweets. I set a goal to give up snacks for 30 days. On day four without sweets, the temptation happened. It was during my lunch break at work. I was at the drive-thru placing an order for my coffee, the voice from within the little box asked, “Would you like a chocolate chip cookie with that?”

The voice within my head screamed, “NO I don’t want a chocolate chip cookie. I just set new weight loss goals. Are you trying to derail my efforts?” I relaxed my scrunched eyebrows and said, “No thanks, just the coffee.” Whew, close call.

Menopause Ain’t No Joke.

Hula Hoop for fun and fitness
Menopause is not fun, but you can poke fun at it. Do you have tips for conquering weight loss goals?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Wordless Wednesday - National Nutrition Month

Photo Credit: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

March is National Nutrition Month. Celebrate by making informed food choices. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the theme for National Nutrition Month is Eat Right Bite by Bite.

For tips, games, and activities check out the National Nutrition Month Campaign Toolkit by clicking here.

Make Healthy Choices

Monday, March 16, 2020

Motivational Monday – All Shook Up-A community in turmoil

“I don’t want to take classes online,” my son was dejected. He returned home for spring break, experienced fun times with his brother and friends, then the world was in turmoil. Schools closed, libraries closed. No hugging, no handshaking, and social distancing is strongly suggested. The Coronavirus has everyone all shook up.

Grocery store shelves are empty, healthy people are walking around in masks…fear is everywhere. In the midst of this abundance of anxiety, we still need faith. We can take precautions, exercise preventative measures and still remain faithful. This is the time to level up our faith.

Our U.S. currency says, In God We Trust. Let’s put our trust in Him as we come together as a community to help each other through this crisis. Is there a friend or neighbor who is not able to get to the store? Purchase an extra item for them while you’re out shopping or share something you have.
Here’s a quote I came across that is worth sharing:

“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.”   - Author Unknown

While everyone around you is becoming all shook up, remain steadfast, prayerful, and helpful to someone in need. What you give comes back to you, but it may not be in the form of money. We can’t control a crisis, but we can control our response to it.

Be encouraged and know that this too shall pass.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Fun Friday – The Grapes of Wrath – When college kids come home – 3 Survival Tips

The aftermath of college kids and grapes

The kitchen was quiet, the lights were off. The floor creaked as I stepped across the linoleum to turn on a light. A quick flick of the switch…and POOF, it was as though I had been sucked into a time zone. It was 30 years ago sharing a house with five other girls, and it was DISH NIGHT. Pots with dried cheese, plates piled high, cups all over the counter. We all hated dish night.

My kitchen present-day, housed dishes in the sink and a cluster of dried-out brittle grape vines lay on the countertop. The grapes of wrath. This was a true tell-tale sign that my sons were home from college. One of them pulled all the grapes from the vine, washed them in a colander and left the remnants for me to discover.

It’s a joy to have everyone home for spring break, but it requires readjustment after the cherubs have been out of the nest for a while. There are multiple sets of shoes near the front door, jackets thrown over the arm of the couch, and pizza boxes that never seem to make it to the trash. How do you handle the short visit?

Here are 3 tips for surviving spring break with college kids home:

1.      Reestablish house rules – try this mantra, “if you mess it up, you clean it up”
2.      Spend time together outside of home – go to a movie together, bowling, indoor golf, etc.
3.      Make it memorable – whatever that means to you; make it fun

At the end of the week, the last child grabs his backpack and laundry bag and tosses them into his car. He waves to his Mama Bear as he backs out of the driveway. You smile from the doorway of your home as you ease the door closed. Your kitchen is clean once again, the floor creaks beneath your slow, quiet steps. No grapevines, no mess. You survived a visit from your college kids…this time.

What do you do to survive a visit from college kids?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Wordless Wednesday - Women's History Month - A Look at Women Violinists

YouTube Video Credit: Lindsey Sterling
I don't own the rights to this music

Have you heard of violinist Ginger Smock? She was a critical figure in the development of the Los Angeles jazz scene in the 1940's and 1950's. During this time the industry was male-dominated. Check out her story here.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Motivational Monday – International Women’s Day – Who are the women making history in fitness?

Photo Credit: 94.7QDR

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. However, any day during the month of March is timely in celebrating women in history. Today I chose to celebrate women in fitness who have left their mark or are leaving their mark in history.

In the year 1900, Margaret Abbott became the first American woman to win an Olympic event. In the 2012 London Games, U.S. women earned more medals than U.S. men. A young woman I met a couple of years ago, Zara Northover, was a champion in the 2008 Olympics as she represented Jamaica.

Zara Northover - Olympian, Speaker, Business Consultant

I met Zara at an empowerment event for women. She is personable, a go-getter and the founder of a platform called Athlete Foundry, Inc. If you have a student-athlete or a child in middle or high school, check out Zara’s website by clicking here. Give your student-athlete the tools for success.

Have you thought about changing your fitness routine, but need a little motivation to take the first step? Fitness studio owner, affectionately know as ATrain, leads by example as she motivates her clients to achieve their fitness goals. ATrain recently committed to a 60-Day fit life challenge.

Adriene - Owner of ATrainSuperFit

Healthy eating meal-prep

Atrain’s challenge included no sugar for 60 days combined with eating clean and regular workouts. She will quickly tell you that a healthy lifestyle includes eating the right combination of foods as well as engaging in fitness. Speaking from experience, you never leave an A-Train workout the same way you entered. You are transformed. Check the A-TrainSuperfit website by clicking here.

ATrainsuperfit members participate in a Shamrock 5K Race

The two women highlighted today are women I’m glad to call friends. You may know of other women deserving of acknowledgment for International Women’s Day or Women’s History Month. Let them know you appreciate them and all that they do. Take things one step further and empower a young girl that you know; share your story and add to hers.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Fun Friday – What does a trip to the post office and menopause have in common?

What is your sense of smell like?
Photo Credit: Science ABC

It was lunch time, all I needed to do was make a quick stop at the post office to pick up a package. I guess everyone else had the same idea. The line wasn’t quite out the door, but there were enough of us to call it a crowd.

I stood in line and scrolled through messages on my phone as I waited. Then my Spidey senses began to tingle. My extreme superpower was beginning to react. The Six Million Dollar Man had a bionic eye. The Bionic Woman had super hearing. I’ve gained the superpower of a heightened sense of smell.

Someone breezed past me and left behind the bold scent of baby oil. It wasn’t bad, just bold. Not even a minute had passed when a breeze from another direction tickled my nose hairs. It was the scent of pancake syrup. There I stood contemplating whether I should go home and shower or make waffles with melted butter and syrup.

I blame the entire post office episode on a menopausal hormone imbalance. At the tender time in a woman’s life when she reaches half a century old, she can blame hormones for whatever she wants. Therefore, a trip to the post office can trigger a menopausal moment… but it will pass.

Menopausal moments come and they go. They can happen anywhere – the grocery store, the bank, while you’re sitting and relaxing. Find the humor in it, treat it like a superpower, and move on.

What situation have you experienced recently that caused you to uncover the humor?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Words of Wisdom - Sing with Your Child Month

When your child doesn't want you to sing

“Sing…sing a song. Sing out loud, all day long. Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone to hear…just sing. Sing a song.” It was in seventh-grade music class that Mr. Brown, wearing a white button-up shirt, rolled-up at the wrists, led this song. He moved his hands like a conductor guiding an orchestra.

Sorry Mr. Brown, I still sing off-key…but I sing anyway. The month of March is celebrated as Sing with Your Child Month. Whether your child is young, a young adult, or…old, singing is a great way to express emotions, make connections, and have fun. If you sway in the wrong direction, clap offbeat, or cause a dog to howl, you’re doing it right.

Here are three ways you can celebrate Sing with Your Child Month:
1.      Sing a favorite song together
2.      Make up a song
3.      Create a music video

The sillier you are, the more fun you will have. Keep in mind, you’re creating a joyful memory.

The video below is an episode from my family memory. It was a road trip turned into a sing-along. Check out the big guy in the background, he’s my brother. Either my lovely singing put him to sleep, or he totally blocked out the sound. What do you think?

What tips do you have for celebrating Sing with Your Child Month?

Monday, March 2, 2020

Motivational Monday – Spiritual Wellness Month

Affirmations, meditation, prayer. These are all a part of your spiritual wellness. The month of March is celebrated as Spiritual Awareness Month. Beginning this month, focus on being in a state of harmony with yourself and others.

What do you do to take care of your spiritual wellness? Perhaps you fellowship with others at church, participate in retreats, or read devotionals. Be deliberate this month about focusing on your wellness.

Each year the woman’s ministry from my church hosts a Woman’s Retreat. The retreat is like a spa day for our mind, body, and spirit. We laugh, we praise, some even cry; it’s a cleansing from the inside out. We leave rejuvenated.

It’s time for a spiritual wellness check-up. An article from Work Smart Live Smart, poses the following questions as a way of evaluating your spiritual wellness.

·         Do I make time for relaxation in my day?
·         Is there time for meditation and/or prayer?
·         Do my values guide my decisions and actions?

Affirmations, meditation, prayer. No matter how you choose to focus on your spiritual wellness, just do it.