Look to the Stars

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I was looking through Pinterest as I like to do to find some inspirational or encouraging quote. I came across the one you see above, and it was just what I needed.

Often I will search Pinterest with words based on exactly how I’m feeling at the time. Tonight, I searched “failing at life.” This was one of the first few.

I’ve felt a lot lately like I’m failing at every single thing in my life. There isn’t one thing that I feel is more significantly failing than the other. All of it is pressing down hard on me and on my heart. So much is overwhelming me. So much responsibility felt. Too much I hold myself accountable for.

This quote put in my mind exactly what I’ve been trying to remind myself time and time again, and that which I’m sure God has been trying to throw in my face even more. That’s Philippians 4:8.

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“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)

When life knocks us down (something negative), we shift ourselves to look at the stars (something positive). And the best positivity we can go to is God the Father. When we can’t think of anything positive, we go to Him. And with Him comes love, peace, health, and truth.

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A New Day

Things have been rough mentally lately. Thought I was shaking it off, but no, the devil is still out to get me.

For those unaware, hubby is getting out of the military in less than a month. We’re becoming civilians. During the course of the last couple of months, he has been taking a class that will in the long run get him certifications and job experience in his fields of interest. It’s really such a blessing that he got in this class, especially when he did.

But the thing is, he doesn’t have a job yet. This class gets done only days before the day he is officially out. So we are left with uncertainty of what’s next. Where we’ll be. What we’ll do. The next adventure that lies before us.

There’s a key word there. Adventure. Adventure is a journey without seeing what is ahead. That is when we turn our eyes to God. Trust that He will take care of us in the here and now. As well as in our future. Faith is trusting in our adventure. It is believing in something we cannot see. And something we don’t always understand 100%.

In looking at it this way, it gives me some hope and excitement. It helps give me a peace. Kind of an odd peace haha. But a peace nonetheless. And there is nothing like peace from God.

I can tell that I must be doing things right in some way. With the state of our circumstances, my anxiety and depression are really trying to take me over. My house is becoming a disaster again. Business is suffering. My relationships suffer. And everything suffers because I suffer inside. So when I suffer, I realize, I must be doing something right for the devil to attack me this way. So all I have to do is continue to try and do my best. And the biggest thing I can do for any aspect of my life is work on personal development. Work on changing myself. I’m going to need work the rest of my life anyways, so why not keep trucking? Working on myself, especially during my suffering times, is only going to make me stronger and stronger. I will only be prepared for extra joy in the good times and for maintaining a joy in bad times.

One thing that I think will help me is getting back into my blog. I love sharing my experiences and insights with others because I’d like to think I might reach someone else out there who might feel like they are alone. Plus, it is a way of me reaching out and reminding people that I am not perfect in any way, shape, or form. It is a way to keep myself from hiding when I feel pressure to be perfect.

So here I am :). Trying still to make my come back.

You might say I have officially started my YouTube channel. You can click here to see my introduction. It’s the only video I have on there at this moment in time lol. The whole video thing is super new to me, and I avoided it so long because I wanted to perfect it. But I think the only way to do that is to just jump right in and learn as I go. So you have me in raw form lol. Don’t expect perfection. I very much welcome feedback and opinions as I do this. I want to learn and hope all of you can learn alongside me.

Videos I will be trying to tie in mostly with this blog. I plan to do videos on Herbalife products along with some nutrition and fitness tips, short videos of encouragement and inspiration and just sharing some thoughts, and even some videos of my singing and worship. These are my passions. God called me to share my gifts. So I’m going to stop being afraid to get out there and share my joys with you :). Again, it’s all new, esp doing the music lol so dude, bear with me. I am only human. And I can be a ditsy one at that. So, anyways, here is to a new start and a new day!!

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Challenging the Mind

The past few months have been a period of lots of growth and change for me. It’s been quite the roller coaster ride, too. Ups and downs in business, mental health, life…so much that went through my mind that I wanted to write about but was too overwhelmed with the intensity of it all.

The end of this chapter, however, as always, brought nothing but good things and good lessons learned. All aspects of my life are stronger. My marriage, my family, my business, my faith, my hope, and just…me.

I struggled for a while with my self image. I felt pressure to look perfect. As a result, my nutrition suffered some as I focused TOO much on fitness. My depression worsened as did my anxiety and my stress. But I regained focus as God brought to light my true struggle. I realized I didn’t need to be ashamed of my struggles and my imperfections. What kind of Herbalife health coach would I be without them?

Since then, I have been working on my mind. My mind is my biggest challenge. I’m focusing on Philippians 4:8, which basically tells us to focus on positive things. As I’ve been working on this, I came up with a new challenge for myself. In terms of my nutrition, my biggest struggle has always been stress and comfort eating. I had been giving in to that again. So I came up with a challenge based off of our #21dayshakechallenge.

It takes 21 days to form a habit. In the shake challenge, we keep up with drinking our shakes for a straight 21 days. The accountability comes from posting pics of our shakes every day. Well, my challenge I am calling the “21dayMINDchallenge.” For a straight 21 days, I committed to no cheating.

The point of this was not to create a habit of not cheating, but of controlling my mind. To avoid cheating, I have to push out the thought “one time won’t hurt” or “just one little bite.” In doing this, I hoped to train my mind into some good self discipline.

What no cheating means for me is sticking to my goals on MyFitnessPal  (my screen name is picklepuddles if you’d like to add me). It means sticking to Ezekiel bread, quinoa, brown rice, whole grains, and oatmeal as my grains. Lean proteins. Low added sugars. Low saturated fats and no trans fats. No being a garbage disposal for my kids. No little bites of something as I prepare it. And, of course, no cheat meals or treats.

I did this challenge by myself from March 14 thru April 3. I was planning to take pics of all my food and blog regularly about it. However, time got away from me, and I couldn’t keep up with taking all the pics and everything. So I decided to share my overall experience.

I started out the first week prepping almost everything.

This consisted of snacks, some stuff for dinners, and, of course, my shakes.

It made things pretty stinking easy throughout the week except for the fact that some of the stuff with produce in it didn’t last the whole week. Started looking gross lol. So I gotta work on my prepping skills. I didn’t do much prepping after that, just mainly my meal and snack planning.

So the way I would plan was with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. For those who don’t know how it works, I took some screen shots of what it looks like. Usually the night before, I would go in and log what I planned to eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner (you can search for it or scan the bar code). After my workout each day, I would log the basics of what I did to get an estimation of how much I burned and needed to make up for.

Often what I did is that when I wasn’t yet close to my calorie goal, I would go to the “Nutrition” tab in the menu to look at what I still needed more of. I also would look at this throughout my planning to spread out when I was getting different nutrients like protein, carbs, and fats. Since I was only looking to lose a few pounds this time, I didn’t want to lose it too fast. So I tried to keep close to my calorie goal. There was tweaking done here and there each day in my diary, but the logging stuff ahead of time kept me more on track instead of standing there thinking, “hmm, what should I eat for a snack?” while I have my kids’ Goldfish crackers or pretzels in my view.

I pretty much always went way over my protein goal because it’s hard to get too much protein when you’re eating lean proteins.

Ok, so what did I eat you ask? Well, while I didn’t keep up with pictures of every single meal, I did take pictures of most of the different things I ate. I’ll give a look at my typical days.

My morning routine consists of devotions and prayer time and a workout. I usually got up 4:45-5 (shocker, I know) and was done by 7. So after this was my typical “breakfast.” It was my Herbalife Formula One (2 scoops) and my delicious Rebuild Strength. I liked having Dutch Chocolate with the Rebuild for a chocolate punch in the mouth. SOOOOOOOO GOOD. Definitely was a reward for working out. My breakfast I always also took my Herbalife tabs. They consisted of the multivitamin, Cell Activator, Cell-U-Loss, Aminogen, and Total Control.

Gotta do my faces ;).

Then there was my morning “snack.” This was usually around 9 or 9:30. This was more what you would call a breakfast, though, because I typically had breakfast food if I was home. It pretty much always consisted of two egg whites and one whole egg (usually over easy), a banana, and a piece of toast (Ezekiel bread) with natural peanut butter and a touch of agave nectar. We go through bananas like crazy in our house, though, so sometimes I would replace a banana with an apple or pear if we were out. I would also take a Snack Defense to try to help with any munchies that might try to creep in.

I seriously never get tired of this combination haha. I’m too much of a breakfast food lover :).

Around 12 was when I would have my lunch shake. I had the Orange Cream Formula One on hand during this challenge, so usually I had two scoops of that with one scoop of the vanilla Protein Drink Mix. I mixed this with 1/4 cup of almonds in my single serve blender. I don’t really like the Orange Cream by itself, but adding the almonds makes it quite tasty! One last thing I added to my lunch shake was the Prolessa Duo. I did this because it helps give more of a feeling of fullness. I usually tend to struggle the most in the afternoon with my cravings and getting hungry. Then I would take the same set of tablets from what I had with my morning shake.

Shakes somehow taste even better with a big fat straw.

Afternoon snack (usually around 2:30) varied based on what I was in the mood for. My first week I had prepped some avocado, spinach, and egg salad. I also had prepped some cucumber and tomato sandwiches with cream cheese. I did not continue these because these did not last the whole week haha. As far as prepping them anyways. By Thursday or Friday they were kinda gross. But this Avocado Egg Salad I found on Pinterest is delicious! I just added pureed spinach to it for the extra health kick. It is because of this recipe that I use lemon juice for flavoring so much now.

Anywho, most of the time I would have at least 12 grams of protein, a veggie, etc. Some examples here in the slideshow below are my avocado egg salad with the cucmber sandwiches (the smiley face one lol), avocado with tuna and grape tomatoes (and some salt, pepper, and lemon juice), v8 vegetable juice, and Herbalife’s delicious protein bars. I WOULD DIE WITHOUT THESE PROTEIN BARS!!! They are seriously like a candy bar. The Chocolate Peanut tastes like a Snickers. In one picture, you’ll see I had some Peach Tea with some lemon Niteworks. Niteworks has a lot of amazing detail behind it, which sometime I will share info on, but to briefly explain, it provides Nitric Oxide that is crucial to heart health. For any age. And, of course, I would again take the Snack Defense.

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I really liked getting creative with how I took my pics lol.

So next came dinner. Usually around 5 or 5:30. Soooooo many different things. The key here was getting in a good portion of lean protein, some colorful veggies, and a grain limited to quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain and Ezekiel bread. We also had a Bible study we went to once a week that we do a potluck for. One of the pictures represents the options I chose. Oh my gosh, so much good food at these Bible studies!! It was especially hard to say no to the desserts haha. But I did it.

These pictures in the slideshow below only represent some of my dinners, and I didn’t always remember to take pictures of some of my veggies haha. But a lot of these dinners had veggies mixed in them. I have captions with each photo describing them.

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I had many a yummy dinner despite my restrictions!

Something else I did on occasion was make Herbalife pancakes. With having the Orange Cream flavor, I did two scoops of that with one scoop vanilla PDM, an egg, and water to the desired consistency. The Orange Cream tasted good with some almonds and natural peanut butter on top. Oh and some honey. NOM.

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Is your mouth watering yet?

Ok, my workouts? Pretty simple. Pictured below is my gym. In my garage lol. So I alternated days working lower body and upper body with the stuff you see here, as well as some body weight exercises. I incorporated cardio in every day as well. Usually started and ended with it. I also would do my favorite DVD by Angie Gorr on occasion, too. I usually did something from it at least once a week. I share this with a lot of women because it is great for any woman at any stage. They have Angie plus three other ladies showing you the different levels you can do at your own pace. Plus, you can divide it up and do anywhere from just 5 minutes to the whole DVD. The weight exercises are awesome, too!

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Excuse the mess.

So here’s the big part. My results. The only picture I have unfortunately is just from after doing it for a week. Let’s face it, at the end of the challenge I started my period and felt too bloaty and gross to take a pic (ladies, you understand lol. And sorry, guys.) BUT after just one week, I was already toning up and feeling so much better!

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I know some might not really see much difference at all. But let me tell you, the difference was mostly inside. I was feeling more confident and even better than ever before.

In the end, I did end up losing those pounds I gained over the holidays. My cravings were mostly gone again. I didn’t feel a need to eat my feelings. I had gone a straight 21 days fighting MANY temptations of eating a piece of candy or eating the food my kids didn’t finish. I fought cakes, cookies, extra munchies, etc. Most of all, I fought my mind. And I won the battles.

Here is the biggest thing I learned through all of it. My whole concept on cheating has changed. I used to say, “Oh, I’m all about cheating on occasion!” While it’s still true that I believe that it is ok to cheat, my approach on this is different now. First, we do not need to go out of our way to cheat. I usually set a standard of cheating no more than once a week. You’ve done well all week, go ahead and have that slice of pizza (even though you might regret it lol). BUT this doesn’t mean that you think, “Oh, hey, I ate healthy all week. That means I can cheat today. Let’s order a pizza!!” If the opportunity to cheat brings itself to you, like you’re going out to eat, or you’re going to a party, whatever it may be, go for it! Cheat. However, this brings me to my next point.

Second, cheating does not mean we should overindulge ourselves. I learned this specifically after the challenge. That week that it ended was breakfast night at our Bible study. Breakfast food is my favorite and my weakness. I went CRAZY. I ate so much. It was all delicious! But the problem was that it was TOO much. I enjoyed it while I ate it. But I ended up feeling like crap into the next day, almost like I negated all the work I’d put into that challenge. I didn’t lol. But I felt like it, and I hated myself. That was where my big lesson was.

So to all my clients reading this, I’m sorry, but I’m no longer “all about” that cheat day lol. I am all about getting to the point wherecheating consists of just one piece of cake or one slice of pizza. Maybe 2.

Peeps, I have struggled with depression and anxiety all my life. And recently I was told I have a generalized mood disorder. For 21 days, I fought with my own mind and won. I won. I lost a battle I didn’t know I was fighting after and learned a huge lesson. The point is, if someone as “crazy” as me can do it, anyone can. YOU can survive without cheating at least for a while. I mean, I’m thinking about doing another challenge for even longer sometime. Crazy, huh? lol Anyways, we are always more capable of things than our head tells us. With God’s help especially. Never say “I don’t think I can.” The worst I will take is “Yeah I can totally do that, but just don’t want to right now.” lol I don’t want to hear I can’t. Because you can. If it’s worth enough to you for your own health and how you affect those around you and how the rest of your life plays out, you can do it. And you can find a way.

If you are interested in trying this challenge yourself, let me know. I don’t require a fee for it at this point as it is something brand new I came up with. However, I do want to add that I can help you the best if you are on a plan using the Herbalife products. Apart from the strength that God gave me through prayer, those products got me through and made it so much easier.

If you’re not ready for that, we have our next Facebook challenge starting May 2nd! You can at least commit to starting a healthier life with this 6 week challenge :). These challenges have been incredible! I’ve loved them simply for the resources and support they provide from coaches and participants alike. Get with me to get more info!

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So now my next goal? Personal development. Bettering myself so I might be a better coach, a better wife, a better mother, and just overall have a better life.

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As far as physical goals, I’m working hard to get rid of these love handles! My weight is great, and I feel healthy again. Getting some guns, too!! haha. But yeah. The love handles gotta go. They’re annoying me.

Now that I FINALLY have this blog post done (been working on it for a while), I’m also shooting to blog more regularly on my progress and life. Including videos. SHOOTING to lol. This is going to involve every aspect in my life as far as mental health, physical health, and even my music. Stay tuned, my loves! I see great things ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

I am who I am. That’s all I can be.

Let’s start fresh. I haven’t been very regular on here for a while, and things have changed a lot these past few months and then some. You can get to know me more as I get to know myself better day by day.

So let’s start with who I am and what I can tell you about myself.

I am a wife.

 I have been married to my husband for 8+ years, known him for 10 years. I was 20 when we got married. We’ve had plenty of days of stupidity, but we have also had plenty of days of harmony. We go through OH SO MANY ups and downs, but he remains my best friend. My life partner. Some days I want to punch him in the face. Other days I just don’t want to leave his side. All in all, my love remains strong for him.

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I am a mom.

Many would say I’ve only been a mom for 3 1/2 years, but that isn’t accurate. I’ve been a mom since the day I conceived my first baby spring of 2009. I had four babies born into heaven from 2009-2011. Finally, in May of 2012, I had a baby girl born into my arms. Almost exactly 2 years later, I had a baby boy born into my arms. Then, earlier in 2015, I had one more baby born into heaven. So when you think about it, all together I have 7 children (crazy thought haha), but I’ve only had the pleasure of actually raising 2. God decided to raise the other 5 for me <3, along with the help of my 2 grandmas I like to think. But there has been no greater experience than raising my girl and boy. They are my treasure, and I hope they grow up knowing that. They are two incredibly wonderful, unique, and goofy individuals.

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I am a MILITARY wife/mom. 

Bam. That makes me special, right? lol No. I’m no greater or more qualified in life than any other woman. We all have individual struggles that others may not understand. But let me tell you what some of those are when you are affiliated with the military, at least in my personal experience.

Finances are still a struggle for us, too. We are not rolling in dough. Far from it. Especially when you deal with a system that makes it hard to promote.

Babysitters? Pretty much non existent unless you are rolling in dough or live close to family by some miracle. I find myself most of the time exchange babysitting or paying a friend for the occasional date night or appointment.

Speaking of date nights- marriage. It’s probably made 10 times harder than it was before, and at the same time, about 10 times stronger. The deployments, the long hours, the weekend and 24 hour shifts…it’s hard to not have hubby/daddy/wifey/mommy around no matter how long of a time he/she’s gone. It can put a strain on things from stress and being overworked. At the same time, the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is so very true. Sadly, we don’t always know what we have until it’s gone. You learn to appreciate even just their presence.

Traveling, moving, seeing the world, blah blah blah- This can be a curse and a blessing. I HATE packing to move. I HATE having to meet new people and build new support and community. I HATE it. But at the same time, I love seeing the places we’ve seen. Experiencing the environments we’ve been in. And as far as meeting new people, I hate that I have to, but you really REALLY have to if you want to survive in the military world. I have met so many incredible people throughout our military life that I will NEVER forget. Sometimes we might lose touch because of moving, getting out, or just plain being busy, etc., but every single person has remained in my heart.

The kids? It’s hard to say with how young my kids are how they are affected. But when daddy has been gone, even at their age, there has been a difference in their behavior. I believe it’s because they sense everything we feel. So it is a struggle to keep a stable home when a parent is gone. When routines have to be rearranged.

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I am a Bible follower.

You can call me Christian, a believer, whatever. The point is, I follow Christ. I follow the Bible. It is the rock on which I stand. It is what defines all that I am describing to you about myself. It is the reason I live and the reason I AM alive. I would be literally nothing. Dust. Ashes. Nothing…without my faith. Jesus died for my sins that I might have a chance to spend life after death in heaven with him and our Father. He placed me here to share that with others so that they might know about the same chance.

No, I don’t go to church EVERY Sunday. I don’t stick to my devotions and prayer time like I should. Why? Because I’m human. I struggle. I sin. But I know that as long as I confess and hold tight to Him, He’ll keep welcoming me back into His arms when I fall. Over and over again.

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I am a musician. 

How many of you knew that one of my greatest passions is music? Most of all, singing and writing songs. I’ve been focusing on my singing since I was 11 years old. I even started as a voice major in college. Originally I wanted to be a famous pop star lol (what little girl doesn’t?). My dreams have changed over the years as God has made my calling more clear, but I do know that somehow the stage is still part of that calling. Whether it’s simply helping with praise and worship at a church or performing and entire concert of my own, my heart and my passion comes out when I am on stage. God speaks through me there.

I am a complete weirdo. 

And I’m proud of it. I have a wide ranged sense of humor. I have sarcasm, I’m beyond a goof, and I love making incredibly stupid faces. I’m really good at it. My laugh is obnoxious. Back in my school days and at past jobs, I was known for my laugh lol. My humor is part of what defines me as an individual. Some might see it as immature. Some might see it as complete psychotic behavior. But those who know me love me for it.

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I am a sufferer of chronic anxiety and depression.

Whoa, speaking of complete weirdo, right? Wrong. Oooooo, ouch. It is NOT uncommon. At all. Sadly, it’s more common than any of us realize. Mental health is no joke. Yet it is so misunderstood and looked down on, even by those who go through it. I have dealt with it my ENTIRE LIFE. It runs in my family. We’re a bunch of crazies (and you know you love us) ;). Seriously, though. It is nothing to mess around with or to ignore. It is not something that you just fluff off and not ask for help.

The anxiety? That’s the worst part for me. EVERYTHING POSSIBLE is an easy worry for me. What people think about me. What deadly illness I might have. The worst possible thing that could kill me 5 minutes from now. The worst possible thing that could happen to someone I love 2 seconds from now. What I’m going to wear to that event on Saturday (really is something I’m thinking about right now lol). Who I have to interact with in the next 24 hours. BLAH BLAH BLAH. You name it, I’ve probably freaked out and stressed about it. And if it gets bad enough, I get a random anxiety or panic attack where my heart races and it’s difficult to breathe. Fortunately I’ve dealt with attacks enough that I for the most part know the techniques to get them under control. But the thoughts are still there. My mind races with every possible thought every second of every day.

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The depression is a result of my anxiety. Hard to explain why. It’s a long story. But it’s real. The depression is something else. It can come out of nowhere even if I was feeling super happy earlier that day. Just suddenly BAM. The world is ending and should be ending. All you want to do is curl up in a ball in a dark corner where no one can see you and just cry away that pit in your stomach. What do you do instead, especially if you’re me? You feed your kids the milk and cereal they’re whining for. You wipe poopy butts. You go grocery shopping. You go to work. You clean the house. You put a happy face on because sulking around showing the world how you REALLY feel is just going to have an effect on the whole world. Sometimes, like I have in the past, we never let ourselves go. We bottle it up. Act like it’s all ok. Until we break down in front of everyone because it’s out of control. With true depression, sometimes that break down comes from nowhere. You’ll be going about your life chatting with the people you come across throughout the day when suddenly, you get in your car and lose it. Sometimes a social life can be exhausting for us.

On that note, I am an introverted extrovert.

 I am not a snob. But I’m also not really shy. I’ve realized that some might see me as hard to approach. Hard to read. I don’t really pay attention to what my facial expression might actually say haha (need to work on that). My whole life I have tended to be reserved and shy. This is in relation to low self esteem, which is in relation to my anxiety. Afraid I’m just going to look like I’m an idiot. At the same time, though, I’m not afraid to talk to complete strangers. I will randomly strike up a conversation with somebody I’m standing in line with at the grocery store. Sometimes they act kind of reserved themselves, so then I just back off lol. But let me tell you, don’t be afraid to approach me and talk to me unless you’re not ready to talk deep. You start talking to me, and I will chat away typically. Let’s talk about life and something inspirational and deep. I could talk forever with people. It’s small talk that I’m a little awkward with lol. And on the topic of social life being exhausting, I also have many times when I would rather not be around people. Just me and peace and quiet. Maybe a book, a movie, a computer to type on, etc.

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I am a health and fitness enthusiast. 

Say what? No way. I’m sure no one knew that (sarcasm, if you didn’t catch). This has been a more recently discovered PASSION. Interest? I’ve been highly interested in it for over 5 years. My passion for it came clear more recently. When my life was changed by it. I thought I was healthy before with the way I ate and how I kept a workout routine. I’d lost weight before. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. I was trying, I give myself that. But I was also lying.

When I had my miscarriage earlier this year, something snapped in me. I had been at a stand still weight after having my son for MONTHS. Then I got pregnant again. I was determined to take better care of myself than I had with other pregnancies. Then I lost the baby. I knew what I needed to do. I still needed to take better care of myself. I had made a mental decision to be myself again. I ended up getting better. I got a new me, the me that I was meant to be.

It started with getting reconnected with an old friend who had found out she miscarried the same day I found out I did. She eventually, with her husband, got me going on Herbalife. The shakes tasted so much better than any protein shake I’d ever had. But it was more than that. With their help, I developed a healthy lifestyle. They gave me guidance in what to eat and when to eat along with my Herbalife products. Almost right away, I started noticing a difference just in the way I felt. I had more energy. I felt happy. Feeling the way I did is what kept me going. I eventually got down a little past my goal weight, which was my pre-pregnancy weight. I felt better than I ever did in my life, even more than when I’d lost weight before. Because I was doing it in a healthy way.

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As a result, after trying out direct sales company after direct sales company, I found my fit (no pun intended). I’ve always wanted a way to help others who have felt the way I have. Nutrition and fitness had become my therapy and my God send. I wanted to encourage others into the same kind of life. To push others to extremes they never thought they could go. Because it IS possible when you put your mind to it. So yeah. That is why I now sell Herbalife.

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There’s more to it, though. This path with Herbalife has led me to realize I want a deep understanding of the way this works. So I’m now seriously pursuing becoming a certified personal trainer with a focus on fitness. Just trying to find the right “fit” as far as where I’m getting my education.

This has become another large part of my calling. As I’ve been helping others on this path, it has been so rewarding to me. It touches me just to hear that I have inspired others and that they can see how happy I am. Don’t care about how “good” I might look. I care that I shine a light.

All of this about who I am comes down to the reason I wrote this post. I still struggle. *GASP* Yep. It’s true. I’m not perfect, remember? This time of year is especially hard as we end daylight savings time. I get Seasonal Affective Disorder, also know as SAD. That it’s known as SAD is ironic because it basically is just that either you get depression if you didn’t have it already, or the depression you already deal with just gets multiplied by 10,000. I’ve usually been the latter. And this year, it’s threatening to hit me HARD. But I’m not letting it. I am a new person now. I’ve fought too FREAKING hard to get to where I am now.

So I’m here now to come back to sharing my struggles. My “puddle” of “pickles.” Which also end up leading to my victories. My triumphs.

So come. Join me in my journey :).

Learning to Grieve

This miscarriage has been so different from any that I’ve had before. So many complicated feelings and emotions this time. While a lot has been just a stab from the past, so much of it is new to me.

I had my d&c on Friday to remove the body of my tiny angel. I’d had one before. It was with my last miscarriage before my daughter. Four years ago. Everything went smooth. Staff was great. Had a good friend there when I woke up (hubby was watching the kids, one of which was sick). I got to relax and take it easy for most of the rest of the day.

For a few days, though, I was met with a returning feeling from the past. A lingering pit in my stomach. Almost as if it was the empty spot that Erel left in me. And I felt angry. Hurt. After a couple days, it was beginning to feel like I was being rushed into living my life. Like I was supposed to act like it never happened.

Finally, a few nights ago, I had the good cry I needed. I listened to my music. I’ve been listening to Christian music on Pandora as it has been my comfort. I suddenly started sobbing. Releasing it all. Inside, I could hear myself crying out “I want my baby back,” over and over again. When I finally stopped, I felt a strange sense of peace. I felt relaxed. I slept the night away. And, though my face felt very swollen the next morning, I felt different. Ready to make some changes.

Since then, I’ve been dealing with some complicated feelings. It’s been a week since I found out Erel died, and I already feel like God has been turning it into something good. Yet it bothers me. I feel a sense of guilt along with it.

There are so many positives. I have energy back. I feel a joy, a strange joy, that I haven’t felt in a long time because of dealing with my depression. Passion and desire have returned. Food also isn’t revolting anymore haha.

But the fact is, I wanted that baby. No, I WANT that baby. It’s been so much more different than before because this time I have children, and I know what it’s like that first moment that you meet them. I wanted one last chance at that moment. That beauty of a newborn life that you carried inside you. That God chose you to be a mother to. What a beautiful and honorable thing!

Instead, that chance is gone, most likely to never come again.

But it has opened my eyes. While I feel guilty saying it, I value the beautiful children I have even more. They truly are miracles and such an incredible blessing. I feel guilty because I didn’t appreciate them as much before. Oh I loved them to death for sure. But the realization that they are the age they are for only a short time hit me like a slap in the face after losing Erel.

It’s just been difficult to process. While I have a pain from losing the baby that will never completely go away, God is already turning it into a good thing. But so soon? It’s hard to even explain. To me, losing a baby in any means is NOT a good thing. It is not something that God caused to happen. He knew it would happen, but sin nature is what caused it. Some may not understand what I’m saying, but bear with me ;). The Bible says that God works things out for the good of those who love Him (for the life of me, I can’t remember where that is. So if you know, please share!). I’m just not used to noticing it so soon. Usually it takes time in my experience. I still hadn’t seen much good from my last miscarriages. But then, maybe this is it. This is the good from all of them combined.

As I said, it’s been very complicated for me. Almost like it’s a sin to feel the change I’ve felt.

But I know it’s not. You don’t feel peace in sin. I feel a peace about the changes I’m making, about returning to my life with a new attitude. This is just a grieving process, and I think I’m just finally getting through it in best way I ever have.

The pain is still there. The longing to hold my newborn child. The hurt of having that ripped away. And it will still take some healing. But at least I’m headed in the right direction. After almost 6 years since my first miscarriage, I’m finally learning to grieve with God by my side.

Initial Outfitters consultant- http://www.initialoutfitters.net/MandyLR

Pave Another Road

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This is my new inspiration. I’ve had a revelation that the way I’ve been going about some things just hasn’t been right. I’m not talking just about business either. All aspects of my life.

For example, I have let my last two years of high school define me. I’ve let the past dig away into me. But letting things that happened in high school reflect who I am? Really? I was dumb and learning in high school. We all were. Am I right?

So we’ve all heard it- just “let it go.”

In aspects of my business, I discovered yesterday that I had two people unlike my Facebook page. I took it so personally and almost cried. Kinda sad, really.

What I came to realize, though, is that it wasn’t so much a failure as an opportunity. An opportunity to learn. I need to research and figure out better methods.

This is where my picture above comes in. I need to pave another road to walk on. Put the past in the past and be who I am. Try new things and be confidant in what I’m doing.

God is on and by my side anyways. What have I got to lose?

So the first thing I’m going to try- work hard but not TOO hard. I overdo it sometimes. Time to slow it down a notch. Basically, stress needs to be out of the picture. I need to breathe.

Second thing- confidence. Not be afraid to be me. I don’t need a script or crutches to do what is in my heart. Just an outline and a hand to guide me.

Third thing- take every mistake, every failure, every hard climb as opportunity. Steps toward success. Keys to open the next door.

More strategies to come I’m sure as I pave a clear path!

Initial Outfitters consultant- http://www.initialoutfitters.net/MandyLR

A Discouraged Dreamer

I have always been a dreamer. Big on “following your dreams.” I still am. I believe everyone has a gift and passions and has them for a reason- to use them.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be times of discouragement. Times when it feels like those dreams are going down the drain.

Today I feel discouraged. It’s simply because I had a lead for someone signing up to join me on my business team, but they chose a different path. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad they went where they felt led. I don’t want anyone to join me for the wrong reasons, like out of guilt or impulsiveness. And I, of course, harbor no hard feelings toward them at all. But it’s still a disappointment.

I am the only consultant for this company within a few hours away. It’s kind of lonely. I’d love for someone to take this journey with me. I have a passion for Initial Outfitters and am not giving up on them. But it’s hard starting out. I don’t have a huge inventory or an extensive knowledge. That will come with time. I just don’t want to feel alone in my business.

The fact that there is passion, though, is what keeps me going. I love it. And I’m growing. And I’m working toward my bigger dream.

What is my bigger dream? I want to start my own business. Yes, I have one with direct sales. But I mean one big business. Direct sales would be included as well as my music ministry, my own jewelry, and whatever other services I can offer. It even includes this blog. It’s a major work in progress with a very long way to go, but I have hope and belief that this is where God wants me to go. So I keep going. Trial and error, I push through.

You can do anything you set your mind to. And the key to success is learning from our failures. The key to fighting discouragement is remembering that. This didn’t work, so try again or try something else. Think of Thomas Edison. He tried and tried and tried and tried again till he came up with the light bulb. Actually, I have a photo from Pinterest that lists several famous people who failed several times before their big success. It’s encouraging.
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Really says a lot, doesn’t it?

On the topic of my business, I am still working to get 100 Charlie’s Lunchboxes sold to support the cause and feed children all over the world who need it. One lunchbox feeds one child for a month! Imagine what at least 100 could do!
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(From the catalog)
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(From http://www.charlieslunch.com)

To shop, you can visit this link here- http://www.initialoutfitters.net/shop/catalog.aspx?eventId=E51593&from=DIRECTLINK.

100 percent of the profits goes to the Charlie’s Lunch ministry. It’s a great cause for a great purpose.

Initial Outfitters consultant- http://www.initialoutfitters.net/MandyLR