A few thoughts.
I love to talk. Being vulnerable helps me heal. Sharing is caring after all, right?
When she thinks of Colorado...
The Rockies have always had my heart...as a daddy's girl, it's the first "big thing" Dad and I shared. This year marks the second year without him, but the memories will last a life time. They are what I cling too now.
You see...I've spent 20 years running from my past...why you ask?!? That's a great question. I always wanted to show people (friends and mostly family) what I thought they would "like" or "approve"...but I never had anything in that category to offer, so I just hid all of it. I acted as if my childhood never happened. That my hurt wasn't real, and that everyone else deserved to go first, before me. I still do that, I love others so much that it hurts sometimes. I really wanted to protect the ones I love, the ones who never talked about the truth of what happened. Who never wanted to protect me. I've lived quite the lie actually.
My life isn't a pretty painting...truth is, I'm a mess, but it's my beautiful mess. I've moved more times than I can count, my Dad became an addict after being shot by my uncle and watching him struggle through life broke me, he maintained his free spirit and wasn't around much in my later years, my parents divorced when I was 11, and again at 22, I've been through several abusive relationships and a divorce myself, my family sweeps everything under the rug, and in my heart I've always felt inadequate, unlovable, and not good enough. My ONLY saving grace is the unconditional love of Jesus. Throughout the years I've stumbled, fallen, and failed BIG but I was never alone. I always had the forgiveness and true love of my God. He's the only one who knows the whole story...and loves me anyway.
I don't mean to get so deep here, but it's time. It's time I face the music. I'm not telling the whole story because it's not worth it. I'm simply sharing that we all struggle. Daily. Social media is a highlight reel y'all. Don't get caught up in that trap. It's taken 31 years, but I'm not hiding anymore. Hiding now means I lose my Dad for good, and I just won't do that. I'm proud of my messy past...every single bit of it.
Visiting CO always recharges my batteries and this time, I head back to Beantown better. I hold my head high. FoCo validates that everything wasn't always bad...that life has a funny way of working itself out. I have a chance to cover it all up and I choose to be brave instead. To let my light shine through the disaster.
My soul lives in the Mountains...it's where it all began. I find it to be no accident that the love of my life takes me back there several times a year.
Fort Collins, this is where all my dreams come from. Mine and my Dads. This is the house that built me and tore me to pieces. It's when I learned to be independent, to love hard, and to never let anyone disrespect me or my family. Those lessons came in unconventional ways at times, but I carry them with me always. My Dad lost his legs during the years we lived here. Yep. He never walked again. My uncle (mom's brother) shot him during a quick visit to TN and my life was never the same. In fact I was robbed of my childhood...for those of you who know the story, I was never ok...we never recovered. BUT I'm thankful again to God who has a much bigger plan. However, no one ever talks about it, but it happened. We lost him after that, not on earth, but he was gone. He was never the same, actually none of us were. We all tried to move on, but there's a part of us that still lives in that house. It actually took 26 years after the shooting before his body left the Earth, but the journey that we took felt like a billion years. I miss him everyday and I will always regret not giving him more grace. I commit to living out his dreams of travel and loving others. I have his heart, his charm, and his smile. I will never take that for granted or act as if I'm anything but my fathers daughter.
I am no longer a victim. I refuse to go down like that. In fact, I'm moving forward as an advocate to children who are where I've been. I want to help open the hearts and minds of kids that need to know how special they are. I'm a believer that we are given tools in life, sometimes those tools are old and tattered and anything but new, but we are meant to use them. So go do that. Ok.
My point of writing this is to remember the good times but reflect on the truth. Visiting that house reminded me of catching crayfish at the reservoir, learning to ride a bike, snow angels and shoveling the drive, protecting my brother, first friends, skates in the basement, Elway, Estes Park, and beyond. My childhood was taken early. At 5yo my life was turned upside down, fair...nope, but absolute truth. I became a survivor. Every move I make was shaped back then. My heart had a choice and I chose love.
Listen, I know people are sorry and wish things would be different, but I don't. I wouldn't be me without all of it. I forgive. Even the broken pieces. The ones I hid really deep. I am who I am because of each moment. Y'all, I love hard, in spite of our struggles, my heart is a gift from God and I do my best to just share it...I smile often, hug big, and live each day as if it's my last. I know what grief looks like on a personal level...I believe it's why I was so good at Nursing. It's because I listen and I feel with others. I hurt with them and believe in them. It's a very vulnerable thing to do, but it's who I am. I'm proud to be me. There's only one me.
My incredible husband encourages me to embrace who I am, it's what he loves about me. If it weren't for every moment in my past, I may never have met him...and that would be pure tragedy. So, believe in the journey, it's made special just for you.
I had many choices in this journey...I could have went dark many times, but I didn't. Sure I mess up, but I cling tight to the promises of Jesus and I move forward. My purpose is clear. I love others, like really love them. Enough to stop and hug a stranger, feed the hungry, listen to a homeless person tell me their hopes and dreams, give abundantly when I don't have it; to fly across the world to love on orphan babies, and to be an advocate for peace. That's me. And although I struggle...I trust in the journey. It's mine.
You have an important gift. So...Don't be selfish. We've all been through hell, so my challenge for you is to improve your surroundings. Your family. Your world. We can't change the world with one, but together we can change the perspective which will lead to the change we are yearning for. Be kind, love more, and know that I'm your biggest fan. Seriously.
**To my baby brother...you are the light that's shined brightly in the darkest times, you are my blood, and my heart. My first friend and my Mookie. Thank you for always sticking by me, even when I wasn't so lovable. I am so very proud to be your big sister. We share an unbreakable bond. I'm forever grateful for that.
Coconut, Kale, Curry Soup..Oh My!
Afternoon y'all!!! I've got an awesome recipe to share with you today!! Let me explain a bit how I stumbled across this and then I'll provide the ingredients.
Listen, I like to switch things up and when I started eating healthier...honestly many more vegetarian and vegan options start popping up. Of course like many I usually politely ignore the options. I mean how can anything full of veggies taste good right!?! Of course I enjoy meat, but am always game to try anything new. AND...Well, today I stand unbelievably humbly corrected about Curry and vegan dishes.
This started when I visited Ethiopia doing mission work a few months bank, and I was introduced to a spice that has always been absent from my cabinet, Curry. There are many reasons for that, but mainly just pure ignorance. Over there it was properly prepared in my favorite dish called Injera. If you ever get the chance to try it fresh in country, DO IT!! You'll thank me later.
Anyhow, after this experience I decided to buy some Curry. So there it sat in my cabinet, not one dish closer to getting on my table. However I stumbled across it today.
Trouble was we are headed to CO for Christmas next week, and I hate wasting things...so I decided I'd "try" a curry recipe In attempts to empty my fridge of things that could go bad, and add some curry to it lol. What I came up with blew my mind and I encourage you to try it soon...or at least sometime this winter.
1 bag of cleaned stemmed organic kale
I head of cauliflower (chopped, can use frozen)
1 sweet potatoe
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 can of canalini beans (white beans)
2 boxes of veggie stock
1 cup coconut milk
Spices; Salt & Pepper, 2 tbsp Curry, 1 tbsp White pepper, 1 tbsp onion powder, 2 cloves garlic, 1 bay leaf, 2 tbsp Cocnut oil.
-In a large soup pot start with Coconut oil over medium low heat.
-Add sweet potatoe and cook until soft.
-THEN, Add all spices and garlic with coconut milk, simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
-Add can of tomatoes and combine, let cook for 2-3 minutes.
-Add half the bag of kale (I reserved the other half and made yummy kale chips) and cover for 5-7 minutes
-Add cauliflower, box and a half of veggie stock and beans...stir and combine. (Taste test here and adjust as needed, mind need a pinch more salt)
-Pop in the bay leaf and bring to a boil, once boiling for 1-2 minutes, cover and lower to a simmer for 25-30 minutes.
-Remove bay leaf and serve!
I honestly never thought this would be tasty but it's going to be a curry staple in this house for sure!!!
Leave any questions or comments below! Enjoy y'all!!
December girls trip to NYC...
Christmas time in NYC is simply magical. This weekend my sweet friend and I celebrated our December birthdays in true New York fashion!! I feel blessed to live in New England, and I am simply to close to so much that I refuse not to take it all in. In fact this weekend I found myself a bit emotional...maybe it's all the twinkle and nostalgia...but I surely will hold these memories forever in my heart.
The trip started with a romantic old station train ride from New Haven, CT into the city. This was my first Amtrak experience and what a fun little journey it was! It was nice to sit back...what the scenery, and take it all in.
After arriving we enjoyed great sushi, sake, and new friends!! The lights of Times Square will NEVER get old. After dinner we stopped by O'Briens pub...I love the atmosphere there and we happened to be there just in time to listen to REAL live Irish music. We of course became besties with the musicians, so be on the look out for dates of when you can join me to see them again!!
We capped the night with an obligatory NYC hot dog, which was delicious and I enjoyed each bite with NO REGRETS lol!
We laughed, ate, drank, and made new friends!! Honestly, it was a much needed get away. Absolute shenanigans as always with my best girl!! We checked off the MUSTs, including Santa Con and although there were a couple hiccups (lol) we made it out safely and fabulously. I never had any doubt.
also...we totally planned our next trip and BIRTHDAY PARTY...in this cozy little nook over mimosas! Simply amazing at a new fav spot Tavern 29. If you head to the city you are going to want to make brunch reservations here!!!
Oh...and I finally got to check out the "first date" spot on You've Got Mail...seriously one of my FAV movies of all time. Totally cool! Until next time y'all...thank you for follow the adventures of ME!
Cheers to my first year down in my 30s. Truth is a year ago we were considering moving from our New England community...we wanted to "fit". We wanted a home and this just didn't feel quite right.
They say your breakthrough usually comes right after you give up, and boy am I glad we didn't. We regrouped, reached out, and found our place for now. Today, I am so thankful for the beautiful friends we have who support, love, and hang with us. I'm grateful we moved forward.
We all have seasons of doubt. Each of us. No matter how deeply rooted you think you are, nothing is promised, nothing stays the same. Change is inevitable. Change isn't so bad you know. It's an opportunity to sink or swim. We choose to swim and yesterday I celebrated my special day with the best of the best here in MA and it continues on with the support from each place I've left my mark. I have true relationships from New Zealand all the way to Ethiopia...how did that happen??? Not by living small y'all!!
I remember 21 being SO exciting yet super scary. 31 is exactly the opposite! I've grown, loved myself more, and have the humility to admit this is the cycle of a well lived life.
Today my wish for you is to know these three ideas:
Identity- the things about you that will never change
Calling- how you plan to leave your mark on the world
Assignment- what you've chosen in individual seasons to do that supports your calling
I challenge you to decide what these mean to you. As I stepped into 31 I realized that these are EACH separate. They all have very different purposes. I mistakenly combined my identity and calling. Different. Now I'm seeing more clearly and I offer this challenge to you only to help you decide what's next in your journey.
I'm enjoying my 30's and plan to continue, wink emoticon.
I commit to enjoying the journey. What about you!?
Think about it? It's ok to NOT do what everyone else is doing...to NOT do what everyone expects of you. You hold the keys, so what's your next step?
The Virgin Diet: Final Days
Hey y'all!!! Closing in on the home stretch!!! I feel so much better and overall I've learned I can live without several things in my diet.
I did restart a few foods after my Thanksgiving fail...so I'll still continue this journey and will give a full update after 12/21/15. Until then I plan to breeze through these last few days like a champ! Plus I've added heavy activity in at the gym and I'm loving all this new energy. I'm only doing 3 days a week now. I've found that if I go hard with to much at once...ill burn out. So in preparation of NOT doing that, I'm keeping it real and not doing to much at once.
I plan to continue a modified version of this diet moving forward. I've found through cheating lol...that dairy, sugar, and gluten give me issues. So less of those will be in my home and belly. I mean let's be honest, I'll have to live a little so saying NEVER just WON'T work. But moderation and responsibility will.
Food tip: Keep ingredients on hand to make your own salad dressings. I've learned even the best of the best contain more than we think about or realize. My fav is made with Red Wine Vinegar, lemon juice, organic Dijon mustard, and olive oil!!! Yummo!!! By keeping these ingredients handy, it will make it much easier to get through so many salads without temptation.
ALSO, While mingling at holiday parties be very mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to eat it. Hot tea has really helped me kick cravings as well.
I will absolutely be sticking with the Vega shakes. I've learned that I simply don't get hungry for three means a day. These shakes are delicious and keep me full. They are simple to make and perfect for a busy unpredictable schedule and lifestyle!
For all who've walked this journey with me, thank you. Doing this blog kept me accountable and that was what I truly needed. I wish you well on your journey...for now signing off. Stay tuned for more tips, recipes, and fun in my lifestyle blog!
The Virgin Diet: Day 16-17
Virgin Diet Check in!!
I've been staying totally on track, except I accidentally ate Organic Peanut Butter in stead of my Almond butter with my apple!!! I was so confused when it tasted "so much" like peanut butter lol...because that is what it was!! So I technically have to restart 21 days on peanuts. I don't eat them much anyway so that won't be tough. Otherwise, I've kept it clean and Virgin over here. Down 15 lbs and totally feeling slimmer, even if I don't look it, I feel it. That's what matters anyway right!?!
Food tip: sub in spaghetti squash for pasta!! It's not exactly the same but still delicious and no bloated super full feeling after. I also eat it as a side too. Find what works for you and go for it, and don't knock it until you try it!
Also, stay hydrated y'all!!!! Find a cup you can measure the ounces and do it. I swear I know I need water when I start craving something out of the blue and I drink 8ozs and hunger BEGONE!
Meals for Wednesday:
Breakfast- Vega shake
Lunch- Vega shake
Snack- Virgin diet turkey roll up
Dinner- Spagetti squash with homemade organic red sauce and mushrooms.
Meals for Thursday:
Breakfast- Apple with peanut butter and almond butter
Lunch- Vega shake
Snack- kale salad with Curtin diet dressing
Dinner- Mexican chicken taco bowls with black beans and cabbage.
Don't worry about people judging you. I promise they will do it anyway. Listen...Life isn't easy. Life isn't always happy either. There are times where you question what you are even doing. I know I did. The day in and day out of it all. A year and a half ago I took a chance on something because I knew that if I kept doing my same old routine I wasn't going to get ahead. I made a realization that it was all up to me...because if I stayed feeling stuck, stressed, and unhappy I would have no one to blame but myself.
I heard the whispers, I saw the raised eye brows, I felt your doubt in me. It hurt at first because I didn't understand it. But now I am thankful - for ALL of it. Whether you are someone who gave me a high 5 or if you're the "friend" who still hasn't congratulated me on my success.. I truly wouldn't be where I am today without each and every one of you. You pushed me to realize that I AM THE ONE who controls my destiny. That only I can make the change. So I did.
I'm now able to work in a profession I love when and if I choose. This has allowed me to offer the absolute best version of myself to my family, patients and my co-workers, all while chasing all of my dreams. I now have more time freedom than ever before. I'm now able to dream of a day that our future baby won't have to be raised by two parents juggling their 13hr shifts. My family's future is brighter than I ever could have imagined. All because I took a chance on me.
Have the courage to ask yourself the hard questions. Face them. Its empowering.
The Truth about 2...
In 5 days I will be turning 31 years young. In my 31 years I sure have messed up a lot and failed even more. BUT I've done a few things right and the last 2 years my life have become a constant journey of growth, love, and giving back. Me doing me and learning to love me.
For a moment...Let's reflect a little bit on the number 2, of its significance in my life...
Anyone who knows me knows this. I love people, I love helping, and I don't like to fail. The struggle is very real and I'm so hard on myself. I'm working on that, I want to let go a bit more. Sharing this is a big step.
Some of you may not know, but 9 years ago on this day I had a big wedding, married the wrong boy, and spent many years after hiding behind a lot...trying to overcome that short coming. I didn't know how to forgive myself. I didn't know how to fail like that. We divorced very shortly after that "wedding day" for ugly reasons that I won't share, but it broke me. At 21 I was totally rebellous and made a poor decision, based more on my internal pain, than on rational facts or reasoning. You see I have always been driven by my heart. I go fast and hard, but if I see an opportunity to run...I take it!! Hands down. Well, my younger self did. I used to hate her for that, for being so naive and selfish. She doesn't deserve that though. She deserved self love that I didn't give her AND I commit to no longer shaming her. I'm thankful she shaped me. That she is me. I had labeled myself a statistic and until the last 3 years never truly let it go. Like all of it. So now I'll share some of the story after I began loving her and grace showed up. After I started the journey of dealing with my shame and being more vulnerable...
After living in shame and grief (no matter what I tried or pretended) for many years; let's fast forward way ahead to my 2nd chance. 2 years ago this month the man I had prayed for EVERY year after that terrible divorce finally (I allowed him) to change my life. He's the light of my heart and I don't run anymore. I face life head on and it's really really hard sometimes, but truthfully it was actually harder to run. I've ruined some great things running...but it's all lead me to this place.
Y'all when I say he changed my life I mean that wholeheartedly. And best part is...all he had to do was believe in me. He saw the real me. Not the one that I was "ok" with others seeing, but he saw me. He calls me on my BS and I adore him for that. He actually calls me his angel...I see it quite different, but there's no doubt that I am striving to become to best version of myself everyday, for me and him. I finally believe in me. Funny thing about hiding from something is, it NEVER goes away. Problems don't age well if you didn't already know that, too.
I'm telling you all this to tell everyone YOU aren't alone. Trust I have bigger skeletons than this. We all do. It's about how we pick ourselves up and move forward with Faith. You were placed here for a beautiful reason and ONLY YOU can tell your story. So please don't be selfish and share your gifts!!! Don't know what they are!? Dig deeper, I bet you just might find them.
2 years ago we saw NYC at Christmas for the first time. 2 years ago I said YES to the man of my dreams. 2 years ago we spent our first holiday without his Dad. This is now my second holiday season without my dad. 2 years ago we moved to New England, Our 2 year old Teddy is spending his 2nd holiday with us, and 2 years ago I dropped my guard...I decided I wanted a change and I was going to embrace every moment. My 2nd chance.
We are 2 people with nothing but big plans to change the world. No different than anyone else.
Most importantly it took me until my 2nd chance to get it right....this is my journey and I hope sharing a bit helps give you hope. I'm not always going to get it right, but I know God keeps me here each day for a reason and I aim to make him proud! Each day I wake up is a gift!
Now 2 years later it's the 2nd of December again and I am rewriting what this day has meant for almost a decade. Stay tuned for those details but for now...Go be you. Only you can do that!!! Much love!!!
The Virgin Diet: Day 14-15
I had a CRAZY, CRAZY exciting month end in my skincare business yesterday, so I missed a post!! Today I'm combining the two instead. Plus I got new glassss today, so I'm feeling refreshed in more ways than just diet!
I'm back on track y'all!! I have reset the entire 21 days and I'm amping up my exercise and gym time!! Yesterday I had a GREAT 3 mile sweat to some awesome RAP music, followed by an awesome Pod Cast and it felt good!!! Sweating is a MUST, for mind body and soul! And so is personal development! Find something you love and do it. I go back and forth between cardio and weights at the gym, and hot yoga. Trust me, I wasn't a huge fan of trying "yoga" either. Hell, I can barely sit still to eat dinner...let alone trying to meditate...BUT I assure you it's worth a try!! Shout out if you do!
Getting back on track wasn't as difficult as I thought. I actually like feeling better and sleeping less, who knew.
I sent the leftovers away with my hubby to work, to keep from temptation! It's true what they say, out of sight, out of mind. I've been keeping up with my water too, I'm actually craving water these days!!
Food tip: Keep the crap out of the house. Sounds easy right?!? Sometimes we don't know that CRAP is found in foods we think aren't bad!!! Soy is one specific. It's just not good unless organic in very minimal amounts. You will be way less tempted if it's just not around. Of course after a bad day sometimes we just want something to make us feel better, comfort food...I agree, but drink hot green tea instead. Your body will thank you while you heal your gut. And I'm not saying you won't ever have these foods again, but it's worth leaving them out. SIDE NOTE, My weight loss has stalled, which is interesting. I'm still scratching my head on that, but staying positive. 13lbs isn't bad right?! Conclusion, just say NO to crap.
Meals for Monday:
Breakfast- Vega Shake
Lunch- Vega shake
Dinner- Wild caught fish with kale salad and virgin diet dressing.
Meals for Tuesday:
Breakfast- Vega shake
Lunch- Vega shake
Snack- Apple with Almond butter
Dinner- Organic chicken and homemade butternut squash and sweet potato soup.
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