Friday, May 30, 2014

Food Friday - Spicy "Ahi" Tofu


Happy Food Friday, All!

I have an amazing recipe for you all and it's Spicy "Ahi" Tofu Poke. For those of you that know what poke is (pronounced poh-keh), it's raw tuna that is diced into cubes. However, fish is expensive and if you're vegan, it's out of the question.

Now, I'm no vegan, however I love a good vegan dish. In fact, I believe that the best diets are plant-based. It's just all around healthier for you. Anyway, that's beside the point.

Those that have shopped and ate at Down to Earth (a vegan grocery/eatery on Oahu) may recognize this from their menu. And if you're a spicy ahi lover, this dish is for you! It goes perfectly with a hot bowl of brown rice or cooked quinoa. However you decide to eat it, try it out and let me know how you liked it!

With all that being said, here's the recipe that can originally be found on Down to Earth's website (click here to go to the site):

Ingredients:

1 (10 oz.) package extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry
3/4 C. Vegenaise
3-4 T. chili sauce (I use Sriracha)
1 t. sesame oil
1/4 t. tamari
Squeeze of lime
2 T. sesame seeds
1/2 t. gomasio

Directions:

1. Cut tofu into bite-sized cubes. Set aside.
2. Mix all wet ingredients together.
3. Add the tofu.
4. Sprinkle sesame and gomasio on top.
5. Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Once again, if you try it out, please let me know! And if you did anything different, share!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!I(a;l

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

10 Things to Do Instead of Social Media

Image courtesy of patrisyu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how the devil is in the details (here's the link if you're interested) and how most of us are spending too much time staying "connected" through social media and too little time actually connecting with real people. Because of this, the devil has a more optimum playing field when it comes to interfering with what really matters in life like personal growth, family and friends, and the ability to be of help to someone else.

I have been slowly weaning myself from social media and constant updates (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for about 3 weeks now and I am starting to feel the difference. I feel more alive and more in tune with the world around me than I ever have since owning a Smartphone. I find that I have way more time than I previously thought! I am spending more time with my husband and I'm even actually watching TV rather than multi-tasking. My fitness and health routines no longer consist of my daily IG collages, hashtags, and uploads, but are truly to better myself rather than a means to prove myself to the world.

I was in such great spirits that I wondered why I never tried it before. In fact, it got me thinking about what life used to be like before all of this social media/Smartphone craziness started happening. What in the world were we doing back then?!

In case any of you were wondering the same thing, I made a list of 10 things that we were doing before social media came around. Heck, if you start today, you can still do all of these things!

Alas, my list of 10 Things To Do Instead of Social Media:


1. Go Outside - As simple as this sounds, I'll bet most of you are past the "playground" years, thus resulting in your lack of anything truly outdoorsy. Well, that is, unless your Smartphone can come with you. Surely, nothing is ever that interesting if you haven't uploaded a picture of it to Instagram! Yeah...you know it's true. Let me just make a suggestion; leave the phone at home or at least in the car or in a bag. Just do yourself a favor and not upload any pictures of what you're doing right now. Just think, who cares? Trust me, life is better lived off the phone and out in the open.


2. Pay Attention to People - We all know how to do this. So why aren't we? Who wants to talk to a person staring at their phone all day? I know I never liked the gesture. Why not log off for a few hours and spend time with the people around you. Give them your undivided attention. Look into their eyes. Listen to the words. Cherish every moment. In reality, you can always replace your phone when it's lost, however it is impossible to do with actual people.

3. Talk to Strangers - OK so this is totally going against everything that we're taught in elementary school. But honestly, how many of us even say Hi to people passing by? We don't smile, we don't wave...it's almost like we're all invisible. To some people, a smile from someone or a small word of kindness is all it takes for them to keep hope alive. You never know whose life you're impacting when you actually give someone the time of day.




4. Work on Your Problems - We've all seen them; rants all over Facebook about how So-and-So did you wrong or how What's-Her-Face better quit talking before she gets her hair pulled and how you're so fed up with Mr. Wrong even though he made you believe he was Mr. Right. All of these petty arguments are just cries for help. Instead of writing out your problems for the world to see and updating every Tom, Dick, and Harry about how sucky your life is right now, why don't you shut the media down and actually work on those issues driving you insane? Take a leap of faith; a step of bravery; another shot at love; whatever it is that you need to do to actually fix the problem! No one on Facebook is going to do that for you.

5. Read a Book - Books just seem like ancient history nowadays, but they were the foundations of nations for years before they became paperweights. When was the last time you read a book? A good one? How about a trip to the library while they still exist? Open a book and expand your horizons. You never know where it will lead you...






6. Watch TV - This almost sounds counterproductive, but I've noticed that actually watching TV is starting to dwindle away as well. How often are you "watching TV" when all of a sudden you're tweeting about it simultaneously? Once again, Who Cares?! Just enjoy the show!







7. Take a Bath - Ahhh, bubble baths and candlelight. No, it's not the setting of a romantic Instagram picture. It's all about you. Just hop on in, turn on some tunes, and relax...without your phone.














8. Call a Friend - Yet another thing we don't often do. I remember the days I used to call my friends on the cordless phone and talk for, literally, hours! Now the most I do with them is send them a text or tag them in a picture. How lame is that? Try calling up a good friend or family member and talk for a little bit. You'll be surprised at how foreign calling someone on the PHONE is. Who does that anymore???




9. Write a Letter - You may not have the gall to call someone just yet, so maybe we'll start with writing a letter. Perhaps you could even mention that you'll be calling them on the phone soon...or whatever. It is truly something special when you receive something in the mail. Think back to all the times you got a letter or a card in the mail from someone you loved and adored? Try it out!





10. Get Creative - Back then, no one had to tell us to get creative. Our young minds were wandering constantly, thinking of ways to keep us busy. We were no strangers to entertaining ourselves. Write a book, paint a picture, sing a song, have a water-gun fight, play charades, play tennis, go for a run, go for a swim, learn something new, meet someone new, go on a trip, call your grandma, hang out with your dad, go fishing...DO SOMETHING. Whatever it is, just don't bring your phone.









I hope this encouraged you somehow. It's never too late to start living life. If you're reading this right now, you can log off, shut down, and get started!

Well, what are you waiting for? GO FOR IT!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friends Forever


When Karleen and I met, it was during a major turning point for the both of us.

I was going to a women's Bible study on the book of Ruth when Karleen and her husband, Josh, started getting marriage counseling at the church we attended. Their counselor recommended our study group to Karleen as well as a men's accountability group for Josh which happened to be the same class my husband was going to.

The night she and I met, I almost didn't go to group. I didn't have a ride due to the fact that Tim and I were still sharing one car. After texting our group leader that I wasn't going to make it, our leader texted me back saying that the "new" girl could pick me up and we could go together.

As much as I liked going to my study group, I wasn't really comfortable with the idea of being in a stranger's car with someone I had never even met before. Still, because I didn't want to flake, I agreed to it.

As I waited around outside for this new girl, I grew nervous, as is normal for me when meeting new girls. I thought about what she looked like, where she was from, what I would look like to her, what she would think of me, and on and on and on my brain went until finally she pulled into our drive-way.

I took one glance at her little, blue CRV and thought, Well, here goes nothing.

I hopped into the passenger seat of her car and smiled as happily as I could, hoping my anxiety wasn't easily seen. Then I surveyed the driver.

Looking at Karleen, listening to her talk, and seeing the way she drove, I could tell that she was a woman of confidence. Right off the bat, I was almost sure that we weren't going to be friends for long. The girl I was only 2 years ago couldn't handle being around women who were so sure of themselves because, to be quite honest, I wasn't.

The thoughts racing through my head then were, Do I measure up? Am I interesting? Does she like me? Do I sound stupid? I am stupid. I can't wait to get out of here.

Our study group, 2012 . (Left to right) Me, Haley (group leader), Kaitlyn, and Karleen.
Finally, we arrived at group. That was when I learned of Karleen's marital struggles and that's when I shared a bit of mine. I started to feel a little less apprehensive and a little less challenged by her. Well, that is, until she invited me to Betrayal and Beyond, a married women's support group for women struggling with their husband's addictive lifestyle.

A little background on who I was then: I was a yes girl who always thought others knew better than I did. I felt my opinions held no weight and whatever someone recommended I do is exactly what I would do. However, like most of us know, the more you say yes to everything, the more nothing really gets done. I rarely thought things through and only allowed either my fear or my emotions make my decisions for me. After saying yes to so many things, it was only natural that I flaked on them as well.

And that's what I was about to do with this group that Karleen recommended for me. After saying that I would go, I went home and regretted that I did. Then I felt God urging me to talk to her about my decision to refrain from going - face to face.

Back then, I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that. A simple text-message or "no show" would have sufficed for me. But God knew I needed to change and so did I.

Later on that week, I texted Karleen and said that Betrayal and Beyond wasn't for me and that I wanted to talk to her about it in person. So we met up at the mall and I explained my decision over ice cream. Thankfully, she was respectful of my honesty and that was that.

We then moved onto our husbands. She and I dove deeper into the subject and we decided maybe it would be nice to hang out one night. They were new to the islands (moved here with the military) and hadn't really made any friends yet. So we set a double date to go bowling.

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

It was the first time the 4 of us ever hung out together and it definitely wasn't the last. Our husbands became best friends that night. It was almost like watching two children play together at the playground. It touched our hearts and because of that, the relationship between Karleen and me grew as well.

Our husbands, always goofing around.
Over the course of the next couple of years, Josh and Karleen were our go-to friends. We did almost everything together - hiking, beach, restaurants, holidays, potlucks, church, Bible study - everything! Almost every weekend consisted of seeing them. We grew close as friends, but even closer as family.

Josh and Tim became brothers through this friendship. They shared dreams, secrets, encouragement, accountability, and gleaned off of each other's strengths. The bond they created between each other is more than I believe either of them has had with any other friend before.

And as for me and Karleen, I never would have ever imagined being friends with someone like her. As I had aforementioned, I was a yes girl, insecure about my being and about where I stood in the "girl world." I had very few girl friends and honestly, I expected every girl that has ever walked into my life to walk right back out of it, as have most. I didn't think girls really liked me, so therefore I didn't really like girls in return. I was scared of them, intimidated by them, and plain just didn't understand them.

Being friends with Karleen definitely had its challenges. There were times I just assumed she was going to use me and cut me loose like a lot of other girl "friends" I had in the past. Yet, she stuck around. I was so uncertain of this kind of relationship that I almost wished her gone for fear of getting hurt again.

I guess she was able to sense it.

One night, this past January, just shortly after the New Year, she and I had a heated discussion. She could sense that I was isolating myself slowly and wanted the truth about where I thought our relationship was going. To be honest, I wasn't sure myself. I had always thought she didn't really like me.

But then it hit me. Maybe the problem wasn't that girls didn't like me. Maybe it was me that didn't like me. I had allowed girls in my past to use and abuse me and assumed that all my friendships with girls would be the same. And they were! But as the saying goes, "What you allow is what will continue."

I was allowing girls to walk in and out of my life like a revolving door. I would give them what they wanted, but never really gave them what they needed in a friend, which was to be present. I was a person with wants, needs, dreams, and desires, but I had never really shared those parts of me with anyone, thus allowing for them to find it in someone else.

Thankfully, Karleen was the only one who stuck around to give me the chance to realize that. I am saddened that I have only learned this now.

Since then, the relationship between me and Karleen has strengthened and I am more myself with her than I have ever been in our friendship. Our friendship is truly an example of God's divine appointing and anointing.

Josh and Karleen have been such a blessing to our lives. They have enriched our marriage in more ways than one. We have seen each other grow individually and as married couples. Never have we ever met another couple who shared the same heart for a Christ centered marriage that we did; whose hearts wanted to break the curse of sin upon our families; who wanted to make a change for future generations.

We have seen the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, the beauty and the heartbreak of every aspect of our married lives.Tim and I are truly saddened that our days with them have finally come to an end as they are moving to Arizona today. Although they will be missed, they will always be in our hearts as we have vowed to stay friends forever.

Hallapalooza 2013
Friends are friends forever
if the Lord's the lord of them
And a friend will not say, "Never"
'cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go,
In the Father's hands we know
that a lifetime's not too long
to live as friends.

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sistah Girl's Sweet 16!



It was May 21, 1998.

I had spent the entire day and my entire life waiting for her. My baby sister was finally here!

When I was about 7 years old, my mom and dad told me that they were expecting a baby. Since their announcement, I had hoped and prayed for a baby sister. Nine months and nothing short of a miracle later, my baby brother, Ian, was born. He wasn't a sister, but he was still just as good.

After three years had gone by, I assumed it would be just me and Ian for the rest of forever. He was my little buddy and since he wasn't a girl, I thought it just as well to pretend he was one every once in a while. Thus, my old dresses and mom's make-up and heels came into play on days when I thought having a sister would be fun.

One day, a surprise announcement came in. Mom was pregnant...again! And this time, it was a girl and she would be named Hannah.

Several months later, she finally arrived and we couldn't have been happier. She was a beautiful baby girl and the biggest out of us three, weighing in around 9 pounds! How my poor mom carried her is beyond me.
Bed Buddies

As I watched Hannah sleeping in her crib, I began imagining what it would be like finally having another girl in the family; Dress-up, tea parties, singing and dancing...it was going to be amazing.

Well, once Hannah got used to things outside the womb, things were definitely amazing. Take for instance, her banshee scream when she was tired, hungry, or unable to get her way. How a child of such a small size could create such a loud, obnoxious ruckus without stopping to breathe was nothing short of amazing. Her long, intense screech was enough to make our dad stop the car one night on a drive home, turn around, and shout one powerful word - "Stop!" Of course, no one argues with Dad, so sure enough she stopped. But only for that night...

And her amazing ability to pass gas constantly without shame, fear, or regret. One whiff of Hannah's silent, but deadly (sometimes loud and deadly), ahem, flatulence for lack of appropriate words, and we would run far, far away.

Or her amazing persistence to get her way. No matter how many times any of us have ever said no to this girl, she just wouldn't stop asking...ever.
"Please?"
"No."
"Please?"
"No."
"PLEASE???"
"NO!"
"PLEEEEAAAASSSE???"
"Ugh...fine."
(No kidding, this was an actual conversation.)

She always had an amazing ability to get her way. Like the time she got Dad to quit smoking, and with her big, puppy dog eyes she got him to bring home a baby kitten that would later become my cat, Shadow. Or the way she would slyly get Dad to melt and baby her even when she was being naughty.

Goofy Little Girl
How about Hannah's amazing ability to consume fruit in the same manner as an actual fruit bat? If ever we brought home a container of strawberries, watermelon, honeydew, or grapes for later consumption, they never lasted more than a few hours in the fridge before Hannah sucked them up like a vacuum. Seriously, the girl eats nothing else.

Another one of Hannah's amazing capabilities as a child was her refusal of baths. For a little girl, she sure was filthy. She could play in the mud all day long, roll around in the grass with the dog, and dive face first into a bowl of brownie batter and never once think to take a bath. Mom and Dad and our Tutu Betty (great-grandma) would literally have to bribe and/or force her into the water, whichever one came first. She was one of the dirtiest little girls in the neighborhood!

And don't get me started on her Blankie! Her Blankie was just as filthy, if not filthier than she was! That thing was dragged all over the place, over every platform, plain, stream, grassland, and floor on earth. And of course she never wanted us to wash it. If Mom ever did (which of course she did), Hannah would throw a fit. Tears of agony rolled down her face every time she smelled the fresh, newness of our scented fabric softener upon her dear, old Blankie. Oh, the betrayal!

I never thought having a little sister would be so...different. I expected her to be dainty, sweet, and delicate, yet Hannah was anything but! She was a sassy, dirty, smelly little girl that I never once imagined I would have for a sister.

Yet, she somehow won my heart. She won us all.

I remember the day she came home in our mother's arms.

I remember the summers I would babysit her.

I remember watching her play, making new friends everywhere she went.

I remember the days I would carry her around and think to myself that I wouldn't mind having a baby as cute as her one day.

Then I remember, she is not a baby anymore.

As I look back at how she has grown and matured throughout the years, I realize now that she is a young lady. She is learning responsibility, femininity, and perseverance. She has dreams, she has fight, and she has potential to do great things. She is strong and fearless and all the things I am only learning to be now. She is the woman with her head held high and her feet on the ground. Dad would be so proud.




In many ways, my baby sister is my inspiration. She speaks her mind and cares little about what others think of her. She wears a smile no matter what and keeps her cool most days. She is everything I have always wanted to be growing up, yet I am happy that these things can be found in her. They are the essence of what God wants for all His children.

Although she can get on my nerves, pushes my limits, and causes me to wonder what she is thinking sometimes, I wouldn't trade her for the world. I couldn't be happier that I share this crazy life with a BIG, little sister like you, Hannah Banana :)







Happy 16th Birthday, Hannah!




Monday, May 19, 2014

Motivation Monday - Making Gains!


Happy Motivation Monday!

May has been so busy for us and lots of changes are being made.

Here's a list of events happening for us this month:

1. Our best friends are moving to Arizona (they're in the military) this Friday
2. My baby sister (only sister for that matter) turns 16 this Wednesday
3. I'm currently in the process of transferring from an online school to WBU (more on this later)
4. Longer hours at work (it's just extremely busy this month for some reason)
5. Currently working on increasing my weight in the gym

As you can see, these are no small things. Each one has made life just a little crazier for us this month, yet each one is for the best. Honestly, life is great so I can't complain.

Lately, I have been trying to squeeze workouts in between work and homework and family life. So far so good, however I have been lagging in some areas. This morning I was able to take a couple progress pictures of my arms and I was pleasantly surprised at how defined they are starting to get. I can't wait until they are finally where I want them. I am definitely motivated now!

May 2014

I am still far from where I want to be, but the fact is that I am making progress!

As far as the ab department goes, I'm still working on it. I know these babies are going to take a little longer to develop compared with the rest of my body. Here's what they look like so far...

May 2014
Not a whole lot going on yet, but I see a little formation at the top. Still not satisfied, but I'm confident I will get there. Hoping by this time next year things will start popping up. If there is anything that I have learned since I have started my health and fitness journey, it's that perseverance is key. Every little bit counts towards something greater and it isn't so much the prize you win at the end, but the lessons you learn along the way; lessons of courage, strength, fearlessness, and beauty. If you love your body, it will love you back. Even though we struggle, we must remember to...

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Food Friday - 4 Ingredient Quest-Cream!!!

Anyone that knows me well knows I enjoy my sugary treats. If it were not absolutely terrible for the human body, I would be eating li-hing gummy worms, Jelly Bellies, Oreos, Cinnabons, and chocolate pudding every day. If you're a normal human, like me, all of this would kill your diet and add some serious cellulite and jiggle in all the right places. So...because you're like me and you're trying to lose weight but are looking for a way to cure the cravings in a healthier manner, have I got a recipe for you!


4 Ingredient Quest Bar Ice Cream!!!
That's right! I said ice cream. Now don't be fooled. When it's healthy, it doesn't always taste like the real thing, but it can come pretty darn close. I made this baby one day as I was getting the itch to buy a pint of real ice cream. Wanting to still be able to fit my jeans the next day as well as avoid multiple trips to the bathroom (I'm lactose intolerant haha), I decided to go with a different approach. Thus, the 4 ingredient Quest Bar Ice Cream was invented! Here are the ingredients:

1 banana, frozen
1-2 Tbsp peanut or almond butter
1 Quest bar (I used Double Chocolate Chunk)
3-4 Tbsp coconut or almond milk

Microwave Quest Bar for 10-15 seconds. Cut into bite size pieces. Add banana, peanut butter, and Quest Bar then add 2 Tbsp milk of choice. Blend. Add more milk as necessary. Blend until creamy. Enjoy!

Hooray for guilt-free pleasures! Muahahaha!

If you try it, let me know how you liked it in the comments!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's Up Wednesday - The Devil is in the Details

Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Gazing down at the bright light before me, I took just a brief moment to look up and roll my neck around as if to unwind it from its constant drooping. I felt relief as I heard the crick of my once tight neck muscles release. I took a deep breath, then gazed back down at the brick I held in my hand- my phone.

That was when I saw it for what it was- a brick. A constant burden on my livelihood; a brick, a weight meant to "build," yet instead I was carrying it around unnecessarily everywhere I went. And what did I do with that brick every day that would contribute to the "building" of the life around me? Absolutely nothing. Nothing productive, anyway.

Scrolling through my phone, I surveyed the reasons why I kept the thing with me all the time. I had pictures - pictures of food, my workout progress, several funny memes I thought worthy to save, and a few others. I had music - now that was valuable. Without it, my car rides home would be excruciating (anyone ever sit in Oahu's traffic lately?). Lastly, I had apps. Ohhhh those apps. So many of them thought to be useful, necessary, and perfect for increasing "productivity" in my life. Sadly, looking back at the past couple of years, this was quite the contrary.

All of these applications only kept me tied to this damned thing even more than I wanted! Truthfully, my phone was being used as a "time filler," meaning whenever there was an awkward silence, a moment of waiting, a break between TV shows, and whenever I just plain felt like being nosy. The only thing about this particular "time filler" is that it actually decreased the time I spent alive.

There have been so many missed opportunities for me to look at the world through my own eyes, rather than a camera lens; times I've missed breathing the fresh air; time I've missed with my husband, my family and my friends. Heck, I haven't even watched any real TV without having this thing in front of my face!

When I evaluated all of this, I thought to myself, "What if there is something more that's going on here? Something...bigger?" Bigger than a phone-addiction, bigger than social media, bigger than never looking up from it?

I had always heard that idiom, "The Devil is in the details." It can be viewed a couple of different ways. One way is to say that it's the small, almost insignificant tasks that can make the biggest difference to the overall result. It is also defined by Google's web definition as a "catch or mysterious element hidden in the details." The devil is also described in the Bible in a number of ways. One particular picture that the Bible paints of Satan is that he is cunning, deceptive, and even charming. It says that he "disguises himself as an angel of light," (2 Corinthians 11:14). Interesting picture considering he is the Prince of Darkness.

So what am I trying to say? No, Satan isn't the iPhone. What I do wonder, however, is what if he really is in the details? Anyone and everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, knows what his plan is - to keep us away from God.

My thought is what if the little things that don't seem to really matter to us are the very things that Satan is using to distract us from truly getting the bigger picture? It doesn't seem like a bad idea, really. If Satan's plan is to keep us away from God, then what better way to do just that than by keeping us distracted? Think about it. How much of life is the normal, every day American missing out on when he (or she) is staring at his phone, a computer, an iPad, or a television all day long?

Think of all the missed opportunities, the memories, and the relationships that are sacrificed simply because we don't have "enough time." We are too busy to notice when someone is walking by us, standing in front of us, speaking to us, begging for our attention. The kids of this generation rarely play outside anymore. Things like roller-blading, hide-and-seek, and playgrounds are almost foreign to the modern child. Applications, hashtags, downloads, and updates are what they understand. What are we, robots?

However, if we take the time to really look at the picture being painted before us, we are seeing more and more business and less and less of what actually matters. It's almost as if the Smart Phone is our "way out" of making any real contact with people. Our so-called "social media" has taken the place of actual conversation with people. Our devices have taken the place of our time which we already have so little of.

I am guilty of this epidemic as well. Just looking at how I spend my nights with Tim (my husband) daily, I can see just how little attention I pay him. We could be in the middle of watching a movie and there I am, pulling out my phone to play a game, check my Instagram or Facebook account, or pin to my Pinterest boards. Not very romantic. I am just thankful to God that Tim isn't a tech-savvy guy. He actually hates using his phone.

My intention with this post is to point out the fact that the devil isn't just going to pop up out of nowhere and get you to focus on him. It'd be too obvious and of course we would flee in a hurry. Any good hunter knows you have to be sneaky in order to catch your prey. The devil will slowly and deceptively weasel his way into the finite corners of your life and take away your attention to detail. These details could be your time and the quality in which you spend it with the people that matter most.

Just think of the relationships that can be strengthened, the marriages that could be saved, the children that could be played with, and the small things that could be done during the day to add quality to your life overall! A few minutes of neglect here or there can start to add up. Think about how we justify buying a Starbucks or eating out every so often a week. If you calculate it up every year, you'd see you've spent hundreds of dollars! Not what you intended, but it happened and now you can't get it back. Your only option at this point is to change the way you spend your money. In the same way, we must change the way we spend our time.

You don't have to give up technology completely to do any of this. Just slowly start weaning yourself off of it little by little. Leave your phone home or in your bag on trips with the family as opposed to keeping it in your hand or pocket for a "quick pic."Or stop checking it during your down time at work or between classes. Because, really, who cares who's "liking" your posts anyway? When did it ever matter to you in the past?

Enjoy life the way we humans were meant to. Get back to the basics.

Stay alert. Don't be distracted. The devil is in the details.

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Motivation Monday - God Bless the REFEED Day!

Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Motivation Monday, Everyone!

Today I come to you with an update to my eating plan. As most of you know, I am an advocate of intermittent fasting and If It Fits Your Macros, aka IIFYM (for more information on either, click on links). As I stated in a previous post, I had plateaued and wasn't able to get past 123 pounds for at least 2 weeks. I upped my activity level and was able to lose another pound, which takes me to a current weight of 122 pounds to date. Still, even that wasn't getting me the results I desired. Seriously, the last 5 pounds are always the hardest to lose!

Well, last week, while the husband and I were strolling through YouTube videos on The Hodgetwins channel, we saw that they posted a vlog about a thing called the Refeed Day. Needless to say, it got our attention. Let me tell you, this was just about the best information I heard all week!

What is the Refeed Day?
Essentially, the Refeed Day is a way for people who have hit a plateau, as far as weight loss goes, to force their body to burn the extra bit of calories that they are wanting to lose.

Why would you need a Refeed Day?
Your body is a fat storing machine. It does all it can to preserve energy and keep you alive. This is awesome during a famine, but terrible if you're trying to lose some extra pounds.

Since your body has been dropping weight recently, there may be a time when your body no longer wishes to lose any more calories out of fear that you are being malnourished. No matter how hard you try, your body will cling to those extra calories to ensure that you stay, ahem, "full" during this brought on "famine" that you're experiencing (what a smart body!).

The science behind this is that your metabolism starts slowing down and your leptin (important fat burning hormone) level decreases, thus stopping the amount of fat you lose.

How does the Refeed Day work?
The Refeed Day works as a way to "trick" your body into thinking that it can let go of those extra fat cells. This is done by eating carbs. ALL KINDS OF CARBS. All day long. And that's ON TOP of what you normally eat in a day. This allows your body to think that you've all of a sudden hit the jackpot and are able to fully nourish yourself again, THUS releasing the extra fat and allowing them to burn off.

This should increase your leptin levels and boost your metabolism again. Yay!

What should I eat on a Refeed Day?
Your eating plan on a Refeed Day should essentially look like this:

60-70% Carbohydrates
Fats and Proteins the same as usual

How often should you Refeed?
A Refeed Day is recommended every 3-4 days and is only recommended for leaner individuals or individuals who have hit a steady plateau in their weight loss and are already in a caloric deficit. It should only be ONE day, so don't get too carried away. Just enjoy the pleasure that is.

I have yet to actually implement this and record my results, however, I will be updating you all next Monday!

If anyone else out there has tried or is trying this, please let me know in the comments!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Butterfly Fly Away - A Tribute to my Mom



Growing up, my mother was my best friend. Although my dad was around, he and I never shared the same relationship as my mom and me. She was the one who dressed me, fed me, and taught me that life could be filled with fun if I just used my imagination. She was the one I sang and danced with, the one who embraced my visions, and the one who showed me what persistence looked like. As a child, she was my safe haven from the hurt I faced in the world.

When my dad was upset, she was the one I hid behind. When it felt like my life was unravelling, she was there to sew on the patches. And when it just felt like I would never reach my dreams, she encouraged me to find my wings. Patient and serene, she was.

In my teen years, I began to grow annoyed of her. The constant presence that I once clung to evolved to be one of my biggest peeves. I just wanted what most teens wanted growing up - to be left alone. Of course, being a mother, that was something she couldn't understand. Her constant questioning of my motives, my friends, my attire, the whos, whats, whens, wheres, hows, and whys were always accompanied by my constant effort to make her give up the fight with my eye-rolling, heavy sighing, and witty retorts. Still, she pressed on.

 As any typical teen would do, I attempted to push aside all forms of  parenting in order to pursue the things that I thought would make me "grown up." I wandered through my youth looking for my wings to fly- away from her, away from my current life, and away from myself. I would look at the girls I admired and saw them soaring high. They had all the best clothes, cutest boys, and the permission to stay out past 9pm. My life would be so much better out there, I would think to myself.

Yet, there she was, revealing to me the fact that I had no idea what life was about. Whenever I thought I saw the bigger picture, she was there to tell me I didn't. When I thought it was perfectly fine to wear my miniskirt to the mall, she was there to pick out another outfit. Whenever I thought I could hide things from her, she was always the first person to find out. And whenever I thought I should give up on God, she was there to tell me I shouldn't.
Although I would never admit it then, I knew my mom was right. Her words held more weight in my life than anyone else's. When she said something, I followed. Even then, I believed she could do no wrong.

I suppose that is what makes a mother. To her family, she is a perfect being, forgiving, and persistent. She presses on when times are tough and makes something out of nothing most days. She is the smile on your face, the words of wisdom on your tongue, and the constant reminder that there is good in the world if you look hard enough.

As an adult, married and living on my own, I finally found my wings to fly. They weren't in the things that I wanted growing up. Rather, they were in the small acts of obedience, perseverance, and hard work that it took to become the adult I am today. It was only when I realized that I was flying that I looked back at my life to see what had carried me this far and there she stood- patient and serene...and proud. Looking up at me was my mother who had finally let this butterfly fly...


Older now and more mature, I see the truth about my mom. She is flawed; imperfect in every way. But she is just as she should be. Her constant nagging, inquiring about every detail of my life, and her neverending reminders about my potential have made me who I am today. Although I couldn't understand her at the time, in many ways I'm glad she was there to tell me what I thought I knew. Her words will always weigh the most heavily upon my heart, but they will because I value them the most.

In my life, I have learned the value of a mother. She is unconditional, relentless, nurturing, forgiving, generous, encouraging, and understanding. Although we grow to realize that moms are far from perfect, those of us who have had the pleasure of experiencing one can honestly say that there is no being quite like her.

My Mommy and Me
To my mom, Candace, thank you for accompanying me on my journey through life. Thank you for always being there and for loving me no matter what; for affirming my dreams; for being an example; for showing me that love never fails. Thank you for giving yourself away so that we could have lives of worth. Thank you for all the times you stood strong, had faith, and kept our family together. Thank you for the moments in life I will always treasure. From the dancing, the singing, and the silliness of my youth to the discipline, demands, and guidance in my adulthood.

I know God has given us our share of trials, but I thank you for never giving up. Thank you for your motivation throughout the years, the wisdom you share, your devotion to our growth, your support, and just simply having faith in me; in all of us.  Nothing you do is without purpose and I know that now.

You are the wind beneath my wings. You really are. And for all of the above and more, for all the things you have ever done, are doing, and will do, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you!

To all the moms, living and remembered, whether new or experienced, both young and old, thank you for encouraging your children to find wings of their own.

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day 2002 -  (Left to Right) Mom, Dad, Hannah, Ian, Tutu Betty, and me.


That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!