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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Living Out Your Intentions

Maybe this is cheesy, but I can't help but dedicate this post to my hubby, Evan.  He unknowingly prompted me to create this and deserves the recognition.  Thank you for pushing me to stay true to my intentions this week and inspiring me to grow into the woman I aspire to be.  I cherish you.

Despite the dedication to Evan, this will not be a mushy, gushy post. So if love story's make you gag, I assure you this is safe to read.

"By the way, I love you all."  Those were the sweet words our yoga instructor gently spoke this morning as we closed our eyes to begin the fourth day of our "Early Morning Yoga Challenge."  Her kind words filled my soul more than she'll ever know, reaffirming that I was where I was meant to be and reminding me that I am loved.  Her warmth also inspired me to tell you all that you are loved.  In fact, you are adored.

I almost didn't commit to the challenge.  When it popped up on my Facebook newsfeed, I considered it for a moment.  I envisioned myself doing it and deep down I knew how much joy I would feel to wake up each morning for a week and commit myself to this healthy practice.  The wish to feel the success from this had entered and yet, I clicked "interested" like I've done for many other events.  Have you been there before?  Knowing something was good, yet still allowing hesitation and self-doubt to set in?

All week I went back and forth about whether I should commit or not.  Such a tough word for people these days, "commit."  Not only did I think about it, my husband graciously listened to me battle it out with myself aloud.  I knew it was good, but I continued to let my mind be flooded by excuses and self-doubt.  The dialogue went a little like so...

"I'd have to leave the house at 4:45 each morning....and I won't have time to go home before work...that means I'll have to get ready there.  If they don't have a shower, I'll need to shower before I go, which means 4 am wakeup time and hair.  If only my hair could go without showering in the morning...I hate my hair.  The weather channel says it's supposed to be sloppy, I'd hate to have to leave even earlier or be late.  I'm working on lateness."

Yup.  That's what I told myself; all week long.  Until finally, Sunday night I looked at Evan and knew that in order to stay true to who I am and want to be (a Self-Directed, Badass Warrior Woman) this was a non-negotiable.

It was then that I remembered his and my conversation about energy not too long ago and that it takes just as much energy to NOT DO something as it does to DO it.  When we wish for something or set goals it can go one of two ways; we can pursue them or not.  In either case we spend energy on thoughts, actions, and results.  If your wish is to write your friend a note and you take the time to do it, the energy you'll feel during and after will be positive.  If you put it off or decide you don't have time, you're dishing out energy to make excuses that could have been used to write a quick note and drop it in the mailbox.  In most relationships, it takes just as much energy to have a good relationship as it does to have a bad one.

When it came to the yoga challenge this week, the amount of time I spent thinking about all of the barriers I could face trying to live out my intention to be a "Self-Directed, Badass Warrior Woman" could've been used for other things (like writing a note to a friend 😉).  Once I finally committed, it took me just a few minutes to figure out my plan for success and now it's day four of the challenge.  If only I had just saved myself such headache.  My hair has survived, I've driven through the crappy weather, and it's been 100% worth it.  

Flip this scenario around for a minute.  Had I decided not to do the challenge, the energy I'd be experiencing while thinking about it right now would be completely different.  In all sorts of ways it would be negative energy.  I may have slept in a little later, pressed the snooze button, thought about how I should've committed or how I would feel different had I started the morning off with yoga, and I for sure wouldn't have been writing this post.

My challenge for you.

Consider Your Intentions
What do you crave in life or what are your intentions?
What steps could you have taken today or this week to move toward them?
What was something you did that was a success?
Was there something you hesitated to do because of self-doubt, excuses, etc.?
Is there someone who motivates you?

Write them down and share them with others who you know will support and motivate you to pursue them.  Accountability partners are AWESOME...just a tip.

 Pursue the things that challenge you and bring joy into your life.  I give you permission.  Don't back away, you'll spend as much energy falling short as you will thriving.  Your mind is such a powerful tool that can work for you or against you.  When you accept and do these things, it will reflect outward and reach others.  

I believe the people in my life deserve me living at my best potential.  Giving myself some time this week showed through my work as a speech therapist and wife.  I had my daily dose of victory before seeing my kiddos and they experienced a better speech therapist.  When I came home after work still excited about my experience at yoga, my husband received the best energy I could give.  When you feed your soul in even the smallest of ways, others around you benefit.  Never underestimate the small stuff, it is the most consequential.

Share this post with a friend or family member who has shared their intentions with you.  It might give them what they need to keep going today.  You can support, love, and inspire.  Besides, you've already given energy to the thought of sharing it.

I'm so thankful for the time today (SNOW DAY!) to share these thoughts with you.  Show yourself some love, whether that be sitting and sipping your coffee or a silent commute home.

With Love,


Monday, January 2, 2017

Beginning a new year has always been a little tough on me.  Like, ugly crying when the ball drops because everything is just the best and I don't want anything to change.  EVER.  Raise your hand if you're with me!  When I sat down to journal on New Years Eve morning (a fresh, new journal by the fitting), it hit me that 2016 was the first year (that I can remember) that I didn't feel sad about it ending.  2016 will be one to remember for sure.  Personally, it was one of the most trying, but with the challenges came exponential growth that I'm not sure I've ever experienced.  The person I was last December is certainly not the person I am today and that's the way it should be.

Maybe you're feeling like it was a tough one too.  Maybe it's really hard right now to see the silver lining after this past year.  Keep in mind, the most significant people on this planet have been through hell and back to get there.  As long as you continue to stand up and keep going, you are far better off because of the so called, "face palms" you've experienced.

The most difficult part of 2016 for me personally was this summer.  I was unmotivated, which is not typically a quality of mine.  When August began I knew something had to change before the school year began and it was back to work.  I had read several self-development books over the past year with amazing pointers.  So, I found an accountability partner and began creating a routine.  How this change has impacted my life in just a few short months has really taken me by surprise.  I've been waiting to share with everyone these small, simple actions that have really been amazing for me.  My hope is that doing so will inspire you and rock your world not just in 2017, but forever.  Take them or leave them, the choice is yours.

As you read the strategies or actions, DO NOT underestimate the power of small habits.  The small decisions we make are by far the most important.  These seemingly insignificant tools have created life changing, confetti throwing, standing on the mountain top shouting at the top of my lungs kinda growth for me over just a few months.  Maybe I really failed that many times throughout 2016 where learning was inevitable or maybe it's a whole new perspective on the importance of failure and being uncomfortable.  After writing that sentence, I'm definitely convinced it's a little bit of both.  Enjoy.

1.  Take Responsibility

We have control over more than 90% of what happens whether it's our actions or reactions.  We INVITE stress, "busy", and negativity into our lives and it's important to look at life that way.  Some of you may be coming up with defense statements right now, feel free to keep going I did the same, but until you take responsibility for your own life it will be tough to achieve goals and ultimately serve others to your full potential.  Meal planning has been one of those areas for me this year.  I used to spend loads of hours searching through recipes, writing a list, checking it twice, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up.  Cooking, which I love, had really become a big ole' chore.  And NO ONE likes those.  My mom encouraged me to try Wildtree, I invited it into my life, and now I spend 2-3 hours prepping a month's worth of meals and maybe 30 minutes per night cooking and cleaning.  This means I spend less time planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up after meals plus it's much easier to stick to a budget.  Something so simple can be tweaked to save you an abundance of time, money and reduce your stress significantly.  It's great.  What areas of your life feel like chaos?  How can you be more proactive about those moments?

2.  Be Active

So many of us run to the gym and hit it hard for the first couple weeks of the year trying to meet our New Year's resolution of living a healthier lifestyle.  Don't set yourself up for failure, save yourself money and live a more active lifestyle.  It's really that simple and you'll see results in every aspect of your life.  If you're currently not active at all, find an accountability partner and start with a 15-20 minute walk or hike three times a week and TRACK your habits.  I give you permission to NOT buy that expensive treadmill.  Fresh air is great for you and what's even's free.

3.  Meditate

This is something I never in a million years thought I'd be doing.  Yet, nearly every morning over the past five months I've been spending time meditating and/or praying.  The benefits are AMAZING.  If you've never "meditated" before, definitely start slow with 2-3 minutes, you'll be surprised at how long this might feel in the beginning.  Set a timer, throw on your diffuser #essentialoillove, close your eyes and be still my friend.  I like to use these two mantras, especially on the days when I struggle to be still.  

Recently I've added some meditation music, but you can totally make this your own.  If you're a parent, wake up a few minutes before the kids do and start the day off in peace.  It takes practice, but you can do it!  Sometimes I'll even end my workouts by laying on my yoga mat (aka corpse pose), setting my timer, turning on my meditation music and soaking in all the goodness released from the workout.

4.  Journal

So I've had a journal since junior high and have went through waves of writing in it, but it never really stuck for me until this year.  Making time to journal during my morning and sometimes evening routine has been unbelievably rewarding.  You must try it.  Everyone should.  We can control how we start and end our days (most of the time).  Find a journal that you're excited about with an awesome pen, wake up or go to bed a little earlier and start writing for 5-10 minutes.  Not sure what to write about?  Start by writing down all of the reasons you are grateful in that moment.

5.  Do Away With Negativity

Garbage In = Garbage Out.  Before starting this journey, I would have never said our life had negative vibes pouring in.  However, this past summer I became extremely bogged down by negativity experienced in the education world, environment, politics, friends, conversations, etc. to the point where I felt there was nothing I could do to motivate change.

  I've come to realize it's important to know there is struggle in the world and find ways to make it better, but it's also important to filter the amount of negativity we allow into our minds.  It can do more harm than good in many cases and stop us from reaching our full potential.  If you haven't heard of the Law of Attraction or Law of Vibration, then be sure to check them both out...I'm here to tell you they're a real thing.  We attract what we want to attract.  So think about it for a second...what are you allowing to control your life?

6.  Know Your Purpose and Dismiss Your Insecurities

I'm still working on this one, but I know this year will be monumental based on what's already in store. I've noticed over the past year that so many of us are stopping ourselves from living out our purpose.  We are all SO talented in different ways and have these gifts that are our own and yet...we hide them because of fear.  What. Is. That.?!?!?  It's all a mindset people.  Now I'm not guaranteeing success in all areas, I mean I love singing, but I was not blessed to be the next Beyonce.  That being said, if I want to do karaoke on a Friday night or try out for a play because it will make my heart sing...then so be it, I should definitely do it without fear of what others think.  Tap into your strengths and unique abilities, stop allowing your own insecurities to take over and hold you back from your true potential.

7.  Think. BIGGER.

What are your goals?  Do you have dreams?  Write them down.  Make them happen.  There's no doubt it will absolutely be difficult, but we live in a world were anything is possible, especially with the amount of reach we can have using technology.  It's our duty to improve and keep reaching to be the best we possibly can be.  When we're achieving success, it inspires others to do the same.

8.  Learn More

Find a good book to either read or listen to during your commute each day.  If you're not doing this, believe me you're missing out.  My rule starting out in August was that anytime I was in the car during my mornings I would be listening to an audiobook.  I LOVE music, so this was something I thought would be challenging.  Today, I spend the majority of my hours in the car listening to audiobooks.  This may seem totally cray cray to you, but through reading and listening to audiobooks since graduating with my MASTER'S degree...I feel I've taken away more content than the majority of my classes that I paid well beyond $20 to take.  That's not to say I regret taking those college courses, but rather to make a statement about how powerful learning can be outside of "higher education".

I hope and pray that reading this will breathe life into you and spur motivation and excitement.  Maybe it will even turn your thinking from negative to positive when thinking back to 2016...
a girl can dream right?

My final thoughts from 2016?

>>When it comes to reaching big goals, change is inevitable.

>>Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable is necessary in order for you best and truest self to shine.    

>>Failure (not referring to drugs, alcohol, etc.) is necessary.

Cheers Everyone!  May 2017 be your BEST YEAR YET.

***Be sure to share anything you've gained from this post in the comments below!***



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Embracing the Planet: It's Not Us and We, It's You and Me

This month I will be posting each Saturday on ways to embrace the planet and show appreciation for nature and this place we are blessed to call home, while still enjoying life.  Each post will shed light on ways to move toward a "greener" lifestyle and also present a challenge.  I will also recommend several articles and books along the way that have motivated me to make changes personally.

Many people use the word "we" or "us" when it comes to respecting the planet.  While I agree the issue is a collective one, these pronouns are inclusive and tend to be used to make everyone feel better and that certainly isn't what this world needs right now.  The truth is that it is most definitely a "me" problem and yes, it's also a "you" issue as well.  There is a difference between saying "We need to use less plastic" vs. "I need to use less plastic."  The first does not fully recognize the responsibility we have as individuals and the latter truly acknowledges that personal action is necessary.  For some reason, we have a really hard time admitting our weaknesses.

Evan and I recently took our delayed honeymoon to the Dominican Republic.  Absolutely wonderful and we would highly recommend visiting, I will share bits and pieces over the next few weeks. :)  The resort's beach was stunning.  Sounds pretty amazing right?!  Absolutely, however looking beyond what we paid to see in front of us, there is a much different reality.  One morning we went for a run down the beach and as we traveled further down away from the resorts, the trash on the shoreline became hard to ignore.  Crocks, coolers, flip flops, bottles, you name was all there. At home, I find it difficult to walk past a single piece of trash on the ground, so this was really disheartening.  In all honesty though it was most discouraging to think that these realities are hidden.  Each morning and throughout the day the crews at the resorts comb the beach, so vacationers can see the ocean's and beaches as clean, clear, and healthy; the reality is that they are not this way and it is by all means everyone's issue.

Tracks from the tractor that cleaned the beach
every morning.

The good news is that we can make changes to our lifestyle today that will reduce the risks our planet is facing today, but it will take my commitment and yours.

Five Realities of Going Green

1.  Reducing Is Key
Recycling and reusing is wonderful, yes, but the best solution is reducing the amount we use.  We can reduce the amount of food, plastic, chemicals, etc. that we buy, use, and throw away.  It is both the hardest and easiest way to make a difference.

2.  It Takes Practice.
Living in a world that is driven by consumerism means it takes lots of practice.  For example, when at restaurants we use plastic straws for most glasses served.  At one time drinking from a glass without a straw seemed gross, but then I asked myself, "is it really gross or is that what my brain has been trained to think?"  It has taken A LOT of practice to request drinks without a straw and I am just as healthy as I was a year ago, if not healthier.  As you practice, it will become easier.

3.  It's Not Easy
People won't understand and sometimes you might feel like the "crazy one," but sometimes "the obstacle is the way."  It seems that we would all rather look back and know we considered the risks, made changes, and did all we could rather than ignore the message and do nothing.

4.  It's A Moral Obligation
Despite what many people say, this is not "OUR" planet.  This planet is called home to many different species of plants and animals.  Being conscious of the products and practices we use and how they impact ALL of Earth's life and features is a moral duty.  In some ways we can consider it our rent payment for living here and ensuring it is well taken care of for future generations.  We owe the land, not the other way around.

5. It's Feels Good
When we begin to pay attention to our footprints, we start to notice nature and experience a relationship with it once again.  We have become so disconnected from it, but when we take a moment to sit and listen to the water or watch the birds, we have the opportunity to learn and grow.

This Week's "Embracing the Planet" Challenge:  Learn

Read an article, watch a documentary, or find a book at the library that focuses on ways to better serve our planet.  Knowledge is power and the first step.  Here is a list of some of the recent items I have watched or read.  Hopefully these suggestions will make it a little less overwhelming for everyone. :)


Articles & Books!!
-Edited by Laura Pritchett
-by Beverly Woods
-by Rosie Boycott
-by Kristin Ohlson
-by Tony Juniper

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Freezer Meal Workshop: Numero Uno

Eight wonderful ladies joined me the first Sunday of January for my first Wildtree freezer meal workshop and several more joined me the following Sunday too!  I'm not sure I stopped smiling until Monday and I still can't get over how amazing it was to see these busy, hard-working women come into the workshop with so much energy and leave with even more excitement.  I could never put a price tag on that feeling of success.  Not to mention...I not only have eight meals for Ev and I, but I was able to give two meals to friends of ours who just welcomed their first child into the world on Sunday.  It truly was perfect timing.

Here is a little play-by-play.

For this workshop we put together meals from the "Everyday Meals" menu.  The meals included:

  • Easy Skillet Jambalaya
  • Crockpot Chicken Quesadillas
  • Perfect Roast Chicken
  • Lemon Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
  • Crock Pot Shredded Beef Burritos (I subbed pork)
  • Lemon Rosemary Chicken & Sundried Tomato Orzo
  • Cajun Shrimp & Red Pepper Fettuccine
  • Hearty Italian Meatloaf w/ Marinara Sauce
  • Oven Roasted Salmon w/ Lemon Rosemary
  • Southwestern Chicken Burgers

Evan and I have had five of the meals so far including the Jambalaya, Cajun Shrimp & Red Pepper Fettuccine, Perfectly Roasted Chicken, Lemon Rosemary Pork Tenderloin and the Crock Pot Shredded Pork Burritos.  The Jambalaya and Burritos had a bite to them, which we enjoyed, but I am happy we didn't choose to add extra spice like the recipe had offered, because then it might have been a little too much for our personal liking.  Although I do think my taste buds have become more accustomed to spicy flavors...I am still that person that asks for "no spice" when ordering Thai.  Evan tasted the chicken and immediately said, "that chicken is mind-blowing."  After hearing that, I had to try it for myself and will confirm that it was "mind-blowing good."  Think savory.

Although this was my first workshop, I have held a couple tastings and I can tell you...I have come a LONG way since my first tasting.  While preparing for my first event there were a few choice words, some sweating, and definitely some self-doubt.  For this workshop, I began preparing about an hour and a half prior to everyone walking through our door, there were no choice words...I might have even danced a little bit to the music that my hubby so graciously put on for the party. ;)  Much smoother.  Keep in mind that when hosting a workshop through Wildtree, the work is much less than being the host and representative.  That being said, the more you do workshops and tastings the less time and energy it requires.

I decided to turn this workshop into a tasting for people who wanted to come over and see the workshop in action and also taste the delicious food!  I set out a few dips including the Dill Dip (fan favorite), Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Blend, and made guacamole with Chipotle Lime Rub with tortilla chips, veggies, and pretzels.  As always, I had to include the Quick & Easy Beer Bread, which has probably been the biggest hit at the parties I have held (tip:  I use a can of clear soda vs. beer).  The dips take about ten to fifteen minutes total to prepare and then they chill in the refrigerator while I cut up the vegetables and set all of the munchies out.  The bread takes five minutes (maximum) to mix up and then bakes for about 45 minutes to an hour.  It's so nice to greet everyone at the door with the smell of fresh bread.
Two of our test-tasters!

This workshop was smaller, I had four people participating and then one of my friends had decided to  pick up her bundle of Wildtree goodies and go home to put everything together.  She lives about an hour away, so this worked out best for time hopefully I will know soon enough to ship it straight to her and make it a bit easier.  In front of everyone's places sat a Wildtree bundle and tasting guide that describes the company and what distinguishes their products from others on the market.  I had also put the shared ingredients that I was contributing as the host of the event in the middle of the table including eggs, oatmeal, rice, salt, and garlic powder.

This month's promotions!
Once we browsed through the tasting guide (15-20 minutes) and instructions were given, everyone began putting their meals together!  It took about an hour for their meals to be completed.  Afterwards we chatted a bit more with everyone and I gave them their choices for 1/2 off bundles and boom. Done.  It went SO fast.  The workshop began at 2:30 and ended by 5 pm.

My next workshop was the following Sunday, and was smaller again, but awesome for connecting with each person and enjoying the time spent together.  The second workshop took about three to three and a half hours, however we definitely chatted A LOT more, which was actually really nice.

So fun to see such beautiful smiles!

If you are interested in learning more about Wildtree and possibly even participating in a workshop whether it be physically or making the meals in your home, please e-mail here for more information or visit my website at  

Stay tuned for the upcoming Thankful for Thursdays series, "Embracing the Planet" that will begin this Saturday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How to Stay Resolute About Your New Year’s Resolution

How to Stay Resolute About Your New Year’s Resolution
When practiced in a mindful way, gratitude may edge the battle line closer to a New Year’s victory.

The New Year is here, and with it comes an onslaught of gym membership promotions and diet plan commercials. Many folks are determined for this to be the year they hit the gym three times a week and substitute a salad for a burger at lunchtime. I confess the only New Year’s resolution I ever stuck to was drinking more water. Although my skin thanks me for it, sticking to this resolution has not bettered me emotionally in any way. The word “resolution” is rooted in the word “resolute”, meaning “marked by firm determination” (Merriam-Webster). Did I have a firm determination to drink more water? Not really. I only kept on with it because I thought I saw positive changes in my body, which I attributed to my increased intake of H2O. I think this is the case with a lot of so-called “resolutions”. We hold steady with our resolution for a few weeks into the New Year, until that firm determination because a pliable idleness.

            So why does this failure happen year after year to so many people? What happened to our gung-ho attitude and resolute demeanor? I think, in most cases, we do not immediately see the results we had hoped for. We are disappointed with the lack of reward for our hard work and sacrifice. But I do believe there is a way, through regular mindfulness practices, to reach these goals even when the results are hard fought and sorely won.

            Gratitude. This word is closely linked to the word thankfulness, but I like to employ it when thankfulness echoes a bit hollow. I say “thanks” just as much as I say “please”. Saying “thank you” is like a formality, like calling someone “Professor” or “Sir”. Saying “thank you” shows a level of respect for someone, but perhaps not your deepest level of appreciation. This idea of gratitude can play a significant role in keeping your New Year’s resolution. When practiced in a mindful way, gratitude may edge the battle line closer to a New Year’s victory.  

Here is my proposal, tested and endorsed by myself. Whenever it works for you (before or after a workout, at the end of the day, before breakfast), take a few moments to reflect quietly. Shut your eyes and take time to check in with your body. Are you sore from your workout? Are you feeling more or less energized than normal? Focus solely on how your body feels in those moments. Then take a few moments to reflect on what you are grateful for regarding your resolution. Think to yourself, “I am grateful for…” I practice my reflection after a workout in the sauna and usually find myself grateful for the time I devoted that day to improving myself and my wellness. Whatever you are grateful for, take a moment to simply acknowledge it.

This practice may help remind us why we are putting ourselves through these challenges in the first place. Consciously practicing reflection and gratitude may take you closer to your goal of an overall more positive life and help keep that firm determination lasting all year long.