End of the Month Reflection

As I sit in front of the computer this evening reflecting on the past couple of weeks, I find it hard to believe that we are well on our way into 2017. Is it just me, or does it feel like New Years Day was just a few days ago? This month has been so full of change, happiness, and positive energy – just the start to the new year I was hoping for. I hope that the month of January has been as lovely for the rest of you as well.

I wanted to devote some time today to looking back at my goals and habits that I set for myself at the beginning of the month and assess how well I stuck to them.

I definitely met some of my goals – getting a job, recycling more, and doing yoga more often – but I ended up slipping on some of my healthy habits I was trying to establish. I started the month off strong doing 15 minutes of yoga in the morning and at night, I was journaling everyday, and making headway on my reading list. But then I started my new job and my routine got thrown out of wack, and I’m sad to say that I haven’t worked very hard on getting back where I was. So I think the month of February will be a great opportunity to do this.

During the month of February I want to get more serious about my yoga practice and dedicate more time to it daily. I want to start incorporating more fruits and veggies into my diet because, believe it or not, even though I’m vegan I definitely don’t eat all of the plants I should. I want to go to bed earlier so that I have more time in the mornings to read my Bible, do yoga, and eat breakfast before going to work. And I also want to write more – I want to journal, blog, and write letters and articles more regularly. These are just a few of my goals + habits though.

On another note, Roanoke continues to grow on me. Meeting new people and really learning more about the community is giving me a deeper appreciation for this city. I’m hoping that in the coming weeks I’ll have more to share with you about how I am getting involved in this beautiful little community and how I want to serve and make a difference.

Roanoke really has so much potential and I am excited to see it grow and thrive in the years to come. How awesome it is to be placed here right now at this time of growth and development and to know that I have the opportunity to help progress that change. I know God has me here for a reason and I pray that He will help show and guide me to the areas I can be of service.

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And with that I say so long January! You’ve been grand.

 

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Vegan Week – Day 1

Yesterday was World Vegan Day and it also marked the beginning of my going vegan for a week. What perfect timing! My main reason for going vegan for a week is because I felt like I needed a restart. Recently I have been eating a lot of junk and slacking on going  to the gym, and my body was screaming at me to make some changes. November 1st seemed like the perfect time to cleanse and recharge.

Right now I am happy with my weight and my body, and that’s something I haven’t been able to say since my wedding day in May. I gained weight over the summer and got so discouraged and upset with myself. I was beginning to hate looking at myself in the mirror because I always felt fat and bloated. It’s been a challenge getting back to a place where I am happy and not constantly thinking about the way I look, but I am slowly getting there.

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Please excuse my bedhead and weird smile. 

Day 1 of Vegan Week was very easy for me. Since I currently eat plenty of vegan meals, it wasn’t a big shock to my body to give up dairy products. The only things I am really missing so far are cream in my coffee and honey in my hot tea, but besides that I’m doing great!

My meals were pretty simple. I had two slices of avocado toast for breakfast and a cup of coffee with almond coconut milk. For lunch/afternoon snack before the gym I had 1/2 a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Bar and echinacea tea with lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). I made vegan tacos for dinner which consisted of roasted sweet potatoes seasoned with garlic and chili powder, and nutritional yeast in a crunchy taco shell. And I topped that with avocado, onions, corn, spinach & kale, salsa, and taco sauce. And for my bedtime snack I had a bowl of Cheerios with almond coconut milk and a cup of chamomile tea with lemon and ACV.

I definitely need to work on incorporating more fruits and veggies into my meals, but I didn’t feel deprived at all. I went to bed feeling satisfied and I wasn’t bloated like usual. One of my favorite parts about going vegan is getting creative in the kitchen. I love finding alternatives for certain ingredients and doing research and learning more about health, wellness, and nutrition.

I may not post what I eat everyday, but I will definitely keep everyone posted on how I’m feeling this week. Here’s to a happy, healthy November!

Changing Seasons

And just like that, August has come and gone. I definitely didn’t blog as much as I had hoped to this month – I did a bit of traveling and just decided to focus on spending time with family. But as the month is wrapping up and summer is winding down, I realize that I didn’t focus on my goals for this month. So I’m thankful for the fresh new start September will bring. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I am ready for summer to lay down to rest and for autumn to come out to play. 

I have been craving chilly air, dreary days, fall festivals, cozy sweaters, hot cups of coffee, pumpkin sweets, scary movies and Edgar Allan Poe short stories. You may think that sounds “so basic” of me, but I don’t care! haha I’ve loved autumn and Halloween since I was about 13 years-old. Growing up in an old farmhouse only added to the thrilling mood that autumn brings – my siblings and I were always coming up with scary ghost stories and playing “haunted house”. My imagination seems to come back to life as the leaves begin to change – writing seems to come more easily for me and I want to devour any literature I can get my hands on. 

Autumn daydreams aside, I’m looking forward to sitting down this evening with a cup of coffee and thinking about the goals I want to set for myself during the month of September. I will be another year older in September and I just really feel the need to get serious about the person I want to be and what changes I need to make in my life. It’s still sinking in that I’ve graduated college and I’m now a married woman. And it’s both exciting and scary to think that Brendan and I might be parents within the next few years. It’s hitting me that I’m now responsible for so much more than just myself, and I want to make sure that I am following the path that God has laid out before me so that I can be the best daughter, wife and (hopefully someday) mother that I can be. 

I’ve been lazy with writing more serious blog posts and I really want to change that. For the past couple months I’ve been working on a post about my journey to a healthier lifestyle and it hasn’t been easy. While writing, I’ve had some of the pain and emotions that I experienced during my teenage years resurface. But I keep writing. I really want to share my story and I know it’s an important part of who I am. So I hope to be sharing that with you guys soon. As for the month of September, I’ve got some fun blog post ideas that will help my readers get to know me better (which I think is fitting since my birthday is in September)! 

As I finish the last drops of my ginger tea, I’m really looking forward to branching out, getting healthier and living a richer life this coming month. Here’s to September and all of the cozy autumn days that lie ahead! 

 

Make Your Own Sunshine

Is it just me, or does summer seem to be slipping right on by? Summer is my happy place. I learned to appreciate summer a lot more when I started college – knowing that summer would be my gateway to freedom from school helped motivate me to push through all of the tests and papers. Now that I’m done with college, summer still seems to emanate freedom for me. But this year, summer has been a bit different.

I’m used to summer out in the country, where I have unlimited access to the great outdoors, fresh air, sunshine and a lot of bug bites! However, this year I’m getting to experience summer in the city, which if you didn’t already know, is a lot different than summer in the country. I’d be lying if I said it was an easy adjustment moving to Roanoke. Not that I’m unhappy – I actually love living in an apartment with my husband – it’s just different. Instead of being surrounded by green grass and animals, I’m surrounded by tall buildings, lots of cars and people. It’s actually a refreshing change, believe it or not. But I have found myself missing summers at my parents’ house.

I’ve come to realize that I tend to dwell on the past, sometimes too often. And you know what I’ve discovered? It’s great to cherish memories of time spent with the people you love and the places you’ve been, but it’s not healthy to spend all of your time and energy wishing you could relive those moments. Sure, there are times when we wish we could go back to how things used to be, or just spend a little bit more time in a certain stage of life. But the truth is, you’ll make yourself unhappy if you focus on the past instead of living in the present.

These past couple of weeks have been difficult for me for various reasons. I can be really hard on myself and I haven’t had a very positive outlook recently. I think a lot of major life changes just happened at once and it’s taking me time to get used to. Brendan and I have been living in our apartment for a little over a month now, so getting married and moving into a place of our own was a pretty big life event. And with that comes the adjustment of making our apartment feel like home, finding our way around a new city and adapting to Brendan’s work schedule.

The change in sleep patterns has been hard on my body too. I’ve recently gained some weight and have been feeling such low self-esteem. If you know me at all, you know that my weight and body image has been a big issue for me for the past few years. To make a long story short (I may do a separate post sometime that goes into more detail), I lost a lot of weight leading up to and right after my wedding. With all of the wedding planning, packing and moving, I had lost quite a bit of weight and was at an all-time low for myself. I hadn’t weighed so little since I was 15 years-old. However, I am short and have a small frame, so I wasn’t dangerously underweight. I actually felt good about my body and felt energized and healthy. But once we got moved into our apartment and my busy schedule came to a screeching halt, I ended up gaining the weight back. I know I’m no where near being overweight, but I just hate knowing that I gained weight. And it doesn’t help that I strayed away from my workout routine and have lost what muscle I had.

I KNOW that I should focus on how my body feels and not the number on the scale, but that’s still a challenge for me. I’ve spent so much time worrying about my weight and it’s affected my overall mood. Not good. So this past weekend, I made a point to make sure I start focusing on how my body feels instead of letting the number on the scale control my mood. I’ve been to the gym three times this week, went on walks through the city with Brendan and ate foods that nourished my body. I’ve been choosing to be happy with myself, and while that may not always be easy to do, it has been so freeing. I have to keep reminding myself that I need to take care of my body and treat it the way God wants me to. Hopefully I’m taking steps in the right direction.

At this point I still don’t have a job, which in some ways is nice and others not so much. It’s been nice having free time to get our apartment organized, practicing meal prep, learning how to grocery shop and cook for two (Brendan and I are almost complete opposites when it comes to meal time) and also just having time to read, journal and blog like I’m doing now. On the other hand, sometimes I think I have TOO much free time. I’m the type of person that thrives on a busy schedule. Sure, there might be times when I have a meltdown and just wish things would slow down, but at least I know I’m being productive and getting things accomplished. I like making to-do lists, I like seeing appointments and events written on my calendar and I work well under pressure (I guess I got that from writing for my college’s newspaper). So to go from having a hectic schedule full of wedding planning details at the beginning of the year, to just figuring out what I should buy from the grocery store next week, is a drastic change of pace.

I was honestly a little scared of searching for a job when we first moved here – I was worried that it might be TOO much for me to adjust to all at once. But now that we are comfortably settled in our new apartment, I think I’m ready to take the hunt more seriously. God has been good and has helped provide us with all that we need working with just one income. But I know it would be a great help for me to find a job, and it would also be good to put my free time to good use. Sometimes I like to dream about how nice it would be to do blogging as my full-time job, and maybe some gardening or something on the side. But for now, I’ll just keep taking the baby steps necessary to work my way up. I know that God has a job in mind for me, even if I don’t know what it is yet, and I know that He has blessed me with this time of not having a job for a reason.

The lesson to be learned here is that life requires a positive mindset for you to truly be happy. And the only person that can change that mindset is YOU! Happiness is a choice, so  go for a walk outside, journal about your feelings, go grab coffee with a friend, whatever it is that gives you clarity of thought and brings you peace. You have the power to make your own sunshine, so get out and do it!