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Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Very Jekyll and Hyde Weekend

I feel as though I'm at a crossroads of sorts. I went to an Isagenix training Friday night. It was great and it was tough. I was faced with some realities and I think my scaredy lion came roaring back. I feel like tucking my tail between my legs and giving up. You see the speaker at this event is an Isagenix millionaire. Would I like to be a millionaire? Sure. But that's not what I dream about. I dream about being a successful woman. I dream about being a leader in my community. I dream about helping people with my God given talents. And those talents ARE given to me by God. So, what I realized within the first few minutes was that this speaker is all of that. She is a woman. I, however, feel as though I am a mere girl, playing dress up. As the speaker shared her story I pulled so many similarities from my own life. What ultimately blew me away was that we are the same age and this hit me harder than I would have expected.

You see, I've made it to a point in my life that I can honestly say that I love myself. I deserve love and happiness. I am worthy. What has blindsided me is that those feelings of unworthiness have crept back in. Only this time it's related to success and business. I feel unworthy of being successful. There. I said it. All of my doubts and fears are weighing me down. I'm stuck in this in-between place where I know I have these skills. I know I could be really good at it. But I've got all of these doubts. I couldn't run my own business. Why would a client pay me to help them? I'll never make it.

I wrote the above last night. Since then I've had my biggest fan give me one of his speeches. My husband is my biggest supporter and he's always on my side. He tells me the truth, not just what I want to hear. One of the things that I didn't want to hear was that I have too many things on my plate. I know it's true. I just don't want to hear it. I've got too many things on the go and I don't want to drop any of them because I don’t want to disappoint anyone or let anyone down. Here's the thing about juggling too many balls at once a lot of balls get dropped. Because I have too many items on my agenda I'm not able to put in the effort I would like and a lot of things get put off or even forgotten about because something else came up that was a priority. With all of this in mind I came to three decisions. I decided to let one thing go immediately. The second one I will start the stepping back process until I can completely bow out at least at this stage in my life. The last one is to focus more on my health and well-being, which ultimately is the whole idea of letting go of some items on my agenda.

Once I made my decisions I did some spring cleaning to help with my newly decluttered mind. I went through my very cluttered inbox that held over 1200 emails and brought that number down to 59. In the process I rediscovered the Harlem Globe Trotter tickets that I received as a Christmas gift. The event is next Sunday! Can you imagine if I hadn't gone back through my email in time?

Then I moved into the kitchen and organized it as well. You see, we were given a pantry a few days ago and I still hadn't cleaned it out. It's clean now. My spices and baking supplies have filled the pantry! And now I have so much cupboard space!

It's amazing how quickly your viewpoint can open up once you make a decision. What holds me back is the indecision. Indecision leads me to overwhelm and procrastination. What this looks like on the outside is a lot of tv watching and laziness.

I am a woman of many interests and I try to take them all on at once - like any good "superwoman". That is until I gravity pulls me crashing back down to the real world. I can't do it all. I can't learn everything at once. I can't volunteer for everything little thing that interests me.

This weekend was a good bump in the road. It helped me around some hurdles that were blocking me path. I can see clearly again and I am at peace. Or at least my current version of peace. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Updated Workspace Continued

 A couple of weeks ago I went to a lot of trouble to update my work-space and within a few days I received this big beautiful desk. It's taken me some time to finally get to cleaning up my new area, but I finally did. My space was in dire need of organization. It never ceases to amaze me how decluttering a physical space helps declutter your mind space.

So, here you go. My before and after pictures. I've got so much space to work with now! Maybe I'll actually get to do some real work this weekend.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

21 Days to a New Habit

Don't worry I haven't forgotten about my writing every day challenge. Over the weekend, I realized that I have 28 posts in 22 days. So, I took a break. I've accomplished what I set to do - to reestablish myself as a blogger and to refresh my love of writing. 

Here we are on March 26th and I'm feeling more like myself again. I'm even excited about starting a new phase of Being Elle through video blogging. I'm working out a few more kinks and then I was thinking I'd post a video once a week. 

My first vlog went over really well. I'm so thankful to all of you for your positive comments and encouragement. I really appreciate it. 

So, today is day 21 on Isagenix. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. I've lost 16 lbs so far and I feel amazing! Okay, a little tired today, but the last two nights I've stayed up beyond late. So, It's a product of my own making. I find everything is just a little bit different. I have more energy. I find I don't yell at the kids nearly as much. Food tastes different. My next video post I will talk about some of those differences. I watch 98% less televison than before. Some of the not so fun parts of my day are a little easier to handle. (Stil not enjoying it though.) All of this and it's only been 21 days. Can you imagine what I'll feel like in 3 months? 6 months? A year? 

The world feels full of possibilities. And I've really gotta get more sleep. I look forward to sharing my journey with you. Maybe some of you will even join me! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Day in the Life of Being Elle - IsaGenix Style

Good morning and happy Saturday to you! I hope you enjoy some rest and relaxation today. Here's a glimpse of what we woke up to in Ottawa today.
Nothing says spring quite like a snow storm!
I had grand plans to do another video post today, but it'll have to wait until I've got a tripod for my camera.

After yesterday's post I realized that I rambled on and on about this program called Isagenix, but I didn't really go into the details. So, I thought I'd do a day in the life of my Isagenix plan through pictures.

Isagenix Corner
Welcome to Being Elle's Isagenix Corner. It's my little corner of health and wellness. I keep all of my products together for easy access. The extras I store in a cupboard.

So, let's take a tour of my day with Isagenix.

When I wake up I usually have a cup of water and find my way to the kitchen. I start off with 1 oz of Ionix Supreme and yes, I do take it from a shot glass. Why not make it fun?

Ionix Supreme is a nutrient-rich herbal tonic infused with natural vitamins, minerals and plant-based Adaptogens. 

Then I make my breakfast shake. I use my shaker cup to measure the water and I add a few ice cubes as well. I pour the water and ice into the blender, add two scoops of the IsaLean Shake, and blend for about 30 seconds.

IsaLean Shakes are a complete, 240-calorie meal replacement that perfectly blends 24 grams of no compromise undenatured protein, low-glycemic carbs and healthy fats to reduce your caloric intake without depriving your body of much needed nutrition. 
IsaLean Shakes are clinically shown to: 
  • Burn fat and support lean muscle 
  • Reduce cravings and keep you full longer 
  • Increase energy and recovery 
  • Soy-free with active enzymes to aid digestion 
  • Less than $3 per meal, no artificial colors or flavors

I also take one Natural Accelerator capsule with my breakfast and one with my afternoon snack.

Support your body’s ability to efficiently metabolize fat with Natural Accelerator. Natural thermogenic ingredients such as cayenne, green tea, cinnamon and ginseng have been shown to possess fat-burning qualities, which can kindle metabolism and support weight loss. 

  • Excellent for Cleanse Days 
  • Helps reduce appetite 
  • Helps boost metabolism and burn fat 
  • Stimulant free and will not cause the jitters
I enjoy two shakes a day. One for breakfast and one for lunch.

Now, you may be wondering about snacks. Well, I have a morning snack and an afternoon snack. The snacks don't look like much but they really do work.

Isagenix Snacks are the perfect balance of taste and nutrition. Contain a perfect balance of nutrients to help naturally curb your appetite to keep your weight loss goals on track. These wafers are the perfect balance of taste and nutrition to help take the edge off of hunger. 

  • Great for Cleanse Days or any day of the week 
  • Naturally curbs appetite 
  • Maximizes weight loss 
  • Dairy-free option also available

The IsaDelights are the most amazing part of this whole system. These chocolates have saved me through this journey. I don't feel deprived because I still get to eat chocolate. Currently I've got the dark chocolate, but next time I'm going with the milk chocolate. I've tried both and while I'm a huge dark chocolate fan I'm finding I like the milk chocolate IsaDelights a little more.

IsaDelight Plus are a delicious, guilt-free chocolate that satisfies hunger and sugar cravings. Milk or Dark Chocolate. Your Choice. When your brain is low on “feel-good” chemicals, it seeks out sugar, junk food and caffeine to artificially boost your energy and mood levels. IsaDelight Plus is specially formulated with green tea extract, amino acids, antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals to help ease those cravings. The creamy Milk Chocolate and delicious Dark Chocolate squares also boost your energy, mood and fire up your fat-burning potential. 

  • Curbs cravings on Cleanse Days or any day 
  • Low in sugar, equal to 1/8 of an apple 
  • Helps burn fat 
  • Only 60 calories per treat

So, there you have it. A day in the life of me. Dinner is whatever I make, but I try my best to stick within the Isagenix recommendations. I make sure to load up on the veggies at dinner and I don't snack in the evening at all. I drink a lot of water throughout the day and a lot of herbal tea. In fact, herbal tea has become my new obsession. It's been a journey just to find the right herbal tea but I think I finally have. Through the process though I've amassed a lot of tea. Maybe I need to have a tea party!

My favorites are the Peach Mango White and the Chocolate Orange

Friday, March 21, 2014

Vlog: An Overview of my Introduction to Isagenix

So, here it is. My first official vlog. (Okay, it might be the second attempt.) I decided that I would start posting videos about my Isagenix journey. Sometimes it's easier to talk about than to write about. Although in this case maybe I should have written about it. At least I could have edited my words a little better. This is naturel...No editing. No retakes. It's 6 minutes and 12 seconds long. If you can sit still long enough to watch me embarrass myself.

If you can't get the video to work go to this link:

Okay. Okay. Go ahead and laugh. It's really awkward watching yourself talk. Ah my favorite embarrassing moments to mention are when I say "Jump in with both feet head first" and then while talking about energy I actually say "I'm full of it".
Yeah, I'm full of something alright. I think I advertised Blackberry quite nicely even though it wasn't intentional. It's just my biggest cup these days.
All in all. I feel really awkward, but I'm gonna post this anyway. Why not jump in with both feet head first?  

March 21: Refresh (Chapter Eleven)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

Don’t think balance will happen overnight—or even over an eleven-day challenge. It takes practice, and practice takes time. Spend a few minutes reviewing what you’ve learned throughout this challenge and what you hope to continue implementing in your life. Then blog about how you can keep persevering and working toward balance after the challenge has ended. Share encouragement for those who might feel they’ve failed at balance.

As I'm sure you've discovered the dream of a completely balance life does not exist. Life is a series of constant changes. Some days you'll feel like you've achieved balance only to have disaster strike the next day. You're not alone. Dare I say, you're even normal.

Over the past eleven days I've had my ups and downs. I had days that I could write and write and other days I wondered why I signed up for this challenge. In the end, I am glad that I've taken the time to do each challenge. I've learned a lot and I hope I maintain most of that knowledge. I thought I'd finish up with a brief overview of my Balanced Challenge.

Day 1
Make your family a priority. Take a look at what is most important to you as a family. What do you want to accomplish as a family? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years? For my family, I hope that we be close as the kids grow older.

Day 2
Find ways to make working at home work for you. Create your own space to work in. Make it comfortable, inspiring and functional.

Day 3
How can you get your kids involved in what you do? Get inspiration from your children or ask them for ideas. Explain what it is you're doing.

Day 4
Believe God. God made you uniquely you. He gave you gifts that no one else has. Believe that God gave you these gifts for a reason and use them for His glory.

Day 5
Create a schedule by ranking your priorities. What is truly important? What has to be done? What are you doing just because you think other's expect you to?

Day 6
Do what you can. Use those small windows of time to be productive. Sweep the floor, fold a load of laundry, fill the sink with soapy water for the dishes to soak.

Day 7
Seek Support. It's okay to ask for help. It's even okay to hire help where needed. The upkeep for a family is a lot of work and doesn't need to fall on the shoulders of one person.

Day 8
Make your day amazing! Give thanks to God for your blessings. Sing His praises. Take the time to appreciate each member of your family for being unique. I had a mini dance party with my 6.5 year old daughter.

Day 9
Find inspiration and rest. There is F.R.E.E.D.O.M. in following your dreams. I am finding peace and joy in researching my dream!

Day 10
Eight. What are your eight life themes? What matters most to you? Music. Family. People. God. Friendship. Play. Laugh. Appreciate.

Day 11
Know that there will be ups and downs. True balance comes within. Let go of the things that really don't matter in the long run. Remember to go to God first instead of as a last resort. Spend quality time with the people you love and delegate whatever you can. Live in peace even through the chaos of our every changing lives.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20: Eight (Chapter Ten)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

Read chapter ten and come up with your list of “eight.” Then write down those eight themes on a pretty piece of paper and post it somewhere you’ll see it often (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, bulletin board, etc.). Then take a picture of it and post it on your blog.

Music, singing, worship. It's how God reached me and music is what kept me coming back. I was not blessed with a beautiful voice, but I love to sing. So I do. All the time and I think it brings joy to the Lord.

Family is what you make it. There are those you're born to, those you are drawn to and those you draw to you.

People matter. Get to know the people in your community, whether that's at work, at church or in your neighborhood.

Serving a higher purpose. There's nothing more rewarding than knowing you've positively affected someone else's life.

Friendship is a gift. Treasure your friendships. Nurture your relationships so they can blossom and grow as you change throughout life.

Take time to play. You're never to old to have fun. Always be young at heart. Life is short.

Laugh at yourself. Laughter is the best medicine. Have you ever done something ridiculous or really embarrassing? The quicker you can laugh at yourself the better you'll feel. Don't waste time scolding yourself - it'll only bring you down.

Be thankful. For all the little things. Those are what you miss the most when they're gone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19: Inspiration and Relaxation (Chapter Nine)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

Give your mind a rest and a dose of good, old-fashioned inspiration. Carve out some time today to implement one of my tips about finding inspiration and enjoy the feeling of creativity. Then come up with your own list of ways you can find inspiration and share those on your blog.

Find time to spend with God. This is an area I continually struggle with. I find I have been talking to God more lately and that's progress from where I was a couple of months ago. I definitely need want to carve out time in my day and dedicate it to quality time with God.

Research the area you want to pursue. I've started doing this. I keep collecting information. I've amassed so much that I need to find time to sort through it and keep what's good and get rid of the rest.

Expect to make adjustments to your schedule. I'm married, have three kids and work full time...I definitely expect to make adjustments to my schedule, especially since I want to start my own business. Research and planning is all done in my spare time.

Enjoy the process of striving toward your dream. I admit that this is an easy one. When I do get some solid time to work on my dream I find it completely uplifting. I do get a little frustrated when I don't get as much time to work on things as I'd like. I need to go back a step and expect to make adjustments.

Develop relationships with others who share the same talents and goals. Relationships come naturally to me, although I do find it difficult to purposely network in real life. Online is so much easier and yes I suppose safer as well. No doesn't hurt as much while online. Although I have also met some amazing people online who share similar talents and goals.

Openly communicate your dreams to your family, and ask them to share theirs. I try to be as much of an open book as I can be. There have been times when I've had ideas and friends or family have shot those ideas down. Yes, maybe some really were ridiculous. Some of my dreams however could have been worth following. Would they have taken a lot of work? Absolutely. Is there risk in following your dreams? Yes, of course. Can I accomplish my dreams? I can, if it's part of God's plan.

Make daily appointments with God to ensure you are on the right track. I often forget to consult with God and when I do everything seems to go askew. I wanted to come up with the right business name. I couldn't move forward until I had the right name. I made several attempts. A few times I thought I had it right. And then I got God involved and suddenly a couple of words popped out at me and I was able to put something together. I'm still not 100% sure about it as the name, but I know the words I found are going to be the foundation of my business. I know it will be a solid foundation.

How do I find inspiration? 

I find inspiration in my day to day life, in the people I meet and the things that happen from one day to the next. Music helps a lot too. Listening to loud music and singing along is my happy place. When I do come up with ideas I have a friend that I run to for advice on whether it's good, bad, just plain crazy. The best part is no matter how ridiculous my ideas are she's always honest and encouraging.

As a side note I also tend to get my best ideas while in the shower or while washing the dishes. I'm not 100% sure why that is. I assume it's because I don't need to think about the task at hand and I can let my mind wander. All I know for sure is it works.

I'd love to hear about ways that you find inspiration!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18: Make Today Amazing (Chapter Eight)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

Take one of my tips to make today amazing (toward the end of the chapter in Balanced) and implement it today. Did you notice a difference in your attitude? What changed? Blog about it!

Oh, Tricia continues to stretch my limits with the Balanced Challenge. I'm expecting that monthly visitor and it's been quite difficult with today's challenge. Here are the highlights:
  • I sang Psalm 51 while in the shower. I actually sang it off and on throughout the day. It's such a blessing to have a song of God in my heart!
  • I had a nap in my car. Yes, this was a highlight. It was quiet, peaceful, and warm (heated seats).
  • I took a few minutes to listen to Furious by Jeremy Riddle (Bethel Church). Okay I played a couple of versions and replayed them a couple of times. God loves us furiously!  
  • I took a few minutes to lay on the couch with my head on my husband's lap.
  • I hugged each of my children and told them I love them
  • My kids put away their clothes and the boys did the dishes!
  • My daughter and I had a mini dance party
The mini dance party is really what made my day truly awesome! May I suggest your own mini dance party?
Here's what I was singing in the shower this morning:
Have Mercy on Me, O God
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin
You cleanse me from my sin
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy,
the joy of your salvation.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17: Teamwork (Chapter Seven)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

Many hands make light work—and moms, you shouldn’t feel the need to do everything yourself. Schedule a quick family meeting today to talk to your kids and spouse about the responsibilities you all can share to make your load a bit lighter. Blog about what task was given to whom.

Well, it's our wedding anniversary today so our schedule this evening was totally off. I drove home from work to pick up the kids and my husband. We dropped the kids off at the in-laws and went for a lovely dinner at East Side Mario's.

By the time we got home it was after 8 so I got my six year old daughter to bed. The boys, however, I asked them to clean the kitchen. Of course, I got the usual hesitations.

So, I took some time to talk to them about how we are all a part of this family. We're a family of five living in a nice home. If each one of us helps out around the house it benefits all of us. We keep trying to give them a specific "chore" but this doesn't always work out so well. Instead, we're just all going to help with what is needed.

Tonight, what was needed, was the kitchen to be tidied up. The boys did a great job of doing the dishes and making sure the kitchen was presentable. I'm sure tomorrow morning will go more smoothly having a clean kitchen!

Good night and God Bless!



Today is my wedding anniversary! I'm so blessed to have a husband who loves me beyond measure and treats me like a princess. I married my best friend and soul mate this day 8 years ago.

Happy Anniversary to the Most Amazing Husband!
I love you always and forever!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Isa Update - Day 11

Good afternoon! What an amazing day. It's a beautiful and chilly day outside. For those of you keeping track. Today is Day 11 on the Isagenix program. It's also my 11th day without coffee! Day 11 is the first official weigh and measure day since starting the program.

I've lost 12.5 lbs and 8 inches!

I am so happy! This has been such a great journey so far and it's only been 11 days! I have so much energy. My positivity is at an all time high. And let's face it. It feels so good to say I've lost 12.5 lbs!

Friday I did my first cleanse day. It was quite challenging. I did okay for most of the day. The real challenge was feeling hungry through the evening. Thankfully, a friend called and I went to visit her which helped occupy my mind.

Saturday I learned something that totally amazes me. I had my usual shake for breakfast, a.m. snack, shake for lunch, p.m. snack and then I went to my small group for a potluck dinner. Here's what I've learned from this experience. Number 1...don't plan a cleanse day before a potluck (maybe cleanse days should be the day after a potluck). Number 2...eating a little of everything would have been enough. I guess the combination of feeling deprived for a day and a lot of really good food was just too much temptation. Number 3...being overfull changed my entire mood. I wasn't bouncy anymore. I was left feeling lethargic and ho-hum. Thankfully, today I am right back on top of things and feeling amazing. But seeing how my whole being was totally off after such a big meal really opened my eyes to what I've been doing to myself all these years. That is what amazes me. That I could see the difference so quickly and so thoroughly.

I'm off to enjoy my shake for lunch and run some errands before I get to making a beautiful dinner for my family and a guest tonight. So, have a great day! I'll see y'all tomorrow!

And for you parents out there...March Break is OVER! Yes! WOOT! Kids are back to school tomorrow! I don't know about you, but my kids NEED to get back into their normal routine.

Happy End of March Break!

March 16: Do What You Can (Chapter Six)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

Do you have an extra fifteen minutes before you need to hop in the car to pick up your kids? Make the most of them! Do a little laundry, organize a stack of papers, do a quick sweep of the kitchen. Those five, ten, and fifteen minutes add up throughout the day! Take advantage of them today and write about your experience and all you got done in today’s blog post.

Well, today is Sunday so it's already a little less harried than a regular week day. I woke earlier than I usually would and decided to stay up instead of going back to bed for an hour since I did get enough sleep. Today was weigh and measure day for the Isagenix program that I'm following. So, I did that first thing. Then I organized the mess in the kitchen so at least the dishes are soaking and the kitchen looks clean. By this time the kids woke and I set them up with some cartoons. I have a friend coming for dinner tonight so I've taken the meat out of the freezer. Brought up the clean laundry and started the washer to rewash the forgotten load that was in there. Now I'm back to organizing my workspace again. We got a new desk and I now have a real space to work at. I managed to get some of it done, but I still have some stuff to go through.

And now we're off to church. Have a blessed day!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 15: Rank Those Priorities (Chapter Five)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

At the end of chapter five, there’s a ranking system to help you form your calendar before you fill it. Using the ranking system, revamp your calendar, then take a picture of it to post on your blog. Write a few sentences about what you’re giving up to fill instead with what’s truly important.

It took me quite a while but I managed to put together a schedule. I usually fly by the seat of my pants. And I can tell you it's not working. So, when putting together a calendar for this challenge I really thought about how I want my days to look.

First things first. I have to work. If I have to work then I have to get ready to go to work. I love how Tricia gives examples of each rank and that bible study and prayer are thing that you have to do. And she's right. Can I go to bed at a decent time so I can get up 30 minutes early? God willing, I'm going to give it a try this week!

I often struggle with getting sidetracked and losing track of the time so the kids don't always go to bed at their allotted bedtime. I included time for each child to get ready 15 min before bedtime.

I want to read the bible with the kids but I always put it off. So, in being realistic my goal is to do this with the children twice a week.

I'm sure my calendar will change and grow, but this is a pretty good start.

March 14: Believing God (Chapter Four)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

What have you been called by God to do? Take a few minutes away from work and family to sit with your Bible and talk to God. Believe that God placed your dreams and passions in your heart. Find a verse that speaks to you about this, and post it today on your blog.

Good morning. Yesterday was super busy and I quite literally fell asleep while blogging around 11:30. I woke after midnight and tried to continue, but I just didn't have it in me. So, here I am refreshed, renewed and ready to give you a post meant for March 14th.

I loved this challenge. When I read the above challenge I immediately thought about following God's path. Especially, right now. In this time of my life I feel like I am following God's path for me. I haven't felt an inner peace like this before. Do I still need to spend more time in prayer and in the word? Absolutely. So, I'm not saying this as a perfect person, but as a very imperfect one.

What have you been called by God to do?
Here's what I know for sure. I know that looking back on my life I can see how it's molded me into the person I am today. Some of that was through decisions I made and a lot of it is through God working in my life behind the scenes.

For example, when I look back through my childhood I can see God sent God loving people into my life to introduce me to church. It may have been sporadic, but I think it helped give me a foundation for when I finally accepted Him in my life.

I have a lot of education and training in a variety of areas. I have wanted to be a journalist, a web designer, a supervisor, an addictions counselor. I have wanted to open up an internet café, a restaurant and a bar. I have been a cashier, a technical support specialist, a sandwich artist, a sub shop manager, a customer service rep. I am a wife and a mom. I currently work as a medical secretary.

My true calling in life?

That's to work with women as individuals. To be an advocate for her. To encourage her. To inspire her. There are so many women with little to no self-esteem; women who feel completely lost and broken. I've seen the difference between a broken woman and a confident woman who can love herself. A woman who loves herself can love on her family in a much stronger way than if she is hurting inside. The world could be a beautiful place with strong, confident, loving women.  

God has given me many gifts to use for his glory. I have the gift of observation - I can quickly pick up on it if someone is upset. I have the gift of building relationships. I meet women throughout my day and have these intimate conversations. I also have the gift of hugging. (I hold back when in a work environment) I am the hugger that hugs too long. I told you about my instinct to know when someone is upset. Well, I also know when to hold on just a little longer. It's hard for a broken woman to accept that hug. It's even harder for her to keep up her walls when I keep holding on. Every broken woman is looking for love. The love of others, the love of self, and she may not know it but the love of God.

I have a dream. A dream of starting my own business. A dream of inspiring women and encouraging women to accept their brokenness and learn to love themselves. I believe that God put this dream and this passion for helping on my heart. I believe that I will one day make a career out of helping women. I believe in God and the path that he has for me.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all tour ways submit to him, and he will makes your paths straight.  
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:3-8 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Get Your Kids Involved (Chapter Three)

How can you get your kids involved in what you’re working on? How can they experience what your job is like and contribute to it? For me, that meant allowing my kids to come with me on research trips or to meet people I was interviewing. Write a blog post about different ways you can involve your kids in your job, then stop by others’ blogs to see if you can use their ideas with this task!

This is a really tough one. I currently work outside the home so when I get home I love the greeting I receive from my kids, but I also crave some alone time. I have often blogged about funny or frustrating moments with the kids. So, they've definitely helped in the topic department.
Dreams don’t happen if they stay dreams; you have to do something about them.

I think the best way to get my kids involved is for them to see me actively pursuing my dreams. And instead of telling them to go to another room because I'm busy I'm going to start explaining what it is I'm working on. They may not fully understand right now, but one day they will and just maybe they'll be successful in making their dreams come true!

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 12: How Your Work Benefits from You Being at Home (Chapter Two)

Chapter 2 - How Your Work Benefits from You Being at Home
What can you do or change to make working from home actually work for you? Creating an office space? Cleaning up that office space? Looking into finding a babysitter for a few hours a day? Take the first steps in making the change, then take a photo of your progress and post it on your blog.

I truly tried to do this tonight. While I did end up with a decent workspace it did not come easily!

My workspace is in my living room. The computer is set up with the tv. The idea is to send the kids upstairs for a certain amount of time while I have quality work time. Before I could get to work though I needed to organize my clutter.

The box if full of papers, books, taxes and a skirt that needs to be sewn. Beside the box are two baskets of yarn and crochet accessories. Okay there's a lot here, but if I just prioritize then I think I can get it done. What the priority here? Oh yes, my skirt so I can wear it to work tomorrow.

And then I realized I needed to wash my comforter so we can use it tonight. Off I go down the stairs to start a load of wash. Only, there's a load in the dryer and the washer already. I finish switching over the laundry and get my dirty sheets and comforter into the washer, make the bed with clean sheets so now all it needs it the comforter. Then I remember how disgusting my bathroom is. So, I cleaned it and pushed all the dirty laundry into the laundry room, gathered up all the garbage in the basement, and brought up some dirty dishes.

Now I'm upstairs. Back to sewing my skirt. Wait my sewing box is broken. I need something else to put this stuff in. Somehow, my vitamins and medications got organized and I eventually found something to put my meager sewing stuff into.

Crap. It's later than I realized and my daughter needs to go to bed.

So, I did managed to sew my skirt while watching a couple of sitcoms. Finally, I managed to go through my big box of stuff and organize it into tidy little pile. Here are some pictures while going through the worst of it.



 The final product and I have a feeling tomorrow will go a lot more smoothly as a result!

In the round table is what's left of my pile. I still have lots of crochet stuff, but it's easy to hide. I need it accessible so I can complete a blanket I'm working on.

Overall, I got so much done tonight, even if it wasn't all on my radar. I felt a little it like I fell down the rabbit hole and couldn't find the right way out. So, I think it will be a lot less stressful when I sit down to work from here on out.

Today's challenge...accepted and completed!

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11: Family Priorities (Chapter One)

Welcome to Chapter one of Balanced - Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom, By Tricia Goyer.

Determine what your priorities as a family are. Ask yourself a few questions:

What do we want to achieve as a family?
- To have dinner together as a family
- To spend quality time together

What will matter five years from now—ten years from now?
- That my children have a close relationship with one another
- That we're a close knit family who enjoys each other's company

What will mold our children into God-serving adults?
- To take turns praying at dinner
- To spend time reading the bible together
- To connect and serve in our church and community

What will bring peace—not stress—to our home?
- That my children will learn to be a part of the family unit and that chores help the whole household
- To look at what God is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us

So, that's my answers to the questions of chapter one. There are some things I need to implement like the praying and reading the bible with the kids. We do eat dinner most nights as a family, but there's definitely room for improvement. Stay tuned for Chapter Two tomorrow!

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

A Mass Update - Writing/Isagenix/Balanced Challenge

Balanced Challenge
I've been reading another Tricia Goyer book, Balanced - Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. She's such a fantastic writer and so down to earth. Tricia really is my kind of woman - completely imperfect but she is an inspiration because of these imperfections. This book isn't just for the work-at-home moms. It's really for any parent who is trying to find that balanced life.  For the next eleven days I'll be posting my personal answers to questions from each chapter.

Writing Challenge
So, for those of you who are keeping up...Yes. I am doing a challenge within a challenge within a challenge. (31 Days of Writing Challenge, 12 Week IsaBody Challenge, and 11 Day Balanced Challenge) This of course is on top of all the other things I do...I work full time, have three kids and a husband. Plus there's church things, and a board of directors I'm involved with. Plus there's the mystery thing I'm working on too.

I'm starting to think I may need to scale down on some things.


Isagenix Update
I have to say today's been a pretty amazing day. I was pretty tired this morning, but I've had so much creativity today it's insane! I spent my 30 minute lunch break working on my mystery project. And the creativity just keeps on coming. You know the last three days I've actually done a little bit of house work. Yes. For me, that IS a big deal. It's not even like I set out to do these extra things on purpose. I've just been doing them. It's like I'm seeing things differently. This is pretty fantastic.

Isagenix where've you been for the last 9 years?!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Writing Challenge - Day 10

I am Daylight Savings tired! I had a pretty good day. I'm noticing more energy than I'm used to. I came home did the dishes, made supper and did like 3 loads of laundry. Oh and I helped two of my kids clean their rooms. And now I'm done. I promised I'd write every day. So, this is me writing basically to say good night.

Good. Night.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Motivation to Start Isagenix (Writing Challenge - Day 9)

Well, it's Sunday. It's day 4 of Isagenix and Day 9 of my Writing Challenge. I have to tell you that today I feel good. I won't go as far as to say I feel great because I still have a sore throat and my head is still a bit foggy. But I feel GOOD. I feel positive. So, I though today would be a good day to write about my motivations and my previous challenges.

I haven't always been overweight. Most of my childhood I was average size. It wasn't until high school that I started to gain weight. At first I was just chubby (the good Lord knows I hate this word). Then in college the weight just started to pile on, eventually I went from overweight to obese while pregnant with my first child. Between my first and second child I managed to lose weight and keep it off. I felt amazing and looked pretty good. Then I got pregnant with my second and third children and haven't been able to really stick with anything for long. I've had some good runs, some almost there's, but ultimately I've ended up being overweight and at the heaviest I've ever been. I've been overweight for about half of my life and definitely most of my adult life.

Here's the thing. While I was growing up I always saw myself as fat. I saw myself as ugly, unlovable and stupid. It's taken me a lot of years to finally see myself as pretty - to know that I am smart. Did you know that I never went to university because I didn't think I was smart enough? How sad is that?

For nearly ten years I've been with a man who loves me no matter what size I am but it's only been within the last year that I've been able to say I love myself and mean it.

Food has been my comfort in life. Food's always been there for me. It's never judged me. I would eat when I was stressed, or happy, or sad, or angry, or bored. Whatever emotion I was feeling I would eat.

One of my biggest challenges has been how to eat vegetables with a house full of picky eaters. It just became easier to not eat veggies. The thing is I enjoy eating vegetables. I just got into the bad habit of not eating them.

Now that I’ve worked on my emotional well-being I no longer need food for comfort. However, I’ve been doing the same thing for so long it's really difficult to break the cycle.

I've tried counting points, counting calories, intermittent fasting, fad diets - you name it. I have a few before pictures and zero after pictures. I'm really good at starting diets and really bad at sticking with them. I always start the same way - "This time feels different."  "This will be the one that works." And then exhaustion sets in or old habits take over and I'm right back where I started.   

This is where Isagenix comes in. I’ve seen friends’ lives transformed. I’ve seen this vitality and rejuvenation in them and it has sparked a fire within me. I want what they have. I want so much energy that my husband and kids have to keep up with me.

There’s a new life out there that's just waiting for me to wake up and join the race.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Writing Challenge Day 8

Today marks my 3rd day on Isagenix. No headache today! I'm doing fairly well without the coffee. I did pass out for 45 min this afternoon, but who doesn't enjoy a nice Saturday afternoon nap? It's only been three days, but I'm sticking to it surprisingly. The added incentive of not wanting to waste my money must be helping. That's not to say I'm not tempted all day long, because I am. The hardest moment today was while talking on the phone. I guess I'm a fridge scrounger while talking on the phone. I opened the fridge door several times during my phone call. Thankfully I was able to resist. I think evenings will continue to be a challenge until my body gets used to eating less.

I joined the IsaBody Challenge today. It's runs for 16 weeks so my end date will be June 28, 2014. I decided I'm not going to post my before pictures until there's some progress pictures to compare to. I will, however, admit that when I started Isagenix on March 6th I weighed 266.9 lbs. A little less than my heaviest which was at the 270 lbs mark the last time I weighed myself and it's been a while. Right now my goals are simple:
  • Stick to the program for one month
  • Gain some much needed energy
  • Start working out in a couple of weeks
  • Complete the 16 week challenge
As for any ultimate goals? I'm not ready to talk about those yet. I want to be able to say that this is working before I try to give myself some final goal that seems impossible.

Until tomorrow my faithful readers! This gal is headed to bed shortly.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Writing Challenge Day 7

Happy Friday! It's now Day 7 of my daily writing challenge. This post marks my 9th in 7 days. I think that's something worth celebrating.

I'm on my second day of Isagenix and it's been quite difficult. I shared my struggles from last night. This morning most of the problems stem from my head cold. I woke with a very sore and swollen throat. My skirt had a tear in the back. And I just had this complete mental fog all day long. There were a few moments at work today where I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. However, as always I found a way to get to everything done.

My hunger level while at work was okay for the most part. I am finding this afternoon quite challenging. My kids asked for some popcorn as a snack and I didn't eat ONE kernel of popcorn! I wanted to so badly! Even the cold mac and cheese my kids left uneaten from their lunch looks tempting. Gross, but still tempting. I will prevail. I'm glad it's the weekend. I'm hoping a couple of days off will help my body get used to eating less.

I've had a headache for most of the day, but it's just a dull ache now. Here's hoping tomorrow I won't have one at all. At this point I'm not sure what is head cold and what is toxins leaving my body. Either way it's a pain in the neck. I've been told it's all worth it. A few days of misery to get to feel amazing? Come on, I've GOT to be able to handle that!

I mentioned that I would think about posting my measurements for the world to see. I've decided I will, but not yet. I'll either put the details up with a post about starting the IsaBody Challenege or I might wait until the end of 1 month to post the differences.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 1 Isa Update

I promised that I would let you know how the rest of my day went. Well, the truth is it was pretty awful. I had my IsaLean Shake for lunch and then started to feel psychologically hungry. Anyone who's ever dieted knows what I mean. It's when you've just eaten and you know your body isn't hungry but boy do you feel hungry. I was able to remind myself that my body is used to not eating lunch after 2:00 anyway. So, suck it up Susan and get on with your day. Only that shortly before 2:00 my head started to pound. I guess my body finally realized the skipped coffee was on purpose and that no caffeine would be coming. By the time I finally went on my lunch break I could barely see. I grabbed a chamomile tea, ate my fiber snack bar and napped in my car for 20 minutes. The nap helped a bit with the headache but by the time I was finally on my way home I was a very miserable woman. I had to run an errand on the way home and let's just say I was not a very gracious human being. My original plan for dinner wen t out the window because I was too hungry to wait. Thankfully I was able to throw together quite the nice meal for myself. I put together a salad with Greek dressing, jalapeno cheese and hard boiled eggs. Then I had the rhubarb walnut muffin that was given to me earlier in the day. All of it was delicious. I'm sure it's not exactly what I should have eaten, but I've gotta work with what's in my cupboard for a couple of days. At least I didn't eat the Oreos! Herbal tea is definitely helping get me through. I really need to pick up some peach herbal tea. I am finding the rest of my evening a bit challenging. This is my prime snacking time. This is hard, but not impossible. I see an early bedtime in my near future.

Isagenix Day 1 - Writing Challenge Day 6

Okay, so my titles are getting a little long...I may need to rethink those.
My morning started off with the Ionix Supreme, an IsaLean Shake and a natural accelerator. Followed by 500 mL of water. At work I had 500 mL of Energenix, an herbal tea (blueberry pomegranate) and I had two Isagenix Snacks. I've included a picture because it's a little weird eating what looks like large chewable vitamins as a snack.
As far as the taste of everything...I can't say it tastes great, but it's not awful. It's definitely doable and who knows after a month I may enjoy the taste. I've definitely had similar products from other companies that were horrendous.
It's currently 11:30 and I'm feeling peckish. Hoping to hold off till 12:00-12:30. What is really challenging is that someone brought me a homemade muffin and I found Oreos in my desk I should have eaten yesterday so I've had to get drastic and put everything in a box and tape it shut. And I thought the coffee would be my biggest worry.  I'll post about the rest of my day later.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Starting Isagenix Tomorrow

This writing challenge must be working because I'm already back for more...I should totally wait until midnight to post this.

Remember how I mentioned I'd soon be starting this Isagenix program? Well, my products arrived today and I'm jumping right in. I'm starting the program tomorrow, March 6, 2014. In preparation I drank three cups of coffee and stuffed my face with several Oreo cookies.

This evening I had a teleconference with a couple of people who are (I'm not sure what to call them) part of the Isagenix team. Everyone I'm talked to through Isagenix has been so helpful and positive. I really do feel like I have a whole team of people behind me supporting me and this is beyond my usual support system of family and friends. I have to say it's a little overwhelming and completely awesome.

This is all of the products that came in the box.
So, here's what I've learned so far about the products that came in my kit. I watched a video and took notes so that I could figure out what each product is for.  
Cleanse for Life: a nutritional drink that heightens the body's ability to break down and release harmful substances
IsaLean Shake: a well balanced complete meal replacement
Natural Accelerator: helps facilitate the cleansing process also increases fat burning and energy
Isagenix Snacks: well balanced snack to curb cravings
Isaflush: to address constipation
Energenix: included to help on those days you need a little more energy
Ionix Supreme: a nutritional drink that aids the body in combating stress with over 100 active ingredients from super foods
And a little gift to help get me started. This is the Isagenix Shaker and it has this neat little "BlenderBall" that is supposed to work really well. It looks pretty awesome, but I'll let you know tomorrow how it works.

Thank you to my friends who gave me a welcome to Isagenix!
Wish me luck! Tomorrow is start day and the first time I'll be without coffee in I don't know how long. I'm debating whether to share my measurements and weight...I'll sleep on it and decide tomorrow. Ta ta for now! Have a good night! 

Writing Challenge - Day 5

And I'm back.

So, this writing daily thing is a challenge for sure. A close friend of mine thought it would be too much. Well, guess what LLG? You were right! Ha! Look I admitted it for the world to see. That's not to say she isn't encouraging. Quite the opposite. She's the one who keeps telling me to get off my butt and just write....anything.

So, I'm gonna keep trying. I think it's good practice to get me back in the writing habit. Plus, achieving goals boosts confidence. And I'm totally human and completely imperfect so if I forgot one day I'll try my best to make up for it.

See, writing really helps. This morning was just the pits! And now I feel worlds better. I'm still sick and at work, but I'm in a better place emotionally.

Here's hoping you all have a better than an hour ago day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Isagenix (Writing Challenge - Day 4)

I swear I wrote most of this yesterday! I had a rough day so by the time I got home I was just plain done. So, here's my post meant for yesterday and yes I'll post another for today.

So, in a few days I'm going to be starting to follow the Isagenix program. I'm still learning about it so I won't go into a lot of details. I'll save that for when I've tried the program so I can give you my informed and tested opinion.

However, what's led me to try it is I know several people who are on it and I've seen a change in them. Mostly I've seen their energy level go through the roof. It's helped one friend come out of his shell and really start to promote the products. Not to mention the weight I've seen some people lose.

My first impression is how pricey it is for a month. But then I've tried a lot of other methods to lose weight and have probably spent triple at times.

My main goal here is to just try it for a month and see what happens. Worst case I go back to what I've been doing which isn't working anyway. Best case scenario I have energy and lose weight....hmm let me think about that one? Okay sign me up. Haha. I watched some videos and talked with people who represent the system. If it is as they say then I've got nothing to lose but weight and I'll gain so much more - energy, health, vitality.

Stay tuned. I'll post when I get my starter kit and we can take this journey together. Oh, and my biggest fear? Not drinking coffee. I have to admit that's the one part of this program that scares me. Although, if I'm being honest...I could totally do with less caffeine in my life.

Okay, that's it for what was supposed to be yesterday's post. I'll be back with today's.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Accidentally Awesome (Writing Challenge - Day 3)

"Oops, I'm awesome!" - Joey (almost 9)
These days I seriously hate Mondays. It's so hard to get out of bed in the morning. The fact that it's winter and minus a million doesn't help motivate me to get out of bed either. And then there's this place I go to and I'm not happy there. I won't go into details because I don't want to be disrespectful.

There's this other thing I'm working on that helps me get through my day. It's something I feel called to and I pray that my idea is along the same path God has for me. I would love to blab about it in detail but this is something I think I need to keep close to the vest. If it works out I'll shout it from the mountains.

So, after a long and very busy day today I am just plain weary. If I could sleep all day and night I think I would. Well, God bless children! They say the darndest things. After dinner my middle child gets up from the table and he says, "Oops, I'm awesome!" And I just find that statement both hilarious and somewhat profound. The more I repeat it in my head the more I love the idea. It's like "I didn't mean to, it just happened by accident."

Accidentally awesome.

So, I think I need to take a page from my son's playbook and become accidentally awesome! Maybe I'll start a revolution of becoming accidentally awesome.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Writing Challenge - Day 2

I don't have much to say today. It seems like I'm getting the cold my kids have. I'm working on something and I had a breakthrough this weekend. I'm really excited about it, but I don't want to jinx it. Sorry! You'll just have to wait until I'm ready. Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Challenge Accepted - Day 1

Happy March!

I've been in a writing funk for a couple of years now. I go through short bursts of writing regularly to long droughts of little to no posts at all. A fellow blogger and close friend suggested I just start writing something, anything. Well, it's a couple of months later and I'm finally here. I don't know if you're a writer or not, but the longer you go without writing the harder it is to put pen to paper or fingers to keys and actually put words on the page.

Another blogger I know (yes I know a lot of bloggers) wrote about creating new habits by breaking goals down into really small pieces. One of these smaller goals was to write 50 words every day and this has stuck with me. I love the idea of breaking my goals into really small pieces. In fact I like the idea so much that I recently purchased Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results. I'll post a review later because all of this to say - Challenge Accepted!

For the month of March I will blog something I would like to encourage you to harass me if you don't see an update.