Category: Living Your Best Life

Authentic Gratefulness

This past week my students learned a new vocabulary word: cliche. They’ve gotten a kick out of using it as often as possible which can be a good thing (they understand the definition AND how to use it correctly), but it can also become rather annoying rather quickly (when they use it to describe everything, LOL). 

As I thought about Thanksgiving, the word cliche popped in my head. Why? Because the word “Thanksgiving” and everything it’s supposed to stand for sometimes just become so cliche. It reminds me of this meme. 

We (yes, I’m including myself) all talk and post about how grateful we are for our lives. We find the perfect pictures to show off the people and things that we are so grateful for having in our lives. We send numerous texts and may even pick up the phone to actually call a friend or family member to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. .


Personally, I love reading these posts and smiling at how wonderful our lives are. But how many of us, let’s be honest, are really practicing this gratefulness every day? How many days do we really sit back and truly marvel at how wonderful our lives are? 

I know if you’re like me, the number of days spent either complaining about something (the job, your boss, your spouse, your kids) or in such a blur from trying to keep up with our busy schedules clearly outweigh my days of reflecting on how blessed my life really is. 

So my challenge this Thanksgiving (and every day) is for all of us to be authentic in our gratefulness. Instead of just saying that we’re thankful, take some moments to dig a bit deeper into what that means. For example, instead of just saying that you’re thankful for your family, think back on something specific that you’re grateful about with your family. Do you love family nights and how they help to relieve stress? What about how much fun you had on your last road trip? Is it the sweet hugs from your kids? The encouragement you get from your spouse?

True thankfulness is more than a cliche. It’s a heartfelt emotion that should propel (another one of my students’ vocabulary words) us into action and determine how we live each day. I’m certain that if we all focused more on our blessings than our stresses the world would be a much better place as we learned to be more appreciative of the life that we already have. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Ready for Change: Embracing the Unknown

Most people are terrified by or not ready for change when it comes. Many times change comes with no warning at all, or we may be in denial and ignore the signs of change coming, or we are aware that change is coming but have no idea what it’s going to look like.

But we all know that change is inevitable in every area of our lives. We can either shrink back in fear or we can embrace and learn from the change.

Sometimes we need to learn to initiate that change ourselves when we see the need. Even if it scares us. Even if we don’t know what lies ahead.

Changes are coming…

With this being said, I have some changes coming along for Words of a Butterfly. When I started this blog it was just to get my thoughts and feelings from being locked up inside of me and out there for others to read (read my first blog post here). As I began writing my posts, I soon realized that others could actually benefit from them.

The feedback I was getting was that other people could relate to what I was going through or had been through. Some people thanked me or told their own stories. Shockingly, I realized that what I had to say could hold value to other people. I mean I knew that I had something important to say, but realizing that others actually wanted to read it, is a completely different thing.

Slowly, it began to dawn on me that this little website could be so much more than an online diary for me. It could be a place for other people, especially women, to be inspired to live their best lives. I certainly know that my goal is to obtain all of the information that I can about living my best life, so why not share everything that I am learning with others?

However, as usual, this idea of not just pouring my heart out in posts and letting what will be, be but intentionally creating a place where  women can come to seek motivation and inspiration scared me. So I held unto the idea for quite some time. Tiptoed around it. Wrote it down in my notebook and looked at it every once in a while, but fear beat me up every time.

Who do you think you are? Why would someone come to you for advice? What do you really have to offer? Will people want to read what you have to say?

With these thoughts also came the realization that I would have to be consistent with my blog content, not just posting when I felt like it. Even bigger than that is the fact is that I want so much more than for Words of a Butterfly to be just a blog. When I say that I want to motivate and inspire other women, I have so many other ideas in my head that I want to accomplish as well (more to come about these ideas in the near future). But these dreams are bigger than I am. Bigger than anything that I can do on my own.

Moving Forward

I’ve been praying, y’all, for some time now. Praying about what direction I need to go, how to make it less about me and more about you: my readers. In the midst of my praying and seeking, I got some clear answers (not exactly on how this will look in the end), but on how I should proceed. And here’s where I feel like I may be able to help some of you who are thinking about making a change, stepping out and trying something new, doing the unknown because you feel it in your heart and your soul that that’s what you should be doing. Here’s what I’ve been able to gather  from my daily devotional/journal talks with God.

  1. If I ask for His wisdom, He will guide me. I don’t have to be afraid of change. If I feel Him leading me down a path, I should feel certain that it’s the right way to go. Does He promise me that it will be smooth sailing or free from pitfalls? Nope. I just have to trust Him. That’s all. Sometimes those hard paths lead to the best places. If you feel your heart tugging you in a certain direction, be confident that God will help you navigate the way.
  2.                                                                                                                              One thing that I have learned is that life is better when you’re surrounded by other like-minded people. While Words of a Butterfly is my baby, it does not mean that I can’t go to others for help. There are women that I follow because I admire what they’re doing with their businesses, so why shouldn’t I seek their advice on how to proceed? Believing that I can do this all on my own, relying on just my own knowledge and strength is crazy. The Bible talks so much about seeking wisdom from others. This doesn’t mean run and talk to everybody about your dreams, but truly seeking wise counsel from trusted individuals is a smart move to make.
  3.                                                                                                                               This verse hit me right over the head this week when I read it. Although I am not a real queen as Esther was, I felt this verse speaking to me. I had just asked God to show me whether or not the direction I was taking was the right one, again questioning if people would actually respond to what I had to say. Then to read a verse as if God were saying to me, “Why hold back when you may have been created for just a time as this? Who are you to say whether or not you’ve been made to do this? Most importantly, who will miss out because you were afraid to act?” I cannot let fear of rejection be enough to keep me from pursuing my dreams! And neither should you!

I’m so excited about the changes coming! I’m nervous, but optimistic. There’s no way that I can sit back and not do this! While, I’ll continue to blog about my 90-day health journey, I will also be blogging about the changes that are coming to the blog and even asking for input from you!  One of the first and biggest changes that I’ve made is that I am about to reveal my logo that I finally got made!!!! Yes, I have a professionally created logo to go along with my new vision! (Thank you to my friend Sharon!)

So let me adjust my crown as I get busy! I pray that all of you will be right here with me on this journey!

Peace and Love,

Michelle 

 

 

 

Lessons Learned: 10 Days on My Plan

Ten days on my plan, and I am pretty happy with my results. I’m more than pretty happy; I’m actually extremely delighted by them and quite proud of myself. Before I get into my results, I do want to talk about some lessons that I have learned so far. Yes, I’ve learned some valuable lessons in just 10 days.

(Let me preface all of this by saying that while this is a 90-day challenge for myself; it is not a diet. I’m not going to do this challenge, be done, and then go back to eating and behaving like I was before I started. My goal is not only to lose weight and tone up, but to also set myself up with healthy lifestyle changes that will become lifelong habits. In a sense, I am training my body and, more importantly, my mind, to have a completely different relationship when it comes to the food I eat and the time I spend exercising.)

With that being said, here are some things that I have learned in the past 10 days.

  1. I know it’s cliche: but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. My first weekend on my plan was a rough one. I had a graduation barbecue and a child’s birthday party to attend, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. Although I tried to plan my eating around them, I realized that I have to be ready for anything. Going to both parties, I had a plan for what I would eat and would not eat while there. What I didn’t count on in either case was what time we would be eating. I ended up being very hungry and, since I hadn’t thought to bring my own snacks, ended up devouring some pizza (3 slices) on Saturday and eating a couple of little bags of chips and a slushie at the Sunday party in order to sustain me until I got home and could find something else to eat (which also wasn’t the healthiest). This week I was better prepared for our faculty luncheon at Cheesecake Factory (no, I didn’t have a slice of cheesecake) and this weekend while enjoying dinner and movie with my bestie (shake for breakfast and lunch and my own snacks for the movie).
  2. Not everyone will understand what you’re trying to do or think that you can do it. It’s not that they are trying to sabotage your goals, but they don’t understand why you won’t take one of the donuts in the break room (They’re free. You deserve them. It’s only one. You only live once) or why you don’t want to order the big burger with the fries at lunch and choose to eat your salad instead. But you can’t let that stop you. After a while, those same people will respect your resolve to stick to your plan, and they may become your biggest cheerleaders or even be persuaded to get on board and make some lifestyle changes of their own.
  3. Don’t keep it around if the temptation is too strong. I am a nibbler or a snacker or whatever you want to call me. For example, in my desk drawer, I had a bag of candy that I used to reward my students. Day by day, I nibbled on a Laffy Taffy or two or some SweeTARTS here or there. On the last day of school, I allowed the students to raid the rest of the candy rather than bring it home with me. If I hadn’t had it there in the first place, I wouldn’t have been tempted to eat some every day. Same thing at home: if you’re not strong enough to say no, don’t keep it in the house.

Some things that have worked for me on my plan:

  1. When I think I’m hungry, I drink some water first. I’ve read about this many times, but like I said before, I’m a “snacker.” I’m also a bored “snacker.” When I am bored or watching TV, all of a sudden I feel hungry or “snackish.” I’ve learned to combat that feeling by drinking water. If I’m still hungry after that, then I will find a healthy snack to eat. Which leads me to number 2!
  2. Keep healthy snacks around. Keep them in the house, at your desk at work, and in your purse. My healthy go-to’s were string cheese, Herbalife’s Vanilla Almond Protein Bar (Amazing!), almonds, single serve kettle corn popcorn (100 calories), or some type of fruit. I’m working on adding other healthy snacks to the lineup this week.
  3. Each day I had two Herbalife shakes: one for breakfast, one for dinner. I ate a healthy lunch, usually a salad with chicken and balsamic vinaigrette. Then I would have 2-3 healthy snacks during the day, plain water, as well as water with my Herbalife tea and aloe. I won’t lie. I still had my cup of coffee each morning. (I can’t help it. I love coffee!) And I had a couple of alcoholic drinks along the way, usually a vodka tonic.
  4. As far as exercise, I worked out probably 3 days total. I love strength training that can count as cardio as well, so it was a lot of circuit training with weights and squats and lunges and other moves to get my heart racing. Now that summer is here and I am off from work, I may exercise a little more or not. But this is proof that it truly is 80% nutrition, 20% fitness, 100% mindset. Just changing my eating habits and mindset about eating helped me to get my results.

What were these results?

I lost 4.1 pounds over the first 10 days! Not to mention that I have more energy to tackle the day!

Isn’t that incredible?!

 

I cannot wait to see what next 10-day results will be. My goal is to lose a few more pounds and to start toning up!

Stay tuned and thank you for following me on my journey!!!

10 Random Facts about Me

I’ve had my blog for a little over a year now, and while I give my readers insight into the deeper parts of me (my hopes, fears, dreams), I know that the everyday random facts about me are just as important in getting to understand who I am.

I’ve seen this topic before in different writing prompt challenges and have been considering do it for a while, so I figured now (in the midst of my 90-day health and fitness challenge) would be a good time for my old and new readers to get to know more about me.

So here we go with 10 random facts about me. (Don’t judge me. LOL)

  1. I am terrified of roaches. I’m talking about those disgusting things that some people call cockroaches or Palmetto bugs. I HATE them. I know that I’m bigger than they are, but it doesn’t make me fear them any less. There’s something about them that just gives me the willies. I can go in a room and there is a big lizard in it (another South Florida regular) and I’m okay. I’ll wave at it and as long as it stays on one side and I on another, I’m good. But if there’s a roach in the room, the roach can have the room AND all of its content. My older son knows if I call his name in an alarmed manner to just get the bug spray and come save his momma! I’m not joking! And it doesn’t help that some of them can fly!!!
  2. I love cheesy Hallmark movies. Yes, I know how each movie is going to end, but I love them just the same, especially the Christmas ones. There’s just something wholesome and hopeful about the movies. And the guaranteed “And they lived happily ever after” theme makes me smile and believe in the goodness of man. In a world where you can turn on the TV and immediately be bombarded by all of the bad things going on, watching a feel-good movie is refreshing. Plus, I don’t have to worry about my boys seeing or hearing anything they shouldn’t. Occasionally, they will even sit down and watch a movie or two with me. 
  3. I love chocolate!! There’s not much to say about this. I love chocolate candy, cake, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate makes me happy. And that is part of the reason I am doing this 90-day challenge. LOL
  4. I might love coffee just as much as I love chocolate. It’s crazy because I don’t love it so much for the caffeine as I love it for the comfort that it brings. Sitting back with a warm cup of joe makes me happy and relaxed. On another note, it has to be hot, not cold. Cold coffee is something I just don’t understand. Don’t EVER expect me to order an iced coffee. Nope! Not me! I’d rather die of thirst. Coffee is meant to be hot! End of story!
  5. I’m an introvert. I don’t enjoy small talk (I can never think of what to say to keep the conversation going), and I enjoy spending time alone. Don’t get me wrong; I do really, really enjoy spending time with my friends and family, but I also LOVE time spent alone doing things that I like: watching a movie, reading a book, shopping, sitting outside with a warm cup of joe. I dread having to talk on the phone other than with a few choice people. If I can text you instead, I will. Some people may think that I am stuck up or snobby, but the truth is I am better with writing than with face to face conversations.
  6. I hate cooking. I do it because my family needs to be fed. If I could get rid of one household chore and hire someone else to do it for me, it would definitely be the cooking. Lord knows once the kids are grown, Hubby and I will be eating out a lot more! 
  7. I am an optimist. I truly believe that things turn out good or for the better in the end. Even what was initially seen as something terrible can have a happy ending (kind of like my Hallmark movies). Maybe it’s my faith in God and how He is working everything out for our good (Romans 8:28) or maybe it’s just my nature, the way I’ve always been. Whatever it is, I’m the person who’s always trying to find the positive spin on a situation, to ease the tension, to make people smile again, or to try to fill the sadness with laughter.
  8. I love to thrift! I love getting a great bargain, so while I can afford to shop in regular stores, I love the hunt. Some people complain about the amount of time that it takes to shop at a thrift store, but it’s therapeutic to me. I like to thrift in order to relax. I can shop for hours, hitting up different thrift stores in one day. In fact, I will be doing this quite a bit now that the summer is here and I’m off from work. Don’t knock it until you try it either! Thrifting can become addictive! 
  9. I don’t like reality TV. I can’t get into the shows, and don’t really care about “celebrities” like that. So when people are talking about the latest episode of Real Housewives of whatever city or Basketball Wives or whatever other shows are out there, I just listen politely because I can’t relate. Those shows have absolutely do NOT appeal to me. But I understand that’s just me because I know there are people who probably gag and roll their eyes at the thought of sitting through a Hallmark Christmas movie. To each its own. 
  10. I’m all about inspiring others. Maybe you could already tell this from my previous blog posts, but I feel like my mission is to spread some of my optimism to others, especially other women. I want them to feel inspired by my story, by the lessons I am learning in my life, the obstacles that I face, the challenges I take on, and how I respond to my wins and my losses. As a teacher and a mother, I already do this on a regular basis. I try my best to inspire my students and my children to aim high, to keep trying, to never give up. I pray that my blog is that inspiration and motivation for women everywhere. 

Well there you have it! 10 random facts about me, Michelle Robinson, the creator and writer behind Words of a Butterfly. Can you relate to any of these things? Comment below so we can make connections! 

Peace & Love, 

Michelle

Butterfly Metamorphosis: My 90-Day Health & Fitness Journey

 

I know that I can do it.

I’ve done it before, so I can definitely do it again.

I can and I will.

And I am taking you on my journey. Journey to where? To a healthier me, mentally and physically.

Why am I taking you with me? Why am I choosing to do this publicly?

There are two main reasons.

  1. I need accountability. I need people’s eyes watching me, people who know the goals that I’ve set for myself and are watching my every move. It’s a good pressure to have because these are my goals that I have set for myself, goals that I really want to achieve. Knowing that people are watching and waiting to see whether or not I succeed or fail is motivation for me to keep going.

    People are watching…
  2. I’m hurting. Not physically, but emotionally. I’m hurting for the many people who are unhappy with their health, who are sick with preventable illnesses, who have tried and tried again to get in shape but haven’t been successful or have been successful only to fall back off track, for those who may not even realize that they need to change their lifestyle, and even for those who are clueless as to where to start. I want to be MOTIVATION for all of these people. I want them to see what an active, healthy lifestyle looks like and how attainable it is. I want people to see that there is a different way, a better way to live.                                                                                               

My prayer is that others will see what I’m doing and join me on this journey! It’s never too late to start. Whether you’re starting on Day 1 or Day 51. You don’t have to do everything that I am doing, but I hope to inspire some changes in your life, and I am open to suggestions as well! Give me your ideas for new exercises and new healthy meals and snacks. I can use your words of encouragement, your positive vibes, your kick in the you-know-what if I need it! (more…)

Your Dream Life is on the Other Side of Fear

(This post is from  guest blogger, Ashley Nihart, a health and life coach. Check out her bio at the end of this post and then stop by her website www.happyhealthyandwell.com for more great tips on living your best life!)

It’s amazing how much fear can hold us back.  Fear of the unknown. Fear of what others may think.  Fear of failure. Fear of success even. No matter what type of fear is holding you back from achieving your goals, and living your best life, there is a way to move beyond it.

For so long I did what was safe.  I went to school, graduated, and got a good job.  The whole time I knew, I was not on the path I was meant to live.  But fear got in the way. For me, fear was heavily associated with low self esteem and worrying about what others would think.  Going out of my comfort zone meant behaving in ways I wasn’t known for. I was the nice, quiet girl. Never outspoken or daring.  But going for my dreams meant I had to break this mold so many people knew of me. And it was scary.

What if people didn’t like me?  What if I looked foolish? What if everyone would make fun of me?  What if I tried and didn’t succeed?

For the longest time, I allowed these fears to hold me back.  To keep me from living my best life. I followed the path everyone expected me to follow but never felt fulfilled.  Deep down, I knew I was meant for more. I just wasn’t brave enough to go for it.

In an attempt to find meaning and purpose in my life, I read tons of self improvement books.  Listened to dozens of podcasts about going for your dreams and loving your life. I found mentorship and guidance through the authors and speakers on these platforms. It was a slow process but eventually, I started to believe in myself. And with this belief I developed bravery. (more…)

The Other Side: 5 Ways to Achieve Your Goals

Hitting a Wall

Have you ever hit a wall and thought there was no way to get around it? I know I have so many times. These walls can be in our relationships, on the job, in our own personal development, or as we work towards accomplishing different goals.

And I will admit that these walls can be downright frustrating! It’s like you’re driving (or sailing or walking) along and things are going well. You are happy, carefree, and optimistic about all that the future will bring. You can see your goal peeking just over the horizon. You’re so close. Suddenly, BAM! There’s a wall directly in front of you blocking what was supposed to be smooth sailing. As far as you look to the right and to the left and up and down all you see is a wall with no end.

So what are you going to do? Retreat? Scream for help? Cry your eyes out? The answer to this is never simple.

My Wall: My Story

What I hate most about these walls is that most of the time, at least for me, they cause fear and doubt to creep in. I begin to rationalize that the goal wasn’t that important in the first place. Or that I was crazy for even thinking that I could do it. Or that it wasn’t really worth my time.

All of this fear and doubt get in the way of my being able to see that sign that says “Heavy Door. Push Here. Keep Pushing Until It Opens.” I’m so engulfed in my own sorrow and self-defeat that I fail to see that there is a way through this obstacle. I just have to be willing to look for it, to work for it, and to never give up on it.

I’m gonna be transparent here about this. Will you allow be to be open and honest? I’ve started and stopped many things because they’ve gotten too hard or too inconvenient. I’ve allowed the wall to tell me to turn around, to give up, that I’m being unrealistic, that this dream isn’t for me. I’ve allowed others to talk me out of a vision that I’ve had for myself. (more…)

My Theme Song for the Year (and why you should have one, too)

If you’re like me (and most people), there are certain songs that will get you out on the dance floor and make you jump around until you’re exhausted. Or you have songs that completely put you at ease, soothing your mind, bringing you some peace. Or you have songs that evoke certain memories, taking you back to a certain time in your life, good or bad, the memories forever ingrained in your mind. Some people have that one special song that just speaks to them whenever and wherever they hear it.

Either way, we can all agree that music is important to us in some way, shape, or form. We may use it to lift our spirits, take our mind off things, or just to get our energy up, making us dance until we can’t dance any more.

I love music because it can do all of these things. It can connect people who have nothing else in common, not even the same language. It can change the entire mood of your day; it can keep you company when no one else is around. It can make a mundane task seem interesting and the time fly by.

That’s why this year I have adopted a “Theme Song of the Year.” It’s my own personal motivational song to keep me going and relates directly to my goals and the way I am approaching this year in my life. If you didn’t know, I just turned 40 a few days ago, and I have big goals for my life. What better way to stay motivated than to have a song playing in the background (or in my mind) as I tackle each one of my goals?

My song for this year is Andra Day’s “Cheers to the Fall.” I already loved this song, but I loved it even more after I used it for a lesson in my class. Each Monday in my class is Mindset Monday where the students have to focus on ways to have a Growth Mindset. I thought this song was a perfect fit since my students often want to fit in with others and do what’s “popular.” They also have a tendency to give up on tasks that seem too hard and are afraid of failing or looking dumb for trying.

As we analyzed this song, I grew to love it more and more. It spoke to me on a deeper level because I could relate to it so well. The past couple of years I have been stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. I had already started my own photography business, Natural Soul Photography, a few years back, but I recently decided to really jump back in and work hard on making it successful.

In addition, I became a consultant with Thirty-One. I loved the products, so why not try to sell them? I also, after losing 13 pounds, decided to sell Herbalife products. Now, am I a top seller with either one of these businesses? Nope, but I am proud of the fact that I have tried, have worked hard on ways to learn more about direct sales, and have constantly looked at how to improve my marketing strategies and customer relationships. I NEVER would have thought that I would be the type to sell anything to anyone. I would have thought someone was crazy for even suggesting it.

 

 

Another major change was leaving one school that I had taught at for eleven years to go teach at a brand new school. I needed the change in pace, a shake up and a wake up. I had gotten comfortable (although I was miserable at times) because I had been there so long. Actually, complacent was a better word for it. I wasn’t stretching or challenging myself any more. I’m so happy that I made the move.

But the thing that I am most proud of myself for is this right here: my blog! It’s always been my dream to write and to get my messages out to the world, and my blog is the perfect outlet. I have grown so much over this past year since I started this blog. For too long, I only talked about doing this, putting off for tomorrow what I could have done today. Making excuses, waiting for the right time, not wanting to step out of my zone, be different, try something new.  Now, I am living my dream, and I see myself getting better and better every day. Each day brings a new challenge that I eagerly accept. Even after a long day at work, I still can find the energy to work on my blog whether it’s typing a post or learning something about the blogging industry.

While many people have cheered me on and told me how proud they are of all that I’ve been doing, many people think that I am downright crazy.They wonder why I do what I’m doing. Why are you trying to do so much? How many jobs are you going to try to have? What do you know about blogging? Do you have time to do all of that? Who do you think you are?

 

That’s where my theme song comes into play. Have you heard it before? I mean, have you really truly listened to the lyrics and understood what she is saying? Whenever I am having a frustrating day or when someone has made me upset, I know that I can turn on this song. When I am in the midst of some hard work, something challenging, something new, I know that if I turn to this song for encouragment, I will be pumped up and ready to work, ready to take on the world.

Once you check it out, you may just want to adopt it as your theme song, too.

Here are some of my favorite lines from the song.

They say the higher that you climb
The further when you take the dive
But it’s comatose
And I can’t live that closed
‘Cause I don’t know how to never try at all
So cheers to the fall, hey

When you’ve been wrapped in your cocoon for so long and finally break free (as I did), you can’t help but want to live life to the fullest (see my poem about it here). Anything less than that is a waste. Who wants to spend their entire life looking back, thinking about all of the things that they should’ve done, should’ve try? So what if I fall down? At least I can say, “Hey, I did that before!” I can still cheer myself on because of the fact that I at least gave it my best. I will have no regrets because I would have stepped out and given myself a chance even if I fail.

And who says you can’t win them all
If you try

Again, if I fail then at least I gave it a chance. But what, oh just what, if I do succeed? What if I do win? Living in fear (something I’m determined not to do any more) will only keep me stagnant missing out on all of the potential that I have within me to achieve greatness. Imagine how great my life would be if I could add up all of the wins knowing that I had put in the hard work and that I had made it happen! But I could never get to that place if I didn’t at least give it a try. And I have to believe in myself in spite of what others may have to say which takes us to the bridge of the song.

Thanks for all your sound advice
That I didn’t ask for
I’ll take all of it in stride

The bridge is equally awesome. When I sing along with the song, this part really hits close to home. Instead of listening to the naysayers and doubters who tell me that it will never work, I can push on and try. There are so many people who want to tell you how you should live your life because they have lived their life inside of a box, afraid to do anything that may make them uncomfortable. Therefore, they feel the need to advise you on why this won’t work for you or exactly how you should be playing it safe. But tell me: is that really living? Nope, so thanks, but no thanks for all of your wonderful advice, but I think I’ll stick with my plan. You know the one I’m talking about, right? The one where I take a big leap of faith and see where it will take me? Yes, that one.

I’ve said all this to say that I think that everyone should have a theme song for the year or the month or the decade or for their life, whatever works best for them. Have that song that you can blast really loud whenever you need some inspiration to get through the day. Find that song that speaks to you and that you’ll never get tired of listening to over and over again. Find that song that speaks the words that may be hard for you to say. Find that song that forces you to sing along at the top of your lungs because it expresses the very words of your soul.

Then hit play and repeat as many times as it takes to get you in the right mindset for the task ahead of you.

And rock on!

What would be your “Theme Song of the Year” and why? Comment below!

Weeks 6 -8 of My Journey to 40

  

Ha! Ha! Ha! The joke’s on me. The best laid intentions often don’t go as planned. I wanted to be able to stop each week and give you guys the rundown, a play by play, of what I had been doing, how I was progressing on this journey, what great things I had done. The first few weeks went as planned. Unfortunately, as it often goes, life got in the way of my plans, and there weren’t enough hours at the end of my days for all that I was hoping to accomplish.

But it’s okay! I have NO regrets about how everything went down because I did make progress; I did work towards my goals; I did laugh and smile and grow during these last few weeks, and that is what counts.

When all is said and done, I can’t believe it’s almost here. I am only 4,(Count it: 1, 2, 3, 4) days away from turning the big 4-0!!!

 

 

While things did not go exactly according to plan, I am happy with what I’ve accomplished over the past few weeks. This week’s post, however, will be a bit different than the last ones because these past three weeks have certainly been different! But, hey, that’s life! So here’s what took place in the last three weeks (or at least the condensed version).

  • Week 6

This week was disrupted by the horrific tragedy that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. A week that should have been focused on love for one another was overshadowed by a senseless, horrible, unforgettable, despicable act of violence. As a teacher who works only 15 miles from this school and a parent of a high school student, this event shook me to my core. It compelled me to write this post because I needed to get some things off my chest as well as process how I was feeling. (Please take some time to read it if you can.)

Out of all that happened, I have been overwhelmed by all of the love and compassion that has come about as a result of this tragedy. The outpouring of love from the community and the country has been amazing! I just wish that it didn’t take a tragedy for us to pull together like this (just got an idea for a future blog post).

I did end the week by working with my coworker, once again, on trying to get our side hustles off the ground. On Saturday, we gathered the kids and went out to the beach to advertise for an event she had planned the next day. That Sunday was the event (a painting party to benefit her and a couple of other nonprofits with my acting as the photographer) which did not turn out as well as we would like it to have. However, we learned valuable lessons along the way and are sure that we will do better next time.

Not to mention that all of us had a great time together and I got to try some new food! We took the kids to a quaint restaurant called, “What the Pho” where I got to try pho for the first time. It was the bomb, the service was the bomb, and we all had a great time! 

  • Week 7

It became official this week that I am going to be celebrating my birthday in a BIG way! Thanks to Hubby gifting me the money, I was able to pay to go to a Sanctuary Girl Retreat, and this week I bought the plane ticket to the retreat’s location: LOS ANGELES!!!! I cannot believe that in just two days, I will be going to L.A. to not only take part in a wonderful, life-changing retreat with my friend, Sabrina Hayes, but I will be spending my birthday there! All of it is overwhelming and exciting!!

I knew I wanted to celebrate my birthday in a big way, but this is even beyond what I thought I would be able to do. Over a little more than a year ago, I had the opportunity to attend a retreat with this beautiful lady, and my life was forever changed. Also, I met some amazing women with whom I still speak to on a regular basis.There is no doubt in my mind that this retreat will be even better! Look for a post all about the retreat, Sanctuary Girl, and my birthday weekend very soon!

My retreat from last year! So much fun! Love  these ladies!

       /

Hubby and I also took the boys to see Black Panther. The plot mesmerized me as well as all of the beautiful actors and outfits! I beamed with pride as I watched the movie and fantasized about what it would be like to be a part of that country, to be a part of Wakanda. The knowledge and pride they possessed and their genuine love for one another and their culture made me wish that I lived there, too. I found everything about it fascinating especially the lesson that we need to take care of one another and spread the knowledge and love to all of our people so that we all can rise together. Wakanda forever, baby!!!! Wakanda forever!!!!

  • Week 8

This week of my journey to 40 was all about reigning in the chaos that was quickly becoming my life and taking a deep breath, focusing a bit more on God, my family, my job, my house. I was so caught up with everything else, that I began to neglect some other areas. (Future blog post?) Well, not really neglect, but not give as much time as I normally do or being too busy to do what I really wanted to do in each of those areas.

I ended this week feeling much more relaxed and organized and ready to take on the world. I spent more time with my boys enjoying the great outdoors, cleaned some areas of my house that really needed it, started reading a new book, watched a couple of good movies, fell asleep earlier each night, was there for Hubby and his family during their time of mourning, and just took care of me. (I think it helps that I knew a three-day workweek and a vacation and my birthday were coming up.)

So now I am in Week 9 of my journey and so excited about what this weekend will bring. I am turning 40 and I am excited! I am not fearful at all. I only see myself as getting better, wiser, stronger, kinder, more giving and forgiving. I am becoming whom God created me to be! Gracefully growing into my destiny! Watch out world! I am going to take this next decade of my life by storm!

/

 

 

Weeks 4 & 5 of My Journey to 40

Wow! I have passed the half-way mark on my Journey to 40! I can’t believe it’s almost here! I guess it’s obvious that I did not post for Week 4! So much going on that I did not get a chance to do so. But I’m back and getting excited about what I’ve done and what’s to come. I am definitely not one of those people sitting around and fretting about turning 40. It has actually sparked a fire in me and gotten me excited about what my future will bring!!!

But I know that I must work for it. Nothing will just fall into my lap.

Here’s what’s I’ve been doing!

 

  1. Fitness Goal: I tell you when it rains, it pours. In my last post I told you about my back pains which caused me to pump the brakes on working out. Well, it turns out that I hurt myself pretty bad (don’t know how), and my doctor ordered me to get some rest, not do any heavy lifting, and gave me so medicine to help ease the pain. Anybody who really knows me knows that I hate to take medicine especially anything that makes me feel weird, but I was in so much pain that I had to take it. One week later I tried to wean myself off of the medicine only to take it again for one more day. I HATE the way this medicine makes me feel. I’m an on the go type of person; I have so much that I want to accomplish that I didn’t have time for the way this medicine was making me feel: groggy, confused, and tired. Needless to say, I have stopped taking it again and hope that I can just take some extra strength Tylenol if I need something and that I will eventually heal like my doctor believes I will. However, I have managed to drop a couple of pounds by changing some of my eating habits so SCORE for me!

    Back was feeling better this day so I did a quick photo shoot at the library.
  2. New Adventures: I’m so excited to say that I have booked a trip for my 40th!!!! I stopped thinking of all of the reasons that I couldn’t do it and just did it (with a little cash from Hubby)! I signed up to attend a Sanctuary Girl retreat  that just happened to fall on my birthday weekend (Check out the website.There are also fabulous shirts and accessories!) I previously attended a retreat hosted by my beautiful friend, Sabrina Hayes, before she officially launched Sanctuary Girl (a ministry that she now runs), and I absolutely LOVED it! Last time the retreat was closer to home (only a 3 hour drive); this time I am taking a plane across the country to a place I’ve never been before: Los Angeles!!!! I cannot wait! (I’ve also blogged about the Sanctuary Girl Faith Planner which has helped me to keep my life super organized while focusing on my relationship with Jesus). Of course, I will be blogging all about my retreat experience as well!

    Los Angeles

    Weekly layout in my Sanctuary Girl Faith Planner
  3. Business Moves: As if I didn’t already have enough on my plate, I am officially a Thirty-One Gifts consultant again! After two years of being a consultant, I called it quits back in October because I was frustrated with the lack of support and was too busy with a new job and other goals that I was pursuing. But after much consideration, I have decided to try it again. I love, love, love, the products as well as the sisterhood that comes with being a consultant. Did I mention that I LOVE the products. Never heard of Thirty-One? You can check out our products here. I love the ability to personalize our products as well as being able to fashionably organize my life!  I also met up with my accountability group, Sisters with a Purpose. If you don’t have an accountability group (or at least a partner), you should jump on this. Knowing you have to give an account of what you’re doing to reach your goals keeps you focused. No one wants to be the one to show up at a meeting saying that she hasn’t being doing anything. We will check in and motivate each other through text messages and calls throughout the month, but then we will have an “official” meeting to regroup, celebrate, and plan for the next month. Plus there’s a ton of laughter that happens at these meetings.

    Spring 2018 Catalog

    Working on those goals at our accountability meeting.
  4. Random Acts of Kindness: If you’ve been following along, I one of my plans for my journey to 40 is make sure I am doing more for others. This is just one more thing that I am going to do. These cards and notebooks (along with some cute pens) are going out to some beautiful ladies this week. A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook that the first five people to respond to my post would be getting a special something from me. I know I’m a little late, but I want to stand by my word. I hope they enjoy these, and I hope it brightens their day! I know I LOVE receiving unexpected gifts. How about you?

    Aren’t these cute!!

    Five weeks down; four more to go! I’m getting antsy and excited as I get closer. I have more fun things planned over the next few weeks! What do you plan to do or what have you done to celebrate a milestone birthday? I’m looking to be inspired by some of your ideas!