Thursday, January 23, 2014

Small Success Thursday - Friends, Veils, and the Rock Cycle

What makes a week successful? The very fact that it is Thursday sends me into my best mood of the week, I am headed for three whole days off filled with family and friends and a really fun weekend to look forward to enjoying.

I'd like to start with some looking back on the week that was and celebrate Small Success Thursday with my new friends at

1. This morning two of my friends brought me baggies of different vanilla flavored lean protein powders. I was just thinking that I'd like a vanilla flavor in my morning protein shakes and here they popped into my office with two types to try. Success defined by having thoughtful friends, you bet!

2. I finally wore a veil to Mass and nobody screamed and pointed. I have been wanting to wear the veil I bought for the last two years; carrying it around in my purse terrified to actually wear it. My daughters, 14 and 11, snickered at me and threatened to stop sitting with me but they were both alter serving anyway and got over themselves pretty quick when I promised not to make them wear veils. Father Sam came by and said he was going to call me Dona Melaina from now on and other than that it was a total non event. Yet I consider it a success because I was brave enough to do this little act of reverence that just felt right.

3. I want to teach and this week took a step towards finding a teaching job by reaching out to a friend and agreeing to come teach the rock cycle to her class at the wonderful school where she teaches. She will introduce me around and they will hopefully use me for subbing on Fridays. I currently work Monday through Thursday 10 hours days, so subbing on Fridays and getting to know the Principal could lead to a teaching job when they starting filling positions for this fall. It's one step towards a big goal, but it's the hardest first step.

Share your small successes with me friends, I'd love to hear what happened in your world lately.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

With a Brave Heart

What a beautiful morning! I woke up early and tried to sneak downstairs for some quiet reading time. However, I am married to a person who wakes up if the pace of my breathing changes. So moments after I sat down with my book, a sleepy faced Duane appeared holding his copy of The Everything Travel Guide to Ireland.

We spent a delightful hour planning our trip and talking about all the fun things we plan to see during our ten days in Ireland this coming March. I can read my book anytime, but quiet time spent with the mister is, as they say, priceless.

While we chatted I enjoyed a tasty breakfast of Earl Grey tea, and small sweet wheat bagel topped with almond butter and a slice banana. Once the trip planning was complete and my tummy had settled, I opted to try out my new exercise DVD: Jazzercise Burlesque.

I made it through the first 29 minutes of the DVD, before doing my own cooldown and collapsing for a tall drink of water. Have to keep working on my endurance!

We have an invitation to dinner this afternoon at my parent's house before heading to church to teach catechism before attending Mass. If we are feeling perky we will stay awake and watch the season 3 premier of Downton Abbey!

What a beautiful day, I hope your day is equally as joyful.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Whoo's looking at you?

I bounced into work this morning, fueled by a Contigo mug of coffee and an Ezekiel bread almond butter and banana sandwich, and found these sweet little faces sitting on my chair.

My friend Gail is one of those amazing people who hear you say something once and remember it. I love owls, and these owls are extra special because they were photographed here on the Army depot where I work. They are even more special because my friend printed and framed them and left them as a lovely welcome on a zero degree 0630 morning.

The owls have me thinking, if my friend hears me make an offhand remark about my love for owls and that sticks in her head, I wonder what else I say in passing becomes representative of me. You know that saying, “You are either a blessing or a lesson”. This is the time to be a blessing, there is so much hurt in the world and every direction we turn there is a media outlet providing round the clock coverage. It is up to us to decide what we allow in and what choose to let out.

We can choose to throw more good into the universe: with our thoughts, with our words, with the senseless acts of kindness that are wholly within our power to provide. I bet we all think of things that would be nice to do, but it is so easy to forget to do them, to let other matters fill our time. We put our money where our mouths are, but do we put our time where our hearts are?

Thank you for friendship, thank you for owls on an early winter morning. Thank you for shared laughter and thank you again for endless chances to get it right.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

The truth is that I can do anything I really commit to, so can you. The hard part is not making the resolution, taking the walk, passing up dessert, or even saving for a rainy day. The hard part is coming up with something worthy of resolution.

Wouldn't it be great if we could resolve to do something that may actually make a difference? It would be neat to fit back into the Levis hanging in the back of my closet. I would be proud to say that I gave up candy and soda for three whole months. But I want something more, something that changes the life of another person.

So this year I'm going to make a resolution to look for the opportunity to make a difference. A good start will be going to yoga with my friends on Tuesday nights. It is not about the exercise, it is about the friendship building, for all of us. I am going to express my gratitude sincerely, so easy to do but easier to forget. It is a bit funny to be finally learning how to be a good woman friend at age 42, but this is definitely a case of better late than never.

I am also going to look at my own attitude and keep it in check. The universe can use some gracious behavior. A friend once told me that you don't have to attend every fight you're invited to. It is so easy to take offense and incredibly nice when you screw up and someone overlooks it. So I'm going to work on taking it easy on everyone around me, refuse to take offense and overlook small slights whenever possible. Remember how they told us in Sunday School to turn the other cheek? Those gorgeous little old lady Sunday School teachers with their blue frosted hair and craft projects made from oatmeal boxes. I hope Jesus took them to a special room in Heaven when they got there and gave them unlimited craft supplies and Avon hand lotion.

I woke up this morning and realized that I'm grateful to have my brother here in Utah for the holidays. We are worlds apart in every conceivable way except for the most important one. We grew up together, we have the same history and the same devoted and incredibly generous parents. Our parents put their hearts into creating a fun family experience and I don't think I've ever acknowledged to them or to my brother that I recognize how great it was being one of us.

My brother was my nemesis for so many years. Lately he keeps wanting to make amends for past screw-ups and it just occurred to me today that I have my own amends to make. I held onto so much old anger and resentment that it prevented us from having an adult relationship as siblings, as the only two witnesses of our crazy childhood as Army brats roaming the earth, getting lost on winding cobblestone streets in Europe, building snow forts in Minnesota, and being entranced by the magic shop in London. We are so different, but share genes, memories, and an awesome kid that he and his girlfriend gave birth to but that I have the joy of raising. I owe my brother an apology, a thank you, and the hope that I hold in my heart for the relationship we can have in the future.

What, God? You mean I am not perfect? Why did you wait until today to tell me? Lord, I know that through you all things are possible, so this year please open my heart and my mind to all of the people you put in my path who can use some help in their lives. Let me take it easy on the people I love; let me not be so prickly when someone has a way of doing something that is vastly different from my own. Thank you for my family, my job, awesome friends, a wonderful church and Father Sam, a beautiful home and more than enough food; thank you for true love and thank you for never closing the door on opportunity.

If you are reading this, and I know that if I tell my mother how to find my blog again she will read it and maybe Sandy too, please know that you are a part of this amazing life I am so grateful for. There are changes to make, and resolutions to resolve and perhaps forget, but the people in our lives deserve our compassion and our gratitude and hope for better relationships in the future. May the peace that surpasses all understanding be with you in this new year. Happy 2013.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hey, guess what...chicken butt!

I did not have one single teensy tiny piece of candy for the entire month of January. On Dec 31st I swore off candy for the year, but a the time I probably didn't believe that I would even last a whole week.

But something has changed, some interior motivation that I've never had before has just appeared and I feel certain that I can do anything I commit to doing.

So no candy this year. Two upper body and two lower body workouts a week, a lot of fun cardio whenever I feel like it, at least 100 grams of protein a day and trying to stay between 1200-1500 calories a day.

If you had told me even six months ago that I'd be totally rocking this new lifestyle, I would have laughed and asked about that bridge you have for sale. But yesterday I was describing to a friend in the lunchroom at work about my healthy eating and another friend piped in "but you can't do that forever". I look at him and without thinking said, "Why not? I deserve it."
That's the point, if I ever really had one to begin with :)

I CAN do this forever, if by "this" I mean love myself enough to pack a healthy lunch and dedicate a little bit of time every day to some fun workouts. I am dancing like a lunatic with my 10 and 5 year olds to the Wii Just Dance game and they are laughing and I am laughing and we are high fiving each other and I just want to cry tears of joy over how much fun we are having together.

I have energy and love for my life and so much joy to share. That's the point, isn't it? The point to this life, and we only get one time around folks, is to share the joy. Get the joke. Laugh when you are having fun. Hug your kids. Find the sweetness in a carrot and the beauty in the snow dusting the mountains.

Enjoy your life. I am, I really am so totally and completely that I lack the words to express it. I enjoyed it a million and a half times when I yanked my husbands book out of his hands last night, turned on the stereo to an old Heart cd, and gave him the kind of kiss that he definitely wasn't expecting!

I will not allow dread, negativity, or "I cant's" to take root in my consciousness any more.

It's all good friends, seize the joy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Loving the Crunch workout videos

It's 0940 and I'm at work with my legs twitching to be home doing one of the Crunch fitness videos. The workouts are all "themed" and my favorite is the Bootcamp video, complete with instructor telling us to "pump it up Soldier" and the back up ladies in various camo outfits. The workout are all equally corny, and I embarrass my kids when doing the dance party hiphop style exercises and shaking my money-maker, but each one is motivating and fun and challenging enough to make me sweat.

Totally came to an awesome realization yesterday when tracking my nutrition and fitness on I looked at how many calories a woman my weight expends doing just 30 minutes of aerobics, and how many calories I eat in a day (1200 - 1500) and realized that I can exercise a day's worth of calories by doing aerobics for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. What the heck kind of bargain goodness is that?!?

I'm taking it slow, one breath, one pound, one day at a time. In the past I've always started major diet/exercise plans when I'm unhappy with my life and need something to change (usually myself). It is interesting doing it this time when I'm really happy. Life is good, the kids are all doing well, Duane is the most awesome husband imaginable, and my parents are a huge blessing and living in Utah! Uh-oh, epiphany...this time I'm going to eat healthy and exercise just because I can? Because I have the God granted ability and means and a shred of self motivation? Oh me oh my.

Stuff I know to be true:
1. Whatever "it" is, do it for yourself
2. Today is better than yesterday

Peace y'all,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Meals and Moves Dedicated December

Meals and Moves Dedicated December
Head on over to the and join me for Dedicated December! Janetha is so much fun and her blogs always motivate me to eat healthy and exercise (even when I don't do it, I really really think about exercising). Come on, it'll be more fun if we do it together!