My Favorite Me: 2018

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I cannot believe it’s already 2018!! I haven’t blogged in what feels like forever! I’m still on my journey of being a better me, my favorite me, in fact! On my physical journey, I’ve lost 45 pounds since February (haven’t taken a progress picture in a few months… oops)! It seems like it should feel like a huge accomplishment, but it turns out that every day is still full of choices! It’s not like once you hit the 40-pound mark, there’s a switch in your brain that flips and it’s easy… too bad! I have found that routine is a lifesaver and the further I get on the journey, the more I don’t want to go back, so that helps. But every day is still full of choosing healthy, fulfilling foods, listening to my body when it’s hungry and when it’s full, and working off stress and energy through exercise. Routine is absolutely vital for me when it comes to these choices!


This week I signed up for another half marathon- yay?!? Truthfully, I’m super excited! But, I’m also terrified! I started training and, if I’m being honest, it’s really freaking hard! Over the past few days, I’ve recited the following words thousands of times to myself, “Hard is not bad, it’s just hard!” I’m going to have to keep reminding myself of that as I continue training and learn to eat for both my body and my training!

Spiritually, God has been showing me that I am capable of so much more than I think. When I am weak, He is strong! I known this when it comes to dealing with things spiritually or emotionally. If I can’t handle the stress, I can give it to God to deal with! But, lately, he’s helping me to see that, even physically, He can give me strength when I feel weak! When I don’t think I can take one more step, He gives me the strength to run 15 more seconds. When I can’t imagine doing one more rep, He gives me the power to do 2! I’m learning to ask this of Him and trust that He will provide the strength needed!

In parenting, this year, the hubs and I sat down and created parenting plans for the kiddos. We outlined strengths and weaknesses of each child, taking into consideration their personality types. It was amazing how reassuring it was to talk about their strengths! Sometimes I get so caught up in the frustrating moments, I forget to step back and remember just how incredible my kiddos are! After we had lists of strengths and weaknesses, we picked one strength and one weakness to focus on this year. We are going to help each kiddo refine one of their strengths and grow through one of their weaknesses! In the week we’ve been doing it, I can’t believe how much it’s changed me, not the kids, but the way I interact with them! Rather than being so focused on the frustrating behavior, I’m more anchored on the solution and how it can help them grow through this weakness! I find myself more patient, less accusatory, and all around kinder toward them. I’m loving it!! We’ll see how it plays out for the rest of the year, but I’d love to continue it next year with new goals!

I am learning so much about myself through this journey I’m taking. I’m excited to see how this journey twists and changes as I continue. I’m finding this ‘journey’ is less specific than I originally thought. It’s life… it’s just me aiming to be better than I was yesterday! It’s a journey that has no definite end, and that’s ok by me! I’m far from perfect, but I’m better than I was last year and I planning on saying the same thing next year. Here’s to a wonderful 2018!


MFM: Week 52, Day 4

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Week 52, Day 4 (-31 pounds)

Heart: Summer’s here… that relaxing season that I always look forward to because it means the end of busy schedules. No more school, no more taekwondo, no more AWANA, a chance to exhale. Right?! That’s what it always used to be, but this year it seems like the chaos in our life has increased exponentially since school got out.

Last weekend Banayner turned 7! I’m still trying to comprehend having a 7-year-old… His party was pretty epic, though! We threw a Spartan party! We had an obstacle course, headbands for the kids, make-your-own medals they decorated, Spartan pizzas, a Spartan cake, and instead of goodie bags we did a refueling bag with bananas, granola bars and Gatorade. The kids had so much fun!!

The obstacle course had a wall climb, gravel crawl, over-under’s, a tunnel, tire run, ‘spear’ throw, bucket carry, balance beam, cargo net crawl and a sprinkler jump! I think Banayner had more fun helping me plan it out than actually doing it… ok that’s not true, he had just as much fun doing it!!

It was such a blast, but now that we’re through the birthday, we’ve got a trip coming up and then, please Lord, some peace and calm for a month! I can’t believe this summer is going by so fast! But, then, why am I surprised… my baby just turned 7!!!

Soul: I won’t lie, since summer started, I’ve gotten away from my morning conversations with Jesus. I need, and desperately want, to get back in the habit of spending time with Him every morning. The wonderful, easy, frustrating thing is… nobody can get me back in the habit of doing that but me… So, I need to set my alarm clock earlier, get up before the kiddos and spend some time with my Savior!

Strength: A year… 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days… I can’t believe I’ve reached a year since beginning my “journey”. I’ve learned so much about myself through this blog. Mostly, though, it’s been like having a friend to hold me accountable.

This past couple of weeks I’ve kind of hit a plateau. I think I need to take a close look at exactly what I’m eating, serving sizes, etc. It’s easy to get a little lax when you get comfortable. However, I’m also trying to remember that plateaus are part of weight loss. I need to make sure I’m looking at it for what it is- a marker of significant success! Getting to a plateau means my body has progressed to said point! I just need to stay focused, keep progressing and not lose heart. I’ve worked this hard to get this far, I’m not about to give up now!

MFM: Week 49, Day 3

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Week 49, Day 3 (-30 pounds)

Heart: This week was a big one for this Momma and wife. Banayner finished first grade and is headed into second! I can’t believe he’s going to be 7! He struggled at the beginning of the year to really enjoy reading. He wanted to read fast, but since he’s just learning he was slow. He’d usually just want to quit because he couldn’t read as fast as he wanted. But, as the year progressed, he improved so much and got so much faster!! He absolutely loves to read, now! In fact, when he wrote about his favorite this he learned this year, he put “I learned that I am a great reader!” As a mom, is there anything more wonderful than watching your kiddo overcome something difficult and feel pride at their own accomplishment? He didn’t look to me to tell him that he had done great, he knew! He didn’t ask me if I was proud of him, he told me that he was proud of himself! How cool is that?!

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As a wife, I got to support my husband as he did his second triathlon last weekend. He and a friend did a 70.3 course (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run). He did such an amazing job!! Our kiddos came at the end to cheer him on and celebrate with him afterward! To stand back and watch the inspiration he is to our children is beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. To see our kiddos be so excited for him, encourage and celebrate his victories, and talk about the races they want to do someday… I am one very blessed woman!

Soul: Our church is doing something fun and new this summer. We’re having a BBQ at church every Wednesday evening. We’re going to do a hot dog dinner, play tons of yard games, and just hang out and get to know our neighbors. This feels like a big step in faith, because none of us has any idea what it’s going to look like, or who God’s going to bring. But, we’re super excited to see what He has planned!

Strength: I’ve been looking at before and after photos and reading about the weight loss journeys many others have taken. I’m trying to use it as motivation. I don’t feel like I’m about to quit, but I figure that finding extra motivation along the way, while I’m still feeling great, might help prevent reaching the point of wanting to quit. As I’ve encountered these stories, I’ve noticed they all seem to have an “ah-ha” moment. They talk about the realization of something, which caused them to choose to change everything. But, rarely do they talk about the struggle throughout the process. Sure, they mention their tips and tricks to avoid cravings or get out of a plateau. But, I’ve noticed that for the most part, it sounds like once they decided it was time to change, that was it… they never questioned or doubted it.

And here’s the problem, I doubt… big time! I’ve lost weight before, I’ve made the decision to lose weight, started the process, lost 40 or 50 pounds and then gained it back. So, what’s going to make this time any different? I can give you my moment of realization. The moment I decided to change myself was the moment I learned what Insulin Resistance was and discovered that I have it. It was the moment I realized that my body wasn’t functioning correctly because I wasn’t fueling it properly. But, it’s not like once I made that decision, I realized that this time was going to be different. I hope this time is different. I feel different this time around. But, I’m struggling with massive amounts of doubt. There’s this voice inside of me, mocking me, asking why I think this time is any different. Why would I think I’m capable of anything more than I’ve done in the past?

When I started this journey, it was because I couldn’t find a book about weight loss that addressed these terrifying, sabotaging, but all-too-real fears and doubts. There are so few people who talk about this feeling, myself included. It’s way more fun to blog about how great I feel most of the time. About this new, dare I say it, desire to exercise! About the progress I’m making toward my goal. It’s terrifying to put out there for anyone to read that I’m scared to death that I’m going to fail … That I might let myself down and give legitimacy to that voice in my head. But, it’s real, it’s true, it’s part of the journey.

And I wonder if the way to defeat that voice, is to address it head on. To acknowledge the doubt and fear. Then to remind myself of all the wonderful reasons to keep going. Maybe this time will be different because I’m different. Maybe this time will be different, because I won’t let fear and doubt hold me back. Maybe this time will be different because I’ll allow fear and doubt to be part of the process and deal with them, rather than try to ignore them and let them gather strength. Maybe this time I’ll allow myself to see what I’m truly capable of.

MFM: Week 48, Day 5

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Week 48, Day 5 (-28 pounds)

Heart: My sister-in-law is pregnant and her shower was last weekend! She’s having a boy and I couldn’t be more excited for her! In keeping with my home-made gifts plan, I racked my brain for ideas for baby boys. I know that there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of diy gift ideas for babies. But, she already has a boy. So, I needed ideas that would be cute, but not just add tons more clothes to her already overwhelming pile of boy’s clothes.

I opted for personalized burp rags (because you can always use fresh, new burp rags), a couple of the cutest bibs I’ve ever seen (I found the photo as I scrolled through Pinterest and used what I had/knew to come up with the pattern), and some crib shoes (because this kiddo will need something to keep his socks on this winter). The burp rags are about as easy as it gets- they’re just rectangles. I’ve done bibs before, this was just a new take on a tried and true gift. But the shoes… oh my word, I won’t be trying shoes again for a while. I definitely should have followed a tutorial for the shoes, since it turned out I didn’t have any prior knowledge to work from! They turned out “photo-cute”, but in real life you can see all of the flaws. Fortunately, they were given in love, so those flaws are easily overlooked, right? The gifts were a hit, and my sister-in-law was very touched that they were hand made.

Soul: I just started a new study with my mom, sister, and niece. We’re studying a Joyce Meyer book and I’m so excited! My sister hasn’t lived close for years, so I can’t wait to Skype once a week and talk about how the study is affecting our lives! Few things connect two people like spiritual growth. I think this is due in huge part to the vulnerability that is required when you’re stretching and growing yourself. You drop the façade and allow the people around you to see the raw, broken, hopefulness that connects to their own raw, broken, hopefulness. There’s an air of humility when you drop the comparisons for compassion, the perfection for possibility, and the fear for faith! I am so excited to start this journey with three women I adore so much!!

Strength: I looked at the week number today and realized I’m one month from a year into this!! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year! I need to go reread a few of my first posts. But, here I am, 48 weeks into this journey and down 28 pounds! I’ll take it! But, far more important, I feel great! I feel healthier and I even feel stronger! About 4 weeks ago I started working out to videos at nap time. I know, I know, I swore up and down that videos weren’t the way for me, but it turns out I’m learning a lot about myself through this journey! Some videos aren’t for me… that’s for sure! In fact, yesterday I did a legs workout that started out great, but I hated it by the end. The exercises put pressure on my back, which resulted in me trying to modify them in a way that wasn’t working my muscles at all! So, I won’t use that video again. But, I’ve actually found a lot of videos I really like! There’s a kickboxing one that I love! I also found a phenomenal arms workout. I’m still finding new ones and mixing them in with my favorites, but the thing is, I’m doing it! I made a deal with myself that if I work out, I can watch a tv show during nap time. It’s one of the first times in my life that I rewarded myself with something other than food! I haven’t blogged about it because I’m human and I was so afraid I’d post it, people would see it, and I’d hate it and quit after 2 days. But, here I am, on week 5 and my husband can tell you there are off-days that I choose to work out purely because I want to! There are even days I choose to work out twice! I’m definitely not claiming to be addicted, but I am learning to really enjoy feeling healthy and strong!

MFM: Week 47, Day 4

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Week 47, Day 4 (-25 pounds)

Heart: I made a Christmas present this week. In June?! Yep. But, before you give me too much credit, it’s not because I’m some incredi-mom who gets all of her Christmas gifts done in the summer. It’s because my sister is moving and I refuse to pay $75 to ship this particular gift to her later (it’s very heavy). So, I finished it early enough that she can pack it up with everything else in her house, move it with her and  then open it in December. What is this super heavy gift that was awesome enough to finish 6 months early??

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Giant Jenga!! My nephew has been hinting at it for a couple of years, but the sets are expensive! So, this year, with my goal of making most of my gifts, I researched Giant Jenga and found that it is beyond simple to make!! In fact, here’s a quick tutorial if you want to make this awesome gift for about $30!!


5- 2x3x96 studs (I chose 2×3 to stick with the original ratio of the Jenga game)

1- crate (9.5×12.5×17.5)

1- 2” unfinished cube

6- paint samples in a variety of coordinating colors

Sander and lots of sandpaper


  1. Cut the boards into 54- 7.5” pieces. I would recommend placing a stop on your saw at 7.5” so your pieces are exact. You should have enough board to skip over any large knots.
  2. Sand all of the boards smooth and sand off any stamps. This step makes the pieces slide easier and prevents slivers.
  3. Paint just the ends of each piece. Make sure both ends of the same piece are the same color. You should paint 9 pieces of each color, for a total of 54 pieces in 6 colors.
  4. Paint each side of the cube a different color. I taped the edges of mine, but that’s optional.
  5. Once everything is dry, stack the pieces on your crate (which serves as a stable base) and have fun!

You can play it as regular Jenga, or you can play Rainbow Jenga. To play rainbow Jenga, roll the cube to begin your turn. Then, select a piece that matches the color rolled.

There is no finish put on the pieces because finishes tend to stick to themselves and, after reading lots of articles about making Giant Jenga, the overwhelming suggestion is that they slide best as raw wood.

I’m so happy with how it turned out, and my kiddos are begging me to make one for our family! They don’t know the materials are already sitting in the garage… 😊

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Soul: It is well with my soul. I feel like I have learned so much about my faith over the past several months. From spending some much-loved time in the gospels and learning about who Jesus was from scripture rather than just what I’ve been told, to discovering that the Holy Spirit is so much more than the Jimmy Cricket-like conscience I’ve treated Him as. I’ve discovered that I’m even more excited about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus after digging deep into His story than I ever was at surface level! I’ve learned that there is power in me, through the Holy Spirit, to accomplish anything that God asks! Today, I’m finding peace in marinating in everything I’ve been learning. I know that God has something coming up. I don’t know what, but I can feel something. So, for now, I’m just waiting in this peace and preparing myself for whatever may come.

Strength: I haven’t lost anything this week, but I’m trying not to feel discouraged. I read an article this week that spoke to plateaus. The article spoke to the fact that plateaus are the point at which most people give up, because they aren’t seeing the results. However, it also pointed out that plateaus are a natural, normal part of virtually any process, including weight loss. In fact, a plateau can be encouraging in that it signals a specific amount of progress. Plateaus rarely happen immediately in a process, but after a lot of excellent progress. Now isn’t the time to give up, it’s the time to appreciate just how far I’ve come and look forward to where I’m still going! Because I had a slow-down in my weight loss, I began to look for other ways to monitor my success. I feel better, I look better, but I also discovered that I fit into some of the pants I wore when I was my favorite me, physically! It was a wonderful reminder that my journey is so much more than a number journey!

MFM: Week 46, Day 4

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Week 46, Day 4 (-25 pounds)

Heart: Today I’m going to point you to some grain-free, refined sugar-free pancakes I made that were unbelievable!! I don’t make up recipes, because I hate to think of the money I waste if they don’t work out. But, the other morning, I was desperate for a “normal” pancake, so I put on my thinking cap and it worked! The pancakes were delicious and they flipped like normal pancakes, I didn’t have to baby them!

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Check them out- they’re awesome! They can even be frozen for a quick breakfast!

Soul: I’m feeling very busy right now. My soul feels burdened with life. I think I just need to get back into the habit of spending quiet time in the morning with Jesus. That quiet time turned into my Bible-reading time, which is good. But, I need the relational piece of just sitting and listening for the voice of God. Unfortunately, it seems like as soon as I’m done reading, my kiddos are awake so I miss out on the quiet time in the presence of God. I need to work that back into my morning routine. I miss it. I miss it like I miss coffee dates with friends. Relationships thrive on time spent together, listening to each other and pouring out our hearts. Why would I think my relationship with Christ would be any different?

Strength: I’m nearly ten weeks into my new eating plan and I feel great! My body is beginning to function so much better than it was, so I thought I’d give a run-down of my ‘rules’. Since I’m dealing with insulin resistance (IR), my ultimate goal is to decrease my intake of carbohydrates. If you’ve never heard of IR, you should look it up! There’s tons of great info out there. There are 5 basic rules I’ve been eating by and it’s made all the difference!

  1. No grains, potatoes, or sugars (no GPS as it’s referred to by Dr. Sarah Hallberg, check out her Ted Talk). I have allowed myself 3 leniencies on this rule to make it doable for now. Eventually, I may cut them out, but for now I occasionally allow myself air-popped popcorn (corn is a grain, not a veggie), sweet potatoes, and honey (a sugar, but a natural option).
  2. No low fat. Typically, in lower fat dairy products (yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese), there are more added sugars. Since my aim is to help my body heal its insulin resistance, I need to avoid the sugars.
  3. Eat ‘real’ food. I avoid processed foods, even if they ‘technically’ follow the no GPS rule. I’m trying to allow my body to heal itself, and artificial ingredients aren’t helpful. In fact, if it has to say “all natural” it should probably be avoided. I should be able to look at a food and know if it’s natural. If I have to investigate its origins, it’s probably more processed than I should be consuming on a regular basis.
  4. Eat when I’m hungry and don’t when I’m not. This has taken some getting used to. Ultimately, I find that I eat less food, but more often if I eat when I’m hungry. As a stay-at-home-mom that works for me. But, this may take some adjusting when I go back to work in a few years.
  5. 50-30-20. I aim to eat 50% fat, 30% protein, and 20% carbs. The carbs I do get are from fruits and veggies (or honey for now), but the majority of my energy is coming from protein and healthy fats.

When describing this eating plan to friends, it often gets likened to Paleo or Keto diets. It is similar to both in different ways. It’s similar to Keto in that it is low-carb, but I allow myself natural carbs from fruits and vegetables. It’s also similar to Paleo, but I allow myself to eat dairy to increase my protein intake.

Ultimately, it won’t be right for everyone, and the best bet would be to visit with your doctor for the best plan for you. But, for me, dealing with insulin resistance and a desire for my body to heal, this is my doctor-approved IR eating plan!

MFM: Week 45, Day 4

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Week 45, Day 4 (-23 pounds)

Heart: I’ve started subbing! I absolutely adore being home with my kiddos and am definitely not ready to go back to teaching full-time, but if I’m being honest, I love to teach! I’ve missed it! So, I prayed and talked with my husband and decided that subbing might be the perfect solution! It allows me to work one or two days per week and, although it pays less, I won’t have any lessons to plan, or any of the stress that comes with grading. I’ll just decide if I want to work then show up, do what I love and go home! I’ve subbed once a week for the past three weeks and it’s exactly what I was hoping it would be! In fact, I think it’s been really good for my kiddos, too. It makes the days I am home much more smooth and productive!

Speaking of productive, I got it in my head that I wanted to make Baby girl a summer top and as I walked by my pile of scrap material this week, I saw the perfect material! So, I took a few quick measurements and started cutting! I decided to make her an apron-style top that looks like a normal shirt in the front, but has a criss-cross back. As I was working I found that since it wasn’t a stretchy material, her head wasn’t fitting super well. So, I cut a slit in the front neckline and added a cute pink bow! This was such a fun shirt to sew! As I was sewing the hem, I found that it’s just one long stitch! Because the top crisscrosses and connects at the shoulders, the neckline, arms, and hem are all on the same stitch! I started at the neckline, and just kept stitching until I got back to the exact same spot! Then I had a moment of giddy giggling at how cool that was and dubbed this shirt the “Mobius Top”! The shirt turned out so cute and Baby girl seemed to love it! She would hold the bottom and sort of twirl… you know how a girl moves in a top she loves! Momma win!

Soul: This week, my husband’s grandfather passed away. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve dealt with death, but it is the first time Banayner has. Tim and I were just talking about how cool it is, as parents, that we get to experience life from the perspective of a child. Their first taste of ice cream, riding a bike, watching a thunderstorm. Having kiddos means getting to re-experience these like it’s the first time. It brings back the emotions, memories, feelings. This week we’ve been experiencing death through the eyes of our curious, yet confused six-year-old. He’s trying to reconcile the idea of not seeing Gramps with the reality he knows. We’ve talked about death, but he’s never experienced it before. He’s got lots of questions, the first of which was, “Since Gramps is alive with Jesus, how come we can’t see him?” I was convicted by the confidence that he has in the grace of Jesus. He didn’t ask “if”. How often do I ask “if” rather than being confidence in Christ? I think God has a lot to teach me through my children, starting with the hope we have in life after death.

Strength: I’m a couple of months into my no GPS (grains, potatoes, sugar) eating plan and I still love it. However, there have been a few times that I’ve allowed myself to “cheat”. Typically, I’m a you-can’t-cheat-at-ALL kind of girl, but those diets have never stuck. Since I want this one to be a lifestyle more than a “diet”, I’m allowing myself the freedom to decide if something is worth eating. The other night we ordered pizza and I had the toppings, which was fine…. Mostly. But I really wanted a piece of pizza, with the crust. So, I allowed myself one piece, only one piece, with the crust. It was good, I was satisfied, and the best part was realizing it wasn’t really any better than just the toppings! Actually, the best part was how easily I fell right back into my eating plan. Two years ago, on a similar diet, I would have felt like I screwed the whole thing up and given up on the diet completely. But this time, I saw it for what it was… something I wanted, something I knew wouldn’t settle well on my stomach (and it didn’t), but not the end of the world. So, I woke up the next morning and it didn’t even cross my mind to go back to my old habits. I like this eating plan, I like that I’m losing weight, and I love the way I feel!