Tips for a Good Social Media Account

It’s super rare these days to come across anyone who is not on some form of social media. There’s something for every generation!  People are attracted to the social aspect of it.  Most people want to hop on to connect with family and friends.  Others use it for business and networking.  Some want to share their talents with the world. And some people are on it because it’s the “cool” thing to do.  Whatever your reason for being on social media, I think there are some important things to keep in mind. I want to show you how to have a social media account that makes people want to come back and read your posts.  So, I’m going to share with you some Tips for a Good Social Media Account.

Social Media
Connecting

There are so many wonderful things about social media, really and truly.  Sometimes you have to get past the bad, but I promise it’s there.  One of my favorite things about social media, is connecting with others.  Whether it be reconnecting with old friends, staying up to date with family, or making new friends, social media is a great place to build and sustain relationships.

My first ever social media account was Facebook.  This was before I really knew what it was or anyone who was on it.  For some reason that I can’t remember, I had to get a Facebook account for the college classes I was taking.  So, I set it up and pretty much didn’t use it for a long time.  I eventually started getting lots of friend requests from old friends and high school acquaintances.  And I’ll be honest with you, I rarely accepted these friend requests, because I didn’t want people knowing my business.  The irony that I share pretty much everything now, is not lost on me.

Overtime I was able to appreciate what Facebook was all about and that it was actually pretty cool to be able to reconnect with people that I hadn’t seen in years and that I probably wouldn’t see in person. I especially loved being able to keep up with family members that I didn’t get to see often or that lived out of town.  I also loved that I was able to share pictures of my kids with these family members.

And now, I absolutely love the fact that social media has connected me with a community of moms of kids with Down Syndrome that I would’ve never been able to meet!  I have so many amazing support systems made through social media.  And it continues to grow, because I am able to connect with so many like minded people around the world.

Networking

What an incredible time we live in where we can become anyone we want to be.  When I began my career as a stay at home mom, over 15 years ago, there were very few ways for me to earn money without leaving my kids.  Yes, network marketing existed, but for an introvert like me, calling, having parties, or going out and meeting people was super intimidating.  Plus, I didn’t have time to leave my house or make calls with 2 small boys at home.

Social media opened up a doorway for me to be and do something outside of being a stay at home mom. I was able to connect with other momma’s like myself who needed what I was able to provide. And I could do it all from the comfort of my home and on my time.  The friendships I have made through my business, have been priceless!  It’s never been about selling to my friends or family, but providing a service to those who need it. Social media has helped to connect me to those people.  And it’s led me to want to do more and be more.  Now, I’m just hoping to have some sort of positive impact on the world. With social media, I can have a bigger impact.

But it’s not just about network marketing!  You have the ability to start your own business, advertise your company, your products, your services for FREE!  How cool is that!?   We can now reach so many people we couldn’t before thanks to social media!  You want to change the way the world sees people with Down Syndrome (I do!)?  Well, guess what?  You now have the ability to teach thousands of people the beauty of having an extra chromosome!  The world is at our fingertips, if we choose to use it correctly.

The best approach when using social media

Whatever your reasons for using social media, personal, business, fun, etc, I believe there are some things to consider.  Some of these will be more focused on business, but many apply to everyone.

  • Be respectful– You should absolutely be allowed to share your views and opinions on your social media platform of choice.  But please, be respectful, and realize that your opinion is not the only one that exists. If you would not say it or share it in person, then maybe you shouldn’t share it online either.  Don’t leave rude comments on people’s post.  Just be respectful to all people-that’s just common courtesy.
  • Be you!–  No seriously, be unapologetically you (while still being respectful).  No one is happy and smiling all the time.  We all have issues, we all have faults. People want to connect with people that they can relate to. I promise you that people know when you are being fake and they will stop watching your posts.  Stop being the person that you think others want you to be and actually be you (in real life too!).  It’s so much easier!
  • Keep it positive– Yes, you can be real, share the good, bad and ugly and still stay positive. I share the down sides of being a special needs mom and a mom of teenage boys but I  focus more on the positive. That’s how I live my life though. No one wants to follow someone that is always negative and complaining about everything.  They just don’t.  So share your struggles, your hard times but also share how you overcome them. Where your focus goes, energy grows.  So, even if your life is hard right now, you must find something positive to focus on if you want it to improve.  Be real, be you, but also be happy.
  • Engage with other people– Social media is meant to connect people, so don’t just be a fb stalker, engage with people.  Support your friends and family by liking and commenting on their posts. Be social!  If you like what someone is posting, tell them.  You can relate to what someone is going through, let them know.  You really want that recipe that someone posted a picture of the other day, shoot them a message and ask.  Social media is the one place that you don’t have to feel socially awkward.  People are posting because they want you to engage- so do so.
  • Post with purpose– Before you make a post on social media, think, “what is the purpose of this post?”  This is especially important for business and marketers.  Don’t just throw up a post, just to post.  You need be clear on why you are posting.  It doesn’t have to be just to sell something, in fact, most of your posts should NOT be for that reason. Your posts should always add some sort of value.
  • What goes on the internet, stays on the internet– This is true for everyone!  I tell my kids this all the time!  Just because you delete a posts, doesn’t mean that its gone.  All it takes is one share, one screenshot and its out of your hands.  Keep this in mind when you are posting on social media.  Please, stop and think before you post or share to your page.

 

If you’d like to follow one of my social media accounts, my favorite place to hang out is Instagram but you can also find me over on Facebook, of course!

And if you found any of this information valuable, please feel free to share it!

Southwest Chicken and Black Bean Salad

I’ve really gotten away from sharing recipes because, honestly, it’s just not my thing.  I can talk to you all day long about fitness, being a mother, overcoming obstacles and positive mindset.  But cooking, not so much.  I’m also very basic in my meal prep and cooking skills so there’s rarely anything worthy to share.  But I made these Southwest Chicken and Black Bean salads the other day and they looked so beautiful!  And they tasted even better so I shared the on my social media.  Well, I guess they really were beautiful because everyone kept asking me about them.  So I figured, I’d going ahead ands are them with the world.  Also, if you’re not following me on social media, why the heck not!?  I’m super cool, funny and amazing!  Hahahaha!  No, but really you should go ahead and follow me because every once in a while I post some pretty cool things.  You can follow me on Instagram, my favorite place to hang out or over on Facebook.

Southwest Chicken Salad

Southwestern Chicken and Black Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. lemon pepper
  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 3 cups sliced orange bell peppers
  • 3 cups sliced red bell peppers
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups sliced grilled chicken breast
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. To make dressing, combine vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon pepper in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.

  2. Slowly add oil while whisking; mix well. Evenly divide dressing between 4 one-quart Mason jars. Set aside.

  3. Evenly layer beans, bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, chicken, cheese, and cilantro on top of dressing in jars.

  4. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Shake before serving.

Servings:  4

 

The Day I Lost My Mother

They say that talking about your troubles is good therapy.  I’ll be honest, I’m not much for talking about my feelings but I find it very therapeutic to write about them.  It may sound crazy to want to relive the traumatic past but for me it’s a release, it’s therapy, it renews me. I want to tell you the story of the day I lost my mother.  This story really isn’t for you, it’s for me.  Since I don’t talk about it, writing it helps me to heal.  It’s not to get sympathy, I don’t need or want that.  The truth is I wouldn’t be who I am today, had I not gone through this tragedy.  It may have taken me a while to figure that out, but I know it’s true.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give anything to have one more day with my momma, because I would.

The night before

I remember calling my mother a few times that Tuesday night of September 12th.  It was a little odd that she didn’t answer or return my call considering we talked every day.  But I figured she probably had one of her headaches or was just really tired.  I went to bed not thinking anything about it.

Wednesday, Sept 13, 2006

It was about 7:00 Wednesday morning when I got woken up by the phone ringing. You know it’s never good to get a call that early in the morning.  When I answered, all my little brother said was, “They took mom to the hospital, get up here now.”  I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach but it would never prepare me for what I would find out when I got there.  Chris and I got our two boys up, they were 3 and 10 months old at the time.  We threw some clothes on and ran to the car.  The hospital was about a 30 minute drive so you can imagine the thoughts that were running through my head during that time. The truth is that I don’t think that, her not making it, ever even crossed my mind.  I mean, this was the woman who had been through hell and walked out carrying all 4 of her kids over her shoulders. She had overcome tougher times and she would overcome whatever this was.

We parked the car and walked into the emergency room, me carrying Joey on my hip and Chris holding Jack nearby.  I remember walking around the corner and seeing Jason and his future wife.  Dana immediately grabbed Joey out of my arms and stepped back.  I saw my baby brother’s face trying so hard to keep it together.  I will never forget how brave he was and I hate that he had to be the one to say to me, “She didn’t make it.”

It was like a punch in the gut and I immediately yelled out, “NOO! What did they do to her?!”  Because, of course the doctors must have made a mistake.  They must have caused this.  It so crazy the thoughts that randomly come to your head in a time of crisis and tragedy.  I’m not sure why I immediately blamed them.  It just didn’t seem possible that my healthy, 52 year old mother would die so suddenly.  I guess I had to blame someone.

I pushed passed my brother and walked into the triage room that she was in.  She lay there with a tube in her throat and I thought there is no way this is real life.  I’m pretty sure I was yelling and wailing crying as I stood beside, caressing her beautiful face.  It was such a surreal moment that I will never forget.  I have no concept of how long I was in there, not saying a word to anyone, just sitting beside her.  I remember hearing someone else’s version of when I walked in.  They told me that had Chris not been there to catch me, I would’ve dropped right to the floor.  I don’t remember that but it’s not surprising because he’s always been here to catch me.

I’ve looked back at those moments so many times and have felt so much guilt.  I was so selfish in my grief that in those initial moments I never even acknowledged anyone else’s grief.  My baby brother, who had to tell me that our mother was gone and I just pushed right by him.  My step father who had just lost his wife, I was unable to see his pain.  Later when my sister came in, I was still too lost in my own sadness to be there for her.  I will probably always regret that. Many times, I have wished that my kids hadn’t had to witness me like that.  If only I would’ve been able to stop and think. You think you are an empathetic, compassionate, level-headed person until tragedy strikes and your emotions completely take over.  I’ve worked really hard the last 12 years to make up for that day.  I wanted to work really hard to keep our family together and unified after our leader had gone.  But no one could ever replace her, not ever.  

Eventually, the hospital staff made us leave so they could take her tubing out and get her “cleaned up.”  I remember sitting in the waiting room, in silence, in sadness, in disbelief.  By this time, more family had started to show up-aunts, uncles, etc.  I don’t think I ever spoke a word.  There was nothing to say.

Saying goodbye

I eventually got to be with my momma again in a private room.  The 3 of us siblings (my other brother did not live in town and was probably just being informed) sat with her for a long time.  I held her hand and caressed her face.  I wanted to take in every freckle, every line, every wrinkle, every distinct marking that made her so beautiful and so unique.  It was torture to think that this would be the last time I saw her, so I stayed until they made me leave.  I kept waiting for her to wake up and squeeze my hand.  As I held her hand while she lie there, I remembered every time I would hold her hand in church during the “Our Father.”  Those hands that fixed all my boo boos, carried me, and wiped away my tears too many times to count.

We spent the rest of that day at my aunts house.  I laid on a couch and didn’t move, didn’t eat, didn’t talk to anyone.  It was the saddest day of my life and I remember thinking that I would never get over it.  I could not imagine a world without her in it.  My mother was my life line, my best friend, my confidant.  Losing your mother, is like losing a piece of yourself.  And a piece of me was lost that day.  But I did learn how to go on.  It wasn’t easy and it honestly took years to really get over.  I was finally able to rise after the darkness, to walk through the fire and become better for it.  She wanted more for me in this life and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let her down.

While I would give anything to see her eyes light up one more time around her grand kids, I know that she is exactly where she is meant to be.  She is free, she is happy, she is loved. And I am who I am because she loved me!

Self-Care as a Special Needs Mom

 Self-Care as a Special Needs Mom

I took a vow in January to devote more time to self-care and I challenged others to do the same. We started off the year pretty strong but I feel like, summer came and my self care habits left.  Anyone else?

This summer was probably my toughest summer yet as a mom of a child with special needs.  Having Stella home all summer long, meant that my attention was spent on her, all summer long!  My old tricks of putting a movie on or giving her her iPad so that I could get something done, didn’t work this summer. She had other plans, and they involved me playing with her constantly or her getting into everything she was not suppose to.  Therefore, my self-care time was extra tough to squeeze in.

What worked for me

One thing that did remain constant for me, at least during the week, was waking up before my kiddos. I’ve stated many times that I am NOT a morning person but I have learned to love that morning time before the kids wake up. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, it’s enough time to enjoy my coffee and focus on just me, before dealing with the chaos that is my life.  If you do nothing else for yourself, I highly encourage you to take this time to start your day off right.  It will completely transform your days!

The second thing that I have continued to do and that I highly recommend to other mommas, is taking time to move your body.  Being a special needs parent can be exhausting both mentally and physically.  It can cause anxiety, stress and overwhelm.  One of the best and healthiest ways to overcome those feelings is with exercise. You don’t need to go out and run a marathon (more power to you if that’s your choice), or spend hours at the gym.  But what you do need, what your body and mind need is some type of exercise.  This could be as simple as going for a walk or doing 20 minutes of yoga.

Exercise is such a great natural way to produce endorphins.  You know those chemicals in the brain that can act like natural pain killers, help with sleep and reduce stress.  Yea, those!  Even a 10 minute brisk walk can help provide a few hours of decreased tension.  And a bonus, is that when we exercise, it actually helps to improve our self esteem.  I’m sure most of us could use that boost.

Finding time

I know, I know!  You’re busy and you don’t have time!  Girl, I get it!  I’m not asking you to spend a ton of time on yourself.  But I’m telling you that it is necessary for you to spend SOME time on yourself.  Self-care will make you a better mother, wife, friend, person.  As a mom of a child with Down Syndrome that requires a lot of my time and attention-even when she’s not with me,  I’m telling you, you NEED this.  So, I’m going to make it easy for you by giving you these 2 very small steps to begin with.

Wake up first

I don’t care what time you have to get up in the morning (I get up at 5:00 and have gotten up as early as 4:00), you must wake up at least a half an hour before your kiddos.  Turn off your Netflix at night and go to bed early.  No one will judge you for leaving dishes in the sink or having a messy house- just go to bed early.

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT, check your social media first thing in the morning!  That is not how you want to start your day.  Instead, focus solely on you during this time.  Here’s what my routine looks like:

  1. Wake up
  2. Fix coffee
  3. Sit in my chair and meditate for about 10 minutes (I listen to Meditation Minis by Chel Hamilton or the Calm app)
  4. Pray or write in gratitude journal
  5. Read or listen to Personal development

If you do this everyday, I promise you that it will completey transform your days.  Taking this time for you and to count your blessings and just breathe, will be a game changer.  Don’t make me beg you, just please give it a try and see for yourself.

Exercise

I exercise at a minimum of 4 days a week, no matter what!  Sometimes that means that my daughter is on my back while I’m planking.  There are times when my workouts are interrupted so that I can give her another snack or change her movie.  I typically try to get my workout in before she wakes up but that’s just not always the case.

Working out with kiddos

My workouts are typically about 30 minutes and involve cardio and weight training.  Just enough time to get my endorphins moving and burn some calories.  I love weight training because it’s imperative to me to be strong for my daughter-physically and mentally.  My workouts challenge my mind and my body.  If you’ve ever had to hold down a child with low muscle tone, who is strong as an ox and limber as a dishrag, you get the importance of being physically strong.  All my workouts are done from home.

All of us momma’s need to take time for self-care!  As a momma of child with special needs, I’ve come to realize just how important that time is.  We spend so much time and energy focused on our children.  Even when they are not with us, we are worrying, over analyzing, trying to plan their future, stressing, coordinating therapies and doctor’s appointments – constantly.  As busy as we all are, it’s necessary for us to take some time each day, to spend on us so that we can be the best version for them.

Life-Changing Books

If you guys know me or have followed me for any amount of time, you know how much I love personal development!  Like, seriously, I’m an addict and can’t get enough!  Before I’m even finished with one book, I’m already ordering my next.  I’ve read or listened to countless books, but there are a few that hold a special place in my heart and that I would consider life-changing books.  Since people are always asking me for recommendations on what to read and since they’ve had such a positive effect in my life, I decided I would share my top picks with you.

It was difficult to narrow down my top picks, but I decided on 5 books that I really wanted to share with you guys.  These 8 books have truly had an impact in my life, some I’ve read or listened to more than once.  Some of them I still go back and reference.  Some have helped me with my business, some my personal life, some my financial life and most, my overall mindset.

If you are ready to get inspired, check out my top 5 picks for personal development

 

The Compound Effect

The Compound Effect

The Compound Effect was one of my very first personal development books.  If you haven’t read any of Darren Hardy’s books, you should probably read them all, but start with this one!  Also, I highly recommend you subscribe to his daily emails, they are amazing!  You can register to receive his awesome emails, here. In this book, he shares the principle that small actions that we take consistently can add up to greatness.  Darren shows us how to live our dream life by changing little, daily decisions that we make. These little decisions can either lead to reaching dreams or to disaster.  It’s our choice.

Darren Hardy is one of my favorite authors and mentors.  I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak live and he truly is inspiring.  His book, The Compound Effect is one of the first books I always recommend my new coaches to read.  And honestly, I think no matter what you do for a living, everyone should read this book.  You can apply it to anything in life, whether you are an entrepreneur, a stay at home mom, trying to get organized, you are wanting to lose weight, get fit, whatever changes you want to make in your life, you can use the information from this book to guide you.  Pick up a copy here.

My Miracle Morning

My Miracle Morning

Well, if you’ve followed my social media at all over the last 2-3 years, you’ve probably heard me talk about this book.  This book is a game changer!  As someone who is not a morning person AT ALL, it took me some time to accept the challenge Mr. Hal Elrod was asking of me.  But once I did, wow, everything started to change and change for the better.  No, I am not a morning person now, but my mornings go way smoother and I’m much happier since putting these techniques into place.  I get so much more done in the first hour of my day then I ever have and I’m so much more patient as a mother.  If your mornings are full of chaos, rushing around, spilling your coffee on yourself, shoving your kiddos out the door then you need to order this book now!  Seriously, go!  You can pick it up here.

No Limits

No Limits

John Maxwell is one of my very favorite authors!  I have read several of his books and have even had the privilege of attending a live conference call with him last year. His books are all about how to achieve your full potential, how to be successful in business and in life and how to change your mindset so that you can reach that potential.

No Limits is packed full of little nuggets that will help you get the most out of life by “blowing the cap off of your capacity,” as he puts it.  One of my favorite points that he touches on is how to really connect and build relationships with people.  Our successes and failures in life are typically traced back to our relationships so it’s important that we figure out to build strong ones.  I learned so much about how to be more productive, responsible and how my attitude (good or bad) effects so much in my life.  If you are wanting to achieve more, reach your full potential and really maximize your capacity, read this book! It’s GOLD!  You can get it here, if you wanna.

 

 

You are a Badass

You Are a Badass

Don’t be offended by the title of this book.  Jen Sincere is sure to make you feel like a Badass after you finish reading it.  I spent so many years of my life thinking that I was not good enough and doubting my true potential.  Reading her book, helped me to realize that I am truly capable of way more than I’ve ever given myself credit for.  She shows us how to change our self-sabatoging beliefs and behaviors so that we can start getting out of life what we truly deserve.  You are capable of creating a life that you love.  If you are ready to improve your mind and your life, you need to read this book.  It is by far, one of my favs and I’ve read more than once! Go get it now!  And because I buy everything on amazon, here’s a link.

Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl, Wash Your Face

If you haven’t seen or heard about this book yet, well, you must be living on another planet.  Girl, Wash Your Face is all the rage and if you spend 5 minutes reading it, you will know exactly why.  Rachel Hollis speaks to every woman in this book!  I honestly felt like she had been in my head, reading my diary or stalking me!

In this amazing book, she shares with us the lies that we have been telling ourselves and believing, for years.  And then she explains to us why they are indeed lies and how she has overcome these lies.  From the lie that you are not good enough, that you’ll start tomorrow, that you are a bad mom to the lie that there is only one right way to be.  She digs deep and shows how to overcome these self sabotaging lies and to live our best life with the truth.

This book, if you choose to read it, soak it in and allow it, will change your life for the better!  Not overnight, but if you take the time to really let each chapter sink in, and apply her tips that she shares at the end of each chapter, it can have a huge impact on your happiness.  Go get it now!!  Here‘s where I ordered mine.

Choosing your book

When choosing a personal development book, my best advice is to think about the stage of life that you are in.  What do you need to work on most?  How do you want to improve your life at this very moment?  Become more organized?  Work on getting healthier, fitter, more focused?  Are you trying to learn to love yourself?  Are you trying to realize your true potential?  Personal development is just that, it’s personal.  Your time is precious, so choose something that you most need to work on at the moment.  And if there’s no time to sit down and read a book, Audible is amazing!  Listen in your car, while your folding laundry, traveling, at the airport, etc.

If you decide to take any of my recommendations, let me know!  I would love to hear your thoughts on these books!  You can always find me over on Instagram!

Finding Strength Through the Hard

Life is so full of lessons!  Most of them, I think we totally overlook or it takes us a while to see them.  I use to think that when things didn’t go my way, or something bad happened in my life, it was a punishment.  I believed that I deserved it for all of the bad things that I had done in my life, for not being a better Christian, friend, daughter, mother, wife, etc.  Imagine that, me thinking that God would punish me for not being enough. It took some time for me to realize that I am enough, even when I sin, even when I fail, even when I do bad things.  God loves me through it all.  Finding Strength from the Hard, takes time but it is possible.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my adult life is that there is always an opportunity to learn and grow from our experiences-both good and bad ones.  Tragedies happen, hard times happen, there are times where we want to give up and throw our hands up in the air and ask God, “WHY?!”  Those are the times that we have to dig deep and look within to really see what blessings God is trying to reveal to us.  It is one of the hardest things to do in the moment.  If we can take the time to just breathe and talk to God, He will reveal to us the lesson to be learned.  But we have to listen.  We have to be patient.  And we have to have faith.

There are definitely times in our lives where its easy to do that and times where it seems impossible.  Having faith in midst of tragedy or heartache is one of the hardest things that you will have to do.  Tragedy will test your faith.  It’s up to you go stay strong and decide that your faith is stronger than whatever you are going through.  And when it seems impossible and that you can’t go on, turn to Him, let Him lead the way.  Ask Him for strength, but be patient and listen.

Lessons through my personal loss

I always think back to some of the hardest times in my life to remember how far I’ve come.  My faith was tested to the limits back in 2006 when my mother suddenly passed away at the age of 52.  I talk about this a lot because it was a pivotal moment in my life and it completely changed me.  My mother was my best friend and we spoke by phone daily and saw each other  a few times a week.  She was my rock, my biggest supporter, and my biggest fan.  Her death was by far the hardest thing that I had ever gone through at that point in my life.  I thought that there was no way, any good could come from such a tragedy.  I was angry with God for taking her!

As awful as losing my mother was, it also grew me as a person.  It took time, lots of time but eventually I was able to forgive God and find the strength to move on.  I had two choices when she died.  I could crawl into a hole, continue to feel sorry for myself and spend the rest of my life sad, lonely and in my own pity party of one. Or, I could pray for strength to move on, never forget, grow, become the person God intended me to be, learn from it and thrive.  I eventually chose option 2, but it took time, lots of time.

Losing my momma forced me to become more independent, a freer thinker, a more present mother and also taught me the importance of taking care of this one body that I have.  Her death eventually made me want to LIVE my life to the fullest!  It made me want to soak up every minute with my children and husband because you don’t know when your last day will be.  This tragedy also brought my siblings and I closer together.  While some relationships were lost after her death, the important relationships remained and became stronger.

Tragedy or a Blessing

Then there was the diagnosis of my daughter with Down Syndrome.  You’ve probably heard me talk about this many times.  Having each of my 3 children were life changing events, ones that I hold near and dear to my heart.  Stella’s diagnosis was life changing in my faith and in my relationship with God.  Just when I thought I had my shit together, I get this diagnosis that I thought, at the time, was tragic.

I’m pretty sure that day we received the news, I went through every emotion.  I cussed God, I pleaded with God, I told Him that He made a mistake, He chose the wrong person.  I prayed that the test was wrong.  I cried, I was angry, I was terrified.  I didn’t understand why this was happening.  I blamed myself.  The emotions were real.  They were raw and they changed every few minutes.  I let myself have a pity party for about 2 weeks and then I pulled my big girl pants up and did the things that I needed to do.

I continued to pray to God but I changed my prayers.  I began to ask him for strength, for guidance, for unconditional love.  I thanked Him for entrusting me to take care of another one of His children.  I listened for His guidance.  And as you can probably now see, I’m pretty darn thankful for our Sweet Stella.  She is exactly what I needed and she has taught me more lessons about life and being a good human then I could’ve possibly learned without her.  She has helped me develop a strength inside of me that I never imagined I could have. Her and her brothers make me want to be better and do better every day.  Yes, I still fail, I still fall, but because of them, I always get back up.

“God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called”

I have learned to trust God in a whole new way.  He will provide you what you need if you let Him.  As one of my sweet friends always says, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”  And He continues to do that for me.  I am His work in progress but what is so wonderful, is that He never gives up on me.  And He won’t give up on you either.

I’ve realized that all of the hard times that I’ve gone through in my life, have brought me right to where I am now.  God is using me to share my story, to share His story, to hopefully keep someone else from giving up and giving others the strength to push through the hard.  I use my mistakes and my past to guide and help others.  God doesn’t always reveal His plan to us, but He always has one. Listen and don’t be afraid to follow His plan even if it isn’t always the same as yours.

 

Positivity Not Perfection

It’s easy to look at my social media and make assumptions or judgments about the kind of person that I am or what my life is like.  My social media is typically filled with positive, upbeat messages, advocacy for my daughter, gratefulness and lots of fitness.  One could concur that I have it all together and that my life has always been easy, wonderful and perfect.  You could assume that I’m happy, joyful and positive everyday.  You could, but you shouldn’t.

Now, that doesn’t mean that my social media is a fraud.  It’s actually not at all.  I made a pact back in January, to be myself, to be real, authentic and 100% me on social media.  If you follow my IG Stories, you will see a lot more of that realness.  But I decided to let go of the people pleasing, the trying to win everyone over, the speaking to the people that weren’t even my people and just be me.  Let me tell you, it is so freeing!  Yes, it’s scary at first but oh man, people pleasing is a lot more work.

 

 

 

So, why are most of my posts so positive and upbeat?  Well, I made another pact to myself a couple years ago, that I would begin to work on letting go of the negativity that I’ve carried around most of my life.  I decided to be intentional with my thinking and only hold onto positive thoughts.  Obviously, this is not a perfect practice.  It takes work, time and constant growth.  Social media is filled to the brim with negativity.  You can find it on every scroll!  So, I choose to spread love, positivity, value and hopefully inspiration.

 

When I decided to change my mindset and focus on feeding my mind with positive thoughts daily, my life began to change for the better.  What we think and the thoughts we hold in our mind, we become.  Our feelings that we carry, are what we attract.  I see women every day on social media or in real life, who have held on to negative thoughts for so long, they feel lost, unloved and unworthy.  I know how they feel because I have felt it too.  What I want is to help them realize their true potential.  The only way to do that is by changing the way we think.

My point is this, social media can be a tricky thing.  It can suck you in and cause you to compare your life to what others portray as theirs.  But it can also be a source of learning, growing, starting new friendships, spreading love, advocacy and inspiration.  That is what I choose to use it as.  My life is far from perfect but I choose to be grateful for every minute of it and I encourage you to do the same.  Find the positive people on social media to follow. But understand that we all have our own struggles and we all choose different ways to handle them.  And I encourage you to be the voice of positivity in someone else’s life. 

Orange Cherry Muffins

I have been dying to try these Orange Cherry Muffins for almost a year now!  I keep coming across them on the cooking show that I get access to with my Beachbody on Demand membership.  And now, I finally took the time and made them.  How were they?  Well, duh, they were amazing!  I only share the best recipes on here! Bonus is they fit right into my meal plan for the brand new LIIFT4 program that I’m starting tomorrow.  It’s time to get back on track with my nutrition!  I love that I can still eat yummy foods while working on my health/fitness goals.  Eating healthy does not have to be boring!  And these Orange Cherry Muffins prove that!

Orange Cherry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Gluten free flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup Almond flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder, gluten free
  • 1/2  cup raw chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin organic coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP All natural Peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 TBSP finely grated orange peel (Orange zest)
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup thickly sliced banana, very ripe
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cherries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375o F.
  2. Prepare 12 muffin cups by lining with muffin papers and lightly coatingwith spray.
  3. Combine flour, almond flour, baking powder, walnuts, and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Set aside.
  4. Place oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, orange peel, orange juice, ground flaxseed, banana, and extract in blender; cover. Blend until smooth; approx. 30 seconds.
  5. Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture; mix until just moistened. Do not overmix.
  6. Add cherries; fold until just mixed.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. (One-quarter cup batter should fill

each cup about three-quarters full.)

8.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

9.  Remove from oven; allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing muffins from pan and cooling completely on a rack. Enjoy!

 

The Woman I am Today

In honor of Woman Crush Wednesday (yes, that’s actually a thing, check the hashtag!), I want to give a shout out to all of the strong, confident women out there!  I also want to give a shout out to the women who aren’t quite strong and confident but are working on themselves.  And finally I want to thank all the women out there who help to build up and support other women, even though their paths may be very different from yours.  You ladies rock!!

Your past does not define you

I haven’t always been the woman that I am today.  I’ve spent most of my life with my head down, feeling sorry for myself and hating who I was on the inside and out.  If you knew me then, you probably saw a smile on my face as I was really good at hiding my feelings.  I spent most of my 20’s in an alcohol induced fog so that I did not have to face reality.  From starving myself to binge eating, to smoking and drinking, it’s a real wonder I’m even here and as healthy as I am.  But God had a plan, He always does.

When I became a mother in 2003, I believed that was my answer to everything.  It did in fact save my life, I feel certain of that.  When I got pregnant (not planned), I was 95 pounds, living off of cigarettes, goldfish crackers and lots of alcohol.  You can judge if you want, but we all have a story and some times we have to hit rock bottom so that we can bounce back up.  Becoming a mother did save me from the path I was on but it still did nothing to help my self loathing, unfortunately.  But being a mother was what I knew I was put on this planet for and I went all in!  I gave my entire self to my kids, which unfortunately left none for me or my husband.  The fact that he didn’t leave me through those first 5-7 years, tells me everything I need to know about that man!  HE is my saving grace!

Growing and learning

Fast forward to getting pregnant with my daughter (5 years old now) and getting her Down Syndrome diagnosis (that’s another story), I knew I needed to change.  When I told God that I wasn’t strong enough to raise a daughter with special needs, I’m pretty sure He laughed at me.  That was His plan all along, to mold me into what He knew I was capable of being. I began to look at the world differently.  I became more grateful, more loving, more accepting, more patient- not overnight but slowly.  And of course, I’m always a work in progress.

It wasn’t until Coaching came into my life (3 years ago), that I truly began to understand the importance of taking care of me. It felt very selfish at first, but I soon realized that it actually was making me a better, more patient, more loving wife, mother, friend and person.  And as my  coaching business has grown, I’ve realized the importance of filling my cup so that I can help to fill others.  Helping others reach their goals, change their mindset, learn to fill their own cup has truly changes me in ways that I can’t even express.

He always has a plan

Remember when I told you that God had a plan for me, this is it!  Helping women to grow, learn to love themselves, make time for themselves so that they can be better wives and mothers, is all part of God’s plan.  When I post a sweaty selfie or any picture on social media, it’s not about me!  It’s about that person reading it, that needed to hear/see that message at that exact moment.  It’s for the woman, who spent years in bad relationships, getting beaten down until she had no confidence left in her.  For the mom, who has given everything she has and is, to her children and now feels like she has nothing left to give.  That post is for the woman who wants to change but doesn’t know where to start.  It’s for the mom who constantly feels judged because she’s not good enough, involved enough, patient enough, creative enough.  My picture represents the mom/wife who feels like a failure, because she can’t be and do everything she thinks she needs to.  I AM THAT WOMAN!

It’s imperative that we, as women, take time for ourselves.  That means something different for everyone.  For me it’s quiet mediation, reading personal development and working out.  For others it may be going to get your nails done, shopping or running.  It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something for you.  My goal is to see more women supporting each other and loving on each other. I believe that starts with you.  It’s hard to love on others when you don’t like who you are.  So, I’m giving you my permission (you’re welcome!) to go out this week and do something just for you!

Make my day and share what it is that you do/will do!!

Cheesy Steak Skillet

First thing you should know about me when it comes to this recipe is that I do NOT like steak.  I know, I’m a little weird but I’ve never liked it and I never eat it.  Which is why it has taken me this long to finally make this Cheesy Steak Skillet even though I had been eyeing it for a few months.  The rumor going around was that it was delicious so I finally gave in and fixed it.  I knew if I didn’t like, at least my hubby would.

Did I mention that this is totally 80 Day Obsession approved!?

Did I also mention that I in week 1 of Round 2 of this amazing program?  I’ll be sharing my review and progress photos soon so stay tuned!

Cheesy Steak Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp.  ghee (organic grass-fed if possible), divided use
  • 1 Lb raw beef skirt steak
  • 1/2 tsp + 1 dash sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp + 1 dash ground pepper
  • 1 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves, finely chopped garlic
  • 2/3 dry long grain brown rice
  • 1 2/3 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1 tsp ground Tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground Paprika
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese

Directions

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. ghee in large heavy-bottomed (or cast iron) skillet over high heat until wisps of smoke begin to rise.
  2. Add steak; sear for 3 minutes on each side (for medium), or until deep brown. Remove steak from skillet and place on a plate. Season both sides of steak lightly with 1 dash salt and 1 dash pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tsp. ghee in same skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion istranslucent.
  5. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  6. Add rice; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until rice begins to brown.
  7. Add broth, turmeric, paprika, remaining 1⁄2 tsp. salt, remaining 1⁄2 tsp. pepper, green beans, and carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium- low; gently boil, covered, for 45 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  8. Slice steak thin, on the bias, against the grain.
  9. Remove lid from skillet; lightly fluff rice with a fork. Place sliced steak on top. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Replace lid and let rest for 10 minutes