Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Thanks-Giving-Giving-Thanks 

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Thanks-Giving-Giving-Thanks 

It’s been a stressful week. Busy shopping week means busy work week with my writing job. (And the work schedule is not very conducive to Adri’s school schedule anyway). Then peak-order season with the gift shop (Which I’m definitely not complaining about…I just wish I’d have had more time to add some new items to the shop before now). And with a million other things to do around the house, to say I’m frazzled would be putting it mildly. Time always goes so fast and there’s never enough of it to do what you want.

Today was Adri’s Thanksgiving “feast” at school. And even though she was late (because of a mixup over when I should bring her since it wasn’t one of her regular school days), she made it – and with her pineapple contribution in tow. So there’s that at least.

But after having to go back home and work more before going back to the school for the feast, I had barely enough time to put myself together and definitely not enough time to shower first. I broke a bra and broke a nail in my haste…And I was still a few minutes late.

She didn’t mind though. She was excited to see me and have me try the fruit salad and buttered rolls they made this morning. (And it was yummy).

After eating and playing for a bit I had hope return thinking I could salvage some of the plans after all. The morning may have been a disaster but we could still make her teachers a nice, crafty, thank-you gift tonight to give them tomorrow at school…Until I was reminded when we were leaving that Adri doesn’t have school again until next week.

Defeated, I sighed when we got into the car to leave school and head to the grocery and said, “I’m sorry, monkey. I wish I could’ve been there for your whole day at school again like Halloween and that we weren’t always so rushed, but Mommy is just a bit of a mess lately”. Without hesitation she replied, “It’s okay mommy. We all have messes sometimes. I love you and your da best mommy”.

I could’ve broke down, but God knows if I did right now it might not stop. Sometimes I’m not really sure what I’m doing; Feeling pulled in a million directions and I think I’m doing everything wrong. But it’s little reassurances like that that tell me I must be doing something right.

I may have plenty of other things in mind that I want to do, but sometimes there’s just not enough time. And I have to remember that that’s ok. That my house work may get a little behind (or a lot) when I’m working two jobs and momming. And that sometimes our dinner won’t be completely homemade…or even semi-homemade for that matter. And that’s ok.

The important thing is that we are laughing together in our slightly (or extremely) messy house. That we are together enjoying our homemade, semi-homemade or not-at-all-homemade dinners together, that we’re always there for her when she needs us, and that her daddy and I love her bigger than the sky. Through grief, through chaos, through it all. That’s what it’s all about.

…And just to keep me from being too wishy-washy all day, she was a total ass in the grocery store afterward, So I guess it’s also about balance. 😜

But I am so thankful for the blessings in life (even the ones that don’t always seem like blessings at first). I appreciate the crazy, busy weeks. And I am so grateful for my family and for the love of this sweet little girl who, even at under the age of 4, understands that life can get chaotic, but it’s okay. As long as we have each other, it’s okay. And when we focus on that, it’s more than okay. It’s great. Chaotic, messy, busy, hopeful, fun, full of love, running-late, great. And if we can’t get all of that greatness to fit into one day, we’ll be hopeful, grateful, and blessed to be given tomorrow to give it another shot.

So in case I don’t get a chance to say it later this week when things are even more chaotic:  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your blessings are more than you can count…But I hope you’ll take a minute to stop and try to count them anyway.

 

❤ #grateful #thankful #blessed ❤

Thankful Grateful Blessed

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Into The Forest 

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Into the forest I go; to lose my mind and find my soul

I’ve got lots of favorite quotes about nature but when my mind and heart are heavy I wander around the garden or stare at the sky for a while and am always reminded of this one. It’s so fitting. Sometimes you just need to escape your thoughts and worries and just vibe with the planet to try to gain peace and clarity.

My mind is full of worry this week and there are so many I know going through difficult times right now too. So many prayer requests recently and so many more unspoken.

But I believe there is power in numbers. So whatever you believe in, could you just take a minute to send out some positive thoughts and energy? If some float my way too I sure won’t complain, but right now I just hope they can help bring healing, comfort and peace to those I know who need it.

And to that end I leave you with another loved quote –

The wound is the place where the light enters you”.

I hope whatever pain and difficulties you are facing now bring you to peace and happiness tomorrow. And may you be a beacon to someone else in their time of need.

💜

  

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness

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Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. Sharing my story let me know I was not alone in our loss. The road to healing is a long one. In fact, I’m not sure it ever ends. Day by day I remind myself to focus on the positive things though that emptiness and sadness still linger – Always ready for me to break down into tears; Always reminding me of what never was. It makes what I have that much more important. That much more sacred. But it does not erase that reminder of what was lost. These situations are much more common than you know. If you’ve lost a child don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not alone in this. And may the many angels lost rest in peace.

 

The Write Side of Life - Lost Child Monument

The Write Side of Life - I wanted that child

The Write Side of Life - Ask My Mom How She Is

The Write Side of Life - 10 Stages of Mother who has lost a child

The Frenchman

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“The hard part isn’t the first step, or the second step [on the way towards your goal]. It’s the 5th, 6th and 7th steps when you’re in so deep you forget why you took that initial step in the first place. The middle of the tunnel, when you left the light behind you but you can’t yet see it in front of you either. When you have to trust that whatever ‘insane’ notion came over you to take the first step is still worth it now that you don’t see where it’s headed anymore. That’s the hard part of doing something big/great. It’s when you’re halfway up the mountain and you’re too far up to turn back but you can’t see the summit camp yet.” 

The Frenchman

Hot Toddy

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Yeah I think most in the northeast could agree, Elsa.

Yeah, Elsa. I know many that would agree!

Yeah, Elsa. I know many that would agree!

Sore throat weather and this blustering cold means a hot toddy in the afternoon for mommy & daddy. Want a blend sure to beat the rest? I add a dash of ginger to mine and just a kick of cayenne to boost immunity. 😉

Cheers! 🍹❄️🔥

A twist of ginger and one other spice gives this traditional Hot Toddy recipe a kick for the tastebuds and for your immune system - by The Write Side of Life

A twist of ginger and one other spice gives this traditional Hot Toddy recipe a kick for the tastebuds and for your immune system – by The Write Side of Life

Our Battles

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The whole process from applying for and ultimately buying this house to then renovating both of our homes (one to live in and one to rent out) has been nothing short of stressful. We have faced some insane challenges and continue to pour our blood, sweat and tears into it (along with a great many choice words). There are nights that we are asleep before our head even hits the pillow and mornings we can barely pry our ass out of bed without feeling like we’ll break. I pray for patience and positivity daily.

Today, I had four men in my home installing windows and a front door  (one of the very few tasks we are not doing ourselves). Each of them pleasant but each also facing their own burdens. One was trying to find a solution for his bullied son. One was waiting for the workday to end so he could visit his dad in a nursing home where he’s being cared for after barely surviving a risky surgery. Another was involved in a motorcycle accident last week and isn’t even cleared for physical therapy yet but, because insurance takes a while and bills don’t wait, had to return to work. And then there was the crew leader, whose hair was visibly thinner after his final round of chemo on Tuesday; subsequent to having one of his lungs removed. Having virtually no immune system after the treatment, he was also dealing with bronchitis in his remaining lung. How diverse all the problems were!

I know each of you are probably facing something in your life too – whether big or small…A stressful situation. A bump in the road. A decision you’re having a hard time making. A death of a loved one. Your job. Your house. Your car. Your family. Your addiction. Your bills. Your health…

Every morning I wake up and look out at the sky, breathe and try to prepare myself for whatever the day may bring. Every night I look to the sky, breathe and give thanks for whatever blessings may be found. Today I am thankful for our much-needed, new windows, for white paint and (despite a few new cuts and blisters) that more progress was made and we are all bathed and going to bed in freshly laundered sheets. But more importantly, I am also thankful for perspective and awareness. It is both unsettling and uplifting to know that everyone of us is fighting a battle, but no matter how unique it is or how discouraging it may feel, we aren’t alone. Even though the world seems to be falling apart, we are still “together” on some level. For all of our differences, this is our common ground.

So tonight I am praying again to face the stresses of tomorrow with patience and to be able to end the day with gratitude. I am also praying for those four men I met earlier today and each of their battles. And also for you and yours. May a lightness find its way to whatever is weighing heavily within you.

-Steph

Start and end the day with an attitude of gratitude

Start and end the day with an attitude of gratitude

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Good Riddance

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This time of year is always festive for me – It’s the time of year for my birthday, the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo (which were all absolutely great by the way). And as if that’s not cause enough to celebrate, today also marks two years since I purchased my last pack of cigarettes. Happy anniversary to the best good riddance!

I’m not one to bash other people for their decisions to drink or smoke – so if you do, hey, I get it. God knows I hated the hypocrites that constantly nagged me for smoking while they drank themselves into stupors or binged on fast food or “diet” soda. Everyone’s got something I guess. But I will say, for me, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It opened up my eyes to everything else and created a chain reaction from one healthy decision to another. I lost my grandfather and countless other loved ones over the years to cancer – most of which can be linked to smoking. Now that I have a family of my own I want to make sure I am here for as long as I can be.

Turning 30 started a whirlwind of changes in my life that were put into place with the intent of building a better me – Shedding my dependency on nicotine (along with all of the other deadly chemicals that are found in most brands today) and also caffeine. Granted I had a very good reason to abandon my love affair with Marlboro Man – Getting pregnant will make you realize pretty quickly everything unhealthy you’re doing to yourself. Before then I lived on coffee and cigarettes. And quitting everything cold turkey created a pretty tumultuous couple of first weeks but one thing I realized throughout my entire pregnancy after that was that if we all lived as if we were pregnant (avoiding all the things we don’t want to harm our unborn children) we would all be so much healthier. Theoretically you would think the concept would be a given – If it’s not safe to consume while pregnant or good for our children to ingest then why should we? So now, two years later, I am still trying to live by that philosophy. I am much more conscious of the food I am putting into our bodies; Clean eating and sticking to fresh, healthy choices for me and my family; Drinking alcohol and caffeine very rarely if at all (and only in very small amounts if/when I do) and; Paying attention to my body and what it needs more. When we bury our systems with these unnatural things – be it stimulants, medications, drugs, fast food, preservatives, etc – we are burying our ability to be in tune with our bodies and how they naturally thrive.

When you’re young you think you’ll just live forever and that there are no consequences to your actions. Having a child brought about some essential and fundamental changes in the way I treat myself and my body. I can’t say I’ve ever been “happy” with my body but I sure do respect it a hell of a lot more than I used to. And it’s not to say that I didn’t value my life before then but after 30 I think you definitely begin to value it more. I realize now more than ever just how very “mortal” I am and how short our time here is. It’s important to take care of the planet while we’re here but it’s equally as important to take care of ourselves while we are here too. It’s not just about living but about living well. Quality of life.

As twisted as it may sound, I still keep this last pack of cigarettes in my console. It’s not a torture tactic as much as it is a symbol. It reminds me every day that every day – even though I could easily light one up – I continue to make the choice not to smoke and live every day putting my health first. And as much as I enjoyed a cigarette then, it’s not even a challenge now to avoid it. Every day we are all faced with hurdles and choices. It’s not always easy to make the right ones but this reminds me that when we continue to make the right choices, they eventually become the easier choice.

It's been two years since I dumped Marlboro Man

It’s been two years since I dumped Marlboro Man

 

Hey – Wanna help make a difference? 

This year my husband, daughter and I are participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life again with our family. This will be the fourth year for our team (and the second for Adri). If you want to help make a difference in the fight against cancer and show some support for me and my family, you can make a donation by visiting our page HERETogether we can make a difference!

Together we can make a difference. We appreciate your support! Every little bit helps.

Together we can make a difference. We appreciate your support! Every little bit helps.

Spring is Here! I’ll drink (a delicious detox water) to that!

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Happy first day of Spring! Bring on the tulips! :)

Happy first day of Spring! Bring on the tulips! 🙂

Hallelujah! Spring is finally here! Even though they may be calling for snow on Tuesday just knowing that it’s not winter anymore makes beautiful days like today and tomorrow seem that much better. It sure didn’t seem like this winter would ever end.

If you’re celebrating the beginning of spring by doing some spring cleaning around the house it’s also a great time to do some spring cleaning for your body too. I made a pitcher of detox water today and not only was it refreshing but it was pretty darn yummy too!

Detox Water [The Write Side of Life] - Detox / Infused waters are refreshing and also delicious

Detox Water [The Write Side of Life] – Detox / Infused waters are refreshing and also delicious

DETOX WATER RECIPE:

2 Quarts purified/filtered water
1/2 Cucumber – sliced
2 Lemons – sliced
10-12 mint leaves – muddled or ripped to release flavor
1/2 tsp Ground turmeric

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and chill in refrigerator overnight. Enjoy!

If you’re already a fan of water with lemon then I think you’ll find this mix delicious as is but, if you like your tea sweet, you could always add a little honey to this too.

If you’re looking to start a diet, adding some cayenne pepper to this drink will also help to curb your appetite and as studies show, also aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients by our bodies.

Infused waters are a terrific way to jazz up plain old water and avoid turning to sodas, sports drinks or juices that are full of unwanted ingredients or a lack of nutritious ingredients. Have fun with it and add other fruits like strawberries, oranges, or whatever tickles your fancy. Go hog (or hare) wild…it’s Spring after all! 😉

Fear & Loathing in Vaccinations

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Finally got around to making Adri’s 1 year checkup appointment. I’ve procrastinated as long as I could I guess. The shots all make me so damn nervous every time she’s due for them but this appointment in particular has had me worried the most because of the MMR vaccine and all its controversy. I swear this is the only part of parenting I loathe…

 

MMR Vaccination

MMR Vaccination

Outstanding In (And Off) the Field

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The Chew featured one of my favorite groups on their show earlier this week. ‘Outstanding In The Field’ is a group dedicated to reminding us where our food comes from and celebrating the farms and farmers that bring it to us by eating fresh and local….in their case, right out in the field. They literally set up this incredibly long table with a ton of chairs right smack dab in the field.

I love this group not only for their mission but also for the amazing creativity and pictures of their dinners…

Outstanding in the Field

Outstanding in the Field

Right in the middle of the field

Right in the middle of the field

How beautiful is this?

How beautiful is this?

outstanding-in-the-field-event-at-double-check-ranch-arizona

I told you the table was huge

I told you the table was huge

 

I mean c’mon! If that doesn’t inspire you to eat fresh and local I don’t know what will!