No Excuses

My “Track”

In the past, whenever, I would “try” to eat healthy and add exercise to my life, I would always find excuses:  I wasn’t a member of a gym, cooking everything took up too much time, and in general, I was too busy.  “Too busy” is a funny thing.  I always seemed to find time to binge on Netflix.  I found time to lie on the couch and mindlessly scroll through Facebook.  I truly found time to do a lot of nothing!  When I chose to make positive choices for my long term life, it was amazing how much time I suddenly found!

Now, I am a member of a gym, however, the first place I started working out was my neighborhood “track”.  The track I’m referring to is literally a circle drive in my neighborhood. I have lost count of how many times around this small circle it takes to make a mile.  I had never really tried jogging so I wasn’t comfortable being with a lot of other people in the beginning as I worked on improving, but I faced the reality that change only happens when you refuse to allow yourself to make excuses. Little did I know, that the tree coverage in my neighborhood was perfect at providing cooler spots of shade when I was sweating buckets in the summer heat.  At first, I could only walk a mile, but you know what, I concentrated on just doing the best mile I could.  Before I knew it, my time had improved and I could do more.

I think we can be so hard on ourselves and expect so much from ourselves, so fast, when we start a new lifestyle.  Instead, I chose each day to focus on giving my all to whatever I was doing.  It’s okay that you can’t run when you start!  It’s okay that by the end of your first time jogging, your jog is more of a brisk walk. Ask yourself, “Am I giving this my all?” If you can answer in the affirmative, feel good about that and acknowledge what a strong body you have!  Sometimes, just forcing yourself to “dress out” and following through at the gym, is a huge accomplishment deserving of recognition.

Stop beating yourself up along the way.  Stop staring at yourself with disgust.  Stop judging yourself by harsher standards than you would others.  As you begin giving it your all and improving your life, I would also encourage you to stop making excuses.  Life changes that stick are made by making the conscious little decisions every single day to do what you need to do.

Neighborhood Date Night

There are so many things I love about The Edge, but this salad might be my favorite! Don’t get me started on their spicy crackers.

What a wonderfully slow and relaxing weekend it’s been!  This is just what I needed before the storm that is late August and early September in higher education.  It can be incredibly rewarding working at a university, but there are certain times of the year when it feels like you’re in survival mode.  One of those times would have to be from the beginning of fall semester until Labor Day.  “Just keep swimming” is my fall semester mantra.  Ha! As we approach those busier times of year, it’s important that I take those rare moments of free time to fully unwind.

On Friday night, Kelly and I had a date night.  Because we both work at the university, it’s definitely hard to connect with one another at the end of summer. His busy times start a little earlier than mine since he works in Residence Life.  During the past few weeks, he has worked longer hours and weekends, and I’m often on my own.  He was able to break away Friday night, and we took advantage of it and had a dinner date at our neighborhood coffee shop, The Edge.  I think The Edge has some of the best coffee in town, but I really love their salads.  I am all about a “big salad”, and for me, it’s hard to find a really decent one in Jonesboro.  Don’t sell me a dinky little handful of lettuce and call it a salad!  So far my favorite salad in town is The Edge’s Mediterranean with the Raspberry Vinaigrette.  They put a massive scoop of hummus on it, sprouts, and I swear there is some sort of artisanal lettuce involved. I don’t know what they do to their crop, but it’s some good lettuce.  We took our time and had a long meal and good conversation.  Then, it was back to the house to catch up on the DVR queue.  You can tell you’re both introverts when a night in with the cats is the best date night you can imagine!

Date night at The Edge

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Breakfast Staple

Breakfast Staple Some mornings I’m a smoothie for breakfast girl, but there are many days that I need something more to tide me over until my lunch break. Lately, my favorite go-to breakfast is oatmeal. I’ll spare you from listing the many health benefits that I’m sure you’ve heard for years on how healthy oatmeal is, but personally, my favorite thing about morning oats is how creative you can be with them. Seriously, you can throw anything in oatmeal, and it seems to turn out great. It’s a forgiving base, and I’m no chef, so I appreciate forgiving! I do like instant oats, but a new favorite of mine–the internet famous, Overnight Oats. I use Olena’s recipe with honey instead of maple syrup. Mainly, because I didn’t have any syrup on hand the first time I made them, and I have yet to get around to buying a bottle. My recent favorite additions to oats are walnuts, hemp seeds, cinnamon, and throw in whatever random fruit is on your counter. There you have a filling breakfast that will keep that mid-morning grouchfest at bay when you curse yourself for not securing the lifestyle of a stay at home cat mom. Someday, folks! Someday.

Thankful Thursdays

I’ll admit that I can often be a glass half empty sort of lady.  That’s my default setting. Someone described me as “peppy” recently, and I had to turn around and see if they were referring to some other Sarah standing behind me.  Truth be told, from childhood to present, I tend to have a personality very similar to that of Daria Morgendorffer (see below for the photographic evidence I’ve included).  I’m the first in a meeting to roll my eyes when anyone suggests “icebreakers” to “get to know one another better”, and most cards with sappy messages make my skin crawl.

Mom said I wore this expression constantly throughout my childhood.  Little Sarah was fierce!
Mom said I wore this expression constantly throughout my childhood. Little Sarah was fierce!

As I get older, however, I find cynicism to be lazy and boring.  It’s draining on others when you’re always predicting the storm.  For someone truly so happy with life, I notice myself complaining way more than I should.  How do you change a personality that has been that of a grouchy 80 year old woman since birth, I’ve wondered?  Well, Rome definitely wasn’t built in a day, but I’m getting there, friends!

I find gratitude helps me so much.  I had a friend that once asked me how I was so happy (Jaw, meet floor.), and the answer for me is always the beauty in the details.  Little moments of content are what make up a life when time moves so fast with age.  The simple pleasures are so easy to find when you take a moment!  For me that looks like a “Good Things List”.  What is on your Good Things List so far for this week?

  • Jogging one lap and walking two laps for a total of four miles last night!  That may not seem like much for some but for a novice exerciser, it feels pretty special.  The last mile the “jogging” was pretty slow going, but I did it. There’s nothing like that sense of accomplishment when your brain is telling you no but your body pushes through.
  • Recent gifts of Spearmint and Lemon Balm from a friend
  • I had my first facial in years yesterday, and I can’t wait to report on it here soon!
  • I have my first sprout crop, you guys!  Months ago I brought a sprouting lid, but it took Kelly finding a wide mouth mason jar at the thrift for me to finally test it out.  Voila! It looks like a weird mass of weeds, but I promise you, there’s nutritional goodness in there.  I love sprouts in salads and on sandwiches, but I find them to be pretty pricey when you buy them.  It’s so easy, I might pick up a few more sprouting jars and have a window sill sprout farm going soon!

    Alfalfa Sprouts in the sun to green them up!

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Bring on the Zen

I find that truly taking notice of my surroundings as I hurry from one thing to the next can serve as a such a recharge!

Here’s where the honesty begins.  This personal journey started on a random Sunday. June 7th was the date, to be precise.  On that largely unremarkable day, my husband Kelly treated me to an hour massage at our local Massage Envy Spa Is it still considered treated if I begged him for two days straight?

When I arrived, I was warmly welcomed with a cup of hot green tea and answered some questions on a form about my occupation and any health issues that I had.  I skipped noting the glaringly obvious ones that arose in my head—sedentary lifestyle, sugar addiction, mental boredom and exhaustion, and what I’ll jokingly refer to as, extreme cowardice (aka generalized anxiety), and wrote, “Left shoulder pain, upper back pain, posture problem.”  Oh, the woes of a secretary or those that are cubicle bound.

The receptionist took me back to their Tranquility Room. The air temperature seemed to be perfect in this waiting room. The music is soothing.  The lights were dim, and fortunately, I was able to sprawl out on one of the cozy couches with no other company around. I thumbed through a magazine, paged through the company brochure, and scrolled through my phone.  I nervously bounced a leg.  While I’ve had a massage before and wasn’t nervous about that experience, these are my anxiety “ticks”.  I consciously forced myself to put everything away and tried to focus on deep breathing and relaxing. It wasn’t long before I found myself in a wonderful state of “zoned out”.

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