Cleaning Out to Clean Up!

Yes, I’m starting to wrap my mind around my Whole 30 journey that will begin Monday, July 11th. I’m in the “I have to eat it so I don’t eat it” mode.

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I’m glad to report that the Thomas’ English muffins and waffles are now gone. GONE! NO MORE! But the bagels are still lingering and there is some yogurt. Regardless, I will start to transition my breakfast. The Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses need to go too. As we get ready to leave for vacation I think we will pack some of these snacks and other items with us so when we return they are GONE too. The wine is gone. I’ll have some on vacation, but no more will enter our house until after August 9th. I usually don’t gravitate toward soda but we better take the few cans of Sprite that are hanging around. There is no sense in having temptation waiting for us. Perhaps I’ll replace it with La Croix sparkling water when I feel that need for a little extra oomph or zing of taste. Fortunately, I believe I will have success with my beverages. I’ve been enjoying my cucumber infused water in my glass water bottle and I already drink my tea “straight up” – no sugar or honey added.

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Let’s just get it out there! Here’s what I’ll miss:

  • mozzarella cheese
  • yogurt
  • English muffins
  • ice cream – boy will I miss this!
  • Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses
  • croutons on my salad
  • brie cheese
  • butter
  • mayonnaise
  • burritos
  • Jasmine rice
  • risotto
  • pasta
  • Chinese take-out
  • a glass of wine with dinner

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Again, Matt will be my saving grace. I know with proper food planning I will be able to forget about these items. Well, maybe not ice cream! Possibly this won’t be so bad. I already know that rice can be replaced with cauliflower rice and pasta can be replaced with spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles. How about tomato sauce? That will need to be replaced. Guess, I better go read some more, but I am glad I’m already on the path of cleaning out to clean up!

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Capturing Quotes

Nothing seems to inspire me more than reading a quote that feels like it is speaking directly to me. Maybe that has happened to you! That’s what happened this morning when I was scrolling through my blogs. Thank you to the quote on the Two Writing Teachers site that captured my attention. I knew I had something to write about, even if I told myself otherwise or if I didn’t want to write. Here’s a quote that has been speaking to me lately:

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

I see people all around me facing challenges. Sometimes we choose our challenges, sometimes fate determines our challenges. Challenges can be big or they can be small. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder truthfully. As I read through blogs I see others who are embarking on challenges. I know one teacher is moving her classroom and teaching another grade next year. While another is inspiring others to write by inviting them to join her for a writing retreat. Just recently I wrote about how Matt completed a physical endurance challenge.

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And what about me? While I feel like I am not the type of person who goes out there and says “bring it on”, I definitely have accepted my share of challenges over the past few years. Many of those challenges came about due to an invitation or words of encouragement. And, I’m so glad I have been invited. That shoutout goes to Matt and Holly. You have challenged me and you have helped change me.

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So I’m getting ready for a new challenge-a challenge that begins on July 11th. I will be starting the Whole 30 challenge journey. In a nutshell, I will be committing to eating whole natural foods for 30 days. (You can read my initial post here.) Yes, it will challenge me! Yes, it will change me.

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For those of you out there who are venturing into a new challenge or even contemplating one, I leave you with this quote:

What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?

What challenges are you taking on?

Who have you invited?

Who have you encouraged?

What are some quotes you like to capture?

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SOL

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thirty days, just thirty days!

So, I said, “yes”! Yes that is to the Whole 30 challenge journey. While it’s been in the back of my mind, I finally decided to make the commitment. The commitment to eat whole foods that taste good and that are good for you-for thirty days, just thirty days. I have asked myself why do the the Whole 30 challenge and honestly I’m not quite sure. So then I replied with a why not. I mean why not do the Whole 30 challenge. Perhaps it’s the fact that Matt will be doing the challenge and I don’t want to be left out. Seriously though, I have nothing to lose and much to gain; I hope!

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What I’m really hoping is that it will help with my sleep, or truthfully, lack there of. I have absolutely no problem falling asleep, but staying asleep is another issue. You see my body only seems to want to sleep for about five hours and then I’m awake, wide awake. By the time I’m ready to fall back asleep, well, then it’s time to rise & shine. Topple that with the fact that I would love to take a nap at about 4:00 pm everyday makes for a very nerve-wracking sleep pattern. That’s my biggest goal for the challenge beside the fact that I want to eat healthier.

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Now that I have said “yes”, I do have some concerns so I want to get them out there. They need to be out there so I can start to wrap my mind around them. My first concern is what am I going to do when I need a quick meal? Pasta is just about always my go to meal when I need something fast and easy. Yes, I LOVE Easy Mac, and I’m not going to lie! I also enjoy cheese and yogurt if I want to pretend I’m making a healthy choice. I’ll be okay giving up bread, um…I think, and I love a bowl of ice cream before I go to bed so I’ll need to find a new night time snack. Perhaps, bananas. I tolerate them but never really look forward to eating them – a bowl of ice cream vs. a banana? Hummm…what would you choose? Well, maybe an apple with some almond butter. That’s a possibility too.

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What else is on my mind? I guess I’m worried about what do we will do when friends want us to go to out to eat. I know… invite them over to eat at our house is what we’ll do. That would be a good alternative. I know that our saving grace will be Matt’s culinary skills. I am so fortunate to have a true chef that studied the culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America. As Matt and I go through our Whole 30 journey, I’ll be sure to share his creations here on the blog!

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Then there is the fact that I do have a conference scheduled only three days into my Whole 30 journey. Thankfully I have some time to think about this and plan accordingly. Also my friend Holly has already completed one round of Whole 30 so I will be seeking her guidance and expertise for those initial days and throughout the thirty days.

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The last issue on my mind is meal prep. As I alluded earlier, I’m concerned about what to do for quick and easy food. This is where meal prep will be important. It will help when when I think there is nothing to eat and it will help me for when I need to eat something quick before a workout or before a run. I’m thinking Sunday, of course, to make sure snacks are prepared and to make sure meals are planned for the week. Breakfast will be easy and Matt will be able to whip something up for dinner lickty-split. I’m just not sure about lunch yet, but I still have a lot of reading to do so I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

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So it’s official! He said “yes” and she said “yes”! The start date for our journey is July 11, 2016, and our journey will end on August 9, 2016. We got this…thirty days, just thirty days!

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we got this!

What I Know for Sure

It seems like the days linger. It seems like the weekend will never arrive. It seems like the month drudges on and on and on. And, it seems like the seasons will never change. We’ve celebrated holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays as we’ve progressed through this occasion and that occasion.

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Last Friday we gathered to celebrate my niece’s sixteenth birthday. Yes, sixteenth birthday. How did that happen I wondered. Sixteen? How could she be sixteen already? Wasn’t she just a toddler like yesterday? Wasn’t she just learning to ride a bike? And now, now she tells me she is learning to drive a car! Then, there’s my daughter. She’s going to be a junior in college. How can this be?  Ummm, wasn’t she just like a junior in high school yesterday? It literally seems like yesterday. I love watching our children grow. I truly do. We’ve created memories that will be cherished forever and ever. Memories and traditions that they one day will share with their family.

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This past weekend was no exception. My daughter Maddie decided she wanted to make Cara a very special sweet sixteen cake. I practically cried when Maddie showed me her finished masterpiece. Yes, we were all wowed! Just looking at these two girls brings me joy. They are growing up to be fine young adults. What I know for sure is that time really does fly. It’s not just a cliche. It’s oh so true!

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Cara’s Cake

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Cara & Maddie

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SOL

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you can do hard things! yes, you can!

I have lots of catch phrases, or mantras if you would like to call them that. I’ve picked them up along the way from here and there. Maybe it was a line I lifted from a book or something that somebody said that just stuck with me.
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Today I am celebrating doing hard things. I wish I could say I owned the celebrations, but I don’t. They belong to Matt – his dedication, his determination, his achievements.
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Last weekend we embarked on a trip to Cambridge, Maryland where Matt competed in his fourth half IRONMAN. A half IRONMAN consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 run. It’s no joke. These are serious endurance athletes going out there for a total of 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running. Then top that off with extreme summer heat and some wind gusts and you have to remind yourself that you can do hard things.
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We were up at 4:00 AM to be race-line ready for the day. You know you’re an IRONMAN when you go to bed the night before and it’s still light out but you wake up and it’s dark! It’s crazy, but you can do hard things!
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pre-race photo op

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He promptly started his swim on schedule at 7:32 AM. The water and sunrise was absolutely breath taking, but it was a sign that it was going to be a hot one for the day. The goal, swim as fast as you can to get to the bike, as fast as you can.
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The bike course is flat, flat as a pancake. Some may say that’s great, no hills to climb, but that also means no hills to coast – peddling, peddling, peddling for 56 miles in the scorching sun. Topple that with riding straight into a headwind means little relief. Matt crossed into transition with sweat flinging from him, but he crossed safely ready to tackle the third and last leg of his IRONMAN – the 13.1 miles of running.
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wearing a smile

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At this point in the race it was now about noon and the sun was burning bright. Again, the course is flat and there was little shade if any. It was a loooong 13.1 miles. But, he did it!
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IRONMAN finisher!

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Now the celebrating doesn’t end here. A year ago Matt decided to embark on a running streak. His streak was to run, at least two miles, everyday for 365 days. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! That meant NO.REST.DAYS! Fuse the running streak with strength training, 1/2 marathon training, triathlon training, and life and it makes for quite a challenge! But again, he did it and I am so proud of him!
running streak
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I often wonder why we are brave, why we put ourselves out there, and why we would purposely decide to do hard things. But, I know. I know why. It’s the crossing of the finish line, whatever finish line you may choose to cross. After the finish line is crossed, the anguish dissipates. For it’s only a matter of time before you accept the challenge again.
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So today I celebrate Matt.
What the mind can conceive, the body will achieve.
You can do hard things!
Yes, you can!
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 Join in each Saturday for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.
It’s a time to celebrate the joy!

If It’s June…

If it’s June that means….

a time to enjoy the beautiful, blooming peonies and their scent that fills the air. An ounce of splendor both inside and outside my home.

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perfect peonies

If it’s June that means…
a time to enjoy fresh, local produce. Strawberries to be savored and raspberries you can’t resist!
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summer strawberries

It it’s June that means…

a time to read, read, read! Just a few books to kick off my summer reading list. What’s on your summer reading list?

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best books

If it’s June that means…

a time to cheer on my favorite IRONMAN triathlete. 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running along the scenic landscape of the eastern shore in Cambridge, Maryland.
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triathlon training

If it’s June that means…
a time to get my exercise regiment back into full swing. May just seemed to slip away. Maybe I needed the break, but now I will except no excuses!
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believe, achieve

If it’s June, what does that mean for you?

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