Category Archives: Married Life

What I Learned from 1 Year of Marriage

At the beginning of this month, George and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. This makes me a marriage pro….NOT. I know I still have a TON to learn about marriage. However, after reflecting on the past year, I have jotted down 10 things I have learned about being married. This past year has really been an incredible ride. Some days it feels like we have been together forever, and some days it seems like the wedding was just yesterday.

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So if you are looking for a little marriage advice from a newlywed, or just want a glimpse into my dream. Here goes!

 Every day is  like being on a date

I have had 365 (plus a few) date nights in a row. And it rocks. Every day, every night I get to spend with my favorite person. We have found that if we want to go out, we need to make an effort to make Friday night plans in advance. If we don’t, it will always be a pizza, a Redbox, and sweats. Here’s the catch though, I love Friday night’s like that 🙂 Don’t worry we are not hermits, we get out plenty, its just that I used to have a bad case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) that has totally vanished.

Before: A Friday night in your jammies watching Netflix by yourself = lame

After: A Friday night in your jammies watching Netflix with your husband = a date night of relaxing bliss to look forward to all week long

If I want something done, I can’t be picky about it

I’m a control freak. I am particular about the little things. I have learned if I want the dishes (or enter any other chore here) done I can’t be picky or I end up doing them myself.  So what if he uses a little too much soap, I am not the one scrubbing, soaking, and rinsing after dinner.

If you don’t want to live in a battlefield, don’t start a battle.

Some things don’t matter in the big picture. If I got upset every time the toilet seat was left up, I would spend more time chasing him down to yell at him than it was worth. I can choose to get angry, find him, yell at him, ORRR I could put the seat down and go. (Middle of the night exception…if I fall in, you bet I’m gonna wake him up and let him know haha).

Also don’t miss understand me, its not about bottling up the anger, or becoming a push over. If something really does bother me, I try my best to have a sit down conversation about it.  The angry, heat- of-the moment, conversations usually don’t go as well.140104_560

Forgive quickly

I admit, this is one is very much a work in progress. One huge difference between a room mate and a husband, is after a fight, you know he still loves you. A fight with a room mate could potentially, hopefully not, but potentially, ruin the relationship forever. When the lease is over, you can move out, life moves on, and never see them again. Moving out/divorce is NOT an option in my marriage. So why stay angry? Anger is hard work, and the longer it goes on, the harder it is to get rid of. Take a few minutes, cool down, think about the situation and what needs to be changed in the future, then forgive and move on. Heck, making up is the best part. Get there as soon as possible!

You catch more flies with honey

Some times when I am feeling like I haven’t been getting the love/appreciation I want/ deserve, I tend to get bitter and crabby.  I can really start to feel down when he doesn’t seem to notice me, appreciate something I’ve done, or hasn’t been particularity affectionate. I can either begin to sulk, snap at him or I look at myself and the way I have been treating him lately.  Getting angry sure won’t make him want to love on me. These things tend to go in cycles (he wasn’t feeling appreciated so he didn’t seem to appreciate me etc.). When I step back, I almost always see something I wish I was doing better in the relationship. Then I am honest and explain myself and my feelings, and bring up the items I want to work on along with those I wish he would pay more attention to. It’s kind of like  the saying,   “If you want to be treasured, be treasure.”  Work on yourself first before you point out the other’s flaws.

Love is not a feeling

In marriage, some days you don’t feel the giddy “puppy love” you felt on the wedding day. That’s okay. Love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. No matter how I might be “feeling” inside, I made a promise to love, respect and honor him. He might not seem so “loveable” at all times, but its my job to love him, and his job to love me. Those moments (or days…maybe even weeks or months) pass, and uncover new amazing reasons to fall more and more in love with one another.

Respect

I read a book before I got married that talked a lot about how men yearn for respect in the same way women yearn to be loved. Of course it works vice versa, but something in men’s wiring associates respect deeply with being loved.

“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

It doesn’t mean that women don’t need to be respected or men don’t need to be loved. Its simply drawing attention to some ways that God made men and women different and therefore

have different needs. This is something that I have kept in mind throughout  the first year of marriage. Poking fun of my husband or correcting him in public are big signs of disrespect. If something bothers me, its best to address it in private.

 Team work

“The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together”.    – Robert C Dodds

Such a great quote!  We are not the same person. We do not always agree, but we can come to a compromise. We often say to each other “Can you be on my team here?”. We might not totally understand each other all the time, but we do work to stand together. Looking at each other’s point of view, discussing the situation broadens our perspectives.  We are not that couple that does EVERYTHING together.   We both have our own activities, some of our own friends, and enjoy alone time.  I think this is really important in all relationships (dating and married).  We can exist without one another, but we are better versions of our selves when we are together and/or have each other’s support.

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 Blow money is essential

 I am a budget nerd. George and I have some lofty goals for our finances and savings, as a result, we keep a tight budget. I really think  having this “blow money” would help anyone who argues about finances even if you don’t keep a formal budget. In our budget we have a section for each of us that is called “blow” money (Dave Ramsey FPU Term). This is kind of similar to an allowance. This is a set amount that we have each month to spend on whatever we choose. As long as you stay in the limit, no arguments are allowed. It can be saved up over the months for something big, or blown on little items here and there. For example… I have a lot of cute boots. Do I need more boots? No. Does George want me to spend our money on boots I don’t  need? No. BUTTTTTTT. If I find  a pair I really want, and have enough in my budget for them, he can’t complain that I spend too much money on shoes.  If George decides to spend his blow money on remote control helicopters, or silly phone apps, I can’t get on his back (if he keeps it in his limit). The rest of our budget money is generally used on stuff we need, or purchases we decide on together.  We have some rules on determining what is considered a “blow” purchase, but I could write an entire post on that. (Comment or message me if you have questions on this). Overall, it really keeps us from having financial arguments.

It’s great to start off every day with a hug, kiss, and a smoothie.

My favorite place in the entire world is snuggled up my face in his chest for my morning hug before I leave for work. It’s hard to have a bad day when I start it off feeling loved, protected, and provided for by my man.

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Here is to many many more years of marriage to my favorite husband and to many many more life lessons to come. I pray that I remember these lessons years down the road and remember this feeling of love, gratitude, and excitement I have towards my husband. This year has been an amazing adventure and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so thankful for the family and friends that have been there as support to our relationship and as an example of love in our lives.

Do you have any advice for year two? Comment or message me please!

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Life Update/Random Rants

Happy New Year!

Thought I would pop in for a little random life update.

  1. Cuties are the bomb. George and I are doing another sugar detox/whole30/get in shape challenge. This means I have been going hard on these sweet snacks….cough3or4adaycough… Yum! I hope there is no such thing as too much vitamin C or potassium intake (George has been going hard on the bananas) IMAG23102. Thick/full/bushy eyebrows are in. It’s a thing people. Unfortunately thin, blonde, nonexistent eyebrows run in the family.  Want proof? This insta pic  my sister took showing off the “Whitney Wrinkle” aka ” forehead hotdogs” also shows off the family brow (or lack there of).

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You can see we don’t have a lot in the brow department except for the 3 young boys…well see how long those last ha! Oh but check out mine (top left). This brings me to my point. I got a brow tint and LOVE it!

This is what my eyebrows looked like before (you can see the after in the shot above).

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See the blonde, thin, and patchy?

Most places that wax eyebrows will also tint them. It’s a very mild hair dye that is semi permanent. Before tinting, I had been drawing them on most days which can be hard getting them to match :/.  Now I don’t need too! When I am wanting to look fancy, I still fill in the gaps with either this or this . I would recommend starting with this Maybelline define-a-brow gelish pencil (I used light brown) to try it out. The color doesn’t have a red tint to it (like most eyebrow products do), and goes on much more natural than a regular pencil.  If you love it (and I am sure you will), you will find that it goes fast and in that case, this Tarte product (I use taupe) is worth the investment. It comes with a brush to “paint” them in. It’s called a mousse, but really goes on in a similar consistency as they gelish pencil above. The pencil is great but I found I could go through one each month. The little pot of Tarte mousse has lasted me wayyyy longer. I think it will get me past a year for sure.

I think when my eye brows are full it frames my eyes best and helps me look more complete and awake… [eyebrow tangent complete]

3. George and I celebrated the 1st anniversary of our marriage. It has been an AMAZING year. I love him even more today than I did one year ago. I think I tell me like 10000 times a day too. I hope to post next week what I have learned so far from marriage. I could probably do 10 post on this, but overall, marriage has been absolutely wonderful. Sharing my life with this man has been better than I could ever imagine.

Remember this day? Can you believe it’s been a year?

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On a semi-related note, I am toying with the idea of selling my wedding dress. I just feel like its too pretty to just sit in a box. If you know of anyone that would love it as much as I do let me know!

4. Christmas was great this year! I was so glad to host my mother and sister- in -law at our home and then head to STL to celebrate with all the Krystopa Whitney Clan.  I stunk it up on the picture taking but here are a few I snagged on Facebook.

Christmas cookies with the Terlep’s
10341646_10204700027533563_88065903107069493_n Kathy and Anna have incredible artictic talent, George has an incredible sweet tooth for cookies and cupcakes, and well I just have a lot of fun haha.10407794_10204700001972924_8793164883288062809_nThe Krystopa crew (missing a few). We have grown so much that there is not one place in the house were we can all [safely] fit with enough room to take a picture. Thank goodness it wasn’t too cold out.

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Girl cousins (and some little ones)!

10888563_921482894537599_761136607655215567_nThe reindeer team for some family feud. Love my cousins!
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5. We grew up reading a lot in the Whitney house.  As adults, we have started a great tradition for Christmas: The Whitney Book Exchange. I am sure Shannon will do a great post about this years books soon. In the meantime, I wanted to throw a shout out to the two books I have read/reading.  I choose “Unbroken” . A movie just came out based on the book. Read it. Soooooooo goood.  The movie is good too, but there is so much more detail in the book.  This unbelievably true story is worth the read.

Now, I am currently about half way though my dad’s pick “One Second After”.  This one is really blowing my mind. This fiction novel sheds light on our society’s dependence on electronics and the scary tendencies of human nature. Apocalyptic /post- apocalyptic stories  seem to be a trend right now, but this one has really got me thinking.

Here I am bundled up with a book and my new heated blanket (the hubby gives me the best gifts)!

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In case you missed our Christmas card, here were are!christmas card

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Friday to you 🙂

Christmas Traditions & Ornaments Part II

Last week I posted on some favorite ornaments on my mom and dad’s tree. If you missed it, you can read it here.

This year, as the weather began getting colder, I started painting a picture in my head of our first Christmas together as a little family in our own home. I was brain storming of great holiday traditions that I wanted to start that we could one day tell our kids about and carry on with them.

Our friends have an elf on the shelf that they take turns setting up for each other every night. They have the cutest and funniest ideas. I wanted to make this a tradition for us too.

I bought an elf last year.

I got the elf out this year.

She has moved once…. and it was because she was in my way.

Fail.

I wanted to decorate a beautiful gingerbread house.

Did we decorate a ginger bread house? Yes.

Is it beautiful? I will leave that up to your interpretation. ha ha

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It turns out someone was a little bossy when it came to the creative vision… so we ended up each decorating one face of the house and sharing the roof.  Ill let you guess who did each side.  IMAG2254 IMAG2253

Hint. The snow must have been blowing at a fierce angle, only hitting George’s side.

This is our first Christmas (married and) in our first house. I wanted to decorate our home perfectly. I think I succeed on this goal for the most part. Butttttttt, because I love a good deal, I plan to get most of our Christmas decor on sale December 26th, so this year, our decorations are minimal 🙂 They are still oh so beautiful and I LOVE our tree. Pictures of the tree will come soon, but I am waiting for our Christmas cards to go out first so I don’t spoil the surprise.

In the meantime, I will highlight a few ornaments we have together (and those I snatched from Mom and Dads collection and brought to our tree in KC).

We received a package from our real estate agents last week. Inside was this sweet ornament commemorating our new home. I love these types of ornaments because years down the road when this house is no longer new and exiting, we will pull out our Christmas tubs and for just a minute be reminded of the feeling our house give us now. This little ornament carries the feelings of excitement, accomplishment, and family.

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We have a set of these reflective diamond ornaments that were originally my grandpa’s when he was a kid. These puppies have been around for three generations of Christmas morning smiles!

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George and I each have our own graduation cap and gown to commemorate hours upon hours of studying.

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We painted ornaments as our own “Sips and Splatters” craft last weekend. Not too shabby aye?

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Mom  got me this one. Back in middle school I was nicknamed (by my family of course) as the “baby tamer”. I had baby sitting jobs lined up every weekend and could handle even the wild kids my sister refused.
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When I travel, I always like to snag an ornament to remind me of my adventure. Here are South Africa and Ireland.

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My oldest friend, Sarah home-made me this beauty in 2004. Love it!

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Next up a handful of memories of the days of CJA. The beloved itchy plaid skit, pole vaulting, and field hockey.

IMAG2246 IMAG2240 IMAG2239 IMAG2238Last year, my mom and dad gave me this Cinderella ornament for my last Christmas before I got married. 

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Now we have a little collection of engagement and wedding ornaments as well!

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I still have a few more fun activities that I wanted to do this year in the holiday season. We still have a week left to make some memories. 🙂 Whether  they are planed or unplanned traditions, I am sure they will develop over time. I am just excited for the upcoming family time with the ones I love!

What are your favorite traditions?

George Turns 24!

Today is my husband’s 24th birthday! Whoooo!!!  Here is a little tribute to him. Below are some some well known bits, and some best kept secrets about my handsome husband, favorite person, and love of my life: George Austin Terlep.IMAG0389

  • Starting with the obvious: He LOVES Dr. Pepper. If it came in human form, he would have married it. He swears he can taste all 23 flavors of deliciousness.
    Dr. Pepper toast at the wedding
    Dr. Pepper toast at the wedding

    140104_507 He has a definitive ranking of  which restaurants and fast food joints have the best Dr. Pepper. If you think that a Dr. Pepper taste the same no matter where you go, you would most definitely be WRONG! (if you are wondering, straight from the can is the best)

    We were Doctor+Pepper for Halloween. Get it?
    We were Doctor+Pepper for Halloween. Get it?
  • I’d like to start off the second item by mentioning that George and I have a very trusting and committed relationship. BUT. There is one person I fear that some day my husband may run off with. It’s not some ex girl friend from his past. It’s Trent Raines. IMAG0835 140104_412IMAG0251 148865_1545686844601_3953463_n

199601_4044590435434_1906196721_n These two have a love affair that can not be put into words. They are two peas in a pod that have SO much in common (including their  passion for the  Lord and their obsession for Dr. Pepper, the latest tech gadgets, and marrying  beautiful women ha). Luckily Trent’s wife, Katie,  is awesome and we can bond while the boys are off getting their bro time in. George didn’t grow up with a brother,  but there is no doubt that God gave George a brother in Trent.140104_358

Oh and a little bonus story: I do not kid. On our honeymoon we were relaxing on the beach with pina coladas in hand, and my brand new husband looks at me and says. “Wow this is paradise. The only thing that could make this better is if Trent were here too”.  ON OUR HONEYMOON! My jaw dropped and he quickly added, “…and Katie too of  course. You guys could paint each others nails or something”.

We could get Trent a coozie that says "Mr.'s Best Man"
We could get Trent a coozie that says “Mr.’s Best Man”

Looks like we may need to plan a  double date vacation sometime.

Just imagine Trent jumping in on this honeymoon selfie.
Just imagine Trent jumping in on this honeymoon selfie.
  • He is a true Royals fan. I’m not sure why a kid who lives about half way between KC and Cardinal Nation would pick the Royals, but George did. Even when they loose  (aka the last 35 years) he wears his blue proud. This October was a VERY exciting time in our house. IMAG1720 IMAG2082 IMAG2074
  • George is a night owl. In college staying up until 4am then sleeping in until noon was his normal. His big-boy job puts a little damper on that schedule, but some times he is still a little hard to wake up in the mornings.

    George in the mornings :)
    George in the mornings 🙂
  • I do most of the cooking in the house, but every morning George makes a healthy breakfast . Green smoothies for the win!

    Green, or brown, or purple smoothies depending on the veggies!
    Green, or brown, or purple smoothies depending on the veggies!
  • He also has become a pro griller. His specialties are Hawaiian chicken kabobs and the most mouth watering salmon known to man kind. I don’t know how he does it, but you should come over and try it for yourself. IMAG1687
    Remember that time he made ALL the hot dogs.
    Remember that time he made ALL the hot dogs.

    (oh and chocolate covered strawberries for desert!)IMAG1222

  • George started the duck faceIMAG1824
  • To his family, he is known as George Austin or GA…sometimes when his is being silly I call him Austin George. His camp friends know him as just Austin. Sometimes it can get confusing.

    "Austin" at his favorite place.
    “Austin” at his favorite place.
  • He’s handy. Since we’ve moved he has replaced/installed all kinds of things in the house. He has also changed a lot of tires and batteries since I’ve known him.IMAG1743 215341_1539977421605_5145880_n IMAG1215 1408507740673
  • He’s a nerd. We met at engineering school so it’s to be expected. When I say nerd, I mean really really smart…and a total nerd 🙂

    Spring breaking with engineering friends
    Spring breaking with engineering friends
  • He can dance. He’s got to be in a good mood, and surrounded by people that make him feel comfortable, but when he is, he can really cut a rug. Remember this? He learned this dance in just 1 day!IMG_279295166960829 1536731_733127453373145_1262629692_n 140104_671
  • He like games. Playing sports, video games, backgammon, yard games, you name it. He is pretty competitive and likes to win. Good thing he usually does. IMAG1707He  thinks he’s good at corn hole, but we all know I carry the team.
  • He claims he doesn’t like to cuddle, but sometimes (when it’s cold) I wake up like this (and I love it).

    love me some cuddles!
    love me some cuddles!
  • He likes Pretty Little Liars. He claims he just watches it with me, but we all know he wants to find out who A is just as much as all the other teen age girls.

    George channeling his teenage girl...hes going to kill me for this!
    George channeling his teenage girl…hes going to kill me for this!
  • A kid at Chuckie cheese = George at Dave and busters. And the best prize? Giant slinkies!IMAG1319
  • He has a hard time keeping his eyes open in pictures. 427939_3875862457535_1440106692_n306412_2252987646679_951607280_n

All funny things aside, I am so lucky to have George in my life. He is a brilliant man who is slow to anger and full of love and understanding. Above all, George challenges me to be a better person through his honestly, patience, commitment, and strength.  I have the privilege to spend my life with him.

Honeymoon
Honeymoon
Dunn River Falls
Dunn River Falls

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Our first real date. The one that changed my life :)
Our first real date. The one that changed my life 🙂

Here’s to many more!

Bumps in the Road

A few weeks ago George and I had a few days where we seemed to keep butting heads over nothing. There was no big fight or upsetting moment. We just weren’t meshing well. I felt like he wasn’t really listening to me, and he was feeling like I wasn’t showing him much affection.  Even though we live together and physically see each other every day, we were not taking the time to really BE together.  As summers tend to be, we have been super busy. Still settling into our new house, visiting family and friends, and enjoying summer activities distracted us from our relationship. When we didn’t give our relationship the time it deserves we ended up leaving each other feeling less than loved. This feeling can carry on with me into my day at work and then home again leading to an unwelcomed crabby cycle. Lucky for me,  I have a husband who noticed this shortage of quality time together too. Talking it out and intentionally setting aside time to one another makes all the difference. Even if its just 30 minuets to divert from our daily lives to give that attention to one another allows our selves to open up and accept the love we offer. Some times this looks like dinner together (@ the table, with no phones, no TV, no radio), a car ride when we turn down the tunes, laying in bed and talking before rushing off to meet the day. Lately we have been going for a nice walk around the neighborhood together after dinner. I love this time, just me and him. Some times we talk about our day, or our thoughts on what’s new in the news, and sometimes we just enjoy each other’s company in silence. What’s most important is that we took the time away from our fun, away from our to do list, and everything else just to be with one another. Sweet and simple.

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The last few weeks I have been feeling a similar type of  unsettling in my heart. This time it is in my relationship with God. I realized that the issue is so similar to the way I was feeling with George a few weeks before. I wasn’t obviously feeling God’s love around me. I felt like He wasn’t listening to me. In reality I wasn’t giving him much to listen to. Just like I wasn’t taking the time to really BE with George even tough he was around, I was not taking time to really BE with the Lord. Going to church on Sunday is not enough for me to really fuel a relationship.  I haven’t taken much time to really sit with the Lord, to share my thoughts, to read His word, and pray on it, and listen to HIm. I was not putting in my part to this relationship.

 

Our relationship with God is just that, a relationship. Marriage is  a model of God’s love for us.  Christ if the bride of the church. He has given us the gift of marriage to teach revel to us more about his love and grace. Just like our relationships with others here on earth, our relationship with God  is constantly in need of time, attention. Just as any other relationship has give and take, our relationship with God is similar except for one thing. God is ALWAYS giving. Sometimes we may not see or feel this, but he is always there calling our name, begging for us to love him back. He wants us to show our hearts, to bring him our needs, to worship him. He doesn’t need it, God already knows our thoughts, but he wants it for us. When we give ourselves to him we are better  able to hear his call and feel his presence in our lives.

 

Just like setting aside time for a walk with my husband has allowed us to grow closer as a couple, setting aside time each morning to read God’s word has grown my faith and deepened my relationship with Christ.  How cool that He uses our daily live to teach us lessons about Him.

Body Building

So I am back, I know its been a while, but no time for excuses. I was really overwhelmed with how much support I got after my last post on my body. I know weight and body image is something so many struggle with at one point or another in their lives, but it really made a difference to have you all to talk to and have your support in this difficult season for my body. That being said, I really wanted to share my success with all of you who have cared so much for me! (so if you don’t care…you can probs stop reading because this post will be pretty boring).

10lbs. Yes! I have lost 10lbs since I wrote my last post. This is such a victory for me. I had felt like I was doing so much, and the lbs just kept piling on. After really sorting out my thoughts via writing, I changed my attitude about my struggle. I was also met with so much encouragement which acted as a super fuel for me to get a good kick start to where I needed to be.

I need to take a minute here, a long minute, to brag on my husband. Never have I felt so loved and supported when it has come to my body. I don’t know how exactly, but George has really made me feel so incredibly beautiful in my own skin while at the same time encouraging and supporting me to do what it takes to help me see that same beauty. He told me over and over that he loved me just the way I was, but I wanted to see a changed he would help me. This is EXACTLY what he has done.

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George found this workout program that we have started to do together. It’s called 5×5 Strong lifts, you can read about it here. The idea is essentially about doing 5 simple lifts that engage the whole body. You start small and slowing and consistently work your way to heavier weights. When your body has more muscle it burns fat way faster! Plus it makes my runs way easier. I have always been into sports and jogging and workout classes/ videos but never the hardcore lifting.

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My work has an AMAZING gym where we meet 3 days a week to lift. George is a GREAT personal trainer. He helps with my form, getting the rack set up, encourages me, and he’s cute to boot!

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I think the total change in the way I have been exercising has helped me to get out of a slum. I don’t know if its scientific or not, but I do know I was hitting the gym (usually two times a day) and not seeing much change. Now I go 3 days a week and go for a 1-2 mile jog on the opposite days and feel and look much better.


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I made a few more changes to our daily lives that have also made a difference. First off, I quit taking a medicine that I think was really effecting me in a negative way. Just one week after quitting the meds I noticed a change in my weight, hair, skin, and overall mood and energy levels. I only wish I would have stopped it sooner. Medicine can be really great, but sometimes I think our bodies reject the extra chemicals. I think its really important to listen to our bodies. George and I also dabbled into the Whole30 diet a bit. We kind of made our own version (totally not part of the program, whoops) but id say it worked for us since we are seeing some great results. (More on some of the recipes we liked soon!)

Natural Mexican Chicken Soup
Natural Mexican Chicken Soup

And the last piece to this puzzle is how encouraging my work is when it comes to fitness and health. I work for a health care technologies company and they emphasize wellness and fitness. My team just had an Olympic competition where we competed in a bike, row, swim, or run. The prize: extra vacation time! We trained for 7 weeks. Worked out at the gym during lunch, and trashed talked each other in the office.

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It was a blast! I ran the 800 (that’s a half mile…and its pretty much a super long sprint). My team got 2nd place which means I get to stay out on the lake a little longer than planned!

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Thanks for the love!

Eating my heart out…

In high school there was a woman who made a in impact on me. Her name was Sr. Shelia, and she was my  high school principle  freshman year. I worked in the office in the summer and after school and got to spend a lot of time with her that year. She was only present in my life for a short time but she became a great role model as a woman of God that I want to be.  One conversation we had jumps into my mind on a regular basis.

Our yearbook photos had just been delivered, a group of us girls were working in the office and were comparing pictures . Like girls often do, we were critiquing ourselves in the photos. Like girls often do, we commented on the way our teeth looked yellow, how our cheeks looked chubby, or the horrible zit on our forehead. Sr. Shelia pulled out her photos and piped into the conversation. She told a story about a time where in her adolescence where she had asked for multiple  re-takes of her photo, unhappy with each one. She realized that no matter how many pictures she took, she looked the same in each. The camera was capturing her the way that God made her. What she saw was exactly what God intended when he created her. She boldly stated “what you see is what you get” with her big smile and walked away.

 

Her self confidence was very inspiring to me. That day, I felt my self-esteem double in strength. Body image is something  so many girls, young and old, lack. In today’s world we are inundated with photo shopped images of celebrities that cause us to have skewed perceptions of beauty and perfection.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion, makeup, and trying new products. The right color of eye shadow can really make my green eyes pop, or the color of my nails can change my mood from soft and graceful to spunky and fun.

Since that day in high school what I see in the mirror has changed. Every day when I look at my reflection I see my nose. A nose that seems just a little too big for my face, and I think of my grandpa Red. I look at my smile and see that one tooth that remained crooked even after braces. When I look at that tooth, I think of how my mom’s smile has a crooked tooth on the opposite side that perfectly mirrors mine. As I pencil in my eyebrows, I think of  how thining eyebrows in in my family. I see my dad and his eyebrows eyebrow.  Then I smile as I recall how my grandma has stencils to make sure hers matched and she drew them in. I look at my reflection and thank God for the beauty he has given me. Glamor magazine may never see me as a cover girl, but when I look in the mirror I see that God made me look the way I look for a reason. I look like my mom and dad and grandparents and relatives  before me.  I carry their memories in my heart and their looks on my face, and I am proud! One day I hope to have children that have those same features that my husband and I have. They will be beautiful too!

 

In Psalm 139:13-14 David sings to the Lord:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

 

God didn’t just piece us together from a pile of parts. He carefully and lovingly created us to look the way we look for a reason! Our bodies are a temple and a miracle created by and for God!

 

I don’t look in the mirror and wish I had someone else’s face. Lately however, I have had a hard time looking in the mirror. I have been disappointed In my body.

I am okay with being 5 foot nothing. My family is short, its our thing.

I am okay with my curvy yet athletic build.

I am NOT okay with the extra pudge that has been sitting on top of my curves. I am NOT okay with the way my clothes have been sitting these days.

 

God gave me this little athletic body and I have not been treating it with the love and respect it deserves.

 

I have beaten myself up about the weight. I have looked in the mirror and grabbed my love handles and insulted my body. However I am not insulting myself, I am insulting what God, himself has created! Remember that when you, or anyone else is dissing your bod!

 

People always talk about how they gain weight after marriage. I never thought it would be me. But here I am, carrying more weight then suites me. I don’t think I can pin point one reason, but I know it’s a commination of:

  • Having someone to cook for means I cook more food and more often
  • I loving to spend time with my husband and sometimes that means little dates to get ice cream ect.
  • The cold weather keeping us inside more than I would like
  • I can go on…

 

I know that God (and my husband ) love me the size I am. I know that God is not in heaven with a scale or tape measure looking down and disapproving. However, God is concerned about how I feel . He is concerned about my behavior.

 

I know that I turn to food emotionally.  This disappoints Him.

 

When I have a bad day at work, I deserve candy. When some one I love hurts my feelings, I want to feel sorry for myself over a pizza. When I ace a test, I earned a night out at a restaurant. When Geroge and I have made a step to improve our marriage, we need  to celebrate with ice cream. I am eating my heart out.

 

Generally, I cook very healthy meals. I eat reasonable portions. I work out almost every day.  I could get up from this couch and run 3-4 miles at this very minuet. So why am I gaining weight? Because I don’t count the emotional calories! After a bad day I could sit on this same couch and eat a whole can of pringles…then my usual dinner.

 

So what now? How do I learn to turn away from food? I turn to God. Sounds simple right? So why haven’t I done it? Good question.

 

I sat down to write about  women’s self-esteem  because it is something I was thinking about as I put my makeup on this morning. As I wrote my feelings down the words began to flow and look at what God has taught me. How cool is that?

As this got more personal, I almost didn’t publish this post. Then I thought that  reading this may have changed my heart. Maybe it will impact someone else.

 

I hope that the lesson Sr. Shelia shared with me might change the way you look at your reflection as it did to me.  Or what God has revealed might help you too.

If that’s you, I will be praying for you. Pray for me too! Body image is hard. We are not alone.

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go ”

Joshua 1:9