Monday, February 28, 2011

Love Small Packages Addressed to Mrs. Storm

The simple art of receiving a package in the mail, is so exciting! It has the capacity to take a bad day and turn it into something magical.

This package was delivered from  in(courage)  courtesy of Adorkable giveaway! I recived the Mr. & Mrs. paper set, along with the book "One Thousand Gifts." I love books and cannot get my hands on enough of them.

I was very blessed by this giveaway and want to thank Adorkable!  
My prayer for Mel is this, May the LORD bless you and keep you; may the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."

I have started the first chapter is this book. Ann is giving me a taste of the life God has intended for all of us. He offers grace and he offers it freely. She begs the question " how or can we choose to live as one filling with his grace? Choosing to fill with all the he freely vives and fully live- with glory and grace and god?

How do we live the abundant grace he give us so freely? It is a question that I am wrestling with as I read this book. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The storm who is "Unlocked"

I could not put "Unlocked" down by Karen Kingsbury As most of you know, I am on a journey to lose weight and while I am doing that, I read many books at the gym. As I am sweating and burning the fat, I am reading books from the library, that I can only read when I work out!!!

I started reading  "Unlocked"  a week ago and I could not stop reading it. When I wasn't working out, I was tempted to continue reading, but I told myself it was only for the gym! This book is about a young man named Holden Harris and his childhood best friend, Ella Reynolds. Holden is autistic and communicates non-verbally until he reunites with Ella who helps him communicate in a new light. Ella becomes an advocate for Holden and other students who are bullied at her high school, who appear different.

This book was such a blessing! As a person who works with children of special needs, especially some with autism, it gave me hope that the children I work with can make progress in small and large ways. It also very inspiring to me how much research Karen did when writing this books. She talked about PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) PECS , which is a particular way that many children with Autism communicate through. Basically PECS are a series of pictures, with words on them and children show them to others, in order to communicate. They use pictures to communicate words, feelings, ideas, people, ect.  I loved this book and think Karen did a great job communicating such a difficult message through Holden and Ella. 

Storms Exhausting Week

I apologize for the lack of updates. This week has gone faster than I expected and has been very draining. My job is taking a toll on me this week. What an exhausting week! 

Friday, I slept for 14 hours!! Clearly, I needed a lot of sleep!!! More updates will be available soon.. Again, sorry for the lack of posts, I have just needed some much R&R!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Storm's Scale Update

I have this deal with myself, which helps me from going crazy insane.
 *I am allowed to weight myself,once a week*

However, for the past two weeks, the scale at the YMCA has been broken. I have been completely lost and frustrated. Instead, I have had to rely on my sense of healthy food choices (which aren't always healthy), small portions, healthy snacking and prayer to keep me from losing my my mind, about not being able to track my weight loss progress.

This morning, I found the old broken scale replaced with a brand new one. I found myself wondering if I  should get on the scale. After all, it has been two weeks since I had stepped on the scale to find out my weight loss. 

After much debate, I decided I needed to find out if the two weeks off the scale, proved my dedication to healthy living.

I am ecstatic to report, I am 2lbs down!!! I have lost a total of 14.5 lbs as of the end of December.  

  Well, to be quite honest, I am not sure I want to admit this on my blog. I tend to make deals with myself in my head, so I told myself If I lost 22lbs................

My next goal is to lose another 7.5lbs by  March 15th..Why March 15th you're asking?  Open registration for the Disney Marathon.  I told myself if I could lose 22lbs, I would be ready to sign up for a marathon and it would prove to me, that if I could lose 22lbs, I could raise enough money to support my marathon and run it... We will see if I make the goal...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weight should not be a storm, but rather a Journey

I do not in anyway claim professionalism at losing weight, nor do I guarantee any of my tips will help with your weight loss. My results, are not typical (ha, had to say that). With that said, please read the following....

Tip #1 : Drink at least  8 glasses of water daily!! I aim for 10 a day. (Some people ad flavor packets of lemonade or sugar free mix), I say, drink JUST water. Also, do your best to eliminate diet sodas, they tend to lead larger waist lines. The sugar just ends up sitting in your gut. (The water will help detox your body too)

Tip #2 : Eat whole grains bread, get rid of the starchy white bread. I know a lot of diets that say banish carbs from your diet, but I find them to be fine, as long as you are getting whole grain.

Tip #3: Aim to eat 3 vegetables and 3 fruits daily. The nutrition value will leave you feeling fuller and will allow you to boost immunity. Try to get brave. I just tried starfish fruit a few weeks ago. (I go to Aldi's for produce, very inexpensive compared to Meijer)
Tip #4: Exercise 3-5 times a week. I used to exercise about 5 days a week, I found that my body was physically exhausted, which led me to eating more food then I needed. I would justify food like cookies, candies and such saying "well, I just worked out for an hour, it couldnt hurt." I ended up not realizing the calories I had just worked off, were being replenished above and beyond what I was burning. I was gaining weight, so again, limit your exercise. Also, switch up your exercise regimine. Try something new- yoga, cycling, weight training, walking the dog, running, rollerblading, swimming, exercise videos, ect. 

Tip #5 : Eat 20 grams of protein daily and lots of fiber, as much as possible. Usually,I eat a protein bar, I like the brand "Pure Plus" and the flavor is peanutbutter chocolate.  I recommend eating them daily or half a bar every day. The protein keeps me very full. Also, eat things that tend to have high fiber content. A person who consumes 2000 calories a day, should eat 28-30 grams of fiber a day!! 

Tip #6: Get 8 hrs of sleep. The more sleep, the less likely you will consume empty calories to keep yourself alert.

Tip #7:  Use a fork and knife for everything. Stop eating with your hands and start picking up the fork. It takes a longer time to cut up your food, which causes you to slow down when eating.

Tip #8 : A meal should take 20-30 minutes to eat. Typically, we eat much faster, it takes our brain and stomach a while to catch up with each other. Usually, I stop in the middle of my meal and ask myself this question " if i stop right now, am i satisfied with how much I have eaten?" If the answer is "yes", I put the fork down immediately and start cleaning up or ask for a box.  If the answer is "no", I ask myself a series of questions.. "Am I full or does my body still feel hungry?" "Is something else causing me to feel empty inside?"  "What is the underlying issues?" 

Tip #9 I am the first person to tell you, I love cookies, cakes, sugar and sweets. I have learned, I can eat these things, but not every day. I try to eat a treat once a week or on special occasions. I have gotten a lot better at saying no to "treats". I have learned they have no nutritional value and end up storing little fat pockets every where.

Tip #10:  I tend to be a major snacked! I love to snack all the time. If I know I want to snack, I have pre-planned snacks available, which will help me make healthy choices.  I usually have blueberries, bananna's, carrots & hummus, pineapple cut up, broccoli, ect.  Have healthy choices available for those compulsive moments of snacking.

Tip #11 : Pray, pray, pray!! When I feel a temptation to make a bad food choice, I ask God to help me make a healthy one. I also ask him to surround me with people who will encourage me in my weight loss goals.

Tip #12: It's not always about the pounds you lose, as much as it about the muscle and loss of inches. I am losing a lot of inches and gaining muscle in areas that I didn't think had muscle. The more muscle, the harder your body burns calories when you aren't working out.

Tip #13: Make your weight loss goals obtainable, gradual and small. At first, my goal was to workout for 20 minute and lose 1lb in two weeks. Again, small and gradual. In our society, we want the "get thin fast plan", which isn't realistic. If you are wanting to lose 10-15lbs, it's gonna take some time. Think about how long it took for you to gain it, it's going to take that long and then some to lose it!

Tip #14:  If it has a shelf life of 2 weeks plus, you shouldn't be eating it.

Tip #15 I have found if I want to be successful or good at something, it requires me to study, learn and ask others. I continue to research, study, try new recipes, new workouts, ask restaurants to omit unhealthy ingredients, continue to be adventurous.

Weight loss has everything to do with behavior modification. If you want to lose weight, you have to modify your behavior, to gain results.  Again, I am no expert, don't take it just from me, research and see what works for you. I continue to work on all of these tips and hope to enhance my overall health.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Smoking Storm Red Lipstick

I am a big believer in celebrating the small moments in life. Today, the moment I had in the dressing room was no small accomplishment. For the first time in my life, I was able to pick clothes from a female boutique store and put on whatever I wanted. 

I have never, not once, ever walked into a store like this. I have always hated what the mirror reflected. I tried on clothes today, that before this moment, you would never see me in. I describe them as "girly" clothes. I have never been able to wear the "instyle" clothes because they always looked stupid on me. I refuse to buy skinny jeans too, ew!! YUCK!  

Anyways, I commemorated my weight loss journey and dressing room moment by buying this hot little dress... 

What a great feeling to go into a store and be able to put on whatever I wanted!! Shopping is a new color to me!! Might I actually say, I could get used to this!!

The storm with numbers

If you know me well, you know I struggle with beauty. I have always focused on what I am not.
Not pretty enough.
Not skinny enough.
Not smart enough.
Not good enough.
Not witty enough.
Not crafty enough.
Not fast enough.

The part of not being "skinny enough" has been a long and hard battle of ups and downs over the past few years. I have experienced significant highs and lows in this area. I have wanted freedom for so long and just have struggled.

Well, I am here to tell you, I have officially dropped two pant sizes. I have gone to the single digits and can I tell you, I am ECSTATIC! 

 My pants have been getting a little saggy in the butt region, but I was afraid to try on new pants. Three weeks ago, I thought I had lost enough weight for a smaller pant size, but I was wrong. I felt like a failure and was nervous again, to once see if I had lost enough weight. In the dressing room, I put on three different pairs of size 8 pants and they fit! I cried, for the first time in a long time, i felt complete freedom. 
I have not been a size 8 since 8th grade. Some of you reading this, might think a size 8 is big, but you do not know where I have been. 

When I entered college, I wore a size 14.

Weight was such a struggle in college and I started to drop the pounds when I set the goal to complete a 25k! (15.5) miles. After running  three 25k's , I have been able to maintain a size 10, but that still is not considered "healthy" for my height. Also, I am not satisfied, so I have been working out, eating less junk and more healthy options in order to lose weight. It is finally starting to pay off...

I am finally a size 8 and all of a sudden, i have a new out look on life and the way I look at myself in the mirror. My prayer for me, is to see beyond the number and know that God loves me regardless of my "number."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The storm who loves "The One, adorkable"

 This afternoon, I received a wonderful face book message from Melanine at adorkable, letting me know I had won her Day Spring Giveaway.. I won a $20 gift certificate to to purchase anything I wanted on the website! What a blessing!!

It was not an easy decision to pick something either.. So many cool things, I really wanted the Mr. and Mrs. set, but also wanted to get the book  One Thousand Gifts. As we are trying to live debt free, I did not want to spend over the gift certificate limit because every penny counts, but I did want to use the entire amount. After much debate, I decided to go with.....

 A Thousand Gifts, Mrs. and the Mr. memo pad! I am very excited for these items to come in the mail. Drew and I always have "to do" lists, but now we will each have our own pad. Something so small as a pad of paper, is enough for me to get excited! I cannot wait to read A Thousand Gifts   and I will post stuff as I read it.

A special thanks to adorkable, DaySpring and (in)courage for this awesome giveaway!
Thanks for blessing my socks off today!!

Malachi 3:10

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

The Storm who loves Bargains

As many of you, we are trying our best efforts to become "debt free." I work with emotionally impaired students and my hopes are to become a school social work at some point during my life.

I am constantly practicing my therapeutic skills and utilizing interventions to meet the needs of my students. I am in charge of planning social skills for my students and I really love it. As a bargain hunter, I am always looking for ways to minimize my dollar and maximize my lessons to help the students I serve.

Yesterday, I spent some quality time at Goodwill hoping and hunting for bargains. I was very excited with my two purchases, which totaled $1.00. These are brand NEW books!! I could not believe my luck! I cannot wait to read "Im Gonna like me" to my students. They love books by Jamie Lee Curtis, especially since she has so much humor in them.. She approaches the topics with such tact and makes the books so enjoyable to read.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Every Miracle has a Storm

Yesterday, I had a complete melt down about our debt and student loans. Drew and I are trying to pay them off early and are making larger payments on them or as much possible. I had a huge melt down about it yesterday because I feel like we are getting no where fast. I worry about them and they are such a burden to carry.

For Valentines Day, Drew bought me this wonderful little sentimental gift!!  It speaks for itself. Our student loans will take time, but once they are gone we will see how God provided the miracle for us to get through the storm.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
Matthew 6:25-27


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kids are the Window to my Soul

Every since I was a little girl, I have always had a strong desire and compassion to love children. I can remember being in the grocery store and just watching the interactions exchanged between parents and their children.

I remember flinching when hearing parents yelling, screaming or mis handling their children. At an early age it bothered me and as an adult it sickens me.

Every day, I work with "the least of these" and I truly enjoy my work. 

I care for children who are waiting in hopes of being adopted into a home of love, a place of peace and someone they can call "mom" or "dad".
I develop relationships with children who are a product of their unstable environment.
I play with children who have never trusted an adult in their life because an adult has always mis-used them for their own pleasure.
I earn trust by having an open ear and a listening heart, which is so foreign to them.

I teach  brilliant children who have always been labeled by a system, which loves it's fancy words.
I pour my soul and life into protecting, preserving and creating a successful environment in which children can thrive into extraordinary human beings in which God has called them too.

After six months of opening my soul, reeling my mind and sleepless nights, a child hurt me. All of this time, I been the one trying to protect them, love them, earn their trust and then a student physically hurts me. My world has been flipped. How can this be?  How can the child display no remorse? No apology?

My soul is sicken by what has happened and I turn to God... and ask... WHY? 
 and the answer.... I await....

While I have been waiting, I am beginning to see my predicament, is exactly how we treat God.

He sent his son, one and only to die on the cross, to pay for our garbage and on a daily basis we refuse him, hurt him, turn our back, go the other way... 

Why do we do it? Why do we not have remorse for our sinful actions? Why is he so loving? Why does he forgive? Why are his loving arms so open for us, despite our sinful actions?

I am reminded, to forgive, love my student more, and have my arms open even wider then before, I know it will be hard, but the Lord is my strength!

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:15

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Storm who Scrapbooks while being Sick..

The last two days have been spent...
in bed.
taking meds.
feeling icky.

Today, I decided to get up..
eat fruit snacks,
get my scrapbooking stuff out.
and watch movies.

I am tired of being kept in bed!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A paper queen

Lately, I have had the urge to put all my memories into scrapbooks. I have been scrapbooking for year, but I feel so passionate about filling my books, or maybe it is the pressure of having thousands of loose pictures, that need a space.  Either way, I have been doing a lot of scrapbooking. 

  I am in the process of wedding shower pictures, save the dates, invitations, programs and engagements photos. In addition, I am jumping around and doing some honeymoon pictures.

Today, I went to Michael's in order to inspire some SUPERBOWL SUNDAY scrapbooking. I bought these two stacks of paper...

The first paper pack was $10 for 180 sheets, which breaks it to 5 cent a piece of paper. I could not resist this cute Hawaiian, travel paper. I am going to use a lot of it for our Honeymoon, wedding and summer pictures. So thrilled about it's cheapness and cuteness!!

 Bought this cute pack on clearance for $5- with 60 sheets. So, excited to use this cute paper too.. I love new paper.. I am a paper addict, I love paper!!! Cannot wait to post pictures of all my new scrapbooking adventures. 

I firmly believe in preserving our life memories and sharing them with others. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weary Soul

In our busy world, we forget to relax, enjoy the small quiet moments, soak up life and appreciate the value of just being.

Probably the biggest sin I commit, is being BUSY. I am such a busy body, I cannot sit more then 10 seconds to save my life. This week, I have been challenged to sit, enjoy, rest and rejuvenate my spirit. 

I have found it to be difficult at various moments during this week.

This past weekend, I spent the weekend with two of my favorite girls at Great Wolf Lodge. 

I found refreshment in laughter, small chat, enjoying each others company and getting away from the cell phones, laptops, ect. 

Wednesday, I was challenged with finding peace among the Blizzard. I was kept home all day, with no husband, no friends, just me. It can be bitterly painful to stare into one's soul and realize the dis-contentment. I try to stuff my soul with busyness, but simply it will and never satisfy my soul.

In the emptiness of my home, I was forced to reconcile with my weary and burdened soul.  I realized I stuff my life and I keep stuffing. I am always buying, finding things to check off the to do list, emailing people, babysitting, grocery shopping, washing laundry, cooking, making sure everyone else is okay, but these snow days taught me otherwise. I was forced to STAY HOME and relax, which is such a foreign idea to me. I was required to examine my life in a different light, to understand why I keep stuffing, what am I trying to hide? Am I accomplishing anything? What does all of these mean?

The sixteen inches of snow allowed me to experience deep soul refreshing moment. Spending time digging in the Bible, figuring out and learning about the beauty of the creator has created, within me. Realizing that I need to get better at saying "no" and stop being such a people pleaser, continue to maintain appropriate boundaries. I will not forget the two blizzard days, as they proved to be moments in which I was forced to re-discover me.