Don’t be afraid to change your goals.

My summer goals on writing each week have not been successful. My mother’s husband had surgery and he is my mother’s caretaker. She is in the last and final stage of Alzheimer’s. This is perhaps the worst stage yet. It could last months or it could last years.

With my stepfather’s recovery, my sisters and my step-siblings all had to pitch in to help out. It took a lot more mental and physical work than I had thought. At times, I felt thankful that I am a teacher and have the summer off so that I could help out more. However, there were other times that I felt overwhelmed and pissed off that this is happening to my mother. Life can be so unfair and cruel. It took my beautiful mother who had such spunk and left her as a shockingly old woman who needs help laying down, going to the bathroom, eating, and who doesn’t know her own daughters.

I foolishly thought that when she is sleeping or at nighttime, I would write. Quickly, I realized that I could not do it. My mind and my body just needed to rest. At first I was mad at myself for not following through on my goals.

After a few days of negative talk to myself and taking care of my mother, I came to the realization that it is ok to change your goals. Life gets in the way sometimes. We do what we have to do and that is that. Sometimes you have the time to follow through with what you want to do in life and sometimes you have to push pause and get back to what you want to do when you have the time and the mental energy to do so.

Summer Goals

Summer is my time to destress from a school year. As a special education teacher, my patience is tested throughout the year as I help students deal with their emotions, academic struggles, and just getting through the day. I love my job, but I do need the summer to be myself again.

This time of the year is greatly needed. My son and I love our time together. We have lazy mornings, snuggle time, videogame time, but we also have reading, non-technology time, and just good old-fashioned time together outside at the park, pool, beach, and, of course, our back yard. ❤

Summer is also my time to find my creative side again. Some school years take it away a bit as my mind focuses on IEPs, lesson plans, and meetings. So this summer I am so excited to let my imagination come out again. To do that, I have set some goals for myself:

  • Make time to read.
  • Write every day.
  • Create a rough draft children’s book for each week of the summer.
  • Blog weekly.
  • Read more.

This is my first full week of the summer. I am so excited to just read, write, and have fun. Until next time…

Unexpected Motivation

I recently went on a field trip with my son to Monticello as a parent and as a special education teacher. My focus was staying cool in the heat, keeping the kids on my caseload on track, and spending time with my son.

However, it didn’t take long for that focus to change.

Soon, it was pure motivation. Seeing Thomas Jefferson’s creations, architecture, books that he owned, gardens, etc was breathtaking at times.

I have been feeling down about my lack of progress on writing, my mother’s Alzheimer’s and infertility. Somehow being at Monticello made me feel hopeful. Not hopeful that I can change my mother’s prognosis or change my inability to have more children, but hopeful because LIFE is hopeful.

There is something about Monticello that makes you remember that life isn’t about what you have or what you cannot have, it is about using your mind to create the life you want. Instead of wasting my time and energy thinking about what I cannot have, I need to focus my energy on what I love and on what I can create.

Taming the Inner Critic

My inner critic is harsh. Let’s just be brutally honest here: my inner critic is a true mean-to-the-bone, socially unacceptable bitch.

You know the type: They put you down every chance they get. They blame you for everything wrong that happens. Why did the boyfriend leave? You. Why did you not get that job you applied for? You. Why do you doubt yourself? You are not good enough, she would reply. Yet she would say it with a sailor’s mouth with such vulgar that you don’t want to be in public with her.

There are some days where I can control her, but there are also some days where she knocks me to the floor gasping for air with tears staining my face.

I have always had a harsh inner critic. I used to cave in and believe her that I wasn’t good enough. I just took it. I believed the negative. I drowned in it, yet I also let it be my air that I needed to breathe every day.

Then one day, I decided to live the life I wanted…no matter what.

So my goal was to prove her wrong. For example, I fought her about being a teacher. I am quiet, could be a hermit, and am so very scared to talk to a crowd. I am now in my 14th year as a special education teacher.

My point is that we are our own worst critics. How do we not drown in our own criticism?

Well, I had to reteach myself how to talk to ME. I had to tell my inner bitch that I envied her free way of talking; that I will take that energy and turn it around; that I will prove her wrong for she is just doubt talking. I needed to give life a real try because life could be over in a second.

Life needs to be cherished…not hidden from. Life needs to be lived… not sheltered. We all have our demons, our mistakes, etc. Let those mistakes be a stomping ground on our inner bitches.

Just remember to tame your inner critic instead of banishing them. I still need her spunk and her devilish ways after all. Life is more fun that way. 😉

My Kale Crush

As a writer, I follow a lot of writers on Instagram. They give me inspiration and I admire the dedication they have. It can be hard at times to keep writing and to keep submitting work when rejections seem to always follow. Some days are filled with writing and ideas while other days involve empty thoughts. I have self published before and undoubtedly I will again, but one day I would like someone else to say “YES! I need to publish this!” One day. Until then, I will just keep writing what I love. So thank you to all the writers I follow, you are amazing. Keep it up!

One of the things that really distracts me from writing is food. Yep, that is right. If I am not watching Top Chef, then I am on Pinterest looking at food ideas. I am obsessed with trying out at least one new recipe every week for my family. This week, I found a recipe for a Crockpot Thai Chicken Curry dish. Need I say more? I cannot wait to eat it!!!

But for now….I am cleaning up from our lunch today and making my lunch for tomorrow. I have to plan meals ahead of time. As a mother and a special education teacher, planning is a necessity. I am also trying a keto-ish way of eating so planning is a must. Check out my brand new Instagram page at @FunKetoLiving!

What is for lunch tomorrow? I am so glad you asked! A yummy kale salad!!!! I have a LOVE AFFAIR with kale. That’s right. I said it. I used to only like kale chips. I had tried to eat kale salads, but they were always disgusting. I mean…spit out disgusting.

Then, one day, I was flipping channels and I saw a PBS show about cooking. I thought it looked quite interesting so I decided to watch.

Ok. Ok. Truthfully, I was flipping channels a while ago and saw some totally cute farmer looking guy making yummy food so I had to watch. haha!

The show was called “The Farm” and the cute guy was actually Ian Knauer. I fell in love with the show and started following him on Instagram as well. What an inspiration. I wish I had his knowledge, but most of all I am just happy that I stopped to watch the cute guy on TV, because I saw him make an incredible kale salad, among other delicious things. After that episode, I tried one last time to make a kale salad that was edible. O.M.G. it worked!! It was delicious and I have been hooked every since.

Apparently, I just needed to send my love to kale (i.e. massage it with olive oil, salt and pepper if I want it that day, a little rest, and some yummy toppings, etc.) That’s it! Who knew! I haven’t converted my husband and son yet, but at least my son will eat up kale chips. Baby steps.

So while my best friend is drooling over Jason Momoa, I am drooling over Johnny Iuzzini and Ian Knauer. What can I say? I think being able to cook and bake is incredibly sexy and one day, Jason Momoa might not have his muscles, but I bet Johnny and Ian will still be able to whip up some damn tasty food.

Keep smiling! ❤ Jessica

Lazy Keto For The Win

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Like everyone else in the world on January 1st, I decided (yet again…for the 107th time) that I need to really, truly, for real this time, get as healthy as I can be.

I scoured the internet for days and days for diets that I could start that would be more of a lifestyle change versus just a way to lose weight. My problem is that I love sweets and I love to eat. I am not a protein shake twice a day gal. I am more of a pizza and beer gal with a side of nachos and fudge.

What you may or may not know is that I have Reactive Hypoglycemia. It isn’t true hypoglycemia and it isn’t true diabetes. However, if I eat too much sugar or carbs, then I feel horrible. My blood sugar goes crazy, I get moody, shaky, hot, hangry, etc. It can ruin the entire day because my body is just exhausted from not feeling well.

I have tried the South Beach Diet, which I really like, but it always felt too restrictive. I once tried the Whole 30, but it also felt too restrictive. Then I found Keto. I know what you are thinking…it is very restrictive as well. You are right. It is. Then it dawned on me. About time, since my middle name is Dawn.

I have been an idiot. I just need to form my own way of eating and just stick to it. I like how Keto focuses on low carbs but trying to get my carbs to 20 or less for an entire day is too restrictive for me right now if I want this to be a lifestyle change that I truly like.

So I decided to do a lazy Keto diet my style. Basically, I try to eat keto the best I can. But I stay 50 or less carbs a day and if I need to indulge some then I indulge, because life is short and eating a cheat meal or two during the weekend won’t be the end of the world. As I get better at eating healthy for my body, then the carb number will go down. It has usually been about 30 carbs a day. I have been feeling great, no hangry feelings, and I am enjoying finding new recipes to make.

My family had taco night just a few days ago. They had regular taco shells or soft burritos. I made my own shells using cheese. Pinterest is my best friend. I didn’t need to put extra cheese on my taco since my shell was my cheese. A little salsa, spinach, and avocado with my meat AND it was sooo delicious! Even more than regular!

Cheese Taco Shells!

I did AMAZING all week with my carb totals, calories, and exercise. Then the weekend came. I did great Friday and had “room” for a glass of wine. Saturday was a different story. I did great, but then we went out to eat for my husband’s birthday. My plan to not eat the sticky rice at the Thai restaurant quickly left my thoughts because the food was just that good.

Red curry chicken

Curry, coconut milk, chicken and bamboo shoots. Do I need to say more? At first, I felt bad that I cheated. Then, the next morning, I cheated again with sausage biscuits. Ugh, the guilt of being a cheat. I feel so dirty and ashamed. Then I remembered that this is my healthy lifestyle not a stupid diet that I hate. I make the rules and I can decide that a little cheating can actually be a good thing. Life is too short to feel bad about eating a yummy meal or two.

Just me.

So the moral of this story is to do what feels good for you. I am LOVING how great I felt this week with my Lazy Keto food. For example, a coworker is also on a diet. One day for lunch last week, I had those leftover tacos I had just talked about. She only had string cheese and yogurt. I felt bad that my meal was so much more yummier than hers, but I think her main goal is to lose weight. Mine is to yes lose weight, but also to stop being hangry and get my reactive hypoglycemia under control. My goal is also to eat as much yummy food as I can! haha!

I am going to keep up with my lazy keto way of eating and my exercising. Oh! I haven’t told you what I do for exercise! I need to! (Hint…an upcoming blog post!)

Keep Smiling! ❤ Jessica

Confessions

It is now December 29th and no I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo. I also didn’t write a novel. I also totally failed on my exercise schedule. Work meetings and holiday activities got in the way. Excuses I know.

The good news is that I did come up with a new children’s book and have started writing it. I did fail on my exercise schedule, but I have also decided that I cannot just do exercise without the healthy eating plan. So my fail has turned into an understanding that I need to take all around better care of myself.

So 2019, I will finish my children’s book and start being a better, healthier me. (And for those of you that want to argue with me about starting in 2019, I am trying to be as healthy as I can be right now; however, I am going to hold myself more accountable in 2019.)

A few of my friends do the Beach Body workouts. I am not doing that; however, I am doing the Body Boss workouts. I have done the pretraining and am starting the true program in January. Wish me luck!!! The pretraining was hard as hell and made me feel like I am sooo out of shape! However, the more I did it, the stronger I felt.

I am also going to attempt the KETO diet so if any of you have advice, I am all ears! With all the cookie, pie, candy, and chip eating during the holidays, I desperately need to get my blood sugar back on track. Thus the KETO diet sounds like it might help. Although, I do have Reactive Hypoglycemia so it might not work. I will have to see what helps me not have any blood sugar issues because when I get hangry..it is more than just me being angry and hungry. It becomes an all over feeling of not being able to focus, feeling weak, headache, nauseous, hot, angry, etc. Once it happens, my whole day is shot. It is hard to get back to feeling normal. I will keep you updated on how KETO is doing. If any of you have Reactive Hypoglycemic and have found a better way of eating healthy where I can also lose weight, please let me know!

I wish all of you a wonderful New Years Eve and a fulfilling 2019. Let’s start the new year off right! I am going to find a First Day Hike, how about you??

http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/blog/virginia-state-parks-first-day-hikes-2019