My Boy and His Dog

Being a coach’s kid brings with it a unique set of rewards and challenges, not any more or any worse than those faced by any other kid, just different.

On the one hand, there are terrifically fun perks… My kids know more than a handful of NFL football players as family friends. My kids have traveled to gorgeous resorts for week-long family vacations called bowl games. My kids have a backstage ticket to some totally awesome sporting events because of their daddy’s occupation.

Of course, there is always the other hand, too… There is the accepted understanding that we live season to season and moves away from friends and schools and teams and homes can and will occur, and when they do, they happen very, very fast. There are the friends who love going to the games with you one week, cheering our team onto victory, and then making fun of you at school the next week after a tough loss. There are the not-friends that never mind being very vocal with their opinion of your dad, his ability to do his job, and how much they hope he is fired. Soon! There is the usually empty seat next to Mom at most all school functions, sporting events, recitals, shows, concerts, parties, and programs.

We don’t blame him.  Coach is a magnificent daddy!  He loves coaching, and we love him doing it.  Without a doubt, we can’t imagine him doing anything else.  Furthermore, SonShine dreams of coaching just like him, and hopefully beside him, some day in the future.  We know he hates missing a single moment, yet even the youngest coach’s kid learns quickly: there are only so many hours in a week to prepare for the next game or to touch base with the next recruit, and in this day and age, there are no shortage of ways to work. We all understand that if Coach is not working, someone else is ready and waiting and eager to replace him.

Having a loyal companion makes the highs a little bit sweeter and the lows a little bit more bearable on the roller coaster ride that is childhood, especially for a coach’s kid. My SonShine has been blessed to have a steady, loving companion by his side his entire childhood:

BRAVE BELLE the WONDER(ful) DOG

Belle was born on April 1, 2002. Six weeks later, we took SonShine to pick one of the litter, and Belle simply picked him. Three weeks after that, he celebrated his 4th birthday by bringing his new, yellow lab home. He was really into Rescue Heroes at the time, and all he wanted that year was a dog that would play out rescues and be heroes with him.  And, man, could they play! I remember watching him with Belle and thinking to myself, “His toddler days are done, my baby is now all boy.”

SonShine received Brave Belle the Wonder Dog for his 4th birthday in 2002.

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VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

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Today, November 24, 2014, I watched my boy take a step out of his childhood.  I watched him becoming a man.

Belle has been getting old (with the rest of us around here…), and in recent months her breathing has become more labored and noisy.  Her appetite, sleep patterns, and demeanor were the same, so we put off a trip to the vet as long as possible, knowing what he would most likely say when we broke down and went.  Today we had to go.  Belle was nice and lazy this morning, as all 94 year olds deserve to be!  But after lunch, the kids went outside to play.  Belle, as usual, went running out to join in the fun.  Within minutes the kids were yelling for me, saying that something was very wrong.  Belle was clearly in respiratory distress, wheezing deeply to intake any air at all, so much so that her entire torso was contracted deeply with each inhale, and it sounded like little or no air was actually filling her lungs.

The vet couldn’t fit us in until 4 pm, so we encouraged Belle to rest, laying her down in the house, and the breathing fit calmed down significantly.  When it was time to load her in SonShine’s truck for the trip into town, even the walk out to the garage had her struggling again.  Her anxiety increased and her breathing decreased the moment we arrived at the vet’s office.  We could tell by his reaction that it was very serious, and I think the kids and I knew what was coming.

X-rays and ultrasounds confirmed it: Belle’s lungs, filled with masses, simply had no room for oxygen.  Her coloring was very blue; she was suffocating in front of our eyes.

For what I think was the first time ever, I had a friend in the football office interrupt Coach’s meetings to let him know that I needed him to call immediately.  He did, and he agreed, we could not let Belle stay in distress.  We promised that we’d make her comfortable as long as possible in hopes that he could be there in time to put her down, the five of us together: Coach, Me, Angel Girl, SonShine, and his Brave Belle.

Our vet gave her something to help her relax, and we got her to lay on the floor again, the kids and I petting and talking to her to keep her calm. For two and half hours, SonShine lay on the floor with Belle, Angel Girl and I sitting above her.

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We cried a lot.  We talked about all the memories we have made with her.  We commented on the fact that my kids have never known a home without her.  The don’t know or remember a life that doesn’t include her.  We knew without saying how strange it will be without her, and how much we will miss her every day.  We decided she needed to be buried at our lake place two hours away – a place very special to us, and a place where we can always come home to Belle no matter where football takes us.

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Coach arrived a little before 7, and by 7:30, Belle was gone.  I watched my little boy lie with his dog, tears streaming down his face, and I watched my young man carry her lifeless body out.  He looked just a little taller to me in that moment.

I rode home with SonShine.  Knowing how upset he was, I offered to drive, but he declined.  On the way, I asked him, “Are you sure you want to go with Dad tonight to bury Belle?”

“Yes,” he replied quietly, but without hesitation.

“Are you saying that because you feel like you have to or because you want to?”  I asked further.

“Because I want to,” he said in a voice just a little deeper than I usually hear.  And I noticed that his jaw was set just a little firmer than before, more like a man than a boy.

That’s when I realized that a chapter had just ended, a door to SonShine’s childhood had just closed.  Without Belle, his childhood companion, he was no longer a child.

Rough days will do that, make us grow up in a moment.

I’m so glad he had the most faithful of friends to grow up with!  What a gift that I can close my eyes and see them together all through those years: playing in the many yards we’ve had, laying in the bed she was never supposed to jump upon, sleeping on the floor next to his bed every night, dancing on her two back legs with him and sharing her hugs while he laughed or celebrated something great, fetching tennis balls and rawhide bones for hours, swimming in lakes and pools, tackling and wresting with him on the ground, them simply growing up.  Together.  What beautiful, beautiful visions to treasure!!  I am so grateful to have them all, and I am so thankful to Belle for helping me raise my precious boy into such a tremendous young man.

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Goodbye, sweet Belle.  You were a brave, wonderful friend!

With hugs and love,

Ashli 🙂

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VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

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Sunday’s Sermon: 10 Ways to Give Thanks

I am a note taker in church (no big shock there for any of you who know me or had to sit in school with me over the years!), and today I would like to share with you what our minister shared with us in his sermon this morning:

10 WAYS TO GIVE THANKS by Nathan Burrow

The lesson is based on Luke 17: 11-19, a short story in scripture, but one that is chocked full of meaning:

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Here are Nathan’s 10 ways to give thanks and my “take away” from each of his 10 points. I find that when listening to a well-presented lesson, whether in a church, at a meeting, or  with a group of teammates, each of us tend to hear what we personally need most in that particular moment.  You may read the same scripture and think about these 10 ways to give thanks in a totally different way depending on your present world.  And I love that!  All I know is that any reminder to convey love, share kindness, and give grace is a very, very good thing…

  1.  OPEN YOUR EYES – Recognize and be observant to the world around you; have I been living a life that is too busy to notice the gifts, the kindness, and the good things around me?  I must be aware and thankful for those blessings!
  2. SEE THE NEED – Respond to the need you see; do I act on the needs around me?  I must be thankful that I am useful and able to help others!
  3. GIVE GRACE, NOT JUDGMENT – Judgment stands in the way of giving grace and thanksgiving; do I bypass negativity, am I accepting of differences, do I give grace unbegrudgingly?  I must see the good in every person and in every moment!
  4. REMEMBER WE ALL NEED HEALING – We are no different from anyone else in that we all have struggles and we all need help in one way or another; do I have patience with others while not knowing their challenges?  I must remember that I cannot know what anyone else is going through!
  5. WE ARE ALL BLESSED – Even in the worst, most challenging situations, we are all blessed; do I see the silver lining even at the most difficult of times?  I must focus on the good things in my life, never getting bogged down in the shortcomings!
  6. WE DON’T DESERVE WHAT WE HAVE RECEIVED – We could never fully deserve all we’ve been given; do I live as though I have a right to my gifts?  Instead, I must live the truth that I am not entitled to the blessings that I receive, and I must pass that truth on to my children so they do not display an air of entitlement, either!
  7. IT CAN NEVER BE REPAID – A gift has no repayment; do I expect something in return for gifts I give, do I feel obligated to repay those given to me?  I must remember that I am not expected to repay gifts and instead voice thanks and praise in return for those blessings as that is all that is in my power to give back!
  8. BELIEVE – Your faith has made you well (Luke 17:19); where does faith end and believing begin?  I must always believe in blessings and gifts and good things, even when it is really, really hard to do so!
  9. PRAISE GOD – Be a message of thanksgiving; do I cast a light of love and praise?  I must be an example of a joyful heart!
  10. WE OFTEN FAIL TO BE GRATEFUL – Why did 90% of the lepers in the scripture not return to say thanks?  I must be the one who comes back!

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Finally, here is one of my very favorite hymns, A Beautiful Life, written by William M. Golden in 1918 (I have a really old soul…); it is one that we sang today, and it goes along perfectly with these 10 Ways to Give Thanks.  I hope that it is a reflection of how I live every day:

Each day I’ll do a golden deed,
By helping those who are in need,
My life on earth is but a span,
And so I’ll do the best I can,
The best I can.

Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.

To be a child of God each day,
My light must shine along the way;
I’ll sing His praise while ages roll
And strive to help some troubled soul,
Some troubled soul.

Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.

The only life that will endure,
Is one that’s kind and good and pure;
And so for God I’ll take my stand,
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand,
A helping hand.

Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.

I’ll help someone in time of need,
And journey on with rapid speed;
I’ll help the sick and poor and weak,
And words of kindness to them speak,
Kind words I’ll speak.

Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.

While going down life’s weary road,
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load;
I’ll try to turn the night to day,
Make flowers bloom along the way,
The lonely way.

Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.

And now for my 10 for 10 update:

My 2-day Deep Cleanse went well.  By last night I was pretty hungry – EVERY SINGLE concession stand scent at the football game smelled really, really good.  But I held strong, and I made it through without cheating.  I did need my morning shake ASAP because I was feeling a little shaky in the shower, but once I had it and a tall glass of water, I felt re-balanced.  While I can NOT imagine doing some of the 7-day cleanses that I have read about, I am a little surprised to find myself finished with Day 7 with only three days left to complete my goal.  Best of all, I’m knocking of the door of 120#, and that is a door I have not been through in over 10 years!!

Cleanse Time

If you’ve been following my 10 day nutrition challenge, thank you 😉

I am already on Day 5, and I’ve lost about 3 pounds.  So far, so good!  I haven’t felt too hungry or fatigued, I’ve been going to the yoga studio everyday, and I even made it to Zumba on Day 2.

To this point, the program has consisted of two shakes, one healthy meal, and one healthy snack each day along with two nutritional supplements and 1 ounce of a green juice.  I am NOT restricting calories; my daily caloric intake has been right around 1200 which is normal for a 5’2″ female.  It’s an easy program to follow, and honestly, it has been nice not having to decide what to eat all the time.

Today and tomorrow I am switching gears to do a “deep cleanse” which is part of the 30 Day Cleansing and Fat Burning System.  I like this cleanse for three huge reasons:

  1. It tastes really good (berry fruity!),
  2. It does not chain one to the restroom, and
  3. It does not allow for lulls in the day which lead to a feeling of utter starvation.

So, here’s how it goes:

DAYS 5 & 6 DEEP CLEANSE

  • 7 am – 4 oz Cleanse for Life and 1 Natural Accelerator Supplement Capsule
  • 9 am – 1 oz Ionix Supreme Dietary Supplement (Green Juice) and 2 Chocolate IsaGenix Snacks
  • 11 am – 4 oz Cleanse for Life
  • 1 pm – 2 Chocolate IsaGenix Snacks and 1 Natural Accelerator Supplement Capsule
  • 3 pm – 4 oz Cleanse for Life
  • 5 pm – 2 Chocolate IsaGenix Snacks
  • 7 pm – 4 oz Cleanse for Life
  • 9 pm – 1 IsaFlush Supplement Capsule

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I keep a tall glass of ice water with me throughout the day, and I probably refill it every three to four hours.  I’m not jittery, and I’m not grouchy (always a good thing for the fam!). But I am very excited to see the results after these two days.

Meet back here Sunday for the results…and Sic ‘Em, Bears!!

With hugs and love,

Ashli  🙂

Saying Goodbye

I write a lot about inner peace, conveying love, and choosing happy.  Those are certainly how I strive to face my days, but that does not mean all my days are easy.  On October 24, 2014, I said goodbye to my Grandma Syble.  That was a hard day.

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Knowing that her health was failing, having been told by her doctors that it was just a matter of weeks, I kissed Coach and our kids as they headed off in different directions to go to school that morning, and I hit the road for my hometown 90 miles away to see our GiGi for the last time.

I knew she would not know that I had been there; her mind had started failing her a while back, but I needed to spend one last day with her just for me.  I made a batch of her family-famous peanut butter candy, I downloaded Elvis’ greatest hits onto my phone, and I grabbed my bag of knitting to show her my latest project.

Grandma Syble was sleeping when I arrived.  She was so tiny and frail – not at all like the outdoorsy, outspoken lady I knew as my grandmother.  Death was obviously upon her. I set her box of candy on her bedside tray, I turned on my iPod, and I sat next to her knitting for hours.

When the nurses came in to wake her for lunch, I cried because she was too weak to even adjust herself in her bed.  Her skin had become so terribly thin that just sliding her sheets and blankets to recenter her on the bed caused her chaffing and discomfort.  It was so hard to see her wince in response.

She could not lift her arms any longer, so she had to be spoon-fed.  She ate one green bean and two infant-sized bites of mashed potatoes.  That would likely be all she’d eat for the day as she had slept through breakfast and would probably do the same through dinner.

I turned up her music, reminding her how we used to listen to record after record of Elvis’ songs while cooking or baking or painting or putting puzzles together, the two of us together at her house.  I told her that I had made her candy recipe for us to enjoy, and she spoke her first words of the day: “Well, alright!”  There was a rare moment of clarity and comprehension in her eyes.  She used to use that expression a lot, and hearing it again reminded me of how she could show me support for the silliest of things and always make me feel really special by being excited for whatever I had going on.  I broke off a piece of candy, and she followed up with a “yum” as she closed her eyes and savored that tiny bite.  She seemed intrigued with my knitting, so I sat on the edge of her bed winding the yarn as she watched.  My enjoyment of sewing and fabrics and stitching and yarns came from Grandma Syble.  Her 1965 Singer sewing machine that she gave me years ago is one of my most treasured possessions.

Coach happened to be recruiting my old hometown that day, and as he walked into her room, she perked up with one more moment of clarity and exclaimed, “Look who’s here!” She even smiled a small smile.  She always adored him!  We stayed a while longer, Coach carrying the conversation as my heart got heavier and heavier.

When it was time to go, Coach said, “GiGi, we love you, and we’ll see you soon.”  Grandma Syble replied in her strongest voice all day, “I’m not going anywhere; I’ll always be here.”  How true!

One week later, we got the call that my Grandma Syble had died.

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If you’ve never written an obituary I am here to tell you it is tough.  Luckily, my sister who is a beautiful writer was with me, and we tackled it together.  As we wrote it, I kept coming back to one thought: Thank you, Lord, for giving me her and for giving her peace.

See, Grandma had two great fears.  1.) She was scared to lose her mobility, and 2.) she was terrified to lose her mind.  Both had come to fruition over the last 3 years, and she was stuck living her worst nightmare every single day.  I am so, so very happy that she is now free from that unimaginable suffering.

Surrounded by my family, the day of her funeral was truly a celebration of a woman I dearly loved, a woman who passed down to me more than just her looks (yes, I know we look quite a lot alike), and more than just her hobbies.  Grandma Syble showed me ways to be tough and strong and loving and wise and matriarchal and resourceful and independent and kind and smart and fashionable and literary and domestic and all the things that make me the me I am.  These traits didn’t skip a generation; my mom has them all, too, and from these two women, I received a foundation to be the wife and mom that I love to be.  They created a heritage of beautiful, capable, hardworking, and honest women that I am proud to embrace and proud to pass along to my Angel Girl.

For that I am eternally thankful!!

4 Generations Strong: Angel Girl, Me, Grandma Syble, and Mom

4 Generations Strong: Angel Girl, Me, Grandma Syble, and Mom

 

PS:  Here are my results from yesterday, Day 4 of my 10 day challenge to lose 10 pounds before Thanksgiving:

Progress, NOT Perfection

Yesterday I rambled (a lot!!) about yoga…today’s message is very short and one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned from my yoga practice:

No one is perfect, no one is supposed to be perfect; if I am not perfect, then I am exactly who, and how, I am supposed to be because life is all about progress, NOT perfection.

Here is a “perfect” example from my yoga practice:  Crow (Kakasana) and Crane (Bakasana)

Crow/Crane is an intense arm balance pose.  The idea is to use the triceps as a shelf to support the upper thighs or knees, then shift the body weight and visual gaze forward to balance on the arms and lift up the feet.  My first attempt was not too bad.  I was very proud of it, and it immediately became a favorite pose:

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You can see in the picture above (which was taken on May 9, 2014) that I needed a lot of shelf to hold up my legs, and I am also “sinking” into my arms to hold the balance.

Now fast forward 16 weeks to September 18th:

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This time my knees are tucked much further into my under-pits, which is considerably more difficult to hold, and my back is straighter which shows that I am getting stronger and better able to “lift” into the pose…still not perfection, but definitely progress 🙂

Finally, go forward one more week to September 24th:

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This is called Fallen Angel Pose (Devaduuta Panna Asana), and it’s a toughie!!  It is a progression from Side-Crow/Crane that I tried for the first time as this picture was snapped.  In a critical world, it is far from perfect, but I have to tell you that I was completely amazed and quite impressed with myself that I had the courage to attempt it, the focus to hold it, and the strength to lift it so that my head was off the ground.

Yoga taught me that I’m allowed to be excited by the progress and improvements rather than be discouraged or disheartened by the shortcomings and imperfection.  What an important lesson!  It is a lesson that has made me a better mom, a more patient person, a kinder friend, and a stronger wife.  For that I am eternally grateful!

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Be happy being you, and know that you are valued and adored, friends!

Hugs and love,

Ashli 🙂

 

PS:  Here are my results from yesterday, Day 3 of my 10 day challenge to lose 10 pounds before Thanksgiving:

Day 3 weight: 122.8 lb.
Early Morning: 1 oz Ionix Supreme Dietary Supplement (Green Juice)
Meal 3-1: Chocolate & Banana IsaLean Shake and 1 Natural Accelerator Supplement Capsule
Meal 3-2: Natural Oatmeal Raisin IsaLean Snack Bar
Meal 3-3: Chocolate & Peanut Butter IsaLean Shake
Meal 3-4: Spinach Salad with Scrambled Egg, Avocado, Bell Peppers, and Feta Cheese and 1 IsaFlush Supplement Capsule

Living Life Upside Down

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Last February a new yoga studio opened up in town. I followed them on Facebook, admired the cuteness of their website, commented on how inviting the building looked, and I thought to myself, “I really need to give that a try!”

But I didn’t make the effort to actually go.

A few weeks later a group of friends invited me to try out a free class at the studio, so I figured “Why not?” If nothing else, it would be a fun morning with friends followed by a chatty lunch and lots of smiles and conversation with people I adore.

That free trial class changed my life!

Yes, that sounds hokey and dramatic, but it is true, and there is simply no other way to say it. I had been right about the studio; it was inviting! I was right about the staff; they are too cute and so welcoming and kind and non-judmental that I felt a connection there from that very first day. I have to tell you, though, the most impactful part of that first day, the most relevant bit of that free trial class in which I had absolutely nothing invested, was the emotional and spiritual and physical effects of my first practice. If I was better with words I might be able to fully convey how freeing it was to go through that practice, to fully let go of the myriad of thoughts and responsibilities that hover above me at all times, to really be in the present moment.  It was a peace that I had only ever noticed many years before as I can only remember feeling that serenity when holding my infant babies in my arms as they slept or cuddled.

At the end of that class, I knew that I had to return, and regularly, so I purchased a 1-month pass to attend classes as often as possible. I fell deeper in love with yoga that month as I learned about poses and flows and breathing and me. I was astonished at poses I could do and energized by poses that I could not. For me, a person who is very, very competitive personally (as in, I like to be the best…the highest grade in class, the first to get done, the prettiest project, the teacher’s pet, and so on and so on), for maybe the first time ever I was okay being a beginner, I didn’t feel like a failure watching others go way beyond my skill level, and I was okay with the fact that I could not do everything that was presented. That was a life-changing moment within itself!

When that pass expired, I purchased a full 6-month pass, and my yoga addiction was fully rooted in my soul.  As I learned more, I craved more.  I found a phenomenal yoga community on InstaGram, and I started following some incredibly amazing yogis from all around the world.  In May, I even jumped out of my comfort zone and participated in an InstaGram challenge to post a photo once a day throughout the month:

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Here are a few of my favorite poses from that first yoga challenge: #mayibeginyoga.  (If you are on InstaGram, check out my entire month on my account: MeAndCoach.)

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One-Legged Bound King Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

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Bound Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

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Camel (Ustrasana)

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Mountain (Tadasana)

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Eight-Angle (Astavakrasana)

The next month, my sweet teachers at The Yoga Bar, named me their Student of the Month – what???  I was finally at a point in my life that I didn’t need affirmation or praise, and yet, there it was.  I was so honored that I actually teared up when I told Coach about it, simply because the studio, the new friends, and the peace-inflicting practice was helping me love myself.  If that’s not tear- worthy, nothing is! Loving ourselves is not easy, but it is vital.

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It’s hard to put that out there, hard to put myself out there!  Every time I think I should keep my adventures to myself, just delete the account, someone says that they want to try yoga after seeing my pictures, or they say that they read something inspiring that they needed to hear in my posts, and in those moments I feel like I have accomplished a goal in conveying love to the world around me, so I get re-motivated to keep sharing.

The last IG challenge that I participated in online was #7daysupsidedown and consisted of all inversions – I LOVE INVERSIONS!!  I have a blast living life upside down! In honor of the adorable yoga bird above, here are few of my favorite inversion pics, too:

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Tripod Headstand (Sirsasana II)

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Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)

Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)...on a Stand Up Paddleboard ;)

Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)…on a Stand Up Paddleboard 😉

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Shoulder Stand (Niralamba)

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Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana)

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Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)

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Three-Legged Downward Dog (Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)

That is quite a few poses to digest at once.  Sorry…once I start picking my faves, I can’t ever seem to stop.  If you are interested in reading more about them, I recommend the A-Z Pose Finder on Yoga Journal’s website.  It is one of a gazillion great yoga resources online, and I especially like it because it gives steps for getting into and out of the pose, tells the specific benefits of the pose, and provides health warnings for any potential problems with the pose.

Well, if you’ve made it this far into this marathon blogpost, give yourself a pat on the back (Gomukhasana)!!  I never would have guessed that I could achieve these poses, nor could I have ever imagined the impact that learning, practicing, and sharing them would have on my sense of peace and my sense of self-worth.  Thank you for letting me share!

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Don’t let YOU stop you from trying whatever is in your heart to do.  Give it a try!!

Lastly, here are my results from yesterday, Day 2 of my 10 day challenge to lose 10 pounds before Thanksgiving:

Come back tomorrow for more results…

With hugs and love

Ashli  🙂

 

My 10 for 10

I am without a doubt the least self-disciplined person currently walking God’s green earth.

Here is my proof:

A sane person sets a goal, tries a system or method or program to attain set goal, finds a system or method or program that works, and then sticks to said system or method or program until goal is successfully reached. Not me, oh no! Definitely not me.

Lately I have been “displeased” with my weight, my nutrition, and my overall physical fitness. I don’t hate my body, I’m not being overly dramatic, I simply realize that I am not where I want to be.  I find the old saying to be true: I actually AM what I eat. Therefore, I am as soft as a hot, fresh dinner roll with melting cinnamon butter, as mushy as a tasty heap of fruit dip with an oo-y, goo-y chocolate fudge brownie on the side, and as lumpy as a steaming, golden apple turn-over straight from the oven…

I have felt this way for most of the past decade. When I was turning 30 in 2004, I determined that what was once just a few pounds over my typical max weight was going to become a new normal if I didn’t do something about it. Since then, I have tried several shake systems, workout methods, and nutrition programs. Out of those efforts, I found some I liked, some I loved, and some I couldn’t stand, I met lots of great people who are now precious friends, I picked up some fabulous new recipes, and I learned a lot about my self along the way. And, yet, at the end of 10 years, basically all I accomplished was proving myself absolutely correct: what was once my worst has become my norm 😦

On October 3rd, one month prior to my 40th birthday, I was quite put out with myself, disgusted really.  How did I allow 10 years to drift past?  TEN YEARS!!!  I just floated along thinking that I could tackle the issues that displeased me tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, and so on and so on.  The problem now is that tomorrow is TODAY!  I wanted to be my best when I turned 40, not my worst.  How could I fix this in just 31 days?  What could I do to be more pleased with me by November 3?

My answer came from a good friend from way back.  I valued his input not only as a medical doctor, but also as a friend who has known me, seen me battle with physical fitness and extensive knee pain, and understood what makes me tick since I was in high school.  In other words, he knows the 18 year old me that I realistically know I will never be again, and he also knows the mom I am today who puts top priority on my husband and kids and home and community before myself, what I eat, and if/when I workout.

He recommended a program that he’s been associated with for a few years.  I replied, “If I eat clean and workout regularly, shouldn’t that be all that I need?”  He agreed that ideally, yes, that should be all that it takes, but in reality, our bodies plateau…sometimes it takes a higher level of nutrition to break through that barrier.  After an hour-long discussion full of my concerns about yet another nutrition program, my health concerns about restricting calories, and my mommy concerns about my 14 year old daughter and 16 year old son watching me eat shakes instead of meals, I decided to give his 30 Day Cleansing and Fat Burning System a try.

It wasn’t cheap, but it is very high quality.  I especially like that it includes a cellular cleanse (as opposed to the kind of cleanse that chains one to a restroom…), and I really enjoy the “flush” tablets that I take at night to release toxins that my body has held onto throughout the day.  I found the system really easy to follow, and best of all, I found that it worked.  Very quickly!  That’s a good thing, right??

Well, it is.  And it isn’t.  See, I had so much success within the first few days, that I found myself justifying a cupcake, and an extra piece of pizza, and maybe just one more slice of pumpkin pie.  With Cool Whip on top.  Rather than being worried about undoing my progress from the 30 Day Program, I was relieved that I could eat whatever I wanted (which meant anything and everything in sight), and then I could undo those bad food choices because I knew, without a doubt and through real life proof, that with this fabulous system I could just lose it again. I was allowing the guarantee of results to be a crutch, and in doing so I was living on the end of a yo-yo string.  And that’s definitely NOT a good thing!

Needless to say, the big 4-0 arrived on November 3rd, and I had not stuck to my intentions, I had justified my way right back to where I was in the beginning (about 10 pounds heavy and thoroughly irritated with myself), and I had failed in accomplishing the goal that I had set for myself.

UGHHH!  Again, I’m obviously not a sane person 😦

<In walks my knight in shining armor, my voice of reason, my Coach>

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Coach saw the vicious cycle I was allowing myself to function within.  He sat me down and said, “I don’t care how much your nutrition stuff costs…if you use it!  If it’s important to you, and you say it is, then do it.  If it’s not, then quit buying it.”

Ouch.  Why does he always have to make so much stinkin’ sense??

“I want to do it.  I know it works, maybe too well…  I want to be pleased with myself, and I want to know that I can set out to do something and actually finish it,” I confessed.

“Well,” he said, “you have 10 days between now and Thanksgiving.  Follow it to the letter for those 10 days.  Then enjoy your holiday weekend.  After that, you’ll look at where you are, and where you want to be, and you can decide again where to go from there.”

<Reason #12,457 that I love my Coach:  he always helps me find my way>

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So here is my Day 1 of 10.  I’m going to share them all to keep myself accountable and disciplined, and maybe my daily consistency will be the support that someone out there needs to take their baby steps towards whatever goal they are working and wishing and wanting to reach…

Stay tuned for more results…

With hugs and love

Ashli  🙂

 

PS:  I have provided a link to the products I am using.  I am not here to sell those to you, just to share (and hopefully stick to!!) what is working for me.  I will say that after signing up as a wholesale shopper to get the best price possible on my own products, my brother began using and enjoying them, too.  The links take you to his website, and if you ever decide to try some of it, please consider ordering from him.  You know, starving college students can use all the support they can find 😉 Either one of us can also help you with questions, concerns, finding answers, or simply getting more info.

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