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Positively Well

A blog of journeys, big and small

Be sure to follow along on Instagram too: @positivelywelloregon

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Lovely thought, isn't it? Unfortunately, that's not how I work.

October 2, 2017

Whenever I think of getting from one place to another, whether it's an actual journey or some sort of metaphorical one, my brain instantly starts calculating all of the other things I could knock out at the same time: I could reorganize the closet while I'm packing; I could stop at the bank on the way to the store on the way to get gas on the way out of town; I could do some stretching and drink my evening cup of tea while I relax with a TV show and read some more of that book on mindfulness during the commercials (yes, I get how wrong that is); I would much rather load each forearm with 5 grocery bags than make 2 trips from the car. I'm a do-er. I'm a multi-tasker. I'm passionate. I'm...enthusiastic! And I love that about me.

Here's an example: Recently I've had the amazing opportunity to take a significant amount of time off of work (more on that later), and it's been such a gift. But slowly, over the past 3 weeks or so, the realization has come into focus for me that, sadly, that has to change. Very soon. And life will be a lot different. Meaning - to me, at least - that there are a lot of things I need to get done now, before the change! So, what do I do? Being the list-maker that I am, I get to work making lists - "To Do Around The House," "To Do For My Business," "To Do For Halloween," "To Buy," "Other To Do's That Don't Fit On Any Other 'To Do' List." And after a comprehensive review of all of my lists - well, I may be in WAY over my head! These lists are pretty far-reaching, I admit, but the things I want to get done are important to me. Not only that, but they are things that I've wanted, and needed, to do for a very long time and I've been putting them off. They're haunting me now. They're taking up valuable (and limited!) space in my brain because I'm constantly thinking about them. So setting them down on a list means I'm less likely to forget to do them in my frenzy to do everything else. A list also makes it easy for me to add new things as they come up. Because, let's be honest, they're gonna come up!

Here's my goal/journey/challenge: I don't know how long I've got before I go back to work, but I can reasonably assume it will be within a month or two. So I've given myself 30 days to get out from under all of these undone yet important things. I've decided to break up my tasks into do-able chunks, with daily goals. Some of my goals include: Clean up my computer desk, organize my file cabinet, reorganize my craft closet, finish a backyard landscaping project, lose 25 pounds, and re-do the art on the walls in my daughter's room. Of course, I'll tell you about each one of them in more detail as they come up. This is huge, but in the best way! This will be like a life make over, and I am so excited!!

So, here I am, taking the "first step" on my 30-day Mental & Physical Wellness Journey. Only, because I am who I am, I'm starting my journey with an enormous pile of tasks on my shoulders, taking the first step in about 15 different projects all at once. But by the end of my 30 days I hope to be more organized, happier, have more free time, be slimmer, and free from the weight of my tasks.

Day 1 Goals: Create the blog, get on Instagram, begin my workout routine, stay under 1,200 calories, work a bit on my backyard.

Results: Blogging = ), Instagram account created (@positivelywelloregon), exercised on my Gazelle for 25 minutes, hiked around the farm and ran after the kids, calorie intake was around 1,100 (including only veggies for dinner, which was delicious!), pulled weeds in the backyard for 15 minutes. Check x 5!

Day 2 - I feel it, I'm on a roll!

October 3, 2017

Yesterday was a great start! The kids and I had a great time at Lone Pine Farms, and I ended up with so many veggies for so little cash, I just love it. I ate really well all day - scrambled eggs (1 whole egg and 1 egg white with dill and white pepper) and raspberries for breakfast, banana snack, homemade guacamole for lunch, some nuts and an apple for afternoon snack, and after our trip to the farm I made corn on the cob and asparagus for dinner. The kids had some chicken too, but they didn't eat any of the asparagus, so it was a trade off. Had a few of my favorite chocolate treats after dinner, then tea the rest of the night. Ah yes, that's one more thing I'm doing to cut down calories - no more wine. : (  I love a glass of a good strong red in the evening, but if I'm going to stay focused then I need to cut that out.

So I felt good. I felt strong. I felt healthy. I checked things off the list. Great way to start things off.

Today I was a bit of a homebody. This morning felt a lot colder than it has been (45 degrees when I took my daughter to school), and that made me feel stiff and lazy. It's one of those days where you feel like drinking all your water for the day in tea form! Not a bad thing, I don't think. Whatever the reason, I just didn't feel as active today as I was yesterday. But, it was a good day to clean up the ol' computer desk and reorganize the file drawer. Those 2 things have been on my list since July, so it felt freeing to get them done, even if it was 10pm when I finished!

Day 2 Goals: Exercise, stay under 1,200 calories, clean off computer desk, organize file drawer (which actually part of the computer desk).

Results: Did my favorite Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred workout (workout #3), stayed around 1,200 calories with a similar menu as yesterday but had a giant artichoke for dinner (and I did cave to some candy corn), and the computer desk and filing drawer are clean and organized. Check out more pictures on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 3 - How did I get here?

October 4, 2017

Alright, today was another really good day! But before I get into that, I'd like to help you get to know me a little better, and how I got to where I am. My name is Becky and I am 38 years old. I am married and have 3 children aged 19, 8 & 3. My 19 year old was placed with an amazing family through an open adoption (meaning we've been in contact since her birth), she grew up in Washington state and is a sophomore in college. My husband and I have been together for over 15 years, though only married for 7 of those years. I was born, raised, and still live in Eugene, Oregon, with short periods of time spent in Los Angeles, CA and Olympia, WA.  I have 2 brothers, one older and one younger. My father passed away when I was 25. My mother is remarried. I have lovely nieces and nephews. And we all enjoy each others company, as far as I know! ; )

For the last 11 years I worked for investment firms. I liked it, I was really good at it, and it was clicking along nicely until...well, it wasn't really clicking along nicely. Life was sort of slipping out of my control. My husband and I were never in the same place at the same time, except for weekend afternoons, because he works the swing shift and I was working early mornings. It was getting really tough doing after-school care for my daughter, daycare for my son, dinners, packing lunches, science fair projects, grocery shopping, housework, and all the other things that grown ups and parents do - all by myself. I know, a lot of parents (single and dual) have it way harder and I am by no means comparing my situation to theirs. But I was really having a tough time. And, since my son was born 3 1/2 years ago, I hadn't ever really felt like my "old self" - I never had energy, I always had abdominal and lower back pain, I could never lose any weight, and I felt like I was always in a fog.

About 10 years ago I had been feeling the same way, and through rounds and rounds of testing and more testing, I was on the road to being diagnosed with endometriosis. But then I got pregnant with my 8 year old, and I never revisited it. I don't enjoy seeing the doctor, and I know it's wrong but I was always busy and only ever went when something was wrong. But this spring I had had enough of the constant discomfort. I went to see the OB/GYN that delivered my son, since she was so amazing during that whole process. She was able to tell me, almost immediately, that not only did I have endometriosis but I also had something called a posterior prolapse, and I would need surgery. If you haven't ever heard of a posterior prolapse, I won't go into details - I'll let you google it. But, it's pretty unpleasant! So surgery it was.

Being who I am, I went into overdrive: I knew I'd be out of commission for a while and I had a lot on my plate in the next 2 months, so within 2 weeks I had pre-planned my daughter's 8th birthday party, stocked up the house, helped my girl with her science project, all while still working, taking the kids to swimming lessons and Girl Scouts and library activities, and so much more - it was a more stressful time than anything I can ever recall having been through, and by the day of my surgery I was so tired and emotional I could barely have a regular conversation without tearing up.

After the surgery I was out of work recovering for 6 weeks. I had a partial hysterectomy and a rectocele (another thing I'll let you google). I had 6 holes in my abdomen and LOTS of internal stitches. The recovery was WAY tougher than I thought it would be and even though I was warned, I wasn't prepared for it. I went home the day of the surgery and slept for about 18 hours. I honestly don't remember much about the first week at home because I was sleeping so much, and because of the medication. According to the doc I won't ever be physically the same in certain ways, and boy do I feel it! I am healing quite well and everything went to plan, but every time I feel like I'm getting stronger my body reminds me that I am not yet strong. Even now, 5 months later, mentally I still don't feel like myself again yet. But during that time off of work I realized that something was missing from my life, some way to channel all of my interests and my passions. I realized that what I needed was to help people with creativity and positivity - some on their most joyous of days and others who need to find the joy in their everyday lives again. So that's what I did! I started this amazing business - Positively Wed & Positively Well. I figured at the very least it would be something I could do on weekends while still making a living at my day job. 

Oh, but our story isn't over quite yet! Once I got back to work  after my surgery I found out that I had been, let's say, line-jumped - twice! - for a promotion that I had been promised for almost a year. After discovering just how deep the deception went, I quit. That day. That was June 9th. For the first time ever I would be staying home with my children for an entire summer vacation, and let me tell you - we had such an amazing time! It was such a gift. But now reality has set in and I know that I have to go back to work. So here I am, determined to make the most of this time I have left because it's unlikely I'll ever have it again. I get it, that I'm semi-going back to my old ways of taking on a lot, but this time I'm doing it in a positive way with a positive goal, and an end date!

So, here we are, all up to speed and back to Day 3 of my 30-Day Challenge: Today, I started early with the Jillian Michaels workout before the kids were awake. This is one workout that I can do, with slight modifications to some of the exercises so I can avoid the impact, and it kicks my ass and makes a difference I can see and feel every time I do it. The first 2 workouts on her DVD are too impact-heavy for me now, and I can't modify enough of the moves and still get a good workout. #3 is my best friend. Food-wise I did great today, but I did give myself an after-dinner treat of a few Brookside chocolates - yum! Eggs and berries for breakfast again, banana snack, apple & peanut butter lunch, lean meat and veg for dinner. I also used my Gazelle today, which is so great for all kinds of muscles and has zero impact.

I think that's enough for today ; ) Thanks for reading!

Day 3 Goals: Extra exercise, stay under 1,200 calories, sort and put away 2 giant piles of paperwork now that the file drawer is organized, wash/fold/put away all the regular laundry plus wash the curtains, sheets, shower curtains and bathroom floor mats.

Results: Did the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred workout (workout #3) again and the Gazelle for 20 minutes, stayed under 1,100 calories, still working on the laundry (8 loads!) at 9pm, but the filing is done. : )

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 4 - A Little Deeper

October 5, 2017

One of the many things this past year has taught me is to recognize when I need to search a little more, dig a little deeper, take time to understand better. Truly, that could be all the time, in every situation, couldn't it? Tonight's full moon is a good reminder to me that I need to pay attention to exactly why this 30-day challenge I started is so important to me - to clear away all the periphery so I can focus on what's actually important.  Today my life was all about my 8 year old: finding a new way to know her a little better, and helping her know herself better too. 

As I've said before, my brain is always set to," Yes, and..." mode. I am an Aries - a ram - and a list-maker, so when I make a list I don't stop ramming my head into that list until it's a pile of dust! This particular quality of mine has been enhanced by, and serves me quite well in, my work in the investment industry. So much of it is plowing through the immediate task at hand (ex. trading) while keeping track of things to follow up on later (ex. forms to mail out). But I began to notice over the years how that mindset that was so helpful at work could be quite unhelpful in other areas of my life. One of the best examples of this effect was when I received a book as a gift called, "Into The Magic Shop," by James R. Doty, MD. If you haven't read it, you absolutely should - it's truly eye-opening, one of the most amazing books I am aware of. Each chapter in this book details a lesson on mindfulness and visualization that he was taught, and at the end of the chapter are some step-by-step instructions for you to practice it yourself. Well, I certainly did not have time for that distraction, no sir. Flip, flip, flip - right past them I went! In my mind I was reading the book. I don't have time for this, I'll come back to it later, I just need to keep reading the story.


I know myself, and I know that I often ignore tugs from my inner voice because I'm just ramming through my day. So I was pretty happy with myself today for recognizing that my daughter didn't just need a hand or a nudge. She needed me to take the time with her to help us both understand her better, and that was more important than sorting through piles of mail in my kitchen.

Whether or not you believe that a full moon can affect how you feel, what is important is just to remember to stay aware of how you're feeling - and to find the most positive way for you to channel your energies or emotions when you've got them in excess!

Day 4 Goals: Keep up the diet & exercise, reorganize my dresser, and clean up the piles of mail and other paperwork in my kitchen.

Results: I had some dairy today - a delicious baked potato with cheese, sour cream and green onions for dinner - but the rest of the day was right on track. The dresser took me a little over an hour to do but it felt SO GOOD to have it done. My piles are still in my kitchen, but my kid is happy. : ) Good trade. 

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 5 - Tense, and Release

October 6, 2017

Most of you are likely aware of the "tense and release" stress relief method - you tense up a muscle group for a few seconds and then release it, the release bringing greater relaxation to the muscles than you had before. I experienced that today in my whole body, including one area we sometimes forget is a muscle - my brain. 

I had a job interview today, and I had been thinking about it for over a week. I knew that I knew my stuff and I wasn't worried about that part of it, my goal was to try and keep myself focused and in the present moment for the duration of the conversation, however long that may be. That has been a little tough for me to do lately and I wanted to be sure I wouldn't mentally cut out for 30 seconds to think about some random thought passing through my brain - it is so hard to get back on track when that happens! I like this company, it was my second interview, and I wanted to give it the best chance possible to go well. And I think it did - I had a really nice conversation and it seems to be heading in a positive direction. 

Great, right? Should have been. But once I got back home I just absolutely crashed. I even heard these words coming out of my mouth to my 3 1/2 year old son, "I'm too tired to pretend right now." What?! Too tense before, obviously, and it ended up leading me toward a shutdown. I was physically in pain - my lower back and shoulders were aching - and all I wanted to do was take a nap to shut my brain off for a while. 

As soon as I heard myself saying no to my son, I realized I had to go the opposite direction - by pretending and engaging with him. I've read that when we smile, and when our children hug or kiss us, our brains release endorphins, and both our heart rate and cortisol levels lower. So I gave it a try and I have to say that I'm a believer! I felt much better after just a short time playing with him. I still ended up needing to take something later in the evening for the persistent lower back pain, but mentally I quickly felt like me again. So, I didn't exercise today because I felt that my body had been through enough already. Again, trying to pay attention and recognize what my body is telling me.

* Don't forget to hug and kiss your family, and to play! It's good for you, and for the recipient of your love.*

Day 5 Goals: Keep up the diet & exercise, clean up the piles of mail and other paperwork in my kitchen that didn't get done yesterday, stay on an even keel for an important job interview.

Results: No exercise today : (. Diet was ok - oatmeal with walnuts and a pinch of brown sugar for breakfast, a leftover baked potato for lunch, and brown rice with chicken and stir-fried vegetables for dinner. Piles are now happily gone.

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 6 - The Quiet Voice

October 7, 2017

As I was planting bulbs in my yard today I thought about what an amazing process they go through. Can you imagine? They've been dried out for who knows how long, then they're stuck in the ground where they stay - hidden, sleeping - for 6-ish months when they finally and proudly burst through the earth into the sunlight as beautiful flowers, where they are revered and praised as being the quintessential harbingers of the end of winter and the start of life and color returning to the world outside. It's incredible! They don't know what they are, or what they will become. And, if you're like me and you like to buy the bulb mixes, you don't even know what they're going to be! And how exciting is that?

This is the same thing that ideas do in our brains. Think about it - we get a spark, it may take off right away and blossom, or it may lie dormant until it decides to burst out. Never write off a good idea just because you can't do it right now, don't ignore the quiet voice whispering a dream just because it's not yet a reality. Go! Do! Explore! Grow!

Day 6 Goals: Keep up the diet & exercise, clean up the garden.

Results: Swam with the kids for 1.5 hours for exercise today. Not sure why, but today I woke up hungry and never really felt full all day, even though I ate well. Drank lots of tea : ) The garden was smartened up and is ready to face the cold.

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 7 - Resilience

October 8, 2017

Short post today, trying to focus on the resilience of my body and the determination of my brain. Just because today didn't turn out how I planned doesn't mean that tomorrow won't be better. 

Take care of yourselves - mind, body and spirit!

Day 7 Goals: I planned to start working on the backyard project today, but...

Results: I could barely move most of the day thanks to some super tight muscles making things pretty uncomfortable for me. Nothing got checked off the list, no exercise, but eating was at least acceptable.

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 8 - An Octopuses Garden

October 9, 2017

Interesting fact about octopuses: They collect stones, shells and other shiny things and arrange them in the sand around their homes as a sort of "garden." Isn't it interesting that we do the same thing? If you think about it, so do birds in their nests, raccoons, squirrels, and many other animals. We do it not only in our actual gardens, but in our homes, and in our lives too. We strive to surround ourselves with things and people that make us happy, and we have just the spot all picked out for each one.

Today I found myself doing just that in both a positive and a negative way. I am literally arranging my garden so that it will be more pleasing to look at all winter (and therefore raising my spirits which can dampen during this time of year), and even more so starting in the spring. That is a positive and satisfying thing to do. I also found myself trying to "arrange" my 3 1/2 year old son - to put him in a specific place, to corral him into being somehow more "acceptable" in a certain situation. Anyone who knows a 3 1/2 year old boy knows this is not possible! So then why am I doing this? What am I trying to accomplish? The same idea/goal is not beneficial in both of these situations. I realized that, with my son, instead of accepting him as he is and working with that, I am trying to change who he is to fit some idea of who I think he should be. I can't arrange him or anyone else, it's my thinking that needs to be rearranged. If I know that a certain little boy likes to play with garden tools and is particularly swift and highly skilled at getting into anything within his reach, why do I continue to put these things where he can get to them? I am (supposedly) the adult here, so I should be the one to make changes and be the positive force for a smoother future.

Sometimes letting things be what they are can lead to something more beautiful than you could've imagined, and that is infinitely more satisfying.

Day 8 Goals: Begin my backyard project.

Results: Although there was no exercise specifically, but shoveling, hoeing and raking dirt in the yard for 3 hours should count for something! The progress and the physical exertion both felt wonderful. Today, since I still wasn't feeling well, I ate comfort food - eggs for breakfast, a wrap for lunch, nuts for a snack, soup for dinner. And again, lots of tea.

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 9 - Looking Outward

October 10, 2017

As I was methodically taking each step of my backyard project, it really gave me time to think. There are clearly easy ways to go about doing things that are really just short-term solutions, and there are ways that may be harder but make life easier in the long run. I painstakingly dug a trench to put in the edging, loosened soil, spread it evenly filling in holes and low spots as I went, taking out every last bit of green I could find by the root, laying felt down, measuring and cutting holes for each plant and bulb, then covering everything with a good layer of bark. Now, the bark was left over from our front yard project and I did run out, plus I couldn't find the taller arborvitae I needed to be completely finished, but as far as the foundation goes it's all solid now. I imagined myself inside my house, looking out through the sliding glass door all fall and winter at this nicely manicured view and it made me so happy! Looking outward to make me feel good inside.

That thought of "looking outward" really resonated with me today. I think of all the awful things in the news lately - fires, shootings, fighting on small and large scales - and that's another form of looking outward that doesn't make me feel good. Here again we have another example of why doing this challenge is so important to me: With all the terrible things going on outside my realm that I have no control over, it is crucial for me to make my inner self well, my life and my space a happy, calming place to for all of us to be able to recharge and relax. That way I will be more able to look outward and be better able to deal and cope with what I see out there.

Day 9 Goals: Finish the backyard project.

Results: Spent another 2 1/2 hours shoveling, hoeing and raking in the yard! I ate really well until dinner - yogurt and banana for breakfast, for lunch I had nuts, apple and a bell pepper, pizza for dinner. I didn't drink enough water today.

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 10 - Milestones

October 11, 2017

Well, I've been doing this for 10 whole days now, and in 10 days I've checked 11 tasks off my list and lost 8 pounds. Not too shabby! That's a pretty good place to be a third of the way through this great challenge of mine, a good milestone.

It's interesting how we think of things in terms of milestones, isn't it? We mentally separate events into discernable partitions that mean something to us in terms of where we are in life. In my world there are a lot of children's developmental milestones to be aware of - first tooth, first step, first word, first day of kindergarten - all those wonderful memories.

In the past week we've had several "milestone moments" at my house, so it's been on my mind. I have been "a stay at home mom," for a full 4 months now. My daughter, 8 1/2, revealed her first crush to me. And we aren't talking about a boy in class she thinks is cute, this is a crush on actual grown-up actor in a movie she likes! When did that happen?! (Although to be honest, I commend her taste!) Then my 3 1/2 year old son, "the giant," said to me, "Mommy, look what I just did!" after reaching up and latching the security latch on our front door. (Sigh. It's 4' 10" off the ground.) This is actually something we installed because of him, because at 9 months old he was pulling himself up and trying to open this door!

It's important that we recognize these moments. Imagine all the moments we have in our lives - we won't ever remember them all! But by assigning a label to specific moments it assists our brains in organizing our memories over our lifetime and makes them easier to recall down the road. Do you remember your 16th birthday, or New Year's Eve 1999? It's my hope that I can assign meaningful values to some of the wonderful non-milestone moments that I have with my family, because it would truly be a shame to lose some of those. Again, I will say that simple awareness is key.   

Day 10 Goals: Re-do the art on my daughter's bedroom walls.

Results: Art is done, but now we've decided she needs more shelves. Another project for another day. ; ) Also, I had a beer tonight which I only bought because I loved the label - it was sparkly, for goodness sake, and I'm a sucker for sparkles. 

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 11 - Creativity

October 12, 2017

The picture I've posted for today is a "playground" my son made out of clay today. I have no idea what makes this a playground, but he is so excited to paint it tomorrow! I can't wait to see how that turns out.

I am a really creative person, and lately I've been so focused on task obliteration that I haven't given myself time to let the creativity flow. Today was all about creativity! My son and I played some imaginative games that we came up with, so to speak, while my daughter was at school. That was so awesome, to see his eyes spark when he had something new to try. And also awesome for me to put aside any kind of responsibility or chore for a few minutes and just focus on playing. That is something I need to do more of. After school and gymnastics, I gave my kids each a big lump of clay to play with and boy, am I always surprised what they will come up with! They also drew and colored for a while after dinner, and we danced and sang and acted out parts to a movie we were watching. Once they were in bed, I got some of their paints out and painted their cardboard pirate ship play area. This thing is great - it's easy to assemble, it's big enough for both of them to get in, it's got a steering wheel that actually turns, and portholes - the works! Anyway, it comes with 4 markers for the kids to decorate it with, but there's no way it would ever get completely colored in with just those. I'm hoping they'll like it when they wake up tomorrow!

There's something that happens in our brains when we create. Whether your inspiration comes in the form of music, dance, painting, pottery, cooking, writing, interior decorating, landscaping, fly tying, bike building, restoring old cars, or wherever else it bubbles up from, we all need that process to help feed our happiness. Sometimes, by doing the things we love to do, we are able to work through some things that maybe we didn't even know we needed to work through. We find new solutions when our minds are open. Creativity inspires more creativity, and that's what we all need a little more of these days.

Day 11 Goals: Get creative with my kids' cardboard pirate ship.

Results: I've painted the boat! It was so much fun, and that's just what I needed. Got back to my Jillian Michaels workout today, ate relatively well except for a big serving of cheese this afternoon.

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 12 - One (Holi-)Day at a Time

October 13, 2017

Over the last 10 years or so I have really gotten into seasonal decoration at my home. And not just for each actual season, but for holidays, back to school, birthdays - anything that creates a visual cue that something new is around the corner. My décor is constantly changing and I love it! I also like how the decorations give my children something to look forward to doing, and that each change is done at a time that makes sense relative to when the event occurs. At my house, we decorate for back to school about a week before school starts and leave it up for 2 weeks; then we decorate for fall, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and after that holiday is over then - and only then - do we bring out winter holiday decorations.

This is why I get a little frustrated with stores when they start bringing out winter holiday stuff in August! How can I possibly try to suspend my kids' excitement about winter holidays for 4 months?! I do understand that there are families that can't afford to buy what they need all at once in December, and that they may need to spread out their spending over several months. I certainly don't fault anyone for that, or for people who are planners and like to have things done way in advance - that's just how some people are wired, and there's nothing wrong with that. Yesterday I went to a store that I know usually carries awesome Halloween stuff, but when I got there they only had a few leftovers that they had grouped into a jumble outside the store! I passed them on our way in thinking it was just a small outdoor display, but when I got inside it was nothing but a winter wonderland! Two weeks ago I was at a store and saw that they had a great garden department but I didn't have time to look that day. I went back the next morning and there was no more garden department - it had been replaced overnight with Christmas as far as the eye could see. Why is Thanksgiving getting cut out of the picture?

I think that we all have a tendency to get ahead of ourselves these days. Being able to plan ahead is a great quality to have, but we have to remember that it's ok to be in the moment also, take time to enjoy exactly where we are without constantly looking for whatever's next. 

Day 12 Goals: Decorate the house for Halloween.

Results: The house is decorated and it looks great! Did my Jillian Michaels workout today, ate well for breakfast and lunch, but it was movie night at my house with 5 extra family members, so we had nachos for dinner! Mmm!

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 13 - Am I Really Being Healthful?

October 14, 2017

I thought I was done feeling under the weather, but yesterday took a lot out of me for some reason and today I was beat and just needed a mellow day. I made sure to take my vitamins, drank plenty of water and tea, and ate healthfully. But as I was out picking tomatoes in my garden (yes - they're still coming on for some reason, and there are even new blooms on the plants!) I was noticing that some of them were falling off the vine even though they weren't ripe (like the beautiful but unripe example I'm holding in todays picture). I started thinking that, because it was so late in the season, and the plants have been producing for an awfully long time, maybe they needed another dose of tomato plant food. And then that got me thinking about how, "Isn't that funny, this plant needs healthy food to grow its own healthy food!" Well, it does! It needs just the right mix of nutrients to help it function in the best and most efficient way it can. And so do I. Maybe, just maybe, that could be why I've relapsed into feeling badly again.

I've been so busy the last few weeks (as we all are, I know) that I haven't actually taken the time to put together a comprehensive menu for eating less calories but still being nutritionally sound. I've just been going day to day, meal to meal, thinking things like, "Well, this is a healthy food," and, "This isn't unhealthy." But one thing I have come to understand is that when your body talks, you listen. In that I am a firm believer. One concept that I understand, but as of late haven't held myself to, is that just because something is a healthy food, it doesn't necessarily mean that if I eat it I will be healthy - it really does take the right mix of lots of different types of healthy food to make your body function properly. So, this journey is taking me to some places I've driven by but never got out and explored, so to speak. And I'm glad to be going down this road!

I hope you're learning something too, but if there's something you can teach me - or something you'd like to read about - please reach out via the contact page on this website, or DM me on Instagram! Thanks for reading : )

Day 13 Goals: Work on my Halloween costume.

Results: I did finish my crown and staff, clothing embellishments will have to come later. I did not exercise today due to my health.

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Day 14 - Again With The Creativity!

October 15, 2017

Here I am again, on this creative binge! Whenever possible, I encourage my children to be creative because, again, I think it does something wonderful for their brains. It gives them confidence that they are able to create something they saw in their minds. Today they colored, played with Playdough, began painting their own "Halloween houses" (today's picture, still works-in-progress), designed outfits, made sticker pictures, drew jack-o-lantern faces, built roads out of blocks for dinosaurs and balls and other toys to travel on, made robots out of things in the recycling bin, sang, danced, and so many other things! I love how they are always creating, their minds are always working and inventing, and I have always tried to foster that in them. Whatever it is they want to create, I want to help them do it. Well, not actually help them create it, but give them the tools so that they can create it themselves. My son said today, "Mom, can you finish painting my house?" And I said, "No, you can finish it. It's ok to take a break and do something else for a while if you're done right now. You can always come back and paint more later." And you know what? He did. He painted 3 separate times today.

As I said on Day 11, I have not given myself enough time lately to create, so today I made a point to take out my beads and just let it flow. I did have to wait until the kids were in bed, but that was ok for me. I had a full day otherwise, so it was nice to relax for some "me time". I had lunch with a friend today and we had a conversation about how it seems that no matter what goes on in our day, no matter how stressful it is, if we can actually make ourselves practice our creative passions we are so much better off than if we succumb to our mental burn-out. It is such a recharge for our weary old batteries! She is a wonderful painter, and said that she had begun deconstructing it and will sometimes just practice one skill each day rather than trying to do a whole painting.

And that's really how we get better at things, right? No matter what they are, we practice the skills. Gymnasts do not start out being given a routine and told, "Do it." They practice each of the required skills first, and then they put them all together into a routine. And sometimes by doing that practice and making mistakes we find something we might never have stumbled across had we not let ourselves explore.

If there is something you've always wanted to try, there's no better time than today to begin that. Once you start you will feel the rush of creativity and you'll find yourself feeling happier, more positive, and more confident in your own abilities with each new day.

Day 14 Goals: Work on new beadwork/veil samples.

Results: I made 2 new samples that I haven't yet photo'd, but will post soon. Food-wise, I had oatmeal with walnuts for breakfast, Cali rolls for lunch, snacked on nuts and a banana, then more sushi for dinner!

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 15 - Nature Makes Us Feel So Good

October 16, 2017

Today was an amazing day for October here in Eugene - almost 70 degrees and sunny all day! After I picked up my daughter from school we went to their grandmothers' house for a visit. My husband's mother and her mother live together in this house (and for that reason my kids call it "grandma's & grandma's"), and it was her parent's before that, so the family has lived on this property for a long time. Over the years they've had horses, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, cats, dogs, you name it. It's always been their family's main gathering spot, and even though the house itself won't hold a huge amount of people there's never any shortage of people stopping by for holidays, birthdays, and other events. They always have something good growing too, as you can when you have a lot of room to grow. The vibe there is always relaxed, and it's a really great place to be able to take the kids. They love to gather eggs and run around outside in such a large space.

Even though we try to get outside as much as possible at our house, it's not the same as the "wildness" of grandma's & grandma's backyard. And after playing outside there all afternoon my kids were calmer tonight when it came to bedtime, and I myself don't feel as worn out as I did last night. I can't say for certain that the two are connected but I can draw the lines. There is something wonderful about the freshness in the country air, tending to animals, the simplicity of just letting things be how they naturally are.

There's a lesson there about simplicity. We as modern humans really like to complicate our lives. We really like to have "a full schedule." We really like to be consumers. We get caught up in having things - more things that are new or better; and we wonder why our children's rooms are full of toys they don't play with and yet they still ask us for more. I'm guilty of that, absolutely! But today my kids didn't need any toys when they were outside. They were busy with eggs, rocks, sticks, weeds, pumpkins, grape vines, birds and cats. And if I wasn't on this journey of mine I might not have thought about it the same way. I mean let's face it, it's not the first - or even the hundredth - time I've been there. So it just got me thinking that, while going outside to play in the backyard is great, it might just be worth it to make more of an effort to go to a different kind of outside environment more often than we do. There's all kinds of science that shows how certain kinds of nature affects us in certain ways. But the bottom line is this -

More nature is better.

Day 15 Goals: Make more beadwork samples.

Results: I did not make any new samples today, we were out of the house most of the day. I ate oatmeal with walnuts again for breakfast, a banana, apple & peanut butter for lunch, then vegetable soup for dinner.

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 16 - My Authentic Self

October 17, 2017

I have melasma. Also known as "The Mask of Pregnancy," it appears in a mask-like shape around the eyes and on the cheeks during the second half of a pregnancy. With my first child, I had very little of it, and it went away quickly; with my second child it was quite prominent and didn't disappear for two years after she was born; and with my third child - well, here we are a full 3 years and 8 months later and it is showing no signs of going away. On my cheeks, that is; it used to be a solid mask shape from my forehead down past my temples and then onto my cheeks, and now it's just on my cheeks. Prior to my 2nd pregnancy I had gone to a dermatologist (because I also have cystic acne) and tried retinol creams with terrible results - even though I was using half a dose every 3 days, a layer of my skin would peel and slough off 1 - 2 times a day! I had to bring a wash cloth and moisturizer to work with me so I wouldn't look like I had some crazy skin disease. It was one of the least fun things that have ever happened to me. The point is - it doesn't work for me, and I won't use it again. And I've tried almost every over-the-counter dark spot cream with no results whatsoever. So my options are limited in dealing with my melasma.

Being my authentic self is something I've struggled with, since I am normally a very confident person and I usually know that I am enough. However, dealing with this melasma is very difficult for me because for 35 years I didn't look like this, and now I do, and I spend a lot of time and effort to cover this up so that I can still look like what I remember seeing in the mirror. But using that much makeup every day makes me look fake, makes my skin break out, and makes me feel inauthentic. It is something I struggle with, because without it I feel a bit freakish, and with it I feel as though I'm hiding. 

I do still feel like me on the inside though, the real me who doesn't care about what other people think about me. But this is about me feeling different about myself, and that is a completely different feeling. Covering up your true self - whether that means something visual or unseen - takes considerable effort, and can be alienating. I read somewhere (unfortunately I don't remember where or I would quote my source - if anyone knows please send me a message!) that no amount of changing ourselves for the specific purpose of being perceived as cool or beautiful, or getting approval from others, brings us any closer to really knowing ourselves. And that really resonates with me. I know who I am on the inside, and now I am trying to help my inner self become comfortable with my outer self. And that's the best thing we can all hope for, isn't it? To be comfortable with who we are, no matter what has happened to us on our life's journey thus far. We all deserve self-love!

Day 16 Goals: Take care of myself with a mini-spa day at home.

Results: I used pore strips this morning, did a facial peel after dinner, and then a pedicure after the kids were in bed (with a glass of wine!)

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Day 17 - A Day of Rest?

October 18, 2017

I used to read a lot. So much so that I would re-read the same books over and over just so I had something to read. I would get a new book and I'd finish it in a few hours. This was before I had children : ). I had to take a business trip when I was 4 months pregnant with my youngest, and for the first time in years I took a book and read the whole thing. I was so excited to read it because it was a book written by someone I knew I would be meeting on this trip. But that excitement to crack open a book and figure out what would happen was just all it took for me, and I knew I needed to feed that part of me again. 

I have acquired several new books over the last few years and unfortunately I haven't finished many of them. I seem to always have other things to do once the kids are asleep (because, come on...who's really sitting down reading a book while the kids are running around the house, am I right?). Anyway, my 8 year old is now devouring chapter books so I bought her one that I thought looked interesting but might be just a tick above her reading level. Introducing kids to words they don't yet know isn't a bad thing, plus I knew I might forget about this book/series if I didn't get it when I saw it. Well, tonight my son was almost asleep but still insisted I read him a story, so I got this book off the shelf and started reading. He was asleep before the end of page 2, of course, but before I knew it it was 9:30pm and I was on page 117 still sitting there beside him! I decided to read the rest of the book, and you know what? I think I'm ok with that. 

So today I didn't check anything off my list. I knew that today was going to be the last really great day of the year weather-wise, and it's going to rain until Monday, so I just relaxed and enjoyed my day. I still worked out, I still ran to the grocery store while the kids were at gymnastics, I did laundry and dishes, made dinner, and took care of other business. But I think I was only able to read this book because of all the things I've crossed off my list already, otherwise there would have been all sorts of things swirling through my brain that wouldn't have allowed me to get lost in a book. I think this is the first time I've really experienced the true benefit of this personal challenge. And, I like it.

Day 17 Goals: No goals today, just enjoy the day.

Results: I did 2 rounds of the Jillian Michaels workout; I went outside and enjoyed the 70 degree day; I took my kids to gymnastics; I watched silly TV with them after dinner; and then I read an interesting book. What a great day!

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

Day 18 - The Moon

October 19, 2017

I was having a very hard time getting through my day today. Lately my energy has been slipping away no matter how much coffee I drink, but today it was at an all-time low. I couldn't understand it - I got sleep, I ate protein, I drank water, I took my vitamins, I exercised, I drank a pot of coffee, but nothing could get my rear off the couch. What is happening?! Well, I happened to be mindlessly staring at a calendar when I noticed that today is a New Moon. I couldn't believe it - that's it! I continue to be completely amazed at how my energy levels correspond to the moon phases. This is not something I consciously track, it just seems that every time I find myself thinking, "What is going on with me?" it turns out that it's either a Full Moon or a New Moon. Every time. During New Moons I have zero energy and no motivation, and during Full Moons I am mentally powerful and I get things done but I can also be a little clumsy and fidgety.

I am learning to listen to what my body is trying to tell me. Today it was telling me to turn inward for my positivity, and not be such a ram. I had been feeling a little like things were getting out of my control, loose ends blowing in the wind, so I went back to my known strength - list making - to feel better once again. I consolidated lists, reworked the goals I had for the remaining 12 days of my challenge and wrote them out in an organized and logical way. 

Day 18 Goals: Regroup, reassess, reorganize.

Results: From here on out I am sticking to the following meal plan:

Breakfast: One egg on whole wheat toast with berries.

Lunch: Apple and peanut butter with a bell pepper.

Dinner: Salad topped with chicken or smoked salmon.

Snacks: Nuts, banana, turnips, or other fruits and vegetables.

Credit for the moon phase chart goes to: 2 Monkey Trading, LLC

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Day 19 - I Told You It Was The Moon! (Also, Family History)

October 20, 2017

What a difference in my energy today! I woke up with my alarm, we left for school right on time, and when I got home I was on a steady path of tidying through the kitchen, dining room, and living room. (Everything got a little neglected yesterday, so there was much to tidy!)

Then I set to work doing a DNA comparison chart. About a year ago I received the results of one of those ethnicity tests that are so popular these days. I mostly knew what my mothers side would show, but I had no idea what my fathers side held. He was the last living sibling in his family when he passed away 13 years ago, and his parents had passed away when I was a baby. I knew only what he knew, or at least only what we'd had a chance to talk about, which wasn't much. When I looked at the results I found myself staring at a new person in the mirror - I was not who I thought I was for most of my life. Talk about a shock! I have since done a lot of work on several things - mostly about moving forward with this newly-acquired knowledge and figuring out what that really means to me, but also about comparing my DNA profile with my mother's, thereby figuring out what part of me is her, and what part came from my father.

This information is more helpful than I can even begin to describe, and gave a whole new meaning to being genuinely me, or being my authentic self. I feel like I know who that self is more now than ever. Now there's so much more about me that I can explore and learn. I'm not worried about who I'm supposed to be anymore, I am confident in who I truly am. And although these things could be seen as nothing more than an outer label that identifies me by my national origin, knowing my true origin helps me to understand my family and myself better, and guides me further toward understanding my purpose on earth.

Day 19 Goals: Do some research and comparison into my family history.

Results: Analyzed my mother's and my DNA results and passed the info along to my brothers.

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Day 22 - Energy Vampires

October 23, 2017

I don't know how long ago I realized I have energy vampires in my life - people who suck more energy out of you than you started your day with - but I've really been feeling their effects lately. Negative people tend to drag others down into negativity with them. Most of us have enough energy "food" to sustain us - what we normally get from children, nature, animals, other powerfully positive adults - even after we've had dealings with these EV's. But sometimes even those wonderful things are not enough if we're dealing with negative people more than usual or we've got other things going on that are already knocking us out of our normal orbit. Even worse, these normally positive forces themselves can, at times, seem to add to the negativity load. 

So how do we deal with this? How do we regain that positivity and that good energy flow-through that we need? Self-reflection is one very important tool that we all should hone. It's necessary to notice and acknowledge your reactions to negativity so that you can accurately identify where this energy outflow is occurring, and therefore be able to employ strategies that can help plug these leaks. Another very powerful tool you have is to immerse yourself in whatever it is that fills you with positive energy. Love to play with your kids? Love being outdoors? Love your dog? Take your kids and the dog to a nature trail or park - with no agenda - and just let go and have a good time. Or take a radio (or other music player!) out to the garden and listen to your favorite songs while you tend to whatever needs tending to, and then paint a picture of it. Do more of what you love to do and you'll notice yourself feeling more centered, grounded, rooted, and less vulnerable to storms of negative energy that come your way.

Day 22 Goals: Make travel arrangements.

Results: Travel arrangements set, can't wait to see the family soon!

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Day 23 - Perfectly Imperfect

October 24, 2017

Awareness, acknowledgement, acceptance. Easier said than done, am I right? But this is the essence and reality of mindfulness. If you're like me, you struggle to be aware in the moment, you struggle to identify and acknowledge, and sometimes you fight acceptance tooth and nail.  

Today I just want to encourage everyone to be aware of who you are and how you feel; to acknowledge you without judgement; and to calmly and gracefully accept you just as you are. Take a deep loving breath, exhale all your negativity, and step out into your day with the confidence that you are enough.

Day 23 Goals: Finish my Halloween costume.

Results: Done! It's so fun, I can't wait to see the complete look.

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Day 24 - Trusting Your Instincts

October 25, 2017

I love this picture of my cat and the neighbor cat (mine's the one with his tail to the camera), both males. They have an undefinable relationship - they can't stand each other, they growl and spit and take swipes at each others faces each time they meet, and yet they continue to hang out in each others yards and will nap inches away from each other. I guess, you keep your enemies closer? Not sure, but I'll bet it has something to do with a cat's instincts.

About 6 months ago, I had surgery. (See my post from Day 3, October 4th.) I've not ever felt like everything has gone back to 100% normal. It took me a while to acknowledge that to myself, and to know that I'm not an expert and also that I shouldn't ignore it. So I did go back to the doctor for a check-in and she said that I was right, and that I should begin having some additional treatment from another expert. But, as expert as their opinions are, I felt repelled the moment she first mentioned it. Not like when she told me I needed surgery - I felt completely comfortable when she told me that, like my own body knew that it was the right thing to do. But this...this is something I am not comfortable with. This is something that my instincts are telling me that I don't want, I don't need, and that I would not in a million years feel good about doing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that she's recommended something that would be detrimental to my health, I'm just saying that there are some things that your instincts tell you aren't right for you. I've looked into it, and I know that there are certain things that I can do at home that will provide the same results that I am looking to achieve, so I am going with my instincts and against her recommendation.

Please do not misunderstand me: I am not saying that you shouldn't take advice from a medical professional. I'm saying that you shouldn't blindly do something you're not comfortable with.  I'm saying you should inform yourself about matters that concern you. And, I'm saying you should trust your instincts.

Day 24 Goals: Take the car in for service.

Results: Car has been serviced, and is running well!

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Day 28 - Busy-ness Taking Hold!

October 29, 2017

This week has been flurry of activity, with costumes and harvest festivals and birthday parties and shopping and planning our own party and cleaning up for that party - I have barely had a moment to myself, let alone enough time to post anything thoughtful and/or useful! But I promise you that I have not been slacking on my list, I am still checking items off, and I will post again soon! For now, please look at this beautiful foggy tree in my backyard.

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Day 30 - The List Says It All

November 1, 2017

Well, here I am 30 days wiser. I am so amazed at the list of things I was able to accomplish over the last month. I feel stronger physically and mentally. And, while I didn't finish every last thing I wanted to, I know that I am in a much better place now and I'm so happy to be here! I'm excited for the future and all the little things I can look forward to.

This is a list of all the things I accomplished in the past 30 days, in addition to keeping on top of all the every day tasks:

* Created a blog.

* Created an Instagram account.

* Finished a backyard mini-makeover.

* Organized my computer desk.

* Organized my file drawer.

* Reorganized my dresser.

* Cleaned up piles of paperwork in my kitchen.

* Winterized my vegetable garden.

* Planted bulbs around the yard.

* Re-did the art and shelving on my daughters walls.

* Painted a large cardboard boat for my kids.

* Decorated my house for Halloween (Phase 1).

* Made an awesome costume for myself ("The Queen of Halloween")

* Researched my family history and shared my findings with my family.

* Made travel arrangements to see some extended family this month.

* Learned 7 basic guitar chords.

* Read 2 books.

* Gave myself an at-home spa day.

* Planned and executed an amazing Halloween party (Decoration Phase 2)

* Organized my kids' rooms.

* Cleaned my house top to bottom.

* Worked out 23 times.

Thank you to all of you who have followed this 30 Day Challenge of mine!

I hope I've inspired you in some small way. Stay tuned, I'm still going to be posting even though the challenge is over.

Stay positive, and be well!

Follow me on Instagram: @positivelywelloregon

November 6, 2017

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