The Never-ending Journey of Budgeting

With the new year comes many resolutions that cover a variety of topics. From weight loss to organization…to eating better or quitting bad habits; every where you look there are people who are determined to make their life better once and for all! My husband and I did not make resolutions this year, rather we shared what we would like to see happen in 2015. Our discussion included finding more time to truly relax, making an effort to be healthier (eating better and exercising more), trying to be present in our interactions with others (aka put down the electronics), and a lot about money.

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Budgeting seems to be a never-ending mountain that we are climbing; there are some months where we do great and others where we completely botch our plan and then continue to botch it for a few months before we wake up and realize we are totally off course. It’s awful, and it seems to keep happening. With a new baby coming this year, Continue reading “The Never-ending Journey of Budgeting”

6 Tips for Beginning Runners

I am not built to be a runner. I don’t have long legs and a great stride. I make running look hard. The truth is, it is hard. At least for me. I know a lot of people who it is not hard for. People who have been pounding the pavement for years like they were born to do it. I bet you know some of those people too. And I bet they intimidate you.

I used to be like that. I used to see people running as I drove past and thought, “I could never do that. I can’t run.” I was wrong though. I can run. I made a choice to try. I decided to put in the effort and work it took to become a runner. I still can’t run long distances, but I can walk/run/jog for a lot of miles.

One of the hardest things for me was getting started. It was deciding to go from a walk to a run. But thinking back over it, there are some tips I have for people who want to start running.

Tips for Beginning Runners

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Before you go:

Fun Gear. Fun and comfortable clothes you want to put on are key. Make yourself believe you are going to have fun. Or at least you are going to look good while you try. If you get the clothes on and lace up your shoes, you have won half battle. Now you are dressed and ready to look good!

Fun Music. Whether it is upbeat pop music, hip hop, rap, hard rock, country, classical, any kind of music that gets you going and makes you want to go, listen to it. There are many apps you can use, like Pandora or iTunes radio, or you can make your own fun playlist.

Stretch and Walk. Before you leave stretch! Look up stretches online if you need some suggestions. And do a warm up walk. Don’t just run, walk for a few minutes to get your body all warmed up and ready to move.

Pick a Program or Schedule. If you are looking for an easy starter program to help you get to running, try a Couch to 5k program. These type of programs will tell you when to walk and run to build up to doing a 5k (3.1 miles). Personally, I prefer programs that tell me just how many miles I should do to train for a race. For example I am now using a training schedule to get me prepped for a 10-mile race. It gives me three running days with the miles I should do and two cross training days each week. It’s a personal preference on what type of program you like. You can always experiment and see what you like.

Do Not Compare Yourself. One thing I did in the beginning was look at other runners and think “I can’t run as far or as fast as them, I must be doing something wrong.” But the truth is, my ability and fitness level is different than everyone else’s. You cannot compare yourself to anyone else. Just go out and do what you can do. And if that means you can only run two blocks and then have to walk, great. But keep going. In the beginning I could literally only run one block, then walk one block, and I would just rotate those. Now I can still only run about a mile, then have to walk for a little bit, and can run again. But I get my miles in. I do my training and I keep going.

Find a Partner. Like any exercise program, having a partner or someone to keep you accountable can be a benefit. If you need someone to say “Hey, get your butt up and do this!” then find someone to help you out and get your butt out the door.

If you want to be a runner you can do it. It is going to take commitment and effort, but if you want to do it, you will. And here’s a secret, those people you see running who look like they have been doing it forever, they are nice people. And they are encouraging. I have never met a runner that said, “you need to go faster” or, “you aren’t trying hard enough!” I have met so many who are encouraging and will motivate you to no end.

So give a try. Lace up your running shoes and get out there. What do you really have to lose?

Making the Most of Hibernating

You’re surrounded with red and green from basically the end of October through December, and then it hits. The snow. The cold. The lack of colors other than faded gray of the roadway slush and muted browns from the shivering trees. January. Bleh.

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After all of the hype and adrenaline, the presents and fancy trimmings, exhaustion and bleakness sets in to encapsulate you in what is commonly referred to as the post-holiday blues. There are few options you have when faced with the change.

  1. You can succumb to the weight of credit card bills, icy fingers, and lack of vitamin D and be upset, anxious and unproductive

OR

  1. You can choose to laugh and say “post-holiday blues who?” and make the most of your post-holiday, indoor time (this includes picking up overtime to pay down those credit cards!)

Continue reading “Making the Most of Hibernating”

Immune Boosting Foods

Winter got your immune system down? Don’t fret, with a few simple dietary tricks, we can get you what you need to fight off those harmful bugs.  During this time of year, it is a good idea to check your vitamin D. An easy way to increase your vitamin D from food include whole eggs, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, milk containing fat only, or fish. A deficiency not only increases your risk for getting sick, but vitamin D helps boost the immune system to fight off the virus sooner!

Don’t forget your vitamin C! This is usually the first one people think of, and for good reason. Vitamin C is another contributor to the immune system by reducing inflammation. Sources to consume vitamin C can be found in raw red peppers, strawberries, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Please note, if you are a smoker, your need for vitamin C is much higher year round. Aim for 125mg/day for male smokers and 110mg/day for female smokers.

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Continue reading “Immune Boosting Foods”

How I will Chase 2015

Did you read Erica’s post on choosing a word to inspire your year? If not check it out here. I love this idea and just reading hers made me want to chase the year too.

Chase Hope

So I thought I would let you in on what I am going to chase for 2015. And go a step further and let you in a little on how I plan to chase some of these things. So here goes…

1. Healthier Eating – I addressed a lot of this in my post Back On the Wagon. Just getting down to eating cleaner and less processed food.

2. Give More – I want to give more of myself to people. I give a lot to my children and husband, which fills my heart with joy. But I know that now that I am no longer attached to a baby constantly, I have the time and ability to give more of my time and myself to things like volunteering and helping friends. I plan to be more involved in our church and really become vulnerable and closer with friends.

3. Physical Challenges – My biggest physical challenge is coming up in 4 months, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. And on top of that I want to challenge myself to complete 100 miles of walking/running in a month (I have yet to choose the month, but I will). I also want to sign up for more fun runs that include obstacles to be challenging and fun.

4. Grow Closer to Christ – I want my children to be able to see the love that God has for them through me. To do this I need to become closer to Christ so I can be more like Him. I want to show the love, kindness, generosity, and patience that He has with us everyday.

5. Save Money – My husband and I both know we want to start saving more money and are working on plans to save monthly for things like Christmas and birthdays. Also to start saving money to one day (after Navy retirement) buy a house.

I challenge you to chase this year. Chase the things that you want to accomplish. Find even just one thing to actually go after with all you can. Come up with a plan to do this and be intentional with your plan. Don’t just say you are going to workout or spend more time with your family. Plan out your workout days and family fun days. I challenge you to truly ‘Chase 2015’ with all you can!

Oncology Nursing Chose Me

This is a guest blog from Erin E. She currently resides in Grand Rapids, MI with her family where she works on an inpatient oncology unit. I (Erica) am honored to call her not only a colleague but one of my dear, dear friends. Your heart is an inspiration, Erin!

I didn't choose to bean oncology

People often ask how I chose to work in oncology. I usually tell them my story and what brought me to Grand Rapids and my oncology patients. The truth is, oncology chose me. As a new nurse, I was hungry to work. I was yearning to put all my nursing skills from school to use. Every area in nursing was new and exciting. I wasn’t fully sure where I would thrive and which area I would enjoy best.

Continue reading “Oncology Nursing Chose Me”

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

2014 has just a few short hours left. How is that possible? Where did the time go? Saying goodbye is never easy and 2014 was a year of goodbyes for me. Goodbyes suck. Even when they are opening up the door to something else, there is a pain and mourning that goes with each one. And I had a lot of them this year, A LOT.

Let go and begin again

Tonight I sat and walked through the goodbyes of 2014. From the beginning of the year where relationships that needed to be parted ways with were, saying goodbye to living in the city and the neighborhood I loved, transitioning to a new job, and the hardest part of all, each patient I said goodbye to. My heart aches and the tears roll down my face as I reflect back on 2014. It was a hard year. There are moments from this year that contained the word “goodbye” that have forever changed the feelings that are brought up with that word. There were goodbyes where I screamed and asked God “why?” because to be honest many of the goodbyes were nothing of what I wanted. Continue reading “Saying Goodbye is Never Easy”

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

When I think Christmas, I smell warm candied yams, delicious ham right from the heat radiant oven, and the ambiance of good conversation. Music playing in the background enhances the warmth of this time of year. One of my favorite songs to listen to would be Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Music has a way of touching the soul in ways that create lasting memories.

Take a seat. Make yourself cozy. The Anchor Drop Crew wanted to share with you a few of their favorite holiday and Christmas traditions. Continue reading “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Happy Hostess: NYE Style

If you’re like me, from the end of November through the end of December, holiday party invites take up a lot of weekends. Let’s be honest though…some parties a severely lackluster in their presentation, the host is running around with a perpetually furrowed brow, and someone forgot to plug-in the crockpot with the little sausages. It doesn’t have to be like that! With a little planning and attention to detail, your NYE party will receive applause.

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