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The Domino Effect

We have all been there.  We have all at one point in time been in a slump of some sort.  Either with physical activity, eating poorly, or even in motivation to get basic things done.  There are many reasons we find ourselves lacking motivation to make healthy choices.  I use the term healthy because even when making choices about how we respond to events, comments, or situations, we are setting a tone for emotional health, physical health, and our basic well being.

The term domino effect is defined by Merriam- Webster  as a situation in which one event causes a series of similar events to happen one after another.  As soon as we make a decision to act or react,  a series of events are put in motion.  Last year, I began referring to my exercise and diet as my domino effect.  I had not been running or exercising due to a leg injury, poor scheduling, and overall stress of life and new circumstances.  I was tired of being tired and out of shape.  One day I made the decision to attend physical therapy and force myself to do the exercises and take the time to get better.  Ryan at Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy set me up with a workout plan to focus on my injury and build strength.  He promised me if I did the work, the injury would improve.  IF I DID THE WORK, is key to the equation.  I can not get results if I’m not willing to start the process.  This was my first domino push.  After starting the PT program, I became more motivated to invest in ME!  The purpose to attend PT was to be able to run again pain free.  The domino effect had begun.   I started slow, 1-2 miles and even with stretching breaks to relieve the pain.  But the slow, small runs gave me my second domino.

After making the effort to start making changes, my attitude slowly changed.  My runs became more frequent and my food choices more healthy.  I started climbing out of my stinky and depressing rut that I had been in for over a year.  I decided to stop drinking alcohol, I went to bed earlier, I slept better, I woke up earlier and ran first thing before the rest of the family was awake (this one was the hardest).  It was not always easy to keep the dominoes in motion!  However, after I started taking care of ME, this decision resulted in a better mommy, wife, and happier me.  The entire family felt the effect of my choices.  The kids were happier, my marriage was improving, and our day-to-day was overall smoother.

Once we take the effort to give the first domino a push, and it doesn’t take much to knock over the first one, the trickle result can be amazing.  There will be bumps along the way, failures, and twist and turns.  However, a simple change can be so powerful!


This theory isn’t just about exercise or diet.  It’s about attitude.  Maybe you have the desire to work on your spiritual or mental health.  Take the time to do something little each day, prayer or meditation, reading something uplifting, or listening to your favorite motivational podcast.  These actions will lead to positive thoughts during your day.

If your desire is more about work or career achievements, pick one thing you can do to improve your performance.  Set the platform to success by starting with the little things you can control and see return on your investment.  It all starts with one domino push!

This list of small and simple ideas can help you to start your domino effect:

  1. Choose to perform one exercise activity a day.  It can be small and simple like going for a walk around your neighborhood, taking the stairs at work, doing squats while waiting for the copy machine.
  2. Choose to make one diet change.  Give up soda or decrease your sugar consumption, have a water consumption goal, decide to eat 5 servings of veggies/fruits a day.  Don’t give everything up at once, this is unrealistic.
  3. Choose to take 5-10 minutes a day to meditate or have “alone time” to think, pray, journal, or read something inspiring.  This will improve your focus and motivation.


I hope you will find some motivation in this post and realize that we all can make small changes that add up to big results!  We all have different goals and my first domino will be different than yours.  But we all have to take the first step and knock one down!  Comment and share ideas about what you have done to start your domino effect.

Granola Balls Made Easy!

Over the last several years as I was trying to balance work and home, I often found myself feeding the girls food that was a bit less desirable than I would have liked.  In my ideal world, I would like to provide them with as much home-made food as possible.  That being said, I’m not one to follow any particular diet such as gluten free or sugar free.  I strive to do “the best I can” every day and some days we do great and other days are far from perfect.  Therefore, I am always on the search for quick, easy, and healthy recipes.  When I stumbled across this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen, I knew it would be hit!

This recipe for healthy bite sized granola balls is perfect for a quick snack.  I like to make a large batch, often doubling the recipe, and put them in the freezer.  We either eat them directly from the freezer or pull out a small bowl at a time.  They are so simple to make that I have been able to make them for us while moving.  We made them at Grandma’s, in the hotel room, and have even taken them for our snacks on the plane.  They are also great for a quick bite before sports like soccer or ballet practice and filled with protein and energy.



I always feel like I’m winning when the girls reach for a yummy granola ball to fill their bellies!







No-Bake Granola Balls 

2 cups quick oats
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil melted

Combine oats, Rice Krispies, flaxseed, and chocolate chips.  Mix with spoon.  Add vanilla, coconut oil and honey.  Mix with spoon until all ingredients are evenly moist.  Add peanut butter and mix with spoon until well-combined.  

Using a spoon and your hands, roll mixture into small balls.   Put into a container with a tight lid and freeze or refrigerate (personal preference).  They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week or for a few months in the freezer.

Tip:  It is easier to roll the balls if your hands are wet.  I run mine under the sink and re-wet them once or twice more to keep the balls from sticking to my hands.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen

I’m back!

Ok, I know taking a couple years off is not the best way to utilize a blog if you want any kind of following.  But life happens y’all!  I will try to fill you in quickly as I’m sure you don’t need to know all the details.

My husband retired from the United States Marine Corps 2+ years ago after serving for 20 years.  He decided to take a “break” and take his time figuring out his next career.  I accidentally fell into a job that was initially a temporary gig filling in for a friend on vacation.  However, the good Lord must have know what was in the future.  The temp gig turned into full time work for me which was a true blessing for our family.   The other true blessing (hind-site is 20/20) was having my husband become the primary caregiver of our daughters.  He used this time to bond with them, something he had limited time to do when in the Corps.  He did all the nitty gritty work including make lunches, get them ready for preschool, pick them up and take them to ballet, gymnastics, and attended all their in school activities. He became the Dad that always had the girls with him even when he was running (using that double stroller is good training), going to the grocery store, or walking around the neighborhood.  Dad and the girls both needed this time together and it has made for an awesome relationship.

While Dad was being the stay-at-home parent, working became my duty.  The first year was so hard.  I worked multiple jobs and was frequently gone before the girls woke up and home after bed.  It actually took me almost 2 years to figure out the balance of work and home life.  This is very difficult and something that I believe all working parents struggle with.  Not only was finding time for my family hard, it was even more difficult finding time for myself.  My running had gone by the wayside due to lack of time as well as a leg injury.  I truly struggled with the entire situation emotionally and physically.  I craved exercise and would often get up at 3:30AM to go to the gym.  This only lasted for a few months at the time as I found I was burning the candle on both ends.  I could not sustain the schedule.  As the second year began, I realized I had to make more changes in order to survive the situation.  Our marriage was suffering and I felt like I was sinking.  I was very lucky to be working as a contractor and this allowed me to make my own work schedule.  I decided I had to cut work hours and make more family time and “me time” if  I didn’t want to be completely depressed and find some sort of balance.  I worked no more than around 30-32 hours a week.  I was able to get back to normal exercise which brought me sanity as well as physical benefits.  I was able to be home in the mornings to get the girls ready for school and even drop them off most days.  I began making them the absolute priority taking off when they had school functions and activities.  Financially this was tougher, but that was the sacrifice and well worth it.

Over the course of the first year, I quickly packed on the pounds by having no exercise routine and poor eating habits.  After making the changes at the beginning of my second year, I was able to drop the weight as well as find happiness in my situation and life.  I will write more about this in another post.

Now we have made even more changes in our family.  My husband accepted a job in Europe for the next couple years.  We moved in February and I am now a stay-at-home mom again.  And the new challenges begin!  We are still living in a hotel and in a new country with a new language.  I hope to re-start this blog and share ideas again.  With the last few years of new experiences, I have so much to share!  Stay tuned for more adventures from our little family and how we are implementing health and exercise in our daily routine.

Thanks for stopping by after a long hiatus!

The Good, Bad, Ugly, and Funny

This post is dedicated to my cousin, Dan the Man.  Yep, that’s what we called him growing up and I can’t help but still use this nickname.  He recently completed his first triathlon and is pretty active in the short distance run races.  We were planning to participate in a triathlon together last month but the logistics didn’t work out.  I want to share with him and all of you some of the lessons that I have learned over the years as I finished my first run race in 2004 and first triathlon in 2005, to my last marathon just a few weeks ago.  Believe me, some are classic novice mistakes and others are just stupid.  But we all have to start somewhere!

The Good

  • Anytime you complete a race, it’s good.  Even if you feel like poop doing the race because you didn’t train enough or had a flat tire, you still finished and get to add one more notch to the belt.
  • Take as much swag as you can from the expos.  Nothing is better than free stuff.  If it is a multi-day expo, go twice if you have the time.  Twice as much free stuff!
  • when standing around the water cooler at work and you brag that your WOD  was a brick with a 25 mile bike ride followed by a 3 mile run gets you stud status immediately.
  • spandex is hot

25 mile bike 2 finish line! bike_2image_server.cfm  IMG_9005

pictures from my first triathlon in 2005, first half IronMan bike ride 2006,  and finisher pics from my 4th marathon–the Marine Corps Marathon in 2009, and 5th marathon –the Nike Women’s San Francisco Marathon  2013

The Bad

  • make sure you have a great saddle if you are doing triathlon or any kind of bike racing.  Saddle sores are not attractive and can be rather uncomfortable while sitting at work.  Invest the money and get a good one now.
  • You may get blisters in places you never imagined.
  • Waking up before sunrise is realistically the best way to get a “2 a day” workout in…one at the butt crack of dawn and the other after work.
  • Triathlon is not a cheap sport.  Running is less expensive.
  • You won’t sleep in on the weekend during training or racing season.  Look forward to the “off season”.
  • smooth is fast, fast is smooth….this is bad until you learn and/or understand it.  Once you get this concept, it moves to a different category.  Transition for the tri is when this is most applicable. I also use this advice when arguing with my toddler about her self dressing skills.
  • Don’t ever show up for a hill repeat run work out after happy hour.  Just go home and save yourself.

chicago 001 blisters from my first marathon….Chicago 2004

The Ugly

  • screaming, “my crotch hurts” to the spectators as they ask how you are doing… Did I mention you should invest in a good saddle?
  • taking an ice bath to prevent rigor mortis after 15+ mile training runs…even though you aren’t dead, you will wish you were every time you try to sit on the toilet…ice bath = less soreness.
  • your friends that aren’t into the sport, they will never understand.
  • going to sleep at 9 pm on a Friday night so you can feel good for your 50+ mile bike ride at 0’dark thirty
  • getting a charlie horse in your calf in the middle of an ocean swim and you are still 200 yard from the shore


The Terry Butterfly Ti Saddle…my favorite component to my bike

The Funny

  • laughing at the rookies as they mark their transition spot with a mallard balloon
  • secretly laughing on the inside at every “sucker” you pass on the course…until they pass you once you blow up
  • never, ever, ever do anything new in a race you didn’t do in training.  For instance, when your friend Brett mentions just before the gun goes off for the swim that he heard taking your wet suit off in the water is helpful…don’t listen.  If you do listen, you will end up with a wetsuit half off/half on as you literally fall on your butt in the knee deep shallow water and roll around trying to get that damn piece of neoprene off while every spectator on the beach LAUGHS OUT LOUD .  And you know there will be pictures taken of this misfortunate event….never, ever, ever do it unless you practiced it in training.
  • more shameshamemy number!

After sharing a few of my “lessons learned” I hope you remember to have fun.  That is the most important part of being active, training, and racing.   I am active because I love it.  I’m just your average weekend warrior.  I’m not winning races but I am having fun.  I am thankful and humbled enough to be happy I am healthy enough to train and race.  I am happy I can set an example for my kiddos that being active is part of our lifestyle.  I am happy that I can set goals and usually achieve them.  I am even happy when I don’t achieve them because those are the days I learn the most.  Dan the Man, I hope you enjoy this new chapter in your life and enjoy racing as much as I have.  Keep calm, train hard, and go fast!

Eat My Dust Suckers!

I try really hard to squeeze in exercise while home with the kids.  I’m really not sure how working parents fit it in.  There are days that I occasionally work and I find it extremely difficult to get my workout on.  Since I stay home with the girls the majority of the time, I try to make the time after nap and before dinner my workout time.  Most days we run and others it’s just doing push-ups with my 2 year old pretending I’m her pony.

One day the 2 year old woke up cranky and in ill spirits.  There was no way I could be locked up with her until dinner.  I had a plan: I bargained a trip to the aquarium in exchange to squeeze a short run in first.  We loaded the car with the double stroller and off we went.  After parking at the aquarium, I dumped the gals in their seats of the jogger and headed to the surrounding streets to get my run on.

When driving up to the aquarium, which is located in a corporate business area that overlooks the ocean, I noticed these two men running and moving at a pretty good pace.  As I made my way over to the ocean overlook with stroller in tow, I saw these two fellas again.  They were probably in their 40’s and sticking with a solid pace.  I made it my goal to pass these two suckers.  I’m a mom pushing my two kids in the stroller and I felt the need to make them think I was a rock-star runner.

I pushed my pace into high-gear and painted a smile on my face.  It was only a couple minutes before I caught up with them.  I went into even higher gear and sprinted past them saying, “thanks fellas, you gave me something to chase down.”  The reply was a little less than expected as they said, “yeah, don’t worry about returning the favor.”  And here’s the kicker: now that I am past them, I can’t slow down!  Then they will know I’m really slow!  CRAP!  Sucking wind, I continued on my killer pace and tried hard to make it look easy.  Luckily my turn around wasn’t too far but that meant I had to face them as I passed them.  Once again, I couldn’t slow down and I had to look like it was just another training day.  I sucked it up and made it past while simultaneously fighting the urge to vomit.

As I staggered into the parking lot preparing to walk around the aquarium, all I could think about was who the real sucker is!  Train hard and have fun out there ladies and gents! And remember to push out side of your limits but don’t be a sucker!

Now just for fun, here’s a poll for you:

The Bright Lights of Nordstrom

Earlier this spring we decided to take a stay-cation. You know, when you go on vacation but you stay in the area you live in?  Rewind a year ago— I was pregnant with Pearl and went t o a mama festival and got suckered into a time-share presentation.  After the initial scolding from my husband, we finally attended the 3-hour lecture about why we should invest in a 60k vacation package.  My husband refused the generous offer from the time -share facility to take our money and instead settled on our free vacation at the local resort.

Fast-forward to the present and it is time to finally cash in on this luxurious vacation.  There was no denying that the place was nice with a swanky pool, spa, and awesome kid activities.

The first day we hit the pool, I tug on the only swim attire my postpartum fanny can fit into.  It is a Speedo one piece that I used for lap swimming while pregnant during the first trimester.  AND I still bulged out of it in every open spot possible.  Hot.  Not really, just a hot mess.  Whatever, I have to get these kids in the pool and I’ll never see these other vacationers again.

Once we arrived at the pool, stripped down to our spandex, and jumped in the refreshing oasis, I had a rush of panic.  It hit me how self-conscious I was of my too small swimsuit and that I didn’t want to be that person at the pool wearing a suit that everyone secretly pointed at saying, “what is she wearing?”.  Ok, so I may be a little dramatic but it’s exactly how I felt.  As soon as lunchtime rolled around, I dumped the kids with the hubby and headed to the closest mall to shell out the pesos for an appropriate, middle-aged woman mommy suit.

Frantically walking around the swimsuit department of Nordstrom (and double checking to make sure I wasn’t in the juniors department), a very kind employee swooped in to save me.  She grabbed a handful of too expensive suites and rushed me into a dressing room assuring me that they would all look fabulous.  Awesome.  I quickly stripped down to my skivvies and started pulling on the hip and trendy swim wear.

AND THEN, the bright lights hit!  What the hell?  Who is in charge of the lighting in that little box called a dressing room?  If I was in the business of selling women’s clothes, especially tinny itty bitty little pieces, I would make that room aid in the self-confidence of every female that had the nerve to even go swimsuit shopping.  First, there is a three-dimensional mirror that makes it possible to see evvverrryyyything that hangs, droops, drags, and jiggles.  Second, add the fluorescent bulbs and you are in for a disaster.  Why don’t they just put a box of tissues on the wall to make it a little more convenient to have the pending breakdown?  C’MON Nordi, get with the program!  You are high-end and could really use a dressing room makeover.

Imagine this: you enter a nice room with one mirror, maybe even the mirror that tricks you into believing you are a little taller and thinner than you are.  There is tropical music playing to aid in the mood.  Add a pretty plush oversized chair, soothing light blue paint on the walls, and complimentary margaritas (or seltzer water) with a cute umbrella served by a hunky man wearing his French style Speedo.  As for the bright lights, it’s 2013!  Isn’t there some magical light out there that cast shadows in all the right spots to help avoid seeing the cottage cheese on my hamstrings?

Nordstrom, this is just a little business tip from me to you.  I expect better.  As for my self-esteem, it’s a work in progress like every single woman out there.  There are days I feel like a rock-star and days that I feel like the beached whale.  Here’s to you and wishing you many rock-star days.  And remember beauty has nothing to do with size but sometimes wearing the right size helps us feel better. 😉




Nothing but heavy breathing

It has been a while since I’ve taken the time to sit down and write.  I haven’t been doing well lately and I just couldn’t bring myself to blog.  For the last several weeks, I have felt tired, exhausted, depressed, and obsessed with eating.  I started feeling my usual thyroid symptoms of a sore neck, hoarse voice, and an overall achy feeling.  I had a standing order at the lab to get my blood work so I figured now was the time to check it out.  When my endo, “Dr. Mac”, tested me three months ago, my TSH was .028.  This is in the hyper range and he was expecting me to bounce back to a normal level soon.  No treatment  was prescribed other than me starting anti-anxiety meds that my OB prescribed because I thought I was having postpartum depression (PPD).

My blood work came back on Monday and this time my TSH is .01.  This is even more hyper than last time so I got a call from Dr. Mac’s office and went to see him that day.  I told him how crummy I was feeling and that I had experienced what I thought was PPD.  I even went into details about how low of a dark place I was in a few months ago and that it had really scared me.  My eyes filled with tears as I admitted to him what had gone on in my head.  It was difficult to admit and to hear myself actually say it.  We discussed my treatment options for Grave’s disease and he suggested starting a medicine to help stop my thyroid from over producing.

The next day I happened to have a follow-up appointment with my OB/GYN, the one that had prescribed my “happy pills”.  By the way, this OB is amazing!  She makes you feel like you are her friend and I knew I could really open up to her.  We discussed my current condition.  I was confused.  I  was feeling so good after starting the low-dose of anti-anxiety meds a few months ago and all of a sudden I find myself struggling again.  She viewed all my labs and told me she believes my mood problems are related to my thyroid and if we can get it leveled out, then I should notice a difference in my mood.  I sure hope she’s right!

The point of all this is that I don’t feel well and it is really hard to get motivated to exercise or be healthy when feeling so crummy.  But I force myself to get out there and run as often as I can.  I’ve started running with some pretty special friends and that is always fun.  Finding an exercise partner makes it easier to go for many reasons…socializing, someone to push you to run faster, an excuse to leave the house!  But one night I went alone for a 4 mile hill run.

On this run I kept thinking about this talk I had recently heard at church.  A women was speaking about her “quiet spot”.  You know, the place where your brain shuts down and it’s just quiet?  The place where good ideas come to you and answers to prayers are heard.  For this woman, it was in the shower.  That night on my run, I realized that running alone is my “quiet spot”.  I hear nothing but heaving breathing and my feet on the pavement.  My mind is clear.  I feel human.  I don’t feel tired.  I feel normal.  I get bright ideas and answers to prayers in the middle of that heavy breathing rhythm.  I am at peace and happy.  And when I’m done, I don’t feel sad.  I truly believe that running is my natural antidepressant and that I need to force myself to partake in that quiet time a little more often.  It makes me a better person, mommy, and wife.  It is my lifeline.

I hope you know where your quiet spot is and remember to tap into it. Remember to take time to listen to your thoughts and to ponder what is going on in your life.  Take time to have a clear mind and to refresh yourself.  And when you do feel a little “off”, don’t beat yourself up over it.  There are a billion things that can change our moods and have a huge impact on our mindset.  Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to someone. Take care and I’ll definitely take time to write more this week.


The Enabler

I grew up in the panhandle of Florida in a small Southern town.  Many benefits came along with growing up here.  I learned good manners, how to drive a stick shift on the country dirt roads, a little bit of farming, the rewards of showing your pig in the county fair, how to fish in my Granny’s pond (followed by how to clean the fish), and the appreciation for the smell of freshly plowed peanuts.  I also learned how to eat like a Southerner.

We mostly ate the things that we grew /raised or bought from local farms or fruit stands.  We canned a lot in the summer and feasted on veggies all year.  We also enjoyed fried pork chops, fried okra, fried chicken, fried tomatoes…you get the point.  Everyone I knew owned a Fry Daddy as part of the essential kitchen appliance.  We ate banana pudding, pound cake, Mississippi mud pie, and anything else filled or cooked with butter, Crisco, or sugar.  Delish!

My Mom is a stellar mom.  This post is not intended to knock her.  She is simply amazing!  But, let’s face it, cooking was not her favorite chore.  We often joke about how many sandwiches we ate growing up and our favorite snacks were made by Little Debbie.  A sweet tooth runs very deep in our heritage.  We often ate cookies and cake for breakfast.  It wasn’t until college when my roommate asked me why I always ate cookies for breakfast that I noticed she ate stuff like oatmeal.  Hmmm….never thought of it before!

Most people in my family have struggled with weight our entire lives.  The very foundation we grew up on was eating junk and lots of it.   It is engrained in our DNA and it is possible our veins flow with butter.  After becoming an adult and thinking more about my health, I have tried to change my “mentality”.  One of the goals I have for my children is to break this chain and teach them from the beginning to eat healthy (at least most of the time).  It wasn’t until one day last week I realized what had happened; I was an enabler.

Have you ever tried to distract your kiddo when they are upset by giving them a treat?  This is what I did!  My 2.5 year old fell down and was crying her eyeballs out like it was the end of the world.  To get her to calm down I kissed her ouchy and gave her hugs.  After a continued ear-piercing scream came from her little tiny body, I tried offering her a “treat”.  She immediately calmed down and after I gave her the treat, she stated, “that made me feel better”.  It hit my like a ton of bricks:  I have become her addiction enabler.  Ok, addiction is a strong word but I want to get my point across.  By giving her food to “make her feel better”, I am teaching her the comforts of food in a bad way.  I find that I am an emotional eater and this is exactly the foundation I am laying for her.  I am not breaking the chain but instead adding another link.

This got me thinking even more.  Our 8 month old falls down, I give her a pacifier to comfort her.  I have friends that offer the breasts for comfort when their baby gets an ouchy.  I offer the toddler food incentives to make her feel better.  I know there is another way of distraction and I’m not sure yet how to handle this other than to fight my own urge to offer the sweets and oral satisfier (paci).  It definitely makes it easier to give them such tools to stop crying, however, parenting is never easy and making the choice now to spend the extra time to find another way to comfort and/or distract from the injury will be much more beneficial to my daughters as they form habits and grow into young adults.

Please share with me any ideas you have or your thoughts.  I love to learn from others and am always looking for creative ways to rear these babies.



I know that service doesn’t necessarily go with The Fit Family, but I really wanted to add this to my blog.  I have thought a lot about how to put these two topics together, and then I realized, a healthy family means more than just fitness and exercise.  It can mean different things for different people and having a healthy spirit is just as important.   I also don’t have the time to write two blogs, so I will include my thoughts about service on this blog for the sake of being efficient.

I am one of those people who really enjoy serving others.  I don’t know why I find so much joy in it, but I do.  It is something that feels very natural to me and I love to help anyone that appears to have a need.  My husband would often comment, “You think you can save the world one cookie at a time”.  He’s kind of right!  I love to bake for others and now I strive to extend my service in other ways.

When our oldest daughter turned a year old, I thought it would be great if we would have one service project a week.  My intentions were to make sure we set an example for her and that she would grow up feeling as if service was just “the thing to do”.  Our first project was volunteering with Girls On The Run.  This group is to help develop self-esteem and positive social and fitness habits in young girls.  My daughter and I went to the elementary school on the Marine Corps base and helped teach a lesson or sometimes just went to run with the girls (pushing the baby in the stroller).  At the end of the semester, we ran a 5k with the young girls to help prove to them anything is possible!

Now we don’t necessarily have the time to commit to a specific day or time each week to volunteer.  Because of these constraints, I work hard to look for opportunities to share with the girls and serve our neighbors, friends, and strangers.  Sometimes our projects are super simple and others a bit more time-consuming.  Yesterday, we spent the afternoon in my husband’s office at Camp Pendleton.  I went to give a young Marine who was injured in combat a therapy screening and pass along some advice that could be helpful in his healing process (I am an Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist or upper extremity orthopedic specialist in my professional life).

Today we will do a more simple activity and something my 2-year-old will enjoy.  I recently ran across some flower seed packets and thought how fun it would be to have my daughter plant the seeds, water them so she can see them grow, and then give them away when they bloom.

I will continue to write as I get ideas about service work and I hope you will enjoy the stories.  Please leave comments with your ideas and service projects that you enjoy!

I will leave this blog today with the words from a favorite hymn of mine:

Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live;
I shall divide my gifts from thee
With every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
My roof’s safe shelter overhead,
That he too may be comforted.

Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord,
I’ll share thy love again, according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need;
I’ll show that love by word and deed:
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

— Grace Nowell Crowell


Tupelo Honey Pork Loin

I grew up eating the sweetest and most heavenly honey, Tupelo.  It doesn’t get any better than this!  Honesty, I’m not sure I have ever purchased any other honey in my life.  I still buy it in Florida when I go home to visit or have my mom mail it to me.  It is a little slice of heaven.  My favorite is from Smiley Apiaries.  Check out this website to learn more about Tupelo honey:

Since the honey is so delicious, I will put it on almost anything!  Biscuits, sausage, and pork loin!  Yep, a little honey makes everything better.  Here is a very quick, yummy, and healthy recipe for your dinner tonight.  Enjoy!

Tupelo Honey Pork Loin

Pork loin–any size

Honey–Tupelo is the yummiest

Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Place pork tenderloin in baking dish.  Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cook in oven for about 35 minutes or until done.  Serve with veggies, rice or potatoes.

Here are a few links to help you decide when your pork is done and not overcooked and dry:


  pork loin, honey, and sea salt

IMG_6640 Tupelo honey

IMG_6638 pork loin drizzled in honey and sprinkled with sea salt

IMG_6644  roasted brussel sprouts

IMG_6654 a finished dinner!



Real. Mindful. Nourishing.

Kaiesha Stewart

Lifestyle, Style & Beauty

Straight Talking Fitness

A site dedicated to helping you become stronger across the board; physically, mentally and emotionally.

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