Saturday, December 31, 2016

7 Focus Words for 2017

For the first time in many years, I am not going to share a list of New Year Resolutions with you. Don't get me wrong, I love resolutions, very much. I even have a big resolution to lose 6% of my body weight in 12 weeks {read more, here: Goal of Losing's HealthyWage Challenge}! I just wanted to focus on something a little different in 2017.

I have been seeing some people choose a "focus word" for the year, instead of making a list of resolutions, and I am really drawn to the idea. I started out with just one word {balance} but then, my one word grew into more defining words; some of which started to stand out even more than my initial word. In the end, I have come up with 7 Focus Words for 2017.




Authenticity
  • In January, 2015, when I decided to leave my successful career as a Paralegal to stay home and be a full time mom, that was me choosing an authentic life. Six months later, when I decided to start a business from nothing but a desk, a computer and some craft supplies; I was choosing an authentic life.
  • "Living an authentic life opens up our daring and creative sides and finally releases us to pursue and live our dreams." -*TRJ. 
  •  In 2016, I had some moments when I questioned my choices and my current path. After all, I'm not doing "the norm"; I'm trying to start a business of my own design, a business that some don't even consider to be a real business. That's tough. I'm writing my own story and taking big risks; betting on a dream that a business of my own design will flourish. In doing something that very few have done successfully before, it leaves room for doubt. I questioned if what I am doing is worthy of my time; if I should just quit and get a "normal job" like everyone else.
  • In 2017, I am going to remove the question of whether or not I'm doing what is right by everyone else's standards; I am doing what is right for me and my family. 
  • In 2017, I will focus on being true to my own self; true to my own vision; true to my own path and goals. 
  • In the words of Steve Jobs, "There is no reason not to follow your heart. Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Everything else is secondary."

Balance
  • I'm a mama, wife, business owner, blog author, healthy-living achiever, daughter, sister, mother, friend. The juggle is real.
  • In 2017, not only am I going to focus on balancing it all; I am going to put action to the word balance. I am going to work on more of a schedule for where there is a need; there will be a time for work, a time for writing, and time for it all. I am going to live by the words, "You can do it all; just not all at once".

Equanimity
  • In 2016, I came to a point when I asked myself, "is my goal {of living this authentic life I've created for myself} worth the effort it will take to achieve it?" It's in times like these that equanimity is most important. I need to remember that my response to these kinds of situations is entirely up to me. As a great military commander once said, "life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."
  • Equanimity is a newer term to me, and it's translation is everything that I strive for: mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation. 
  • In 2017, I am going to maintain a balanced view with equanimity; to not get weighed down with unhealthy thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.

Grace
  • I recently took a personality test and found that my personality type is "INFJ". Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types. {I knew I was one-of-a-kind but, wow!}
  • As an "IFNJ", I place great importance on having things orderly and systematic. I put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in my life. In knowing this about myself, I know that I need desperately grace in my life.
  • In 2017, I am going to seek grace when it doesn't all go as planned; for when my systems fail; for when I am feel less than enough; for the days when I just can't juggle it all, and finally; to remind me to seek God's grace, every day.

Intention
  • In late 2015 and throughout much of 2016, as I was in the early stages of building and designing my own business, I often let myself be pulled in many directions at once. It left me feeling over-busy; over-stressed, and; without much to show for it all. 
  • There was one moment this past summer that I recall so specifically that made me beg and crave for more intention in all that I do. I was out for a walk with my husband and daughter. I got a message on my phone from a potential client, and so I withdrew myself from our walk to respond immediately. This response resulted in a 30 minute conversation with the client, during which time I continued to walk with my family; but I wasn't really there. Nick would ask me questions, trying to re-engage me into the moment with our family but, I would only answer him halfheartedly and quickly as I tried to do everything at once. I ended up getting the sale from the client in the end but, I lost that my time with my family. With this, I saw the very need for more time spent with intention.
  • In 2017, I plan to be intentional in all I do; to be intentional with all the time I spend, and; with whom I spend my time with most this year.

Purpose 
  • After leaving my career as a Paralegal to stay at home with my daughter in 2015, I gained what I consider to be my biggest purpose in life; to be a mother. By doing so, I also lost a little bit of my purpose, too. I need something to work on beyond the scope of being a wife and mother; something to work toward, for myself.
  • "People who have a purpose and a reason to get out of bed every day view crises and difficulties as challenges to overcome and are not easily defeated. This is because they have a reason to keep going. And even though stress is unavoidable, people with purpose find a way over, around, or through because they're motivated to keep heading toward their goals." -*TRJ
  • In 2017, I am going to work on making a 5 year goal for my life. "When you know where you're headed: It's like having a built-in compass. You won't lose your way and that helps you stay focused. You will be more satisfied and content because you will be doing what you were born to do. You will view setbacks as detours rather than roadblocks because you know where you're headed, even if your route changes." -*TRJ
  • After much thought, I have defined my purpose as being a mother, a wife, a business owner, and a writer. In 2017, I am going to keep a list of my purpose in front of me at all times.

Resilience
  • "Resilient people have learned to 'navigate by their true north' and can say with certainty, 'This is who I am and this is where I'm heading.' They're comfortable in their own skin and recognize, accept, and celebrate their individuality. This self-knowledge removes uncertainty, which is a good thing because it allows us to get on with our lives; less second-guessing, fewer detours and wrong directions." -*TRJ
  • In 2017, I am going to work on my resilience and my ability to bounce back when things don't go according to plan.

Finally, I will end with a quote by the playwright Neil Simon:

"Don't listen to those who say, 'It's not done that way.' Maybe it's not, but maybe you will. Don't listen to those who say, 'You're taking too big a chance.' Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most importantly, don't listen when the little voice of fear inside of you rears its ugly head and says, 'They're all smarter than you out there. They're more talented, they're taller, blonder, prettier, luckier and have connections.' I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criterion by which you live, the chances are you'll be a person worthy of your own respect."

By choosing focus words for 2017, I am starting the New Year with the healthiest perspective I've ever had; the kind of perspective it takes to reach my all of my goals.

Readers, what will be your focus word(s) for 2017?

*TRJ: The Resilience Journey (Source)

Friday, December 30, 2016

6 Reasons I Want to Lose 6%

As you may know, I am hosting a HealthyWage Jackpot Challenge {read more here}. I am betting $60 that I can lose 6% of my body weight in 12 weeks, starting January 6th. {You can join me in this bet by registering here: Goal of Losing's HealthyWage Jackpot Challenge.}

Losing 6% of my body weight would mean that I need to lose just about 15 pounds, in three months. That sounds like a lot of weight but, it's only around 5 pounds a month. I know I can do that with the extra motivation I'll be getting from the New Year. Losing this 6% is my New Year's Resolution and I'm going to crush it by March!

The thing to keep in mind is that everyone's weight loss goal with the 6% challenge will be different {and nobody needs to know your weight goal except you}. You work on a team of at least two people {so grab a buddy!}, and as a team you need to lose an average of 6% of your team's body weight. The only thing your team {and I, as your captain} sees is the actual percentage of weight you've lost, and we're all aiming for the same number; 6%! Teams that reach the average of 6% lost, split the Jackpot!


Click here to register!


As I prepare to start working toward losing 6% of my body weight from January 6th through March, I started to think about 6 reasons why I want to lose the 6%.

1. I can't afford to lose my $60 bet {and I'm looking forward to the possibility of winning even more money by splitting the Jackpot with my team when we reach our 6% goal!}

2. I want to feel lighter and have more energy. The extra weight I am carrying around can be suffocating at times. I feel it weighing me down, wearing on my joints and smothering my energy level.

3. I want to reduce my risk for cancer, heart disease, and other scary ailments that can be linked to obesity. As I'm approaching age 29, I am starting to think more and more about my vitality every day.

4. I don't want my excess weight to slow me down or limit me from doing things with my daughter. {I want to ride all the rides at the amusement parks with her, I want her to have more of my lap to sit on when we snuggle, I want to be able to comfortably get down onto and up from the floor with her, etc.}

5. I want to regain the rest my wardrobe! I had a really nice wardrobe that I loved, and while I technically still fit into the clothes I'm referring to, I don't wear them often because they don't fit like they use to; they are much tighter than before. I want to fit into more of the clothes in my closet.

6. I want to feel the empowerment of success and prove it to myself that I can do it, again. I've lost the weight before becoming pregnant with Piper and, while it is more difficult to lose the weight as a mother, I want to show myself that I can do it. By focusing more on myself these next three months, my entire family will reap the reward with a healthier mama and wife.

These are my 6 Reasons I Want to Lose 6% of my Body Weight with my HealthyWage Challenge. Readers, what are your 6?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2016

Usually my husband has to work on Christmas Eve but with it falling on a Saturday this year, my husband was able to be home for the whole day. It was so nice!

We always have two stops to make each Christmas Eve. We went to my nana's at noon and then, to Nick's mom's house at 4 p.m. I brought the best oreo truffles with peppermint topping! Originally I thought I was going to like the white chocolate coating the most but, the dark chocolate won my heart, after all.





Piper's nap usually falls around 1 p.m. and just like clockwork, the need-a-nap-crankies began to set in about 12:45 p.m. By that time, we had finished eating lunch with the family and it was time to open presents from our Christmas Exchange.




Piper was having a hard time sharing toys with my 6 year old brother, as he was opening his gifts. She just kept crying and was so tired; we decided to cut our visit short and take her home for her nap.




I wish we could have stayed longer and visited more with that side of the family, but it definitely wasn't worth making Piper's day miserable to miss her nap.

She'll only be this little for so long, and I'm happy to accommodate her needs. Actually, Nick, Piper and I all took a little Christmas Eve nap, which was really nice!




After Piper's nap, she was so much happier! We went to Nick's mom's house around 4 p.m. and we were the only ones there with them for about an hour. By the time everyone else started showing up, Piper was ready to play with them. She had so much fun opening her presents and playing with her new toys!






We got back home around 8 p.m. and were able to put Piper down for bed at a reasonable time. That was important to us because Christmas day was to be filled with a lot of traveling around!

After Piper went to bed, we got out her presents from us and placed them under the tree. We had a modest Christmas this year, similar to our first Christmas with her, only getting Piper about six gifts to open on Christmas day. When they are that young, they are so innocent and happy with so little. Santa left a couple gifts in her stockings.


A photo posted by Kalyn (@goaloflosing) on


Nick and I are also finding more happiness in less these days. I'm not sure if it's because Nick and I are parents now or, because we are getting older but, this year we couldn't for the life of us think about what we wanted for Christmas. People kept asking us and we would just look at each other, drawing a blank. We are coming to find that most of what we want these days, money can't buy, and we have plenty of what we need with the love in our family.

One of my favorite things to do on Christmas Eve night is to sit in our dimly-lit living room, next to the Christmas tree, and reflect on Jesus' birth story and how blessed we are as a family. It always calms my heart, to have a few quiet moments by the lit up Christmas tree, while being wrapped up with my husband on the couch. It's a very important part of our busy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, to be able to reflect on what it's all about.



looking for Santa

On Christmas day, we woke up early and spent some time opening gifts in our living room, just the three of us. It was such a special morning. Piper was so happy with each of her gifts.





We made sure to give Piper the time she wanted to play with each toy she opened before going on to the next. The first thing she opened was her smallest gift, a Frozen themed coloring book with colored pencils and, she was happy to not open any of the other gifts after that (until she saw what they were, of course).






Piper got a lot of Frozen themed things this year because, she is very into that movie right now. We have had to watch "Frozen" every day for the past week. She keeps singing "Let it Go" multiple times a day and asking for "Elsa, Elsa, sing!"; it is adorable. I love to hear her little voice sing.






After opening gifts at home, we went to my mom's house and she had a lot of presents waiting for her there. My mom made a big breakfast, which was delicious and just tastes of Christmas morning.

After my moms, we went to my dad's. We stayed there for a couple hours, until it was time for Piper's nap. Piper took a later nap that day because she was having so much fun with her aunts and uncles at my dad's house, that she didn't want to leave! She ended up falling asleep on the ride home.


A photo posted by Kalyn (@goaloflosing) on


That evening, we visited Nick's grandma (Busha) for our final stop of the holiday. Piper loves to play with her slot machine and run around with her second-cousins, who are also close in age. It was a great way to end the night!

Piper's second Christmas was so memorable. We are incredibly blessed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas-Eve Eve 2016

I'm still in Christmas mode. I decided to keep the tree, and all of our decorations, up until the new year {at the least}.

Piper has gotten into this routine of asking for the lights on the tree and around our fireplace to be turned on every morning. The lights are so pretty, and the early mornings are still so dark. I may be keeping the lights up well beyond the new year.

Since I'm still in Christmas mode, I figured I'd share a couple Christmas recaps with you this week. The first is from Christmas-Eve Eve!

The day before Christmas Eve landed on a Friday night. My husband had the great idea to go driving around, looking at Christmas lights. Piper is really into Christmas lights right now; every time we pass a house with lights on she yells, "yights! yights!" and, it's the cutest thing!




A little while before bedtime on Friday, I made some hot cocoa for the road and a couple containers of popcorn; one little container of popcorn for the backseat and a large one for the front. Piper loves eating "poppy", as she calls it.




It was so nice and cozy to drive around, drinking our hot cocoa and eating our popcorn while looking at lights. We found a really good neighborhood that was well lit; they even had a contest for best yard, and other categories, too!










This little tradition was such a good idea from my husband. It's something that he use to do as a kid, and I remember my mom also driving me around to look at lights, too.




I hope we'll continue to go driving around, looking at Christmas lights on every Christmas-Eve Eve from here on out.




This new tradition made us some sweet memories during our second Christmas as a family of three.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holiday To-Do List



{source}


This was too cute not to share!
Merry Christmas, everyone.
I'll resume posts either on or shortly after December 27th.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

How exciting that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year! 

I hope that you have a wonderful and special Christmas weekend. We are so looking forward to this coming Christmas morning, with our almost-two-year old. I can remember last Christmas like it was yesterday. These are the memories we'll have the rest of our lives. We are going to cherish every moment this weekend.




From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and God bless.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Powerful Quotes from ER

I've seen many quotes in my day but just recently found a couple quotes coming from Eleanor Roosevelt that really rung true to me. The quotes were so good, they had me searching for more from her. 

After a quick search, I am left shocked at how powerful every single one of her quotes are; one after the other, it's like an entire life's lesson, reading them all. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt:




"Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product".

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized for it anyway".

"The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams".

"With every new day comes new strength and new thoughts".

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness".

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan".

"The giving of love is an education in itself".

"What you don't do can be a destructive force".

"A woman is like a tea bag, you cannot tell how strong one is until it is put in hot water".

"You must do the things you think you cannot do".

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".


There are so many more quotes out there; these were just a few of my favorite.

Aside from being greeted by a Christmas-wish post from my family tomorrow morning, this is my last real post before Christmas weekend begins. 

If you recall, I made a goal a couple weeks ago to lose some weight. I am happy to report that I did lose weight, and I am back down to right around the weight I was before Thanksgiving. I'm at 244 lbs. now, and I hope to report a similar weight when I come back after Christmas weekend.

Next week will be an exciting and busy week as I wrap up everything for the end of the year with my Anything Rustic business, and other personal things.

I hope to share a post on all the new fun things planned for 2017, soon. My HealthyWage challenge, being one of them (read more here)!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Betting on Myself

I'm so excited, and honestly a little nervous, to announce that I'm hosting my first HealthyWage challenge. Not sure what that is? Neither did I until a few weeks ago. Now that I know, I can't wait to start!

Remember how I was nominated by HealthyWage as one of the Top 50 Weight Loss Bloggers of 2016? Well, they've also invited me to Host a HealthyWage challenge of my own!

I am going to be partnering up with HealthyWage and many of the other Top 50 Weight Loss Bloggers of 2016 to offer a weight loss Jackpot Challenge for my readers and their friends, family and colleagues. Our challenge starts January 6, 2017!




Goal of Losing's HealthyWage Jackpot Challenge:

Here's how it works. Sign up with a buddy to form a team of 2, or gather some friends, family members and/or co-workers to form a team of up to 9. You can build a team or we can help you join a team, if your own friends and family aren't interested.

Each participant puts money into the Jackpot ($20/mo or $60 total). Your team will be competing to lose 6% in 12 weeks! Winners (teams that lose 6% before the end) each get an equal share of the Jackpot.

For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal for 12 weeks would be to lose 12 pounds. Only you will know your weight and your weight loss goal (no need to share unless you want to).

The sky's the limit on how big the Jackpot can grow, and each participant's payout depends on how many people enter and how many people win. Typically, if your team hits the goal, you could double your money or more!

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below and I'll get back to you soon. 

If you are interested in joining now, follow this link to register: Goal of Losing's HealthyWage Jackpot Challenge. The challenge starts January 6th! I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Christmas Dessert List - 2016

I've been busy searching Pinterest for a recipe to make and share with my family this Christmas. My oh my, was this a fun task to complete!

My husband, daughter and I go to multiple places between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day {six places to be exact}. I like to bring something to each place we go, and since my grandma put me in charge of desserts for her house {our first stop of the holiday}, the dessert I choose will be made in bulk and taken to all of the places we visit.

Last year, I shared a few different ideas for Christmas treats, and I settled on making the most delicious pistachio cupcakes with a cherry on top. They were a huge hit! 




Today, I will share with you my current Top 5 Picks for Christmas dessert. This year, I wanted to do something different and so I searched on Pinterest for something new and the results did not disappoint! 

From my Pinterest searching, two things became very clear to me: I am loving all things peppermint and all things white chocolate this season. I threw in a Snickerdoodle Cupcake recipe into the mix, just so there was something a little different on the list. The rest of the recipes, however, will either involve white chocolate, peppermint or both; and I'm not sorry about it. I don't think you will be, either.


{5} Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
{from: Real Housemoms}

{source}


{4} Easy Peppermint Bark
{from: Sugar Apron}

{source}


{3} Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
{from: Liv For Cake}

{source}



{2} White Chocolate Holiday Popcorn Mix 
{from: Love Grows Wild}

{source}


{1} Peppermint Oreo Truffles 
{from: Two Twenty One}

{source}

While all the desserts sounded so tempting, I decided to go with the Peppermint Oreo Truffles for my dessert of choice this year. I have a lot left to do this Christmas week {wrapping every single present included on that list of things to do} so I wanted to opt for a dessert that I already knew how to make. 

Not only have I made Oreo Truffles before; I love them, too! Using white chocolate and crushing some candy canes on top will be a new thing for me and, I can't wait to try it!

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Humble Christmas Message

Hello and welcome to Christmas week! 

Wait a second. Can you try to imagine a bucket of fake snow falling on your head, Christmas lights flashing on in an instant and your favorite Christmas song starting to play all at once? That's the kind of enthusiasm I'm going for right now. So, let's try this again: "hello and welcome to Christmas week!" {cue the enthusiasm}

Thank you!




Christmas time is such a special time of year. I know it's a little different for everyone, but for me, the spirit of Christmas is nostalgic and filled with fond memories from childhood. Even more fond memories are those we are making with our little girl each year.




Sometimes, however, this time of year can be hard for many reasons. Along with all of the joy this season brings, there are some not-so-fond memories and feelings I have to deal with this time each year, as well. I'm sure I'm not alone, and that is why it's heavy on my heart to share.

Being a child of two parents that were never together during the holidays means that I have never been in just one place during Christmas; I'd always bounce around, not sure exactly where I'd belong or fit in best. I know that I belong with all of my family, of course, but that doesn't mean the feelings weren't there at one time. Also, just because I'm an adult and have my own family now, doesn't mean that those feelings don't try to sneak their way back in to my heart this time of year, either. The holidays can be tough in that aspect.

I think, however, that because of the hard feelings I've had to overcome, it makes me appreciate the joy and all of the happiness this season brings, just that much more. I believe that if I hadn't had those hard feelings to deal with in my past, then I wouldn't know how to truly appreciate all of happiness and love surrounding me today. I am truly blessed to be apart of such a big extended family. I'm even more blessed to be surrounded with the love from my own little family, too.




This Christmas, as always, we will bounce around from one side of the family to the next and, instead of letting the feelings of not belonging come to heart, I will take heart in knowing how blessed I am to have so much family to bounce around between. To have so much of our family with us, and to be able to visit with them is a privilege denied to many this time of year; whether it be from distance or loss.

If you have experienced loss, I hope the spirit of the season makes you feel closer to those you lost. I hope you feel them near to you when you see the beautiful twinkling Christmas lights, and feel them surrounding you with their love as you listen to your favorite Christmas songs. I have a few friends who have lost so much this year, and they are in my heart, especially during this season of hope and love.

So, whether Christmas week tends to be a stressful week for you or, a week filled with painful memories, or a week that you've been dreading for some other reason; I hope you remember one thing. God's grace is always waiting for you.

Let us not forget what the season is truly about. Let the Christmas lights and the presents under our trees be our beautiful reminders of the light and the gift given to us from God. No matter how dark your days, there will always be light with Jesus.

And so I'll say it again, only with a more humble heart. "Welcome to Christmas week".

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Gift from My Mother

I got an early Christmas gift from my mom and it was the best gift anyone could have gotten me.

If you know anything about me, know this: pictures are a very big part of my life. 

I take pictures every day, mostly of Piper, but yes; every day. I can't help it. I don't want to forget a thing; and I forget things often. I think it's mostly because of my bad memory that I have become so reliant on taking pictures. I have a very photographic memory. Seeing a photo can remind me of a time that I had long forgot about and then, all the other memories that go along with that snapshot come back to me, too. 

Photos are easily one of my biggest passions in life because a photo captures life. It's the closest we can get to freezing a moment in time, and since having Piper, there are a million of those moments that I wish I could freeze and keep forever; yet, each and every one of those moments has gone by, most of which I have had the privileged of capturing in a photo.




For Christmas, my mom got me the gift of a family portrait session with one of her friends, Maria. 




Now, forever frozen in time, is our family, just the way we are right now. 






We are in such a special time in our lives. Having an almost-two-year old is almost as challenging as it is rewarding. It is definitely more rewarding than anything; just ask Nick or I at 8:30 p.m., right after we put Piper down to sleep and we greet one another with tears in our eyes because she said "I love you, too". 




We have some very hard days that often turn around and end with tears of gratitude. We are so grateful for our daughter and all of the light she has brought into our lives. Becoming a parent has been the most amazing experience of my life; bringing a new surprise of how deep love can grow almost every day.




I am so glad we got these family Christmas photos done by my mom's friend, Maria. This was a great gift from my mother, that we will cherish forever.