health · stress free zone

We Did It!

The Dinner Club Runs!

We ran (I use that word loosely) a 5k yesterday!  It was 75 degrees with 88% humidity and most of the time I felt like I was going to pass out or die, but we made it.  My goal was to finish in 40 minutes or less, but with the heat, I couldn’t force myself to go any faster than I was.  No kidding, I was seeing spots.  We did finish in 45:15, which isn’t too bad for my second race ever.

My husband is amazing.  He could have ran it twice and still beat me, but he stuck by my side and give me all the encouraging words to keep going when all I really wanted to do was lay down on the sidewalk until a golf cart picked me up.  I’m one lucky lady!

Here are some photos.  They are not great quality, but thought I would share.  Doing more 5k’s was on my goal list and every single day I’m chipping away at that list to become the person I want to be.  I’m happy I was able to take one little step, but it felt huge.  We can all do anything if we set our minds to it.

Michael and Me before the race.
Michael and his sister and one of my best friends, Carrie
From left to right: Carrie, Darla, Amanda, Me, Paula (The Dinner Club)


Halfway mark and I was dying! It was so hot!!
health · Life · stress free zone

5 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

After weeks, heck months, of just an hour or two (if I was lucky) of shut eye I learned ways to help get a decent night’s sleep. You’ve probably heard most of these, but maybe not. I just know how it feels to try to function throughout a day after a sleepless night and hope I can help someone else.

  1. Yoga! Yoga makes a huge difference in my sleep patterns. It took a couple of days to notice a difference, but now, I don’t like to miss a day! You don’t have to go to a yoga studio to get your Namaste on. All you need is a mat and YouTube. Every evening I watch Yoga with Adriene. She fits me and what I’m looking for in yoga. I use yoga time as my time to clear out all the noise of the day. Go search some videos on YouTube and try a few out and see how you like it. 
  2. Warm Tea. I like tea a lot. I’m from the south so I typically drink sweet tea, but in the evening I like to drink a nice calming, warm cup of tea. I’m not a tea expert by any means, but this is what I like to drink about an hour before bed, Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea, 16 Tea Bags, Packaging May Vary .  If I’m feeling extra fancy, I go to my local tea shop and tell them to make me happy, then I bring whatever they suggest home and add a little warm cream!
  3. Bedtime Snack.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed I don’t want to eat.  I’ll go to bed and listen to my stomach growl for hours until I finally pass out or just get up for the day.  Even if I don’t want to, I make myself eat a healthy snack within an hour before bed.  This might be a banana, sunflower butter on a tortilla, a handful of nuts, or even a yogurt.  Just one of those, not all in one night…..
  4. Bedtime Soundtrack.  I love to listen to waves and rain while sleeping.  When I first attempted listening to music to sleep my therapist told me not to listen to any music with words.  Apparently our brains stay active longer spending time making out what the words are saying instead of relaxing.  I’ve found I can’t even sleep if there are bird chirps, crickets, or any other background noise.
  5. Holes in My Feet.  This one is going to sound a bit odd, I know.  When I was first told to try it, I gave a fake smile and said I would when in my head I thought she was one odd duck.  But, being wide awake at 3am, stressed and exhausted, I was willing to try just about anything to catch some zzz’s.  So here’s how you do it.  While laying in bed (the floor, wherever) pretend there are holes in the bottom of your feet. Focus on your feet and breathe in good air through the holes and push out the bad air (stress).  Sounds ridiculous, but seriously, it works!!  If I’m having a particularly difficult day at work I will close my eyes and do this at my desk.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on aromatherapy and just got my diffuser and oils, but haven’t tested them out enough yet to know if they help or how to use them to their best ability.  If you know any oil combos that you love, let me know! URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser and Essential Oil Set

If you try any of these and they work for you let me know!  Also, if you have any tips that I didn’t mention, leave them in the comments.

health · Life

Becoming a Yaya


Never in my life did I think I would become a grandmother at 38 years old. It’s not what I would have planned for my kids or, for that matter, myself. But you know what, shit happens. It’s taken me a long time to deal with it (it’s still a struggle) and understand that my kids are not the first teens to have pregnancies. And before you say it, YES, I talked openly to my kids about sex and pregnancy and YES I provided birth control. I wanted my daughter on the shot, which they said she shouldn’t have at her age and gave her pills instead. Unfortunately, you can’t force your kids to make smart choices.

When it all unfolded, I had a nervous breakdown. I don’t say that lightly. It was a true and serious nervous breakdown.   After seven months of therapy and anxiety medication, I can finally deal with it enough to talk about it.

Back in October 2016, my husband and I were making all kinds of plans. We saw the light at the end of the teenage tunnel. We would look at our 14 year old and smile at each other and say, “four more years”.  We were getting our house ready to sale (in 2017) so we could move into something a lot smaller and more manageable which would help us afford to travel more and buy the furniture we wanted instead of what was cheaper. For the first time in our adult lives, we were doing really well financially. We had this beautiful plan to be totally debit free by March 2018 (still planning on that) and our lives were going to change. We were brimming with excitement.

Well, our lives changed alright. Just not like we expected.

First, my husband’s overtime at work was put to a screeching halt cutting his checks nearly in half right after I had to take a pay cut at work. Oh and, as I imagine yours did, our insurance premiums went way up. “Okay,” we thought, “We can handle this. We just have to tighten up our purse strings but we’re still on track”.

It was late October 2016, that things began to spiral downward. My then 18 year old son (now 19) told me his girlfriend was pregnant. She was almost 18, a senior in high school (they had been together for a few years). It was a huge shock.  I was more angry with him for not protecting them both than anything.  None of us were ready, but I trusted my son to do what was right no matter what their “right” was. I couldn’t believe this was happening.  I didn’t want this for him yet.  It’s so much responsibility to put on such strong, but young shoulders.

Three very short weeks later, my 16 year old (now 17) year old daughter told me she was pregnant.   Still, right now, months later, it hurts to type those words. This was the point I broke. My heart was broken. I was devastated. There were literal hours of that day I just don’t remember. I had severe panic attacks. If I stood up, I saw spots and would nearly pass out. I hadn’t realized it, but I started rubbing my hands and feet together constantly and would hurt from the swelling and rawness. I didn’t sleep for weeks. No kidding, weeks. I lost about 20 lbs in a very short period of time. I couldn’t eat.  I cried more than I thought was physically possible. To be honest, it felt like someone told me she died. I felt the death of all the dreams and wishes I had for her. I felt the loss of her youth and felt the pain of the future she would endure and the sacrifices she would make.

I was consumed by it.

I couldn’t talk with anyone. Not my husband, not my best friend, not my children, no one. I was failure as a mother. I failed them. Every vision, hope, dream, plan, I had would never be. Why did I struggle so hard for so long to give my kids more for them to throw it back in my face?  That’s how I felt.  That’s how I sometimes still feel.

So, I went to a therapist. After speaking to me she immediately sent me to the doctor to get anxiety medication. That was the beginning of my journey to where I am now.  It hasn’t been easy, but months of therapy (my therapist is awesome), different things I’m doing at home, and with the right medication I can see the light at the end of the tunnel again.

My son and, pretty much, daughter-in-law have lived with us since February and believe it or not, currently in the other room in the first stages of labor with my granddaughter. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re managing.  My daughter is still a straight A student who is doing so well in school she will be graduating early and with honors and plans to go to college while raising my grandson. Life didn’t end for me or either of my kids. Yeah, it’s going to be ten times harder than it would have been, but we’re a family and we’ll be there for each other. I raised my daughter to be a strong woman who can do whatever she sets her mind to and she’s proving how strong she is every day. My son is working hard and saving as much money as possible so he can provide for his family. His girlfriend graduated high school and I have no doubt will be a wonderful mother.

I was/am embarrassed to let anyone know what was going on because of what they would think of me as a parent and what they would say about my children. But no matter how many times I look at it, I can’t imagine anything I could have done differently.  I was open with my kids.  I did everything I knew to do to prevent this from happening, but here we are.  It happened.  Even writing this post scares the bejesus out of me, but I’m doing it anyway. I’ve looked at the stats, I’m not the only one out there going through this. I can’t keeping thinking of the “what ifs” and concentrate on the “what is”.

What is, is I’m going to be a Yaya to two babies who I will love with all my heart (I already do). I will still be a parent to my children and try my best to guide them to the right path even if that path is a terrifying one.

calm woman meditating reciving power by light

In later posts I’ll talk more about the process I’ve gone through and what I’ve done/doing to deal with it and the other medical issues I’ve had along the way and how I’m managing those also. But one of the things I’ve learned through all of this is life is messy guys. We can plan all we want, but sometimes life says change your plans. Pick people to be in your life that will be there for you no matter what, because you might need them one day and they might need you.

health · stress free zone

The Conveyor of Pain

Deciding it was time to get in gear on my health, I put on my Body by Bacon tank from The Chic Site  and started working out today. I use the term “working out” loosely, but hey it’s a start.  I got on the treadmill for twenty minutes and did not quite a jog, but not really a walk (I think it’s called a power walk).  Don’t judge me I said I used the term loosely, though I did do twenty-five squats right before I jumped on the treadmill or as I like to call it, The Conveyor of Pain.

To most people, this is nothing, for me, it’s a lot. I don’t want to lose weight.  I actually like the weight I’m at, but I do want to tone up all the places my body has decided it was tired of fighting gravity and gave up.  I also want to turn to exercise to relieve stress and feel better about myself when I’m on a Stand Up Paddling board and not breathing like I’ve just swam across the ocean.

With sitting at a desk all day then writing all night, I don’t spend a lot of time taking care of myself physically. So, I’m going to try to get on the treadmill at least four times a week.  I’m going to do my best to stick with it and the best way I know to do this is if I don’t work out I don’t get coffee that day.  That’s a whole heck of a lot of motivation for me.  I love my hazelnut mochas.

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I could barely move here.  Please ignore the empty toilet paper holder, the construction was finished with our bathroom just days ago.


I’m going to let you in on something a little (a lot) embarrassing…. My workout was this morning and I’m writing this at night and my legs are so sore already it hurts to stand, sit, and walk.  How ridiculous is that?  I’m going to convince myself it was the squats and not the treadmill that has my legs screaming for me to stop moving immediately.