Monday, December 30, 2013

What this past year taught me (beauty in chaos)

It's true. Each moment flies by a little faster as you get older. Or maybe the moments are just blurrier because we're constantly chasing mosters that are less than 36 inches tall. I don't know, but either way can we just pause for a moment and wonder where the h e double hockey stick 2013 went?!!?

instagram @love_laurabeth

Crazy town that 2014 is upon us. From what I remember, 2013 was great and I'm thankful for the visual reminder that technology can provide. This year was truly a year of transformation for me.

This year I became OKAY with the fact that my post partum anxiety will not be going away. The little red devil is here to stay. But. BUT. BUT! This year I learned to accept that sometimes, God's Grace comes in the form of a little white pill. He Loves Me. EVERY PART OF ME. and I'm so grateful for His grace. I plan on sharing a lot more of this secret struggle more in 2014.

This year I finally got rid of the weight that was holding me down. Those 45 pounds that I was holding on to were preventing me from living the life I wanted.  Facing my insecurities, naming them out loud, and deciding that God and I were going to do this TOGETHER were what helped me begin. Feeling success, weight watchers online, Godfit devotions, and running were what kept me going.

Goals for 2014?
I want to live FREELY in the GRACE God has extended to me. I want to live imperfectly knowing that I'm loved and that I'm able to love what's all around me. I want to listen more. I want to be a good friend. I want to have a clean house for more than 24 hours at a time. I want to eliminate the clean clothes pile in my bedroom. and I want to run a half marathon. eep!

Cheers friends!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Weight Loss Devotion ((My experience with GodFit))

This was me in June. Happy, loved, but screaming  for help on the inside. I'm  the blonde with two chins in case you had doubts.  Lost and defeated I allowed myself to gain 70+ pounds between  my two pregnancies.  I never lost the weight and had honestly GIVEN UP on enjoying the reflection I saw every day. I made excuses. I lied to myself. I divulged in self-hate and eating to solve my everyday stresses and worries. I got a large Dr. Pepper everyday as a "treat" and ate fast food at least 4 times a week. I did NOT exercise. I was dying on the inside while trying to create the "everything is wonderful" image among my family and friends.

 This past May I had a melt down on my back porch while thinking about who I had allowed myself to be. Was I really just agreeing to be unhappy for the rest of my life? Was I really just giving up?

Searching for a way to motivate myself I learned about GodFit. What really got me interested was the hashtag #fitforChristfitforlife. Catchy, right? I decided to give it a try.

Can I get specific with you? The first thing that drew me to this program was the idea that it wasn't a weight loss "program". I had already  failed lots of those.  Two weeks in  and motherhood, crazy schedules, and craving comfort I'd give those programs the slow fade and brush it off that it just wasn't for me. What gave me hope that perhaps this could stick were the words staring at me on the front cover:

"Six weeks to pursue God through spiritual disciplines, healthy choices, and physical fitness."

Pursue God? Pursue God. Pursue God!  Had I ever really pursued God in my past failed endeavors? The answer plain and simple was no. I decided that perhaps there was something to this idea that showing devotion in God's faithfulness would in fact help me get over my hurdles of being obese, low self-esteem, self-hate, and feeling defeated. I had given my life to Christ--why couldn't I give him my biggest struggle? Because it was embarrassing?

I knew I was prone to fail. However this time would be different. I was going to view this journey to reclaim my health as an act of worship to the Lord. I would seek strength through Him and I would  DEVOTE my  habits and health to God in a way that would please Him. GodFit set me in the right direction from the start.

As a mom of two toddlers my life can be pretty hectic. Squeezing in time for myself is a struggle and one of my biggest excuses was that I simply did not have time to get to the gym. The workouts in GodFit helped me debunk that myth that fitness happens in the gym.  For me, fitness now happens in my living room with two children mimicking my every move and often hanging from my appendages. The workouts in this program are INTENTESE and easy to fit into my schedule. I love that.

The Metabolic Acceleration workout is my favorite. My four year old loves the names of the moves and yells out to me "More Sumo Squats Mommy!!".  By the end of this 20 minute circuit I'm sweating, laughing, and feeling great.  Let me share this awesome secret -- my one year old naps like a champ after helping mommy get fit (can you hear the angels rejoicing?)

This journey has been hard work. Besides wading through four year old emotions, its the hardest thing I've ever done. There were days when I wanted to quit. There were weeks I didn't see any loss. There were curse words muttered. There were tears of pain. But. BUT I was devoted this time. I stuck with it and those prayers that I prayed before every workout, run, and session were answered. The Lord gave me strength like He said He would. He was faithful. God is such an awesome and powerful God who cares for His children.

As of the beginning of December I've lost 45  pounds. I'm so stinking proud of those pounds that I lost, but I have to tell you I'm more proud of what I've gained.  I'm stronger. I'm devoted. I'm proud. My happiness oozes from the inside out. I'm so thankful for the tools that GodFit set me up with.  My God and I did this together and so can you. I pinky promise.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Always Statements at Christmas

Tradions are probably one of my favorite parts about Christmas. I love the "WE ALWAYS..." statements.We .....meaning us- meaning a tribe- meaning a family. How great is it to reflect back on the fact that we have a WE. I'm sorry that seems confusing typing it out. Dang it, here I go again making no sense. I have people. You have people. Your people are the ones that you make the WE ALWAYS statements with. For me my WE is my family, my small group at church, my friends that do life together. My people----who make up my we. You have people too----and you make traditions----and you do them at Christmas---and that is one of the reasons I love the holidays.

Growing up my favorite tradtions were that:

We ALWAYS had a real tree.
We ALWAYS had the messy staticy magical tinsel
We ALWAYS had cheese, sausage, and crackers after the Christmas Eve Service
We ALWAYS sang to the Carpenter's Christmas Portrait Album
We ALWAYS ate my grandmothers taco dip before opening presents

It is the ALWAYS statements that make the holidays so meaningful and also a little melancholy when remembering Christmas pasts.  This year someone else will make the taco dip. They no longer make the messy magical tinsel---someone probably suffereed from a major electric static shock from it and shut. that. company. down.

I'm sure you have always statements from your past that don't always happen anymore either. And while I'd be fibbing if I said that the fact that my old ALWAYS statements don't ALWAYS happen anymore doesn't make me sad---it's okay.

 It's okay because Scott and I are creating new ALWAYS statements with our own little family. I didn't understand the meaning behind the traditions my parents created for my brother and I when we were younger. But I understand that now. Creating traditions creates security and solidarity in a child's world. It's something that every child can benefit from. I know I did. You did as well. So while reminicing on old tradtions I see the importance of the new ones.

I want my children to be able to have ALWAYS statements.

We ALWAYS have a fake tree and light a pine candle because mommy hates the mess.
We ALWAYS bake cookies together and decorate them however we want.
We ALWAYS make a family ornament
We ALWAYS open one present Christmas Eve
We ALWAYS eat Strawberry Waffles Christmas Morning

But I also want them to know without a shadow of a doubt that our family

ALWAYS loves them no matter what

ALWAYS has fun

and ALWAYS laughs a lot.

Because the Christmas Chaos can easily get the best of me---but relying and remembering our ALWAYS statements help me make what matters---MATTER MORE to my family and my precious little chicken nugget children.

Merry Christmas friends! I hope you are enjoying you tradtions both old and new.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

4 x 6 Christmas Memories

My grandmother passed away this summer. It still doesn't feel real at times. I've scrolled through my phone several times getting to her number and then remembering. She won't be on the other end. While processing through her death our family has been going through boxes and boxes of old photographs that she kept in her basement. I don't know why she kept every picture ever taken in her lifetime---but she did. At first it was a daunting task to think about how much TIME it would take to clean out her photos alone--now? While we are in the middle of it? It doesn't seem like a chore at all. Sifting through decades of photos brings back so many wonderful memories at a flip of  photograph.  Birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, holidays, Christmases, concerts, family reunions full of sights, sounds, smells all flooded back in 4x6 memories.  She might of been just a pack rat. Or she might of known that the photos would've done just what she wanted them to. To make us stop. Allow us time to reflect and remember  the love and legacy she left behind.

** please know that the guns in the second collage photograph are wooden that my grandfather made. We are wooden gun people. Not gun gun people.  Felt the need to clarify that. #thatcouldabeenawkward

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sticking to a Budget this Christmas. Wee. Woo.

Budgeting. I don't know about you but just the mere mention of that word makes me want to karate kick things and eat copious amounts of chocolate. I hate that word. Why? Because I enjoy spending money--der. Giving gifts is a love language of mine. It's how I show love--I give things to people. So Christmas time? Is the time of year that I spend ALL OF OUR MONEY and send warm, fuzzy, candy cane scented love gifts to everyone. It's a time of magic, glitter, and twinkling eyes. It's so hard for me to reign in the reckless abandonment that I have because Christmas! jingle bells! happiness! children!

Our experience with Dave Ramsey and his class Financial Peace University has taught me that sticking to a workable budget will get you out of debt and create a peace in your daily life that living with my money--to-the-wind tendencies will. not. Eleven months out of the year it isn't that  hard for me to stay on point. However when December rolls around I blow it. Big time.

If I stick to a budget I will avoid the after Christmas guilt of knowing that I put our family in a position that makes things tight.

If I stick to a budget I will make my husband happy. Budgets make his heart sing.

If I stick to a budget I will be proving to myself that holidays can be happy even if you don't spend all your money.

So how can I ( and maybe you too)  resolve to sticking with our budget this Christmas? 
Cash Envelopes
This year we sat down and wrote out an exact budget for each person we'd like to purchase gifts for. In the past this was more of a guideline rather than an end all be all. This year, we really need to be strict with it. So to curb my over spending tendencies we withdrew the exact amount for each person and placed it in an envelope with the receivers name on it. Yup, currently carting 13 envelopes around town #mommysizedpurseforthewin. This will prevent me from going over budget. The only way I would be able to would be dipping into someone else's gift envelope. How terrible would that be!? Sorry for the $5 gift honey.....

24 Hour Wait Period
Something happens to me when I get in the gift giving mood. I lose all sense of reason and tend to fill my bag with everything that my loved ones will love. I do this because Christmas! Glitter! Music! Candy Canes! SALE! Clearance! BOGO! Ah! Happy!  I'm a marketing dream because those shenanigans totally work with me. We talked about ways to curb this without stealing my Christmas Sunshine and came up with a plan for me not to purchase impulsive gifts immediately. Think on them for 24 hours first and if after time has passed it still would be the MOST! PERFECT! GIFT! EVER! then game on friends. Game on. I'm thinking this will help a great deal once the popcorn scent and jingle bell music is out of my head.

Avoid Guilt Add-Ons
I have a Christmas fairness police that's been hard wired into me. Christmas gifts MUST be of equal price and quality for a holiday to be successful. I get holiday gift giver anxiety over it (me, anxious?!come on now!).  It always results in me wanting to give MORE because I'd rather be the giver that spent too much, than the one that didn't spent enough. So hours and minutes before I know an exchange will take place I often run for a "quick trip" and pick up random things to UP the gift.  This means I'm spending more money and derailing the budget. again. This one I just need to stop cold turkey.

I hoping these three things will help me stay on budget this Christmas. What strategies do you use to keep on track? Mind sharing with me? I'd say I need an intervention.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December Goals

Let's revisit November first. Okay.
My November Goals Were:
1. Eat dinner together as a family at least four times a week and be PRESENT during these dinners.
We rocked this goal. I asked Scott to make getting home in time for dinner a priority and he did. I tried to focus less on the hustle of the evening crazy with toddlers and listen to what my family had to say.
2. Keep riding the weight loss train. I lost 5 pounds this month. Slow and steady wins the race.
3.Make a new friend. No one new this month. However I was able to get together with a girlfriend who was a pivotal relationship in growing up. Sometimes the girls that know your history are the BEST KIND of friendships.
4. Find a great Bootie for under $100. I bought a pair. Super cute and 30 bucks from Target. I had to take them back. I thought I was ready --- I wasn't.
5. Stop using empty threats when parenting. This was hard. I have a post in the works discussing this in more detail.

1. Stay in our budget when purchasing gifts this Christmas.
2. Allow myself more grace. Perfection will not make for a meaningful holiday for my family. Being fully present WILL.
3. Maintain weight during the holidays. The average American gains 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.  I'm giving myself grace and not expecting weight loss---but gaining weight? not acceptable. I've worked too hard.

Linking up with The Tiny Twig again, because she's great.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Finishing is fun.

If you follow along on instagram (love_laurabeth) you already know this.
I finally FINISHED my first race. No fake sprained ankles. No being carried off the track. I did it.
and it felt nothing short of AWESOME.
I could write about how nervous I was (!!!!!!!!!). I could write an entire post about the freak out I had the day before. Or about how I made an intricate playlist timed to the minute to keep me motivated and ended up NOT using it and talking with my brother and husband the entire time. I could write about how flippin cold it was (14!!!!! with WIND!!!!!!). I could write about a lot of things today but all I want to focus on is the finish.
Months ago when observing friends train and run races I didn't get it. I questioned why anyone would want to pay to get up early and run a long distance with people they didn't know. I could think of 12 reasons why THEY were crazy . Traffic. Sweating. Tight clothing. Seemed like torture not a hobby.
The decision came for me to try to run a race on Thanksgiving out of pep talks from my brother. I wanted to do it for myself and I wanted to prove to myself that I'm stronger mentally and physically than I give myself credit for. The past six months have become AS MUCH of an internal transformation as a physical one. My struggles have always been one in the same.
My knees were hurting. The slow ache of doing something repetitively that I've grown accustomed to once realizing that I'm no young chicken anymore. I kept thinking about them and bouncing back and forth between thoughts of
"push through" and
"I hope this doesn't result in an actual injury"
Scott kept pushing me with words of affirmation that I was doing great and that he was incredibly proud of me. John was three strides ahead pushing my pace and distracting me with random completely falsified facts about running on Thanksgiving and working the pace group we were with by shouting "MASHED POTATOES!" and  "PUMPKIN PIE!!"
I was enjoying this. I was loving every single second. My knees were hurting, my hands were cold, but I felt completely ALIVE. I had made a goal, and in this moment I was completing it.  I am a sucker for a hopeful story and I was writing my own.
I turned onto the final straightaway  leading into the chute and I heard cheering. Cheering from complete strangers not meant for me, but it didn't matter. Tears started flowing ( and promptly freezing) because of the pride and success I was feeling for myself.
Six months ago I was crying on back porch feeling empty, defeated, and alone.
Today, I was FINISHING a 4.6 mile run.
My brother and husband slowed down the last few strides of the race and let me pull ahead. My strides were long and my heart was racing. I had the largest smile on my face as I pushed through the finish line and let myself enjoy the fact that I had done it.
I now know why people do races.
So they can finish them.
because finishing? it's really fun.
I'd like to finish a lot more in the days and years ahead.
Because now? I know I can do it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Four and a Half. I'm nuts.

What the what friends!! It's race week! Ring the alarm!! It's here.
I AM GOING TO RUN FOUR AND A HALF MILES ON THANKSGIVING FOR FUN. If in June you would have told me that I would exercise for enjoyment on the holiday where buttoning pants is totally optional I would have spit my Dr. Pepper on you. and probably questioned our friendship.

And yet, here we are. 

I'm so nervous. I so excited. I cannot wait to achieve this goal. This goal is personal for me. Sooooo personal. This run resembles my growth as person. It represents changing habits and relying on faith.

With thankfulness on my mind and the 30 days of Thanks filling up my facebook feed I thought I'd leave you with some of my own .....

  • I'm thankful for Pandora and Christian Aguilera's Genie in a Bottle for simultaneously bringing me back to 1999 and getting me through the last part of mile 4 today.

  • I'm thankful that the little yapper dog that followed me for two blocks yesterday's bark was bigger than his bite.

  • I'm thankful that you can always cross to the other side of the street when the crazy! psychotic! flock of scary geese all raise their heads at once and start bobbing their creepy little necks all at once. Miserable creatures that freak. me. out.

  • I'm thankful for Pit Bull. His songs bring out the Southside in me and I truly enjoy my hip hop infused runs. Mister Worldwide!

  • I'm thankful for the angel of a gentleman who honked his horn at me. Thank you for that boost in self esteem kind sir.

  • I'm thankful that Scott supports my hobbies. I'm sure he's thankful that running has replaced my shopping hobby.

  • I'm thankful that athletic gear is so adorable and allows me to secretly continue my shopping hobby. :)

  • I'm thankful for you who read my blog and support me and listen to me. Your words of encouragement are appreciated and will be carried with me on race day.

I can't believe it's this week! Akjhaslknfwilunweljnlaskjrawlaw3aisdoawei!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013


I don't love every moment of motherhood.  Yes, they are blessings and my most favorite gift---but whewwww buddy it isn't always pretty. I fail. They fail. It's hard wobbling through this relationship with my children at times.  I have a temper. They tend to whine. And I'll stop there.

My morning started at 4:00AM. Ohhh yea. Noah still isn't the best sleeper.  Yep, I'm side eyeing myself too. I don't know why he woke up so early today but cuddles seemed to be all he wanted and you bet  I gave him those cuddles.  We snuggled in on the couch and both  fell asleep.  It was a secret slice of chocolate cake heaven.

Before I dozed off I kept breathing in the details of my 15 month Noah. His fluffy blonde hair. The way his toes curl when he sleeps,  the little crumbs that are always on his face, the way the pacifier falls out of his mouth with the familiar clicking when he falls into sleep. These details that I take for granted. 

While there are definitely moments I don't puffy heart being a parent. One day when these babies of mine are older I'll look back on this time and say that I did. It will be 100% true.
The rotten and stressful will be overcome by the joyous and love-filled. I'll forget that Noah threw his breakfast on the floor again and that Lilly cried about only wanting to wear purple everyday for a week. 

I'm crazy in-love with my people. And all of our details I don't ever want to forget.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'm Crawling Out of this Week

This week has been rough you guys. Shaken to my core rough. Lay awake at night thinking and thinking getting nowhere with my thoughts. Becoming tormented by my thoughts. I'm telling this to you because I KNOW you have them too. We all go through days, weeks, or months of triumphs and then we sink into the valleys and crawl our way out. I'm crawling out of one of those weeks.

Questions that won't ever be answered. Seeing dear friends in deep pain. Feeling like there must of been something I could do to help. Wishing relationships hadn't been severed. Craving the healing of the Lord but feeling distant. I've been wrestling  with self doubt.  I'm holding dear to relationships in which I can truly be free and second guessing ones in which perhaps I've shared too much. 

Where am I going with these thoughts?  I'm not really sure. I'm just pouring out my thoughts to you because you're there to listen and really that's all that we need sometimes. Someone to listen.

This week my runs were different.  I felt my runs turn from something I need to do for my PHYSICAL health to something I need for my own MENTAL health. Each step was pounded out this week. I was angry. I was confused.  The steps were harder than usual because all the frustrations, questions, and pain were leaving me with each stride---making myself stronger. STRONGER.

I knew I wanted to lose weight. I needed to. I couldn't handle the guilt, shame, and self hate any longer. However, never did it cross my mind on that day back in June that I'd be gaining a mental and emotional strength through this transformation of habits.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Five Weight Loss Tips For The Busy Mom

Do you know how silly I feel writing this? It's a combination of  silliness and pride. I'm so glad that this time my wish to finally lose the weight stuck. I'm so glad that I'm motivated, determined, and devoted. I also know what it feels like to WANT to be motivated, determined, and devoted and to FAIL. I've done that repeatedly. I can think of four instances that stick out in my mind right now. So getting ready to write out my own tips for losing weight and getting healthy feels a little silly right now. But I'm going to do it, because I've lost 40 pounds as of today. I may be new to running. I am definitely new to making healthier choices. I've hit a groove and I feel like I could maybe help motivate or inspire others to do the same. Because FORTY.

Just so you don't think I'm super woman, please know that I'm a mess. Literally, I've written about it before. I cannot for the life of me keep it together--and I'm okay with that. How boring to be perfect, I'm much more interesting because I'm a hot mess. It lets me enjoy the Grace I'm given so. much. more.

That being said, I definitely have honed in on what it takes to lose weight. Losing weight is hard. If it was easy I we'd all be our ideal weight! If it was easy I wouldn't of shed tears over it. If it was easy--we wouldn't be so inspired by others that have done it before us.  And you guys, I'm convinced it's even harder when you have a family to take care of, a job to uphold, a house to keep clean, and relationships of both  family and friends that you want to pour into. The following five things are simply what I've found to work for me. These tips keep me healthy, losing weight, motivated, and on track while keeping up two toddlers, a job, and a neeeedddyyyyyy husband that can't find anything. Love you, honey.

1.  Create a Board of Weight Loss Inspiration on Pinterest

What a great resource we have in Pinterest.  Making a ( secret) board with nothing but tips and trips to inspire my weight loss has been CRUCIAL to losing weight. I keep links to fitness blogs I love, photos of my 'goals', healthy recipes,  and other tips and tricks others have written about in this board. Several times a week I look through the Health and Fitness section of Pinterest and pin things that pertain to my own goals.  I don't pin pictures that don't seem attainable to me. While some photos of women in the fitness section look darling and ohsofit I don't see becoming a fitness model as a goal. Her abs will NEVER be my abs. Lilly and Noah made sure of that. So that girl---doesn't get pinned. I don't want to be discouraged when I look through my images. I want them to be attainable to ME. I also go through my own board during moments of weakness. I avoided what would have surely become a fast food binge by looking through items in my board. If you're just beginning to think about wanting to make a change in your lifestyle I suggest heading to Pinterest and creating your own board.

2. Useful Apps

There are so many useful apps to help you with your fitness goals. I don't have time to go to a computer to track. I don't have the willpower to actually write down  anything. However,  I do have my phone with me at all times. I needed something streamlined that wouldn't create another thing to do in my already BUSY day. I have no excuse not to take advantage of the health apps at my disposal!   Here are a few of the most useful apps for me:

Weight Watchers Online: I love weight watchers. I really think that WW was the key to my success. I've tried MyFitnessPal but wasn't able to stay motivated because well, it was free. It didn't HURT me if I didn't use it. WW---hurts a bit because it does have a monthly fee. Through this app I've learned portion control, healthy swaps, how many calories to consume and maintain a healthy and steady weight loss. I love the tracker, cheat sheets, inspiring stories, scanner, etc. It's a super app.

Nike Plus: This app tracks my runs. I am able to keep tabs on distance, pace, and time through this app. When I first started it helped me turn my walking into a slow jog, into a jog, into a run.  There are lots of others out there. This happens to be my fave.

C25K free: A great training resource for beginners. It was intimidating to me at first!

3. Have Low Calorie and Healthy Snacks READY

Since I'm doing weight watchers all of my fruits and vegetables are zero points. This is another reason I like Weight Watchers. This portion of the program forces me to make the healthiest choice when snacking. I don't like to use my daily points for snacks--I want to save them for meals! I have a few go to ZERO POINT snacks that I frequent A LOT. I always have these snacks available to me so I DON'T dip into my kids snacks. Fruit snacks are FIVE points. I can't afford to eat those when I only get 26 points a day. Carrots...carrots....carrottssssssssssss

Baby Carrots with Ranch Seasoning Mix--This makes baby carrots delish. I sprinkle a little on top of my carrots and its the savory and salty mix that hits the spot.

Baby Dill Gherkins

Cinnamon Apples-- Slice the apple and top with 1 packet of Truvia and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon --Microwave for 30 seconds. DIVINE. and ZERO POINTS.

Peaches and Cool Whip Free-- One tablespoon of Cool Whip Free is zero points. Top ANY fruit with  CWF for a nutritious and ZERO POINT snack

Sweet Mini Peppers and Salsa

4. Schedule Exercise In Your Family Calendar
We're busy--like REALLY busy and most days you don't have time to exercise--I get that. Most days I don't have time---I have to make time. I know, ouch, right? This was the biggest change for me. I was a old fat parrot repeating that I would LOVE to work out but because of my kids, time, weather, it's Tuesday, I have to breathe,  etc I  didn't have time.  The fact is--I did have time I was just choosing to spend it on other things.  I schedule out my workouts now. If I don't schedule, it doesn't get done.  I check with my husbands work schedule a week in advance and write out the times I have for a run. Some days I have to bring both kids with me in order to get a run in. The days I can't possibly fit a run in I do a DVD. I choose to do Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred because it's quick ( 20 minutes) and really gets me sweating. Level 3 is lay on the floor for five minutes afterwards because you can't move hard. I had to learn to adjust my goals to ones that are actually achievable as a busy mom. I can't do a 7 day  a week work out routine. I can't do a 5 day a week work out routine. I CAN do a three day a week routine. I can MAKE TIME three days a week to get active. If I am able to get in more than three days a week I am happy because I was able to go above what I had committed to.

5.  Track Your Motivation

On May 31st I wrote with blue dry erase marker on my bathroom mirror the number 195. *gulp*.  I was at my unhappiest with my weight. I was defeated and embarrassed. I wanted to change but I did not see HOW I could make it work.  That number stared at me every day for three weeks before I decided to try and do something about it. Once I started WW I updated my progress every week on my mirror. After a few weeks of seeing the number shrink I had a constant reminder of my progress and HARD work. Seeing these numbers each day sets my day off on the right track. I can see how far I've come and it motivates me like crazy.

In true busy preschool mom fashion my littlest is up from his nap an HOUR early and must go grab the nugget.

The biggest take away advice that I have to give is that I had to GIVE UP some things in order to make my health a top priority.

I've not yet met a mother that can stay healthy, keep a spotless home,  several incredibly polite and well groomed kids, a happy boss, and stalk keep up with all their friends on social media. You can't do it all. I can't do it all. AND frankly, say I do meet a woman who can? I'm not really sure we could be friends, or hang out, or breath the same air even.

I only like to be around dysfunction--just sayin.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Goals

So goals. Never really been that great at them. Good intentions pave the way then procrastination and a "why bother" attitude normally end them. I'd really like to make goals and stick with them. I think goals are a great way to measure success. I think goals can keep you motivated. I like the feeling of accomplishing something. I like check marks. I just have a hard time with the middle CARRYING OUT THE PLAN part of goals.

So I'm in love with the idea of goals.

I'd like to try and work on this. Hold me accountable dear friends.  I'm making five goals this November. Sitting down on the first  brand new shiny day of this month I can tell you with complete honesty that I plan on tackling these goals. These things are gonna happen.---or  how bout' this. I'll share my deepest darkest secret with you on December 1.  Deal? Great.  Hopefully you're not going to wish me to fail to get my juicy secret. Cause it's definitely good---and I definitely don't want my friends to know let alone the internet.  But if I were in your shoes, I'd be wishing failure on you.  ((winky face))

1. Family Dinner
I want to make the things that matter MATTER MORE in my family. I believe that over time, love and stories will create a habit of commitment and truth within my people. One way to make things MATTER MORE is to reclaim the dinner table.  We do a fairly good job of this  but we could be better. I want to eat family meals from start to finish together at least 4 times a week. That shouldn't be that hard, but it is.   Do your evenings end up being a mad rush from 5:00 until bedtime in your family? Oh, mine do. The mental countdown begins around 4:30 most days and even earlier on the days my children are glorious heathens. Then dinner, husband home, eat, dishes, laundry,  playtime, tackles, chasing, sweating, falling, stripping, bathing, jammies, cuddles, bed. Most nights we compile tasks at the dinner table  i.e. dishes while the pokey's are finishing, folding laundry while eating, and even stripping naked before they've even finished their meals. I could SLOW DOWN this time and ENJOY the time together rather than quickly checking off the todos for the night. I could LISTEN to what my family has to say instead of hurrying them to EAT. YOUR. DANG. FOOD. CHILD. I could actually care about the answer my husband gives when I ask him how his day was instead of verbally vomiting on him the crisises of my own day. This month I'm gonna slow my roll.
2. Keep riding the weight loss train
Woooooo wooooooo.....
This November I'm going to continue losing weight. As of today I'm 8 pounds away from my goal weight! Wait! WHAT! HOLLERRRR!!! It's been hard the last few weeks as I've been having weigh ins of  +.4 , -1.0, and -.6. They aren't the big losses that I love, but slowly and surely changes are happening. My goal for November is to lose 6 pounds.  I'm also a few weeks away from running in my first. ever. race. ((that I'll hopefully finish)). 
3. Make a new friend
I love relationships. I love meeting new people and I get JAZZED when I'm in a room full of people. Are you like me? I like meeting people for the first time (even though I worry constantly about the first impression I give) and I really like chatting over a good cup of caffeine.  There is something exciting to me about getting to know someone and realizing  that we have fun connections or maybe that we are totally opposites. Regardless,  it's fun for me. I'd love to make a new friend this month, or at least meet someone new. Do I know YOU?   No seriously. 

4. Get a new bootie
I think I'm ready to try the bootie trend. I have loved them for several seasons but never had the cahones to purchase any. I can't resist any longer and I'm looking for a cute pair of cognac ones for under 60 bucks. If you scout some pinkie promise to tell me?

5. Empty Threats-- Stop using them

On the way home from the Children's Museum (Yes, I went back....) I made three different threats to Lilly. 
"C'mon Lilly, I'm leaving.....I'll miss you."
 Dude, I'm not leaving her....and she knows it.
" If  you keep acting like a baby maybe you should put a diaper back on." 
Dude, that's dumb. I annoyed myself with this one. That's a punishment to me! There's no way on God's  green Earth that I'm putting a diaper back on that butt. 
" Do I need to call Daddy and tell him you need a spanking when you get home?"
Dude, I  say that but I'll never do it.

When I heard myself saying these three empty threats one after another in a five minute time frame I realized that I have a problem. A very annoying problem. The threats have to stop. They are EXHAUSTING to me.  I will not negotiate with terrorists any longer. I need to stop the threatening and PARENT her. I see this one giving me the most struggles this month.

So there they are five goals.   I can commit to working on them---right? I can do this. I can do this. I will do this. The secret is  too unbearable to share....

What are yours?

Linking this post up with The Tiny Twig today, because she's great.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I want it to MATTER.

I'm like you.

Did you know that? Oh, hopefully you did.  I'm imperfect and flawed.  I'm courageous and scared. I'm hopeful and skeptical. I'm trying my best and I know so are you.

 I'm a mother who loves my kids a crazy insane amount. I don't deserve those boogers. They are a piece of my heart that I didn't know was missing.  I can turn on the sap real quick with the "I didn't know love until they arrived!" "They make me a better person!" Most days they fill me with joy, elation, and frustration in the very same moment.  Gushy mushy mom pride is the best, AMEN?

Their eyes. They look at you each day for guidance. For acceptance. For love. For fruit snacks--always with the fruit snacks. They need me for everything.  I am their safe place, their home, their world.  There is no greater influence in the life of my child than my husband and I.
Guys---that's SCARY.

I know it scares you too.

 Each day is an equal mix of confidence that I'm doing my best and fear that it's not enough--in reality? These pieces of my heart, these children are only *mine* for a few short years. They don't stay little. Wah.

 I was able to attend the Orange Tour Conference  a few weeks ago.  The conference's focus was all about encouraging pastors, ministry workers, small group leaders, and parents that what you do in the life of a child this week matters

Reggie Joiner is a great communicator and leader.  Read his books and if you have an opportunity to hear him speak? Pounce on that. He spoke during several sessions and I found myself clicking away on my phone taking notes like a crazy  woman. As both  a parent of preschoolers and one of the leaders of a preschool ministry at church I found myself nodding my head, smacking my tongue in my best ooooohh girrrrllllll way  and even raising the roof during his sessions. Wish I was kidding about the raise the roof thing---apparently that's not a thing anymore.  Hashtag child of the 90s.

Because we are alike. Because you most likely will have  an impact on a child's life this week. Because you are trying your best. Because you love them like crazy. I'd love to share some of my take aways with you.

  • The only way you can really convince someone you love them is with time.

  • We can't make a kid love God or even believe in Him---but we can create opportunities for them to have impactful relationships with adults who show them what God's love means.

  • The best way for kids to learn how to love God is to love people who love God.

  • Things every child needs to hear from their parents. I love you. I believe in you. I understand. God loves you. I'm sorry. I didn't know that. I made a mistake.

Oh how I want my children to know that a caring God loves them like crazy. He Loves them more than I do. I want them to feel God's grace and know that He has big plans to use them.

I feel a sense of urgency when I think about their future. Do you feel it for your own kids? Or the kids in your circle of influence?  How can we as parents, make what matters---matter more?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The biggest lie I ever told

I ran four miles this week. I have my first race in a little over a month.  I KNOW I can do it.  I can't wait to, actually. This new love for running is so hilarious and backwards for me. Sitting back thinking on one of the biggest lies I ever told goes back to running and my very first race.

I ran track for ONE season in middle school and it was HORRENDOUSLY AWFUL. I have not the slightest clue why I signed up. It probably revolved around the common theme in my life of WISHING I was athletic and failing miserably at it every. time.  Regardless, I was on the track team. We ran after school and I hated ever step I took.  I hated the uniforms. I hated the running. I LOVED the socializing. I loved the thought of getting a ribbon. I LOVED LOVED the thought of getting my name on the announcements the next day for placing. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the idea of being known as Laura---the race winner.

Gearing up for our first official middle school track meet was a mixture of excitement and dread. Excitement for wearing my new running shoes---dread for the actual running part. I was assigned to run the mile. Four laps-------my worst nightmare. I had no idea that you actually had to be really fast to get assigned the awesome race---the 400--the one laper.  The slower kids had to run the mile.

Brushing off the disappointment of not getting the "cake walk" one lap I remember thinking to myself that I COULD run four laps---I'd done it before. It COULD happen. I COULD still win, and get a ribbon, and become famous.

The gun fired-and I was off. slowly. By lap three I was in the back---the last girl.  I was trying and pride was stuck to the bottom of my dirty shoe and I could see my friends crossing the finish line. The only smart thing for me to do was obviously double over in pretend pain and scream out that "I SPRAINED MY ANKLE OHHHHH MMYYYYYYY WORRRRDDDDDDDD"

I faked a sprained ankle. 

Embarrassed. Ashamed. In Pain. and DONE---I fell to the ground and pretended like I couldn't move.  In my 12 year old brain it was 'brilliant' . It was broken. I had a just experienced a  career-ending sprain. Retire my reeboks, coach---A promising career was ended before it could truly start--TRAGIC. The tears were real. It was one of the most miserable moments of my teenage life--that dreaded race. Coaches carried me off the field---and  I believe there were even some claps.

My running career was over and I became the track "manager" the next day thus ending my dreams of ribbons and hearing my name on the school announcements.  A day that was filled with tragedy and  secret joyous relief.

So my race is in a month. It's FOUR AND A HALF MILES.  And this will be the SECOND race I've ever ran in and hopefully the FIRST ONE I ever finish. :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Welcome, friends

Well looky there. Here we are at my new blog. How fun, right?! I'm proud of it. Does that make me nerdy? #yup #whohashtagsinblogs

Shoot, now I'm probably scaring you away. Please don't go. I like that you're here. For those of you that are new, I'm Laura. I've been blogging for over 5 years and this blog has grown and transitioned with me through lots of life's fun stages. When I started publishing my business on the internet I was a young 25 year old mom-to-be who was just following all the cool kids and starting my own blog. Well, come to find out---I REALLY like sharing my business on the internet with strangers and haven't stopped.

I'm now a glowing 30 year old momma and wife to two. Wait. Let me clarify--two kids NOT two husbands #aintnobodygottimefordat . I work part time in children's ministry at my AWESOME church and I loooooove and I mean LOVE working with preschoolers. They are downright ridiculous and amazing all. the. time.  I used to have a handmade business that made accessories, jewelry, and fun headbands. That's probably where I "met" most of you! Heyyy....lillypie friends!

Now??? Well, I still love writing (Although my grammar & punctuation would make most editors and teachers cringe) it's the content I love. I love sharing stories. I'm always up for a chat over caffeine. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. If you have a blog, I'm probably following it.

I recently have been reading one of my new favorite books (are your favorite books always the ones you're currently reading like me?) called Losing Your Marbles. In this book Reggie Joiner says that stories over time give us perspective. True that. The more stories I hear about how the Lord is working in their lives, or helping someone overcome a huge hurdle the more I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that my God is real and that he loves me. Scripture is wonderful---but oftentimes it is a STORY that gets me hooked. A personal story shared with me through a conversation, email, or blog post.

So what if MY story could help others come to know My God?  Sign me up! 

Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. I hope you come by often.

And also---you should know---- ALL stories are great. No matter how simple they may be.

Love, Laura Beth ( new blog, new name, same me)

I walked away from Lillypie in March of last year. Can you believe its already been 7 months?! I knew that it was the right decision because of the flooding of peace I felt when I came to my decision.  I wrote about it HERE if you'd like to read. You know what, I don't miss it. Let me be clear, I DO miss the income. That was such a blessing.  I DO miss the connections and relationships built with my customers. I don't miss the long hours. I don't miss the late nights. and weirdly enough I don't miss the creating.

How can something that defined me for so long not be missed?

The answer is because I've grown as a person. I'm learning to not define myself by hobbies, interests, or even my family. I'm learning to define myself and someone who is LOVED by God and made in his image.

So while Lillypie was ME for 3 years---it's not anymore. I'm so much more.

It's easy to put yourself inside of a find of  "this is who I am."  Did you not spend most of your twenties trying to find out who you were? ohhhh Phewy, I sure did.  I wanted to fit in a mold. I knew I was creative. I knew I was artistic. I knew I was emotion-led. I knew I was outgoing. So by golly I tried to put myself in one of those categories at all times. Looking back I can see how important it was for me to find out WHO I WAS. But now, I feel more of a tug to define myself by   to WHOM I BELONG.

He created me. He knit me. He has a purpose for me----and you know what? That's fricken amazing. He also did that for you. YOU.  Don't allow yourself to be defined by things, character traits, or even people. While amazing and life giving---they aren't the entire you. All those THINGS can be stripped from you in a moment. Ohhhh how that scares me--you too right?!  Ack! Stop thinking about it Laura.

Okay. So with all this thinking I've been doing I've decided to revamp and improve this blog. This blog has always evolved with me. Take a trip down memory lane?

((I've linked these words to my favorite post from that "stage" if you'd like to click back and read my previous posts.))

First it was a pregnancy journal called Oh, Baby
Then it was a mommy blog with the name of  LillyLoves
After a few months I announced my struggles with post partum depression ( that was so scary!) and I changed the name to The Big Cursive L.
I got healthier and really started to be inspired by women around me who were starting their own businesses.
  I had my I CAN DO THIS TOO moment and started to dabble in a handmade business called Lillypie and then changed the name to Lillypie.
The next few years I went back and forth between blogging about my life, handmade business, parenthood, and following pregnancy.

Right now? I'm trying to lose weight. I'm trying to treat my body better. I'm  coming into my own and getting healthy---after years of putting my body through hell and blaming others for my pain.

Lillypie doesn't define who I am anymore so it's time to change again.
I'm changing my blog name for the fourth time to:
  and I'm even changing the url! Throughout my 5 years blogging one thing has remained the same.  These  posts are my thoughts. I'm sharing my ideas, thoughts, stories, and struggles with you----like a letter to a friend.  So while I am not the same person I was five years ago---my purpose for writing is the same. Stories are pretty great. I don't know a soul who doesn't love a good story. The author of mine is pretty great. The Lord is writing a pretty spectacular story through me, Laura Beth.

I'm sharing it with you. I'm so glad you're choosing to listen.  I'd love to swap stories with you.

My new url will be:
My new IG name is ; love_laurabeth
Twitter: love_laurabeth

 Come back Monday and see the new look! :)