Some Closing Captions

Clark is out of town {returning today}. Typically, when he is gone I can’t sleep. So, I stay up way too late wandering the internet in places I really don’t belong. For instance, last night I was scrolling the New Yorker cartoon archives that probably weren’t all that funny, but since I was already up late and all by myself, and I have been with the kids for three days straight ALL BY MYSELF, I thought they were freaking hilarious. Literally, I was *guffawing so loudly, I woke up one of the kids.

I recently listened to a Heritage Radio broadcast that discussed how American society is moving away from expressing it’s individuality with words and instead projecting their identity through visual media {i.e. Pinterest and Instagram, etc.}. If this is true, I thought I would meet you half-way and tie up this month’s healthy living conversation with a few of my favorite late night cartoon captions.

NY down internet
{For my mother who will inevitably ask for the large print edition of this blog post:}
“HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO COOK? THE INTERNET IS DOWN”

NY healthcare card
“CONGRATULATIONS”/”GOOD LUCK WITH THE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM”/”GET WELL”Demitri Martin 2
Mom, is that big enough?

NY Improv night NY not exercise Demetri Martin 1

For real though… that last one had me un. done. Comment on your favorite. {Er don’t, because apparently our generation doesn’t like to talk anymore}.
Okay then. Pin-stagram your fave.

{All hysterical images via The New Yorker and Demetri Martin}

{*guffawing via thesaurus.com… seriously, who says that?}

{Guest Post} with Elizabeth from Bite An Elephant…

We Love You Already{Image via SWG Photography}

Elizabeth is one of my dearest friends and long-time inspirations. She is the Wellness Programs Director at Chick-Fil-A, and she has dedicated her life to motivating others toward better health. I have picked her brain about everything from dairy products to bicycle shorts, so I was thrilled when she agreed to share her thoughts on her first pregnancy, her changing shape, and how she’s embraced the baby bump! She is due in July, and trust me when I say, she looks A-mazing {and she can still outrun me on a 6-miler– baby bump and all… Love you, Liz}. –Salina

Alright ladies, I want to begin with disclaimers so that we are on the same page.

1.    I am sharing simply from my personal experience being 6.5 months pregnant with my first baby.

2.   Every person and every pregnancy is unique.

Health and energy have been very important to me for many years. There is a clear correlation between food and exercise choices and how they affect my health (my ability to do what I want, when I want and not be limited by my own inability) and my energy (the extent that I can invest in people, projects, or opportunities). Naturally, after I found out the wonderful news that my amazing husband, John, and I were going to be parents my mind went to “how do I do this the healthiest way – for the baby and for me?”

Each week my body has been changing, and honestly that has been very difficult to accept. I used to look at pregnant girls and think, “You are so adorable. I am so excited to be in that place someday – fit with a baby bump.” I suppose I never really stopped to think about what it would really feel like to outgrow my clothes, not fit through small spaces like I used to, or to look in the mirror and think “whose body is that?” I am by nature a disciplined person, and I knew how much food I needed in a day to be healthy, and suddenly, I felt like I could eat everything in sight. It took me a few weeks to separate what the baby and I needed from what I wanted to give myself permission to eat.

Have you experienced that?

It doesn’t have to be pregnancy. It could be a hard day at work that ends with, “I had a hard day, I am going to treat myself to some ____”. Or perhaps it was a rough conversation with someone you care about that concludes with, “Some ____ will make me feel better”. Permission to behave in ways we want but we know are not productive can be dangerous. It is sneaky how it works. And I was finding in the first months of pregnancy I wanted to give myself permission to eat another cookie because after all I was growing a life inside me. What is bazaar is the reality that of all times this is the most important time for me to make wise decisions. A perspective shift was required to move from “I deserve” permissions to “what is the best choice right now?” wisdom.

jonlaurenmaternity_0012{Image via Love the Schultzes Photography}

Regarding exercise, I was thankful that the CDC had a statement regarding exercise during pregnancy – in my own words, if you did it before getting pregnant you can do it now, unless you feel pain–great motivation to be in our best shape before getting pregnant! My personal motto became “do what I can, as much as I can”. I am thankful I was able to run until about 24 weeks along. Now it looks like, thanks to a nice sharp pain in my hip, walking and cycling on the stationary bike is going to be the wise choice. I know that my decisions to exercise will help this little guy be the healthiest he can be. It will provide for a better delivery, and it will allow me to be my very best after he is born. As he grows up I want to be playing catch with him in the yard, not playing catch up with myself for poor decisions that I made while I was pregnant.

Striped bump 1{Image via Meghan Rickard Photography}

Each story is different, but the principles that I have learned in the process may relate to you:

  • Consider this season as precious and unique, and recognize that a growing tummy means a healthy baby.
  • Separate what we need to eat from what we want to give ourselves permission to eat, and moment by moment ask “what is the best choice I can make right now?”
  • Exercise every way you can (without pain and only if you did it before you were pregnant), as often as you can. (It will only get more challenging to move around)

So, no matter season of life, what would life look like for you if you knew you were living as the best version of yourself?
How would your confidence, energy, and even relationships look and feel different?

{You can follow Elizabeth at Bite An Elephant— a website that encourages readers to dream big and take action on those dreams every day!}

What Do Your Dreams Say About You?

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I am completely overwhelmed by the encouragement and support that flooded my phone, email, and comments after yesterday’s moving post. It helps tremendously to hear your “hang in there”{s}. Moving is not the end of the world, but have you ever felt like you simply do not have what it takes to carry out the task at hand? This feels like one of those dreams where you are being chased by a psyche ward patient waving a spork down the interstate and you are trying to run away but you have shake weights strapped to your ankles and you can’t escape. {You’ve never had that dream?}

Speaking of dreams… do you believe in dream interpretation? According to the Dream Mood Dictionary, our most bizarre dreams can reveal things about ourselves we may have otherwise ignored. For instance, “chase dreams” stem from feelings of anxiety in your waking life.

{Gosh, you think?}

What is the most bizarre dream you have ever had?

{Image via push-pins tumblr}

Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain

Kennesaw mountain trail

My friend, Elizabeth {rockin’ guest post from her coming to you later this month} recently reviewed an article in Forbes Magazine entitled 14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends. I may not be a C.E.O., but I am a M.O.M. and by the time Saturday comes around, I am just as in need of some refueling as a Fortune 500 exec.

My go-to activity of choice is distance running, but as our family’s schedule gets more packed during the week, I have found myself cramming in my weekly miles either before or after Clark goes to work. I am not a fan of cramming since the whole idea behind distance running is to get out of my head and re-energize, and I loathe the feeling of being under the gun. Recently, I rearranged my routine to save the bulk of my mileage for the weekend. Now, I have something to look forward to during the week. When the kids {and the husband} go down for a nap on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, I plug in a few podcasts and hit the mountain trails. {Although this past weekend, I let my curiosity get the better of me and I disobeyed one of those barred entrances. I ended up a half-mile off course booking it through waist-high weeds for fear that I would be bitten, stung, or mauled before I resumed the straight and narrow– oops}.

When I am on the mountain {and abiding by the recreation rules}, it is the only time during any given week that I am not thinking about laundry or unanswered voice mails. It is quite simply a sweet slice of time and space to discard the stress that  has me by the throat the rest of the week. I barely get phone reception out there, so I am quite literally “unplugged”. It is glorious, and I am more ready to face the demands of the week ahead.

How about you? How do you recharge your batteries on the weekends?

{Photo by Colin Athens}

Weekend Recovery Quote

running print quote

…yesterday’s 10-mile trail run mantra. However, if you need me at any point today, I will most likely be recovering… on the couch.

Happy Monday!

Embrace Your Pace

0ec12310abd27d23c4db6f9304cb4f08{Image via Francesca Fazio’s Pinterest page}

Yesterday, I listened to a radio podcast entitled “At the Pace of What’s Real” by writer, Grace Bonney. In light of a recent stress-induced health scare, Bonney discusses the importance of finding personal balance by being “present”, or as I like to call it, “embracing your pace”. I am faster-paced by nature. I like activity and busy-ness. Like most women, I thrive in multi-tasking, but often at the cost of being fully present in the moment at hand. I find myself checking emails while I should be reading to one of my kids or working on a project at night during the precious few hours I have alone with Clark. Grace specifically challenges small business owners to hone the present by engaging in the current task in order to maintain productive and focussed work. But I think her message applies to women whether they are in the work force and/or stay at home. The full podcast is a worthy listen, but here are a few notes that I found particularly insightful. Grace says, “If we are not 100% present… our work suffers.” So, how do we stay engaged in the present routine of building a successful career or a successful family? Here’s what she suggests:

  • Imagine being “new” at your work. What were some of the emotions you felt as a new employee? a new wife? a new mother? Enthusiasm, willingness, creativity, gratitude, vision… The wonder of a new assignment so easily fades over time, but if you can access that “newness” once again, let it be a reminder that you are getting to do what you love.

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  • Make room for spontaneity. What inspires you? Books, documentaries, outdoor sports, hobbies, art, music….So often I have to pull the plug on a plan for the day in order to take time to re-inspire myself. If I am better connected with the parts of myself that are living fully, I will have a better chance of staying engaged in present tasks and opportunities.

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  • Be curious. Remain a student of your spouse, your kids, your craft… yourSELF.
  • Appreciate the small stuff. Engaging in the most tedious of work-related tasks {admin., maintenance, planning, etc.} gives you a holistic awareness of your work, therefore, don’t resent it.

Can I take some artistic liberty to add one of my own?

  • Embrace your limitations.  This one is personally the hardest for me. Staying present requires saying “no”… a lot. Personal interests and opportunities, even some really great ones, come knocking at my door everyday, and I find myself wanting to do it all. But, I am learning to accept that the race can do with one less runner. The stage can do with one less singer. Twitter can do with one less tweet. But my kids only get one Mommy. My husband only gets one wife.  The sooner I can accept that, the better chance I will have of living fully in my current circumstances. Everything else will just have to wait. 

This awareness has been extremely eye-opening for me. I’m still chewing on it actually, and I was hoping that we could help each other to really get this. How do you maintain a healthy balance by being “present”?

{Images via Rebecca Zeller Photography}

Color Me Happy

Shelby: “My colors are blush and bashful”.
M”Lynn: “Her colors are pink and pink.”
— Steel Magnolias

According to environmental psychologists, the colors with which we surround ourselves really do have a dramatic effect on our moods, emotions, and overall wellness. It is called chromotherapy {or color therapy}. Being a color-lover myself, I feel better already knowing that a few extra jewel tones and some bright accents might be just what the doctor ordered!

DS purple

Purple is ideal for meditation, inspiration and intuition.

DS Blue

Blue has a more calming effect.

DS Red

Red is energizing and revitalizing.

DS Green

Green helps to soothe, balance, and restore.

DS Orange

Orange promotes happiness, warmth and creativity.

How about you? What is your “signature color”?

{All images via Design*Sponge}

Twenty-Year Survival Plan

It's Going to Be OK print{Image via Bear Robot’s Etsy shop}

…that’s what Jennifer prescribed during our last session. Part of me wished I has misunderstood and she really had said milligrams, but no. She said Clark and I needed to put together our twenty-year survival plan for raising a child with Autism.

I have practiced a few Nervous Breakdown Prevention Methods over recent months, but I have learned the hard way that when the going gets tough, the tough to to Jennifer’s couch. At first I sounded like one of those drug commercials that rattle off the list of depression symptoms right before the narrator speeds up the wpm to that of an auctioneer spouting a string of worse-er drug side effects like blindness, leprosy, and/or the sudden urge to hit the casinos. I told her that I was crying a lot, having trouble sleeping, and that my dream/fantasy life sounded more like a story line for a new Cemetery Dance novel. If she and I didn’t have such an extensive history, she might have reached for her prescription pad. But she knows me. She said that in her professional opinion, she’s quite certain that I am not depressed as much as I am still grieving to which I respectfully replied, “Don’t give me that to-MAY-to/to-MAH-to psyhcho-babble. Give me the MEDS!”

So, what does a twenty-year survival plan look like? I’ll tell you what. Whoever figures it out first will let the other know. Deal? Deal.

What’s Under the Hood?

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Do you see a therapist? For years, I thought that admitting to seeing a therapist was like admitting to still being in possession of a Creed record. There’s just some things that are better kept to oneself. I can’t remember who said it {it was no doubt someone older and wiser}, but while we are discussing the topic of healthy living, we can’t neglect our mental health now can we?

We take our cars for a tune up every 50,000 miles, so why not take our psyches?
my Mystery Sage

This philosophy set me free in my early 20’s and as a result, I have seen the same therapist periodically for the past 9 years. I hate dating shrinks, so when I found Jennifer, I vowed ’til death do us part. I have unloaded my single, pre-marital, marital, and postpartum {Heaven, help us mamas} baggage on her couch for nearly a decade. When we moved out of state, I even scheduled Skype sessions with her. As if that isn’t enough of a window into my neuroses, we have a “therapy” line item in the budget right under Live Shows and the Eye Doctor. We take our mental health pretty seriously around the Beasley household. But in all seriousness, these occasional “tune ups” have made all the difference at some pretty critical junctures in our family’s life. I paid a visit to Jennifer as recently as last month {more to come on that later}, and the mind readjustment has once again proven beneficial.

What about you? Have you hugged your shrink lately?

April Giveaway

4a774029380dc738843e067b8861e605{Image via No Minimalist Here}

This is the way that I start most of my weeks… with a big, fat, blank menu that I scramble to fill before someone asks inevitable question, “What’s for dinner?” Then all of my anxieties start to spill over because A. I don’t have a plan. B. If I have a plan, it too closely resembles the last plan that I planned and C. Why can’t I have a planner do my planning for me?! The dinner hour looms, the kids grow hungry fangs, and next thing I know, I am pulling into the nearest drive-thru confession booth behind all of the other plan-less parents trading my procrastination for some sanity with a side of fries. Is it just me, or does the planning, coupon-matching, shopping, and cooking make you want to curl up in the fetal position under a booth at the nearest Wendy’s?

And then God said, “Let there be eMeals“!

emeals how it works

For our healthy living focus this month, eMeals is offering one lucky reader a free three-month subscription to the meal plan of their choice. To enter, follow eMeals on Facebook and leave a *comment below that includes your eating style from one of the following plan options:

  • Classic Meals
  • Clean Eating
  • Simple Gourmet
  • Paleo
  • Low Carb
  • Low Fat
  • Portion Control
  • Natural & Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian

*For extra entries, update your Facebook and Twitter status with a link to this giveaway and comment back here. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday!

Good luck and breathe easy!

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