Tag Archives: happiness

A Little Low Down on Queen MIA

So, I’ve MIA for a while.  Here’s a little update.

Aleksandr graduated from high school.

Go Class of 2010!

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He ate KFC Double Down, which completely enthralled me. 

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And we had a rained out graduation party for him.

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There’s nothing like dancing in the rain. 😉

I made roasted red pepper hummus,

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which I turned it into a vegan pizza using leftover greens

Simply scrumptious!

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And I had a Martin’s Salad for a quick dinner last night.

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My students made a beautiful quilt for me that brought me to tears,

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and I found out a few of my students’ parents are HH, HM readers!  Amazing!

All in all it’s been a very busy, but beautiful couple of weeks!

I will be back tomorrow with more details, plus how I handled my first 5:30 AM run!  😉

Love,

Little Miss MIA 😉

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Modern Day Piaget

(Thanks, Meg, for the witty post title!)

This morning as I got ready, I couldn’t help but smile.  I was as giddy as a school child anticipating a trip to an amusement park.  For today, I got to meet Katie Wood Ray.

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OK, I know some of you are thinking, Who?  And perhaps only teachers can understand the pure jubilation that can be felt by meeting such a master teacher.  She is, as Meg suggested, the modern day Piaget of teaching writing!

She is the reason I began this blog.  She is the reason I succeeded in completing my masters.  She is the kind of teacher and educator I aspire to be!   

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Today I was reminded of how important it is to follow your dreams.  Find what you are passionate about and go for it! 

As a young child, people would ask me, as they do to all small children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I always responded with the same simple statement.  “A teacher.”

Though no one was directly discouraging, I remember my dad gently telling me that teachers don’t make a lot of money.  My aunt, who was a teacher for many years in Alexandria, told me I was pretty much crazy. 

This did not deter me. 

I remember watching my teachers in awe.  They knew so much!  I loved the way their voices sounded.  I loved the way they gave directions and held books as the read.  I loved their neat handwriting and kind words.  I knew I wanted to be one of them. 

And so I am.

I have other passions, also.  I love to write, and though I may not be the best author, I try to do it every day.  This brings me peace and makes me smile.

I love to run and workout.  I may not be the quickest or the strongest, but I try.

I love spending time with family and friends, and would one day love to start a family of my own.

I am so fortunate to be able to say that I am able to follow my passions every single day.  I hope that my happiness and passion is as apparent to others as Katie Wood Ray’s were to me. 

What are you passionate about?  Are you able to do the things that make you happy? 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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March Madness

And by March Madness, I do not mean the basketball tournament (although at times that did play a part).  I’m talking about how insanely busy the month of March has been.

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  This year I don’t think the saying is referring to the weather.  I think it is referring to the month’s activity level!  I started the month off with an Arbonne Party, which was a HUGE success.  I then went out of town  2 weekends in a row: once for a visit to the White House, and once for a Bachelorette Party.  Larry and I both got an awful case of a third grade stomach bug.  I missed three days of work: one for being sick, one for the bachelorette party, and one for a Reading Olympics Competition at school.  There were cookouts and giveaways.  All in all, a very hectic month.

In February, I worked out almost every single day.  I ate healthy, clean and wholesome foods, and I felt wonderful.  This was not the case for March.  I worked out less, and ate a lot more junk than I usually do.  I also did not have enough time to write as much as I wanted.  Because on most days I was rushing, I feel that the quality of my writing also suffered.   

Part of me wants to feel guilty about the pitiful workout schedule I followed and the extra junk I ate.  But that would contradict everything I have said on this blog since I started writing in the middle of January.

Life is not one fluid stream that gently flows in one direction at a constant pace.  It is an ebb and flow.  It can sometimes rush, and it can sometimes flood.  In order to be happy and healthy, we must learn to literally go with the flow.  Life eventually mellows out, and will once again become calm and fluid.

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As March draws to a close, I vow to go with the flow to get back on track.  Since the weather is warming, and all I want to do is spend time outside, I vow to reignite my relationship with running, and to take the dogs for more frequent walks.  I vow to make time to do the things that make me happy like writing and reading.  I vow to be more careful about the foods that I put into my body.  I will not beat myself up over a few slip ups.  I vow to be happy and healthy. 

Come on April, bring those showers!  I’m ready for you (and the May flowers)!

 Goals for April:

  • Up my running mileage
  • Begin a small garden
  • Join a CSA (more on this later!)
  • Increase the frequency and quality of writing on Happy Heart, Happy Mind

How do you handle setbacks and a busy schedule?  Do you have any goals for the upcoming month???

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Q&A and Eat What You May

Since starting this blog I’ve received a lot of questions.  But one question really struck me today, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

One of my BEAUTIFUL co-workers quietly asked me during lunch today, “How do you do it?”

This question struck me, because I don’t feel like I do anything special, or out of the ordinary. 

I am NO angel.Angel

As a matter of fact, yesterday I didn’t work out for the second day in a row, and I gorged myself with a cookie at lunch, two cinnamon squares after work (they  were very small… I swear!), and a piece of Whitman’s chocolate before bed.  Yesterday was a very long, and very indulgent day.

I confess that quite often I have very little self control.  If it is there, I will eat it.  If there are French fries on the menu, I’m ordering them.  And if a student brings me a homemade cupcake for their birthday, 9 times out of 10 I am going to eat it. 

I believe in eating clean 98% of the time, staying active, and living a little!  What is a world without French fries and birthday cupcakes???!!!

If you deprive your body and mind of what it wants, you’ll just want it more and more and more!  You will make yourself miserable!

I have a “happy weight” where my clothes fit their best, where I don’t feel like I have to constantly suck in my gut, and where I feel the most confident.  As soon as my clothes begin to feel snug, or I find myself slouching with a pooch hanging out, I know that I’ve overindulged, and it’s time to readjust my workouts and eating habits. 

However, I find it’s easiest to maintain this happy, healthy weight rather than waiting for it to become a problem so that I then have to drop a few pounds. 

My secret weapon: exercise. 

Not only does exercise make me feel good, but I’ve found that it is the best way to allow myself those indulgences without any negative consequences.  And it almost always makes me feel better. 

Take this evening for example.  I stayed at work until around 5, and I didn’t really feel very well.  My throat has been hurting all week, and I have been feeling super exhausted. 

Sounds like the perfect night to skip a workout and hole up on the couch, right? 

I seriously dreaded working out all the way home, but I knew I had to work out.  The first 5 minutes of any workout are always the hardest for me.  So, I gave myself a five minute punk out card.  If after five minutes, I still didn’t want to work out, I had full “permission” to stop without any guilt.

But guess what?!?!?  I felt great after I got moving and could feel my muscles working and my lungs filling with oxygen.  This is seriously one of the best feelings in the world.  Endorphins are no joke, my friends!

I guess what I am trying to say in this long rambling post is, I know what makes me feel good and I stick to it.  I try not to over think it (although Larry may disagree), and I try to stick to as healthy of a diet as possible so that when I do want to indulge, I can. 

I know I feel best when I eat healthy and exercise.  But this doesn’t mean that I am a saint!  ;) 

So, my advice would be this:

  • Pick what makes you feel good and stick to it!!!  But remember that this is different for everyone.  What makes me happy may make you miserable! 
  • Allow yourself indulgences without guilt.  Life is only as tasty as you make it!

When do you feel your best?  What challenges do you face that prevent you from always feeling your best, and how do you overcome these challenges? 

PS…  I would really love for you to leave comments below!  We can learn so much from one another!  Feel free to share! 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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