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the whole story

It isn’t necessary to know exactly how your ideal life will look; you only have to know what feels better and what feels worse…Begin making choices based on what makes you feel freer and happier, rather than on how you think an ideal life should look. It’s the process of feeling our way toward happiness, not the realization of the Platonic ideal, that creates our best lives.” ~Martha Beck, life coach

I stumbled upon this quote on Angela’s quotes page awhile back, and I filed it away in my memory (and on my computer of course).  It sums up exactly how I feel about my life right now.

Today, I made the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.  I walked into my principal’s office, and I told her that I won’t be teaching again this coming year.

Let’s start from the beginning.

leaving for my first day of student teaching

Three years ago, I timidly walked into a high school English classroom.  I had been assigned to student teach junior PreAp English, and I had absolutely no clue what would lie ahead.  I fought hard that semester and finished with flying colors; I learned so much and grew immensely.  At the end of the semester, the principal interviewed me for a job, and I landed it.  A few days later I turned it down to go on a crazy adventure in Thailand with my husband.

A little over a year ago, I walked into that same high school, the same principal interviewed me yet again, and again I landed the job.  This time I accepted.  I became a high school English teacher.

leaving for my first day of teaching – Olive was not so excited to be losing her stay-at-home-mama:)

The past year has been intimidating, challenging, exciting, emotional, full of doubt, frustrating, rewarding and exhausting.  In all honesty, it has been the hardest year of my life. Teaching myself and then teaching my students all new material of two different subjects, learning the ropes of having my own classroom, putting in hours of overtime and driving two hours everyday to do it left me feeling drained and lifeless most of the time.  Through all of the difficulties there were moments in which I enjoyed being with the students.  I loved interacting with them on a personal level, and I felt rewarded when I knew I had made a connection with them.

While I enjoyed some aspects of teaching, in the end the stress and time involved paired with the commute chipped away at my spirit.  I have not been myself, and I have not been thriving.  I’ve been surviving.  And I don’t want to just survive anymore. I want to pursue my passions, I want to be around more to take care of my home and my family, I want to have energy and life and I want to be able to put more time into my relationships.

leaving for my last day of teaching

I have spent hours into days debating and praying over this decision.  I’ve sought advice from the people who know me and love me the most.  And while I still feel like I left a little piece of myself at that school, I have made the decision to move on.  I’ve decided to put my health and happiness first.  And that makes me feel strong.

So what will I be up to now?

I already have many projects in the works!

If you’ve noticed the ad on my sidebar, you know my husband has his own graphic design business.  He has worked so hard to build and grow, and he has!  His success is such a blessing, but in the last 6 months it has also become a bit overwhelming.  So, that’s where I come in.  I’ll be taking care of the administrative side of our business. I’m extremely excited about this role because our future goals include working alongside each other, perhaps focusing solely on our business at some point in the future.

But that’s not all!  About a week ago I started tutoring an international student, helping him with English conversation and vocabulary.  Mohammad and I have been/will be meeting everyday for an hour, and I will be helping him to improve his English so he can enter into the graduate program at our university. I have enjoyed teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) classes in the past, and I’m looking forward to a possible part-time ESL teaching job (I turned in my application a few days ago), as well as more tutoring opportunities.

Of course I am also stoked about being able to put more time and energy into CSM.  I love my blog – I love to write, especially about healthy living, and I love being a part of the blogging community. I’m excited to be able to focus more on my passion.

I’ve also got a few other exciting possibilities up my sleeve, but I’m not quite ready to spill the beans on those:)  Who knows what may pop up in the coming months?  Honestly, I’m ready for anything.  While I’m scared of the unknown, I’m also so excited at the possibilities that lie ahead.  I hope you will all continue with me as I start this new phase of my life.  There will surely be many bumps and detours, but hopefully many victories as well as I step out in faith, trusting that God has great plans.

So, here’s to another new chapter.

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seeking peace

Good morning!

I missed you guys yesterday.  It’s funny – now that I’m blogging more, if a day goes by that I don’t blog, I feel like something is missing from my day.  I appreciate all of you who come to my little corner of the blog world so much!

This post is going to be a little heavy and maybe not terribly interesting for many of you.  And there won’t be any food pictures (my appetite is MIA anyway) or recipes. But I just wanted to drop in and say hi, and it seems that when I start “writing” my fingers take off and don’t want to stop.

I am in the middle of a very tough decision that I’ve been trying to figure out for several months now.  I know it may be driving you crazy when you read my posts that I am being so secretive about these “projects” I have going on, but it’s a very sensitive issue right now, so I have to still keep the details under wraps for the time being.  I know you all understand.

Throughout the course of this decision process, I have been praying constantly.  I have been seeking out every person who knows and loves me, hoping they will tell me what to do.  Sometimes they do…but it doesn’t solve it for me because I know I have to be the one to decide. I always try to be very genuine on this blog, and right now I have to be honest – I am scared to death. I’m scared of each potential outcome for different reasons, and I think this is part of what makes it so difficult.  A wise friend told me last night that in almost every decision there will be “what if’s.”  Nothing in this life is ever certain, but we still have to move forward, making the best decision we possibly can after considering all the facts.  Then….pursue joy.  Pursue joy and contentment in the situation we’re in.  Sometimes we make the wrong decision, and we have to deal with the consequences, but in the end it will always be okay. We’ll always come out at least having learned something about ourselves and having grown in some way. And every step we take in this life contributes to the person we’re becoming.

In every decision there will always be a path left untraveled…and we may always wonder if that would have been a better path to take.  But the fact is that we have to move forward.  No matter how much I wish for it, life cannot stand still while I debate this for another three months.  In fact, everything has come down to today.  I have to make a decision one way or another…today.  And even though I still don’t completely know what to do, I’m trusting that God is with me either way.

In my time with the Lord this morning I stumbled upon Psalm 91, and it brought me such peace. I have begged God to reveal himself to me by showing me what I should do, and I have felt angry at times because I still don’t feel sure.  But, I suddenly realized that even though God has not given me a direct answer as to what I should do…He wants me to feel peace knowing that no matter which path I choose to take, He will be on it too. He gives me freedom to choose, and as long as I’m loving Him through either decision, He wants me to make the choice.  And He wants me to trust Him and find joy in Him regardless of what decision I make.  He will be beside me for better or for worse.

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  Your will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord , who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will life you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Because he loves me, “says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he ackowledeges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  Wth long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for me that I will trust and feel at peace today.  Once this is all over (hopefully tonight), I’ll be back – and hopefully so will my appetite!

And again, I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful Wednesday!

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it’s the little things

Wow, today was a hot one!  I about passed out on my run this morning…literally!  All’s well that ends well, though, and I pulled through.  It didn’t help that I waited until about 9 am to get out there.  Tomorrow’s goal: get my bootay outta bed early!

Here’s the stats:

distance - 3 miles
time – 29:54 yay!
fastest pace – 7 minute mile – I sprinted it in, hoping to finish in under 30 minutes
average pace – 9:58

Guys, I seriously wanted to quit on this run at about 2.4 miles.  My legs were so tired, and I’m fairly certain I was dehydrated (it was blazing hot and so humid).  I just kept thinking “pain is temporary, pride is forever.”  As silly as that sounds considering this was just a random 3 mile run, it’s the little things you do that add up to big things.  Next time three miles won’t be quite as daunting!

By the time I recovered from the run, I had about 20 minutes ’till I had to be at my hair appointment eek!  I scurried around, guzzling my green monster on my way out the door and made it there about 7 minutes late.  Check out the new ‘do

Riiiight.  So, you’re thinking it looks the exact same.  It’s shorter…you’ll just have to take my word for it;)

After chatting with my mom for a bit, it was time for lunch!

It’s tempeh time!

I heated slices of tempeh in a skillet for just a couple of minutes, toasting a slice of ezekiel bread and whipping up a quick batch of guacamole in the meantime.  I laid a thick layer of guac on my toast, topped by a layer of spinach leaves, with tempeh to finish it all off! Simple!

If you’ve never tried tempeh, you should really give it a go. It’s a great protein source for all of my fellow non-meat eaters.  It’s made out of soybeans and often has seasonings and grains, such as barley added to it.  Even though it’s made from soy as well, tempeh tastes almost nothing like tofu.  And unlike tofu, it has a very textured consistency and nutty flavor.  You can add it to stir fries, soups, sauces or eat it on a sandwich or wrap.  There really are a plethora of possibilites!  It can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores and maybe even your local grocery store.

These cherries were on their last leg, unfortunately.  I even had a to pick through them and end up throwing away several:(  The one thing I hate more than throwing away precious cherries is eating soft ones!  The good ones were still tasty though.

A little lunch time hangin’ out.  Like mother like daughter with the crazy hair!

I spent the afternoon working on these mysterious projects I keep referring to (I promise I’ll be spilling the beans soon)!  I’ve been thinking through a lot of things about my life lately.  I’m currently reading a book about how we should focus on our strenghts in everything we do.

What makes you strong?

Try to think of a strength as different than what you’re used to.  Instead of being something that you’re good at, a strength is something that makes you feel strong when you do it.  What makes you feel alive?  Those are your strengths.

Have you ever felt like somebody wanted you to do something because they thought you were good at it, but it wasn’t something you enjoyed?  It was something that made you feel weak or drained afterwards?  That is not a strength because it doesn’t make you feel stronger.

We should all play to and focus on our strengths as much as possible.  Life is too short to focus on the things that make us feel weak.  Of course we have certain responsibilities that are non-negotiables.  I don’t think anyone would say that cleaning the toilet makes them feel strong and alive.  I’d love to hear about it if that’s you:)

But in every situation possible, we should do everything we can to incorporate those things that make us feel strong.

What are you thoughts about this idea?  Do you think it’s a bunch of hullaballoo (yes, that’s a word;)? Or do you think there’s something to it?

Also, have you ever tried tempeh and did you like it?  What is your favorite protein source aside from meat?

I’m off to go read and then head to bed soon.  I hope you’ve all head a great Monday!

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to nap or not to nap

Is your weekend flying by as quickly as mine?  It seems like it just started and now it’s already mid day on Sunday.

I’m hoping to fit in a short nap today, but I have so much I need to do I’m not sure it’ll happen.  If it’s ever going to happen though, Sunday is the day!  Sometimes it’s hard for me to nap during the day because I feel like time is just passing me by, and I could be using it to do something productive and/or fun!

Unfortunately, our alarm did NOT go off this morning *lame*…so we didn’t make it to Sunday School, but we did manage to get to our 2nd service on time.  We are currently studying 2nd Timothy, which I’m really enjoying because I think there are a lot of practical applications to take away for my daily life.  I love our pastor because he teaches the Bible straight up – verse by verse and passage by passage.  If you’re interested in checking out some really great teaching of the Bible, you can check out the website here.  You can download podcasts of the message each week or just past messages.

After church we headed home for some lunch !  I had quickly gulped down a green monster on the way to church, so my stomach was really talkin’ to me.  Lately, I’ve been just throwing together veggies a lot.  I always vary which veggies I use or the sauce or grain…or something, so it doesn’t get boring.  I love these kind of meals!

Today I stir fried some frozen cauliflower, green beans, spinach and edamame in a skillet.  I then added it to some leftover couscous from the other night and topped it all off with leftover “cheeze” sauce.  It was every bit as delicious left over as it was fresh!

Jonathan also shoved these down my throat a little while ago. uhg

I’m off to do some laundry and work on some projects.  I may also try to squeeze in some yoga a little later.  Or maybe…just maybe I’ll go join this girl

Hope you all have an amaaazinng Sunday!  See ya later

Do you like to take naps on weekends?  Or do you feel like it wastes part of your day?

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sleep, yoga, family and fresh veggies

Hey friends!  Time for me to play major catch up.  I have been MIA all day – today flew by!  Jon and I pulled our usual stunt by falling asleep on the couch last night and waking up at 2 am with cricks in our necks. lol.  Off to bed we went, where our smart little pup was already curled up in a tight little ball fast asleep.  She looked at us like a mother looks at her teenager coming in past curfew.

Because of our late night shenanigans, we slept in until about 10:30.  When I woke up, ma belly was calling for some food!

Peach flavored soy yogurt hiding under raw oats, sliced almonds, dried cranberries and Puffins!  This was my first time to try the peach, and it was a win!  It even had little slivers of peach in it.  Yum!

One of my biggest struggles with going vegan has been giving up Greek yogurt.  I’m a big fan of plain yogurt, and I cannot find plain flavored soy yogurt in our little city:(  Last week I did sneak in a few servings of plain Greek yogurt and it was heaven.  Oh, how I miss it.

After paying some bills and other adult like tasks, we headed to the gym.  I did about 2.5 miles running/walking, but mostly running.  I have currently misplaced my iPod (boo!), so I watched a documentary about conjoined twins, which was rather interesting….and impressive.  It definitely served as a great distraction!

Lunch couldn’t come fast enough after we got home because it was already 2:30!  I threw together a black bean burger pita.

whole wheat pita, hummus, Morningstar black bean burger, spinach, broccoli slaw crunch!, onions, pickles, ground red pepper, tobasco sauce!

Yoga time!

After lunch, I piddled around the house a bit more and finally made it to my yoga mat.  I did this youtube yoga series that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. I really enjoyed this one.  I practiced a couple of poses I’ve never done before + I liked the way she flowed through the poses at a fairly quick pace.  I still have so much to learn, but the more I learn the more I love :) I do have to say that today was nothing like participating in a yoga class, unfortunately.  Oh how I wanted it to be at least almost as good, but it just wasn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, it was worth doing, and I definitely appreciated it for what it was, but it just wasn’t anything compared to being in a live class.  Surprise, surprise, right?

The rest of our night was spent hanging out with these guys again

Ironically, this picture is recycled from last year; however, we did go to Orange Leaf tonight as well.  It looks like somebody was also wearing the same shirt tonight (see below)…I’m not sayin’ any names;) Also, I may or may not have had yogurt the last three days in a row.  *sheepish grin*

We also ate some din din of course.

I stuck with my old favorite – fajita pita with beans instead of meat, hold the sauce, add a side of salsa, steamed veggies instead of fries.  poor waitress:)

The best part about them coming up is that they brought me these

My mom’s husband has a garden and they brought me fresh grown corn and green beans!  I was just ranting to Jon this morning about how we don’t have a very good/extensive farmer’s market or any way to get homegrown veggies, aside from planting our own garden.  Then lo and behold I got my own little delivery.  yay!!  These will definitely be hitting the blog this week.  I’m super stoked!

Sleep, yoga, family and fresh veggies – doesn’t get much better!

I just noticed that some of my favorite meals/snacks have been quite elusive on the blog the last couple of days, so I’ll leave you with some tasty pics!

stir fried cauliflower, spinach, corn, peas in pesto sauce over brown rice – oooh, hot and steamy

smear of pb and sliced banana atop a Van’s whole grain lite waffle…truly blissful.

Friday night cheeseless veggie pizza (x3)

I hope everyone is having a rockin’ weekend!  I’ll see you tomorrow!

Have you ever tried yoga?  Why or why not?  Do you think yoga has to become a lifestyle?  Or do you think it can just be isolated physical activity?

Do you have any “at home” yoga that you love?

I would love to hear your thoughts!!!!

Oh, shoot.  I almost forgot this!  welcome to our home, little mobile :)

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