health · life · nutrition · wisdom

5 down…10 to go…

 

Okay. So I’m pretty excited here…now granted it was tortoise in nature and everything but an overnight success story, BUT I hit my first target and now I need to share it with someone…and if you’re reading this…congratulations…You are My Someone!

I LOST 5 WHOLE POUNDS

It’s taken 3 dang months of commitment to reverse the damage, but those 5 pounds are not from water weight or starvation, they are real live, behavioral changing, gone for good pounds.  I just have to do this 2 more times to reach my fighting weight! Just 2 more 3 month periods of making small yet consistent changes to drop the 15 that I don’t want to hold onto any longer. You know how it is…if I don’t jump in and stop the crazy train I will turn around and that unwanted 15 becomes an unwanted 20…then 25…then 35…NOOOOOOO.  I know what it feels like to feel good in my skin, and I know how ridiculous I must have sounded when I was at the weight I now desire and I said things like, “Am I fat?”… I now know not to condemn myself or play small when I’m working hard to be the best version of ME. Praise! God has walked me through some muck and stuff to get to this place and PRAISE and PRAISE…I’m thankful.

So…what am I doing?

I bought a scale.

I once burnt a scale. I once threw a scale out with the garbage. I once swore I’d never weigh again. I lied…to you if I told you that, and to myself. I bought a scale because I went to the doctor in January and they weighed me and I decided it might be best for me to know my numbers. I bought a “>Renpho scale off Amazon. It’s fancy and accurate. I downloaded the Renpho app on my phone along with MyFitnessPal and Fitbit. The trifecta of technological accountability at your fingertips. I set my macros and calories and record every morsel of food or drink that enters my body, I  wear my fitbit with a daily step goal that I aim to reach and I weigh on Mondays. Yesterday was Monday. After three months of trying, I look down and lo and behold I was FINALLY down 5 pounds.

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

I’ve taken bits and pieces of all the rules from different weight loss methods and formulated this plan…I call it…

THE 49 YEAR OLD WOMAN WHO MOVED TO LOUISIANA 3 YEARS AGO AND DISCOVERED SHE IN FACT DOES ENJOY FOOD AND EATING AND THIS EATING OFTEN TIMES INCLUDES DRINKING AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT WATER WHILE AT THE SAME TIME WORKING FROM HOME WHICH MEANS GETTING IN HER 10K STEPS IS SOMETIMES A STRUGGLE SO SHE IS FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT FOR LIFE PLAN.

It’s Keto/Macroholics/Mediterranean/Portion Control/Intermittent Fasting/Vegan/Paleo…

And it works.

For me.

The thing that works best for me might not work best for you but all of us know that making conscious, healthy decisions with your food choices added to an effort to move your body more works for EVERYBODY.

I see it this way…In 3 more months I’ll be down another 5 and I’ll high five myself and keep going…and if I keep going…in 6 months I’ll be down another 5 which will mean I’ve met my goal.  I’ll stop and see how I feel and maybe decide to put on a dress or some jeans and stand in front of the mirror and take a good look. I’ll have just turned 50. I’ll be 50 years old standing in front of a mirror wearing a dress or some jeans that I probably bought back when I was in my 40’s…I’ll think about how quickly the last 10 years flew by and with those thoughts will come the thoughts of the things I lost or left behind. I’ll think about Jana like I always do. I’ll say something like, I can’t believe you left me here to get old without you. We were going to be the funniest and most annoying old ladies ever…together. I’ll think about all the losses as well as the gains. I’ll think about the blessings of finding a true and lasting love with someone who makes me feel like I can do or be anything but doesn’t love me an ounce less for still wondering what I want to be when I grow up. I’ll think about being a grandmother and shake my head in disbelief that I was called to this incredible life. I’ll think about Jennifer Aniston.  Jennifer is 2 days older than me and I like to google her and see how she’s doing…I know that when Jennifer, who has access to all the age fighting weapons no matter the cost starts to crumble…we are all going down…I’ll wonder if I live another 50 years and get to be 100 if I’ll get to do and see all that is in my heart to do and see. I’ll probably think about my regrets…for like two seconds…then stop myself and remember that life is too short to think about regrets.

Don’t regret stuff. Just do the next best thing you can do with where you are and what you have…and love others. Yes. Do that.

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faith · family · grace · kids · motherhood · wisdom

sent off with a sandwich and a prayer.

Back to School.

I’m reading all the Facebook posts and seeing all your pictures on Instagram of your baby loves heading back to school in their new uniforms and tennis shoes that have just enough wiggle room…the summer sunshine mixed with pool chlorine no doubt serves as a juvenile cocktail for growth spurts.

“Child. How can the pants you wore 12 weeks ago be three inches too short?!”

Am I lying? No. You know it’s true. Kids sprout in the summer.

A photo is a must. I’m loving all the new ways to document the year…the letter boards declaring their age, grade and a quote…

Annabelle 6, 1st grade. “I like Dora the Explorer and bacon.”

We didn’t have letter boards or Instagram when my girls were little..Let me think what I would have shared for this first day  back picture…

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Paige 8, 3rd grade. I like tweety bird and having my own room.

Laken 5, Kindergarten. I like to pick out my own clothes and this dress is stupid.

Ask my girls about the year I was burning up with a fever on their first day back…I stumble out of my bedroom just as they are preparing to exit the infirmary and insist on a picture. “Wait, girls! Lemme get your picture.” Hunched over in a wrinkled oversized t-shirt and my underwear I capture another “first”. I didn’t want to miss it. I won’t miss it.

That’s what we  do…we snap one photo after another…trying to stop time and freeze moments in squares.

You will blink and it’s Christmas Break.

You will blink again and need to blink real fast to hold back tears as they walk across the stage and close this chapter.

You feed and clothe and teach and nurture your birdies for 18 years then in what seems like a minute they leave home and you have boring couches where the pillows stay in the same place for weeks… The same five loads of repetitive laundry with socks that stick with their partners…Their rooms feel stark and hollow without their personalities and your refrigerator is left with mayonnaise and ketchup that will be tossed before consumed. Where is everyone?! It’s a ghost town up in here.

Empty Nest Syndrome is not something that lasts a scientifically researched set amount of time and then dissipates…no, ENS comes and goes in waves…waves of nostalgia dipped and battered in crocodile tears. Odds are it was brought on by a song, or commercial or seeing another mom loving on her baby. The onset and symptoms may vary but the cure is universal: Hearing that they still need you and watching them build their own nests with some of the love, comfort and care that you desperately tried to teach.

Mama. Daddy.

It goes by fast. It goes by more. than. fast.

Back When It Didn’t Feel So Fast…

School days were hard. Getting them all out the door happy was my personal mission impossible. If all three of them were chipper and satisfied with what they were wearing and how their hair looked, I knew to get right with Jesus…He was on His way. Get right with the Lord! I’m dropping them happy girls off and going back home to curl up in my designated “quiet time” chair with my half-attempted Beth Moore bible study so when He finds me He shall find me faithful.

Can I stop and chase a rabbit for a minute?…Those bible studies. Y’all. I tried so hard to emulate some of the precious women in my church that spoke spiritual discipline into my life. They were all about having a quiet time.  They had comfy chairs in carefully selected corners next to a small table bedecked with a lamp giving off a perfect 60 watt glow. Along with the lamp was a bible, a stack of current books from Lifeway Christian Book Store and a fill in the blank bible study. The chair was accented with a throw in complimentary colors to place in their lap while they sipped coffee, prayed and dug into The Word at 5 am. Girls. I tried. I did. Except I was tired as hell. I blamed my borderline anemia and the dry West Texas winds for my eternal fatigue but the truth was I was tired from all the pressure to be perfect. Jesus and I had an ongoing conversation…like I started praying from the time my feet hit the ground and never said Amen.  I prayed they loved their teachers, made good friends with good values, felt and held onto their worth, felt safe and WERE safe. Like, I would start out strong then find myself saying, hold on…I’ll be back…don’t leave…I’ve just got to see if I can find her other shoe and get them to school on time but I still have some things to say…and ask of You.  I never wanted to raise my kids without Him. It just seemed like I couldn’t measure up. I mixed what was meant to be grace and mercy and my greatest love story with shades of shame, self- defeating talk and a focus on inadequacy. Just as the enemy would have wanted.  I wish I could go back and release Young Mama Gina from the standards I thought I needed to meet.

Now back to the Back to School Blogging…

I cannot recall a time when all three of my girls liked the same thing in their lunches. It was mayonnaise for one, mustard for another and PB&J for the third. Which one hates turkey? Which one wants vanilla pudding?  Crisis Alert: I only have two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos left…someone is getting regular Lay’s…please forgive me.  Dear Lord Jesus…please don’t let her starve today and please help her pass her spelling test on an empty stomach if I fail to pack the provisions necessary in order for her to do so.

But this… THIS tops all of that…

‘Twas the night before a new school year and I called for the customary family meeting. We gathered in the lamplit living room and I began my rhetoric.

“This year will be different. My expectations are higher. Paige you will be in middle school, Laken at Devonian, and Hannah starts kindergarten…This will mean I’ll have 3 kids at 3 different schools. The ONLY way I can pull this off is if we ALL cooperate.”

I then began my well comprised list of To Do’s…

Eat breakfast and brush your teeth before you get dressed. I don’t want toaster strudel icing or toothpaste on your clothes. Eat naked if you have to but DO NOT eat or brush your teeth after you’ve dressed. And you better brush your teeth.

I will not sign ANY papers or check homework in the mornings. I won’t. I mean it. All of this needs to be taken care of the night before or it doesn’t get taken care of…

Speaking of homework…get your homework done before you do anything…like right when you get home. Before you watch Lizzie McGuire…before you jump on the trampoline…They nod in agreement and I carry on…I made sure we would be on our toes this year…like professional ballerinas on pointe. No more lazy up in this house.

I finish my New School Year Dissertation when Paige raises her hand.

Yes Paige?

“Can I say something.”

Of course.

“Can you stop saying crap so much?”

Hello?

The room got oddly quiet and I got uncomfortable…

Yes. Yes, Paige. I…I will stop saying crap.

There I was dropping the law and cultivating a plan for a smooth as butter school year and all my daughter wanted was for me to not say crap?

You could feel the struggle to hold in laughter. It didn’t take long for this stuffy meeting to make some great memories. I love it.

Attempts at perfection are nothing more than catalysts for profanity.

Perfection still makes me say crap.

Good Lawsy…I WISH I could tell you the worst thing I ever did as a mom was illicit a synonym for cow pies upon moments of frustration.

Nope.

My rap sheet is longer than that.

Now Listen.

With all my babies out of school…officially as of last Saturday…Go Hannah and Praise Jesus…I come at you from The Other Side as an encourager of peace and gently ask you to slow down and take it easy. It’s messy sometimes. It’s messy MOST of the times…

Beds won’t get made. Papers won’t get signed. The breakfast of your champions might some days include Teddy Grahams and a Diet Dr. Pepper. Dirty gym clothes found in a backpack on the way to school will fly under the stink radar thanks to a quick spritz of Victoria’s Secret body spray…and brace yourself for this one…retainers will be accidentally thrown in the lunchroom trash can…more than once.

It’s. Okay.

You will one day long for these moments. Moments you will treasure more once they pass, but learning to treasure them now will serve your heart well later.

And when nostalgia comes knocking and you long for the noise and the busy and the days you can’t get back…the days that sometimes made you say doggy doo but also the days that gave you meaning and purpose and crazy beautiful joy…

Something as simple as one of your babies calling to ask for something that they remember as part of the place they called home will remind you that a part of you will forever be with them…

Mom…Can I get your taco soup recipe?

You know you can…

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Stripes must have been the theme this year. Hannah 5, Kindergarten. Gymnastics, Blue’s Clues and honey mustard on everything.  Paige 12, 7th. Volleyball, Choir and Friends.  Laken 9, 4th. Dancing, Even Stevens and American Girl Dolls.

 

 

health · life · marriage · parenting · podcast · wisdom

Podcast Episode 1. Macroholics with Trey & Burgandy Rinker

I did it. I’ve been talking about podcasting for many months now and finally went for it! Nothing fancy and with zero training, but I gotta say…Not Too Shabby For A Start! From the comfort of my closet with a mic clipped to my t-shirt I made a phone call to Trey and Burgandy Rinker to find out more about the program that has changed their world!  If you feel stuck in a rut and you’re looking for some tools to lose some unwanted pounds, tone up, gain muscle, make some lifelong friends and be SUPER encouraged while doing so…listen here

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Are they not the cutest!? Lubbock is seriously full of amazing young families and I know Trey and Burgandy will blend in, as well as stand out!

LIKE WOW.

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burgandyHope you enjoyed this! Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to doll this thing up, load it onto iTunes and be a total girl boss about it…but for now…I’m just me…taking leaps and building my wings on the way down.

Show Notes:

macroholicsnutrition.com

Myfitnesspal.com

To those of you who constantly encourage me in all my happy pursuits, I want to say THANK YOU. I love having you on my team. Us “Creatives” are funny people. We wake up with a new idea almost everyday! We try really hard to fit in the boxes that look safe and consistent but we just never seem to fit. We take risks that sometimes leave us looking a tad silly…then we move on to the next one with childlike enthusiasm. It’s a gamble. But I’ll never stop rolling the dice.

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adoption · family · heritage · life · wisdom

turns out…

You can reference a post titled I Am Romanian if you have any questions about what you’re about to read. A dear dear friend who loves me and my heart read that blog post and sent me a DNA kit to solidify or nullify recent news of my ancestry.

Good friends want you to know what you want to know.

When I received my 23andMe kit, I quickly sent my saliva to the lab then patiently waited a good 5 or 6 weeks. Finally the results are in!

Shockingly, the report does not read, “Your wax technician was right on the money honey. You are indeed Romanian.” She wasn’t exactly right, but she wasn’t completely off. Same region just different stock.

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The report reads:

99.8% European. 62.9% of that being Irish and British.

16% French and German and 1.8% of Scandinavian.

I am not a smidge African or Native American. I am not Asian.

Here’s the really cool part!

Hannah and I decided to take a trip to celebrate her 21st birthday combined with the last year of my 40’s and her college graduation. Without knowing ANY of this we chose Ireland.

I’m going home to my people. My motherland. My roots. 

 

It all makes COMPLETE sense. My early 90’s aspiration to master the River Dance…my affections for Ed Sheeran, James Vincent McMorrow and Enya…how I hate beer but sometimes I try it anyways with perhaps a feeling deep within my bones that I should like beer?! I have BIG LOVE for potatoes in every form. Ask me my favorite childhood cereal. Go ahead. Ask me. Lucky Charms. Of course. Craic! All the signs were there! My freckles…my love of rainbows…and now the story about the red headed young man that showed up at our house when I was a baby asking to “see the baby” makes me wonder…was that him? Did you see me in my dark skin and dark hair and think to yourself…Oh no…that baby is Romanian. I’m Irish. Can’t be mine. See ya! 

Flashback.

The year was 1990. I was substitute teaching a 3rd grade class. I was 21 and 7 months pregnant with Paige. Two boys seated at the back of the class were causing quite a stir with their arguing…I disrupted them and asked what the problem might be.

We are fighting over whether or not you are White or Mexican.

I said I was white and the young hispanic boy looked really upset. Did he just bet his lunch money on my ethnicity? Should I tell them it’s a truce because I’m adopted and they could both be right? Was a Little Debbie oatmeal pie up for grabs under conditions that were not completely factual but speculative?

This was the beginning of me wondering on a deeper level about who I was and what I wanted to be…Right there at Devonian Elementary in Andrews, Texas in a classroom full of 8 and 9 year olds I erased the titles of White Baptist Republican and wanted real answers. I had a baby due in a few weeks. Who am I? What are we? Are we Mexican???

But seriously…

As many of you know I grew up in the church. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesdays, Week long revivals…surely by now I’ve heard EVERY scripture at least once if not more?! Maybe so, but lately I’ve been craving something deeper…richer. Wanting something stronger than all past knowledge and a fresh start with Jesus, in January I made a decision to read through the entire Bible, cover to cover, with intention.

While waiting for my DNA results I read this verse…as if for the first time.

“Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

It stopped me. I read it again. Do you mean my biological parents, God?…. or Jim and Dorothy…my Mother and Daddy? Which one do I honor for this long life in the land?

I sat in my question and let it do what it wanted to do.

I waited on God to give me a heart answer…He did. Boy did He…and I got real with my feelings about my adoption…about my story.  I’ve had an unforgiveness in my heart that needed to be dealt with. Unforgiveness is sneaky people. You might need to dig deep to find it. It’s often buried…buried beneath sad and fear and busy and quests for perfection. Dig deep.

I’ve often been asked if I want to find my biological father. I’ve always said, no. Turns out…I do want to find him.

Not to see if we look alike. Not to ask about other family members or health related questions. Not to ask anything…

I want to find him so he can know he is forgiven.

Dear God, I forgive him. It was all he knew to do at that time and I pray he is well. I may never meet him this side of Heaven but I hope with all my hopes that more than the bloodline we share in our DNA, we share the precious Blood of Jesus. And I love him. Just as Christ does. Thank you for my life. Thank you for every cell that played a part in me being here. Thank you for every hand that cared for me, prayer that was prayed for me, both in and out of the womb. Bless them all. In Jesus Name. Amen.

love gina

Parents of Adopted Children.

If you have an adopted child do them the sweet favor of ordering them a DNA kit. Let them know as much as they can with an open heart and understanding.

Part of knowing your ancestry offers a huge sense of belonging…and a sense of belonging is a huge part of our basic human needs.

Oh…and I almost forgot this important detail…

Gina, based on your genetics, you have a slightly higher than average chance of hating the sound of others chewing.

It’s called misophonia. Hi my name is Gina. I am European and I have misophonia.

The only cure is drinking wine.

 

beauty · grace · kids · life

hymn and her.

A few weeks back several of you got a text from me asking you to pick your 3 favorite old hymns. I had a really special reason for asking! The littlest of my littles has got some mad skills in the art of calligraphy along with a mom that is always dreaming up business ideas…

Say hello to Hymn & Her Prints.

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Hannah will be making original designs of some of our favorite lyrics…

Trust & Obey…

I’ll fly away…

Standing on the Promises…

It is Well…

Good old fashioned hymns melt me! Along with these goodies she is available for personalized prints. Her attention to detail and personal creative edge is truly something!

She is as cute and sweet as she is talented! #mommaproud #mommabrags

You can follow her on instagram at hymnandherprints and you can email her at hymnandherprints@outlook.com for order inquiries.

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We must not hide our talents. Matthew 25:14-30

love gina

 

blogging · grace · life · motherhood · wisdom

let’s go be 49…

IMG_2198For the past few years on my birthday I’ve blogged a recap of the year gone by…this year I asked my Facebook followers to ask me any questions they might have about a prior blog post or anything else they might care to know about me…I got two questions:

What is the greatest lesson I have learned in the past decade and What was my biggest challenge in raising girls…I truthfully without hesitation answered THAT one on the spot…BOYS. Quick and perhaps witty but any mama of girls will say Yes and Amen to that answer.

However…the truth and the biggest challenge I faced in raising my girls was not stinky boys or mean girls…it was not the fighting over who wore my shirt without asking or I can’t believe you left my favorite shoes at a friend’s house. No. It had nothing to do with arguments or mood swings or lack of obedience…

The biggest challenge I faced in raising my girls was loving myself as much as they desperately wanted me to love myself.

My self deprecation was alive and well while at the same time trying to convince all three of them that they were more than braces, a bad haircut or the size of their jeans. I was begging them to recognize how kind and smart and brave and beautiful they were, all the while I was hating my reflection and wishing I were more…more of what? More of anything than what I saw staring back at me.

 

 

If I were looking at 40 year old Gina in the mirror right now I would love her. I would say be nice. I would say get over it. You are not perfect…you never will be. You’ve made some mistakes but you’re still standing. It’s not EVER going to be easy. Life is super unpredictable and totally crazy and you don’t know it but your next few years are going to wreck you more than you could ever wreck yourself. Hold on sister…

So if my greatest challenge in raising my girls is anything like any of you might be facing, here is my suggestion…Stop beating yourself up. In the same way you desire for your daughters to love and accept themselves for who they are…to be authentic and kind…start with being kind to yourself. They don’t need you to be a size 2…they just need you to be you. You are the first face they look for in the audience…in the stands…in the crowd. They need you to be so crazy about yourself that when someone says, “Wow, she looks just like you!” That is a huge compliment.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned in the past decade falls in line with my first answer…I’ve learned that loving myself is not arrogant or to be ignored, but crucial in order for me to give honest love and accept love in return.

Thanks for asking.

This is just the beginning of me…

All the days before today were just training days…

Let’s go be 49,

love gina