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This year I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. I have never completed one; I’ve tried and failed. Every single year mine was to lose weight, it was always the number one thing. Usually, I get started and at some point fall off the wagon. Other resolutions I have had are getting organized, maybe this year it would be doing something brave everyday. But like I said, I don’t do them anymore because I believe in changing now, taking each day one at a time, and working on your daily routine to incorporate reading, meditation/prayer, and exercise. It doesn’t work for everyone, and I am no expert, but my routine has definitely changed my life, and trying things and seeing what works has been eye opening.

On January 5, 2015 Mike and I committed to starting Beachbody’s 60 day program Insanity Max 30. Thirty minutes of jumping, kicking, running, mountain climbing, and pushups. I just have to capitalize the word PUSH UPS, Shaun T is an animal and I would get very discouraged doing some of those workouts. I was slow, out of shape, and tired. Does that sound like a way to start? Of course it does. I was going to finish that program no matter what, and that’s just what I did. It was hard, some days I wanted to quit and Mike would say come on only 10 more minutes. And I would try. That’s all I could do. #shauntkickedmyass

Then we started P90x3, a 3-month program and my first time following a Tony Horton program, I learned to love him because I started seeing results. I had never worked with weights and never tried the pull up bar. It was motivating seeing my progress, even if I still can’t do more than 3 pull ups. I still struggled with feeling good throughout my days. My diet wasn’t great, and I was still tired a lot. My diet is one issue I have always had, I go from eating everything in sight, to eating well and feeling so much guilt for eating anything other than whats on the diet.

In June, I made the commitment to try Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix Extreme program. I also became a Beachbody discount coach. One of the best decisions I made, I save money on products and I met some wonderful people with truly inspirational stories. Their passion for helping others to get healthy and know they are enough inspired me to share my story, as scary as it was.

By round 2 of the 21 Day Fix Extreme, I realized I was still fighting to lose inches and staring at myself in the mirror looking at each part of my body and shaming myself. And at some point it hit me. I learned I am beautiful no matter what I look like, I am worthy, I am enough. I can be myself, I can share my silliness, I can dance like a freak, I can ask questions in a group setting, I can speak in front of people, my opinions are valid, I can trust my judgement. I am free.

I don’t believe it was Beachbody alone that changed my view of myself. I know God entered into my heart, and has slowly been revealing himself to me over time. God gave me a purpose, when I felt I had nothing to offer anyone. So I share my heart, my life, my journey with you all because I hope I can help and support others. I am not perfect, I struggle often, I feel alone, and I forget to rely on God. But I try and remember to take care of me, and remember to do the things that help me LIVE my days and be present. I also try to remember its not about ME, which is always hard but trying to help others and gratitude have been a big part of my journey.

One of the biggest changes for me was weight-lifting, Shakeology, and the Beachbody performance line. Before trying shakeology, I always thought its expensive, its just like every other protein shake, etc. But after studying the ingredients I realized I was wrong. It's one of the best meal replacement shakes out there. My energy level has improved, my digestive system functions better, and I am rarely sick. The performance line has been great as well. My muscles are rarely sore and recover quickly and I have not been injured at all. I listen to my body. I remember being terribly sore after some workouts before using the recovery shake.

I have also enjoyed learning about the food I eat, and the food I feed my family. Let me be honest, we used to eat out 3-4 nights a week some weeks. One night would be subway, another chipolte, often Mike and I would order take out after the kids went to bed. I didn't believe I could ever meal plan, or figure it out. I didn't want to make that a priority and I hated myself for not being able to be like other people. I was comparing myself a lot, and feeling a lot of guilt. I am not perfect, I never will be and that’s ok! But I hope and pray to continue a life of health and am grateful for the opportunity to exercise and learning to feed my family.

Your journey doesn’t have to begin in January you can start today! Well, maybe the day after christmas haha! Or maybe the day after that. I can just visualize the cookies and pie leftovers just calling my name daily. haha I have a free Beachbody on-demand group. You receive access to a lot of the Beachbody programs as well as workouts specific for on-demand customers, FREE for 30 days. I made several schedules for you to choose from. One for someone that wants to exercise 3 times a week, and one for someone that wants low impact, and Beachbody has schedules as well. If you are looking for support and accountability this is the group for you.

Mike and I are also starting a Hammer and Chisel group in January. This program is amazing, its 30-40 minute workouts, portion control, 2 trainers, strength training and tough. We are 2 weeks in and the results are awesome. It is a lot of weight lifting. I HATE weight lifting and would never go to a gym and just do weights, but I have learned to enjoy it and embrace it because I know muscle is one important component to a healthy body. So if you are interested in learning more, reach out to either one of us and we’d love to help you.

Also if you would like to join my 21 day fix group and start there, it is one of the best programs I have ever done. It changed my life and helped me to understand food and what my body needs.

Most importantly, I would like to help you succeed. I try to hold people accountable, and I will stay with you every step of the way. No matter where you are in life, I would like to support you in your goals. I believe in you. Everyone is different and has a different journey in health and I realize what one thing works for some doesn’t work for everyone. My hope is to help people break down some barriers in exercise and give up the "diet" mentality and help them to know they are enough and beautiful the way they were made. I appreciate all of your support so much. Some of the transformations I witnessed literally bring me to tears and I feel grateful to have the opportunity to be apart of them. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

My daughter took this photo of me. Somehow she made it blue. I was about to go in and get my tripod and do it myself but then I thought, maybe she would enjoy doing it. And she did.

I had her take this photo because I wanted to remember this time and feeling of developing a project and being way out of my comfort zone. I mentioned I would like to help out decorating with the Ren Craft Market (This Sunday 12-5pm) and somehow that turned into having a table at the market and selling something! Haha. At first I was like no way, I don’t have time, I don’t have a skill, I can’t do it. I need someone to tell me what to do and I’ll help. If they have the vision I can cut paper or do whatever craft they want but I am NOT the visionary. As I was telling myself all of this over and over, I thought NO NO NO… I can do something, come on! I was told they are in need of a children’s toy table. Well there were plenty of ideas running in my head and a lot to figure out and work through, all apart of the creative process. Finally, I realized one thing that was in all of the projects I wanted to do and that was wood.

In this photo I am sanding pieces of wood. These pieces go together in a set to make blocks. They aren’t your perfect wooden blocks, although I would like them to be, instead they are your crazy misshapen wood log blocks and that’s more realistic and more me. So I enlisted the help of my husband and he probably almost chopped his hand off and shot wood in his face a few times but he cut a lot of wood. So sanding is taking a while. But I am enjoying it. Which brings me to my point……………

CREATIVITY!!! This crazy amazing thing I totally neglected for years. It’s scary putting your heart and soul into creating something. Its scary sharing your silly videos you make on Facebook. It’s scary writing a blog, when I was never a writer. I fear failure.

Most people tell themselves they are not creative. They can’t do this or that. And if you are one of those people why is it that you say that? Think about it and be honest with yourself? I believe everyone is creative. You just have to believe in yourself and know that what you create is YOURS and good enough because you are enough. So what if it fails? You made it. You put your heart into it. It might fail but you have to accept that and know that failure doesn’t mean you’re a loser and you will never succeed. Failure means this project didn’t work but you go back you change it or make something else and you try again. You learn from every failure and you grow.

After a lot of soul searching I now realize I AM an artist. Yes I studied art, but I never tell people I’m an artist. Because I didn’t do any art. But I now have this need to create. It’s my way of being seen. It’s my way of sharing. It’s my way of telling my story. It’s my way of being vulnerable. It’s my way of helping others. And to be an artist you don’t have to make art, being an artist is caring about which mailbox you choose to go in front of your house, or building furniture, or creating a system for people to make their lives a little easier. There are so many ways to be creative, it’s not just painting or drawing its everywhere if you open your eyes.

So I made these blocks. I foraged the wood piles for specific sizes and colors. Mike cut them because power tools and I aren’t friends yet. But I have made friends with the sander and have sanded each one. And it’s a process. Like life. The beginning and end are fun but the cutting and sanding that’s the stuff that takes patience and perseverance. You get through it even if your hands are killing you.

So I ask that you open your mind and your heart to your creative side. And know that your thoughts and decisions are worthy and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks of what you do. Do what you feel is right and enjoy. I think these wooden blocks are awesome. I kind of want to keep them for my kids they have already enjoyed them so much. And even if no one buys them I’ll be ok because I did something I was afraid to try. And I took on a challenge I was so scared of. I was courageous and creative and I’ll take that everyday even if I fail. But I hope someone buys them, because all of the proceeds go to Renaissance Church for the elevator fund. And we NEED an elevator. So if you’re feeling like getting your Christmas shopping done early stop by the craft show, there is something for everyone.

Please tell me why? Why must I cry? Anyone remember that youtube video with Rae Dogg. Well it was kind one of my favorites and it came to mind today. It's a silly song yes. But the words why must I cry. What do they mean?

Well for a few months I looked like this. A lot. I didn't leave the house much. I didn't call a friend. I would do the minimum to just get through it. And i numbed all of that pain and emotion and only shed a tear once as they put my grandma's body into the hearse, after her funeral. I never got to say goodbye to her body. I didn't want to. I didn't want to cry. I didn't want to acknowledge that she is gone. I didn't want to feel. And I didn't want to tell anyone. I didn't want any attention, I just wanted to be left alone in my numbness.

How could this happen? After all the therapy, and reading, and work I put into growing and acknowledging the shame I feel everyday. How could I not let myself feel anything?

I shared this picture because it is me. It is the messy, crazy, out of control, overwhelmed, poopy me. The one that takes selfies and scrolls facebook in hopes that something will get done. And then i am worse off than I was and get more upset that I did nothing that day. But this is my life sometimes, and generally I keep it to myself and feel alone about it.

From mid-August to mid-September, I struggled. If you are wondering where I have been and why I have not written, well I was lost. I was wrapped up in myself. My issues. I was so overwhelmed with all of the turmoil in my life I forgot how to feel. I went through the days hiding with a scowl on my face angry at everyone and everything. My husband and I argued every night. I was having a drink every day. I was devouring ice cream like a mad woman. We moved into our first home. My grandma died. And September was a crazy month, I barely had time to sit down.

Its times like this we need to rely on God. But I didn't put God first and forgot so much of what God has taught me. I ran from him. I fell out of my routine, and I started comparing myself and judging others and asking the big question why is all this happening to me. This can happen in an instant, especially when you are inward focused. And when you retreat and isolate and don't talk to someone, it gets worse. You will find other ways to numb your pain. Until you are left broken and empty.

If you don't share your truth with others, there is no one holding you accountable and you have to rely on yourself to get out of the darkness. If your counting on yourself to reset your mind and get out of the pit, I'm sorry to tell you it doesn't work, you can't get yourself out. I tried, I wrote a whole blog post about how to get out of the darkness and reset. I didn't share it, I told myself it was no good. And looking at it now it was raw and real, but missing something.

It lacked a connection with God. I wasn't thinking about God. I hadn't been to church in five weeks. I havent talked to him or thought much about him. But I put on a face and pretended we had a connection. Its kind of easy to pretend, I did it for years. And its easy, once you learn the lingo to say all the right things. But its not easy to truly know or feel connected to God.

Well I'm grateful for this dark time. As hard as it was, it was real and exposed how easy it is to fall. It also allowed me to feel the fullness of god. I went to church and I cried. I cried so much I was embarrassed we were supposed to say hello to our neighbors and I'm like Hi, I'm Carrie, is my mascara running, i've been crying. Literally said those words. A "Carrie" moment. (Someday I'll fill you in on some awkward "Carrie" moments) But this weeping, opened up my heart and mind. It opened my eyes and my ears. It allowed me to reflect on what has been going on and allowed me to experience the holy spirit. After this, I started being vulnerable. And I started to connect and I started to remember all that God has shown me. And that is why we must cry.

So I want to urge you to be honest with yourself. Be honest with your feelings. Be honest with your connection to God and others. Its easy to talk about the weather or my kids school or what I ate for breakfast, but getting real with someone is scary, but helps connect to them and helps them know they are not alone. People need to see YOU, not just the highlight reel of your life on facebook but the honest vulnerable YOU. Most people don't have it all together, they might look like it, and you might be judging them thinking oh they are beautiful and look nice and they don't need to know me or want to know me. But you don't know anything about anyone. So don't assume or judge people but open your eyes and your arms to them. And accept them for who they are and all their brokenness. You could save someones life. I know thats dramatic but seriously, people just write other people off because of their appearance and that is not what Jesus did.

So I urge you to connect with people, share your heart, share your truth and LISTEN to them. Its not about you. But its about them. And always remember God is always there and always giving you, what I like to call, pieces, to the puzzle that is life. And if you listen, if you open your eyes and your heart and actually listen you will see him teaching you, reminding you, and loving you.

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