perspective

Are you Broken?

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On any given day we are all a little broken. It could be a simple hangnail type of broken, a big breakup type of broken or anything in between.

Some days we break a little, like a small crack in your cell phone. Some days we seem to be broken in a million and one pieces like the shattering of a mirror. Fortunately for us, there are bandaids for little boo boos, bandages and Advil for bigger cuts and bruises and then there is always the gym, counselors and good friends to help you when the heavy kind of broken happens. Loss of a loved one, divorce, mental breakdown, financial losses can all leave one broken which is just part of life but we all need to find coping mechanisms to deal with brokenness.

Remember, everyone can break. It’s not a sign of weakness. One can break at 2 years old resulting in a tantrum. One can break in their teens when social struggles hit hard. One can break as an adult for many reasons and the elderly can even break. Caring for an aging family member takes a big toll on people but many don’t talk openly about it. Being broken offers an opportunity to realize change is needed.

I’m sure we all wish we could sprinkle pixie dust on our brokenness and it all just goes away.  In reality, it’s not that simple. It takes strength, wisdom, encouragement, time and perseverance to realign with what’s important and needed to move ahead when brokenness hits us.

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(photo by @ahborson)

One may find hope with Jesus and the church. Another may exit a bad relationship and find peace in forging ahead alone. Another may readjust financially to a setback with counseling or help from a friend. In each scenario options are visible. Taking a step may be hard but if a step is never taken one will never move forward and may be burdened with sadness and sorrow from the brokenness.

I describe brokenness to my kids as we all have an emptiness inside of us.  And some of that comes from the broken places that we all seem to collect throughout life…  Seeing that things aren’t perfect. Accidents happen with awful consequences.  Humans are messy and flawed. People let us down or fail us. We lose someone we care about, for whatever reason. Each of these leaves us cracked, spilling, a little emptier.

It’s up to each of us what we fill those broken spots with.  Will it be productive or destructive? Some will fill that emptiness with substances, addiction.  Some will fill it with meditation, yoga, religion. Some will fill it with giving.  Some with an empty kind of busy-ness. Some with hopelessness or detachment. Some may write their way through grief to a deeper understanding of themselves. Some will fill their lives with new or deeper relationships, reflection, and a true attempt to find joy in the brokenness.  We each choose how we fill those cracks, whether we choose carefully or consciously or now.  We choose how we mend ourselves and even others.

I read about the Japanese art of Kintsugi. It’s the centuries-old practice of repairing broken ceramic pieces with gold…in this tradition, the cracked and repaired spots are not blemishes, but make the piece more beautiful and unique.  It’s a powerful metaphor for our broken human life. Our cracks don’t mean we are useless. Instead, they are part of what make us precious and ultimately more valuable.

I am broken. I have repaired cracks in my life journey and I have many stage one cracks in my life now. I am content with my brokenness. Life is not perfect and neither am I. I grow through my life lessons. I wander. I encourage. I challenge. I test fate and when I do I risk it all. The risk could be emotional. The risk could be financial. The risk could be unknown.

If I lived in a bubble could I still break? Yes, of course. I can however control my attitude when I start each day. I can manage my emotions when times are tough and I can fuel my body with health and fitness regimens that help me stay the course. It’s all in the mindset.

It may be hard to share, but I find that when I am brave enough to share my broken, I often also get the chance to be closer to people.  So often, others are suffering in ways we don’t know or can’t see, even refuse to see.  If we take a risk, make ourselves vulnerable, show our tender spots to a trusted friend, we will often learn we are much less alone in our broken. Many are fighting battles we can’t imagine, and often they feel they are fighting them alone. The cracks are opportunities to shine a light on others and share a light in what can be a very dark time. Be the light and share your broken.  Be the gold that fills another and reflects their unique beauty.

Be the gold that fills the cracks. Your gold may melt different than mine but it doesn’t decline in value. Gold is precious just like you and me.

If you thought this post was meaningful, please share it. Share the words that speak to you. I know there are some keys phrases in this post that make me smile and work towards being a better person. I am always filling my cracks with gold and trying to help others find their gold to fill their cracks as well.

 

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(photo by @svklimkin)
fitness and nutrition

3 am Nachos

I sure do love nachos. Well they are not my favorite food but if I have a craving for nachos I definitely want to devour them.

I prefer nachos piled high. Lots of gooey cheese. Some onions. Maybe some peppers. For meat I favor fajita chicken but I wouldn’t say no to beef as in taco meat or some nice fresh shrimp. Diced tomatoes sprinkled on top. A sprinkle of shredded lettuce. Topped with avocado for a bonus. Black beans are a bonus too. I can tolerate a small amount of jalapeños but I would probably just go without. I’m sure I’m missing some topping but if I write any more of a description here it might just make me crazy.

I think I just described a mountain high pile of my dream nachos that should have my name on it. You see I was going to eat those nachos as a celebratory meal after my 5 kickass weeks in the CrossFit OPEN.

As fate would have it, the Mexican restaurant I went to was full. No bueno for me. No nachos. No oooey gooey cheese. Talk about a major let down. I moved on for sure, I lived another day or so.

Then Monday hit and I realized I’m back on my macro counting food plan. The macros that are limited to keep me on track with my health and fitness goals. So you wonder what that has to do with nachos, right? EVERYTHING!

Nachos are not your friend. Chips are not your friend. Beans are full of carbs. Cheese is okay but the oooey, goooey kind and quantity I refer to is just off limits. Nachos do not fit in my macros and I can’t have a cheat day on the first day of macro counting. Grrrrrr……

3am hits and I awake from a damn dream. A nacho dream. That’s it folks a dream about nachos and how I missed my chance at nachos last Friday. Then the dream became a nightmare when I realized I have some plans coming up that entail visits to my local Mexican eateries. Ugh, this is a real world issue.

Does anyone else have a nacho issue? I guess I am going to have to find a healthier version of nachos to fuel my desires for now and exercise my restraint and discipline. I will be digging deep to my core on this one.

Can you believe I woke at 3am because of nachos and actually wrote a blog about it? I sure did because it helped me defer and deflect my desire to eat those nachos. It may be a temporary win but it’s a win nonetheless.

Nachos are not a friend of this Chick. And I’m pretty sure my nachos are my counterpart’s tacos. Hehehehe, maybe she will write about her taco dreams one day. And for this girl, it will be a protein shake for breakfast possibly. No pancakes. No nachos. No surprise here.

I hope that I made you hungry for some yummy Mexican food. Remember there are some options that can be macro friendly when you eat out at Mexican but tacos, nachos, chips and margaritas are probably not on the list. And of course all of those are on my list of faves.

I am going to go back to bed now and hope for a dream of rainbows and unicorns or anything non-food related so I don’t wake up again hangry. Or I can celebrate my shoe addiction and the fact that I’ll be lacing up my brand new shiny pink, white and black Nike Metcon 4xds in a just a few short hours. Defer, defer, deflect those nachos. Moving on to my shoe addiction which I will have to save for another post.

I bet you never thought or expected my post-OPEN post to be about nachos. Since I am not your typical chick, nachos it is. My content is real. My content relates to my experiences, my relationships, my opinions, my adventures and of course my challenges and celebrations.

Enjoy my ride. Some days will be full of sunshine while others may be darker in nature. That’s why it’s called life. And what is life without temptation. Today’s temptation came in the form of nachos. I overcame this temptation and a few other speed bumps in the past 24 hours. 

Nighty, night or rise and grind peeps. Its technically Taco Tuesday and I may have just inadvertently annoyed my writing partner with this food post or maybe even you. Be sure to tag a friend today in honor of Temptation Tuesday. Instead of spreading joy today, I’m spreading nacho/taco dreams!

What could be a better way to start your Tuesday?

dare to be different

Spreading Our Story – We Need Your Votes!

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We’ve entered the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest!

Check out our entry here at 2 Chicks and a Pen. 

It has been a year of growth for us.  We’ve expanded our audience and the ways we tell our stories.  Check out our new video to see how we’ve evolved.

Big things are on the horizon for the 2 Chicks. What’s next? Our #1095Days project is taking shape.  The first book is due out in early 2020.

Please vote for 2 Chicks and a Pen – with your support, we can reach further and inspire more!

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fitness and nutrition

The Difference Between Simple and Easy

I hit another milestone number on the scale today.

Today I weigh the same as I did when I got married.  Just shy of seventeen years later.  I am sure my weight went straight up just after the wedding, and I haven’t seen this number since.

Is my body the same?  No. Pregnancy and many other things have happened since then, not to mention just a lot of time being very overweight which leaves its mark.  But I’m working on shaping this body into the best it can be right now.

This was also the weight I randomly put into myfitnesspal when I started tracking last year.  I had to choose something, and 185 seemed good enough.  I don’t really know if I ever thought I would get there. Goals are not my strong point.

This week I’ll think about a new number and other goals.  I’ll try to be more mindful about it. But in the mean time…a quick reflection on one thing I have noticed lately.

As I’ve gotten further into tracking, my eating has gotten simpler and simpler.  My shopping list has gotten shorter and shorter.

Basically, most weeks look like this:

-Chicken (lots – ground / boneless skinless breast / tenderloins / rotisserie)

-Lean ground beef

-Vegetables for roasting (butternut squash, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onion, etc.)

-Yogurt – low to no fat, high protein

-Creamer

-Lowfat Cheese

-Sparkling water

-Then, if I need to replenish: extra thin corn tortillas, garlic & seasoning, carbs like PopCorners or Captain Crunch (yes, you read that right!), Fairlife milk,  protein shakes Yasso bars, etc. These are more accessories than essentials.

Sunday morning meal prep starts with roasting a huge pan of vegetables (see above).  I make my Mike Nuggets for my whole week’s lunches. Then I make one or two other varieties of chicken – crock pot fajitas, Mason’s Naked Tenders (great for the girl who chronically overcooks chicken), etc.  I also cook some ground beef to season as needed.

Most dinners during the week are just measuring and assembling these building blocks.  Veggies, meat, maybe some cheese if it works with my numbers (although my numbers are pretty much the same each day when I get to dinner, unless I am super hungry in the afternoon and have half an ace bar.) Nothing too fancy.  If I go out I have Chick-fil-a or Zoe’s Kitchen or an omelet with veggies and wheat toast, butter on the side.  End of story, most of the time.

Is it simple?  Yes.

Is it easy? No.

Simple and easy are very different things, I’m realizing.  I used to think they were synonymous.

Simple is keeping the moving parts minimal.  Staying in a routine.  Welcoming boredom, even.  Leaving little room to think about it. Deciding to stick with the plan.

Easy is more about effort and choice, I think.  I still pack my same breakfasts and lunches every. single. day.  Simple.  But, it would be easy to hit the drive-thru on the way to work. It would be easy to indulge in the staggering amount of food – mostly fat and carbs – I am offered working at my school in a given week, and have to resist.  (Someday I will blog about that.)  It would be easy to take it slow on Sunday mornings instead of cranking up the oven and meal-prepping like mad. It would be easy to drive-thru (again) in one of the hundred restaurants I pass when I am hungry on my way home. It would be easy to grab a beer when I am stressed or frustrated or anxious. It would be easy to sleep in or skip the gym when I have it scheduled but I’m tired.

All these things are easy but, ultimately, they make life more complicated. They distract me from my goals.

Will doing what’s simple most of the time ever come easy?  I have to think so. I am getting closer to seeing food as fuel and not entertainment or comfort. The gym is hard for me to resist unless I simply cannot make it.  Still, I am not always successful at resisting what is easy.  Sometimes I give in and just do what’s right in front of me, even if it goes against what I am trying to accomplish in the long run.  But I am working on it. Until then, I’ll simply choose the harder path as often as I can.  And set a new goal to shoot for, so I can earn my confetti again.

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fitness and nutrition, hustle

What’s Around the Corner?

My birthday for starters! Just a few more days and I’m officially the big 4-7! I should be older and wiser but I feel younger and bulletproof on most days. It’s ironic that I feel my best years are in front of me for so many reasons.

I’m not expecting any big birthday gifts as that is not what my day, week or month is about. It’s about celebrating where I am now, what my life experiences have been about, and what’s around the corner.

What’s around the corner is the best part. It’s a surprise! It’s like a new gift each day, each week. You make the adventure. You are the key ingredient. Just you!

I will be starting my birthday week the same way I have for the past three years. In the OPEN. The Crossfit OPEN.

This is an adventure in itself. I get to pull the measuring stick out to see how my fitness measures up those around the world in my age category. Some workouts I may lift more, while others I get the reality confirmation that I need to put more work in to master a skill.

Body weight movements are harder for me than loading up a bar and pushing. Running I can tolerate but it’s not my best performance. The OPEN is designed with diversity and depth in mind. Workouts are challenging and designed to test limits. Sometimes you are stalled at rep one. Do you fight for that one rep or do you quit? That’s a mental game. Maybe it’s balls to a target and your legs are burnt out. Can you push through fatigue? These are just a few examples of the OPEN. Mental and physical challenges. Can you endure? What a test that can be applied to so many life situations. Can you endure all that life throws at you? Can you push through the fatigue? Do you have the mental strength to level up in life?

Why the OPEN? For me, it’s a great health check. One, can I do it? Two, am I improving each year? Three, it’s part of my story. This list could go on and on. The point is, the OPEN is here and I have trained six days a week for the chance to participate. I have focused on my training and my eating to make my body ready to perform the best it can. I won’t be at the top of the leaderboard but I will be at the top of my game for this fabulous 4-7 year old mom. Thick thighs, sharp mind and positive attitude in tow. A bonus this year is that I get to experience the OPEN with oldest son, building upon the value of the event. He has snubbed CrossFit for years but finally took the plunge last November and hasn’t looked back.

I am also grateful to compete in the open with some fabulous fabulous ladies at my gym. Some are new this year while others been around a while. We have been practicing extra weights and trying to perfect movements and challenge ourselves. It’s been a fun road to the OPEN with my girls. Some are even just getting the confidence to compete and check their progress because it’s scary to hold yourself accountable. But, we build each other up. We cheer for each other. We push each other. We celebrate the successes and we laugh at the failures or roadblocks. It happens just like life happens. And sometimes we say “but did you die?” If you can answer, then you endured.

Making memories is easy. Living large is fun. Conquering the unknown or unexpected is my fuel to life. I am harnessing my self power this week, this year and I am cataloging most of it in this blog and the rest will be unveiled in a book project that is underway.

What do you want to be known for? I want to be known for my individuality, my kind spirit, my smile, my ability to empower others and my perseverance. I try to live and breathe this mantra daily. This is why my best years are ahead of me. I know me and I show me to others. Nobody defines me. Nobody decides for me. Just me!

Stay tuned, people. It’s OPEN season. There will soon be some pics posted as a visual representation of my efforts. Let’s see how I measure up to myself this year and compare to years past.

The OPEN is public information. Follow along if you are curious. People compete in the OPEN worldwide. If you are reading this, invest in yourself and compete this year. Not a CrossFitter? Not an excuse. Follow the OPEN online and scale a workout to get yourself started. A walk. Some sit-ups. A pushup challenge. A bike distance over five weeks. Get up and get moving. You can give me a virtual birthday gift this year by starting a journey to a fitter version of you.

Celebrate the OPEN your way. A fit life is a fabulous life, I promise.

As a closing note, the significance of the lone picture above in this post has so many hidden meanings. One, my coach Alex took it mid-workout. He captured my strength in a way I never see it. All the way down to my breathing. He caught me in a mind battle with myself: should I drop the weight in round 5, or should I suck it up and forge ahead? I was finishing last in this workout not by design but it does turn out as a testimony to one of my recent blogs about finishing last.

I was last because I challenged myself to lift a 53-pound kettle bell 120 times over my head. I had never used a #53 in a workout, let alone for 120 reps. The list could go on but the moral of the story is I did it. I conquered this movement and the other movements as well. 44 minutes later but I did it and I had fellow gym-mates supporting me along the way. One of the big benefits of CrossFitting is the community. Check out the pic below so you can see what my six rounds looked like. Thanks to coach Alex for the inspiration and push that Saturday.

 

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Challenge Myself to be Last!

So this morning my workout buddy “JB” challenged me to be last. What does that mean? I strive to be first (or top five at least) every time out of the gate even if it’s not really attainable. I have the top of the pack mindset in most every task I take on.

He said push yourself! If you are finishing too quickly every time you are not pushing yourself. Challenge yourself to be last all of 2019. More weight. Harder movements. No sandbagging.

Challenge accepted, my friend. No excuses. Put up or shut up. Enough said. I’m a take action kind of girl so I will accept the task at hand. In return expect to hear the Mouth of the South pushing you back. Out of affection, of course.

Anyone else want to finish last with me? It’s the new first place because I’m challenging myself to go harder.

Short but sweet Monday motivation for you! Everyone needs a JB in their life to notice when you are coasting. Complacency can get the best of anyone at anytime. It will sneak up on you. But guess what? If you have a good support system around you, personally and professionally, you will be one of the few who keeps forging ahead. When you find the JB in your life, cherish it. Embrace the uncomfortable feeling that person gives you.

Then pass it on. If you are lucky enough to have the person to push you, push another. Maybe not off the ledge, but give a motivational push. Today. Tomorrow. And the next day.

That person may hear you but not react on the first occasion. It may take more than once. It may even take 6-12 months. Trust me I know somebody in that category who is slaying it today and passing on the motivation now but never really saw themselves as having that power.

Everyone has the power to positively impact others. It’s Monday peeps. Slay all day.

As a closing thought, cheer on my buddy JB with a like or a comment on the post. He is one-of-a-kind. A funny character. A motivator. A friend. A good hubby to his beautiful wife. A great mortgage banker and a hell of a work out buddy. From thick to thinner, he has been part of my story and will continue to be as long as he rises at 6:30am on the daily. Check out our Instagram for a quick video of JB’s personality when he was “pushing” me to work on my pullups last year. He got a boob job and all! JB’s pushing me to FINISH LAST put him at the TOP of my MONDAY MOTIVATION list. Give him a like or a comment so he feels the love worldwide. #BurchieMonday #AllDayTodayOnly

hustle, perspective

Wiped Out

This week has wiped me out physically, emotionally and mentally. No joke on this post. Every obstacle that could come up, did. Every annoyance (people included) tested my patience muscles repeatedly. Business/work was cloudy or meh at best. Schedule was off a bit making things extra stressful. It was just a hot mess blur all around. Did I whine about it? Sure did. Did it make things any better? Not really but I survived and am now taking time to pause and reset.

Despite the crazy, the weather was amazing. 60,70 and 80 degrees in February in Georgia. That is something to celebrate. I got to wear shorts and drive with my window down. There is just Something about sunshine. Feeling the warmth on your skin. Getting to enjoy the outdoors. Smelling the scents of fresh cut grass with your windows down. Getting some pink in your cheeks. It’s all good for the soul.

Speaking about the soul. My mental balance and clarity starts in the morning with a blast of a workout. If I miss my workout my day’s scale can me tipped quite a bit. Not necessarily in weight on the scale but in daily balance. If I perform sub par the same thing can happen. My mojo can shift slightly. This week at the gym was full of many challenges. Workouts were long, physically draining and really designed to push you out of your comfort zone. It’s definitely what I needed but not what I really wanted.

To give you an idea of what I am referring to, I am going to focus on double unders. A movement of patience, timing, endurance, focus and skill. Devilish double unders are not my friend at all. They have been the death of me for the past few years! Practice makes perfect they say, but my ass, arms and legs say otherwise when they get whooped repeatedly. Did I mention the whooping leaves marks?!?! Why would one torture themselves? For the same reason we work hard in our jobs and life. To push ourselves. To evolve. It’s all about challenge and striving for better.

Oh and then there are the toes and to bar. Why can’t my body fold up like a nice taco so my toes can hit that damn bar just once. I just shake my head, curse to myself and say maybe next time. Talk about exercising your patience muscles. When I think of how I start my mornings at the gym, I think of success and failures. I think about I can vs I can’t. I think about the people in my life who cheer for me or don’t. How I start my day impacts my mood and my output. My kids have taught me this as well over the years. If they wake wrong and are too hurried it sets off their day in the wrong direction. If they have a sporting event they need to mentally prep with music and good vibes to put in their best performance. We can all learn something when we watch kids.

My morning resets at the gym after a good night’s sleep. The sleep erases all the worry and stress from the day before or at least it’s tucked away for the moment. Surrounded by people who want to not only be physically fit but mentally fit. Some folks don’t see the benefit of a feeling such as feeling fit. Yes I just typed this. Feeling fit! Nobody can actually tell you how you feel but you. You might look okay on the outside but you need to be fit on the inside to conquer most days in this crazy world we live. I am sure many of you can relate but may struggle opening up this conversation with people around you. Why? Because most don’t want to hear it.

Do you exercise your mind daily? Do you stimulate your social muscles? Do you push your comfort zone to try new experiences? These are the things I am talking about. Things most can’t see. It’s almost like going back to what my mom told me as a kid: don’t judge a book by its cover or don’t judge a person until you have walked a day in their shoes. I have replayed these old adages in mind many times over the years as I polished myself and worked on being a better person. I am far from perfect but I do put my best foot forward each day.

Now that I have rambled on about what’s behind everyone’s wall I am going to skip back to sunshine. I really like the word sunshine a lot because my dad always called me his sunshine. He would sing you are my sunshine, my only sunshine over and over. It normally seemed annoying at the time but what a cherished memory I have of our relationship and how I can incorporate his warmth into my adult life.

Since I like sunshine outdoors, why not shine the sunshine in my workouts this week in honor of my dad. I was able to try out a trick skill: hanging from the bar with one hand while flipping a 10 pound plate in the air and catching it. It was hard for sure but I did it and will probably keep working on it. It wasn’t my best showing ever but it was new and stimulating in many ways and sparked my day. I got to work on my grip strength. I got to see how my tracking ability was. I even caught it on video for my CrossFit journal. I got to ring the bell twice this week for hitting personal records (PRs). #120 overhead squat which is definitely not a strong move for me. Who actually likes holding 120 pounds over their head? I failed at #125 and #127 but I’ll take the PR. I also hit 157# clean PR. That is up from #137 during last year’s Open which translates to progress! Yeah for sunshine in the midst of a draining week.

When reflecting on the week there was definitely more sunshine in my days than clouds for sure, but I had to deal with chaos that comes with wearing the many hats that I do. Today is Saturday. I will have some girl time with my close friends. I will see some people I only get to see on the weekend. I will rest my brain from most challenging tasks. I will spend quality time with my family instead of being on the go-go-go mode.

Relaxing on the weekend is something to be thankful for. Sometimes just doing nothing is good for the soul. A home cooked meal, some laundry, and maybe some sweet dessert of some sort. And most importantly, I usually need a Saturday nap session after a brutal WOD like the one today. 40 minutes of enduring a battle against yourself.

Find your sunshine. Use your reset button when you need it. Get a good friend who listens to you without judgment when times are tough. Be a listener for somebody in your life. Open yourself up. Life is lonely if you allow it to be. Turning away is sometimes easier than facing the adversity in front of you but you can program you mind to do anything you want to. You just need to want!

Don’t forget it’s my bday month. I will be eating my infamous Carvel cake at some point even if it doesn’t fit in my macros. #bdaygoals