Friday, March 20, 2020

Where have I been?

We're all social distancing now, but I've slowly been noticing that I've been distancing myself from the world since last July. It's no big secret that life has been challenging at times for our little sweet man. But let me go back to the beginning of last year, and we got notice at our neurologist appointment that her practice was changing over to a membership-based practice. The fee for staying there wasn't extremely high, but when I learned that they were still billing insurance and charging copays... it just seemed like I was being punished for an issue with the insurance side of the coin.

So we went back and forth a bit, and I started making calls to a few other clinics to see where we would land. Most of those clinics couldn't see him until October of 2019, but I finally found a great spot with the T.H.I.N.K. Clinic in Houston -- they have several locations, and we see the one in our area. Anyway, they were able to get us in around the end of July for our initial visit.

To say that it was an eye-opening experience would be an understatement. I guess I just had completely miss judged what our previous neurologist had been doing for the 5 years we were her patient. We went every 6 months, and even though she had asked me a billion questions about how school was going -- nothing ever came from that part of the discussion. Honestly, I thought it was weird that I was telling her all that information, and she took notes on it... but that was the end of it.

I'd been having concerns that there was more to the picture than I was being told, so I mentioned that when making the appointment with the new clinic. They ran with it and did an autism screening. It came back that my precious boy has autism, but that's just the tip of the iceberg of things that I learned that day. This new doctor spent an hour with us, and I walked away with referrals for 8 other specialists and therapists that they wanted us to see. Y'all, I was completely blown away.

You see, we've known that James has Neurofibromatosis since fairly early on - when we were living in Memphis it was confirmed and they did his first MRI... but really since then other than some testing when he was around 4, no one has really tried to get in there and help us get any sort of REAL help for us.

We left that appointment and a few weeks later had a 72 hour EEG to test him for any seizures, that came out completely clear -- but man, this kid did NOT enjoy that testing. We were able to get into the Neurofibromatosis Clinic at Texas Children's Hospital, which was another very educational visit. I've got some follow up to do with them, but they want to do some genetic testing on him that they say can help predict what problems he might have going forward, and help us know what to expect. They also said that he doesn't have any issues on his optic nerves and by his age, it's unlikely that they would develop. We've got an appointment in mid-April for a neuro-eye exam, but I'm not sure if we will be rescheduled at this point. We've also got an endocrinology appointment in May... again if we can get to them.

We waited and fought a hundred rounds trying to get him into a clinic for a neuro-psych test which we just got completed at the end of February... y'all, there is so much to process from that visit. I'll have to dive into it in another post, but while it wasn't completely unexpected... there were tears from this pile of emotions over here.

This is a long post already though, and there is just SO much more to say... and that I've learned. Not to mention since there isn't much else to do these days... I'll be back very soon with more.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

2020 Powersheets are HERE!!!

2020 PowerSheets Collection

I want to talk to any of you out there that are thinking that $60 is a lot of money for something like this. Trust me, I get it... but if you break it down... that's an investment of $5 a month... can you skip one trip to Starbucks or 2 trips to Sonic in a month to afford yourself this amazing product that will change your life? If you break it down even further... it's $0.16 a day... and I'm telling you the 80 pages of prep work is work that alone! 
So to sweeten the deal a little bit more -- if you use my link to make a purchase between now and Saturday at midnight... I will do a drawing for 2 people to win a gift card to Starbucks or Sonic -- their choice! 

Don't forget about the two bundles that are well worth a look at - remember if you spend $100 you'll get free shipping as well. So the Best Year Bundle will get you close to that - add on the Magnetic Page Markers  and you're there! You could also go ALL IN and get the I Want It All Bundle (if you opt in for that one -- let me know and you'll automatically get a gift card for a drink on me!)

Those that shop tomorrow will get the best deals (because the bundles will sell out) AND you'll be entered to win the amazing prize of your order being delivered by the Cultivate What Matters Team! I would LOVE to be a winner because I just want to hug these ladies! 

One more product that you might consider is the adorable New Day Pullover  it is a super soft sweatshirt that would be amazing to wear on those cold days!

Beginning on December 9th - Lara will begin posting Powersheets Prep Week videos - where they walk you through doing the prep work together as a community. There are some amazing groups on FB that are super supportive... but in addition to that - I'd love to help you with them as well -- just let me know in the comments and we might be able to pair up as accountability partners for our Powersheet goals.

There aren't many products I believe in quite like Cultivate What Matters... they've changed my life. Other things that they have are some great Write the Word journals, and The Kids Bundle which has some Write the Word journals designed specifically for kids!

REMEMBER to let me know in the comments if you use my link so that I can add your entry into my giveaway for 2 winners to get a Starbuck or Sonic gift card -- your choice!
2020 PowerSheets Collection

Sunday, October 13, 2019

2020 Powersheets Collection Guide

The 2020 Powersheets ($60) are coming on the 16th a 10AM EST!! This is going to be the best year yet with the new hardcovers, gold coil, and gold corners that will help protect the inside pages as well as add a little pop! These are such a blessing as Lara and her team walks you through every step of the prep work - in early December they have an entire week devoted to sharing videos of how to work through the process, and continue to encourage you to make progress every step of the way. From the top left - we have Teal Linen, Pink Linen, Confetti, and Blooms. Each one has a pocket on the inside that can hold all sorts of things. New for this year is the 2-page calendar spread for each month that can serve as a planner inside of the powersheets... especially if you use their Weekly Sticky Notepad that I'll show you a bit later in the post.

In addition to the Powersheets themselves - they're giving us 15 new accessories to be added on to your order, and a couple of bundles that I'll walk you through a little bit later.

Let's meet your 2020 accessory lineup! 

Accessory Pouch ($18) - add in all your accessories and then the elastic band fits around your Powersheets!

Wild Card Page Pack ($10) - these additional pages can be taped inside your Powersheets for more customization. Topics include meal planning, self-care, personal finance, reading lists, seasonal bucket lists, and more!
Goal Setting Sticker Book & Faith Sticker Book ($15)
Add some more color and fun to your planning!

Tending Tape ($12) Cultivate branded washi tape.

Legacy Journals ($18) Hard covered lined journals for sharing. 
They have a linen finish and come in Peach, Pool, or Chambray.

 2020 Best Year Wall Calendar ($22)
Magnetic Page Markers ($8)
Joyful Greeting Card Set ($24)

Gift Wrap Book ($24)

Everyday Lined Notebook Set ($18) - Set of 3

Pep Talk Post Cards ($12)

 Weekly Sticky Pad ($12)
New Day Pullover ($40) - soft sweatshirt in sizes XS-2XL

 12 white gold foil cards to write goal reminders on ($10)

Now... how about some BUNDLES!! 

The BEST YEAR BUNDLE - valued at $115 but sells for $95! Includes Powersheets of your choice, Goal Setting Sicker Book, Accessory Pouch of your choice, Tending Tape, and a Wild Card Page Pack. A great deal! 

For those that want EVERYTHING... check out the "I Want It All Bundle" -- valued at $261 but sells for $221! It includes Powersheets of your choice, Gift Wrap Book, 2020 Wall Calendar, Accessory Pouch of your choice, Tending Tape, Legacy Journal of your choice, Magnetic Page Markers, Joyful Greeting Card Set, Everyday Lined Journal Set, Goal Setting Sticker Book, Weekly Sticky Notepad, Wildcard Page Pack, Peptalk Post Cards, Goal Card Display Set.

Some other fun things you can expect on Launch Day... the best deals, free shipping on orders of $100 or more, a free sticker with each purchase, AND an entry into a drawing to have your order personally delivered anywhere in the US by the Cultivate What Matters Team!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

2020 Powersheets are coming!!

Click the image above for more information!
One of my most favorite products over the last several years - I found these in 2016 and haven't ever looked back... but each year they evolve a little bit and just keep getting better. Last year was the first time they've offered different cover options, and this year they've gone above and beyond with that!! They are now HARD COVERED! They've got amazing gold binding on the corners to keep the pages extra protected... they've got a lovely gold coil binding this year, and the extra bonus is the pocket on the inside -- let me tell you about those pockets after I tell you the cover names.
Starting in the top left, we've got Confetti (or Powerfetti) as we'd like to call it - the interior pocket is in a lovely teal color. Lara herself says that it's party on the front and business on the inside. HAHAHA!

Top right -- is my personal favorite (and my choice for the coming year. Teal Linen, it's simple, elegant and bright. The inside pocket on this cover is business on the front and party on the inside because it has the floral blooms on the pocket. This is the tidbit of information that pushed me into choosing this cover... because blooms is my second favorite.

Bottom left is the Pink Linen cover the inside pocket on this one is the Confetti - it would likely be my third choice if I were putting them in order... but I'm going to include a fun little color chart to help you decide which design would suit you best.

Finally. last but not least is the bottom right - Blooms! I was torn between this and the Teal Linen for a couple hours leading up to the full cover reveal video - this cover is beautiful and fresh. Lara described it as if the sprouts of the Confetti design grew up and bloomed -- which is perfect. The pocket on the inside of this design is a lovely periwinkle color.

Need help choosing your own cover?

These will be on sale beginning on October 16th, and the full-year design is going to be $60 this year. Which is an AMAZING value considering all of the improvements that have been made to the design and durability this year - the team decided to not raise the prices so that the community can continue to benefit from this amazing goal-setting system.

They have 15 new accessories coming out this year that will be revealed on October 9th.  But, wait... there's more - coming soon! Be sure to come back here for all the details and my choices for what I'm going to be getting for the year of clear vision... get it? 2020! 😂

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Neato Keto

I've decided that my intentional journey this year will be in doing the Keto plan - I refuse to use the D word. I feel sure that most know what it is by now, but I'm keeping my net carb amount to 5% of my calories daily. My protein around 25% and my fats around 70%...

I'm no stranger to the low carb life - as I've done Atkins numerous times in the past - and I can't explain why this time is different... but it's not quite as restrictive as Atkins' first two weeks -- being that within my macros - I can have up to 25 grams of carbohydrates a day. Now, that also needs to take into account that you subtract out the fiber content from the total carbs and get the net number... so my NET carbs are under 25 grams a day.

With the many times, I've done this before - I suffered excruciating withdrawal symptoms for up to a week. I did my research on the keto flu before getting started and I was ready for it - I never knew in all the Atkins stops and starts that what my body was struggling with was the loss of sodium. So this time, I armed myself with electrolyte water and added a little more salt to things the first few days. I never really got those dreaded migraines like I have in the past. My biggest struggle has been fatigue - I go in spurts. One minute I'm feeling incredible and knocking out all. the. things. Then a bit later, I'll find myself completely worn out - so I feel like my body is still adjusting to burning fat for fuel instead of sugar.

I'm in it to win it though - so I'm just taking it one day at a time. Like I said before - I'm not looking at this as an all or nothing thing. It's my new lifestyle. So if I'm at a party or something and there are carbs, and I want some -- I'll keep it to a small amount and go on living my life. Just because I have one small thing doesn't have to derail me entirely from my whole plan.

In the past that has been my thought process, I would cave and have one thing -- and next thing you know 6 months have gone by and I've been off the wagon the whole time. Not this time... I've got a friend that I'm super comfortable sharing the slips with and we've vowed to help each other through that "failure" mentality.

I'm two weeks in on the plan so far and I'm still loving it -- I've got just enough variety that I'm happy and I'm trying out all sorts of new recipes and sharing them over on my recipe blog. If you scroll down there is a label that will pull up all of our keto-friendly recipes.

My plan is to keep to the semi-basics for the most part as much as I can and add whatever we're craving. If I need to bake something -- I'm happy to do it. I'd rather do that than buy something packaged as low carb because that way I know and can control the ingredients. This week - I made John some mini cheesecakes that are low carb and have a pecan crust. I made myself some chocolate mousse -- but I'm looking for a different recipe on that one.

In addition to my keto plan, I've added in intermittent fasting. I'm going most days from about 10 PM to 12 or 1 PM the next day to eat. I seem to be doing just fine on that and even though my doctor was strongly against it - things are going fine. One thing I can tell you that has been eye-opening is that the night before starting the plan - my sugars were 358 and since beginning the plan they haven't been over 130 even once! I'm excited to go back next month to show her by sugar readings -- maybe I'll even begin my goal of backing off of some of my medications. 

I saw the doctor the day before we started and she put me on a new shot that is helping curb my hunger as well - I'm virtually NEVER hungry anymore... and I used to be a huge snacker. It's so strange... between the shot and the added fat in my diet -- I'm losing weight and never hungry. 

I haven't added this in just yet -- but it's coming. I've been seeing some ads for the Body Groove workouts and I'm thinking about getting them. It looks much for free form and I'm looking for something to completely change the way I think and feel about working out. Has anyone seen the ads or heard of this program? I'm curious how it works -- it looks like it would be fun and maybe something that James and Tyler can do with me at least whenever he wants to join in.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Well, I'm a bit late... but it's 2019!

I've learned a few things in the short time that it's been 2019, and I thought I'd start off a series of upcoming posts with that. What I've learned is that in years past - I've set goals and I've given resolutions of things like I'm going to lose 25 pounds... only to quickly fail. That gave way to me only setting resolutions of things like lose weight... with no set amount, because in my mind... even one pound gone in the year would be a success, right?

Well, none of it has been successful, and I found myself at the end of 2018 feeling pretty defeated. I thought that I was just destined to be heavy and on tons of diabetes meds for the rest of my life. Nothing could or would ever change for the better... Then I heard one of the most profound podcast episodes I've ever heard.

It was a couple of days in the new year and I was catching up on getting my Powersheets set up for the year, and determining what my goals would be and I heard something that I will never EVER forget... Two things actually: 1) There is nothing magical about January 1st. There is nothing special about January 1st other than the fact that for the next month or two you'll be writing the wrong year on everything... or maybe it's just me? 2) The reason that resolutions fail by and large is that there is no heart reason behind them. They are just shots in the dark at things that we feel like we need to improve.

That's when it clicked for me. Will I be perfect in this pursuit? Of course not, but what I can do is embrace the progress that is being made and know that things are better than not trying at all. How does that look different in real life?

It looks like choosing goals that are tied to reasons, real tangible reasons... for instance - with my weight loss goal - why do I want to do it in the first place? There are a few reasons there actually:

  • to feel better and not have creaky joints
  • to get off of all of my medications
  • to have more energy for my family
  • to be ALIVE longer for my family
Let's be real honest here - since few people read this anyway -- there is safety in putting it out there, but I was on a path to certain earlier death until I changed things. Granted I have only changed things in the last two weeks... but I'm headed in a better direction than the alternative. With my weight and my diabetes working together - it was almost a guaranteed certainty that I wouldn't make it until a natural old age. How can I look into the eyes of my family and not know to the depths of my soul that I need to do better for THEM? Take me out of the picture... but how can I not get control over this issue so that I can be there for many more years to come? 

I know that there will be struggles, but one thing I also know is that I love these people in my life fiercely -- both those that live within my home and those family and friends that I interact with on a regular basis... I happen to be someone that loves BIG often at the detriment of my own health because I also tend to be a people pleaser. Maybe of my goals, this year are all wrapped in on this topic. 

I'm one of those people that comes up with a word for the year, and each of my 7 goals for 2019 is tied to this word. My word for this year is Intentional. (I'd love to have a ring with that word stamped on it or even a bracelet -- I'll have to look for one)

Here are my 7 goals... 
  1. Spend intentional time with God either through devotionals or Write the Word Journals
  2. Intentional time with people that matter - John, the boys, friends, family
  3. Intentionally improve health through diet, increased water, intermittent fasting, and exercise
  4. Focus intentionally on our budget and debt snowball
  5. Be intentional with my daily reading for enjoyment both nonfiction and fiction
  6. Intentionally create a second book for publishing
  7. Intentionally spend time on homemaking through decluttering and cleaning routines
Will these all happen perfectly - probably not, and some of them will take a backseat at times for the others -- but what I do know is that 2 weeks in -- I'm feeling better than I ever have and I'm showing no signs of stopping. Something has snapped in me this year and I feel so much more grounded in knowing that there will be bad days and there will be good days -- but showing up for myself will never EVER be a disappointment to those that matter.