Stars or the Mud and Personal Progress

January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Shoot for the treetops and land in the mud, Shoot for the moon and land among the stars.

Dear friend,

As I explained in this little post, I am the secretary in my wards Young Women and in addition to making my life a bit more crazy I have found so much joy!  I also have created some fun printables and helps over the last 3 months that I want to share here with you so I begin with one I made for our Personal Progress Activity this Wednesday.

Our goal for this week is to assess where the girls are, since we are all new, and then plan our activities for the first Wednesday from the requirements that would benefit the most girls.

Let me back up and explain a little for those of you not familiar with the Young Womens program.  Young Womens is a program within my Church-the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-that guides young women between the ages of 12-18.  Personal progress is an inspired set of requirements and projects that help the girls gain a testimony of Jesus Christ, understand their identity, learn how to be worthy to return to our Father in Heaven, prepare for the roles they will fill in their life {leader, wife, mother}, and prepare to go to the temple and make covenants there to bind their families throughout eternity.

The tasks require that the girls be industrious, provide service and think of others, learn new skills, plan for their future, be a leader, it requires introspection, and creating goals for their life.  But it is all personal and for each girl to be responsible for.

So, to help the girls organize their goals and continue moving forward in accomplishing their goals I have created a worksheet for each quarter that they will fill out during an activity and then hang in their room so they can check their progress.

As the girls fill out their worksheet our team of leaders will be pulling each girl aside individually to share with us her accomplishments in personal progress.

I hope you find this useful!

{Download the worksheet here}

I hope to be posting more of our fun shortly:)



Beauty Adjustment

January 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

…and see it in yourself.

For me I have always qualified beauty when it pertained to me.  Inside I believed I was beautiful.  I care about people, I love to help and share with others, I am creative and loving.  I strive to be like my Father in Heaven and like my Elder brother Jesus Christ.  I have done good things.  I believe in others and want great things for everyone.  I sincerely try with all my choices to make this world better by me being in it.  But when I tried to apply that word…beauty…to my outward appearance I failed miserably, I was awful and such a mean girl but only to myself.  It didn’t make sense to me because I looked at others struggling with the same issues and saw the goodness and beauty in them, why could I not see it in myself?  As of 4 months ago this perspective changed.  I undertook this new lifestyle, a new diet regime, a whole foods-plant based way of life, and it all changed.  I am my own ally.  I am stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually and I am grateful.  I will no longer stand in my own way.

I wanted to share a couple of resources I happened upon today…the first is Operation Beautiful.  Such a fantastic idea and I already illustrated a few post-its and have a printable planned for you.  The mission of this woman is to improve the overall esteem of women in general by beginning a movement of kind acts–specific kind acts–go and take a look you won’t regret it.

Two, this article in more eloquent words reflects my thoughts and I believe pin points a population-teenagers-that need uplifting in this area.  I know every insecurity I had stemmed from those crucial years.

And last, a beautiful young girl named Victoria, beginning her own blog hoping to spread this same message–

“You are beautiful just as you are!”

We can improve our health, and take care of ourselves but that does not change who we are, we are what we put out into the world–don’t let it be negative by the comments you make about yourself.  Trash the trash talk and be your own ally, buoy yourself up each day by telling yourself of your innate worth and beauty.  Be kind to yourself and it will make a bigger difference than any outward alteration you could make.

Trust me–begin tomorrow by telling yourself how beautiful you truly are and in doing so begin a legacy of love for the girls who will follow in your footsteps.

McGilly this is for you–I am beautiful without qualification, beautiful is me.

love. love.


Food and Faith

January 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

A few days ago these two pictures showed up in my inbox.  My aunt had sent them to me in response to my first post.  The before was taken in about 2002 and the after was at a Christmas party this last December.  I was speechless and still am, when I showed my grandmother she put words to what I was thinking about the old me,

even your countenance has changed, Sweetie. You are a naturally beautiful girl, and beautiful here in both pictures, but you certainly do have added light. I love you.”

The girl in the before picture would have vehemently disagreed with my grandma but the one in the after seconds this statement.  I was beautiful but there is strength in the after, strength and light.

 This past week I have been thinking about my faith in relation to my new way of eating.  As I mentioned on the homepage of our blog Fifi, Evey and I met because of our faith.  We are part of the same ward.  A ward is a local congregation of Latter Day Saints.  We live within a four block radius of each other and attend church at the same time.  One standard by which we strive to live is the Word of Wisdom.  The Word of Wisdom is a law of health revealed by the Lord for the physical and spiritual benefit of His children. On February 27, 1833, as recorded in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord revealed which foods are good for us to eat and which substances are not good for the human body. He also promised health, protection, knowledge, and wisdom to those who 
obey the Word of Wisdom.

When I began this whole foods, plant-based diet I was told by one who will remain unnamed that I was breaking that law by the way I was choosing to eat.  Not having read the scriptures in detail for sometime I felt that it was time to revisit…here is what I found pertaining to my new diet–for the full set of scriptures click here.

12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

Sparingly in the Dictionary is defined as meager and meager is defined as deficient in quantity and this scripture is followed by another–

 13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

And if you follow the reference given for used you get:
20  And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

I believe by all accounts in America we most definitely partake of animal proteins to an excess.  It also seems to me, after my study, that I am not only following the Word of Wisdom but I am doing better at it than I have in my whole life.

I love this plant strong stuff more and more everyday!

I found this article about SIster Hill, a woman who attributes her 150 lb weight loss to following the Word of Wisdom, she says,  

“Just like you need a recommend to go into the temple, food needs a recommend to go into your body. If it doesn’t fit the Lord’s criteria, it shouldn’t enter,” Sister Hill said. 

I agree. I feel better physically, mentally and spiritually–faith and food for me are becoming fast friends.

Love. Love.

PS Stat update to follow…

Another fun playgroup…

January 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

Hello friends.

We had our first official playgroup for 2012 and I finally got to make the felt snake I have been eyeing.

I used 30 1 & 1/2 inch squares of felt, 1- 12 inch piece of ribbon, a button, and a 2 & 1/2 inch piece of felt to scrunch and make into the bow stopper.

Then all you have to do is attach the button to one end of the ribbon, wrap the ribbon around your bow and stich to secure, then use an exacto knife to cut 1/2 inch slits through each felt square.

McGily has already had alot of fun pulling them off and “practicing” getting them back on…yay!

We also had a hexnut word game on the agenda but I want to get together some teaching resources for those fun CVC {consonant vowel consonant} words before I share it.

The other resource I wanted to share with you is something the hubs and I are starting-to strengthen our faith and relationship- with couples scripture study.  I love structure and having a plan in this area so when I found the Red Headed Hostesses Spouse and Children study plans I was amazed as always and also ecstatic I don’t have to do all the work.  Check it out here.  I will let you know how it goes, topic for the month is the Godhead.

Love. Love.


Okay I am still me.

January 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hello there.

I am back and I am still me.

The last two posts were from a new blog project called Fit 3 Ways.  Two of my friends and I are beginning a journey to fitness in three different ways, hence the name.

I am looking forward to sharing some of the last 2 months with you and so much more…I am so glad to be back and so glad you are still here:)


Vanishing Vegan to the Rescue…I am back…as Vivian

January 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

This is a post from a new blog project.


Okay–so not really but that is how my “diet” makes me feel.  I have never in my life felt so good…never.  I also have never…if we must look at the scale…been this weight since I was getting my drivers license.  Let me tell you a little more about me…

A little bit personal–
I have always been overweight at least in my own mind but probably by BMI and scales too.  In fact at one point due to some crushing news and illness my weigh skyrocketed to 263 pounds.  Not many people remember me at this weight because I hid.  I was ashamed of where I had let my body get to, I didn’t even want to buy clothes- so my wardrobe consisted of about 2 outfits and my favorite pair of sweatpants…then something changed.  I was ready, I can’t blame it on anything but the bodies ability to heal {mentally and physically}, and I started forward.  I took nutrition classes as part of my electives in college and began walking a little at a time.  My sister came down for the summer and she, as always, made it fun and supported me.  Well, that was 8 years ago and now I am 104 pounds lighter.  Through the whole process I kept learning about healthy foods and kept up healthy habits.  But this last shift has been different which brings us to… 

A little about my current eating habits–
Back in October I got a call from my grandma who had just returned from staying with her brother who was recovering from a heart attack.  We began talking about a turn of events that lead her to watching, Forks Over Knives {a documentary about two Dr. and their research on nutrition and health} and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead {A documentary of one mans journey to health using juicing and fruits and veggies}–she then read the books of the two men in the first film and she had made a decision.  She was going to live plant-strong…this is a lifestyle of having 5% or less {for most benefit} of your diet come from animal proteins and fatty oils.  Simply put it is a Plant based diet or too simply put, healthy vegan.  I say healthy vegan because not all vegan diets are created equal.  Strangely enough I had placed both movies in Netflix instant que the week before.  I was looking for a change in my diet I needed to feel healthy, have energy, and feel fit–not just lose weight, I was sick of focusing on the weight, I wanted to focus on health.  So the rest is history–I watched the films and read the books and began a plant strong lifestyle 11 weeks ago.

I have lost 19 pounds of the 104 in the last 10 weeks, my skin is clear which has never been this way since grade school, I have energy, I feel positive, motivated and awesome.  This diet shift is the only thing I have changed over the last 70 days and now I am ready for some new goals which leads me to…

A little about my current activity level–
I chase after an 21 month old, and rarely sit–does that count?  Through this whole journey, I have exercised only because I new I should–which means I didn’t exercise nearly enough.  I am totally converted to eating healthy- so now it is time to make exercise a permanent part of my lifestyle.  As of recent I found out I love Spin class and I know in the past when I have made it a goal to run I have found clarity and peace in running.  SO…

Where from here?
I want to build muscle- I am within 5 lbs. of a healthy BMI so it is time to tone.  I also want to find what exercise I love and can find a passion for–{just like the eating} in this way I know I will be successful for the duration of my life and not just until I can fit into “those jeans”.  I am so excited to share this journey with you and I can’t wait to tell you more about the plant strong lifestyle…

Feeling strong!

PS–I will be posting pics and stats later today.

A Variation of Vivian

January 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Okay-this post should be difficult, this post should be hard but then I found this book–one of the weight loss books I made myself when I was at the beginning of this endeavor–February 21, 2002 to be exact.  In a little over a month I will be at one decade in this journey to get fit, turning 30 in a little over 4 months and so excited when I look back at the wisdom I have gained in this area.  I am not sad about posting these pictures I am ecstatic!  I still have so much to learn and a lot to do but I am excited because I know I can do it!  I look at myself and I say I am beautiful–I can say it because I feel so great on the inside–healthy and strong–and I know without a doubt I can help the outside match the inside….without further ado–a variation of Viv…

Here are the stats:

Hieght: 5’8
Weight: 159 

I measured the same places I did 10 years ago, to the side in brackets is the inches I have lost since 2002.

Ankle: 8.75 {-1.25}
Calves: 14.25 {-2.25}
Knees: 14.50 {- 4}
Thighs: 23.5 {-5.5}
Hips: 40.5 {-13.5}
Waist: 35.5 {-9.5}
Bust: 37 {-13.5}
Upper Arm: 12 {-3.5}
Lower Arm: 9 {-2}
Shoulders: 42.5 {-7.5}
Neck: 12.5 {-2.5}

Pant size: 10 {-14 sizes}

I wrote these measurements down in 2002 after losing about 16lbs first, so this wasn’t even my biggest, it’s a little overwhelming.

Of everything I have learned here are the two that mean the most…
First, there is no quick fix and yes you can do a fad diet and lose weight but to feel good, to feel strong long term, {which by the way is even better than being thinner}  you have to take care of your body. Put good things into it, support it with true nutrition and exercise and the weight will just come off.  What’s even better is when the focus shifts from the weight to taking care of yourself you are kinder to yourself and the weight still comes off, in fact for me it came off better than when I was depriving myself and beating myself up all the time.  

And the second thing…

This was me…
The only two pictures that seem to have survived.  
I truly believe it was not my weight that was holding me back it was how I was feeling, the weight was a symptom and not the cause.  I was not taking care of myself–to be fair I hadn’t yet learned how to take care of myself.  I was “dieting” and I felt great when the scale showed good results but when it didn’t, I felt horrible.  Everything hinged on the numbers on that scale.  When you feel horrible your motivation dies out and you are back to square one.  I can honestly say I don’t weigh myself for anything more now than curiosity.  The weight loss is a byproduct of this way of eating because just taking care of myself feels so good.  Over the last 10 years I have never been able to break through 170 and now I just broke through 160– I am 4 lbs. from a weight I never thought I could reach and I feel awesome, I owe it all to living plant strong and my grandma for being my health advocate and to my hubby for always making me feel beautiful–no matter the size.

Funny that sounded like I was winning an award-but you know that is kinda how I feel.

Love. Love.