Chia Pudding

I discovered chia pudding about a year ago when I was looking for an alternative mid-morning snack that was healthy and would keep me satisfied until lunch.

Chia Pudding is perfect!  Chia seeds are an incredibly nutrient dense superfood, packed with antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, quality protein AND calcium.  ALL of that in that those tiny seeds!

There are MANY ways to make chia pudding and you can make many substitutions based on your preference of fruits, nuts or milk, but this is how I enjoy it!

Fruit and Nut Chia Pudding

  • 6 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups flax milk (or milk or your preference)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or almond)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup cashewsWhisk together all ingredients for about a minute and let set for about 15 minutes.  Stir again, making sure to scrape bottom and sides of bowls to avoid clumping of chia seeds.Chia seeds will expand so be sure to use a bigger bowl.

    Enjoy while berries are still frozen or pack into individual containers and refrigerate.

Confession Time

I have a confession.  I weigh myself daily.  And sometimes (often), I let the number get in my head.  And that number makes me think irrationally.  And when I think irrationally, I start to view myself in a distorted way.  And when I start to view myself in a distorted way, I start to pick apart myself.  And when I pick apart myself, I forget about loving myself.  And when I forget about loving myself, I get all caught up in lies in my head, thus starting a cycle of self-deprecation.

I know.  It sounds so harsh when I write it.  But it’s the truth.  I’ve taught women for years to stay away from the scale.  To stop worrying about a number.  To stop letting the scale control how you feel and who you are.

And then…I feel like a fraud.  Because I’ve been doing the same lately.  It didn’t happen overnight.  I didn’t used to weigh myself.  But then I did one day.  Then the next, and the next and over time, this habitual practice turned into my morning dread.

I was ok for a long time with the number.  Even when it was higher than it had been in a while.  I was still fine with it…until one day it said a number I hadn’t seen in…well…ever.  And I suddenly started looking at myself differently.

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Creating a Vision Board

“Finish before you start.” ~ Rhonda Layton

I’ve always been a visionary.  I see things very clearly before they happen.  Or I find a way to envision my dreams, hopes, and desires all becoming a reality.  But I’ve always taken a methodical approach to achieving goals, making dreams a reality, and turning hope into what can be into what is.

My first experience with creating a vision board was about eight years ago before I began my first attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  I needed to run a marathon in under 3:45 in order to achieve this goal.  It seemed like a lofty goal until I DECIDED what would be my focus for five months of training.  I decided to envision the finish.  I decided how I would feel.  I decided that I would focus on the positives and never allow my thoughts to focus on negative scenarios.  I decided to finish before I ever started.  I had physical signs and pictures of 3:45 ALL over my house and therefore it was etched on my thoughts daily.

And that is how I create my vision boards.  You may choose to do this type of activity at the beginning of the year when you’re exciting about renewal and new goals.  Or you may be in a pattern right now where you find yourself feeling stuck, not knowing the the direction you need to move.  It may not even be that you’re lacking direction, but perhaps, you may be lacking vision for your life.

Creating a vision board should be a fun process.  It’s your opportunity to dream, to throw away any doubts, scrap any naysayers (including yourself), and go back to elementary art class and start creating like a second grader.

I call it playing arts and crafts with God.

How to create a vision board.

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Hope, Chance Encounters, and Miracles

I started my morning by writing a letter to my dad. I had so much to ask, but he answered more. In a few short paragraphs, I knew immediately what my next book will be. It was so matter of fact and clear what it will be.  More on that later…

I also asked my dad to show me in some way today that he hears my prayers and to clearly show me his presence.

Then I left to run the 5K race for Lungevity. So appropriate to run it on the anniversary of his passing.

I went by myself because I needed to be alone. But it wasn’t long after I arrived that I saw groups and teams and others honoring people that I missed my family. I missed my dad. I sat by myself as I waited for the race to start, I couldn’t fight my back tears.

And soon I felt someone sitting next to me. It was an older lady. Beautiful, vibrant, loving. She asked if I was ok.

I couldn’t speak. So she hugged me. She asked why I was there. I could only point to my shirt with my dad’s name on it.

She told she was a 5-year survivor of stage IV lung cancer. She has one lung left that works and was confined to a wheelchair last year. I looked at her and would never have guessed. She looked healthy and full of life.

I was speechless.

I could tell she knew exactly what I was thinking as she responded, “I know. Every time I think I don’t have much time left, it turns around.” Then she said she wanted me to have something.

She walked away and brought me a gift. I asked if I could open it and she smiled, “of course!”

It was this bracelet. It simply says “hope” with a card and story about these bracelets.

“It’s not about the bracelet, but the connection that is made between two people, often strangers, in that moment. Spontaneous moments. Full of hope and love, tears and laughter.”

It was that spontaneous moment that I knew my dad was with me by sending me an angel today.

…and then I ran….and I was the first female to finish…

I ran because I can. Because every time I think I can’t run anymore, I find the energy to go out and run strong again.

Thanks for my miracle today, Dad. I knew you were listening.

 

Be Courageous


I was looking for some inspiration today on being courageous and in my search I came upon some notes I had written.  It was two pages of valuable nuggets.  I remember taking these notes, but after years and years of studying and focusing daily on personal growth and development, I don’t always remember when or why or what I was reading, but whatever the source, these are the EXACT notes I needed to reread tonight.

The following notes may be jumbled a bit, but the scribbles that stick out to me the most is knowing when to make a courageous move.  If we are uncertain, we simply don’t know if something is right, but if we are afraid, we just need courage to move.

Courage is simply acting on a decision rather than choosing to be stuck in doubt, uncertainty, complacency and fear.  Once we make a courageous action, we gain the confidence we need to keep moving.
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Food Prep Sunday

Food Prep Sunday: Mason Jar Salads

I’ve been making mason jar salads for lunch for about a year now and every time I post a picture about them, I usually get several questions about them.  So I decided to make this short video about what I normally put in them and how to prep.

Important things to note:
  1. You can use any ingredients you wish.
  2. The MOST important thing is how you layer them so they stay fresh all week.
  3. Start with your wet ingredients (dressing) on the bottom.
  4. Add veggies.
  5. Nuts (optional)
  6. Protein
  7. Greens

If you have suggestions or different ideas, please comment below and I will try them out and share.  Let me know if you try this!

Driving in Reverse

Imagine getting in your car and driving to your destination the entire time in reverse.  It seems ridiculous and scary.  But I’ve been doing that a lot in my life.  Driving in reverse, hoping to move forward.

I have been stuck in this pattern of trying to REinvent myself.  But instead of looking forward and taking steps to progress, I’ve often been looking into the rear view mirror into the past six years for insight for growth, while constantly being in comparison mode.  It’s been so frustrating because no matter how hard I tried, I just could never seem to be that person I once was.  It’s been like trying to walk up an escalator that is moving downward.

Instead of growing into the person I am today in new ways and experiences, I thought I must follow the same patterns, goals, dreams of who I was then. And it all became suddenly clear that I cannot move forward if my gear is in reverse, if I’m always looking back, comparing my life today to my former self.

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Just Go!


For the past year, I have been trying to figure it out.  I’ve talked to friends, siblings, my husband, my son.  My answer is always the same.

“I’ll figure it out.”

There have been days my mind is running at full speed.  What if? How come? Why not? Maybe…if I just.  I could do this.  Or maybe I should quit doing this.  I should. I could. I would.

Until my brain is completely overwhelmed that I simply do nothing.

Have you been there?  Analysis paralysis? Where to start? What to do? It can be a debilitating feeling.

I finally decided to take a deep assessment into my habits.  The habits that enabled me to achieve some pretty amazing dreams in my past.  The boring habits.  The ones that were not always fun, but necessary for growth…and thus, change.

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Walking Through Irrational Fears

I had one of the conversations I want to tuck away in my vault of happy memories today.  It’s Halloween, so my son asked me if I bad memories from watching scary movies.

I told him about my nightly ritual…the one where after I turn the lights out, I take a leap to my bed.  I am still quite certain Freddy Krueger will somehow still slash my Achilles if I take too much time standing by my bedside.

Sadly, this is a true story.

My son was simply shocked.

“You do realize there is NO ONE under your bed, right?”

“I’m not for certain.  There might be an ankle slasher.  You just never know.”

I asked him if he was afraid of anything.  He said other than demons, he really has no fears.

I smirked.  Surely this kid has fears he’s not telling me.

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Shifting

I’m driving home, listening to the radio.  A song comes on that I’ve never heard. It immediately pierces my heart.  The lyrics not only connect deeply with me, but it’s exactly what I need to hear.

Tears start to stream down my face.  I need a good cry.  I need to feel every note, every chord, every lyric of this song.  I immediately download the song when I get home so I can listen on repeat.

On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!

It’s in this moment I hear this profound voice inside of me that says “Shift, Rhonda.”  I know what it means.  It hurts.  It’s time to move.  It’s time to leave the valley.  It’s time to choose to walk out of the valley.

I feel sad, but I feel joy.

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