Tending the Garden

mind is a garden

Our thoughts are at the forefront of our success or failure. Our happiness or sadness. Some days are easier then others, such is the nature of life. Choose to cultivate the flowers on the sunny days, and focus on the blooms on the rough ones. Remember, wellness isn’t just about nutrition and fitness, it’s also about getting the heart, mind and soul to a place of peace and strength.


Happy June!

This morning my oldest daughter came to me and said, “I don’t know what it is about a new month, but I just love when I have a fresh calendar page!”. What can I say, the girl comes by it honestly. As I’ve talked about in the past I love the opportunity that a new month brings. Awhile back I recommended picking one thing to focus on each month. You can refresh your memory, or check it out for the first time in this post here.

For June I am focusing on planning and actually scheduling my workouts. As I’ve mentioned before I work shifts and now that I’m back to commuting my time is even more precious. I have big plans for the month of July so between that and life getting away from me some days, it is extra important that I make a plan. I was reviewing the goals I had set in a past post and things have been adjusted a little. But that needs to be part of our life. We have to be flexible and open to change, as long as that change isn’t one that completely derails us from a long-term plan.

Here is a picture of my calendar. Nothing fancy, it is written in pencil. I have my scheduled shifts written (the “D” and “N”s) and I’ve used Get Movin’s schedule for the next 8 weeks and picked the classes that best suit my schedule. I’ve also included my runs and TRX workouts.


It’s written in pencil because on some days there are two options. With overtime shifts that pop up I have to be able to change things sometimes. For example – I can run on the treadmill at work and bring my TRX so those are an option depending on the workout I may miss. I also am being very conscious of my sleep requirements. There may be days when my “wellness” routine is actually sleeping instead of a workout. I work 14 hour night shifts with a 2+ hour round trip commute. Four of those in a row, means that my body can get fairly run down. I’ve suffered burn out before – without knowing it until it was in my rearview mirror. Now I know the signs and how to avoid it, and I will at all costs. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Just that I am more conscious of how I need to take care of myself. And what was it G.I. Joe always said: “Knowing is half the battle!”

I’ll also be planning our families meals for the month. Even more focused will be my own. We’ll be having our family sit-down tomorrow to discuss the month ahead. Perhaps I’ll share that later in the week!

Think about incorporating one simple thing into your month. Increasing your water, if you haven’t already done that. Checking out the seasonal fruits and veggies that will be starting to appear before long. Getting out and walking a new trail or going for a bike ride. Picking up a sketch book and pencil and sketching the flowers you find. There is nothing like drawing nature to make you focus on all the intricacies and fine details you will often miss in a hurried day.

Enjoy the sunshine and summer evenings that are here to stay….at least for a while!

Let’s Rock This Month!!

I’m back!! Thanks to all who have asked how things are going. My apologies for missing most of the month of March. As I’ve expressed I’m an all or nothing girl, and when I realized that I was facing my 100th post (Yes, that’s right! This is the 100th post!) I admittedly became a little overwhelmed. What was I going to talk about? What should I cover? What have I missed? What would make this post extra special? And so I froze, next thing you know several days had passed, and well, I hit that slump that tends to go with my personality – but I’m working on it.

I’ve thought about this blog daily, I’ve been studying and researching so I have some great things to bring forward in the next few months. I have also set a new fitness goal for myself…curious? Check out this link if you would like to see what I’ll be doing on a lovely July weekend this year:


So my training will be certainly getting kicked up a notch or three 🙂

I’ve been keeping with my running, and I am excited to say my daughter is going with me for some of the runs as she is trying out for the cross-country team at her school. I am trying to find the right balance of encouragement for her without seeming pushy. I remember being her age and wanting to run, I would have loved to have had someone beside me saying I was doing a great job, all I had were the voices saying I couldn’t.

What are your plans for this lovely month? The weather is warming up, the tulips and lilies are poking their way through the soil. There is still that chance of snow, so get out and enjoy the fresh air on the days the sun is shinning!

So happy to be back, we’ll chat soon

xo Suzanne

“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.”
~ Brian Tracy ~

My One Simple Thing for March

I’m a little late with the update on how February went, and sharing what I have implemented in my life for the month of March.

So here we go:

  • 2013: Run 1 km per day and stretch – still going strong! Some days are easier than others, but isn’t that how most things are in life?
  • January: Pay attention to my sleeping needs. On nights, go to bed during the day (I feel guilty missing the kids, even though I can be a grump – go figure), and on days off and day shifts, get to bed earlier. I have been doing better and better with this, maybe in part because I ended the shift work mid month 😉
  • February: Time Management! Journal what I eat, and create a workout schedule for the month. I bombed so badly on this one!! Maybe part of it was changes in work, which through me off any routine. March doesn’t look much better as far as “routine” goes. We’ll keep on plugging away and see how it goes though
  • March: Re-focus on building my faith. This is me time. It’s quiet time I can try to get in the morning. It’s like working out first thing in the morning. When I get a workout in, I make healthier choices all day. When I spend time on my faith, then I am refreshed mentally, and feel more peace. Have you ever thought about meditation? Do you have a faith base to build on? Do you love to read? Is there something you can choose, a way to start your day quietly and peacefully so that you can build your inner stores to get you through the challenges that you may face during the day? On the nutrition front, I’ve decided to cut out alcohol this month. I’m not a huge drinker, but I have my moments of enjoyment. Admittedly this one will be a little easier than choosing…oh, say chocolate. Maybe that will be next month!

Looking for more ideas? Check out the blog post for February here.

Let us know what steps you’re taking…are you continue each months goals into the next, or do you try something for a month and then move onto a new challenge in the next month?

A Year in Retrospective

 So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains And we never even know we have the key.

~ lyrics from Already Gone, by the Eagles ~

Today was a bitter-sweet day for me. It was my last day at work at a position I have been in for the last year. Last year I left a full-time, permanent job to take this position. The job is in the same field but this was filling a maternity leave spot so it would only be for one year. The difference would be the 50+ hours I spent commuting every month. I left the job that was 100 kms from home to be 4 kms down the road. And even though I’m now unemployed, I don’t regret it.

It’s scary making big changes, changes where you don’t always know what the outcome will be. Changes that will inevitably have a resounding effect on you, your lifestyle and perhaps your family. When I was considering leaving my old job we ultimately had to take money out of the equation (and we are still feeling that) and look at the bigger picture. We were juggling two shift working parents, 4 children, 1 who needed full-time childcare, another who needed part-time childcare, plus all the sports and recreational events that come along with the joys of family. Throw in the 50+ hours of commuting and it was inevitable something was going to give. One year later, stepping back it is amazing to look at just how close to the edge our family was to collapse. It’s amazing what a year can do for the soul.

In the last year:

  • I have lost 60lbs
  • I have run a half marathon (amazing what you can do when you don’t drive for 50 hours a month)
  • I have made wonderful new friends at my, as of today, “old” job
  • I have contributed to increasing the stability in my family
  • I have more peace within myself
  • Amazingly, this new job helped increase my confidence in my abilities and skills in a line of work that I have been doing for almost 14 years!
  • I started studying to become a Holistic Nutritionist
  • I received my certification as a Nutrition and Wellness Specialist
  • I found a new sense of community in the group of people I work out with
  • I started blogging!

Don’t get me wrong. We took a big risk. One that wouldn’t be for everyone. I am now in limbo as I search for another job. Do I stay in the same field I have been in? Do I consider commuting again (it’s almost inevitable as the town where I live does not have a lot of opportunities in my field). Can I find work that will allow me to continue or even complement my nutrition studies?

With all of those concerns, the big thing is knowing that we are now aware of how close we came as a family to falling apart. How close I came to falling apart, both emotionally and physically. It’s amazing what the body can do, but even it can only take so much. So when I am considering new work, I know that this time I will be aware of what to look for as warning signs.

Often it takes stepping back from a situation to see the whole picture. When we are immersed in “it” we can be just surviving. I was often told in my previous job “I don’t know how you do it!”, to which I often replied, “you just do what you have to do”. But that’s not entirely true. I look back now, and I don’t know how I did it!! I was existing but not living.  So that is my goal now. To make sure that I don’t fall into that routine again. That life isn’t just about existing, that it is about being the fullest, most alive, most complete, best version of yourself possible.

Here’s to a fantastic year of growth under my belt, and a fantastic year of challenges (they aren’t all bad!) ahead.

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
~Pamela Vaull Starr~


What’s Your “Why”?

When we make a choice to get stronger, healthier, fitter, improve our nutrition, increase our happiness, increase our mindfulness, work towards improving our overall wellness there is always a “why”. Whether you are aware of it or not, whether you have acknowledged it or not, there is a “why” lurking. Sometimes there is one, often there are several.

I had some obvious “whys”. At 250 lbs the first one was definitely a no-brainer. The likelihood of living a strong, healthy, long life was shorter with each day that passed. Also, I have 4 beautiful children, including 3 girls who I wanted to be a good role model for. They didn’t need a skinny mom. They needed a strong mom. They needed to see a woman who could set goals and follow through with them. They needed to have a mom who was proud of her body, even proud of her stretch marks! Who stood tall and was able to walk into a room with confidence. A mom who didn’t worry about every public event because it meant having to wear something other than track pants. My value (in my children’s eyes) as a mother was not based on my size by any means, but my self value was absolutely influenced by it. And the overflow of that couldn’t help but influence the kind of mother I was.

One of my more internal “whys” was sitting in public. Strange? I hated having to sit in a chair. I would often stand at any family or public event. The internal dialogue of “will that chair hold me”, “will I get stuck in that chair?’, “how much of my body will hang over the sides?”, “will the chair creak?” played often in my head.

So those are some of my “whys”. What are yours? Take some time and think about it. You may not even realize why you have taken steps towards change, or perhaps you are still in the early contemplation stage of making changes and thinking out those “why’s” will help you take that first step forward. My children have seen me set fitness goals; plan, train and run a half-marathon. They have seen me set life goals; enrol in a nutrition program, study and pass. They have seen the stresses that came with those changes and they have also recognized the happiness in being successful in accomplishing those goals! I think those are some great life lessons, much better than the lessons I was inadvertently teaching them by cursing, crying and stressing over what to wear to a wedding!

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
~ George Eliot ~