Thursday, February 15, 2018

Hellooooo!! Love Circus Update!

Well, hello there!  I am glad to emerge from my circus tent to say hello to you all!

I've written multiple posts in my head.  I've thought about it so much, and have yet to slow down to share!!

So here is a top 5 of what has been showcasing at the circus:

1) Victor Love - Our dog-child Victor had to have surgery in January to remove a tumorous growth on his front paw.  The thing had doubled in size from Thanksgiving to the New Year!  Our vet advised that we needed to remove it to run tests to see if it was cancer.  It was a pretty stressful couple of weeks, but praise the Lord the results indicated that it was not cancer (but it still had to be removed and they had taken care of that in the initial surgery).  He's fully recovered and still milking it for all it is worth by sleeping in our bed every night.


2) Joseph Karate Batman Love's 6th Birthday was January 12th!  We went to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to celebrate, and had some fun, new experiences!  We like to go to Dollywood, but the park is closed January-Marchish so we decided to enjoy discounted off-season rates at the Dreammore Hotel and explore more of the area!  We went to the Aquarium of the Smokies which was super cool!  The boys really enjoyed the viewing tube (complete with people moving conveyor belts).  There is also a neat indoor playground for the kids, which mine really loved!  We also visited the Guinness World Records Museum.  The boys (and grown ups) had a lot of fun doing all of the challenges to see if they could match the world record.  I highly recommend a visit there!!
The weather was a bit rainy so we tabled going to Anakeesta and hope to try that next time we are there (which is looking like spring break for us).













3) Keeping track of personal and professional goals - So another big event over January is a bit of a work transition which has me taking on a bit more responsibility with the Bekah Cochran Team and it has definitely required solid planning.  We got new planners this year, and I have really come to love the format of this one!  We are still easing into the flow of things, and are really just taking it week by week.  Bekah always says "make sure your goals and your calendars match", and that really translates to all aspects of your life.  Writing it down on the calendar is a form of making an affirmation, and that is incredibly powerful.  


4) Keeping track of personal and professional goals Part 2:  More work-related time for me means refreshing the wardrobe a bit with some professional/work pieces and I'm pretty jazzed that I picked up this sweater from Cabi (I'm hosting a show in March and really looking forward to picking a couple of versatile pieces I can mix and match).  JCrew & JCrew Factory has had some delightful clearance sales since Christmas, and I have been piecing together some basics from the clearance.  Clearance is my love language.  
Me taking notes in coaching and wearing my new Cabi Trumpet Cardi

5) Rosemary Trip- We took a Bekah Cochran Team trip to Rosemary Beach, FL the first weekend of February to celebrate meeting sales goals in 2017!!  It was so much fun to spend time with these wonderful women (and Bekah's oh so precious 5 month old - lots of baby snuggling) in such a beautiful place!!  Side Note: I got this absolutely divine sweater by Barefoot Dreams at 
Patchoulis in Rosemary!  I have been wearing it A LOT (I am literally wearing it right now).





That's a tiny glimpse of what we've been up to lately, I cannot believe we are staring at March.  I am so energized and excited that signs of spring have begun here in Chattanooga!!  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Our Teacher Valentines

Happy Valentines Day!!  I'm getting some work done at home today before heading to school for the Valentine Parties!!  

My boys aren't very much in to the whole Valentine thing right now, but I figure they will be one day soon.  I ordered these cool Valentines on Amazon for William to give to his class late last week and got them in on Saturday! 


Also on Saturday I picked up these cute cosmetic bags from Hobby Lobby to fill with some goodies for the boy's teachers!!  I filled them with: small size Thayer's Rose Water Witch Hazel Toner, individually wrapped Kleenex tissues, Burt's Bees Makeup Remover Wipes, small size Not Your Mother's Dry Shampoo and some Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Lip Balm.  These are some of my favorite products, and I just wanted to share.


Yesterday, I popped into the local fly shop (Blue Ridge Fly Fishing) to pick up a gift card for ALove's Valentine's Day present.  Back in our younger days he used to fly fish quite a bit, and he's been wanting to pick up the rod again.  I really want to encourage him to get back in his waders!!

ALove gifted me a subscription to I love Jewelry monogram gifts ~ I am so excited to see what this entails and will share as soon as I get mine!!

I am planning to make chicken piccata for Valentine's Day Dinner tonight (along with some roasted brussel sprouts YUM). I have had chicken piccata on the brain lately! 

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentines Day ~ may it be what you want it to be 💕💕💕

Saturday, January 27, 2018

On ALove's Nightstand (What Kim's Man is Reading)

Hello, all.  Mandy and Kim asked me to write a short post about what I'm reading.  So without further ado...

"It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'"  Luke 4:4.  "It is written ...."  This is how Jesus responded each time He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness.  When the Jewish religious leaders challenged Jesus' actions, He often responded, "Have you not read...?"  In His darkest hour, when the Father had turned His face away from Him as he lay dying on the cross, Jesus had the words of Psalm 22 on His lips.  The Bible.  It's the very word of God, y'all.  Do not neglect it or regard it lightly.  Read something from it every day, even if it's only a verse.


Pastor Tim Keller recommends this in his book, Prayer (which I also commend to your reading).  If you've never used a Bible commentary before, this is a good introduction to them. It's a single volume commentary on the whole Bible, and it provides helpful historical and cultural context to the Biblical text. 


I am not a scientist, mathematician, or engineer.  But I like to build stuff and am interested in why things are the way they are.  If that describes you too, you may enjoy this book by J.E. Gordon, who was an an airplane engineer and later a professor of materials science at the University of Reading in England.  I picked up this book after reading an article on book recommendations from Tesla founder Elon Musk.  Not only does Professor Gordon explain structural engineering concepts in a way that a mathematically challenged person like me can understand, but he also does so with sustained, and characteristically British, dry wit.  Here's just one example:  "A deep, intuitive appreciation of the inherent cussedness of materials and structures is one of the most valuable accomplishments an engineer can have."  


Ten years ago, these men led SEAL Team Three's Task Unit Bruiser in Ramadi, one of the most violent battlefields in Iraq, to become the most decorated special operations unit from the war in Iraq.  (The "American Sniper", Chris Kyle, was a member of Task Unit Bruiser.)  Messrs. Willink and Babin took the leadership lessons learned from that highest-stakes environment and translated them into principles that we can all apply in any leadership role.  These men have unimpeachable credibility when it comes to leadership.  I recommend we listen.  


That's all for now.  Thanks for reading, and please let us know if you enjoyed this. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

On My Nightstand...52 Things Sons Need From Their Moms


Hi, friends!

I finished this wonderful book last week & just had to pop in here to share in case you were looking for a new book to read:

52 Things Son Need From Their Moms by Angela Thomas.



I know I have mentioned her books before and I have to say this one is just as good as the others that I have read. Angela always speaks to my heart.

This one left me wishing that I could be friends with Angela in real life because moms really do need a friend to run beside them (page 59) and I wish that I had a friend running the spiritual race along beside me all this time, helping me encourage my sons to make Christ the center of their lives.

Each chapter is short (there 52 and this is a skinny book, so it's a quick read).
I shared a page from this book on my Instagram the other day because Y'ALL!!!
I didn't even realized it had a name!




The FOG!!!
This one broke me down!
I had completely forgotten about "the fog" with Owen, but reading this made me remember how I wanted to pinch the plug out of him almost every day & cried more than once...
It broke me down because I have recognized signs that "the fog" is starting to creep into my house again, this time it's coming for Evan (& I dread it so bad).

I really enjoyed this one and feel better about the job that I'm doing raising these boys to be Christian men. No matter how old your boys are, I think you would enjoy this book.


This past November, I read another Angela Thomas book: Do You Know Who I Am?
I posted about it on Facebook, but forgot to add it to the blog.



Here's my original Facebook post:

I bought this book about a year ago but didn't get time to read it, so it's been sitting on my shelf in the "need to read" pile for forever. In the past two weeks I have been to both Books A Million AND Barnes & Noble looking for a new book to read. I COMBED the store looking...NOTHING sounded good to me & I both times I left empty handed. I realize now, it was no accident.
Last weekend something made me pick this book up off the pile and start reading (and when I say something, I know exactly WHO gave me that nudge) it was weirdly automatic like, "This one, I need to read this one, right now".
Long story short, this past week has been a challenge (and when I say a challenge I mean it was a raging dumpster fire) and more than once I've stopped and reflected on things that have been put in my path only to recall something I read just the night before in this book that gave me strength. They were words I needed to hear. God's timing is always perfect, I have not doubt about that now.
Angela Thomas-Pharr has been a blessing to me more than once with her wonderful books. Order this one, friends. It is SO good!

You might also enjoy her bible study: Stronger. I did this one a couple of years ago and it was so good! I blogged about it, you can read about that one here.





And, this is just THREE of the MANY books that she has written! 

Right now I am reading a new one by Max Lacuado and it is becoming apparent that He put this book in my lap for a reason as well. I'll be back to tell y'all about it soon.

Are you reading anything good?
I have about five books on my pile right now, but I'm always looking for a new one! 

Thanks for stopping by to visit today!
Book nerd friends are the best friends!

Stay warm, y'all!

Mwah,

Mandy



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Giving Healthy Another Go

Just before Christmas I asked my great friend (who knows a lot about fitness and nutrition) if she would help me in devise a work out and meal plan in the new year.  

Last January (2017) I took the Restart Program, and she was the instructor.  A 6-week sugar detox, where we learned about the nuts and bolts of how our bodies digest food.  It was amazing, but one year later here I am still incapable of doing anything but sabotaging myself on a daily basis.  Anyone else know that feeling?


I have the knowledge and understanding of what I need to do, I just need a little extra direction on how to implement all of this wisdom.  So my friend and I sat down together and discussed life, my schedule, what we Loves like to eat and what's realistic.  

The plan was born.

I started the plan we (she) put together last week, and I feel like I am moving at a manageable pace!  

The best thing is that ALove and I have been able to make better decisions about what to have for dinner.  Unlike my insanely talented Crafty Southern Sister who excels at the culinary arts, my skills in the kitchen are quite basic.  I require explicit instruction in almost every aspect of life, especially meal prepping and planning.  

I think that for me, that is the key - planning.  Never be caught without the healthier option available.  I work, I run kids around, I am the ringmaster of my own circus ~ that is real. 
Current state of chaos.
If there isn't a plan, it's widespread panic in the corridors of the Love house (not to be confused with Widespread Panic the band, which can actually be heard often in the corridors of the Love house).  And you know what's worse than running wide open all over town to work, school, church and everywhere in between with no plan?????  Being stuck at home on a snow day, holiday or weekend with NO PLAN. 

Actual picture of our snow day today.

I wanted to share kind of an outline of what we put together, maybe it will help someone who is like me and needs a little more extra direction....  
(Please note this is a general outline of my plan, everyone is different and we spent close to 2 hours discussing different things specific to my crazy life).


Workout Plan - Sunday to Sunday 
-She recommends for sure getting exercise every day, for me it's 20-30 minutes walking briskly on the treadmill
-1 Day Lower Body work out
-1 Day HIIT cardio
-1 Day Upper Body
(She also recommended trying www.fitnessblender.com for great workouts that fit your needs).

Self-Care Plan - Lower Stress 
Breathing/meditation
Epsom Salt Baths

Food Plan
This is just a guideline of things she knows I like to eat, how to make it healthiest.
We came up with 5 dinner options as the core "go-to" dinner choices. 
My "go to" dinners are:
-Grass-fed burgers
-Tortilla Soup
-Wild-caught salmon cakes
-Grass-fed roast with root vegetables
-Grilled chicken or Baked BBQ chicken thighs or legs

**What are your "GO-TO" dinners???**

She gave me some very specific recommendations for meal prepping for the week so that we always have healthy options to work with based on what WE actually like to eat:
-Pick 3 veggies to make for the week
-Pre-make roasted veggies (turnips, sweet potatoes, radish red/gold or russet potato)
-Pre-make a sheet of bacon (antibiotic free)
-Keep cauliflower rice on hand
-Always have a dark leafy green on hand
-Make your own dressing (I'll need a little bit of practice with this one, I've never been all that inspired to make my own condiments)


Keep to Minimum:
-Anything with lots of ingredients with preservatives and added conventional sugars
-Sweets (even if made with friendly sugars like honey, maple syrup, dates, stevia, etc)
-Fruits

Also please note my kids are the picky type, so this meal plan really is for ALove and myself.  We incorporate other methods and tactics for those picky eaters.

So you see, we are all just doing the best we can, but when we have a plan it just makes it a little easier to take care of ourselves.  It doesn't mean I haven't failed miserably just in the last week (ahem, birthday cupcakes).

I'd love to hear about your healthy "go-to" dinners and snacks, do you have any side dish(es) you pre-make for the week?

Thanks for joining my circus today, I look forward to talking to you real again real soon!!






Monday, January 15, 2018

Spur of the Moment Fitness Resolutions & Other Nonsense...

Happy morning, friends!

It's a true Monday, as I sit here waiting for the Whirlpool guy to come repair our (brand new) fridge...AGAIN.
(You know, sometime between 8 & 12...)

I'll spare you that story,
I don't think I can be nice about it.
(It makes me want to go out in the backyard and rev a chainsaw!)


Somehow, it is MID-JANUARY!
Can you believe it!?!
Are you sticking to those fitness resolutions that you made?
I got smart this year & didn't make any.
(har har)

The bar is so low...
so, so low!

Which is why I truly feel like I had been selected to participate in the Olympics after I decided on a very simple fitness goal last week and actually followed through all seven days!!

(insert crazy applause)



I follow Candace Cameron Bure on Instagram (because I love DJ Tanner & am a sucker for Hallmark mystery movies, don't act like you didn't know I was that nerd) and I tell you this girl is impressively fit! She LOVES to work out & she looks amazing!




Last week she challenged her Instagram friends to do 18,000 push-ups in 2018!!
That is 50 a day for 350 days.
I read those first two lines while watching her do those military perfect push-ups in her insta video & my very first thought was "um, yeah...that ain't happening..." (because I've never been able to do push-ups, ever!!!)

But then she goes on to encourage..."YOU CAN DO IT", she says!!
Even if you cannot a real "regulation" push-up, you can STILL participate!

(WAIT, WHAT?!? REALLY?!)

Even if you cannot do a real one, do them on your knees, lean up against your kitchen counter or even standing against a wall. Try to do ten at a time, spaced out during the day to achieve the total 50....I believe in you, she said!

Well, because Candace believed in me...
For seven days now, straight off of the couch doing modified push-ups off my kitchen counter...(that sounds lame & stupid, but it was real folks, because the next day I felt the burn!!)

The first few days I did ten push-ups spaced out throughout the day to get 50.
Last night, which was day seven,
I did all fifty at one time.
Simple fitness progress that involved no gym membership, no Lululemon, no nothing fancy at all except nibble of my time!

Today, I'm going to try to do them on my knees spaced out through the day.
Who knows, I might actually do 18,000 push-ups this year...
or better yet, be able to do just ONE REAL ONE! 😉

Thanks for the encouragement, Candace!! ❤

You can view the video on Instagram here.


Last week (after I accidently watched the entire second season of The Crown & was scouring the lists for something new to watch) I ran across this Fitness channel option on Amazon Prime.
I've looked it over a couple of times now & have honestly considered trying it out!
Have any of you guys tried it?
I went through all the workout videos they had available, I was impressed at the list of instructors!



They had several Billy Blanks, Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, and even some old school Jane Fonda!!

If you like to work out at home,
it might be worth checking them out.

Anyhoooo...
Whatever your fitness goals are for 2018, I know you can achieve them if you just strive to be the very best YOU that you can be (my favorite Will Taylor quote).
You can do it, friend!
I believe in YOU! 😉💖

Well,
I'm hopping up here to get a few things done while I am STILL WAITING FOR THE WHIRLPOOL GUY to come fix our brand new fridge that we bought in June and have already had it worked on THREE DIFFERENT TIMES, so help me, give me a chainsaw!!!
Ugh!!!

Much love (& push-ups)!
Mwah,

Mandy


Monday, January 8, 2018

Real Life in the Love Circus

Well folks, first day back to school is cancelled due to ice (nothing like what the deep south and northeastern folks got the other day, but for us it's disruptive).  

I was so ready for today!   Getting back into the routine with school and work, accomplishing some things, enjoying silence.  Our house is in shambles (which is actually a regular occurrence, it's just magnified when we are on breaks), and I really need some breathing room.  I feel like the house is closing in on me! 

BUT, plans change and I am quite certain God gives a redirect to see things, reflect and stop revving our engines for a minute.  So on our real last day before school starts back, I'm going do my best to take it slow and enjoy time with the boys.
Stay warm folks (like Victor there) and have fun today!!  Thanks for joining my circus🎪 for a minute :)

Victor Love in the red chair.  He burrowed a hole in the cushion so he could get real cozy. 
When the humans sit here, we have to put a pillow on it so we don't fall into the hole.

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