9.16.2016

Running Away

Yesterday, Kamden (fed up with my parenting) sat at the front door with a sweater on and a backpack on his back telling me he was going to run away.

This, oh so cute, boy had been stuck in his room for about 30 minutes at the time  because he refused to clean his room. It was "too much" for him! So, because I insisted he stay there until his room was clean, the only logical way out was running away. (I don't blame him completely...sometimes I want to run away from dishes, laundry, or cleaning the bathrooms).

Eventually I convinced him he needed to eat lunch first so he had the energy to get to where he wanted to go. During lunch we talked and this is what happened!



Eventually, after all this he finally decided to clean his room and earn a quarter. Unfortunately, that quarter was not enough to buy a tent so he decided he would run away without a tent. Luckily, we were having pizza and cookies for dinner and he decided to stay for a while! 

4.09.2015

Sunday Will Come

My thoughts are turned heavenward today.

I've been intensely focused on making plans in our lives right now; trying to make sense of the uncertainties I feel but my thoughts the last few days have kept turning to stories I hear in the lives of others. Right as I am beginning to become frustrated with those uncertainties the Lord has reminded me of a very real struggle in the life of another. He's trying to soften the heart of mine that sometimes bears stony ground.

I'm reminded lately of friends and family with much more uncertainty in jobs or moving, those dealing with a very real struggle of depression and anxiety, some living with struggles and the fear of terminal cancer, family fighting a valiant, but tiring fight against cystic fibrosis,  parents mourning the loss of a child, strangers and those I know battling infertility and more. The struggles in this life can be so very real and raw.

I've also seen great miracles  and cause for celebration happen in the lives of some I know closely, not so closely, and not at all. The miracle of adoption for a sweet family waiting many years, the birth of precious new babes into the world, vacation for some who haven't experienced one in years, and solutions to health problems coming in the lives of others.

I've wanted to envelop each and every person, struggling or celebrating, in a hope to send them one more bit of hope and love in their journey. I look at the two, those struggling and those celebrating, and don't know why some have cause to mourn or endure pain at the moment while others have cause to celebrate, but one thought comes to mind with Easter last weekend  and the words of the prophet and apostles of my church spoken in a worldwide General Conference. We each have a Savior, He is real and he is involved in the daily struggles and celebrations we experience. Each name is written on his heart, in his blood, and on the palms of his hands. He knows our struggles and our joys. He knows the each twist and turn on the path we are called to walk. He knows the way because he is the way.

I find the joining together of hearts a miracle. Sometimes hearts are joined together more deeply through struggle and sometimes through joy, but I believe the Lord joins our hearts together in an effort to show us a glimpse into the very real and personal love he feels for us.

He is forever our advocate with the Father, in joy or pain. He is fighting your cause. He is walking by your side and at times carrying you in arms that will never fail you. Sunday will come.


3.26.2015

Uncertain Adventures

We are blessed to have a lot of adventure in our life right now...uncertain adventure but adventure nonetheless.

You know I think that's what life is though...one uncertain adventure! One beautiful, uncertain adventure!

We found out in January that we are adding another little one to the Benson bunch! We will be a family of five! I'm not planning on it but I hope I can stay caught up to three little ones come September!

We were in Florida when we found out, where we were for about four months to see Nathan's hard work for the last four year be shot into space! The NASA MMS Spacecraft that Nathan has worked on launched on March 12th and he was able to be finish work on it and see it launch into space to fulfill it's mission!

We are back in Maryland for just a few weeks, after which his contract will end. The plan was to have a job lined up in Utah already and be heading off onto a much more certain adventure. However, that isn't our reality. We have no job lined up and we are living on a prayer that Heavenly Father will help us find our way that aligns with his plan in this uncertain adventure of life!

I've spent a lot of time being frustrated that my plans have not come to fruition. I've had a lot of hopes for our new journey that haven't happened or I know now aren't going to happen. There has been some disappointment felt, tears cried, and learning to let go. The journey isn't happening how I planned for it. I'm not getting exactly what I want. There are lots of things I want that I see others have. I want my own beautiful home, land to have a little farm on, for my husband and I to be done with school, and some other things. I've spent time playing the game of comparison and growing disappointment, robbing myself of the joy in the trenches. "Comparison is the thief of joy" but it's just not worth it. Joy does not come in gaining what others have. "Joy is not in things, it is in us!"



There is joy to be found in the trenches of this uncertain adventure. My journey is my own and it's time to find joy in that journey. I will work towards my goals and dreams on the path that Heavenly Father places in front of me. There will be joy and I am meant to experience that if I let myself.

I believe our natural state is joy! Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. That doesn't mean it's always going to be right in front of us. Sometimes we will have to look for it to find it but there is joy even in the darkest of days.

Find joy in the trenches.

1.30.2015

Not My Will

I guess I'll try this whole blogging thing again...at least while I feel like it! ;-)

But really, I guess I need to write a few things out...make sense of it all...organize my thoughts...and explain a few things. What better place, right!?! Haha...you don't have to agree with that BUT you can if you want to!

I'm constantly being shaped, changed, molded into something I'm not yet but hope to be. I have plenty of ideas in my head of what life should be like, what I should be doing, and even what would make me happy but those things don't usually seem to be the answer. Sometimes the answer comes softly, sometimes I have to be hit over the head with what seems like a literal hammer, and sometimes Heavenly Father is patient with me but nudging me for quite a while before I finally surrender my will.

I'm stubborn and when I get an idea in my head it's HARD to get it out. I don't like to fail and yet I'm learning that is exactly what life is about, FAILURE, over and over again until some day we are okay with understanding that we are imperfect and our plans aren't always HIS plans (and then usually we fail some more, repeating the cycle ;-)).

.......................................................................

I've had a lot of people ask recently if I'm still doing that coaching thing and what's going on. I post endlessly on Facebook and Instagram for a year about my health and fitness journey and then all the sudden I drop off the face of that world pretty abruptly. I had a couple sweet friends tell me they were worried and wanting to make sure everything was okay. I've had a lot of people ask what's up so I guess I decided I should just go ahead and write it out...do some explaining!

Yes, I am still a Beachbody coach. I believe in the system and I believe in the products. They changed A LOT for me! With that being said, No I am not actively building a coaching business with Beachbody. Do I still believe in the business side of Beachbody? Absolutely! I love the business structure as well.

So why up and quit building?

I don't have all the answers and some people won't understand the reasoning (I figure that's why I didn't feel like explaining it in the first place) BUT, I'm following my purpose. Wait, Beachbody coaching was my purpose, right? Yes, it was a part of my purpose AT THE TIME and I thought maybe forever but sometimes our plans aren't HIS plans. I truly believe in my heart that God has a plan for each one of us and while I thought Beachbody coaching would be in my plan for a much longer time I was wrong, and that's okay.

This time around my Heavenly Father was pretty patient, but with lots of nudging a long the way, until I was finally able to realize and accept that I couldn't ignore promptings that my purpose needed to move elsewhere. I still don't have a definite path that I know is meant to replace Beachbody coaching but sometimes the answers don't come right away. Sometimes they come over time and sometimes we just don't see them for a while.



................................................................

I have a beautiful family I call my purpose. They are the center of it all and the rest while it can be full of AMAZING opportunities can't all be part of what God has in store for me so I'll focus on the center and let the rest happen as it needs to.

The lessons of life come in different ways for all of us and while sometimes we wish our path looked more like another's or maybe that it didn't veer off of the path we had set it in our mind ultimately God has a plan; and that plan is much more than we could ever imagine with all of it's twist and turns.


11.10.2014

Motherhood is Softening my Heart


You know I used to be a crier. Emotions often brought tears to the surface but these days I'm not really a crier. I was wondering today why that is and then I had the perfect day to evaluate those thoughts.

With my husband gone to Florida for work I am manning the children by myself. (My props, love, and hugs go out to those single mothers, military wives, and women who do this much more regularly than I do...you are strong...keep going...I admire you!) It was a particularly difficult day with my 3 year old boy, who is very much my spirited child. And, this evening when I found myself in the Target parking lot for 30 minutes trying to coax him into his car seat midst screaming, tears, and thrashing I asked myself why it was I wasn't breaking down into tears at this point. A part of me wished I could, wished I would and that it would release some of the emotions and frustration I was feeling but it would have been forced if I had.

I wondered if I had become harder through the last few years of my life. With every year of life comes more experience. Had motherhood hardened me a little? Had I let life harden me? And, I'm sure in some way I have but in the same way I realize that tears aren't required to show softness, tenderness, and kindness. In the same way that you can cry and still be strong I believe you don't have to cry to be soft and tender in life.

Motherhood has strengthened me but most often that is the result of being broken down first. I have wondered many times in the past 3 years why motherhood doesn't seem to be the uplifting, filling activity I always thought it would be before I had kids. (I still testify that motherhood is rewarding, joyful, and fulfilling. It is divine and blessed. But, it is also draining and often times feels like defeat.) Then my friend said something the other day that struck a cord in me. Talking about this same thing I mention above she said, "...but, motherhood isn't necessarily meant to fill us up. It is meant to fill our kids up."

I realized then that you know maybe I am doing something right. Maybe and hopefully feeling depleted in the area of motherhood at the end of the day means that I spent my time lifting up my children. I believe in taking time for yourself to fill your own cup so that you can come back a more patient, better person in all aspects of life but I also think that motherhood is a wild ride and sometimes no matter how great that personal time is you can once again be depleted as a mother, in what feels like an instant.

And then today when I was reading this post by Stephanie Nielsen of NieNie Dialogues I was reminded of my strength as a mother and reminded of one of my favorite talks on motherhood where Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says:

"Mothers, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. 
Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be
 magnified, compensated, made more than you are, better than you are, 
and better than you have ever been. You are doing terrifically well. 
The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is 
everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. 
He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days
 and your nights may be the most challenging. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.”

I am reminded of the great work I am doing. Yes, it can be depleting. It can be challenging. But, I am being strengthened, uplifted, and softened every day through this journey as a mother. My Father in Heaven is behind me 100 percent. He is rooting for me and he is aiding me on my journey.






9.23.2014

Leaning on the Lord in Motherhood

Motherhood is on my mind this morning in relation to this scripture!


The thought above comes from what has always been one of my favorite scriptures. I have a habit of trying to lean on my own understanding sometimes and it never works out quite right when I do!

Yesterday was quite the day at our house! It was full of lots of messes, spaghetti everywhere, bread crumbs, nibbled carrot bits everywhere, torn books, wet sheets, crying kids, and some definite disagreements between mom and children. There were so many times I would sit down to finally take a breather before I went crazy and then something else would happen ro littles ones would be knocking on my door or taking over my relaxing, hot bath as their own.


For most of my day yesterday I leaned on my own understanding, frustrated that what I was doing all day, every day didn't seem so important. But, after the day was more than half over I said a little prayer and realized how much the Lord cares for me and what I am doing.

I asked my husband the other day why as a mother sometimes I feel that I hear the Lord less than I did at other times in my life. It seems terrible to say or think that but it is true for me most of the time. It seems it's hard to hear him over the screaming children and the stress of another thing to be done even though I feel I am doing his work.

But, I was reminded yesterday that even when I might not be hearing him because there are a million other things going on he is there. The thing is do we trust in him and remain faithful even on those days we feel we don't hear him over the screaming children, beeping timer, stress of bread crumbs and wet sheets?



Even though I am doing the divine work of motherhood that doesn't mean the Lord's work is always easy. Some moments it's exhausting and it includes broken hearts, sacrifice, and tears. But other moments it includes restoration, complete comfort, and more tear, but of joy. It is the daily consistent work whether exhausting or restoring that brings us to him as we do his work.

Keep going! Motherhood is hard and it's not always very glamorous. It's sacrifice and exhausting but it's also restoring, divine, and incredibly joyful. Keep going! There is joy to be found in those trenches!

9.02.2014

Week 3: PiYo Casting Call Results

And, just like that I finished my 3rd week of this PiYo Casting Call! Just 5 more weeks to go until I submit my FINAL results!

I am still LOVING the program and I've been doing it for a few weeks even before I started this Casting Call challenge! :-) But, I also have to tell you that if you really want results in fitness, nutrition is really KEY! They say abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym! With that I have really had to take a FOCUS on my nutrition because that is the hardest part for me! But, is it possible! Of course it is!

Focusing on your nutrition does not mean you never get to have a cinnamon roll or ice cream, french fries, or pizza ever again! You can still have those things but it's all about moderation in life! You eat clean 90% of the time and then know that when you work hard to eat clean the remainder of the week you can have that treat meal where you have whatever you want and not feel bad about it. :-) There is a quote that says, "One bad meal won't make you fat, just like one good meal won't make you skinny!"

The first two weeks I cut out all cheats or treats not because I necessarily wanted to deprive myself but I wanted to prove to myself that I was strong enough to do it and I DID IT! This last week for my 3rd week I allowed myself a treat meal of pasta with my husband and did I have to feel bad about it? NO, I didn't! Because I still worked hard and ate clean the remainder of the time!

The PiYo Nutrition plan isn't hard to follow! It's really easy and it if you take the time to meal plan and meal prep it is even easier! You have a list of all the foods you can eat and then you know how many of each foods you can have and there you have it! You aren't starving! I am plenty full and satisfied following the plan. It is the basics of living a healthy lifestyle to implement and make a habit in your life!

With that are you read to see my 3 week results!?!

Here you go!




And, here are my three week stats:

Weight: 132.7 (-3.5 lbs.)
Chest: 33 (-1.5")
Biceps: L 11 7/8 (-1/8") R 11 7/8 (-1/8")
Waist: 28 (-1")
Belly: 32 (-1.5")
Hips: 38 (-1")
Thighs: L 22 (-3/4") R 22 3/4 (-3/4")
Calves: L 14 (-1/2") R 14 1/4 (-1/4")

I am very proud of the results I have had in knowing that I have done it by consistently eating healthy and getting my workouts in! But, the best part is I don't have to starve myself or workout endlessly! I get to eat plenty and I only have to workout for 20-50 minutes a day! PiYo is a low impact but high intensity workout. I'm not beating up my body to get these results! Do I work hard! YES! Are some of the workouts hard? YES! But,is it worth it? YES! :-)

Happy Transformation Tuesday!


9.01.2014

Clean Pumpkin Pancakes

Fall is right around the corner and that means pumpkin EVERYTHING! :-)

I kept seeing recipes for pumpkin pancakes and I NEEDED some ASAP! So, I decided to find a good, healthy recipe I could enjoy without killing my efforts for the PiYo Casting Call! And, out of that came this lovely, beautiful recipe for pumpkin pancakes. I found the original recipe here and just adapted it slightly. The credit definitely goes to Skinny Taste though for making these delightful pancakes possible! I only altered them slightly.


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup buttermilk (milk and vinegar/lemon juice mixture will work just fine)
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin coconut or olive oil

Directions:

Mix all wet ingredients together in Vitamix. Add dry ingredients and blend in Vitamix until well blended. Make sure to scrape the sides if any flour sticks to sides and mix again.

Top with berries or pure maple syrup and if you are feeling really adventerous it would be delicious with a little low fat whipping cream! ;-)

Enjoy to your heart's delight!

8.25.2014

PiYo Casting Call: Week 2 Results

Well, my second for this PiYo Casting Call journey is complete! Yay! Two weeks down, six to go! :-)

I was feeling a little defeated and frustrated because it seems my wrist didn't completely heal before I decided to stop wearing my brace and I'm back in that brace and no bearing weight on that wrist. So, you may ask how the heck am I doing PiYo? I just MAKE IT WORK! :-)


When it's time to do push ups I go into a forearm plank and either hold it or lift my legs one at a time. When we are in down dog I am on my forearms as well. I do the best I can and KEEP GOING! I have learned that there will always be another excuse as to why you "CAN'T" do it. But, in reality, it's not about if you can...it's about if you WILL! So, you have to make some adjustments...SO WHAT! Keep going! ;-)

video

And, here we have my two week pictures and progress! (If you can't tell I took these by myself with my phone propped up on a chair, boxes, and a book with two kids running around...haha...it worked...kind of!)

Two week progress front view
Two week progress side view
Two week progress back view

:Measurements:

Weight: 132.7 (-3.5 lbs.)
Chest: 33 3/4" (-.75")
Waist (smallest part): 28" (-1")
Belly (biggest part): 32 1/4" (-1.25")
Hips: 38" (-1")
Thighs: L 22.25" (-.5")  R 23" (-.5")

When you commit to reaching a goal and stay consistent things will happen! My next group starts Monday, September 1st! Are you going to commit?



I'm ready to take September by storm and keep going! Are you? ;-)

8.24.2014

Seasoned Coconut Chicken

When I'm cooking I like it to be simple, healthy, and yummy! That's not too much to ask, right? You see, I just figure why put in the effort if it doesn't meet that criteria! ;-)

This chicken meets all those requirements and I LOVE it! I came across it when I was in a hurry to feed 4 hungry missionaries and only had 40 minutes to get dinner ready! It was a total experiment but I figured growing, hungry missionaries would be great to try it on! :-) Now, it does have Ranch Seasoning on it which is not exactly clean. But, I'm okay with a little ranch seasoning on my chicken now and again. I no longer eat Ranch dressing but that doesn't mean I don't like the taste! Everything in moderation! ;-)

So, that is how this recipe came to fruition!

Sorry I'm not a better photographer! ;-)

Seasoned Coconut Chicken

Ingredients: 

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Parsley (fresh or dry)
Tony's Seasoning
Ranch Seasoning & Salad Dressing Mix
Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degress. Coat bottom of baking pan with coconut oil. Place chicken breasts on pan and give them some spice! ;-) I just sprinkle some of each on there until I'm happy! 

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. 

Serve with a side of veggies and fruit and if you want a little more of something serve with some sauteed potatoes. 

I hope you can ENJOY it too! Happy Sunday!