November 26, 2018 Workout

Well, today’s workout was c/o my husband, and it about killed me.

Walked 1.5 mi to warm-up
I found and used the free-form dual cable machine:

  • Cross-body extension 13 lbs x15 x2
  • Overhead Tricep press 13 lbs x15 x2
  • Lateral pull downs 10 lbs x15 x2
  • Chest press 13 lbs x15 x2

Knee ups on the dip machine x10 x2 (these are the devil’s creation)
Laying down side-to-sides x10 x2
Bicycle crunches x10 x2 (my abs were maxed out…..gracious these were hard)
Full sit-ups x10 x2

November 25 Workout

10 min elliptical (warm-up) – HATED EVERY SECOND OF THE ELLIPTICAL!

Squats with 10 lb dumbbells in each hand x10 x2
Forward Lunges with 10lb dumbbells in each hand x 10 x2
Laying down side-to-side x10 x2
Short bridge x10 x2
High heel squats x10 x2
Superman arms x10 x2
Superman legs x10 x2
Wide-leg squats x10 x2

500 yard swim – total time 14:01 and avg pace was 2:48/100 yards

November 24, 2018 Workout

Running Program – Run/Walk Repeats (walk 5 min, run 1 min x3 and then cooldown)

Results: Total time 20:00, 1.43 mi, 14:00/mi avg pace

laying down side-to-side x10 x2
Laying down – leg-ups x10 x2
crunches x10 x2
Push-ups (knees) x10 x2
Overhead press with 20 lb bar x10 x2
Deadlift with 20 lb bar x10 x2
Bicep curl with 20 lb bar x10 x2
Arms: Lateral raise with 5 lb dumbbells x10 x2
Tricep dip x5 x2
Tricep extension with 5lb dumbbell x10 x2
Front raises with 5 lb dumbbells x 10 x2

November 21, 2018 workout

Test run (Walk warm-up, Run 5 minutes, cool down)
Results: total time 9:01, .56 mi, avg pace 16:00/mi

Deadlifts with 20lb bar x10 x2
Squats with 20lb bar x10 x2
Bicep curls with 20 lb bar x10 x2
Forward lunges (no weight) x10 (5/leg) x2
Crunches x10 x2
Laying down side-to-side x10 x2
Superman arms up x10 x2
Superman legs up x10 x2
Push-ups (knees) x5 x2

Posted in Wellness

Read between the lines, Emily: Get to the Gym

Chances are if you’re reading this when it’s published that we are family or close friends because my blog doesn’t have a huge following (yet!). Having said that let me start by saying how much I appreciate you for taking your time to read my blog and give me feedback on my content and content you want to see. You’re a rock star!

Because you’ve known me for a while you’ve seen me yo-yo in my pursuit of “healthy” for years. I think I started Weight Watchers with my mom for the first time when I was in high school. If it’s a thing in the diet industry you’ve heard me talk about having tried it – soups, wraps, shakes, pills, equipment….thinking back on all of the things I’ve tried is a little overwhelming. And how long I’ve been on this pursuit is ridiculous more than 20 years. I mean I’ve even signed up for big races like half marathons with the intention that they would keep me consistently motivated to push my self and my body to get and stay healthy. They didn’t. None of them worked to get me to my healthiest version of me. It’s new and exciting for a few days or even months while weight is just dropping off, but when the compliments stop and there’s a lull in my bank account or life happens then I fall off the wagon and it ruins me. I gain it all back and then some. Then this happens….

Our YMCA gym membership increased. 

A few weeks ago our YMCA membership went up about $3 per month. When my husband told me I didn’t even think about it again. I don’t use our Y membership except to take my kids to the pool in the summer and stare at fit moms from behind my sunglasses wondering how they stay so fit with kids and a job and life….. Anywhoo. A few days later he says something like I’m not sure if I told you, but our Y membership went up and you need to start using it. I recoiled slightly at the audacity of him suggesting I need to go to the gym, but I didn’t say anything because I knew it was true. We’ve also had a Y membership for years and he’s never held me accountable for going so I figured this was just a phase and with $36/year attached it would fade. The next day he suggests that our date nights could be at the gym and I was like WHOA….my idea of a date night is lemon drop martinis and key lime pie from Burton’s not sweating it out at the gym. This isn’t a fleeting realization of the price increase in our membership – I think he’s calling me out about really needing to go to the gym, but not like really calling me out because he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings, but the same. I couldn’t even be mad because it was true. I needed to figure something out.

I stayed up all night that night Pinteresting motivational quotes and creating my virtual vision board. I Googled weight training plans for beginners. I started a new running plan on my Garmin. I did all the things I knew to do to get motivated and he was helping. He suggested that he would take the kids with him to jiu jitsu on Monday’s and Wednesday nights so that I could go to the gym, he even suggested an alternating gym schedule for Saturdays. This was a first. I’ve mentioned before wanting to train for a race or wanting to do something, but it needed to be around his schedule because he’s serious about his training regimen. There was never an offer to take the burden of what to do with the kids off of me so that I could focus on me. He was serious.

Sure enough Wednesday rolls around and my kids come home and ask what the plan is and my husband says well you’re eating dinner, then you’re going with me so mommy can go to the gym. It was a test. I wasn’t even dressed. I was loading the dishwasher. I rolled my eyes, turned around and walked to my room to change clothes. I get to the gym, have a really nice lady take me on a tour and then I lock my keys and all in my locker within 5 minutes. I get the maintenance crew to cut my new lock off my locker and I do finish my workout (cardio only). I come home. I go to the gym the next day during my lunch break and they were closing early for the holiday. What!?!?! Something in the universe does not want me at this gym…..or it’s testing my commitment. Days 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 go by and I’ve been every day – with no subsequent mishaps and I actually look forward to it now. I’m sore – don’t get me wrong, but I’m enjoying the process and I feel good knowing that I’m doing something that honors my husband. Believe me I wasn’t saying this 7 days ago – I was more rolling my eyes and still laughing off that he would suggest I hit the gym. However, in hindsight if it was important enough for him to say it and then create changes in our schedule that would allow me to focus on actually doing it (i.e. taking our kids with him 2 night/week) then it means something to him and I want to honor that.

To that end I’ve created this new wellness section of my blog. I’ll start with some really transparent posts and then I’ll add some quick updates with my workouts so that I don’t forget what I did and you can see what I’m up to. Note: I’m not focused on eating super healthy or changing my diet (not a diet, but what I consume) right now, but rather getting in the habit of getting a workout in every day.

Posted in Faith

My story

I recently joined a women’s group at our church and was asked to give my testimony or tell my story to the group. It gave me pause…what is my story? I spent time thinking about it, but never put pen to paper because my story is 39 years in the making and I had 15-20 minutes to share it all. On the day I was set to tell my story I still had just a jumbled bunch of mental notes in my head. A friend of mine was working from my house that day and I shared with her this task and how I had no idea what I was going to say. [By the way, this is so unlike me. I was a Toastmaster for years and had gotten good at creating a story line, delivering my story with feeling and doing it on a time schedule. This task was different. I had never been asked to tell my Christian story before.] My friend asked me to tell her my story. I started with a bunch of excuses about why this story wouldn’t be what she expected, why I hadn’t prepared, why this was hard for me and being the great friend that she is – she didn’t even listen to that and pushed me to just start telling her my story. Once I started talking it was so easy to keep talking, and as I talked she would ask me questions that helped me edit as we went. I made notes and felt great heading into my women’s group that night. Now I’m going to share my story with you – should you read on. Remember God has a plan for everyone’s life.

One reason why creating my story was so hard was because I didn’t have this big turning my life over to Jesus moment. My mom started taking me to church from the week I was born. I was born and raised in Monroe, NC and we were members of Memorial United Methodist Church. As a child I was at church every time the doors opened. I was an acolyte and I sang in the choir. As I got older I got even more involved as an active member of our kids group who participated in bake sales, talent shows, sat in the infant room during church services. I had a great childhood in the church. I had made friends and people looked at me as a leader in the church from a young age and I loved it. However, as active as I was it was ceremonious not emotional. I went to church, read my Bible and sang the hymns because it was expected – I didn’t know of a relationship with this God and Jesus I read and sang about.

In middle school we started going to a small Baptist church right down the road from our house; Morgan Mill Road Baptist Church. Similarly, I got really involved quickly and did all the things. I made a lot of great friends and I did learn about the relationship that Jesus wanted to have with me, but there was still this mechanical feel to the relationship process – communion, pray, church, pray, be a good person and tell people about Jesus. I did it all, but I didn’t feel anything in return and was pretty sure that while I wanted to be all in for God, he had somehow forgotten about me or didn’t pay as much attention to me because I was already doing all the things. A group of us from church went to a Billy Graham crusade event in Charlotte and it was there that I first experience this heart shift. I felt the words that Billy Graham said. I prayed the prayers and sang the songs. I wanted more. Soon after that crusade event I started dating a guy who took me to a small Baptist church that was just getting started; Open Book Baptist Church. I was about 16 at the time. The first church building of this new church was small and white and held maybe 100 people if we were all sitting super close. It fanned the fire that the Billy Graham event had lit. I continued learning of a God that yearned for a relationship with me. Who loved me at all cost. Died for me even. There was enthusiasm across the congregation, hands were raised in praise, people prayed at the alter in together lifting each other up, I got baptized. I loved it so much that I invited my mom and sister to come with me. [Note: In all my years my dad never went to church with us besides the occasional Christmas service or to watch me or my sister perform.] My mom and sister started coming. We all joined this church. My sister and I were very active in the youth group, choir, we sang during the worship service. In my walk with Christ this church opened me up to the relationship that was there and I pursued it.

I went to college and attended a small church on campus a couple of times, but came home as often as I could in large part to go to church. My mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer right after I started college. She fought for years and members of the church were by our family’s side the entire fight. When my mom died I went to the funeral in that same church and read a poem I had written for her before she died. [Side bar: My freshman year in college, I had met a friend on AOL Instant Messenger that I’ve never met in person who read my poem, printed it and had autographed by Thomas Kinkaid at a gallery showing in his home town. My mom’s favorite artist was Thomas Kinkaid and that poem meant so much to her not only because I wrote it, but because he signed it. She cried the Christmas that I gave it to her.] When we left church following the hearse I knew it would be hard to go back. It took months before I actually crossed the threshold again. My mom and I had sat in the same pew of that same church for years. Now that she was gone how could I sit there without her? I did go back. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done. During the meet n’ greet portion of that first church service back, two women noticed me and came up to hug me and tell me how much they loved that I was there. One of them said “Emily, you really should start coming back. We miss you and don’t want you to go to hell.” The other lady agreed with a constant head nod. It took the breath out of me. Yes, we went to a hell fearing church. Yes, you should know that if you don’t give your life to Jesus that there is a hell that you should be scared of. I know these women meant well, but not coming to church was not reason to not make it through the pearly gates based on my Bible and I’m pretty sure we read the same one. It turned me off.

I didn’t go back to church for years. I married a guy that provided an outlet for me to escape. He didn’t go to church and didn’t care that I didn’t either. The day we got married I knew that this was not the relationship I was meant to be in. He passed out from too much alcohol that night and I went to my mom’s grave in tears because I knew that I shouldn’t have done it. I told her (my mom) that I would try and make it work because I knew that God disliked divorce and I didn’t want to be adulterous if it didn’t. I tried for 2 years to make it work and it just didn’t. He wasn’t abusive or anything – it just wasn’t where I was meant to be and I knew it from the start. So I filed for divorce. I didn’t want to waste any more of his time or mine. We had no kids or possessions to split. I left. I took all of our debt with me because I thought it would be easier and I just wanted out. I worked my butt off for years to pay-off that debt and save money for my first month’s rent and deposit for an apartment. I slept on friend’s couches until I saved enough money for that first apartment. His family sued me…..the divorce was so much harder than the actual married part – but it was the right thing to do.

I started going back to church with some friends of mine and was really enjoying the experience, but it was different. It wasn’t home for me. I reached out to an old boyfriend of mine from college who left a deep mark on my life and we connected again. Years passed. That rekindled romance turned into marrying the love of my life. My husband has read the Bible cover-to-cover (something I still haven’t done), and studied the Bible often, but he hadn’t found a church that would foster his desire to study the Bible. Praying and reading the Bible together aren’t part of our norm, but the desire to find a church was growing in our relationship now that we had 2 adorable kids ages 4 and almost 3 at the time.

When my daughter was born I had this desire to go to church, but didn’t want to push my husband into an environment where he wasn’t comfortable. He’s an introvert and isn’t comfortable in attending church for the sake of community. He wants to attend church for the Bible study. My daughter’s birth also made really internalize the example I set. My mom had been such a great example for my sister and I. She never told us what to do or what to say, but acted and spoke how she wanted us to so that we could see the example. Her actions spoke louder than words. I was in my early 20’s when my mom passed away – far too soon for anyone to lose their mom. My dad wasn’t really involved in my upbringing as I recall – so with a new daughter of my own I had no one to ask “Did I do this?, “Is this normal?” I desired the community that a church would provide, and I prayed that God would help us raise Madison knowing Him while we figured out how we would incorporate faith into our family.

When my son was born the desire to find a church grew for both my husband and I, and we started talking about it conversationally from time-to-time. About a year ago we committed to visiting churches around Charlotte to see if we could find one, and we did! We’ve been going to Forest Hill Church (Southpark location) for nearly a year. I have found community in my women’s group of course, but also in neighbors that attend the same church and friends at work who I’ve learned attend the same church at different locations. When my son was 2 we had a really tough season. He wasn’t talking and used his hands and mouth to communicate (pinch, push, bite). My son at 2 was heads and shoulders taller and much stronger than many kids in his same daycare class. Now at nearly 4 his favorite character is the Hulk – go figure. But I say all of that to say that a neighbor who we ran into at church reached out to me and welcomed me into her home, allowed me to cry and share my frustrations with the system and desires for my son – she shared information about a similar situation with one of her sons, prayed with me and still checks on me from time-to-time and now we’re on the other side. I mean, we still have to talk about how Hulk can’t smash every thing, every where, but he’s talking and can at least respond and tell us that he understands what we’re saying. I love the community that we’ve found in our church and I’m excited to watch my kids grow in this environment. My son talks about Jesus every day. Every. Day. My daughter got to thank a guy who leads worship at our church for making a song that she sang to herself one day when the bus let her off without a parent at the bus stop and she tried to cross a busy road by herself. She said I just kept singing “I won’t be afraid, the Lord is with me.”

I’m really excited about this faithful life we’re fostering. We’re not perfect by any means – far from it, but I know that I have a God that I can lean on when things are hard or when I don’t understand. I can ask him to reveal things to me. He wants me to lean in on him. Quick short story. As we were looking for a quick daycare change for my son a couple of years ago now – I was in a dark, dark place. Daycare waiting lists in our area are years long in most cases. I work full time which includes some travel. I’m a type A perfectionist at work and this whole abrupt daycare shift was big and for weeks I had felt like I was failing at being a mom and at work…it was too much. On the night after my son’s last day of school at his former daycare I cried out to God in the middle of the night after my family went to sleep. My heart was so heavy with fear and uncertainty of what Monday would bring that I couldn’t take it any more. I got out of bed and went into my son’s room and cried out loud go God.

My prayer was something like: God, I have no idea where Cole will go to school next week, how can I work from home with a 2 year old needing my constant attention? Please God – make a way for us. Take this burden from me because it’s too much. I need to know that my son has a place waiting for him where he’ll thrive, not just survive the day; and Lord, if my day needs to look different than it does today please give me sight to see how I can make it work. Lord, please make this whole situation better.

On Monday of that next week I had calls from 3 (THREE) daycares that had immediate openings for Cole. They were all part-time daycares which would mean that my day would look different, but there were 3 places for my son. I took the day off work and toured all three. I enrolled him in one across town that same day and he is THRIVING. In less than a year he is talking so much, knows his shapes and colors, is starting to write and he’s not even 4 yet. God made a way. I’m not saying that my side of the equation was easy. I had to have some very real conversations with my boss about how daycare was across town and didn’t open until 8:15am and how I would need to take a later lunch to pick him up and I still needed to find a part-time nanny to watch him in the afternoons, but it’s all worked out and I’m learning to not feel the need to take on 100% of the burden, but to ask God to help me – and he does 100% of the time. I’m learning a lot about myself and changes that I need to make in my life in the process too.

God is so good. That’s my story to date. Keep checking back for more.

Posted in Planning

My Top 5 Podcasts Right Now

I’ve fallen in love with podcasts in the past few years and I’m going to share with you some of those podcasts that I tune into regularly. Before I list them I want to tell you that I don’t listen to podcasts for the entertainment value, but rather for the education. So, if you’re looking for a dramatic or theatrical podcast suggestion this isn’t going to be valuable information. I tune-in to listen to people smarter than me or steps ahead of me in something I’m interested in so that I learn from them. My time listening to any content is often limited to the 20 minutes or so of commute to drop kids off at school or when I workout. I’ll confess that sometimes I’ll slip out of the house for a walk or drive an extra block on my way home for a little more uninterrupted podcast listening time. We do what we’ve gotta do, am I right? Well without further delay here are the top 5 podcasts that I’m listening to today and why.

  1. Rise podcast by Rachel Hollis – When I learned about Rachel Hollis I was immediately obsessed and drank all the kool-aid in one gulp. I read Girl Wash Your Face, started Last 90 days, I write in my Start Today Journal, listen to the podcasts, have tickets for Rise in 2019….all the things. Rachel is that mom next door that you can actually relate to. She’s not trying to be better than you and isn’t trying to impress you. She’s living her best life and will push you to live yours. You will not be disappointed if you check out Rise or Rise Together which is the podcast she does with her husband Dave – they are gold together.
  2. The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher – I learned about Jenna a few months ago and when one of her titles is “professional napper” I knew we are part of the same tribe. I want to be a professional napper so bad. Oh, and the website for her podcast is all notebooks and planners and pens and that’s so me. She is a queen at teaching others about branding and creating social spaces that invite interaction. While I’ve never met her personally (yet), she’s sold me on her being genuinely in this industry to serve others and I love that. She has this coastal vibe that invites you in and has this calming effect on your soul. I could listen to her for hours. I hope you’ll take the time to check her out.
  3. Ed Mylett Podcast – I learned about Ed in a recent Rise podcast (see #1 above) and was instantly drawn to his supportive nature and enthusiasm. Since having listened to Rachel’s appearance on his podcast I’ve been binge listening in my pockets of time. He has been giving 1,000% of himself to life and business and it has paid off 10,000%+. Ed brings you powerful motivation from so many angles; baseball, bullying, entrepreneurial spirit, boxing – he uses his platform to give others a voice and fan the flame of what ignites change in us – ALL OF US. Ladies, his website is masculine and a lot (not all) of his guests are men, but the messages are for ALL OF US, and P.S. I can actually share stories about guy-stuff with my husband and his friends and they are impressed I even know some of these names…just putting that out there.
  4. Tony Robbins Podcast – I mean, how could I have a list of educational, motivational, inspirational podcasts that doesn’t include Tony? Finding your why, breaking free from stress, understanding different personality types, ending harmful relationships, how to innovate….Tony is no-non-sense and pushes the right buttons to get us beyond the superficial excuses we tell ourselves to not dig deep and make progress. Progress is the goal, right?
  5. School of Greatness by Lewis Howes – Lewis Howes I had heard was a professional athlete turned podcaster, but boy was that a bad descriptor. He lives to serve others not use his history has a professional athlete as his platform. Check him out. He believes a life well lived is more important than any money or possessions you may accumulate. He brings names you’ve heard of with stories you didn’t know they had to the table and I find it captivating. Alicia Silverstone talks about self-worth, Tony Hawk talks about creating legacies. With more than 700 episodes, there is SO MUCH CONTENT for you to listen to on topics relating to health, relationships, business, inspiration and more. Guaranteed there’s more than one thing in this podcast library you’ll find fascinating.

I hope this was valuable and maybe you learned about someone new or will learn something new from the podcasts these folks are putting out for you. The listening is easy, the work is the hard part. Enjoy the listening (and learning)!

Thankful for you

In this season of Thanksgiving I want to thank you, the readers of my blog. While this blog is still so new, you take the time to read it and give your thoughts and feedback on the content. More content will be coming in 2019 as we start rolling out series of content with a common theme and I hope you’ll stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I hope that you take the time to count all your many blessings and tell those near and far how thankful you are for their contributions to your life. Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

Posted in Planning

Owning Feedback

Emily, you are such a great speaker, but your content today missed the mark.

Oh my gosh. She thinks I’m ignorant. I worked so hard on this content and I’m not sure how she missed my point. Was she even listening? She never says these things to anyone else. Why does she pick on me so much?

Hold on!!!! Maybe I over thought the assignment. Maybe I made assumptions rather than seeking clarification before creating my content. Maybe just maybe she’s not picking on me but has me in her sights for promotion, and wants to see me step up my game. Maybe she knows I can do better – heck, maybe I know I can do better, but I was traveling this week, my kids are sick, and I had these other things put on my plate so this didn’t get the attention I had anticipated.

It is what it is, right? I gave a speech or a talk and the feedback I received was less than glowing.

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you aren’t a speaker, but you received feedback on a body of work you created. When you hear the word “feedback” does it make you shutter a little? It makes me shutter a lot. I have worked for YEARS to create a reputation for myself in the program and project management space. I want my customers to know that if my name is attached to it that it will be done right and on time. If I agree to something or someone entrusts something to me to complete then I show up. Hell will freeze over before it’s not done or worse – done wrong.

There is a flip side to receiving feedback and one that I hope you will try to embrace. If you can, look at feedback as a gift rather than a direct assault on your character. Feedback or rather a response to any intellectual property you create and share with others – is just that – someone’s opinion. It doesn’t validate you as a person. It doesn’t reflect anyone else’s opinion of your work. It doesn’t have power unless you allow it to.

Next time someone wants to give you their opinion of something you shared with them I want you to fight the instinctual response to take defense. Don’t immediately respond with all of the reasons why you did it the way you did it. Don’t start talking about the other people that you consulted or had review your content before you shared it. Don’t make excuses for why you didn’t have the time to polish your content. None of that matters to your audience.

(Note: I have to make an assumption here that you aren’t on a performance improvement plan or that this feedback doesn’t come after the 4th iteration of you trying to get this right.) The person providing you feedback took their time to listen to your talk or review your content. They had a laundry list of other things they could have been doing instead, but they showed up for you. Their feedback or ideas for changes are a gift. This person is providing you with the opportunity to make your work even better. Thank them for taking the time to hear you out or review your work. Ask questions. Provide them with how you are going to use their feedback to make changes; or not. Let me repeat – OR NOT.

If the person providing you feedback is your supervisor, project manger, or the person who assigned you the work – then their insights are absolutely valuable and should be considered and incorporated. Maybe the person providing feedback has limited knowledge of your role or the project and they are offering you an unbiased opinion as a completely independent third party. Maybe they’re your friend. Maybe they don’t know the details of the assignment (style requirements, assignment details). Thank them for their time and respectfully consider their comments. They may have ideas that you nor your team would have thought of that could take your work to the next level. If not and if their feedback isn’t applicable then don’t dwell on it. Move on.

I won’t belabor this point, but it’s natural for us to take a defensive stance when we feel that we have let others down or that other’s perceptions of our work is less than exceptional. Accept feedback in all forms with an attitude of gratitude. Believe that the comments come with the commenter having the best interests of you, your team, and your project in mind. Fix/augment/revise content as needed to make it the best it can be, but when feedback isn’t valid, don’t take it to heart. Don’t give it power.

*Featured image by Comic House.