Friday, September 21, 2012

Overwhelmed by Unrealistic Expectations? Prioritizing & Balance is the Answer…

I had a newlywed write me recently and tell me that she was completely overwhelmed trying to find a balance between ALL of her responsibilities in life- as wife, friend, daughter, employee, homemaker, etc. She wanted to know if that was normal and she was the only one feeling that way.

Can I get an “AMMMMMMEN” that we can all relate to those feelings??

I feel like now more than ever there is SO MUCH pressure on women to be EVERYTHING for EVERYONE. We are expected (I’m not sure if this comes from society or just is some crazy pressure we put on ourselves) to be….

*the trophy wife who looks like a super model, is respectful and patient, submissive, & has the perfect healthy meal on the table every morning, afternoon, and evening;

*the perfect parent who packs healthy lunches cut into adorable shapes with fun notes, volunteers to be team mom, room mom, etc., AND sew all of our kids adorable matching outfits with monograms;

*pursue a thriving career where we are top performers in the workplace & continuing our education;

*maintain a clean home, with laundry folded and put away, no messes, and everything perfectly decorated for a Pier 1 magazine;

*be strong in our faith, actively growing in our walk with the Lord, the Proverbs 31 woman, and serving others;

*creating all of the awesome crafts on Pinterest (that I REALLY want to make, but who the heck has time??);

*and not to mention, an incredible friend, sister, daughter, aunt, granddaughter, etc.

It can be totally overwhelming!!!

I know I have talked to a couple of my friends about this a lot. Several of my friends are perfectionists (yep, guilty here too- although I am getting better!) and really struggle with feeling inadequate when we spread ourselves too thin.  And unfortunately, spreading myself too thin is something I am really good at.

It seems like a simple solution is to stop doing that, but that is tough stuff too. I am ALWAYS overloading my plate and constantly running around trying to balance all of my many responsibilities. My calendar STAYS packed- and Jonathan hates that, so it’s something I really need to work on to honor him.  The ONLY free day we have is Saturday, and it is a RARE case when we have an open Saturday. RARE. Honestly, I don’t think know that is not healthy.

I have made an effort to cut back on some of my extra responsibilities this year, but there are always a million things that I feel like I could be doing, so that still weighs on me.

But here’s the deal. We aren’t MEANT to be everything for everything. We aren’t CALLED to be these busy body women who accomplish the tasks of an army on a daily basis. Right now in Sunday School we are completing a Bible Study called “The High Calling of a Woman,” and it is so encouraging to be reminded of what is truly important in our lives.

Here are some things I do so help me when I start to feel overwhelmed with all of my responsibilities.

1. Ask the Lord to order my steps.  This is a prayer I try to pray every morning. Sometimes I forget. It’s important to be tuned in to what the Lord wants to accomplish through you each day. I know a lot of our daily tasks seem super important, but ultimately, will they impact eternity? Probably not. The more we seek His will, the more we can be in tune to what HE desires from us, and not a personal agenda we expect of ourselves. It’s so easy to get distracted from His will when we are busy. I’ve heard it said many times that “If Satan can’t make you sin, he will make you busy.”

2. Get my priorities in check. This one is super easy to get out of whack. I know lots of times we get caught up putting our work before our family, our kids before our spouse, or our spouse before our walk with the Lord. It’s important to make sure you have very clearly set out your priorities and are accomplishing tasks according to those. This is somewhere I often fall short. For example, when I don’t take time to get in God’s Word and spend time in prayer, I can TOTALLY tell. I’m grumpy, rude, overwhelmed, negative, impatient, etc. When I keep my walk FIRST, everything else falls into place better. That needs to be number one so I can be the best at the other things on my priority list. Next, I am called to be a wife. God first, Big Jon second. And nothing in front of him. I do have a list beyond that, but those are definitely my top priorities and deserve most of my focus and attention.


3. Make a to-do list. I like to make lists. It helps me to remember all that I have going on, and sometimes after I write it out, I will rewrite it in order according to level of importance. Some things can wait. When I have a list, I am less likely to forget something important.


4. Do not procrastinate- get to work immediately. The more I put something off, the more it weighs on me and stresses me out. Here is a silly little example. I have been meaning to make a blog book out of my posts for the past couple YEARS. Yes, years. I FINALLY made them the other day and it took all of about an hour (thanks to Emily for sharing….Cutest Blog on the Block has blog books that you can create super quickly- and they look great!). So bam…done! I also get a LOT of e-mails, so I try to respond ASAP before it becomes super overwhelming and I have TOO many to even respond to. It has worked much better for me to just take 10 minutes here or there to respond than to have to play catch up and spend hours doing it.


5. Don’t lose sight of the important things. Sometimes at work someone will come into my room and need to talk. I may have other things I really need to be getting done (like grading assignments or entering grades), but it is more important in that moment to just listen. There will be another time to get those things done. We have opportunities all the time to love on others, and I think lots of times we miss being a blessing because we are so busy and caught up in the things we need to get done. I just wrote a post about that actually…


6. Learn to say “NO!” Repeat after me. It IS OKAY to say no. I am learning to do that, and people don’t seem to really like it. But ya know what? I don’t answer to them. I’ve found that people always ask me because….are you ready for this….they know I’ll say yes. And that I’ll do a good job. But that doesn’t mean I’m obligated to do it; especially if that means I have to put something else (higher on my priority list) on the back burner. My mom has been telling me for YEARS to start saying no, and I have JUST started trying to make a habit out of that. Honestly, it is really liberating, so you should try it.


7. Find balance. I don’t mean to sound cheesy when I say that, but balance is extremely important. If something takes over your life, you will not have a healthy balance that keeps you at your best. I know I tend to get REALLY involved in whatever I’m doing at the moment, so it takes a lot of work on my part to maintain balance in my life. I am a “hard core” person, and if I do something, I’m going to really DO IT. Even “good things,” like charities, serving, helping others, etc., can take over. Hobbies are another thing that take over easily.  People become totally consumed with their hobbies and it ends up taking priority over all else.


I know that may not help much, but if nothing else, maybe it will encourage you in the fact that you are NOT alone. Many, many women feel completely overwhelmed, stressed, overworked, underappreciated, and inadequate. And you wanna know why? We are putting our eggs in the wrong basket. We are trying to please the wrong people. If you focus on your relationship with the Lord and pleasing your husband, above ALLLL of the other crazy “to-dos” in your life, you will reap blessings. Eternal blessings. It’s definitely worth it. (And I’m talking to myself here….)

I know I for one am so excited for May (the end of this school year)….as that is my turning point to start simplifying and focusing on what is truly important. Yes, I definitely plan on taking small steps till I get there, but after this school year, I can guarantee you I will have made some changes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pay It Forward

Did you know the Golden Rule is actually in Scripture?

Sometimes we get really caught up in our daily life; our routine; our own busy schedules….and we allow so many opportunities to pass us by when we could be a BLESSING to OTHERS. 

We are called to encourage one another.

I just wanted to share the sweet blessing that someone was to me this past weekend. It absolutely MADE my night weekend & I plan on paying it forward….

Big Jon & I went on a date to a local steakhouse on Saturday night. While we were waiting on our food, a lady I had never seen walked up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. She asked if I was Mrs. Butler from DMS. I smiled and told her I was, and she proceeded to hand me a card and walk away.

Jonathan & I looked at each other….and as I began to open it he said “I hope it’s nice!”

I opened it to find a thank you card, a sweet message, and $10.


I thought it was the NICEST gesture because she obviously wrote it quickly when she saw me.  It was so precious that she took the time to write that before they left and made an effort to get it to me. And I honestly have NO IDEA who it’s from, which was also very special. As much as I would like to thank her, I appreciate that she signed “Anonymous” and didn’t want credit….She truly did it just to be a blessing to me. And she was.


There is no way that lady knew how exhausted I have been and how very much I needed this encouragement. I so needed this.

God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. And when we tune in to Him, He is always providing us with opportunities to encourage others. He desires to use us as instruments for Him- so we can be a blessing to others. We just have to be a willing vessel and not get so caught up in our own lives that we miss those opportunities for Him to use us.

What a great reminder that you never know how greatly small gestures and random acts of kindness can impact others. I know this was a great reminder to ME to be a blessing to others.

Thank you to my “anonymous” encourager.


Ready to be a blessing….

Friday, September 14, 2012

2 New Habits you need to establish….

Two of the first things I do in the morning are drink 16 oz of water (I add lemon juice) and eat breakfast. I usually drink the Berry Shake while I’m doing my morning devotion. (If you’ve been looking for a good one, two of my faves are Jesus Calling by Sarah Young & Hope for Each Day by Billy Graham.) I love the shakes because they’re super quick & easy, delicious, have 6 grams of fiber, and are a 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein, which makes them the perfect breakfast!

Here’s the deal. Your body has been shut down all night while you were sleeping….no food and no water for the last 8 or so hours. That means when you wake up you are dehydrated and your metabolism isn’t going yet. Did you know you only have a 30 minute window after you wake up to eat breakfast and kick start your metabolism??

I know a lot of people that say they aren’t hungry or thirsty in the mornings, but this is something your body NEEDS, so I really encourage you to try to make it a habit. Eventually you’ll change that tune and start to crave water and something to eat when you wake up.

So here are the new habits.

1. Drink at least 16 oz of water to rehydrate yourself, get everything moving, and help your body absorb nutrients. I like to add the lemon because it is alkalizing in nature (we tend to think of it as acidic because it’s citrus and sour, but it actually has an alkalizing effect on our body, which is more important that the pH in its base state), which can have a lot of benefits for your body. If you are a big coffee drinker, you need to double up on water because caffeine actually dehydrates you too.

Here are some of the benefits of lemon water according to this article:

  • Lemons are antiseptic
  • Lemon water has excellent digestive properties and can ease heartburn, bloating and other digestion problems
  • Lemon water cleanses and stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Lemon juice contains calcium, magnesium and potassium
  • Lemon juice has been known to relieve asthma
  • Lemon water (hot) offers relief from cold and flu symptoms while providing some much needed Vitamin C
  • Lemon juice is a great skin cleanser

2. Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast that has as close of a protein to carb ratio as possible. (Before I discovered the shakes I ate a 4-6 egg whites & steel cut oats every morning.)

Here are a few posts I’ve written about breakfast:

This weekend is a GREAT time to start these simple new habits that can have awesome results for your health!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Long Runs at Lake Lanier Islands

One of my FAVORITE places to run is Lake Lanier Islands. It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and you just can’t touch the views. From the golf course, to the lake, water park, stables, zip lining & ropes courses, & the resort, there is SO much to look at and keep your mind entertained.

I woke up Saturday morning and headed over to LLI for a run. It was overcast & pretty cool out, so I enjoyed a nice, long, SLOW run. I didn’t wear my Garmin so I don’t even know the distance. It was nice to just run. No competing against myself to beat any times or distances…but just enjoy running.

I started out my first 2 minutes of the run starting at this. Gorgeous, right?


I know, nice finger in the shot in this one. I wanted to take a picture of this though because it reminds me of Dahlonega. They always put these out for Memorial Day and Labor Day and it reminds me of when I first fell in love with running while up in those good ole Ga mountains! I love that they do this to honor the men and women who have served our country, & it was neat to see them out at Lake Lanier too.


Speed limit of 20 mph….good thing it was my slow day!


I mean, really…don’t you just think it’s good for the soul to run past this? I left in the BEST mood!!!


Maybe I need a refresher course in i-phone photography. Excuse the finger again.


I loved when the clouds came because they brought an awesome breeze….It was perfect running weather.


This is the lodge. I always stop there to go to the restroom & get water.


Next Saturday I’m going to convince Big Jon to bring his bike and come with me! He didn’t want to this Saturday because he wanted to go to yard sales instead! Ha!! (Don’t tell him I just told you that!)IMG_1725

Every Christmas, Lake Lanier has a big lights show that you can drive through in your car, tune in to Christmas music, and enjoy some hot chocolate, s’mores, & the Christmas shop at the end. It’s a tradition for our family, but it’s getting ridiculously expensive. I’m thinking this year I’m going to enjoy the “Nights of Lights” a little differently…and I’m going to sign Jonathan & I up for the “Under the Lights” 5K through the park instead. If you’re looking for a fun 5K, or have been thinking about visiting Georgia, I’d definitely put this on your list of places to visit. It’s super close to the Mall of Ga too, which is the biggest mall in our state (and we have a lot!).


Here’s the link to REGISTER! It’s only $30.

Maybe I’ll see ya there!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Healthy Pumpkin Smoothie- A Taste of FALL!!

Are y'all loving this cooler weather or what?!?!  Although I prefer warm weather, I am always ready for a change by the time Fall comes around, and it is one of my favorite seasons. I can't help but get excited for Fall!!!

One of my FAVORITE things about Fall is chili & pumpkin spice lattes! Ha! Unfortunately most lattes and pumpkin smoothies aren't always very healthy options, but you can do some tweaking to give them a healthy twist. One of my sweet friends Kate sent me this recipe for a healthy version of PUMPKIN SMOOTHIES- a perfet fall treat!! I can't WAIT to make it because I know it will be DELICIOUS! You will thank me! (and Kate!)

 Vanilla Muscle Gain mixed with pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice (put the pumpkin in a container and allow it to freeze) and ice- blend away!

**If you're making one after a workout, you can add some Greek yogurt and a spalsh of vanilla almond milk.

I love the vanilla Muscle Gain because 1) most of us aren't getting enough protein, and 2) it...
  • Contains 25 grams of high-quality, easily digestible protein
  • Provides nutritional support for increasing muscle mass
  • Supports muscle-enhancing enzymes and metabolic processes
  • Helps maintain & restore energy supplies during and after physical activity


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Letting Go of What Holds You Back

I recently read a book by John Mason called Let Go of Whatever Holds You Back.

I LOVED it!!!!

I think so many times in our life we let things hold us back...fear of failure or rejection, doubts, insecurities, worrying what others will think, etc. Jonathan & I talk about this a lot. We have a lot of big dreams!!

He's been wanting to start a cabinet business for a long time now, and after lots of prayer, he FINALLY took the risk. He has an awesome hard-working, Godly, and trustworthy partner, and thankfully business is booming! I am so proud of Big Jon and excited for him because he LOVES makes him so happy! I know he wishes he would have done it sooner.

I know I used to really struggle with this. I would ONLY do something if I knew I was going to be successful. I was scared to try a lot of new things out of my comfort zone...

We have both tried to start being more bold in our lives. It takes a LOT of hard work and dedication. We both believe if you work hard and are generous givers, the Lord will bless that, and He definitely has in our lives. We are truly so thankful for the opportunities the Lord has given us and show our appreciation in that by busting tail...and sometimes that takes sacrifice, doing things when I don't want to or don't feel like it, pursuing our goals relentlessly, and never making excuses, blaming others, or quitting.

 "Hard work brings prosperity; playing around brings poverty." -Proverbs 28:19

When we make up our mind about something....that's it. We WILL make it happen.
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I wanted to share a few of the quotes from the book that really spoke to me that I thought might encourage you LET GO of whatever is holding you back!
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  • My FAVE: Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • Pay more attention to the things that are working positively in your life than those that are giving you trouble.
  • If you let other people stop you, they will.
  • The person who gets ahead is the one who does more than necessary and keeps doing it.
  • We don't need more strength, ability, or greater opportunity- we need to use what we have.
  • It is more important to learn from your successes than your mistakes.
  • Learn to expect unjust criticism for your goals and accomplishments.
  • The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
  • The devil's strategy to hinder out momentum: distractions to take our focus off God's plans.
  • It is not success that God rewards but faithfulness in doing His Will. Be persevering- it may be the last key on the ring that opens the door. Become famous for finishing important, difficult tasks.
  • The road to success runs uphill, so don't expect to break any speed records. Impatience is costly. Your greatest mistakes will happen because of impatience.
  • Opportunity can be missed if you're broadcasting when you should be tuning in. (Listen more than you talk,)
  • See success where others see failure and do things before they need to be done (don't procrastinate).
  • Most people could learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying and defending them.
  • Excuses are tools a person without purpose or vision uses to build a monument of emptiness.
  • When you become good at making excuses, you won't be good at anything else.
  • The word "can't" really means you won't try.
  • Excuses always replace progress.
  • Productive and successful people are good at asking questions.
  • Both enthusiasm and pessimism are contagious. How much of each do you spread?
  • The starting point of all accomplishment is desire. A small amount of fire brings a small amount of heat- be passionate.
  • Be sure to keep busy doing what's right so Satan will always find you occupied. (An idle mind is the devil's playground.)
  • We are the weakest when we try to get something for nothing.
  • The devil's #1 hope is not for an active sinner, but an inactive Christian.
  • One of the marks of true greatness is the ability to develop greatness in others.
  • True friends don't sympathize with your weakness- they summon your strength.
  • Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that. (Mark Twain)
  • Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself.
  • Start every task thinking how to do it better than it's ever been done before.
  • When we pray, we must simultaneously be willing to take the action God requires as answer to our prayers.
  • The highest purpose of faith and prayer is not to change your circumstances, but to change you. Pray to do the will of God in ever situation.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

High Intensity Interval Training & Tabata

I started amping up the intensity of my workouts a while ago with lots of HIIT & Tabata training. This is some serious business stuff, ladies...

I'm talkin' spitting sweat! Men would get out of my way in the gym and ask ME for fitness advice. (I don't say that to boast- I'm just telling you this is some intense stuff!) My cardio, strength, and endurance ALL improved drastically from implementing these into my workout routines. I'd usually add them on after a 30-35 min strength session so I'd be in the gym for right at an hour total.

If you're like me, I had no CLUE what these were when I first started...(although I did similar workouts on my own sometimes and didn't realize this is basically what I was doing) I wanted to break it down for ya.

HIIT is a specialized form of interval training that involves short intervals of maximum intensity exercise separated by longer intervals of low to moderate intensity exercise. Because it involves briefly pushing yourself beyond the upper end of your aerobic exercise zone, it offers you several advantages that traditional steady-state exercise (where you keep your heart rate within your aerobic zone) can’t provide. The key element of HIIT that makes it different from other forms of interval training is that the high intensity intervals involve maximum effort, not simply a higher heart rate. 

**Check out the link below for lots more info & great tips...

 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off interval training format for cycling and running activities, fitness professionals, athletes and casual exercisers are now applying the Tabata training concept to all kinds of different exercises, including weight lifting, swimming, athletic drills and more.  Unlike other intervals where you just want to "work harder," by definition, Tabata training is working at an intensity level that is as hard and as fast as you can physically go—generally an anaerobic effort.

This is HANDS DOWN the best way to get your heart pumping and shed some serious body fat.  If you're looking to lean out, I recommend working in a couple of HIIT & Tabata workouts each week. I like them because they're fast, extremely efficient, you don't get bored, and they're challenging they kick your booty!!!

Tip: I downloaded a GymBoss app on my i-phone and used it as a timer.

Tip: You can create a list of all your favorite exercises and mix and match to create a fun new workout every time. The key is INTENSITY. Some of my faves are DB rows from plan position, KB swings, jump squats, jumping lunges, high knees, jumpking jacks, mountain climbers, pushup jacks, and jumping rope. Oh, and burpees, but let's be real, nobody really likes burpees. We just do them.

Here are a few examples from Pinterest (you can find them anywhere or create your own- and I love that there are so many ways to mix it up!):
Tabata Tabata Tabata <3tabataTabata

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Advocare 500: Nascar's Newest Fan

We got to spend the weekend with lots of FABULOUS Advocare friends. Advocare people are some of my FAVES....seriously! Everyone is SO genuinely nice, helpful, encouraging, and uplifitng. It's awesome to be around such positive people...and no wonder everyone is like that! It's hands down the BEST company I have ever been a part of. (And I am not exxaggerating...all the people I have met through Advocare have been incredible!)

We started the weekend with dinner with some of our sweet friends, Brandon & Kathy Eiff.  They are on our team and live in Montgomery, AL, and since they were going to the Saturday race, we invited them to spend Friday night with us. I LOVE having people over!!  We were thrilled they brought their ADORABLE little man, Grafton, too. The Eiff's are in the process of adpting a little girl from Russia, and Kathy is going to start blogging very soon, right K? I'll be sure to share that with you all when she gets it up and running.
The next morning I made breakfast, and G-$ loved his blueberries!! Isn't he precious??
We won some tickets from one of the incentives to the Sunday race, so Jon & I went and took our friend Brian. (Laura couldn't go because she was sick, but Brian is an avid Nascar fan, so of course we couldn't let him miss it!)
 Honestly, I've never been a Nsacar fan. I don't think I've ever even watched a race...but Advocare sponsors three drivers as well as the race, so we definitely want to support that. Plus, I love the pink pace car!!
We got the free tickets, and anything that has to do with Advocare people, I'm in!!
I'd been to Atlanta Motor Speedway once before for the Color Run, but it wasn't NEARLY as packed out as it was tis time. We had a tough time finding the Advocare hospitality tent, but as soon as we did we were greeted by lots of sweet, smiling faces.
 We decided to go on one of the pit tours when we first got there...and lemme tell ya, it was H-O-T!!! 
 I was dripping sweat...I'm talking make-up running down my face kinda sweat. Jonathan also pointed out I had some awesome butt sweat going on. I mean, who doesn't love a little butt sweat??
 Check it out....this is my fake smile. It was miserably hot and I just wanted to get back to the tent- in the SHADE!!
 I wanted to go lay in/on the ice sculpture....
 Of course my BFF Dana & her hubby were there....I love that we all get to share our journies together! So fun. And duh, everyone still thinks we're sisters!
 Check out these studs!! Lumpkin Co. boys know what's up when it comes to the TOP nutrition company around....the Nike of nutrition!
 And the beautiful Tanya....She is a fireball & I LOVE it!!!
 We finally went in to the race around 6:45, and thankfully it was MUCH cooler!! The whole beginning part of the race was my favorite! (Eexcept when the fans would boo a driver- it made me feel so bad for them!!)
 The jets flying over were so cool- gave me chills. I forgot to take a picture...
 Now let me tell you, Nascar fans are LOYAL. They are hard core and love their sport! I can definitely appreciate that kind of passion because I'm a pretty passionate person myself, so I liked people watching.
Unfortunately several of the people around us were also big time smokers. I felt like they were lighing cigarettes every 2 minutes. I straight up hid my face in my shirt while people were smoking.  Extreme? I don't know, I just really do not like to breathe in smoke.... (so probably not the smartest to come to a race with gas fumes EVERYWHERE, right?) Plus, I have asthma and sometimes smoke triggers it.
 They were so fast, I couldn't really keep up with what was going on. I tried to look at the scoreboard & pick them out after they zoomed past.
 Check out these cuties! Smart girls with their headphones. We had earplugs (THANK YOU, Casry & Raven were totally right, Big Jon asked for some! Ha!) that helped...Holy moly, it was LOUD!!! I wouldn't care, but I like to ask a lot of questions....especially when I don't know much about a sport. No one could hear anything I was saying, so I just did my best to figure it out.
 Some of our leaders, C.J. & Meleisa Stockel...
 Big Jon's earplugs....
 Haha, this is his "I'm fascinated" face...
 Totally puttin' on....But really, we did leave with a whole new appreciation for the sport and the drivers after seeing it in person. It's definitely INTENSE!!!
Brian LOVED it!!! He knew so much about all the drivers....
My second favorite part was this GORGEOUS sky!!!
Don't you just feel like God's smiling on you when you see beautiful skies like this??
We ended up leaving around 150 laps in because we wanted to avoid traffic, and this chick needed to EAT!! We hit up Steak-N-Shake on the way home because my hubby LOVES it and I know he doesn't get to eat it very often. No worries, I had a grilled chicken salad....(and may or may not have finished off Big Jon's fries....)
We had a GREAT time!! AND got to take advantage of a big sale on Spark since Austin Dillon placed 6th....NICE!!