I joined Weight Watchers

(Almost) every morning as I sit down with my Start Journal (thanks Rachel Hollis) I list out my 10 goals.

One of them is to be 10 lbs lighter.

One of them is to be a healthy eater.

For as long as I can remember I could eat what I wanted to and stay the weight I wanted to. I was highly active in dance through my freshman year of college. I then sought out running and bought memberships to gyms. I love to workout. Til this day I would call it a passion. However. More often than before I fall out of sync. More often than before it’s not a high intensity workout. I try though. I keep trying. That is important.

The scale is not budging. Monday morning as I couldn’t sleep I pondered what to do. What do I have to do to make the scale budge? I googled options and I joined Weight Watchers.

Once I returned home from a work trip I was all in. I have to be. Why am I doing this? Why am I not accepting the scale’s numbers? I know I can be healthier. I know I can be stronger. I know this will help me feel emotionally better. I know this will set an example. I am needing accountability. I am needing a system. Here is to accomplishing a goal.

Of Mess & Moxie • Week 4

Is there someone you are having a difficult time forgiving? How would forgiving them change your life?

I wrote a post about forgiveness about a year ago. I think at this point I am going to reference you to that post for this question. Pick up the book, Everybody Needs to Forgive Someone, by Allen Hunt. It is a great book to walk you through this often times difficult task.

If you could fan girl anyone who would it be? Why?

Jen Hatmaker referenced that one of her friends text messages her friends whenever she thinks of them. Friends of mine occasionally get snail mail from me. That is the way I fan girl them, as Jen calls it. I wish I would be better at picking up the phone. In this season of life it easier and less frustrating to write a quick note than it is to play phone tag!

I have to share a story. I had a co-worker that put a pack of tea near my desk. I thought it was a different co-worker. When I found out who it was for real she asked “who else puts little notes on your desk randomly”? It dawned on me. She put a note on my computer when it was my birthday last June. I had no idea who did it, but that post it note with those kind words still is posted on my bulletin board. When you think of someone, share those kind thoughts. It may just make their day *wink*

What were your teenage years like? What were YOU like?

The teenage Kirsten was much like the adult Kirsten is now, just younger, fitter, more brain power and less wrinkles! *laugh, smile* the years were filled with spending time with girlfriends, a boyfriend, dance team practice/performances, working at County Seat (a clothing store that no longer exists) and The Limited Too (now Justice), driving to Detroit Lakes to spend a day at the beach, and the occasional family time. Family time was not purposely avoided, I loved my family and enjoyed spending time with them, but life was busy! My parents adored my friends and welcomed them into our home. As I entered my teenage years two of my best friends were created. Til this day I don’t know where I would be without them.

What was I like, though? Much like now, I was quiet. I always felt like a follower. As I look back there were subtle signs of a leader peaking through that shy and introverted girl. At that time I thought leaders had to be extroverted, loud, crazy and popular. I didn’t realize there were different types of leaders. All I wanted to be was a positive influencer, a rule follower, a nice person and a motivator. I hope that is the way I was perceived and I hope that I radiate those same vibes as an adult.

I have to leave these questions with the following facts though. Embarrassing? Perhaps. Things that make me smile? For sure! I loved gangsta rap, still do. I will drop the kids off at their catholic school and listen to 2pac or Warren G as I leave the parking lot. I loved loud thumping bass. This deserves an eye roll, although, I still love when my speakers “rattle” a little. I am sure I could come up with some more embarrassing moments, but I will leave with those for now.

What has your experience with suffering looked like? And recovery?

This is a difficult question. Suffer is a big word with deep meaning and one I don’t take lightly. One can loose loved ones to death, go through heartbreak, live through violence, be lonely, and suffer in so many other ways. I have lived through some of those. Losing grandparents due to age, having a friend commit suicide, gone through hardships with loved ones and breakups. The suffering that I have gone through seems normal. There is so much suffering in the world. Life has been good to me. I pray that if you are suffering that you have people that love you and hug you. The support is needed in times like those, that is the beginning of your path to recovery.

Rachel Hollis in Fargo, ND

It was roughly a year ago that I was introduced to Rachel Hollis. I woke up in the middle of the night and was scrolling through Instagram and an ad popped up for Girl, Wash Your Face. I quickly looked at the synopsis of the book and then bought it. Little did I know that I would get a chance to see her in person a year later.

Like many other women, I fell in love with her words, her energy, her honesty and individuality. The push for women encouraging women is tremendous right now. It’s evolving. It’s enlightening. It’s relieving. She is one of the leaders.

As the date approached that she would be in Fargo, ND a concern encroached in my mind and my heart. What if she spoke words I had already read in her book? What if she told stories that I had already heard on her Rise and Rise Together podcasts? What if I wasted my money? *snap out of it Kirsten, it’s going to be amazing!*

Amazing it was! I drove through a quickly approaching winter storm. Blustery winds and snow blowing across icy roads as I drove from Bemidji to Fargo. I was going to make it darn it! I spent the night at my friend Amanda’s home. After a dinner out and a chick flick in (A Simple Favor that left is laughing out loud) I laid down my head with a smile on my face. Tomorrow was the day!

We parked in the Fargodome parking lot and followed packs of women into the SHAC. This event was supposed to be 500 people in a hotel ballroom, yep, um, nope, not for Rachel Hollis. For Rachel Hollis they come in packs! 4,000 women crowded into the home of the NDSU Bison basketball teams. As we filed onto the bleachers with the music pumping you could feel the energy and emotions that seep from women’s veins as they compassionately congregate. Not only did I get to attend with my friend Amanda, one of my main personal development motivators, I got to sit by my friend, Molly, who I had not seen since I got married 7 1/2 years ago! *Let me note, she has not aged a day since*

The moment Rachel Hollis walked on stage, for as small as she is, she was larger than life. I thought I was going to cry. Why? Why was this cute little thing going to make me cry? She was going to make me cry happy tears. You see, the season of life I was in when I bought her book a year ago was when I was started to “take control of my life again”. I started to live life for me. I started to search for the spark I was missing. Her book was a big part of that movement. A lot has changed in my head and my heart in a year. God Bless this woman! God Bless the women of Fargo’s Women Connect group through The Chamber for bringing her to North Dakota.

Rachel talked about comparison. Stop comparing yourself to other people’s highlight reels they post on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, enter in any other social platform you may follow. Make it a goal to be better than the person you were yesterday. Negative comparison is easy to fall into. It is an easy way to crush your self esteem and set back your motivation.

“Check our gut, check your heart” she said. Are your goals following what your heart and gut say you should be doing?

Goals are important. She was selling her Start Today journals and of course I had to pick one up. I have been a long collector of journals. Should I mention I am not a great “journaler”? Spell check is telling me that is not a word, but you get what I am saying. I have tried to change that habit. That habit of buying journals and not writing in them. I am improving. This blog helps *smile* We will see if her method of goal setting works for me. Again, trying to not compare. Perhaps it will help me, perhaps it is not a Kirsten Thing, and that is ok.

Personal development are two words she said. Ah-ha moment for me. I keep using the words self help. I don’t like to use those words. I feel like there is a stigma with the words self help that I don’t like to associate with. Not that self help is not good, but personal development is more my “style”.

“Move your body to change your mind”. Goodness, did these words resonate with me this week. Well below zero temperatures in the Midwest were making everyone want to hibernate. This did not work well with my goal to work out 5 days a week this month. I got up, put my workout clothes on, and it changed my mind. Only 30 minutes. That was all I needed to do. I moved my body to change my mind. Thanks Rach!

“The Spark In Your Heart”. I am such a feeling type of person, after all, I am an INFJ. I was off the charts on the Feelings part of the Myers Briggs. Along with this, she asked the question, “what is your heart’s what if?” I think this was the 2nd time I wanted to cry. Can you guess another blog post might follow on this one?

The last quote I wrote down was “I don’t want to inconvenience you with who I Am”. Uf-da. That one stung a little. Be yourself is what she essentially meant, be yourself and let those that love you accept you. And if they don’t like you, if they don’t like what makes your heart spark, if they don’t like you working on personal development, than is it worth it to have them in your life? I feel like this might be a topic she focuses more on in her next book, Girl, Stop Apologizing. Maybe that is wishful thinking!

If you get a chance to see Rachel Hollis, you will not be disappointed. She is hilarious. She is honest. She is a leader.

PS: This is a post I had on Instagram following the Rachel Hollis event:

We are walking to our seat today at the Rachel Hollis event in Fargo and a nice woman asks if she can ask us a few questions for the Fargo Forum. When she found out I was from Bemidji she said her sister lives there. At the end of the interview I found out her sister is my hair stylist whom I am so lucky to see tomorrow. It truly is a small world. Rachel Hollis was amazing and I can’t wait to reflect on the chance to see her speak. For now, this girl is going to bed!

Click here for the Fargo Forum article.

Coffee and a Good Read- 2018

I am an avid reader. Here I will list the books I read during this year. I will provide a few words to describe my feelings of the stories told without giving away the book.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Unforgettable love. Inter-racial struggle. Ahead of the times. A must read.

https://www.target.com/p/calling-me-home-target-club-pick-jan-2014-paperback-signed-edition-by-julie-kibler/-/A-14850406?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=bing_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Entertainment%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Entertainment&LID=700000001230728pbs&network=s&device=m&querystring=calling%20me%20home%20book&gclid=[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

Darker by E.L James

This is the 2nd book written through the eyes of Mr. Grey. Enlightening. Additional details. Further perspective.

https://www.target.com/p/darker-fifty-shades-darker-as-told-by-christian-paperback-e-l-james/-/A-53057835?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=bing_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Entertainment%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Entertainment&LID=700000001230728pbs&network=s&device=m&querystring=darker%20book&gclid=[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffen

Something Blue by Emily Giffen

One does not have to read both books and it does not matter which one is read first.

Lovable characters. Chic Lit at its best. Why did it take me so long to read her books?

https://www.target.com/p/something-borrowed-reprint-paperback-by-emily-giffin/-/A-11338498#lnk=sametab

https://www.target.com/p/something-blue-reprint-paperback-by-emily-giffin/-/A-13305904#lnk=sametab

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Held my breath. Not your typical Nicholas Sparks book. Suspenseful love. Root for the underdog.

https://www.target.com/p/see-me-hardcover-by-nicholas-sparks/-/A-49168470#lnk=sametab

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

Artistic writing. Hopeful. Why do his books not get old?

https://www.target.com/p/two-by-two-paperback-nicholas-sparks/-/A-53420456#lnk=sametab

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

This is the third book in the series. Me Before You was a tear jerker. After You was good but Still Me made me feel whole again. A great follow up to the second one as I was left feeling a bit disappointed.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This was my suggestion for the book club I was in. It is one of Oprah’s 2018 Book Club selection, but also one I kept seeing float across the Instagram account for Book of the Month. It had me at page 5 when one of the main characters references Love Jones, a movie I had on VHS back in the day. It has a soundtrack that I still frequently listen to. It is an emotional and intense read. I longed for it to be longer with more details of the love triangle that it is. Silver Sparrow did an excellent job with this piece of work.

Girl, Wash Your Faceby Rachel Hollis

Full book review here

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Brief book review here.

Party Girl by Rachel Hollis

Read review here

Sweet Girl and Smart Girl by Rachel Hollis.

Here explains my love for these books.

Every Day by David Levithan

Book review here.

Another Day by David Levithan

My thoughts on the book are found here.

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz

Thoughts here on my first Enneagram experience.

Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner

See my thoughts here on this gem!

Silence, Broken Silence, Players Bumps and Cocktail Sausages, Silent Night by Natasha Preston

The After Series by Anna Todd

book reviews here

The Brightest Stars by Anna Todd

Nothing More and Nothing Less by Anna Todd

With the Band by Natasha Preston

Between Breaths by Elizabeth Vargas

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I had the pleasure of watching the Mr. Rogers documentary this morning. I was pleased to see it at our local library already. This was a show I grew up on. I think it was on before Sesame Street each day while my grandma babysat my sister and me. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a kid.

I have even more appreciation for his great insight now that I am an adult. The messages he shared were so deep but were shown with such simplicity. He was a radical, as they said. He talked about subjects that were scary- death, divorce, war, just to name a few. How was he so ahead of his time?

It is a shame that Mr. Rogers is not on PBS any longer. I get it. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has some of the same messages but with a different look to entertain the new generation of kids. Our kids could learn a lot by listening to Mr. Rogers. Daniel’s messages just don’t quite hit home like they should for the scary things our kids see in today’s world. Look at his neighborhood and the recent shooting. I would like to see more of us embrace each other like he did.

I don’t remember hearing that Fred Rogers passed away in 2003. Although, I was in college and at a different point in my life. I cried for his passing this morning- like an awful sobbing mess. Rest In Peace, Mr. Rogers, and may more people act like you did.

Happiness Project: Passions and Mindfulness

Here I am, finally sitting down to write about September and October’s Happiness Project. September focused on Passions and October was on Mindfulness.

September almost made me sad when I read the chapter and prepared for the month. I almost avoided the subject to be honest. Passion is a hard subject for me. Part of the problem is I am too passionate about too many things. Interior Design, Art, Reading, Exercising, Healthy Eating, Music, Movies…and then there is my family and friends. How can one fit all of that into life? Well, I try, and then I get sad when I can’t do some of them to the extent that I want to. I know life is a balance. I know that I can’t do all of the things listed to the fullest extent that I want to at the same time. I feel like my passions are a “need” in my life, not a “should”. I don’t feel complete when I think of not being able to do some of these things. I don’t like to be told that I can’t do something, even when it is myself saying I can’t do something because of time restraints. It is a battle that I deal with daily. I think this paints a picture as to why I tried to avoid the focus of passions and essentially avoided writing about them too *sigh, smile*. I tend to dive both feet in with whatever passion I focus on. This is why I read 5 books of the Anna Todd series, After, within a few weeks. This is why I can be dedicated to my workouts for a month and then find myself geared towards my blog at full force for the next month- slacking on my fitness. All of these things make me happy, I know this, I have to continue to be mindful of being happy with whatever passion I choose to focus on when the kids are in bed, work is complete and the house is tidied up.

The focus for October was mindfulness. A word I feel has been an underlying part of The Happiness Project month after month. There has been a focus each month and with that comes mindfulness of that topic.

One of the fun take aways from this chapter was using mindfulness in conjunction with a password. So many of us need to use passwords each day for the technology we use. Take a topic you are focusing on and create a password with it. *Breathe2018*. *Smilemore2018* *Getupfromyourchair2018*

These are only suggestions and not passwords I am using *smile*

Gretchen Rubin suggested to make a list each day of items you are thankful for. I was already trying to do this as it was a suggestion from Rachel Hollis. I was feeling overwhelmed by the suggested list of ten Rachel recommended. I was at a work conference last weekend and one of the speakers suggested a list of three things at the end of the day. Now, this seemed more manageable. Not that I am ungrateful for ten things each day, but Rachel’s suggestion was to be extremely detailed with the list. For example, one day I was walking Emery into school. It had snowed that day so this little munchkin of mine was in large snow pants stomping in her clunky snow boots. She had this strut. A strut of confidence and sass. It made me smile and giggle to myself. I was thankful for witnessing that moment. I was thankful that I was not in a hurry so I could be fully present with her.

Two months left. I can not believe that this project is coming to an end. Attitude is the focus for November. Oh goodness! Focus in Kirsten, this is a good one for you!

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. I am grateful for those around me and take the time to read through my thoughts.

Equality & the Minority

There has been so much banter about equal rights lately. Well, for as long as I can remember, really. It’s amazing how it changes over the years, and it’s even more astonishing to me as I grow older. In the words of Rodney King “can’t we all just get along”? It’s true. It seems so simple. Why? Why can we not get along? God made us different but I have a hard time believing he wanted us to live in a world where there is so much hatred, negativity and disbelief. I don’t know the Bible well, but I know there are words in there that showcase God’s wishes for love, positivity and trust.

I listened to a talk this last week. It was between two men, both caucasian, that said they are at a point where they feel they are the minority and don’t dare say anything in fear of offending someone. Why should it be that way for them? As long as they are being kind to the people around them, what does it matter? With that being said though, why has it been that way for women in the past? Or African-Americans? Or any race or minority for that fact? Are we all not a minority at some point; depending on our location? Yes, it appears that Caucasian men have had it “easy” in years past, where their words mattered most. That their words were the way of the world. Thank goodness that is changing. I know the concept of “we are all created equal” could be up for debate. Some people are born with certain talents, some are born into certain family structures that cause life to be easier in some ways, some people work harder to move up in the world. So it easy to understand that maybe “we are not born equal”. I have to believe that God wants us all to be loved, respected and supported equally in a positive light.

I grew up with a family that supported me, I surround myself with strong women who work hard to make a positive difference in our world, I get to mold my children to be strong thinkers who help lift their friends up and showcase their passions.

I pray that we continue to move to equality. I pray that we love one another for our differences. I pray that we support each other’s talents. I pray that we acknowledge other’s weaknesses and encourage change for the better.

Friday Favorites: Stretched Too Thin

I have posted on Instagram and this blog many times already that I love this book, Stretched Too Thin. After listening to the audio version (link) once I had to read the paper copy. Thank you again, Jessica Turner, for allowing me to test drive this book for you. Here are my top 10 favorite quotes from the book. Now, there were plenty more, but these one caught me. My pen and highlighter got a workout!

1). “I love my family. I do great work. I’m thriving”. Page 13

2). “This ‘mental load’ that a person carries is defined by work-life balance coach Marie Levey-Pabst as the ‘largely invisible work of remembering and noticing.’ Because this load is carried inside our heads and isn’t visible in the same way going to an office is, we often don’t recognize it as real work. We lump it in as ‘what moms do,’ mentally reducing its significance and burden.” Page 21

3). “Women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle.” Page 47

4). “Do not let your emotions undermine your self-worth and calling.” Page 50

5). “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing, particularly thanks to social media.” Page 57

6). “Don’t ‘Should’ all over yourself.” Page 60

7). “A lie many working moms tell themselves is that self-care is selfish.” Page 68

8). “Counseling is far beyond fixing people’s problems; it’s opening up people’s opportunities.” Page 74

9). “Resentment is anger that’s turned inward.” Page 131

10). “Brene teaches that saying yes inspires trust with our kids.” Page 156

Now, if you are a mom, feeling too exhausted to chase your passions and dreams (small or big) put down what you are doing and get this book. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Friday Favorites: Stretched Too Thin

I have posted on Instagram and this blog many times already that I love this book, Stretched Too Thin. After listening to the audio version (link) once I had to read the paper copy. Thank you again, Jessica Turner, for allowing me to test drive this book for you. Here are my top 10 favorite quotes from the book. Now, there were plenty more, but these one caught me. My pen and highlighter got a workout!

1). “I love my family. I do great work. I’m thriving”. Page 13

2). “This ‘mental load’ that a person carries is defined by work-life balance coach Marie Levey-Pabst as the ‘largely invisible work of remembering and noticing.’ Because this load is carried inside our heads and isn’t visible in the same way going to an office is, we often don’t recognize it as real work. We lump it in as ‘what moms do,’ mentally reducing its significance and burden.” Page 21

3). “Women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle.” Page 47

4). “Do not let your emotions undermine your self-worth and calling.” Page 50

5). “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing, particularly thanks to social media.” Page 57

6). “Don’t ‘Should’ all over yourself.” Page 60

7). “A lie many working moms tell themselves is that self-care is selfish.” Page 68

8). “Counseling is far beyond fixing people’s problems; it’s opening up people’s opportunities.” Page 74

9). “Resentment is anger that’s turned inward.” Page 131

10). “Brene teaches that saying yes inspires trust with our kids.” Page 156

Now, if you are a mom, feeling too exhausted to chase your passions and dreams (small or big) put down what you are doing and get this book. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Friday Favorites: Podcasts

I am not certain why it took me so long to realize what a podcast is, but I am so thankful I finally did. It is weird how things come into our lives at the right time. I listen to one which references another, I listen to that one and it references another. So on and so on. There are brilliant women out there, and men I am sure *wink* The podcasts I have been drawn to are women lifting up women, moms talking about how normal all of these abnormal things are. I am not alone. These women are inspirational. They lift me up. They lift others up. They are artists, they are creators, they are authors and speakers. They leave me feeling like I want to do more. Not that I need to do more, but really encourage me to live life with passion and reach for fulfillment. I have women in my life, a mother, a sister, aunts, cousins, friends, these women are real, they are my physical soulmates, they are right here with me, but Rachel Hollis, Elyse Snipes, Jessica Honegger, Meg Tietz and Jen Hatmaker– they are there during the morning when I am getting ready for the day, they are with me in the car on my way to work and as I wind down for the night. I feed off of their dreams, their goals, their advice and make me yearn for more. Maybe they can do the same for you.

Rise Pocast with Rachel Hollis

Trailer Cast with Elyse Snipes

Going Scared with Jessica Honegger

Sorta Awesome with Meg Tietz

Rise Together with Rachel and Dave Hollis

For the Love Podcast with Jen Hatmaker