Being Brave, Challenge, Goals, Mental Health

Lent is Quickly Approaching

I was confirmed a Methodist, raised by a Catholic and a Lutheran, and I was married Catholic. I consider myself a Catholic. For me the Easter holiday season is a season of fresh starts and cleansing. It is also a time to focus on what is important to us. You don’t have to be a Christian or a Catholic to make the Lentin season a season of cleansing for yourself.

The Lentin season is quickly approaching. We party on Fat Tuesday, then on Ash Wednesday (March 2, 2022) we start our cleansing and penance to Christ.  I have been thinking about Lent and what I will be giving up for 6 weeks.  It was a pretty easy decision this year.

Normally I give up soda or sweets. One year I even gave up being negative and judgmental. It was very helpful and even today I try to think more positively and I try not to judge others. This year I thought I would give up something much harder for me. Fast food!  Why is fast food harder… because it is easy!

Stopping for fast food on your way home from work is easy or having that pizza delivered… easy! On the weekends who wants to cook? Whataburger? Sure why not! The great thing about fast food, besides the fact that it is easy, is the fact that you can fit (most) fast food into your calorie budget if you are counting calories or into your macros. It’s easy! With that being said, everything about fast food is easy, which makes not eating it hard!

In the past I would have said that fast food is cheaper than cooking at home. For the most part that is no longer the case. I can feed my family a much higher quality meal for far less money than McDonalds. In most cases the dollar menus are no longer a dollar and the value menus are not always a value. Even the $1 McDonalds sodas are no longer $1. What’s up with that?

Can we talk about the sodium and the calories in fast food? The calories are killer. I can make a hamburger and fries at home but the calories will not be close to what a Whataburger meal will cost me in calories. Don’t even get me started on the sodium. How on earth do they find so many extra calories and salt to stick on a bun? Maybe that is why they taste so good? Damn you Whataburger!!!

I digress… So besides giving up fast food, I will also be giving up meat on Friday as always. Giving up meat is never a problem for me. I can easily eat seafood or a cheese quesadilla and be perfectly happy.  Have I told you that I could eat seafood day and night? There is no way to cook a shrimp that I don’t like.

I have been slowly easing away from fast food since the beginning of the year so I don’t think it will be too hard. The only time I see that it could be a struggle is when times get tough and I need an easy out for dinner or lunch.  I can also see it being hard at lunch time when someone offers to pick up lunch for the group.  The days that will probably be the hardest for me will probably be on my 9/80’s two Fridays off a month. Normally I grab something for lunch on my way home from running errands. I guess this Friday off will be my last Friday eating out for lunch for quite a long time. I am good with that.

I am actually looking forward to the challenge. Honestly how much of a challenge will it really be? Just tuck and roll and I will come out better on the other side. I have been enjoying my February daily exercise challenge. I did miss 3 days because I had a stomach bug. I was already dehydrated enough. I didn’t need to sweat more out. I don’t think I could have moved for those 3 days anyway.

I hope that you think about joining me and giving up something that is a distraction in your life right now. Maybe it is social media? Maybe you are not taking enough time for yourself and need to give up a time killer in your life? TikTok has to be the ultimate time killer. I highly recommend giving that up. I gave it up 1/1/22 and honestly I only miss it when I am bored. 

I hope you will take this time to discover something that is missing in your life or something that you need to remove from your life. A cleansing time simply means a time of fresh starts and self-discovery.

Whatever you choose to do during this Lentin season I pray that you know that you are always better off being brave. Take a chance on yourself. You are strong and you can do it?

Fitness challenge? No more soda? No social media? Removing toxic activities or friends (family) from your life?  There are so many options!!

Being Brave, Goals, Mental Health

Get Out of the Dust and Start Setting Goals!

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on

12 days in to our 2022 “Fresh Start” and I already feel left behind in other people’s dust. I am not comparing myself to anyone else, but I really need to get it together and focus. I think my head has been all over the place and focus seems to be …out of sight/out of mind.

I started a new job at the same company last week and I have yet to be told what my job is going to entail. I have no software access right now so I go in for 9 hours and essentially hang out. I assure you, that is getting old. My boss has been too consumed with getting all of his work done to make his deadlines to worry about me. I get that! I think the part of my lack of focus is due to the lack on being needed at work.

By the time I get home from work I am so tired from doing nothing that the nothing then carries over at home and I don’t feel like doing anything there either. I have masses amount of laundry that needs to be folded, and put away, plus a few dishes in the sink but I am not too worried about that…

My biggest lack of focus has come in my eating and exercise. I think my Christmas vacation of being a slug has carried over into being a slug in 2022!

My goal this week is to come up with a healthy menu plan with the intention of cooking some of it this weekend. I am want to come up with an exercise plan even if it is only 15 minutes a day for a while. I think it is going to take me a little time to get back into the swing of things. I need to get my husband motivated to do the same thing.

I am trying to cook based on what I have at home, adding fresh veggies and all of that. Unlike most people I am not trying to shop what I already have to save money to pay off those pesky holiday bills. I am doing it because we have more than we need and I need to start clearing out the freezer and pantry before I buy more. Our goal is to move this coming summer. It would be an easier move if we only have a few things left in the freezer. Right now the freezer is stuffed full. To give you an idea as to how full the garage freezer is, last night I stuck the ladder in front of the door fearing it was going to pop open.

So my goal: For this week it so come up with a Menu Plan, Exercise Plan, and plan something fun to do as a family.

One day at a time … It’s better to be brave, than to always live in fear of the unknown…

Being Brave, Greif, Mental Health

Where did the year go?

Apparently I left off writing in May and never came back. 2021 was a tough one for me. My year started off with my mom in the hospital, then she passed away, and then I gave up on life and myself. I would have probably been better off if I had kept writing.

I never hit any of my weight loss goals. I never checked off items from my bucket list. Instead, I just wallowed in self-pity and never looked back. I preferred to feel sorry for myself, missing my mom terribly along the way. The very sad part of it all, is that my mom would have been so disappointed in me. She would have told me that she was fine and she was no longer suffer, and it was time for me to stop suffering also.

I could tell you that 2022 will be different. I will lose 100 pounds, check off all 20 items on my bucket list and rule the world, but you know how that goes. I won’t even go there. I will tell you that I have come to the realization that my mom isn’t coming back but that doesn’t mean I can’t come back.

Somehow I have managed to function the last 9 months (as of today) without her. Somehow I got a promotion at work and somehow I am seeing rainbows at the edge of all of the darkness. I still miss her. I miss her so much but I also know she would kick my ass for wallowing. She would tell me to get up and get it together. Therefore, I will get it together.

I am going to hold myself more accountable and take a new and lighter approach to life. I have only flipped off one person so far this year and I am feeling pretty good about that (HAHAA) that was on January 3rd.

One day at a time… We are always Better Off Brave!

Being Brave, Fears, Greif, Mental Health


Photo by Kat Jayne on

When I started this site with good intentions in mind, then my world fell apart. Five weeks ago my mom passed away. I feel fairly confident in saying that my life will never be the same again. My mom was my best friend. She was always there for me, as a mom, but also as a best friend. I could tell her anything, the good and the ugly. I haven’t done a lot of things in my life to be embarrassed about but whatever I did do, she was aware of it.

Growing up my life was not easy. My mom and I became a team. We used each other to stand, to push through, and to cope. My dad could never physically hurt anyone, but he was an alcoholic who was rarely sober when I was a teenager.

My dad got to the point where he could no longer hold a job instead he spent his days drinking while my mom spent her days and nights working to support his habit and support our family. It is not a joke to say there were times we did not have food, we did not have heat, electricity, or even water. Life was hard but mom and I were strong, and even stronger together. As long as we had each other we had everything we needed.

My mom would go on to divorce my dad after I graduated high school, but it would not change just how hard life could be. It was just a different hard. It was still a money struggle hard, and emotional hard. We still had each other. My dad would go on to pass away in 2001. That same day was my parents wedding anniversary. Again, life was hard…

My dad was a great man. He really was… he just had an addiction that he could not break. I don’t judge him in any way because I have a food addition so I get it. I asked him one time if he thought it was possible to get help and stop drinking. He said no, he didn’t think he could do it. I knew then I had to accept him for who he was and love him despite his addition. I did… he was an incredible dad. I miss him like crazy too. He was part of “my people” he was always there for me no matter what. I was angry at him for leaving me for a long time, but I have since learned to cope with it. The best you can cope.

My point in all of this is that life is always going to be hard, but it is much easier if you have the right people in your corner. You can make it through anything. Making it through with “your people” makes it just a little sweeter.

I keep asking myself how on earth will I be able to go on without my person with me? She has always been the one in my corner trying to fix it, make it better, or going head first in it with me.
I really don’t think I have ever felt so un-brave (is that a word) in my life. I know that brave doesn’t always mean you have it all together. Is also doesn’t mean that you are not scared or that you are not strong.

When the hospital called me to tell me to get there I didn’t feel brave. As a matter of fact, it took every bit of brave for me to remain calm and make that last drive to the hospital knowing that it was to say goodbye.

I didn’t realize that the goodbye would come so fast. Within 10 minutes of my arrival my mom would make her journey to the Lord and cross over. I am blessed that the Lord got me there in time, and I am even more blessed that I was the one that got to help her cross over. I was scared, I was shattered, but I held it all together…. for those 10 minutes.

After that… not so much. I was as calm as I could be on that drive home. I knew I just had to get home. My husband couldn’t make it to the hospital on time. There was no way. He was waiting on me at home. He would now be the only member of “my people” left. You see even if you have a million friends and family me members sometimes you are still alone. I had never felt so alone and so scared.

Why would I be so scared? My mom had set me up for success. She helped me get my bachelor’s degree, helped me through getting my master’s degree, and I have a good job. I wasn’t making ends meet because of my mom. I was getting through life because of her. At least that is how the irrational side of me felt.

My husband has been an amazing support. I can’t even begin to tell you the man he has been. The support has been unlike anything I could have ever imagined. He has more tear stained shirts that he can probably even count. Life is tough but I know that I am tougher. I know that regardless of my past and the trauma I have endured I know that I can do anything I want to do. I know that God has a purpose for me. I know there are still great things left for me to do. Great things that will make Him proud, but also great things that will make my parents proud.

Sometimes it is really hard to be Brave!

XOXO -Nicole

Fears, Greif, Health, Mental Health

That Time I Had To Be Brave


Photo by Cade Prior on

As if 2020 wasn’t hard enough, at the end of 2020 my mom had to have her mitral valve in her heart replaced. She hasn’t been home since then and it’s been 11 weeks. She has had a lot of complications since then. Some have been kidney issues, and some have been pulmonary issues.

The doctors believe the reason her mitral valve had to be replaced was because of her need for radiation when she had breast cancer many years ago. This year my mom will be cancer free for 10 years. What a blessing that is. The sad part is now we are having to deal with this. She has been through so much. This is the reason I have let myself slide back into bad eating habits.

I have allowed what my mom is going through to dictate my own bad behavior. Instead of learning from what she is going through, I instead have chosen to wallow in it. It’s been tough. I mean tough. Last year was the first year in my life that I spent Christmas without my mom. She is my best friend. Not having her there for Christmas and knowing that I could not see her in the hospital because of Covid was devastating, heartbreaking, and almost broke me. Yes, I said almost, but it didn’t.

Now that I can see my mom again, I see all that she has gone through when I couldn’t see her and how strong she is. I decided that not only do I have to be brave, but I must be strong. Strong means eating better, exercising, learning new things, and getting outside more. I need more in my life that is filling and not draining. Life is draining enough isn’t it?

So, I am going to try to find me again. I lost me when I became a grad student. Between work, home and school I had no time left for anything else. I gave up everything else so that I could graduate with my MBA. I graduated in December 2020 the day before my mom surgery. That day should have been the day I got my life back but instead the next day it would all fall apart with my moms’ surgery. Everything seemed to be ok until it wasn’t.

For the last 11 weeks I have put life on hold waiting for my mom to recover. She is recovering but it is very slow. She is just starting to learn to breathe on her own again, then it will be physical therapy while she learns to walk again on her own. When you have been in bed for 11 weeks walking is not an option. I do not think she will be out of bed anytime soon, but it is coming.

I pray that God still has big plans for my mom and I to live our lives to the fullest. I pray we can go to New York like we planned before Covid happened and I pray we can get our trip to the zoo and to the beach in like we planned. There are so many things we want to do.

So, what I am saying is that it’s been 11 weeks and it’s time for me to get my shit together and start living again. Living again with or without my mom around is what she would want for me. She would never want me to be so sad that I can’t do things in life that make me happy and that make me … me! She would want me to get healthy, get back on my weight loss journey and to get crafting, and living.


Being Brave, Fears, Greif, Mental Health


Photo by Inzmam Khan on

I haven’t written anything brave lately because I have not felt very brave. I have shed a lot of tears lately for myself, feeling sorry for myself, and for my mom who has been in the hospital for months. Life hasn’t gone as expected. I have essentially stopped living because of what is going on with my mom. Daily I am just going through the motions. I get up, start working, go to the hospital, then handle my household as needed. Other than that, life has stopped.

My mom would be livid if she knew what was going on at home with me. She would be so angry that I stopped because her life is hanging on and slowly healing. It’s not what I want for myself, but I have had trouble getting past it.

I eat my feeling something fierce. Even when I eat, and I am not hungry, I feel guilty. I find at times I eat something for no reason at all, but instead of just moving on, I feel like I have binged. One snack size bag of chips is not a binge, nor is it a reason to feel guilty. It is however a lesson to be learned that if you are not hungry you do not need to eat. You need to walk away and come back later. It isn’t going any place.

I am trying to figure out how I can move on without my mom being at home right now. I don’t know that my mom will ever get to come home again, but at the same time I don’t know that she won’t. I pray PRAY she does. I need to be an example to her because regardless of what her future looks like she is going to need a lot of physical therapy.

I think some days I would prefer to wallow in my own self-pity and self-doubt than actually get on with my life and accomplish all things. What is crazy is that is not easier to feel sorry for yourself, it is actually so much harder. Literally some days for me are one minute at a time.

Eating is not a comfort, even if it feels like one at that moment. I often feel miserable because I over eat and can hardly move my body. I am going to be returning back to the office in two weeks. I am hoping that being back in the building will help. The bad part is, we will still all be locked in our offices unable to socialize thanks to COVID-19. I think I am missing the socializing.

I never realized how much I need people until COVID-19 hit and then to top it off my mom went into the hospital. Working from home was no big deal as long as she was home. She lives with my family and I so we had lunch together every day, we would meet at the coffee pot for a chat and so on. She helped keep me on track with my weight loss journey.

It all came to a halt when she went into the hospital. My daily support system was gone. My husband is at work all day so I don’t see him. The house is empty during the day. At night, the house is always a mad house as we try to get one day ended and the next ready to start.
I didn’t start this blog for sympathy. No way am I looking for that. I simply started it as a way to express how I am feeling in hopes that voicing my feelings will give me what I need to move forward and get back on my weight loss journey.

Life is tough! It is tough on everyone, but especially right now. I am over COVID-19, and I am over being isolated from the world. I always thought I hated people, but it turns out I am missing them. I am sure I will get back to the place where I don’t want to be around people, but we will pick those battles as they come.

Today is off to a good start and I hope your day is going good as well. What I need to remember today is, life is hard, but you have to choose which hard you want to live. The hard part of losing weight or the hard part of being overweight. Both are hard, and hurt, but one comes with an amazing life at the other end.

No matter which “hard” you choose you will always be… better off brave!