Hello… old friend glad to see you again!

It’s been a long time since I have seen you.  I am so glad you decided to come back.

To be honest, I have REALLY missed you.

It feels like forever since you have been around.

If you have been stopping by to visit, I have shared some of my journey with Lymes Disease this summer. It’s been a tough summer.  I had plans…

Big plans.

Plans that I had to set aside, so I could get my life back.

Old Plans:
1. I was going to swim several more open water races.
2. Take the horses to shows.
3. Play in a couple of tennis tournaments.
4. Workout daily  okay almost daily.
5. Visit friends.
6. Visit family.
7.Maybe buy a road bike so I could ride with my co-workers at lunchtime.
8. Travel

Instead, this summer, I slept.  I took naps at lunch just to get through the work day.  I spent lots of time taking care of my body so it could heal. I did hot and cold therapy. I took my supplements.  I was beyond strict with what I ate– all to make it easier on my body to heal. I thought about working out, but most days I did not have the energy. That is until now.

So, I am beyond excited! Like jump up and down-dance down the hallway; not caring that I really can’t dance so it’s more of a bounce around; attempt a back flip!

I have worked out 7 out of the last 9 days AND I still feel good… Wait, I feel great!298

I have done Jillian Michaels videos, completed 3 pool workouts, Foundation Training, and even played tennis last night!
I am really starting to feel like the old me.  I still have areas that I want to improve, but I am excited to finally hit this milestone!  Next goal, do a better job of writing and working out!

What in your life has had you down lately? What’s a break through that you have seen with it, even a small victory!

Until the next post,

H.C._J                                  

Pretty Little Packages

I started today pretty excited & happy.  I found a recipe from Young & Raw on facebook recently that I wanted to try.  Iced Green Matcha…. mmm yummy!  I like hot Matcha; so I thought that I would try it cold.  Plus, since I am no longer drinking coffee– I was missing a morning drink. So I thought I would give this drink a try.

I mixed up the recipe quickly, (It’s fast & easy) ,tossed it in my mason jar, and ran out the door to work.

During my 45 minute commute to work, I sipped on my drink– enjoying the fun color. I would say about halfway to work, I realized I had to make an important decision regarding my Matcha.  Down the rest of my drink, so my co-workers would not have to see my green drink or proudly rock the Matcha in a Mason Jar.  I really wanted to sip on my drink and enjoy it most of the morning.  While I debated my predicament, I realized that if I carried my mason jar in, I was sure to get comments and questions. Perfect!  I get to tell people about my awesome healthy drink, my coworkers  already think I am nutty! So why not give people something to talk about and enjoy my crazy healthy drink!

StarbucksAs I approached work, I wondered if my drink was in a Starbucks cup or a cup from a local coffee shop, would they even think twice about it being green? Probably not. But make your drink at home, put it in a mason jar, and you will have their attention.  I mean, they have a drink that looks a lot like mine. Check it out straight from their site: Starbucks Iced Green Tea  Photo from http://so–hi.blogspot.com/2013/05/diy-starbucks-iced-green-tea-latte.html

My decision was made- take it in with me and enjoy it. Heck it looks a lot like the Starbucks version as is.

IMG_0568I was ready to have some fun!  The way I look at it, if people are noticing my green drink– then I can tell them about it. If I can share, people may start to get interested in living a healthier life.  Once someone is interested and is curious, then they might start making an attempt to living a cleaner lifestyle.  Once you start living a cleaner lifestyle, then you realize that it is not hard and might start cleaning up more in their lives.  I love watching someone become interested in nutrition and health!  I am not sure that there is much more that makes me happy.

Anyway, back to this morning.  I pulled into my work, popped my backpack on (which I still owe you a post about 😉 ) and off I went into the building.  I decided to swing through the cafeteria to top off the ice in my drink.  In the cafeteria there were a couple of coworkers and, sure enough, we struck up a conversation about my green drink…………………in a mason jar.

This was great!  I had the opportunity to share with them 2 healthy ideas!  We talked for a minute about how I drink out of glass and why it’s healthy for you AND my healthy green matcha!

Mission accomplished… I was able to share my green drink recipe with another 4 people before I left the cafeteria and more throughout the day.  Overall, I think personally getting the chance to talk with 10 people about my green drink in one day is pretty awesome.  So don’t be afraid to make your own pretty packages or to carry them in public.  You never know when you influence someone to change their life.

So I tip my pretty green glass to you!  I hope that you will try Matcha in a Mason Jar soon! 

 

I am Habit

Life is one big habit… It can change, evolve, morph– but when you step back and really look, we live by habits. They can be long term habits or short term. We all live by them.

Don’t get me started on how hard it is to change them… 21 days to establish a new one or break an old one! That takes dedication.

I have a habit of staying snuggled in bed, enjoying the cool fall air, and my warm blankets.

I develop new ones and retire old ones.  I have  had a habit called, the “just one” habit but it had to go. This habit was my,  just one cookie now, just one cookie later, just one more… You are smart, you get the picture and can see my waist line growing by the second. This is why the just one habit was retired.

Out with the old bad habit–in with the new healthy one. One habit I am in the process of making a staple in my life is Foundation Training. Have you heard of Foundation Training? Feel free to ask what it is. You (reader), “What’s Foundation Training?” I am so glad you asked! Foundation Training or FT is a workout that strengthens your lower back through a combination of yoga and squats. Sounds weird huh? I thought so too. In fact, the first couple of times I saw it, I thought to myself, “1. That does not look hard. 2. Does that really work? 3. I don’t really need to work on my lower back- or do I?”

Out of curiosity, I tried the FT video found on YouTube, check it out below!  I do the workout that is just shy of 12 minutes.  The first time I tried this training,  I learned a couple of quick hard lessons.

FT11. It may not look hard, but it IS most definitely challenging.
2. It really does work. My lower back had never really experienced that type of concentrated workout. I was expecting to be sore after a workout like that. BUT, I was super surprised to realize I was standing up straighter, and my lower back was not nearly as sore at the end of a workday.
3. Uhm YES dummy- your lower back needs work. In the words of Toby Keith, “I am not as good as I once was.”

Me really enjoying FT Time! –>

Honestly, it did not take me long to realize that I needed to add this healthy habit to my daily schedule. I can tell you that when I do FT in the morning before work, I feel 10 times better throughout the day. I have also noticed that my tennis game has improved. Double bonus. I have even gone to the park on my lunch and done FT. I hope no one was watching me

Matcha in a Mason Jar

Mmmmmmmm…. this is soooo good you HAVE to try it!

Recently, my body decided it did not like coffee, but I was still missing my morning drink. Tea just has not been cutting it.  Then I saw this recipe on facebook from Young & Raw  and my mornings seem complete again. I have adjusted this recipe a little from the original that Young & Raw posted.  I really liked it and wanted to share with you.  I did make a small change to the recipe.  For the original recipe: click here.

Ingredients:
photo 12 tsp. Matcha-  I chose organic

8 oz. Milk – I use Organic Almond Milk, unsweetened. (it’s only 30 calories for 8 ounces!) You can use any milk.

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp. Almond Extract

1 tbs. Maple Syrup (you can use more or less… my sweet tooth shows)

Stevia-  Use this after you try your drink if you need to sweeten it more

Okay, here is how you can whip up your own Matcha in a Mason Jar.

I toss all the ingredients in the blender and mix.

Once mixed, pour over ice and ENJOY!  If you need to sweeten it more, add stevia to taste.

You will have a awesome Iced Matcha in a Mason Jar!

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Mac’s EZ Lemonade

Summer is quickly slipping away…  I wish it would stay a little longer.  I am going to miss it, are you?

Days are getting shorter and soon we will be bundling up in big sweaters and jeans. Temperatures are dropping and soon the leaves will be changing, this makes me pretty excited.

Don’t get me wrong, my favorite season EVER is Fall.  Normally,  I am looking forward to fall’s arrival, but this year Louiesummer seemed way too short.  I wish it would hang around a little longer.   Maybe it was because we had a record breaking winter for both temperature and snow accumulation.  Heck, we even had to plow the horse pasture!  That was a first for me, the drifts were so big that the babies could not climb over.  I was a little worried they would get stuck and we would have to launch a rescue mission. Check out a video of the horses playing in the snow on one of the coldest days last winter: Here.  It is pretty cute, but I am biased.

IMG_0199Anyway enough about last year’s monster winter, back to me not letting summer go–by sharing a favorite summer drink, “Mac’s, EZ Lemonade” with you.   This recipe is so quick and easy, you will wonder how you have been living without it! I know that I have asked myself that exact question more than once when making this lemonade recipe.

Before I share the recipe, I think I need to let you in on a secret and the secret ingredient…  as a rule, I make things from scrap, with whole ingredients and fresh, but…I am also all about quick and convenient!  So when a great family friend, Mac, showed me a bottle of squeezed organic lemons, I fell in <3.  I mean, it’s not hard to use the hand squeezer to make your own lemon juice.  It just seems to take me a few minutes that I never seem to have. I almost feel like I am cheating on life by getting my organic lemon juice from a bottle, but when life gets busy, you have to play smart.  Thanks to Mac, I can have one of my favorite drinks in no time at all now all year. Because he introduced me to the secret time saving ingredient: Italian Volcano’s Lemon Juice.

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Reasons that I LOVE this juice:

1. It’s ORGANIC!

2. 1 Jar contains 80 lemons worth of juice… do you know how long it would take to hand squeeze that many lemons?  I don’t even want to imagine how long it would take or how sore my arm would get.

3. It’s a great buy.  You can find a two-pack of these at Costco for $7.00!  Do you know how many glasses of lemonade you can make with a two-pack?  MANY!  More than I could count… okay maybe I would get distracted before counting them!

4. I don’t have to clean the hand squeezer.

5. It’s stored in glass… I will tell you about my love of glass soon.

6. It’s waiting for you in the fridge.

 I think you get the picture… I really <3 this product and you should fall for it too!

Now for the recipe: Mac’s EZ Lemonade!

There are only 3! Count them 3 Ingredients!  Simple right?

1. Italian Volcano – Lemon Juice
2. Water
3.  Stevia

Alright… here is how I make Mac’s EZ Lemonade!

Grab a jar, a glass, a water bottle… something that will hold liquid and fill it 2/3 full with water.
Here is my favorite jar… it’s such a fun blue.

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Bonus:  it’s 34 ounces , which means I am not running for refills every two minutes!
Double Bonus: It has a lid with a straw (not pictured) but makes spills less likely.
Yes, I am pretty much a big kid and need a lid with a fun straw!

Fill your cup with water.

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Pour some of your Italian Volcano juice into the water. This is where you will have to experiment to see how much you like.  If you want your drink really lemony, add more.  If you don’t want it as strong, then add less. To start,  I normally add just enough juice that my water turns cloudy, taste and then adjust my lemonade from there.

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Next grab your stevia and sweeten your drink. I have a sweet tooth so I tend to use 1-2 droppers full in a 34 ounce jar.  If you are not used to Stevia, start small and add 5-10 drops until your drink is sweet enough.

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Secret tip: you can always add more lemon and stevia, but you can’t always take it back.

Now that your drink is made, add ice, and enjoy!

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If you want to spice up your lemonade, you can always add some strawberries or raspberries.

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Italian Volcano’s Lemon Juice has revolutionized how I make lemonade!

What’s your favorite easy recipe or “cheat” healthy ingredient?

Why must you judged… me?

Why must you judged me? I don’t judge you…  I am a little confused why you feel the need to make faces at me, the comments behind my back,  or even to my face?  I choose to live my lifestyle, just like you choose to live yours.  Don’t you know that your snide comments and dirty looks can hurt even a tough professional?  Because, deep down,  I am just like every other human… I am vulnerable too!

Insert disclaimer here: Do me a favor and hang with me for this post… I just need to get this off my chest.

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I carry my water in glass jars.  Okay, I carry lots of water in my glass jars.  I tend to take about 100 ounces with me to work everyday. Believe me, people have noticed my glass jars that go everywhere with me.  They may be kind of hard to hide–because, let’s be real, a  34 ounce jar is enormous and not easily hidden in a meeting room.   Sometimes they are even filled with a green smoothie, then they are really hard to miss. I have been told that my green smoothies are great for keeping  my team from munching at work.   I guess not everyone thinks it’s normal to drink a green or sometimes deep purple drink.  I am so glad to help my team stay away from sugar filled snacks while I enjoy a super nutrition-packed smoothie.
The looks and comments that were made when I brought in a real knife to cut my apples… I remember them every time you ask to borrow it to cut your apples. Amazing how handy that real knife really is, huh?  (I hope I am not coming off too sassy.)   appleI find it very ironic how you tend to pick apart my life and my efforts to live healthy; while I don’t say a word to you about your choices.  Do you need to make the comments about my food  because I don’t go running to the vending machines for a snack? Instead, daily I bring my fruit, veggies, and my beloved peanut butter hummus. (If you are looking for the recipe… Click: HERE!)  Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I desperately want to break down and buy one of everything in the machine, but I don’t!  It’s my choice. It’s my life… my beliefs, and I want to live a healthy life. Don’t you realize that my healthy lifestyle has helped me fight Lyme’s Disease quickly this summer?  I have only missed a few days of work, like 4 full days and a couple of halves since being diagnosed. Most would have ended up on short term disability…  Instead, I am almost all the way back! Considering it affected my liver and heart functionality, I am feeling pretty blessed!  Seeing the fast results from the Lyme’s recovery only makes me want to continue my healthy lifestyle and improve it even more.

Why do you make faces when I use my toaster oven instead of the microwave?  Thanks to my brother, J, who gave me the oven for my birthday this summer.IMG_7344

(I must be a super nerd if I get excited over a toaster oven!)  Now I can get a warm meal at work without using my little crockpot, or heating it on my running engine.  engineJust kidding about the engine.  I do warm my food in a toaster oven because when you use a microwave it changes your food on a molecular level.  I don’t look at you cross-eyed when you use the microwave so do you really need to make the comments about how I warm my food?

 

Recently, I changed how I carry everything into work. Because of the weight of the jars and the amount of food I take with me,  I bought a small hiking backpack. One with a waistband, to take the weight off my shoulders…so that my back can get some relief.  I will show it to you later this week.    I am super excited about it, and It’s a super cool blue color!  It also makes my eyes pop!  In all seriousness, my back is really grateful for the new bag.

Okay, every so often I will say something about a co-worker’s cologne or perfume…  I am not perfect, if I were I would be sitting at Jesus’ right hand… but I am not.  So, I guess for now, you will have to put up with me.   I probably should be better and not make a comment. Note to self, no more perfume comments, even when I turn green and want to throw up.  This might be hard, because I have lived fragrance free for over 2 years now and perfumes can make me turn really cool shares of greeeeeen. We can talk about that later. I do use essential oils, and they smell so amazing. They are a great alternative to the chemical filled fragrances common in society.

I am different from your average person…  I know it.  I accept it. In a weird way, I enjoy it!  I hope that by walking what I talk people will start to realize that living a healthy lifestyle is not hard. It’s completely obtainable. You can eat organically without breaking the bank.  It’s why I started this blog to share with you, as a young professional, how easy it is to live a healthy lifestyle.  I used to think that junior high girls were the worst when it came to judgment against each other, but I am beginning to think that professionals are worse.  Maybe I am over-reacting. Maybe I am completely wrong.  All I know is that the comments that others make to me based on my lifestyle is getting old and won’t change my mind. Instead, they strengthen my resolve to continue to live an organic lifestyle.

 Don’t judge me for doing… because I don’t judge you.

judge

Day 19: Awesome Sauce… I mean Awesome Hummus

Peanut Butter + Chocolate Chips + Chick Peas = AWESOME SAUCE.. Okay you might be thinking, peanut butter and hummus? Do they really go together? Answer: YES!

Let me back up a second and give yoe the background. We have an awesome family friend that challenged me to bring healthy sweet stuff to our 4th of July bash. I take sweet challenges seriously, VERY SERIOUSLY. I played around on my favorite food blogs and scoured my computer; until I had a couple of good ideas, I was sure would not disappoint the group. It was on this journey that I found my new favorite recipe.

I believe that this recipe originally comes from Chocolate Covered Katie… if you have not checked out her site, you should. Some of my favorite recipes are from her. I highly recommend the Mushroom Stroganoff. Recipe: HereIMG_7581

Anyway I found this recipe on Veggierettie’s site and like Veggierettie, I am obsessed with it! In fact, as I type this I am sitting in the back of the dually truck as we are heading to brothers lacrosse game, I will be munching on some just as soon.  Well  as I remove the Teague, who is well over 50 lbs. off my lap and the computer.

You should note a few things before I give you the recipe.

  1. I am not a food blogger.
  2. I am not a food photographer, I simply shot these pics off of my iphone.

Alright here is the recipe…

Ingredients:

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Here is how I make this incredible hummus.

I pit the date and toss them in water so they are just covered. Veggierettie suggests soaking them for at least a half hour. I soaked them overnight the first time I made this hummus. Pick a time frame that works for you.

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Open your garbanzo beans can, drain the water and rinse them. Remove the excess water.

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Toss in the food processor. Add your peanut butter, vanilla and dates. At this point, I do not add much of the soaking water.

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Begin to process the ingredients. I stop several times to mix in the stuff on the sides of the processor.

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I add the soaking water to make the consistency how I want it. Once you have the consistency correct, hand mix the chocolate chips in. Veggierettie suggest 2-3 tablespoons, I eyeball it. You can never have too much chocolate in my opinion.

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Now comes the hardest part… Putting it in the fridge for a little while to let it sit. I found that it is 1000’s better the next day, but I don’t always have the patience to wait until the next day to start digging in to the sweet treat.

Recommended things to eat with this hummus:

IMG_7551Apples
Banana
Chips—if I eat chips I try to get the Chia Seeds, Sprouted chips . They are fantastic with this hummus.

 

Oh did I mention… this treat is HEALHTY?  According to the friend that challenged me to bring some sweet treats to the 4th of July bash, this recipe rocked it!

Okay, so know you have my new favorite HEALTHY, SWEET, recipe… what’s yours?

Skinny Does Not Mean Healthy- Day 14

Today’s theme is vulnerable, most people feel vulnerable when you see them without makeup. I have a friend that won’t answer the phone without putting on her makeup. Others feel exposed in sweat pants, or with out of control hair. I am not most people… most days you can catch me without makeup, in sweats during or after a workout and my hair lives out of control if I don’t straighten it.  Today, I want to be vulnerable with you… I am going to let you into a personal look at a challenging time in my life.

Recently, I dropped into a co-workers office to share some news and her response to my news was “I guess Skinny does not mean healthy…”Skinny Girl

That was a statement I had to choke down the other day after sharing with my co-worker that I have Lyme’s Disease. I love my co-worker but that statement hit me like a ton of bricks… I mean, the word disease is not really all warm and fluffy! It’s definitely not a word that I want to use to describe a time in my life. Hey, I don’t even want to admit that I have a disease. I felt like I had sewn a scarlet A on my chest. No matter how hard I tried to deny it, my body would not let me reject this new title. But when I let that thought settle, I realized it was true. Skinny does not mean healthy. I am not the skinniest girl alive or even the skinniest I have ever been, but I am not my healthiest either. I am however fighting a new, unexpected battle.

Let me back up a little here, I was excited for this summer to be full of great workouts, healthy food, lots of wakeboarding, riding the horses, hanging out with friends, open water swims (I had my eye on 3 more states for the summer) and a GREAT tennis season.  What I did not expect was to put all of this on hold to let my body heal. Several weeks ago, I was debating whether or not to play a tennis match. I had strained my elbow, and it was feeling “iffy” at the time. Then,x there was the pesky rash that was extending down my arm. But I am tough—I decided to play.

Warming up, my arm felt pretty good. I had applied Kineseo tape to my arm to help support it. I started to notice that I was just a little bit of off my normal game. Everyone goes through days where you just don’t play your best, but it’s my job to figure out a way to pull myself together and play well.  I could not quite place what was wrong. I chalked it up to the heat, drank some more water and stepped onto the court. Mentally, I was feeling pretty good. The court I was playing on and I had some good mojo going from the previous season. This is the court that I had beaten a very strong player on last year in a tough mental match; 6-4, 6-4. Generally, scores like that reflect just a slight mental edge.  We started our match, and no matter what I tried I felt like the normal me had checked out. Replaced by a robot.

As the match progressed, I had trouble reading the ball (knowing where it was going when my opponent hit it). I felt like my legs weighed IMG_7144100lbs. each. I knew what the score was, but when I called it out, different numbers came out of my mouth. I was starting to get concerned. On change-over (every two games we switch which side of the court we play on), I ate most of an apple and a couple of prunes; hoping my blood sugar was low and that the normal me would soon return. No such luck. My vision did not return, and I was beginning to get scared because I did not understand what was going on. I got really concerned when I tossed the ball and forgot what I was supposed to do. The match was over in what seemed like a blink of an eye. I crawled off the court and called for my family to come pick me up. I was afraid to try to drive, thinking that I would not be able to control the car.

As I waited for a ride, I started to panic and called a friend to keep me calm until the cavalry arrived. Thankfully, my dad and brother were around the corner. My brother packed my bag that I left open on the court and carried it out to the car. On the drive home, I reached out to several Naturopathic doctors asking for things I could do to help me feel better. Once home, I showered; I took a handful of vitamin C; and I curled up in bed.

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The rash on my arm

The next day was spent working with a great team, figuring out what all was going on in my body. By mid-day the Naturopaths felt pretty certain it was Lymes. In the middle of that pesky rash, we saw the bullet hole (the bite mark). All I could think, SERIOUSLY…I… have Lymes? And oh wait it gets better! My digestive track was not absorbing the proper nutrients I was putting in it; my heart and liver were stressed! Time to make a game plan to get better. In case you are not familiar with Lymes, it is a disease that one can get from ticks or mosquitos.

According to WebMD the symptoms of Lymes include: “In the early stages of Lyme disease, you may experience flu-like symptoms that can include a stiff neck, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain. You also may experience a large, expanding skin rash around the area of the tick bite. In more advanced disease, nerve problems and arthritis, especially in the knees, may occur. […]Heart problems. Fewer than one out of 10 Lyme disease patients develops heart problems[..]Other symptoms. and severe fatigue, although none of these problems is likely to appear without other Lyme disease symptoms being present.”

I left the clinic armed with supplements to take and an eating plan to stick to. I feel like standing on the rooftop, and telling everyone that I am so grateful to have a great support system of people in my life that will help dig in and get my body back to functioning at its best.

This past month has pushed me to grow more than I thought possible. One of the scariest and biggest symptoms that I have been experiencing is mental fogginess. Strike that, it’s more than mental fogginess. There have been times over the last month that I could not get the words from my brain to come out of my mouth. Or, I have been known to say things that don’t make sense. These are the moments that can scar the crap out of anyone! These moments have earned me a new nickname at work, “Lymie.” One day, I was reviewing my PowerPoint slides & presentation that I was to deliver the next day to the international finance department for my company with my boss. I was staring at the screen and unable to deliver my well prepared speech. A little more than a scary feeling… My boss and I made a game plan, just in case I was not feeling well the next day; I went home for extra sleep.  God was awesome, the next day I had a mentally clear day and presented my speech without incident.

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259No one expects to be sidelined. I certainly was not expecting my summer to be a slower paced summer. I have stuck to the game plan that docs laid out that day. I have been good with my supplements, great with my eating, and have made more than a conscious effort to take care of my body so it can heal. It’s been over a month since the tennis match night and I am finally beginning to work out again.  I even was able take a run on the wakeboard…Yay! If all goes well, I will play my first match in 5+ weeks on Thursday.

Thank you for letting me be vulnerable with you. I may not be standing in front of you without make up on, but to me letting you see a little bit of my crazy month is a lot more intimidating.