Monday, January 28, 2013

Say Hello!

Today I'm linking up with Laura from The Everyday Joys to get to know some different bloggers and add some new blogs to my reader.  This is a one day link up aimed at connecting you with new friends.  All you have to do is answer the questions below, grab the button and go link up on Laura's blog
1. What blogs do you visit daily? Please list 1-3 of your favorites.
I read so many blogs but my favorites are definitely Katie from Loves of Life, Jess from Wrangling Chaos, Ruthie from The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart, and Meg from Better Late Than Never.  Sorry, couldn't choose just 3!
2. Are you on Instagram? If so, what is your user name?
Sure am.  Username is Camarogirl819
3. Can we find you on Pinterest? What's your Pinterest address, and what can we expect to see you pinning most? (recipes, DIY projects, home decor, etc.)

Definitely on Pinterest.  I pin so so many things!  Lately it's been a mix of photography tips for using my new DSLR, bedroom ideas for Olivia's new big girl bedroom, healthy recipes to help me eat right and lose weight plus the occasional holiday craft that I can do with Olivia.  You can find me under username laurabeau819.
4. What are your favorite blog link-ups to participate in? (weekly link-ups other bloggers have...any number will do...please link us to them!)

Fab Friday's is always a must.  I really enjoy ending my week reflecting on the positive.
Celebrating the non-scale victories with KTJ.  KTJ is a new blogger on a weight loss journey, much like myself.  Her linkup is focused on celebrating victories involving getting fit and healthy even when the number on the scale doesn't move. 
Weigh in Wednesday with Alex and Erin is helping me stay motivated and motivate others on their weight loss journey. 
5. Why do you blog?
Originally I started blogging way back in the day when I had gastric bypass surgery which you can read about hereI only blogged for a short time but eventually came back to it after Olivia was born.  Since then it's morphed into me writing for memories sake and most recently to share my weight loss journey and journey to finding the Lord.  I've met so many amazing, supportive people through blogging and I really enjoy the friendships I've made.  These women have been so encouraging, uplifting and fun!
6. Tell us one random fact about yourself.

I'm deathly afraid of masks!  Halloween makes my anxiety go through the roof.  I get really nervous when I can't see someone's face. 
This has been a fun link up.  If you're a new reader, please say hi and link me back to your blog so I can read along with you too!  Happy Monday loves.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fab Friday

...and just like that this short work week is over.  Can we have a short week every week?  No?  Ok, fine.  Anyhow, linking up with Laura from The Everyday Joys again this week for Fab Friday.  I really try to stay positive all the time but it's really nice to reflect on the fabulous things that happened throughout the week to help!
This week a bunch of fab things happened... here we go.
~ Baptism - wrote about it here and here.  Check it out, it was truly such an awesome day for me and just the ultimate culmination of my journey with the Lord thus far.
~ Taking pictures with my new big girl camera.  I've finally upgraded from a point and shoot to a dslr and I'm in love with it!  Here are the first few pictures I took.  I'm still learning and don't claim to be good!
~ Having a girls night tonight with one of my best - Jenn.  It's rare that I get to go out without Olivia due to mine and my husband's opposite shifts but tonight, he's got bedtime duty and I'll be hanging out in Panera sipping coffee and chatting it up with my friend.  I'm trying not to feel guilty.   
~ My sister in law asked me to be in the delivery room for her baby girls birth.  It's just a matter of time because she's currently 2 days overdue.
~ My husband and I bought Olivia new bedroom furniture and I can't wait to set up her new big girl room!
My week was pretty fabulous!  Happy weekend.
The Everyday Joys

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Celebrating the Non-Scale Victories

I'm all about the number on the scale but sometimes, well, all of the time, I need to also focus on the many little changes that I've been making which aids in that number trending down.  Today I'm linking up with KTJ and Lex to celebrate my non-scale victories this week.
~ I've been craving chocolate or some type of equally bad for you snack and I haven't given in.  I haven't made any excuses for myself as to why I deserve it, want it, need it etc.  If you knew me, you'd understand that I'm really good at talking myself into believing these dumb things when it comes to food.  For the past two nights when I was really wanting a snack I decided to just focus on making my healthy lunch for work the next day which helped take my mind off it.
~ I am joining a gym this weekend to incorporate exercise into my routine.  I'll be adjusting my work schedule a bit to not interfere with Olivia's schedule so I can work out super duper early in the morning before work.  Sneakers have been purchased, not I just need to treat myself to a cute workout outfit and a gym bag.
~ Food - more specifically cooking.  This week I've been focused on cooking really tasty but healthy dinners.  My normal routine when I leave work is to put Olivia down for a nap and then start dinner.  This gives me plenty of time to prepare and make something good.  This week we've had baked fish and roasted veggies and sweet potatoes, salad and roasted chicken. 
Head over to KTJ's blog to link up and share your non-scale victories for the week.  Seeing the number on the scale move is great but when it doesn't it's really important to help yourself stay motivated and what better way to do that than to brag a bit about changes you're making to help you along the way!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Profession - Part 2

Check here for my post yesterday about the journey that got us to this awesome day.  Our baptism day!

My emotions were running high all morning.  I was nervous, excited, anxious, grateful, humbled...but most importantly, I felt blessed.  Blessed to be here, in this spot, receiving this beautiful gift with my husband.  Being baptized together as a couple in front of our church family.

The morning flew by, getting everyone up, dressed and out the door for church didn’t leave much time to dwell on what was coming.  We went to breakfast as a family and prayed together for our approaching baptism.  As we sat in Sunday school my mind kept drifting off thinking about what was coming.  How it would go, how everything would play out.  All the details. 

After the 15 minute "almost time for service to start" bell rang it was all I could think about.  The amazing women in our Sunday school class all shared encouraging words as I grabbed my bag to leave which completely put me at ease.  Joe and I went to the baptistry and into our respective rooms to get ready.  This is when my emotions really took over!  Being away from Joe I was wondering what he was feeling and just wished I'd kissed him before we separated to get ready.  I put in my robe and waited while listening to the choir praise Jesus with their beautiful songs.  Joyce was in the baptistry with me helping me through the steps to ensure everything was seamless.  She talked with me the entire time to help keep my nerves at bay. 

When it was time for us, we walked out and I had a moment of tears.  Tears were shed for so many different reasons.  For the people who weren’t there, who didn’t come to support us.  Tears for our amazing friends who did come, tears for the people who helped us on our journey, tears for the amazing sacrifice Jesus made for me, tears for the future, for being blessed and able to raise Olivia to know Jesus.  Joyce and Jacquie saw me emotional and immediately prayed with me.  Their beautiful words lifted me up to the Lord and as quickly as the tears started, they stopped.  A peace came over me and I was calm. 

Our pastor spoke and I watched my love, my husband get baptized and then it was my turn. I walked into the baptistry water (of course I almost slipped going down the wet stairs)and pastor Glen shared a bit of our testimony to our church family.  While he was speaking I was surrounded by so many people who have helped me along in this journey.  In front of my stood Jacquie, Joyce and Amanda, behind me Pastor Glen and my husband, across the balcony was Renata and on the main floor Sarah and Ken.  All of which have encouraged, loved and prayed for us!  God certainly put these people in our lives for a reason.   

Then, as my husband stood to my pastors right hand side, I was baptized!

I am so happy, humbled and proud of my husband and myself for making this decision for our family, for Olivia and for our future.

After church service we were approached by so many people with hugs and congratulations!

The day was perfect and the love of Jesus was most certainly present and pulsing inside the walls of our church!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013


It's difficult for me to even put into words the experience I shared with my husband this past Sunday, January 20, 2013.  Together we outwardly shared an already inward change with our church family.  Together we took one important step in being obedient to the Lord and doing the right thing for our family.  Together.  That was the best part.  We did this together. 

Not even a full year ago my husband and I visited this church on a whim.  Church shopping was what we called it.  Little did I know what the Lord was going to do to our hearts.  Through this church we have met some of the most amazing Godly people who have embraced us and have truly had a hand in changing our family. 

That very first day as we sat through the service, moved to tears by the music, we filled out a visitors card, left the church and decided we'd be back to try it again.  We loved the music and the message but at that point we didn’t know what our future held, the plans God had already laid for us.  We had no idea how our lives were about to be changed.  From the visitor card I received a phone call asking me how we liked the service, if we'd be back?  At that time, I wasn’t ready to commit to anything.  I constantly procrastinated and made up excuses why I couldn’t talk or wasn’t interested or ready.  Jacquie didn’t give up.  She kept calling and kept trying to get through to me.  As the phone rang one day while I was in the car I saw it was the church number again and I was ready, so ready to tell her to please "just leave me alone". 

I answered and in an instant my heart changed.  We talked for 2 hours about life, family, faith, my past, my husband, my daughter, everything.  I made a commitment to meet with her the following Wednesday so she could answer my questions and questions I certainly had.  I made a list, a long list and that Wednesday she answered every single one.  That Wednesday I was saved.  I accepted Jesus into my heart, I confessed that I was a sinner and could only be saved by accepting that Jesus died on the cross for me and my sins. 
That Wednesday, July 11, 2012 was the start of this beautiful transformation in our lives.   

We began a discipleship program to learn about Christianity and so I could be re-taught things that I'd learned incorrectly before.  Then, in September, my husband was saved.  He started discipleship with one of the pastors and we began this journey together.  We learned and grew as husband and wife, as parents, as Christians.  We made changes to our lives to remove the sinful and learned how to live a more Christ-like life.  We made mistakes and still leaned toward sin but we prayed to do better and confessed our sins to Jesus.  We made conscious decisions to try harder to be better for Him, our family and ourselves. 

This Sunday was the culmination of all those changes, prayers and discipleship lessons.  This Sunday we finally made the outward profession of our inward change.  We were baptized! 

I have so many details I want to share about our experience.  Check back tomorrow for the rest!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

An outward expression.....

...of an inward change. 
Turns out I am ready - well, we're ready to take the plunge (pun intended!) and get baptized!  I've discussed my new found faith - not sure how much longer I can call it new - a few times before on here but most recently the idea of baptism was presented to my husband and I and for some reason I was totally nervous, shell shocked, not ready.  (If you want to read more about that, go here.)
...or so I thought.
It's funny how God works on your heart when you pray to Him about your concerns or fears.  It had been about 2 months that I was concerned about making this decision.  I had reservations deciding if this was the right thing for me and my family.  I was worried that my family who wasn't following the same path would be mad that I'd changed religions and left the Catholic church.  I was worried that I didn't know enough, wasn't a good enough Christian and wasn't seasoned enough in the faith to do this.
What I didn't take the time to think about is that I'd already made a change.  I was a different person before going to church and being saved than I am today and there's only one explanation for that and it's Jesus.  I live my life a totally different way than before.  I live to please the Lord.  I live to honor Him and show the world His light.  I'm different
Something that really struck a cord with me and made it click was when one of the pastors at my church said "Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change."  Boom - got it. 
The change was already done.  I've been changed since July 11, 2012 and now I get to outwardly express this change in front of my church family this coming Sunday!  My husband and I will be baptized this Sunday January 20, 2013 and I'm so, so honored, humbled and excited!
Please pray for us as we take this awesome step in our faith journey.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  Matthew 28 :: 19-20

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fab Friday

Every week as it gets closer and closer to Friday I anticipate the weekend that much more.  Being home with my family, bring Olivia to ballet class and of course church make Friday night - Sunday my favorite days of the week.  This week was a good one, so today I'm linking up with Laura from The Everyday Joys for Fab Friday.
This week I'm sharing these fab things -
~ I updated about my weight loss so far here - 4.6 lbs for week 1 felt great!  The amount of support and encouragement and love I received from bloggers, friends, family etc was amazing and really, really helped me keep going through a couple weak moments.  I can and will do this!  My husband found this iPhone background for me and it's keeping me motivated.
~ For years I've wanted a dslr camera and this week my husband did some research and bought one for me.  It will be here next week and I can not wait to try it out and learn how to use it.  I love taking pictures and my point and shoot has seen better days so it was time for an upgrade...and upgrade I did!  I've been pinning tips and tricks and directions so I have some reference guides.  Here she is!
~ I made an awesome lunch for today and I really can't wait to eat it.  Dark leafy green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, gorgonzola, roast beef and onions - delish and healthy!
I hope everyone has an awesome weekend...  Now go check out Laura's blog and link up for Fab Friday!
The Everyday Joys

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weigh In Wednesday

This morning I found two awesome bloggers who are hosting a "Weigh in Wednesday" link-up for other bloggers who are on a mission to lose weight, get fit, get healthy etc.  I'm excited because it will give me the chance to meet other bloggers who are on the same journey as me and I'll also be looking for tips that have aided in their success.  If you want to read the beginning of my story it's here and here.
Basically, every Wednesday we'll link up with Alex and Erin and share our weight loss, inches loss or exercise successes for the prior week.
Without further adieu, I'm super happy to report that 1 week in I've lost 4.6 lbs!!!
Seeing that I was capable of losing weight this week was really motivating for me.  I knew that it would be difficult on a daily basis to make good choices but I did it and I'm so happy!
So far I haven't started any specific exercise plan.  I've mainly been focused on eating right and once I get that established then I'll be including exercise.  Grocery shopping this week was so different than it has been recently.  I bought a lot of chicken, shrimp, fish, turkey, beans, veggies and fruit.  Before I'd buy more snacks than anything else and that's what I'd eat to get me through the day. 
My daily meals have looked something like this:
Breakfast - Kashi high protein cereal, 1% milk and a handful of blueberries with coffee
Snack - Banana and a 100 calorie pack of cocoa almonds
Lunch - Low sodium ham sandwich on a Flat Out wrap
Snack - Apple
Dinner - meat and veggies with a small carb, usually 1/2 a sweet potato
Snack - grapes or walnuts
I need to be drinking more water throughout the day.  I'm really never thirsty and don't drink much of anything but I know that drinking a ton of water will help me reduce hunger and lose weight so that's on my to-do list for this next week.
Now, I have a long way to go.  I'm probably not going to share my actually weight here (until I've lost a significant amount) but I do have some before pictures that were taken on 1/1/13.  It's funny because I'm embarrassed to post pictures of myself on my blog but everyone I come in contact with on a daily basis sees me so what's the big deal?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 Goals

This is the first year I've really put a lot of thought into the goals I'd like to achieve.  Maybe it has something to do with my upcoming birthday and turning the big 3 0 this year or maybe it's maturity or maybe is that I've realized that my life is so much more than just about me.  Maybe it's because I want to glorify God in all that I do.  Maybe it's because I now realize that I'm here on this earth for so much more of a purpose than I can even imagine for myself.
This year I've put together a list of goals I'm going to work hard to accomplish in 2013.  Some are definitely more important than others but all have meaning and will help me feel like I'm on my way to becoming the best me I can be. 
My Goals for 2013:
~ Lose weight and start on the road to a healthier Me - I've discussed this here and here.  I've made it through the first week of eating healthy and really focusing on this aspect of my life and I'd consider it a success so far.  I'll post an update soon.
~ Read 12 books - I really enjoy reading.  I tend to get lost in books and fall in love with the characters.  This is just a goal I've set for myself because I tend to let other things get in the way of my time with the Kindle!  I've already started the first book of the year and I have a couple others lined up.  Any suggestions?
~ Pray more and deepen my relationship with Jesus - 2012 was the year I found Jesus and started my relationship with Him.  I've always believed in God but this whole relationship with Him and living my life to glorify Him is new.  I want to explore it more, learn to trust Him more, pray more and live and love like Him more.  2013 is the year to jump into my new found faith and see what He has in store for me.
~ Participate in Secret Prayer Sisters - at my church our Sunday School group created secret prayer sisters.  You're given a name of another woman in our group and you pray for them, surprise them with little presents throughout the year and in turn they do the same for someone else.  It gives you a chance to give a receive prayer and thoughtful gifts.  Since I'm fairly new to the church I'm looking forward to this to help build relationships with some of the awesome woman that attend my church.
Go on at least 5 dates with my husband - like I mentioned before my husband and I don't go on too many dates.  We hadn't been out together alone in quite some time and I know that to ensure a strong marriage and be the best parents to Olivia we need to make sure that our relationship remains a priority.  Now that I have a reliable babysitter we're on the right path to ensure at least 5 dates during 2013!
~ Attend a worship concert - the music at church and listening to Christian music really helps me understand God and His goodness.  I love the fellowship that a worship concert seems to have and the idea of worshiping Jesus through song with other believers seems so special.
~ Be baptized! - I've also talked about this before and my hesitation when it comes to this part of my faith journey but I'm proud to say that I've resolved this within myself and will be baptized soon!
~ Begin paying down debt - because of irresponsible choices as a young adult my husband and I have a bit of debt we have acquired over the years.  Getting credit cards when you're young, single and don't have a family and other important responsibilities tends to make it difficult to keep up with all the payments when you have other more important bills.  We're currently on the right track and so far we've been blessed by God and have already been able to pay 17 accounts down to a ZERO BALANCE!  I can't even express the amount of joy I feel typing that sentence!  God truly knows the desires of my heart and has answered my prayers and made a path for us to achieve this goal.  The things we've paid include medical bills, credit card bills, money owed to my parents and taxes.  A huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders and starting out the year on the right financial foot feels awesome!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Monday Funny

This past Saturday, my husband and I hired a babysitter (for the first time in 18 months!) and went to dinner at a friend’s house. 

(Side note - my husband and I work opposite shifts so any time together that we have off from work we really like to have family time, hence no date night in such a long time, but we realize that spending time together as a couple is super important which is why we found a babysitter.)

After we left our dinner date we decided to take full advantage of having a babysitter who was going to sleep over and go do something else.... here's the problem.  We're sitting in our car in our friends driveway and our conversation goes like this.

Husband - "what do you want to do?"
Me - "I don’t know, what do you want to do?"
Husband - "not sure."
Me - "do you want to go to Target?"
Husband - "sure!"

So, off to Target we went.  It was 9:15 pm and the store was closing at 10 so we were basically pushed out the door at 9:55 and then the same conversation ensued again..... this time, we ended up at the 24 hour CVS.  Our purchases included eyeliner, a Dora book and coloring book, a couple Valentine's crafts for Olivia, a shirt for Olivia, blueberries and frozen shrimp.

Although it was pretty pathetic that we didn’t have any special place to go or do anything really exciting we had fun, held hands and talked, mostly about our girl, but she's our life.  At 29 years old, this is what our lives have become and we wouldn’t change it for the world!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My first steps

It's 1/2/2013 which means I'm officially on Day 2 of my fat to fit lifestyle change.

First let me start out by saying the support I received on Facebook, Instagram, via text from friends and family and on my blog here has been nothing short of amazing and super encouraging.  Sometimes when I'm at my lowest and feeling so bad about myself I tend to think that no one cares or understands what I'm dealing with or going through.  When writing my last blog post I was so nervous that I would be judged or ridiculed and neither happened.  I was lifted up in prayer by so many friends, I received such heartwarming comments and words of encouragement - even from strangers who happened to read my blog. 
So, THANK YOU, everyone for your support, encouragement, prayers and kind words.

I've made a few changes so far and I think they're going to help so I decided to share them with you.

~ I joined and started tracking everything I eat.  They have an app for smart phones so I have it handy at all times and you can even track your exercise and weight loss.  The neat thing is when you're entering what you've eaten mostly everything is already in their system so you just scroll through the choices and choose the one that matches what you need.

~ I kicked my Dunkin Donuts habit to the curb.  Every morning for longer than I can even remember I stopped at DD on my way into work and got a large iced coffee with extra milk and equal and a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. 
When I put those 2 things into it calculated 686 calories! 

686 calories for JUST breakfast, and the worst part is that it didn’t even satisfy me for long since it was all carbs.  Needless to say, no more Dunkin Donuts stops in the morning.  This morning I made coffee at home and had cheerios and a banana - my breakfast calorie count today is 330 calories.  Plus saved $5.00! 

~ I created a "Healthy for 2013" board on Pinterest and I've been finding and pinning easy and healthy recipes to make at home.   My plan is to find a recipe every day before leaving work that I'm going to make for dinner and if needed I'll stop at the grocery store on my way home.

~  I organized our cabinets at home and threw out all the junk. 

~ I took before pictures, weighed myself and took my measurements.  I know that I'll hit plateaus along this journey so keeping track of inches will help.  I did post my before pictures on Instagram - follow me - username Camarogirl819

Again, thank you for the encouragement.  I won’t be posting updates every day but this is my new life so I need to embrace it and may need to talk about it once in a while.  If you have any questions, suggestions or advice please feel free to ask or share.  I'll be happy to answer (almost) anything!

This scripture has really been on my heart lately and I pray that I exemplify it during my journey.  I'm scared that I'll fail but I can't live like that.  Every day is a fresh start and I'm going to take this one step at a time, one second, one minute, one hour at a time.  I can and will do this.