When Your House Floods…

I woke up at 5am on Tuesday morning almost two weeks ago to the sound of my husband yelling. I jumped out of bed, ran out of our room and realized immediately what was wrong.

My feet started sloshing through water. Lots of water.

My husband ran out the front door to turn the water off. I ran into the garage and grabbed the shop vac. We started desperately trying to clean the water up, to save our beautiful wood floors.

Every time we thought we found the end of the water, we would walk in another room and find more. It went under the walls, under the cabinets and into almost every room of our house.

We called my parents at 6am and asked them to come over with their shop vac. They showed up about a half hour later and found us still feverishly working to get the water cleaned up. The kids woke up not long after, and the poor things were so confused about why we had water everywhere. “Everything is WET!” my little guy said. Thankfully, most of our bedroom had been spared so we set them up in our bed while they watched cartoons. My mom got them ready and took them to school while the rest of us worked.

The whole time we were working, I had it in my head that we would be able to save our floors. I love our wood floors. They are in perfect condition. They are one of the reasons we bought our house two years ago. Once we got all the water up off the floor, we set fans all over our house, and even had a few dehumidifiers we borrowed. I remained optimistic.

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We called our insurance agent as soon as we could – his phone was ringing even before 9am. He connected us to a local disaster recovery team and they told us they were going to try to get to our house as soon as possible. At this point, we weren’t sure what to do next. We had cleaned up everything we could, we had cranked down low, had fans blowing on high and just…waited.

I took a few moments to assess the situation and reflect a bit. I had no idea how things would turn out, but I knew I could still be thankful in the midst of it. How?

I realized pretty quickly that as rough as my day felt, there were many people out there whose rough day that same morning made mine look so trivial in comparison. I found myself thankful that it is just “stuff” – it can all be replaced. We are healthy. We are safe. We are together. We have much to be thankful for.

When the disaster recovery team arrived, they informed me that things were much worse than I had originally thought. All the floors had to be removed. All of the baseboards were torn out. The carpet in every room would have to be replaced. Our kitchen and bathroom cabinets were going to need replaced too.

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A very ordinary Tuesday turned into a very serious home renovation.

And so we’re in the process o putting our lives back together. In the meantime, we are living with my in-laws, picking out paint colors, choosing new cabinets, and trying to figure out how to stretch the insurance money we are getting as far as we can by doing some of it ourselves. No, this is not a home renovation/DIY blog (not by a LONG sho) but I’d love to keep you involved as things progress. At the very least, I’ll try to check in periodically to keep you updated as things move forward.

Amazing how quickly life can change, isn’t it?

Have you ever experienced an unexpected home renovation due to a house flood or similar event?

 

 

 

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Hello Fall!

Well, it finally feels a little bit like fall here in Florida! That basically means it dropped below 80 degrees today and that couldn’t make me happier. I have had an acorn squash and a butternut squash in my house all week, but I couldn’t bring myself to cook them in the balmy Florida humidity. I decided today is the day! As soon as I got home from church, I started roasting. Speaking of church, look at these little church-going cuties!

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I work most Sundays during this time of year so it’s on my husband to get the kids ready and off to church with him. I’m so thankful he makes that a priority. I’m also so thankful for how well he dresses our kids. I about died when I saw their little sweaters and jeans when I got home today. So cute!

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I started roasting the squash I had on hand (I used this recipe for the acorn squash) and just sorta winged it for the butternut squash, adding cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Unpictured is a bunch of cubed butternut squash that I’m saving for another day, but that tasted WAY more delicious than roasting it this way. Lesson learned. The acorn squash though? Fantastic.

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I had my first pumpkin beer yesterday, and I’ve been putting off anything else fall-themed out of protest for the weather. But maybe we’ve finally turned a corner? Or maybe it’s time to hurry up and enjoy everything fall-related before the temperatures rise again later this week. :)

What is the weather like where you are? What is your favorite fall-themed food?

 

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What PiYo Has Done For Me: Updated Progress Photos

About six weeks ago, I started the PiYo DVDs at home along with my first Challenge Group. That group helped me stay accountable, I started drinking Shakeology every day, and I completed my PiYo workouts six days/week.

I added more people for a second Challenge Group two weeks ago. Once again, they’re keeping me accountable (and pushing me – some of the people in my group are overachievers!)

Honestly? I can’t remember the last time I stuck to a workout/nutrition plan this well. And it’s paying off. This summer, I felt “fluffy”. My clothes were tight. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.

Now I do. I’m down about five pounds and am at a “happy weight”, I’ve lost an inch in my waist and hips and almost two inches in each thigh, and I’ve gone down about two dress sizes.

I feel strong – I can even do a full tricep pushup! More than one!

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Here are some updated progress photos…I’m proud of these changes. I worked hard for them. :)

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(Sorry about the text over the photos, but nothing drives me crazier than when people steal progress photos.) 

If you’re feeling like I did this summer, I’d love for you to join my next Challenge Group that starts October 13. I’m going to try to limit the number of people in the group this time because I want you to feel the accountability and get the progress you want to see.

Please know that I’m not trying to “sell” you on something. I’m really not. You might already have something that’s working for you – and that’s awesome. But if you don’t, if you’re ready to make a change, email me at calliecowan (at) gmail.com and let’s get you started on this journey. I know it might feel like a leap of faith. It did for me. But looking back, I’m so glad I stepped out. My hope is that at the end of these 30 days, you’ll be glad you took this step too.

When is the last time you stepped out and tried something different on your fitness journey? 

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Run While You Can

We had our second Moms Run This Town group run on Saturday and I loved seeing some new faces out there.

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See that lady on the top right? She’s a PE school teacher and is about to be a grandmother. She also is one of the most dedicated athletes I know. She recently completed her first 70.3 triathlon..crazy huh?

How about this? My former pastor just completed his 10th Ironman in 6 years this past weekend in Chattanooga. He finished in 12 hours, 20 minutes and then hung out with his six grandkids. That’s quite a day.

The inspiring stories go on and on.

I have no idea if I’ll still be running when I have grandchildren. But here’s what I do know – I can run today.

There will come a day I won’t be able to anymore. But that day is not today.

So even when I don’t feel like it? I’ll run. I’ll workout. I’ll appreciate this body that I have. Is it perfect? Nope. It is as naturally as athletic as I’d like it to be? Not at all.

But it’s healthy. And it’s the only one I’ll ever get.

Will I run as often as I’d like? No. A full-time job and a young family takes priority. And that’s okay.

To my single, childless friends – run while you can. Enjoy every moment.

To the frazzled mom who needs some time to herself? Run when you can. And enjoy each step.

To the soon-to-be empty nester who isn’t sure what’s next? Run. Set a goal. Accomplish it.

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Bottom line? Run while you can.

Someday, you’ll look back and be so glad you did.

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Getting Fired: A Blessing in Disguise

Sometimes the trajectory of our life looks nothing like what we had once envisioned. And sometimes? That is the biggest blessing in the world.

I graduated law school in 2008, ready to take on the world. I had a lot of success in law school – competing on the trial team and moot court, and was even one of the lucky few who graduated with a job already in place.

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I worked at a family law firm during law school and they offered me an associate position before I even graduated. I started working full-time as a clerk as soon as I took the bar exam, and earned that “associate” title when I found out I passed the bar. I came out making a great salary, and my the firm even hired my boyfriend (now husband) as their marketing director.

Seems pretty perfect, right?

Not even close.

The firm environment turned toxic quickly. The turnover rate became unbelievable, especially for a small firm. No one knew day to day if their job was secure. My boyfriend (now husband) got laid off. The rest of us struggled on, trying to make our billable hour requirements, never knowing when the hammer would drop. The life of a divorce attorney isn’t a pleasant one either. I desperately wanted to help people put their lives back together, but I felt so limited. Limited by what the law allowed, limited by what they could afford to pay me…I just felt like I was doing nothing good with my life. Couple that with getting engaged while working on divorces every day. I felt like I knew the “escape route” too well. I didn’t want divorce to feel “normal” – but yet, there it was, in my face every single day. Not exactly a fun way to walk into a marriage, surrounded by marriages that are falling apart. It became apparent that my values didn’t line up with the values of the firm, and everyone seemed to walk around on egg shells. I dreaded going to work every day.

And then…my number came up. Once the golden child who was promised the world, I found myself carrying a cardboard box out of the place where my dream of being a lawyer became a reality.

It hurt.

But yet, when I walked out that day, I felt a sense of relief. I had NO idea what I would do next. I had no job prospects and not a lot of work experience under my belt. But I knew I didn’t want to be there anymore. At least I didn’t have to go somewhere I hated being every day.

I had no idea what my future held, but I knew Who held my future.

As I look back over the past 5 years, I am amazed at the path God set before me. When I got home from work that day, I emailed a close friend and administrator at the law school. He invited me to come work with him until I found a permanent law job somewhere else. I started at the law school, and it didn’t take long for me to ask if this temporary position could become a permanent one. It did and I spent the next few years working with law students and I loved it. I told my boss at one point that only the perfect job would take me away from that place. Then…it came along. I left that job on great terms and moved back to my hometown to lead a non-profit organization and I’ve been there the past two and a half years and I love what I do.

That law firm job feels like a hundred years ago. Another lifetime.

Or it did…until last night.

I received an email from a former co-worker, the one who helped me pack up my cardboard box of belongings on the day I got fired.  I haven’t talked to him since that day. He told me in his email that he has been working at that firm for the past 5+ years, and has seen the high turnover continue – over 32 associates/paralegals in those 5 years. And then yesterday…his number came up. He and his paralegal were fired without warning, about 10 minutes before he was supposed to leave for vacation. My heart broke for him. What had become a distant memory for me had been his reality for the past five years. While I moved forward with my life, getting married, having children, working in jobs I loved – he had stayed in that nightmare. Maybe it didn’t always feel like a nightmare to him, maybe he enjoyed being there. Until yesterday when it all fell apart.

Hearing from him brought back so many memories, but mostly it made me SO thankful. I can’t imagine what my life would look like if I had spent the past five years in that place. Looking back, getting fired is the best thing that ever happened to me on my career path. Go figure.

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As I reflect on all this, I am reminded me that we can trust God even when we don’t understand what He is doing. I had no idea what the future held for me that day as I carried my cardboard box out of my office. And yet, I am so thankful for how He has led and guided my life in directions I would not have predicted. If you’re walking through a season of uncertainty, keep your eyes on Him and remember that He is FOR you, not against you! He has a plan, He is good, and He can be trusted. The path doesn’t always look the way we thought it should. That’s okay. In fact, sometimes that is a good thing. 

Has your life ever taken an unexpected turn that you later realized was a blessing?

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Broken Crayons Still Color

I saw this on Pinterest today and it just jumped off the screen at me.

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I don’t know about you, but I am often my worst critic. I’m the first to disqualify myself, to notice the ways I fall short on a daily basis.

I’m not perfect. I never will be.

But I love this sentiment – broken crayons still color.

It’s so easy to think that we don’t measure up. That we’re not good enough. That we’re too broken. That we’ve made too many mistakes.

It’s not true.

Each of us has something to offer this world. There is a bit of humanity we are meant to “color”. To encourage. To serve.

I believe there is a purpose for each person, and that purpose doesn’t disappear because we discover a chink in our own armor. Maybe that broken piece, maybe that cracked cistern, is just what this world needs.

I don’t know about you, but I relate a lot more to people who admit their failures than people who pretend to be perfect. The world needs us to be real. To keep coloring even when we’re broken.

So find a broken person today. Remind them that they have something to offer the world. And if that broken person is you? Keep coloring. The world needs you.

And together, we’ll make a masterpiece.

 

 

 

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First “Moms Run This Town” Group Run

Have you ever heard of the group “Moms RUN This Town”? They are free running group for women and have chapters all over the country.

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We don’t have a moms running group here in my town so I decided to start a MRTT Chapter here. If your town doesn’t have one, it’s really easy to do! Maybe YOU should be the one who starts one? :)

I set up a Facebook Group and in less than a week, it had 40 members. I scheduled our first run for this past Saturday, but unfortunately several women said they couldn’t make it. Even worse? It rained the ENTIRE day before the run and I woke up at 4:30am that morning and heard it pouring down rain.

I started thinking…why am I doing this? Was this a dumb idea? I got on Facebook (at 4:30am) and wrote a message that we were cancelling the run. But then as I lay in bed and tried to go back to sleep, I heard the rain stop. My husband woke up because of my tossing and turning and I told him my dilemma. Should I cancel the run? Should we meet anyway? He simply responded, “Just run.” and rolled back over and went to sleep. Gotta love how simple guys are. :)

I got out of bed and cancelled the FB post. And went back to bed for a little while – we were scheduled to meet at 6:30am. I woke up and headed downtown – thankfully the rain had stopped! For the moment at least. I had no idea if anyone would be joining me. But as I stood out there, women started showing up.

There ended up being five us who ran on Saturday, and I am SO glad I didn’t cancel the run.

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Such an awesome group of moms! We all just ran (or walked) our own pace for the 5k route. Not bad with views like this one the way!

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The rain held off for most of our run, but we did get a few sprinkles on the way back. The air felt cool (for Florida) but the sprinkles of rain still felt great.

I had one of my best runs in a LONG time – I ran all three miles without walking! That’s huge for me!

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I’m pretty happy with that 11:10min/mile average pace. Obviously, I’d love to get faster, but I’m happy with that as a starting point. I’m going to have to start mapping out my half marathon training plan soon, so stay tuned for that. For now? I’m really looking forward to growing this MRTT group over the next few weeks!

Do you run with a group? If so, I’d love to hear about it and what made you decide to join it! 

 

 

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Inspiring Others

The whole reason I started writing this blog in the first place?

To inspire other “wannabe athletes” to accomplish things they had only dreamed of doing.

It has been awesome to get to know readers over the years and to hear about all of your accomplishments. But over time, I got distracted from that goal…and only recently do I feel like I have put the “wannabe athlete” title back in this life of mine.

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You might remember that I moved back to my hometown about two and a half years ago. I was pregnant with Little Miss and stepped into a job that consumed much of my time and attention. The whole “athlete” thing definitely fell by the wayside.

Lately ? I’ve gotten it back. I’m doing PiYo 6 days a week. I’m leading Challenge Groups and helping to motivate other people to get in shape (or get in better shape). And I took the plunge this week and did something I have wanted to do for a while – I took the steps to create a “Moms RUN This Town” running group here in my hometown. Our first run will be this Saturday and I’m excited (although admittedly a little nervous) about how it will turn out.

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But it’s so funny when local people say things to me like, “You’re really into this fitness thing now, huh?”. They think it’s something totally new.

What they don’t realize is that this is the OLD me – before life got busy with my job and my family. This is the real me. Not someone who is a natural athlete…but someone who is a dedicated “wannabe” who wants to inspire other people right along with her.

It feels good to be back. :)

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Orangetheory with The JoyFM!

Have you heard of Orangetheory Fitness?

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They opened their first location three years ago and it’s been booming across the country ever since. I have a lot of friends who have done Orangetheory, but I’ve never tried it.

Thanks to our local Christian radio station (The JoyFM – you can hear them throughout Florida, Georgia and online!) and my friend Carmen (a DJ on the Morning Cruise), I had a chance to try it today. And whew, I had a blast!

Where’s Waldo? I mean…where’s Callie? :)

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Carmen has been talking about Orangetheory forever so I jumped at the chance to do it with her. This girl makes me LAUGH!

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If you’ve never been to Orangetheory, here’s basically how it works. Everything is focused around your heart rate. You wear a heart monitor the whole time and track your heart rate level on a giant screen in the room. There are three zones: green, orange and red.

We started on the treadmills and Abdul (one of our coaches) told us to get to our “Base” – which is in the green zone. After a while, he told us to increase the speed (or incline) into the orange zone, and then we would sprint to get our heart rate into the red zone. We were on the treadmills for 26 minutes and I felt GREAT. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt strong. The music was pumping. The energy was electric.

After our time on the treadmill, we switched over to the rowing machine and alternated between that and the weight room. We did things like sumo squats with dumbells, dead lifts, jumping jacks, upright rows, etc.

I am happy to report that I felt FANTASTIC the entire time. I really think PiYo might have me in the best shape of my life! I felt unstoppable and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. These two coaches made the class FLY by – they were so encouraging and fun! Oh and by the way – they both used to be professional athletes They know something about working out!

 

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When the class finished, my report showed that I had burned 580 calories in less than an hour. Talk about an effective workout! (I’m in the middle on the top in case you’re curious.)

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I can totally see how people get hooked on Orangetheory. We don’t have one locally (I drove up to the one in New Tampa for the workout) but I sure had fun visiting! I also loved feeling the confirmation that doing PiYo is reaping huge rewards. There’s nothing like feeling strong and fit throughout a tough workout.

Many thanks to the JoyFM and Orangetheory New Tampa for such a fun opportunity!

Any JoyFM listeners out there? Have you tried Orangetheory? 

 

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Transformation Tuesday: PiYo Challenge Results

Can you believe a month has passed since I started the “Back to School PiYo Challenge”? I can’t! The time totally flew by.

Every day during the month, a group of us women who are doing the Challenge have been checking in with each other in a private Facebook group, encouraging each other to complete the PiYo workout of the day and to eat a little healthier than we did the day before.

How do I feel at the end of the Challenge? Stronger. Leaner. And yes, thinner.

Overall? I’m down about 3 pounds, down 1 inch in each thigh, down 1 inch across my hips, and almost an inch in my waist. It is WAY outside my comfort zone to show my belly on my blog, but I’m seeing big changes there. I have obliques! Never thought I would be able to say that. :)

I also took an updated photo of my backside since I started doing PiYo about a month and a half ago – BIG changes there!

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I wish I could quantify the difference I’m feeling though. I feel like I have core strength for the first time since having my second child. I have better posture. My clothes fit better. I just feel…healthier. Shakeology has become part of my daily routine, and the PiYo workouts are such a good fit for me, my schedule, and what my body needs to change shape.

But I’m not done yet. :)

Real talk? I noticed I’ve been slacking a little bit here at the end of the 30 Day Challenge. I traveled to a conference and while I “did” my workouts in my hotel room, the intensity just wasn’t there. I was going through the motions – and tapping out early if the moves were too tough.

I’m taking this week off and then I’ll be jumping back in full force with a September PiYo Challenge that is starting on Monday. My goals for this next month are to be able to do a full tricep pushup – yes, I can do regular full ones now!

FullPushupI’d also like to continue to tone my body, and would really love to lose about another inch across my hips. I haven’t pulled out my winter pants in a while and I really want them to fit (or be too big) when the time comes. :)

What about you? Where do you want to be a month from now? If you’re interested in joining this PiYo Challenge, email me ASAP at calliecowan (at) gmail.com so we can get you all set up in time to start with us on Monday. There are 14 new people joining this Challenge and I’d love for you to be part of the group!

But maybe you already have goals for this month. Maybe you’re training for a race. Maybe you are starting CrossFit. Maybe you are getting into a routine of going for a walk every evening. Tell me what your plan is for the next month – I’d love to hear about it!

Where will you be one month from now? How are you going to get there? 

 

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