Checking In

*Tap tap tap*

Is this thing still on?

Hi there, remember me? Yes, it’s been a while since I posted. A long while. But life is good. Really good.

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The Mini Athlete will be FOUR next week – can you believe it? I’m looking forward to throwing a “non-Pinterest-worthy” party for him. I think I’m going to try to start a new trend.

Yes, hot dogs, watermelon and cookie cake at the park are still the right ingredients for a great birthday party…I hope.

Little Miss is full of spunk – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those two keep me on my toes, but we sure have a lot of fun!

Work has slowed down for the summer, our evenings are spent out playing baseball in the yard, and I find my husband and I yawning and being ready for bed before 10pm. Yes, we’re getting old too.

I’m learning that life doesn’t have to be busy to be good. And I, for one, am enjoying a little down time.

I’d like to start blogging regularly again, but I’m not making any promises. We’ll see how inspired I get. The world of blogging has changed so much since I started….there is so much more pressure to be poignant. Deep. “Pin” or “Tweet”-worthy. And sometimes I just want to hang out with some of my old blog friends, writing about something or nothing, and not really caring about how much traffic any particular post gets. Do people still blog like that? Do people still read blogs like that? I sure hope so.

We’ll see.

So…what’s new in your world?

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New Year, Fresh Start – What’s YOUR Thing?

I spent all of December saying, “I’ll get back on track in January.” Cliche, I know. But I really enjoyed all those Christmas cookies.

However, by the end of December? I was over it. Ready to get back to healthy.

But did I start back on January 1? No. Why? Because “real life” never happens for me on January 1. It’s a little futile to even try. We were having friends over to watch the FSU game (sigh….) so we enjoyed the day.

My fresh start for the new year began this Monday – my first day back at work. I set the alarm for 5:15am and set out a new workout DVD. My co-worker and many of my friends have raved about how much they love T25. It’s just 25 minutes/day for 5 days/week. So I tried it.

Umm…it’s not for me.

The reason why there are SO many different workouts out there? There are SO many different types of people!

My co-worker likes to go ALL out, jumping around, burning a crazy amount of calories and being absolutely BEAT at the end.

I used to be the same way. I’m not anymore.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great workout. For the right people. But for me? I found myself wishing the whole time I had just put one of my PiYo DVDs in. So the next day, that’s what I did.

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And it felt awesome.

So yes, I’m still on the PiYo bandwagon. Or back on it, I guess.

At this point in my life, I’m not working out with a primary focus of losing weight – although I did lose weight when I was doing it before. But my priorities are more about building strength, improving flexibility and focusing on my posture. PiYo does that for me. I feel somehow centered when I do it – when I do something with a lot of jumping around, I just feel like I’m flailing around a bit. I don’t like that feeling.

So tonight I’ll be setting my alarm for 5:15am again tomorrow and I’m somehow excited about it. Now if I could just get to bed earlier…:)

The point of this post? This year, focus on finding what works for YOU, not what works for anyone else. I’ve spent too many years trying to do workouts I felt like I “should” enjoy just because other people did. Not everyone enjoys running. Not everyone enjoys Zumba. Not everyone enjoys Cross Fit. If you do? Go for it. If you don’t? Find YOUR thing and go with it.

What is YOUR thing?  Have you discovered anything that definitely is NOT your thing? I’d love to hear some stories. :)

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Athlete Family! :)

Christmas2014I’m so thankful for the many of you who have checked in with me and have let me know that you’ve missed my blog. It’s nice to be missed! I apologize for my long absence. After our house flooded, it felt like life just got into a pace where blogging simply didn’t fit. I’m happy to report that we are back in our house! Our floors are done, but there is still much more work to be done. We’ll be getting a whole new kitchen and bathrooms in January. Part of me is looking forward to that – but part of me is not looking forward to my house being torn up again! But I know it will be worth it in the end.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just four days away. (Oh and we have to put the a/c on here tonight in Florida because it’s almost 80 degrees in our house right now.) It’s been a busy season, but a peaceful one in the midst of it all. We have done a lot of things, but none of it has felt overwhelming. And I’m so thankful for that.

We had a not-so-pleasant encounter with Santa…well, for Little Miss at least.

christmas2014santaClassic.

We’ve baked cookies…

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Including gingerbread men!

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We watched the Mini Athlete in his first Christmas program…

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And went looking at Christmas lights…this was the Mini Athlete’s favorite. :)

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We went to a live nativity, went to a tree lighting in the park, have watched every Christmas movie you can imagine…and it’s all been wonderful. :)

Christmas is so much fun with the little ones. It truly is magical! I can’t wait to see them singing by candlelight at the Christmas Eve service at our church, and then watch their faces light up on Christmas morning.

To be honest, when your family looks like mine, it can be really difficult watching the news right now. So many things going on that absolutely break my heart for so many reasons. It literally had me in tears last night. But then I am reminded of the HOPE that this season represents. “Joy to the world, the LORD is come!”

God became man in the midst of darkness – to become THE light that would overcome it forever. The darkness reminds us of our need for Him – of the light that He brings in a world that makes us long for heaven. As much as we long for peace on earth, peace is only found in Him. And so I set my heart at rest in Him, even when I don’t understand the world around me. Even when my heart breaks. In Him is peace. In Him is hope. In Him is JOY.

I hope that peace, hope and joy is yours this Christmas season! And may there be peace on earth…and let it begin with me.

 

 

 

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Life Lately…

Hi friends. Happy November!

It has been almost a full month since our house flooded. We’ve been living at my in-laws house for the past month. Oh I am SO thankful to have family close by! Perks of living with my in-laws? Papa makes breakfast every morning and Gigi makes dinner every night. Oh and there are sweet moments like this one…

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We’re getting spoiled.

It’s hard to believe that the pumpkin patch has come and gone…

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But I’m still looking forward to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and some pumpkin pie ice cream (if you live near a Publix, you gotta try it – trust me.)

We had a fun Halloween as Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Jake (the pirate) and Tinker Belle. Our costumes weren’t the best or most creative but we had a fun time.

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I hope I never forget the Mini Athlete bouncing around saying “Arrrghhh LADIES!” instead of “Arrgghhh Mateys!” I couldn’t bring myself to correct him.

Our house is slowly but surely being repaired. They started laying our wood floors last week and the carpet should go in at the end of this week.

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We still have to tear out and redo the kitchen and bathrooms, but we might move back in before all that happens. We’ll see….

I’m trying my best to stick to doing my PiYo workout plan, but it has been a challenge with all the craziness of life. The past week has been better than the two weeks before and I’m determined to get back where I was. There has definitely been some regression over the past month, but I’m ready to get back into it and see where I can get before the new year.

If you’ve thought about trying PiYo, now is a great time – my next Challenge Group starts November 10 and the Challenge Pack is currently on sale. Perfect timing! Email me at calliecowan at gmail.com if you want more info.

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is on its way and Christmas is right around the corner. I’m doing my best to focus on being thankful this month – it’s easy to focus on the inconveniences of life when there really is so much for which we should give thanks. So let me ask you…what is one thing YOU are thankful for today?

 

 

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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.

broken crayons

 

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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