Me First

Dear readers and friends, please prepare yourself for the most controversial thing I have ever published. Instructions that go against what we are generally taught to do. But stick with me, there is rationale behind this belief that, I promise, will come full-circle and not seem so stinking evil.

Primed? OK, here it goes.YouAreSuchARockStar

You are #1. Really.

Put yourself first and you will be so much better equipped to love, serve, and care for others.

I understand this goes against all conventional thinking and what we are guilted by society to believe. It can be a message that falls somewhere between a hard pill to swallow and a total mind-blower.

Putting yourself first does not mean that you neglect those around you. It does not mean that you no longer treat others as you would like to be treated. It is not even selfish, not when you take in the bigger picture.

You are going to have a hard time playing with your young kids or grandkids outside if you do not first take care of your own physical health, exercising and staying active. Getting winded kicking the soccer ball around or while tromping around the neighborhood park is not because you are older or because you have already had a long day. You are getting winded and tired playing with the kids because you have not put your own needs for good physical stamina at the forefront.

Going to work and doing your job day-in and day-out may get to feeling tedious and like you are on a constant cycle of being overworked and underpaid if you do not first feed yourself and feel satisfied before you ever hit the office door in the mornings. Spending some high-quality YOU TIME before it is time to start the jam-packed schedule will do wonders for your well-being. Taking time to meditate, study or read, sit and enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee or tea, and maybe even watch the sun rise will, in turn, energize you for the day ahead. You will get more accomplished once you get going and you will feel better about what you are accomplishing, too!

When you make sure that YOU are healthy and happy, you can care for and serve those you love better than ever before! By putting your needs first, you eliminate the bitterness and resentment that comes with the busyness of parenthood, spousehood, employeehood, serving on every board and committee and still trying so hard to fit in time to take a shower in peace.

Place yourself, your health and your mental well-being at the top of your to-do list and watch how fulfilled and ready to pour your improved energy and enthusiasm on those you love most! You will serve others better by first taking the best care of yourself!

Go get ’em, ROCK STAR!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Divorce Does Not Define You

When relationships break, it hurts and everyone feels the aftershocks. When marriages break, it goes a step further, it lingers, it follows you, and it’s a hurt that is often a lot harder to shake.

Divorce.

From that point forward, you’re “divorced,” “previously married,” you’re an “ex.” Now, you have a new box to check on most paperwork. You aren’t single or married, you are divorced.

However, before you allow yourself to believe that you are somewhat less-than because your marriage failed, I encourage you to disallow that label to define who you are from this point forward. I have some things for you to consider.

On average, adults are involved in eight to 12 serious relationships before they decide to marry. This means that 100% of those relationships failed for one reason or another. Those relationships ended for good reasons, but they ended just the same, yet those failed love relationships do not determine how the world gets to see you.

Consider, also, how many “best friends” you’ve had to this point. Maybe five in grade school, alone. Another two or three as you got older, changed, and matured (or didn’t) through your young adult and college years. In adulthood, friendships are more based on co-existing working relationships and acquaintances, but there are those tighter friendships that do form in adulthood. Some of these besties remain so for your lifetime, some besties are only that for a phase. Relationships are transitory. Some unravel at the seams, as something terrible happens or a rift occurs, while others just fade quietly into the distance as the two just…seem…to…grow…apart.

On average, most college students change their majors four times over the course of their studies, and yet, once they graduate or leave Academia most to not enter one career and stick it out until retirement. In fact, the average American undergoes major job or career changes an average of seven to 11 times in their working lives. We change careers because when we are no longer content with one aspect or another of our current career path and we see these changes as great opportunities, rather than great failures.

Half of all marriages end in divorce. Fifty percent. That sounds like a lot. That sounds like a bad thing, but relationships run their course every day, and that does not lessen the positive things that came out of the relationship. Children. Support through difficult times. Encouragement. Love. Laughter and happy tears.

In America, we seldom marry out of obligation, we marry because that’s what our soul is telling us we deeply desire to do in that phase of our life. That same voice may later tell us that it is time to move on, to divorce, to go it alone for a while. Being true to yourself and living a life that speaks to your truest nature is not a failure, it’s the greatest win you can create!

My friends, I’m not anti-marriage, but I am pro-fulfilling life. There are people who have the tenacity and the good fortune to marry someone that they are truly compatible with throughout their long lives together. This doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and roses in their home, but it means they learn to bend and flex together. Not every love relationship can or is willing to do this, and when divorce happens this message is there to help you keep your head up so you can clearly see the next great opportunity life has to offer!

Until next time…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

DIVORCE ENCOURAGEMENT, Part 1

DIVORCE ENCOURAGEMENT, Part 2

Just as a reminder, I’d love to connect with you all over the interweb. I love to share encouragement and fun all over the place, so come on along for the ride…and don’t forget to throw your hands in the air and scream with joy at the roller coaster of life!

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BOOK REVIEW: Food52 Vegan

Click to know more & purchase

Click to know more & purchase

I am so excited to share with y’all this AWESOME vegan recipe book, Food52 Vegan, an absolutely beautiful book which begs you to turn the pages, admire the stunning food photography, and dive into every recipe with fork in hand. Those of you who have already embraced the vegan lifestyle may already know the author, Gena Hamshaw, from her personal blog, The Full Helping, which is chock-full of nourishing recipes, tips and tricks of the vegan trade!

Rather than focusing on creating vegan dupes of nonvegan dishes, Gena has brought together a collection of recipes that stand on their own, and…oh…they happen to also be vegan. I love that she focuses on creating wonderfully delicious, plant-based dishes without getting hung-up on what’s missing (i.e. animal products).

So many things appeal to me about this particular recipe book. Although I am not exclusively a vegan eater, it is important to me that I feed myself and my family food-fuel from seasonal, nourishing, real foods. Gena’s book speaks to that desire to steer clear of overly-processed, far-from-actual-food foods. As she states in her introduction, “At its heart, vegan food is just food.”

The recipes Gena so eloquently shares with her readers in Food52 Vegan feed our bodies in ways that “fast food” just cannot accomplish.

Because of the abundance of information Gena includes in Food52 Vegan, it reminds me of an abbreviated, less pretentious version of the classic The Joy of Cooking. Gena takes the initiative to teach about the ingredients, rather than merely listing them. When I open up a recipe, I also learn something new, learning options on ways to tweak the recipe to fit my own family’s particular tastes or health needs, which–in turn–gives me a deeper appreciation for the ingredients and the process of gathering, preparing, and presenting this nourishing food to my family.

Food52 Vegan is like a gift to the reader, and I recommend it to any cook willing to move beyond meat and potatoes, and taste how real food can truly make you feel!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

There are so many great ways to get this book AND find out more about Gena and Food52. Check out these resources and keep the high-quality food-fuel going!

FTC: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Get On Your Bike and Ride!!!

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Wishing I were on my bicycle RIGHT NOW!

As you can tell from every social media outlet I’m associated with, this weekend is one of cycling obsession for me! So, what better focus for me to have Day 4 of my 1000 Days Younger Challenge to be ALL about cycling!

#GETTINGYOUNGEREVERYDAY: DAY 4
Get off of your butt and ride!!!

Make it a great day,
Marilyn

SUPER LAUNCH! #GettingYoungerEveryDay

Today is a GREAT day in my little corner of the universe as I launch #gettingyoungereveryday!!! 1,000 posts between today and my 40th birthday ALL focused on living life with more youthful enthusiasm, better health, and more overall spring in your step!!! I’m going to be sharing this fun mission across ALL of my social media platforms, so I hope you’ll come along for the ride and get younger right along with ME!

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Click to view on my MarilynHortonDotCom YouTube channel!

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

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And…on my personal website: MarilynHorton.com

Happy & Healthy

Charlottes Spring Performance 020 croppedWhen our kiddos have performances, I tend to go through the range of emotions from “oh, yay, that sounds adorable,” to “you’ve gotta practice, you’ve gotta pick out your outfit, you’ve gotta do this and that to be ready,” to “how in the world am I going to ever fit this into my schedule,” to “OH MY GOSH…that was completely adorable and MY KID ROCKED!” to “how quickly can I get out of this school and onto the next critical thing on my daily to-do list?”

It’s no wonder we’re not sleeping, struggling to stay healthy, and fighting to keep our marriages and our families protected, happy and healthy. We have so much inner turmoil every day to the point we (I should say “I” and quit speaking for you) struggle to be in one place at a time, focused completely on that one thing or person or event or need.

Today, as I look through the pictures of Charlotte and her class, all smiles and joy and visions of great health and happiness, I realize that even with all of the apparent struggles of juggling life and kids and significant others and parents and friends and jobs, jobs, jobs, and organizations, and on and on and on…I believe we are all doing a pretty great job! Moments like this are validation that all of our hard work and stresses are well worth the effort!

Hang in there! Vent when you need to, and keep taking care of everything you have on your plate each and every day. Days like this make it alllll worth it 🙂

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Week one, day two

6am: Up but not feeling very well rested. I got 7 hours of sleep, but in the last few weeks I’ve not been getting enough sleep consistently, and I believe this morning the cumulative effect has taken hold.

Weight: 120.0

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1/2 c Grape Nuts, 1/4 c Craisins, 1/2 c whole milk = hearty yumminess this morning!

This morning’s breakfast is high in fiber, protein, and iron, which is awesome because my system is still feeling a little “clogged” from yesterday’s Red Robin Royal Cheeseburger. This breakfast ought to do the trick and get my body running on all cylinders, again!

8am: Kids are out the door for school and I’m ready to hit the gym! It’s chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs day. Let’s do this!!!
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Workout: 10 min cardio warm-up on elliptical machine, 22 min weight training (keeping the body moving, super setting exercises to allow some muscles to rest while others work and have the most efficient session possible!), followed up by 7 min of relaxing yoga to reset and stretch. Ahhhh…note I’ve got that awesome post workout head fog that comes after a truly great workout! Time to refuel!

930am: Clean, post workout meal. Lentils, a poached egg, and mixed veggies. Yummmmm!
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After this, it’s off to another day at the office…errr…coffee shop :-*

7pm: Tonight’s dinner after loads of green tea was a scrumptious bean and long grain rice casserole. Yummm-o!

10pm: With all of the normal family dealings and chores checked off for another day, it’s time to think “ME”…I’m off to my bedtime routine and a great night’s rest!

Rest well, y’all!
Marilyn

How Much Can Your Body Change in Just One Week?

So, how much do YOU think your body can change in just one week? We certainly know how much fat and fluff we can gain so easily over a holiday week or the battle of the bulge we fight from about Halloween through Valentine’s day each year, but how much positive change can you see in a short time frame?

How much fat can you lose?

How much tighter and stronger can your feel?

How much more energetic can you be?

How much healthier can you become in just one week?

That’s the goal here! To make BIG changes in one week, so that we can focus on short term goals in order to see REALLY BIG changes over the course of weeks and months. Rather than biting off a 6 week or even 6 month health and fitness goal, our goal is to focus on short term bursts. Focus on today, focus on this week; then, at the end of this week, then you’ll start thinking about the next week. Our goal is for these goals to be attainable, less overwhelming, and still big enough to see and feel the difference in your body and in your health every week!

This week-long challenge will be three things in order to make the biggest changes without taking big chunks out of your day like some diet and exercise plans can do. Here’s what we’re looking at:

1) This will not be overly time consuming

2) It will not be overly expensive

3) It will be measurable

RULE ONE: THIS WILL NOT BE OVERLY TIME CONSUMING. Food prep and exercise for this program will be necessary, but it will not consume your days. I will exercise no more than one hour a day on the days that I do train (4-5 days a week), and there will be days when I split my exercise times into shorter intervals over the course of the day. Some days I may hit the gym and train for almost an hour, then there will be other days when I work out 20 minutes in the morning and another 30 minutes that afternoon. We are such a busy culture of people, whether you are a mom or a student or any other mere mortal, our schedules stay jam packed with to-do’s and obligations, so this will not take away from your normal life, it will only add spark and energy to the rest of your days!

RULE TWO: IT WILL NOT BE OVERLY EXPENSIVE. You do not have to buy into some fancy gym membership or blow your grocery budget on the most expensive kinds of foods every week in order to lose weight, burn fat, gain muscle, and live a healthier lifestyle. It actually angers me how much society feeds us this garbage on how expensive it is to eat healthfully…thinking we just might as well go ahead and eat all of our meals through a fast food window. Eating clean can be inexpensive and easy; getting exercise doesn’t have to cost a thing more than wearing comfortable shoes if that’s all you can afford right now. Being healthy does not need to put a strain on your bank account!

RULE THREE: IT WILL BE MEASUREABLE. Be my friend on Endomondo (my favorite GPS tracking exercise log), and MyFitnessPal (an awesome nutrition tracker that gets the whole nutritional picture without only counting calories or fat, plus it synchs with Endomondo so also count my calorie burn!).

Also, watch HERE on MarilynHorton.com for daily reports, measurements, weights, pictures, workouts, etc. I’ll post it all here for one-stop-shopping!

So, WHO’S WITH ME??? Join me and together let’s see how much your body can change in just one week!

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn