At the core, I want to be strong.

Happy New Year!

I snuggled up on the couch for the evening and watched a few movies with Dustin instead of going out this year. For the last week or so, I’ve been goal planning. I completed Lara Casey’s 2018 Goal Setting Series (click the link and it’s listed as #1) and created a list of goals for the upcoming year. If you haven’t seen or heard about it, go check it out. I love her method of intentional goal setting. Small goals are just as important. I took a day for each part last week (there’s five) to really focus on my goals and why I was choosing them for 2018. I’ll list them below along with some tools I’m using to help accomplish them!

I encourage you to take your time if you’re going to go through the series. Even if you don’t know your goals until the 5th of January, or even the 15th, they aren’t any less important than if you had them picked out three weeks ago. Your goals matter. What you want in life matters. You are so worth it!

It’s been a little over three years since my divorce and although we’re still going through some things, I’m ready to focus on me. For too long I’ve been in limbo, not knowing what to do with my life, where I want to be, who I want to be, what I want to do. The direction I thought I was going in and who I thought I was, was ripped out from under me. Barely getting by, I’ve been going through the motions. Going to work, coming home, wishing for Fridays. For three years, I’ve done more worrying by myself than I have spent taking my troubles to God.

It’s taken some serious soul searching to narrow down what goals I want to set for myself this year. At the core, I want to be strong. I want to get stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I want to look back on 2018 and see that I accomplished much more than I ever thought possible, but in smaller ways. I don’t want or need large, perfect goals to accomplish becoming stronger. Part Four was my favorite of the goal setting series because of the questions she asks you to ask yourself regarding the goals you’re setting. A couple being, “Does this goal help other people?” and “Does this goal help draw me and others closer to God?”. I’ll list my goals for the year below. I have a few posts planned to dig deeper into each goal and why I chose it for 2018 using Lara’s questions.

My main focus for 2018? What do I want the year to center around? Myself and God. Separately and together.

My Goals for 2018:

  • Build a (simple/flexible) daily routine.
  • Make time for God.
  • Complete an Ashley Horner training program/challenge.
  • Drink more water.
  • Blog every Sunday and Wednesday.
  • Read more books.
  • Sunday resets/prep for the week ahead.
  • Listen to more Christian music (aside from workouts).

With goal setting, I also chose a few tools I knew would help me along the way.

Tools I’m Using:

  • Lara Casey’s Powersheets: I used the six month undated version last year, but not nearly as much as I should have or hoped to. I purchased a yearly version along with the accessories bundle (I believe the bundle I purchased includes both of her books!) right before they sold out! The six month versions are still in stock!
  • Ashley Horner’s Becoming Extraordinary: I LOVE the gym. I know what weight lifting exercises I like and I LOVE to run. I wanted an extra push this year and something that I could start and finish. Dustin surprised me with the Becoming Extraordinary training program for Christmas. I’m nervous but SO excited!
  • Water Intake Tracker: Daily Water Reminder, Plant Nanny, and Water Minder are great apps to track water consumption. My Powersheets should arrive tomorrow and I think she has a water tracker there, so I may use that.
  • Evernote: I use this app to plan blog posts and keep things on my mind in one spot. It’s where I hope to one day build an weekly letter to readers.
  • Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner: only one design left for 2018! This planner is THE BEST. I used it last year and I fell in love with it because of the design. After using it regularly, I LOVE the Sunday resets. Meal prep and clean house for the win!
  • Inspirations: I use this app in the morning to be with God. There’s a verse for the day along with a journal entry where you’re asked a question. There’s also a daily devotion with another journal entry for the day.
  • Spotify: I’ve been a user for four or five years now. I love the ability to search artists, playlists, build my own playlist, or search an artist and play their “radio” (finds similar artists, like Pandora).

What are your goals for 2018? Don’t have any? That’s okay! What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?

Love and light,

Selecting Our Meal Plan

Simple. Easy. Affordable.

That’s what we want our meal plan to look like.

ME 1

Dustin and I sat down on the couch Monday night and created our meal plan. Mind you, it’s nothing special. We aren’t a couple of geniuses.

The challenge is 30 days (with a few extra days tacked on since we started sooner). We didn’t want to come up with 30 different meals. We also didn’t want to have the same thing every day.

We split it up. 10 meals alternated every 10 days for 30 days.

Let me preface this by saying, this meal plan is what works for us. We tailored it around our work schedules. We work early. We see each other frequently for lunch breaks. After work we head to the gym and it’s usually 8p.m. or later when we arrive home. We don’t want to overload ourselves before bed.

We have already eliminated dairy for close to two months and will continue to. We haven’t eliminated meat. We plan to eat it once a day. We are looking to transition to a vegan-friendly diet sometime in the near future.

ME 2

We have a shake for breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, and a shake for dinner.

Our list:

  • Sautéed vegetables with rice and meat
  • Hamburger patty with cauliflower mashed potatoes
  • Chicken tacos
  • Homemade pizza’s (with cauliflower crust, garden tomatoes. YUM!)
  • Mozzarella, Tomato, with Balsamic Vinegar (my favorite!)
  • Zucchini Goulash
  • Steak Fajitas
  • Chili
  • Q’doba* (for those unfamiliar, it’s like Chipotle. This is the day we consider our cheat day. We don’t go crazy.)

As you can see, they aren’t recipes that are original to us. We chose meals that are easy to make. Having each meal repeating 10 days allows us to eat healthy while keeping it simple and interesting.

We don’t starve ourselves. We aren’t calorie counting but we do make sure we are getting adequate nutrition from various sources (I’ll go in to detail on this in another post). Every Friday during our challenge, we chose to “weigh in”.

This is not our main focus.

Building a healthy routine is the main focus. But for the curious ones, here ya go.

Chelsea: Day 1: 224, Day 5: 221
Dustin: Day 1: 346, Day 5: 336 (he killed it!)

How it’s working for me: So far, I feel amazing! I love structure. I love a plan. Choosing to better myself (in order to better serve my family & the world) has been a great experience so far. I’m motivated by challenging myself in the weight room.

How it’s working for Dustin: He isn’t feeling bloated anymore. Other than his seasonal allergies (we’re working to get rid of naturally) he feels awesome. He has joint pain that seems to have alleviated some. He isn’t as tired at the end of the day. He’s been finding natural alternatives to everything.

Don’t get overwhelmed with lifestyle changes. Do one thing at a time. Incorporate things slowly. Build a routine that suits your schedule, even if it isn’t what everyone else says. Keep your head up. You’ll start to see results of your hard work. It will pay off.

Keep On Shining,


The Thing About Weight

Let me get right to it.

In high school, I weighed 165-170 pounds (fluctuating during my period). College I was between 180-190 pounds. After kids and a stressful marriage, I got as high as 225.

My highest weight to date. Y’all it scared me SO much.

For the past three years, my life has been a ball of stress. Navigating a divorce I never wanted to go through made it really tough for me to accomplish daily tasks. I’ve fluctuated since, but not by 5 pounds. I’ve gotten as low as 208, only to go right back to 225. I stayed at 215 for about a year.

Along the way, telling myself to get my shit together. Telling myself my weight wasn’t that bad or that I could eat the second piece of cake.

All the while, being way too hard on myself internally to the point of breaking down at least once a week about how horrible I was. Insert eye roll and someone please give me a Snickers.

Within the last year, I’ve become way more educated on how I want to live my life and how I want to fuel my body (and my kids, but that’s another story). This past week, I hit the point of no return. The point where I realized this is do or die. I cannot go on like this and achieve my dreams. I cannot make excuses. I will not let my past rule my present or my future. It actually happened during a workout.


Let me explain.

I had eaten clean that day and felt really good. I decided to challenge myself the month of September. I wanted to work out every day for the month. An honest, sweaty, gritty work-out. I promised myself I wouldn’t get a post-workout shake unless I had put in some damn good effort and then some. I better be a muscle-shaking, almost can’t pick myself off the floor mess.

I kind of tricked myself also. I said I’d start September first, but wanted to see if I was really serious about it. So I decided not to wait. I got off work Monday and headed to the gym. I started with the treadmill (25-30 mins, usually listening to Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast!), moved to the recumbent bike (25 min preset Fat Burn ride), then into the weight room.

Y’all, I get JACKED going to the weight room. It’s my favorite place to be. But lately I had been struggling with feeling up to the challenge. Nothing had felt right the last few days and I couldn’t get in my zone.

I figured with this challenge, I’d see if I could push myself.

It was now or literally never.

I pushed myself to failure for the FIRST time ever. IT FELT AMAZING! Up until then, I had not realized how scared I was to hit failure. I didn’t want to drop the weight, shake too much, or feel weak (makes no sense, I know).

I stepped away from the weights and took a quick lap around the room while tears filled my eyes. I was SO proud of myself and felt like I literally broke through what’s been holding me back these three years. No one mattered but Chelsea. I felt like such a different person. Until you experience it, I don’t think I could ever explain it correctly.

Here’s some challenge info.

I started Monday. It will technically end September 26th but I’ll go until the 30th. It’s the end of Day 3. I feel phenomenal. I won’t do another weigh in until Day 5 (every Friday). I’ll post details about my challenge in another post.

To give you a little more info, I took a few steps to start this off:

  • Ditch the junk
  • Use what we have (meal plan)
  • Build a routine
  • Food prep if I have to
  • Give yourself grace

If you want to hop on the train a little early, first thing’s first.

Get rid of the junk.

I filled two garbage bags full of junk food.

A couple more things.

I began this challenge for me. Dustin is doing it as well. I’m sure it could work for anyone that tries it. It’s very simple. This is not a calorie counter. This is not a starvation method.

In addition to working out for 30 days, I want to be 165-170 by age 30. I’m 27 on the eleventh and I don’t believe this goal is out of my reach. I’m pretty positive I can get there quite a bit sooner, but I’m starting with 30 days so I don’t get ahead of myself. I’m using this time to really focus on number 3…Build A Routine. I want a solid, daily routine for a while.

I’ll post more in the days to come about the meal plan we’ve selected for us, the workouts we do, weekly weigh in’s with updates, recipes, etc. I’ll let Dustin sort of speak for the guys while I stay geared towards the women. But feel free to use any of our advice as you see fit.

Most importantly, don’t forget to love yourself. Love the ups and the downs. Go easy on yourself. It took X amount of years to get to where you are now.

The thing about weight?

It is nothing but a number. It does not define you as a person. It does not tell me your favorite movies, your favorite hobbies, how you like your coffee, what fires you up inside.

You are an exceptional human being and I’m so glad you’re here with me.


Keep On Shining,