Beach weekend

This last weekend we went to visit some friends in Virginia Beach. They live in an RV full-time across the street from the beach, and Olive loves to go and visit her (dog) buddy, Jackson. We had rehab first thing on Friday morning where Olive got a chance to trot/run in the hydrotherapy tank, and do some exercises. She slept great in the car! We stopped for lunch in Richmond, and it was a beautiful day, so we were all able to sit outside and enjoy our meal and the sunshine.

Family selfie at our Starbucks stop!

Saturday morning Nick got up to do his long run, and the rest of got up shortly after to catch the sunrise at the beach. I was really hoping to see dolphins, but no such luck. However, the sunrise was stunning, and it was so peaceful to be there. Olive loves the beach, and she loved being able to play in the sand, and smell all of the things!

Just a girl and the sunrise.

Look at that sandy nose!

Saturday afternoon we all loaded up into the car (4 humans + 2 dogs) and went to Reaver Beach Brewing Co. I’m not really a huge beer person, or any alcohol really, but they had some really tasty sours on tap, and had just released a new one that day as well. So we all grabbed a drink, got the pups situated, and played some of our favorite card games. Olive got ALL the pets, and had an awesome time!

Look how fast that tail was going!

Needless to say, Saturday night the pups were worn out, and so it was a fun time chatting, laughing, and watching the Food Network. Sunday morning was another sunrise walk (still no dolphins, wahhhh!), and a lazy morning before heading home. Traffic was NOT great, and it took a lot longer to get home than we thought it would, but we made it! Olive was OUT shortly after stopped for coffee and were on our way.

Passed out.

We all had such a fun weekend! It was so great to see our friends, eat some great vegan food, laugh, and see Olive play at the beach again. She’s definitely acting like her “old” self again these days, and it’s so fun to see! Can’t wait for the weather to warm up just a smidge so we can get outside a little more. Here’s to all of the adventures to come!

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Love is a verb

The other night on our way home from church, Nick and I were talking about body image, and how often we can get so caught up in wanting to weigh a certain number, or lose that “extra 10 pounds”. Where does that desire come from? Ourselves? Others? Trying to conform to what society says we should look like?

As a woman, I’ve had my share of struggles with my body, and I’m sure it will always be something that I have to work on. However, over the past few years, I’ve come to love my body even if from time to time I get off course and let the negative thoughts creep back in. I’m fueling my body well with the food I choose to eat, and I know that because of those choices my body is getting what it needs. I’m also doing my part to speak up for the animals who are being needlessly tortured everyday, and that I’m trying to make our planet a better place. Do I enjoy vegan cupcakes, french fries, or pizza? You bet! What we eat should be about balance, and what can best fuel our bodies to work at their best.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with “working out”. It seems like it’s about everyone trying to one-up each other with some new workout or diet that will burn the most calories, and help you lose 20 pounds. When I finally released myself from that mindset, I was able to find a way to move my body that I love, and look forward to doing everyday. A sweet friend introduced me to The Balanced Life about six months ago. I dabbled in Pilates years ago, but somehow got out of the habit – or maybe it was because I had all of my workouts on VHS, ha! I’ve consistently done a Pilates routine for the last four months at least 5 days a week. I don’t say that to brag, but to say that I’ve found something that I love to do, that allows me to move my body, and has made me appreciate all that my body is capable of doing!

When Nick and I were talking it reminded me of something I read a few years ago. I can’t remember for the life of me where I read it, but it was profound, and I never forgot it. Basically the author was talking about how we only get one body in this life, and how we treat our bodies is an act of worship. If we’re fueling it well, moving it everyday, and taking care of ourselves, then that’s it. You’ve done it! YOU ARE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE! If we continue to hate our bodies, and discount the amazing things they’re capable of doing – and it’s awesome it’s different for everyone – then you are basically saying that God messed up when He made you. And that, my friend, is a huge lie.

Bodies come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and they are all beautiful.

I’m so proud of Nick because of what he’s been able to accomplish in the past year or so. He will so soon be running his second half marathon (!!!), and I think that’s amazing! I sometimes think he’s a little insane for running outside in this crazy winter weather 😉 , but he continues to keep at it, and it’s a way for him to work his body and appreciate what it can do. He’s an inspiration to me to be better, and to love myself. I have zero desire to run a half marathon, and I can’t run faster than an 11-minute mile, but he always reminds me that it’s just about taking that first step. It doesn’t matter how fast you are. It’s just about doing it, and loving that your body is capable of moving your forward – however you choose to move it!

I watched a powerful documentary on Netflix called “Embrace”. It’s a beautiful story of Taryn Brumfitt and how she truly learned to love her body for how it is. She traveled all over the world and met with people who shared the same insecurities we all feel time and again, and how they were choosing to love themselves in spite of what society might say the “ideal” body is. I love the tagline on the front page of her website: “My body is not an ornament, it is the vehicle to my dreams.”

What are your dreams? Love yourself, and do what can to make those dreams a reality. It’s not always going to be easy, and there will be days you’ll want to give up. God gave these incredible minds and bodies – let’s treat them well, and leave the world the better place than we found it. It’s about progress. Not perfection. We are all so different, and bring such cool and unique things to this world. Wouldn’t the world be such a different place if we all chose to love ourselves, and everyone around us?

Olive update – part 3

I made it through the week without Nick! But man, oh man, was it good to have him home last night! Not just for dog duties, obviously, but it was good to “share the load” so to speak again! Olive was very happy to see him, and he’d even gotten an earlier flight home, so everyone was excited!

We took Olive back to the surgical center today for her re-check, and to have her stitches removed – no more e-collar, yay! We talked to the doctor (not the one who did the surgery, she was unavailable today), and she seemed amazed at how well Olive was doing. She said that if she didn’t know, she would have guessed Olive to be 4-6 weeks post op, instead of just the 2 weeks that she is! She doesn’t get x-rays until 8 weeks post-op – that’s when they check to make sure the bone has healed correctly – so we still have to carry her up and down the stairs, and use the sling when she walks on slippery surfaces. But after hearing what the doctor had to say, I’m REALLY praying that at 8 weeks, everything will be super awesome so she can start resuming more of her usual activities. Thankfully, we were told today that she could start walking outside a little more if we feel like she’s getting a little too squirrely inside, so that was good. Until today she was limited to 2-3 five minute walks in addition to 2-3 bathroom breaks. It will be nice to get her moving a little bit more. We have a physical therapy/rehab appointment on Wednesday, so I’m anxious to hear what they have to say, and how we can best get her up and “running” again!

I’m so thankful that she’s doing so well! We’ve been REALLY diligent about making sure she doesn’t jump, get too excited, or run around the house – even though she really wants to! And honestly, I really think that her v-dog, and turmeric and coconut supplement, are really helping her heal faster. The body recovers a lot easier when you put the right things into it!

So tired after going to the vet this morning! We’ve been calling her shaved leg her “tofurky leg”, haha!

In case you missed it, you can catch up on part one, and part two!

Vegan Musings

Nick and I have been vegan for almost 6 1/2 years now. We first went vegan due to watching “Forks Over Knives”. I remember the day like it was yesterday. We had gotten the documentary from the library after I heard some clients talking about it at work (I was a receptionist at a hair salon at the time). We were already living a healthier lifestyle than most, but we were still eating a lot of organic dairy and meat. “Food, Inc.” had previously made a really strong impression on us, and we were doing our best to eat local, organic, and the least amount of GMO’s as possible. 

I remember when the documentary ended and Nick turned to me and said, “We have to do this.” (side note: Nick has a family history of high blood pressure and cholesterol. I have both of those in my family as well, but hadn’t yet exhibited any signs of them like he had.) He continued, “If I can change the way I eat, and not have to take pills my whole life, and lower my cancer rate crazy low, then I’m all in! You with me?”  I was. We immediately went upstairs and cleaned our our refrigerator and pantry. We threw out everything that wasn’t vegan – we did donate what we could – and we soon realized we weren’t left with much. For the first several weeks, we didn’t really know how, or what, to eat! We ate a lot of stir fry, veggie burgers, and pizza without cheese. But after a trip to the library for some vegan cookbooks, and lots of Google searches, we soon had so many more options at our fingertips. 

I wouldn’t change our decision for anything. Not only do we feel great, but Nick’s numbers are well below normal, and he’s now running half marathons! I’m not so much the runner like he is, but I’ve recently discovered that Pilates are my jam! You just have to find something you like, and that you’ll stick with. 

While we originally went vegan for health reasons, we’ve definitely educated ourselves, and are now in it for the animals, and environment as well. The meat industry is horrendous, and just the thought of the amount of animal cruelty that exists makes my heart hurt. No living creature should have to endure what they do on a daily basis. When I look at Olive, and see her personality, I truly don’t understand how we can love some animals, but torture, and eat, others. I lived most of my life with that disconnect myself, and I’m so glad that I finally made the connection! 

Caring for Olive throughout this whole process has made me think about how happy I am to be vegan, and how lucky and Nick and I are to have the opportunity to love and care for her. And most importantly, my desire to care for my body, the animals, and the earth, is the perfect marriage with my faith. I believe God gave us this earth to care for, and that He doesn’t desire for any of His creation to be mistreated. I’m proud to be doing my part.