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How Four Walls Changed My Heart

Not all seasons of life end up looking like what we hoped for or dreamed of.

11 years ago I married Troy and we started to build a life together with very little money.

I moved to Canada from the US 5 weeks before we got married, with no work permit, and Troy was a drummer in a band.

Although Troy owned a small condo, we were unable to live in it due to our lack of funds and decided it would be best to live with his parents as we got on our feet in the early stages of marriage. Looking back at those days I can’t help but reflect on the grace, patience, and love of his parents. We were 22 & 24, immature, and doing the first season of marriage in front of his family…literally everything. (cringe)

Let’s just say when we were finally able to move out on our own a year and a half into marriage, I was beyond thankful for that 600sqft condo that allowed us to have our own space. Having the Canadian dream of a white picket fence and security was actually never a dream of mine (or so I thought) hence why I married a touring musician, but somewhere along the way I developed this mindset that homes, cars and things represented security, happiness and a stamp on my life that said “we had made it.”

Maybe it was because we didn’t have a lot of money, maybe it was because I grew up in a home that was always financially stretched, I’m not sure. But what I do know is these things held a bigger place in my heart then I ever intended.

Fast forward 9 years into marriage….

We built two beautiful homes, Troy had a very successful job, we had three children and we were very secure where we are at.

And then we feel a call to the lower mainland to help plant a church. That’s a whole other blog post, but what I want to focus on in this post is the beauty that comes out of our discomfort and the growth that happens when we allow God to take the plans and dreams we had for our lives and build something far greater then we could have ever imagined.

As I write this I’m gazing around the 1200sqft condo that 2 years ago I would have never imagined our family could live in. When we moved from Kelowna we came from a 2800 sqft dream house with a big beautiful yard that we thought we would be in forever. But the reality is our lives were small. It’s so humbling when I look back at that big house and think of the countless ways we could have used it to bless people, to fill its spaces with friends and how we could have lived with so much less. It’s been 2 years since we have moved to the coast to answer a call to serve and love a city of people we did not know.

In this process there have been countless situations and experiences that have challenged and pressed us. One of them being letting go of what we felt we needed in order for our capacity to grow. Maybe 1200sqft for you represents a whole lot of space and in this very moment you could be thinking #firstworldproblems, and I get that. But I think one of the most amazing things about God is that He meets “us” at a personal level. God knew what a challenge it would be for me to let go of my beautiful home, the security of owning, and all the love I had put into those 4 walls. But He also knew the beauty and learning that would come out of a pressing season that included selling my beautiful furniture, downsizing our lives, and learning that four walls do not determine our success nor the capacity of our heart.

 

Over these past 2 years of letting go what has physically taken up space in my life, I have seen the walls of my heart explode for people, my capacity expand and my world get larger than I could have ever imagined.

Don’t ever despise your small seasons. Although my heart still at times longs for a home that can hold huge parties and host friends from out of town, I do believe God is going to make a way for us to have that one day. But for now, learning to live in a small space has really taught me to get creative with less, that the walls of my home do seem larger when they are filled with more love, and life doesn’t need to be perfect for you to make space for others. This condo has really taught me in countless ways that God always knows what’s best for us and sometimes he needs to make our physical spaces smaller and less cluttered in order for us to grow.

 

It was never about four walls. All along it was about learning to be content, thankful, and at peace in whatever state I’m in. This 1200sqft has hosted some of the richest conversations with friends, become a resting spot of our kids as we invest in their life, and along the way God taught us to take our eyes off ourselves and shifts them to a city that doesn’t need you to have large space for you to do life with them.

God shows up in our small beginnings, and sometimes he needs to make the process very physical in order for us to see that.

 

I want to say a special thank you to Urban Walls and their creative team. Our landlords had asked that we keep our walls white (which I love) but our kids needed some life, fun and creativity added to their rooms. Danielle and her team did a fantastic job of helping us select the perfect style for our home, installing them and creating the perfect to add something special but also respect your landlord;)

Also a huge thank you to Curated Tribe. You brought the perfect vintage-bohemian flare into our home with your beautiful rattan furniture pieces. We are such a huge fan of yours and will forever be stocking your Instagram page for new inspiration.

This condo has become one of my favourite projects to decorate and has become the perfect home for our family in this season.

Enjoy these beautiful photos by the incredible Brit Gill

Staying Active And Summer Styles With Iris

Vancouver is blowing us away this summer with glorious temperatures and blue skies. If you have ever been to Vancouver in the summer, you’ll know there is nothing like it! And when the weather is good, this city turns into a fitness junky’s dream!

Breath taking hiking, beautiful beaches, and some of the greatest fitness studios you will find in North America. Finding an activity will never be a problem in Vancouver, but choosing which one probably will be;)

This summer’s activities have looked a little different from most years for me.

In the past I would have stuck with my normal fitness routine of Pilates, weight-lifting, and hitting up as many classes as possible. Since transitioning to a rainier city fall through spring, I have learned to really appreciate the drier summer months. These days I find myself picking up my long board, throwing on some running shoes and getting creative with my outdoor workouts.

These countless hours in the sun have been amazing and have added a sunny glow to my skin, but I am also becoming more and more aware of the amount of time my eyes are now in the sun. Last week after my eye exam at Iris, I spent some time with the optometrist going over a few ways to protect my eyes from the loss of pigmentation.  In the past, I viewed sunglasses as an accessory that I’d only wear if it matched my outfit, or felt necessary if I was at the beach all day. It’s amazing how a little bit of education can completely change your perspective, especially when it’s dealing with something as important as being able to see!

After trying on a few new styles of sunglasses from the Iris summer collection, I was even more bought in. Whether you’re biking around the city, hitting the hiking trails or spending hours on a beach volleyball court, Iris has a ton of options that will fit your summer pastimes. 

Here a list of some of my favourite styles from the Iris summer collection

Enjoy!

Maui Jim-Mavericks 
Ray Ban 3536
Coach HC 7078
Michael Kors 6003
Photography By: Megan Bustard 

Elsa Parties And Making Memories

I wish these warm summer days and endless hours at the beach would last forever!

I’m trying my best to savour these moments with the kids and really use the extra hours I get with them this summer to connect with their hearts. I’m going to try do my best to journal and document the little memories as we make our way through another epic summer together.

One of my favourite memories this summer was Adelaide’s Elsa birthday party! For months this little lady had planned and dreamed of her perfect day. We were asked countless times if the real Elsa was going to come and spend the day with her, so we enlisted the help of Crowned Princess Entertainment to help us make her dreams come to life. And Elsa did not disappoint!!

Surrounded by friends in their favourite princess dresses, this day could not have been more special for Adelaide or I. There is something so magical about seeing your little girl stunned by the presence of their real life hero. I felt like my heart was going to burst the entire party and then Elsa broke into “Let It Go” surrounded by little girls dancing to every movement and knowing every word. The tears flowed from this Mom and Adelaide officially dubbed this day the best day of her life.

Thank you Crowned Princess for making this day possible and making Adelaide’s dreams come true. Elsa, you were one of the sweetest people we have ever met! Thank you for sitting with the girls in your gorgeous dress painting snowflakes, reading stories, and belting out their favourite Frozen songs!

Also, a very special thank you to my friend Stacie at Sugar Love Cookie Design for creating the most beautiful Frozen-inspired cookies for our party favours. Stacie, you are incredibly talented, your cookies were delicious, and we are so thankful you were a part of Adelaide’s special day.

 

 

The Heart Behind Dailyroutinefitness

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In 2007 I married the man of my dreams, and with much excitement, started my journey as a wife. Quickly I realized in marriage it’s harder to hide the skeletons and dark secrets I kept hidden for so long. After a couple of months of marriage, Troy realized there were some deep issues in my relationship with food, and lots of damaged areas when it came to my self-worth. At the time we had no idea counselling was a good option, where to go for help, and where to even start. We prayed, spoke life into the dark places, cried, fought, and survived.


Fast forward 4 years into marriage and I give birth to our first-born McCarthy. I start the journey of motherhood, which included losing the baby weight, and facing some old demons. I was healthier at this point, but still fighting the up hill mental game. I was determined to some how find health and balance in my pain, because my love for Troy and McCarthy was so deep, I needed this for me and them.
Jump ahead, McCarthy is 20 months and I give birth to a perfect little dark-haired boy named Bennett. As soon as they handed him to me, I knew my heart has just grown in size.


After having both McCarthy and Bennett, I battled anxiety and depression, but did my best to hide it.  I would cry in the tub alone asking God to give me the strength to get through the day and do the amazing job of mothering I loved one minute and felt was choking me out the next. When Bennett was 4 months old, I still remember the exact moment I made a decision to launch DailyRoutineFitness. This story has many other details, and there are tons of little moments I want to include in this post, but will save for it for an IGTV story 😉 What I’m going to give you here is a snapshot of the heart behind what I do, and why I so passionately pursue what I feel I have been called to.


In the process of mothering 2 babies, trying to lose the baby weight, struggling with eating disorder demons, depression and anxiety, I was desperately looking for a fellow Mom who would inspire me to fight for my health, remind me how strong I was, and tell me I could love babies and still care for myself. One night I decided I needed to be my own voice of confidence, and as I found my voice I decided I wanted to some how, some way create a space online where Moms could get inspired, be vulnerable and find their strength again.


When I launched DRF,  I was still in the mindset that booty shorts, bra tops, and the perfect face is what would take the fitness Industry by storm. Then I started to actually work with Moms and woman who told me their stories, and over the course of 4 years, I have been broken and rebuilt…and I’m still in process. The investment made by my clients into my life by being honest with their struggles, stories, and victories, has changed me forever. My heart is softer, I see beauty I have never seen before, I love myself more, and daily I’m humbled and honoured to hold space for them.

When Adelaide was born, my world changed forever. My priorities changed, the love for my curves changed. I couldn’t believe that I had been blessed with a daughter. Empowering woman through short shorts, bra tops and the right angles suddenly felt so empty. I knew Adelaide would learn to find her confidence, feminine beauty, and worth by watching her mother love herself. So we did something that either makes or breaks a a company…we re-branded! We took down many of the images that I initially thought would connect with and inspire my audience. Instead, I replaced them with the real, raw moments the have shaped my body, my health and my soul as a woman and mother.


A fellow mom recently texted me saying “I haven’t eaten carbs in days! I desperately need to drop this baby weight.” This text is one of many that reminds me my work is far from done. Moms still need someone to teach them to be strong, to love themselves again, and inspire them to look deeper than the surface. When we focus on what’s happening behind the milk stained shirts, dark circles, forced smiles, and desperate eyes, we create something beautiful that pushes itself from the inside out. Launching a lifestyle/fitness blog and training clients was birthed out of a place of pain, brokenness and insecurity. When I realized that there was a world full of women who were waiting for someone to rise up and believe in them, I dug my heels in, got healthy, and started to speak words of life.

This is DailyRoutineFitness.

Summer Adventures With Iris Visual

Little do they know, while taking these photos, we are secretly planning our first family surf trip to California, and this photo shoot is the first step in documenting our trip! Troy and I have been planning, saving and dreaming about this trip for years.  Surfing together is one of our favorite activities to do as a couple, and knowing we get to include our children this time, is a dream come true for me!

What I love about travelling with Troy is that he would rather rent a condo and have us cook for ourselves, than do the hotel/restaurant thing. When we travel together, we are always keeping active, so it’s important for both of us to keep our bodies properly fuelled and healthy as we explore.

As I have been prepping our travel shopping lists with important items to bring, I’ve started to think not only about keeping our kids skin protected, but also their eyes. Protecting our kid’s eyes has honestly not been something that I have thought a whole lot about in the past, but the team at IRIS walked us through the potential dangers for kids who do not use proper eye protection, and helped us understand how to keep our eyes healthy in each stage of life. The last time we went surfing I remember getting an intense headache that lasted 48 hours from squinting (no sunglasses) as my eyes adjusted to the California sun (which I love so much), which is NOT gonna happen this year!

Whether you’re heading out on a family vacation, or basking in some local sunshine, make sunglasses a priority for your whole family!

 

Before heading to California, we took the kids to IRIS and had them pick out their favourite style for the trip. If you have kids like mine, ownership and options are very important factors in having them keep things like sunglasses and hats on. Letting them choose their color and style is a game-changer! No longer are we convincing them to put sunglasses on, instead they are asking for them as soon as we leave the house and keeping them on while we are out and about!

McCarthy’s top pick was the Ray-Ban 2132. Bennett and Adelaide both choose IRIS’ kids polarized sunglasses which you can purchase in store! The Ray-Ban RB4259 is my current favorite, and

Troy’s pick is the Maui Jim Red Sands 432.

Head over to IRIS and check out their newest Spring/Summer collection and start planning for another beautiful Summer!

Photography By: Jamala Mya

A Healthy Balance

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Setting realistic health goals can be a challenge, and it’s also one of the most important things you will do for your body this upcoming year. I know personally I can often over think the process and in the past have set goals or restrictions on myself that only set me up for failure, leaving my body feeling depleted and on the verge of a physical or mental breakdown.

So how do we find a healthy balance? First of all we need to accept the fact that fitness is always a journey and we are always evolving. What worked last year may not work this year, and change is good not only physically but for our mental wellbeing as well. Maybe you’ve always gone to the same fitness class. Maybe you have always run the same road. Whatever your story may be, your body knows it. Maybe this upcoming year, instead of telling yourself you’re going to hit the gym 6 days a week, find a workout that brings you life. My goal this year is to take my workouts outside 1 day a week. No matter the weather, no matter the time of day. My goal is to experience every season! Studies show that even 10 minutes a day outdoors improves our mental state. When we are healthy mentally our bodies response in positive ways and trigger amazing hormones to keep us going and keep us enjoying life.

Here are some of the big questions I often get asked when it comes time to set health and fitness goals:

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1) Do you need to workout every day to see results?

No, and I would really discourage these types of habits. Our bodies need time to heal and recover from the tension we place on them in workouts. If you’re just starting out I would recommend 2-3 times a week. Start slow and try lots of different styles of fitness to really find what suites you best.

If you’re more advanced, maybe you need to step your fitness up a bit to see results. I would recommend switching up your routine. Something as simple as swapping out a bootcamp class for a set of up hill sprints or adding a power yoga class in exchange for the token spin class you always hit up, may just be the adjustment your body needs to take your fitness to another level.

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2) Is working out for multiple hours at a time necessary?

Short answer is, NO! First off, you need to figure out what your goal is. Do you want to train for a endurance race, become a triathlete or just feel better and more energized in your own skin? Once you have nailed down your goal, do some research to determine what class or program will be the best for you. The workout I’ve included in this article is an awesome way to switch it up. Get outside and boost your energy!! There are countless studies that show that short powerful workouts have countless positive effects on our bodies and mental states .

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3) How do I plan my workouts?

Heading to the gym, park, or sweating it out in the comfort of your own home is going to be twice as hard to get motivated for without a plan. Lack of planning also increases rest breaks, wandering minds, and our workouts are overall less effective. Here is something I always stick to when planning my workouts:

  • Compound movements (works upper and lower body)
  • A mixture of cardio and strength
  • 4-5 movements (keep it simple)
  • Timed or planned reps (this way I don’t stop when it starts to get hard)

I set my timer (typically my workouts are 20-30 minutes long) and repeat my movements for either 1 minute or perform 12-15 reps per movement. I get in as many rounds as I can with little to no rest. If my kids are involved, this is a different story. Sometimes my workouts go smoothly with them and sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Celebrate the good days and know there is always tomorrow!

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4) Does what I eat really produce 80% of my results?

Yes! Food is one of the most important factors in our health journey. Eating a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals will not only positively affect your recovery times and overall fitness results, but your mental wellbeing. Just like your workouts, start small and create habits that are going to last. My family and I recently took on a 10 day smoothie challenge with Jugo Juice. Our life is active and when planning snacks, things like vegetables can get missed. We saw this challenge as a opportunity to increase our vegetable intake and teach our kids to get creative with things they may have never tried (like cauliflower in their smoothie, who knew?) By just adding 1 smoothie after school, we increased their vegetable intake and eliminated the urge to ask for cookies or other sugary treats as they came down from the after school high. Maybe this week you add a smoothie, next week you swap out your normal lunch for a salad and the following week give up snacking after dinner. Small changes create lasting results. Need some motivation?! Right now Jugo Juice is running a contest for 3 prize packs! All you need to do is take a picture of your smoothie and post to Instagram with contest hashtags (#whatsinyoursmoothie #fuelbetter @jugojuice) and be following Jugo Juice on instagram! Winners will be announced Monday December 11th. Head over to Jugo Juice and design your own smoothie! Tag me! I want to see what you guys come up with. Check out my last Instagram post for my current favourite smoothie blend.

This year, instead of beating yourself up for skipping another workout or eating that donut, celebrate the wins! Along with creating my own fitness plan, I also have a huge jar that I place marbles in. Every time I do something positive for myself I put a marble in. On the hard days, when I want to allow negative talk to take over, I look at that jar and remind myself that health is a journey and each day I’m getting 1% better.

Small, achievable, and 1% better.

Bring it on 2018!

 

Jump-Start Workout :

 

  • After a 10 minute warm up, set your timer for 1 minute for each move. Repeat circuit 3-4x with little to no rest.
  • Squat
  • Tricep dips
  • Push up
  • Lunge (with back foot elevated on back bench)
  • 30-60 second sprint after each round

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10 Day Smoothie Challenge

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We work hard and we play hard in this house. I’ll be honest, I definitely wish there was more time to kick up my feet, read books and sleep…oh glorious sleep, we shall meet again someday. But right now, that’s not my reality. I have two extremely active boys and one bold, firecracker of a daughter who love to go none stop, explore new things and are some of the most creative little people I know. Learning to fuel their bodies and make the best decisions for us as a family has been extremely challenging at times. When it comes to fueling and trying new things, Troy and I try to keep a balanced approach with our habits. We have found when we allow our kids to be creative with their meals, have balanced amounts of treats and encourage them to listen to their bodies (rather than telling them something is not good for them) our kids make better decisions. Our journey has led us through being paleo, trying vegan, going totally organic, and trying to eat completely local…It’s a journey, we are not perfect, we are learning and I can almost guarantee what we are doing today will probably change at some point. One of the things that will always stay consistent in our house is encouraging our kids to get as many vegetables in their diet as possible and trying to be as creative as we can as parents.

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Mixing up smoothies, green popsicles, dried fruit/veggie snacks and making dessert acai bowls are some of our favourites in this house. We recently teamed up with Jugo Juice to take on a 10-day smoothie challenge and add more greens to our life. Jugo Juice recently changed all their smoothies over to 100% pure juice and has added tons of great options for the “always on the go” lifestyle. Over these past 10 days we have added cauliflower to our smoothies, replaced our weekend ice cream with green acai bowls and encouraged the kids to get creative with their own mixes.

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I love to support my local juice bars and make my own juices/smoothies at home, but these last 10 days of the challenge have really taught me that their is great options for our family when we are on the go and feel stuck on what to give our kids for a snack or fuel option. They also store great! Over these 10 days we have froze smoothies, bought extra and made popsicles or stuck them in the fridge for acai breakfast bowls. If you’re feeling stuck when it comes to snacks, want to grab something healthy on the go, or are scared to make your own cauliflower smoothie;) maybe try your own

Here some of my tips:

1) Ask for half the juice amount and add coconut water for a less sweet option.

2) Add wheat grass for extra nutrition

3) Sub the whey protein for their delicious vegan option (I find this easier on my stomach)

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Summer Fuel

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These are the happiest and most exhausting days I have experienced to date as a mom. I literally could not wait for the kids to get out of school this year so we could spend our days at the park and making memories on new adventures. Although having three children around one another all day every day can be exhausting for all parties involved, I would not change a thing about these days! My heart actually feels like it might explode when I think about these sweet moments with these little souls. This skate park will hold so many memories for us. Scraped knees, Bennett’s first drop in, McCarthy’s countless tricks and Adelaide’s determination to hang with the boys. Our days begin here and almost daily end here with a pre-or-post dinner scooter. The playing never stops and neither does the snacking! Love Child Organics recently came out with these nutrition beverages called “Lil Shake.”  These delicious Lil Shakes contain 8 grams of protein and are fortified with 24 non-GMO vitamins and minerals. Also, another bonus is these shakes have no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives and contain no carrageenan! Along with having to have countless snacks available, I also get asked non-stop for treats these days, so these “Lil Shakes” also go by the name “milk shake” or “chocolate milk” in our house and help this mom steer these growing little bodies in a healthier direction.

What are some of your snack ideas for your kids during the summer?

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Adelaide

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Easter weekend was filled with some much needed time where we unplugged and just enjoying quality time with friends and family. I decided to shut my phone off for the weekend and pick up my camera to capture this beautiful little lady who is growing up so fast. Yesterday I was at an event and they asked “Who has small babies?” I instantly raised my hand thinking of Adelaide, and then quickly felt silly that once again I have tried to lie to myself that she’s not getting older. This little lady is the most beautiful, strong-willed and confident little leader. I’m so thankful for the older brothers in her life who have taught her to say “I love you very much” a million times a day and at the same time instilled in her the courage to not back down.

Adelaide, you’re my joy, and my heart is so thankful everyday for you.

Dress By: Nooks 

Shoes: Joe Fresh

Hair Bow: Arrow and Lace

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