10 Benefits of Gardening

Aloha y'all!

It is a bright and sunny day on Maui and that makes it a beautiful day for gardening. Well, a little cloud coverage will make it a wee bit more pleasant so grab your sunscreen, your hat, and a bottle of water and let's start working.

Gardening is another love of mine and in my house we have two focuses: beautiful flowers and veggies/herbs to make food expenses less. In all reality, a few years ago I put down my foot and said we are only growing what we can eat. That lasted a nanosecond as darling daughter flashed her adorable dimples and asked for a flower garden of her own so now we have....

My Serenity Garden that I can see from my treadmill that has more "native" and "Hawaiian" themed plants. Imagine ginger, ti plants, and hibiscus and you got this covered. You then walk down a row of aloe with a wall of citronella on the opposite side to the beginning of Blooming Blossoms - darling daughter's oasis of love. Enjoy the stroll around the corner and enter Veggie Ville where we have containers and a four-tiered garden of love. Note: mint is highly invasive so be careful when planting. This "wonderful" idea of mine has resulted in regular mint-weeding endeavors where it just keeps coming back. Thank goodness it smells good and the bunnies like it...plus it is good to make minty-water but we really have more than enough to feed a village.

In this area we are focused on growing tomatoes and herbs and recently are trying bok choy, cauliflower, and broccoli. Move on up the stairs and we have more herb containers and carrots by darling daughter's playhouse (in the ground and in a container). Wrap around the fence to Bunny Land and we have citrus plants and more herbs, potatoes, and lettuce. Lots of containers, lots of work, lots of fun, and 10 amazing benefits all rolled up in one.

So what are those 10 benefits of gardening?

I am so glad you asked!
  1. Gardening is great stress relief because digging in the dirt, taking care of precious plants, and getting dirty is just plain fun.
  2. Gardening can help boost your self esteem as you see the rewards of your hard work.
  3. Gardening is a low-moderate intensity activity that is good for your heart health. It beats sitting and doing nothing.
  4. Sunshine is your vitamin D source beyond the little that is found in foods. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, is vital in cell growth, and reduces inflammation, plus so much more. Gotta love it!
  5. Gardening can make your hands stronger and hey, how often do we think of hand strength but use it every single day? Take care of those hands, okay. 
  6. Gardening can ease the symptoms of depression and this momma needs that. It is hard to be gloomy working in nature especially when you spot a ladybug.
  7. Gardening can improve your limberness or flexibility as you do need to twist and bend.
  8. Gardening can sharpen your mind and decrease dementia chances. I guess all the thinking is good for you!
  9. Gardening can help you sleep better. Hey, it is a workout after all!
  10. Gardening is good for your nutrition when you are growing things to eat. You care for that food from beginning to end and know exactly how it was grown with and hopefully with lots of love.
I am beyond stoked to say, darling daughter and I gardened for 3+ hours yesterday. Two hours at her school in the community garden where we volunteered our time to paint signs, weed like champs, and harvest some green beans. It was a fun and educational time and got us motivated to go home and do some revamping of our own garden where we restarted a bin with fresh lettuce plants, new herbs, and started a pot of carrots from seeds. We were two happy, and tired, gardeners by the end of the day and wrapped up our hard work with a nice soak in the tub with amazing bath salts.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the $5 coupon at the garden store.

Daily Bible Verse: And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. ~ Genesis 2:8


Finding Strength and Happiness in Core de Force

Disclaimer of love and honesty: This post does contain affiliate links associated with my Beachbody Coaching business. If you see something you love, please be kind and use my link to help support my business, my blog, and a mom trying to get out of debt and keep her kiddo in horseback riding lessons.

I recently posted about my struggle with depression and I am so thankful for the outpouring of support I received especially by those who took the time to email. Seriously, thank you. I can't even begin to explain how it feels to know that 1) I am not alone and 2) that by sharing my story I am helping others. #2 matters the most to me.

So I want to share something I have found in the past week that is pretty amazing. I am still struggling with running and thank you God for my running streak as that keeps me doing at least a mile a day. I am also beyond thankful God called me to Beachbody and my goal to try 52 new workouts in 2017 which is amazingly simple with the Beachbody On Demand All Access Pass. (FYI: The All Access Pass is available for purchase until 2/28/17)

About a week ago I was in my I don't wanna mood and tuned into Beachbody to get something done and figured why not try a new workout. Why not try this Core de Force I have been hearing so many rave about. Oh my goodness! Was I slow to get onto this bandwagon or what?!

The first workout I tried was only 27 minutes. I can handle that. 27 minutes is nothing, right? Well, after a 10 minute mile feeling like 20 years I wasn't 100% convinced but gave it a whirl and let me tell you, those 27 minutes FLEW by. So did the 37 minute and 47 minute workouts I did. They were fun. They were challenging - physically and mentally - and as I hooked, jabbed, and kicked I imagined me hooking, jabbing, and kicking that ugly depression in its face and fighting to regain me, my peace, my balance, and my happiness in life.

In my first therapy session I was asked if I do any fighting such as street fighting, etc. Of course the answer was NO! I am a lover not a fighter, or so the saying goes. Now I think I will have to go back and say, hey, I found this amazing new workout that allows me to "fight" safely in my house to work out feelings of anger, depression, frustration, hopelessness, etc. I think this is a safe way to work through those types of emotions as no one, and nothing, is hurt. And I can't help but think back to those years long ago where I pondered taking self defense but never found the time, money, or place. Ladies, if you are looking for self-defense, this program will definitely fit the bill. You are learning offensive and defensive moves in a way to work your body but if you ever really needed to apply them in life to protect yourself, I feel you will have much more confidence after doing this program than before. However, I hope to NEVER be in the situation and pray the same for you.

Since this program seems to be touching a cord in me right now in my life, I am going to jump in and commit to the 30-day program and do it according to plan versus going willy nilly. I have the 30-day calendar printed out ready to mark those happy X's of success as I move through the challenge.

I have taken the before photos as I do like to do this before and after each new official challenge I do to monitor progress beyond the scale. Scales are so deceptive!

And I have darling daughter eager to support me and do the 5-minute before bed moves to help both of our tired muscles and get us both set up for success for the next day. She really is my saving grace and best cheerleader in town.

If you want to try it with me, ask me how as there are so many ways to try out this program at different price points. I am a mom on a budget but also realize being fit matters for so many reasons.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to take our guinea pig to darling daughter's school today.

Daily Bible Verse: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13


Why I didn't run - Fighting to be well

Today's post is going to be a very raw, hard to write post. But I believe in transparency and have felt called to share my story to help others. Many times I feel we keep quiet and don't mention the things that need to be mentioned the most. We talk fads, greatest looks, good reads, amazing restaurants, and family vacations and reunions but hide the things that can hurt - ourselves and others.


It is real and it is agonizing and unfortunately, it is still greatly misunderstood. It may not have any physical obvious symptoms and the "cheer up" doesn't work. Trust me, it doesn't. If it did I would not be where I am today. Hurting and struggling each day to make it through but I am confident, by God's grace, I will.

I love how life works and can see all the amazing blessings in my life so that in itself shows that depression is not logical. I can feel the joy of all my blessings but my heart can still ache and the hazy grey cloud can still linger and the emptiness can still persist...yes, even when I watch my daughter riding a horse and feel so joyful to have her in my life. Depression is crazy.

My daughter is my gift from God and another gift was me becoming a Beachbody Coach. Through this, I have met amazing people, some coaches, some not, some fighting the same battle I am, and some with the same faith foundation. We are united and that is beyond cool. I even started a training/challenge group with a focus on health and nutrtion to help combat depression, anxiety, and stress. If you want in, email me and I will get you hooked up and yes, it is free.

But back to my story.

I didn't race the Maui Oceanfront Marathon in January and almost didn't race the Maui Marathon in September. I had good reasons for not racing. My planning was off. I was called to do different things. I didn't want to. I loved what I was doing. Racing wasn't my thing right now. I didn't want to race because others thought I should. Blah, blah, blah.

Don't take me bring quiet as me being aloof, uncaring, or anti-social. Sometimes I withdraw inside, honestly, to protect my core, to re-focus my energy, and to find the strength to be who God is calling me to be.
As I type those now I can see them for what they are. All signs of my depression rearing up. All excuses showing the same lack of interest in things you once loved. Yes, I was doing other things trying to cope and to take care of it all by myself but I was struggling.

I felt anxious, lonely, and not 100% but I covered that with my excuses of working 1+ jobs, my full-time job getting more intense, hormones, getting older, life. Again, all excuses that I got so talented at telling myself over the years. I am very good at sugar coating things to myself to try to cope and that brings me to where I am today.

I have also gotten much better at following my calling in life. I spoke at the 40 Days for Life on O'ahu in October and the March for Life just last month on Maui and in hindsight, those events and speeches tore at me and my old wounds in ways I wasn't prepared for. I have been telling myself I am fine and repeating that mantra and avoiding the fact that right now, this momma,  needs help.

And I am getting it.

I am proud of myself for reaching out for help and encourage all others struggling to do the same but I wil be honest. I feel embarassed and weak. I feel like a failure that I am back on anti-depressants after not taking any since 2010 for a few months after my Dad's death. I am mad at myself for getting to this point again and as the tears stream down my face I know it is because I feel like I will be judged and not good enough.

But even in this moment of desparate weakness I feel a inner joy and strength that I have the courage to write this post and tell you, and the whole world, that I am struggling. But I have faith that I can't even begin to explain that through this torturous struggle I will find a glorious and radiant light on the other side.  I have been warned it will get harder before it gets better as my depression is part of post traumatic stress disorder and I need to go back to that original trauma I have been ignoring, hidiing, sugar coating, and face it head on. It won't be going through 17 years of denial, suppressed feelings, self-hate, guilt, and just plain uckiness but I can do this and through it I will find the next step on my mission in life and I am ecstatic about that.

So, I will continue the meds I was strongly suggested to take, and thank you God for a doctor who listened to all my concerns and went super low dose for me, and I will go to therapy, and I will go back to an amazing healing retreat this coming May, and I will share my experience of healing because I know, I am not alone. More than 15 million Americans suffer from depression. That is about 6.7% of the population of those 18 or older. That is a lot. We are not alone and God is by our side to carry us through.

Each day may be a struggle to get out of bed, to get moving, to run, and to workout. I may be annoyed I am only running a mile a day but 7 years ago, I was running nothing. I count that a blessing that at least now my streak has me"motivated" enough to keep it alive as I do not want depression to be the reason my streak ends.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for clear, blue skies.

Daily Bible Verse: I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33


Saint of the Month: St. Francis de Sales

Welcome to my first edition of the saint of the month blog posts to be hosted on Erica Gorman Fitness. If you have been following me for awhile, you know there is more to me than running and cross training. I am a mom, wife, and devote Catholic who is very grateful for God's love and mercy in my life. Just look at darling daughter --- she is the best gift ever that God gave me and the beginning of my return to faith and finding a better image of who God wants me to be. Out of gratitude for that, and to truly be who I am, I want to highlight a saint each month.

Honestly, I LOVE the saint stories as so many have struggled through life challenges that can be so similar to our own. They could have started out rough and crazy but ended up being named a saint! How cool is that?! To me it is a reminder that none of us are perfect and that is okay. Our imperfections can lead to amazing greatness.

Picture source
This month, let's highlight St. Francis de Sales.

His feast day is January 24th. St. Francis de Sales was born on August 21, 1587 and died on December 28, 1622. He was beatified by Pope Alexander VII on January 8, 1661, and canonized (also by Pope Alexander VII) on April 19, 1665.

But who was he?

A son of a noble family from Switzerland whose Dad wanted him to pursue a career in law or politics. However, St. Francis de Sales had a different idea. An idea tugged at his heart from a young age that he kept secret from his family. St. Francis de Sales wanted to be a priest.

But St. Francis was a "good son" and attended law school and received his degree in 1580 but y'all, when God has a plan, he can make it happen. After falling from a horse not once, not twice, but three times, and each time his sword leaving a shape of a cross on the ground, St. Francis de Sales followed his dream, and God's calling, to become a priest and was ordained in 1593.

His mission wasn't an easy one as he was trying to spread the love for the Catholic Church in the time of Protestant reformation in an area near Calvinist territory. People wouldn't talk to him so he talked and played with the children and lo and behold, parents starting talking and listening.

St. Francis de Sales provided lots of spiritual direction through letters and it is believed he led 40,000 people to the Catholic Church. Perhaps this is why he is considered the patron saint of Catholic writers, the Catholic press, journalists, those in adult education, and the deaf.

You can learn more about St. Francis de Sales HERE.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the work of many saints before us who have led the way showing us persistence and following your calling pays off.

Saintly Quote: Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself. ~ St. Francis de Sales

Daily Bible Verse: Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. ~ Psalm 37:7-9