This is the year my passion for reading has returned. I never lost my love of books, but have simply allowed other distractions to get in the way over the past couple of years. I have a pretty substantial library of books just waiting to be read, so I thought I'd update every so often on my progress.

I recently finished reading Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. If you are a NS fan, you'll no doubt love this. True to his style, it is the perfect blend of romance and drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You just might even cry, although I didn't. I did get a lump in my throat though.


A couple of days ago, I started reading Marriage on the Rock by Jimmy Evans. I'm almost halfway through it and am already so inspired to work harder at my marriage and at being the spouse I was designed to be. Thanks to this book, I'm reminding myself daily that my desire for acceptance and love can only be filled by God and it's not fair to put those expectations on my husband or anyone else. No one can love me the way God can, and once I'm secure in my place with Him, I will be equipped with all I need to be the best wife I can possibly be. I will be encouraging my husband to read it when I'm done.


Next month, I'm starting up a Bible study with a group of girlfriends. So I'll be reading the books we bought for those as well as another Nicholas Sparks book next month.

Here's to being a bookworm!


.my new lifestyle: a week in.

I have been practicing healthier living for exactly a week now.

A week ago, I went to the grocery store and bought a ton of healthy foods, like whole grain wheat bread products, fresh fruits and veggies and zero candy/sweets.

It was the most fun I've ever had shopping because it was a new way for me to shop, a challenge and I truly felt like I was taking ownership of this life, this body God gave me.

Another thing I have taken ownership of is my time and how I spend it. I feel like I have been utilizing my free time much more productively. Instead of vegging out for 3 hours after work, I now exercise first thing after getting home, take a shower, do any necessary cleaning, and THEN allow myself to watch a DVR'd show. And you know what? I enjoy my down-time so much more now. I don't have to feel guilty about vegging b/c I know I've already taken care of the important stuff.

I have worked out 5 of the past 7 days, and if you know me at all, you know this is huge! My confidence is already growing, even if it's not evident to others yet. I have this secret that strangers that pass me in public don't know: I am taking care of myself. I am on a mission to be the best version of myself that I've ever been. I'm going to have abs -- killer abs that drive my husband crazy. I'm going to have muscle tone that makes me feel skinny even if I don't have a tan (b/c we all know we feel thinner when we have a tan).

Nope, not all of my goals pertain to simply being healthier. Some of them are purely selfish and vain. I want to be THAT girl that people pin pictures of with tag lines like "my goal." I want to look and feel like a rock star.

While I'm only a week in, it's only the beginning.

To aid me in this process of counting calories and keeping track of my progress, I am utilizing a few different tools:

+ My Fitness Pal. It's an IPhone app that gets you set up with your personal calorie count limit, based on your current weight, goal weight, and the rate at which you would like to see the lbs come off. You log in everything you eat (and it even has a bar code scanner for super quick entry of calories), and log in your work-outs. You can follow friends and leave each other encouraging comments too. (martylou83 <---That's me!)

+ A Fitness Journal. I have one of the old-school black and white composition notebooks that I use to write out my beginning measurements, work-outs and keep a log of how certain work-outs made me feel, how many reps I did, etc so that I can look back and see how my strength/endurance has progressed. I plan on measuring myself once a month to keep track of inches as I lose them.

+ My sister. My sister and I each compiled a document of "skinny" pictures of ourselves and emailed them to each other. We randomly text each other one of these pictures, with a reminder (and visual motivation) to work out.

The goal is to stay enthusiastic and motivated. And to drink more water. And to not beat myself up if I don't do as good one day as I did the day before.

And on the day that I reach my goal, to be able to look back, be proud, and know that I accomplished something important that I set my mind to do.