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#igot5onit99 | Day5, Birthday Edition!

I’m on my way outta town to celebrate my birthday and cross something off of my “bucket list.”

We are going to see a live orchestra & I am thankful to have this opportunity. To be honest, nothing about this day went as planned and there were serious moments of frustration. I went to bed around 2am, woke up late, rushed in the morning, got picked up late after work, left 3 hours later than planned… but all those things are trivial.

When I think about having a home full of caring people and positivity. Having relatively good health and the resources to get closer to that everyday, such as this challenge! My co-workers surprising me with lunch, my mother watching my daughter for free and spending quality time teaching and supporting her development. Having the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with my fiance, something that has been in limited supply since our daughter arrived.

On top of that, I have an amazing support system in my personal growth and development both from a fitness and business perspective.

So, I was able to turn the frustration into acceptance and enjoy my last hour with baby girl before we headed out! It can be too easy to forget the blessings when focused on a little hiccup that is designed to teach a lesson. I am thankful to have an easygoing and level headed partner that reminds me to chill the Fuddruckers out and that everything is o.k.!

In other news…

We are going to get my favorite Ethiopian food tonight and I am too stoked, it has been a while! I will show you all pictures on another post ūüėĀ

Today was a success 1.19.18 = Complete

Totals:

50 push-ups

50 squats

25 plank rotations

25 seconds holding yoga pose

25 minutes of deep breathing


>>Respectfully submitted & Extra Thankful for another Year! << ~Mai

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#igot5onit99 | Day#4

Today was a very cloudy and cool day and I wonder if it contributed to my level of sluggishness?¬† Well today’s exercises went well, except I noticed (maybe also due to the weather), I have been feeling my left knee a lot more lately.¬† I have been slacking on getting that physical therapy appointment confirmed – let’s add that to the list of things to do …soon-ish…¬†¬†

I have had this feeling lately that there is going to be a huge event happen in my life and I cannot tell if it is going to be (immediately) positive or challenging (delayed positivity), so I am just trying to go about my day and focus on the present.¬† Not focusing on any of that at this moment in time because I am only putting positive things out in the atmosphere in the form of gratitude for having successfully completed 31 years as of early tomorrow morning.¬† When I was just a child, I never understood why adults always commented on “how time flies” because back then, time always seemed to go pretty slowly.¬†

Fast forward to today at work.¬† The office manager was playing music, and a song that I recalled hearing almost DAILY while we were swimming in the summertime came on.¬† It brought me back instantly.¬† The overly bleached water, closing my nostrils with my fingers and jumping into a back flip in the pool.¬† When did that song come out? Oh, just 1997! Has 21 years already passed since then? After a lively conversation about time, the past, genres of music, I just sat there captivated by the flooded memories of my “youth.”¬† I cannot believe how it seemed like that was just a blink ago – while at the same time memories of instances that seemed like they would never end (being in trouble, eating veggies, being sick) too populated the cranium.¬†¬†

Well, here’s to another beautiful day with the family and an opportunity to take a quick nap before jumping on trip preparations.

.:.zzz.:.zzz.:.zzz.:.zzz

Progress | 1.18.18 = Completed!

Biggest struggle: Waking up today! I just kept on pressing that snooze button.

I am feeling: Tired and behind in packing and getting ready for this trip.

Totals after day 4/99:

  1. 40 push-ups
  2. 40 squats
  3. 20 plank rotations
  4. 20 seconds holding the firefly pose (Tittibhasana)
  5. 20 minutes of deep breathing

Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<<   ~Mai

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Ink on Trees

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Current Reads | Jan.2018

I have a mini-goal to read 1 book a month.¬† I see my daughter go through 20 books a day (granted, she is not reading them all, simply turning the pages, but still…). I told myself, I HAVE to do better.¬† And the thing about it, I really enjoy reading & do not know why I got away from it.¬† Literally, as I type this, who comes running into the room and puts a book on my lap?

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Well, I started out strong this month and have gotten carried away with other goals, but I am going to finish this one! I am on page 99 of 201 of the book, “Efuru” (pictured at top).¬† It reminds me how important it is to travel and immerse yourself into other cultures to experience and learn.¬† I spent about a total of half a year in Meritah (known as Africa) and had I not had this point of reference, I could not visualize some of the imagery painted within the story:

“Please bring a better mat for the mudroom…”
“Nwosu broke the kola, took a piece and passed it to his wife…”

These passages and the remainder of the book, remind me of my times in Mertiah chewing on kola nut for different festivities and laying on the mat resting after a long trip, or finishing cleaning the kitchen after a meal, or before a ceremony.

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I look forward to more travels in the future and sharing my past travels.  Until then, I still have a couple more weeks to finish this book!

>>Respectfully submitted and Always thankful<<   ~Mai

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#igot5onit99 | Day#3

Solidifying the Habit!

According to this app that I recently started using (Fabulous¬†I think…) it speaks about making something a habit by completing the activity three days in a row.¬† I am very pleased to have had a successful third day at this challenge.¬† What’s even better, my family is right there alongside me (shoutout to Chelsea really staying on top of it!).¬† No but for real, the support & accountability is life changing.

Not only did I complete my #igot5onit99 challenge, I was able to finish off the last day of my free 1 week gym pass by destroying my legs.  To add insult to injury, you exit the building and have to travel DOWNSTAIRS to the parking lot.  When I tell you that jelly does nothing to describe the state of my legs, hopefully it is a better picture of where my body is at right now.  I think what put it over the top was the 4 sets of squat holds I did, but with a 10-15 lb medicine ball. Why?  Then, I also had to use the restroom, but why does this matter?  Oh right, because I squat & do not sit on public toilets.  So, in short РI feel accomplished & scared at the same time, will I be able to walk tomorrow? 

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Random Google image to show exercise…

I think a huge trial for me is going to be maintaining my daily challenge this weekend when I am out of town.¬† If anyone has any tips, I would LOVE to hear them.¬† Leaving out right outta work on Friday ūüôā

Today’s Workout:

I started with several minutes of biking as hard as I could pedal, then I did 4 sets of 8 reps on the machines pictured below.  I ended with the weighted wall squats (above) & deep stretching.

Another trend I have been noticing on the social media platform is this push towards not following people that make you feel less than, deflated, unmotivated, etc.¬† It is very curious how this seems to be trending (at least around my small bubble & close connections), because it is such a good opportunity to look at balance.¬† On one hand, no – you do not want to be obsessive about the next person, or rather, anyone outside of yourself and what is going on in their lives.¬† This is especially true when you realize that many people only post their “bests.”¬† Their best photo out of the 60+ they took.¬† The best meals they decided to make/eat that week.¬† The best time they had at a specific location / vacation.¬† But in reality, you do not know the “L’s” they took to get to that “best,” or even how truthful that “best” is.¬† Additionally, basing your feelings and actions on your perception of another’s facade (more often than not), is unhealthy and illogical.¬†

Alternatively, it is always good to find healthy ways to motivate yourself, and sometimes, for some people Рseeing others push themselves can be turned into motivation while they work on that intrinsic drive. It can serve as a reminder about what you could or should be doing.  It may make you want to tap into that thing you said you were going to do yesterday, last month, last year even.  Other times, it reminds you to reach out to them or provide a few words to motivate them, and in return, they may do the same for you when you need it. 

For me, I think I have been able to strike a good balance these days.¬† I have started to follow a few pages based on vegan / plant based nutrition, fitness pages, spirituality focused individuals, and truly following the growth of a few friends and family members whose stories, strength, and resolve motivate me.¬† I have also recruited a few people to join me & through this we are motivating one another with nutrition, fitness, and finances (nod to you Lahrell!).¬† I am far from my “best” and will keep my head down as I strive to seek it out.¬†¬†

Progress | 1.17.18 = Completed!

Biggest struggle: Trying to focus on being present in the activity instead of thinking about all of the things I needed to do before leaving to work.  I am feeling: Awesome, supported, motivated!

Totals after day 3/99:

  1. 30 push-ups
  2. 30 squats
  3. 15 plank rotations
  4. 15 seconds holding the firefly (Tittibhasana) pose
  5. 15 minutes of deep breathing

Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<<   ~Mai

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Me After today’s getting downstairs from the gym post-workout!
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#igot5onit99 | Day#2

I know it is a small feat, but day#2 was a success!  I was able to get going early this morning and take my time getting to and through the exercises and ready for the day.  I notice, that I have the most energy and vibrant thoughts earlier in the day between 10a Р1pm & I wish I did not have to go to a job during these hours, but instead, could focus this energy towards building my future.  I may have to start completing this blog earlier in the day, or take the time to wake up extra early to do it as soon as I complete my a.m. workout.  I just have so many great thoughts, ideas, and anecdotes that are lost by the time the work day is completed, I have driven home, prepped & cooked the meal, greeted my family, and start thinking about if we have everything we need for food tomorrow, & on & on.  I am still learning how to be o.k. with a few things not getting done around the home w/o stressing.

You know, they never talk about how difficult it is to carve out time for yourself as a woman caring for a family (no matter the size or composition…). It is not an easy task to be the “manager” & organizer of the home, teacher of the children, planner of the future & for future events, as well as working.¬† I truly thought that going from full-time to part-time would mean I could do finally have a clear “me time.”¬† Unfortunately, that is not true.¬† I can however, pick up 5 of the 7 things that I just could not get to working full time.¬† Now, by the end of the evening, I have completed about 85% of the things I needed to do & about 8% of the things I wanted to do.

Today, I was able to get a MUCH needed spa pedi & my eyebrows done – a luxury that I only gift myself once every 4 to 6 weeks.¬† I only made it to today’s appointment because we are going out of town this weekend to celebrate my 31 years in this life :).¬† I have recently seen an influx of stories surrounding the state of our health as it relates to support of family life from the government.¬† In contrast to quite a generous proportion of other societies, the U.S. is far behind in the support of family leave, paid leave for family bonding, maternity & paternity leave, support for new children, quality and available healthcare, child-centered laws & legislation as it relates to work and the public eye (breastfeeding, affordable childcare, etc.).¬† There is a very real lack of community support among neighbors & if this void was rewritten, growth on all fronts could be seen (in economics, diminishing crime, increased productivity, surge in productivity, a general decrease in malaise, disease, and the degenerate).¬†

If we all had it within us to take care of ourselves and assisting our neighbors, we can mend some of the tears of our societal fabric. It seems in every society, in every century, in every literary & philosophical corner of the globe, there is a recurring discourse that pushes each person to look inside of themselves and find the places that are dirty and clean them first.¬† In this way, you are doing the very best for the becoming of the society and world around you – by starting with introspection and the biggest threat to equilibrium in our lives… the monster within.¬† This is where I am at now… why I am writing this blog… why I am focusing on my personal growth an hour at a time… why I fasted… why I am recording these things for my future self to reflect on as necessary.¬† If another person along the way finds a word or two worth thinking about, that is koo also.

Progress | 1.16.18 = Completed

Biggest struggle: Just getting started.  I woke up this morning and just sat on my yoga mat for 15 minutes.  I am feeling: A little tired and have a bit of a headache, I have NOT been taking in enough water today. I need to get in at least 2 more cups before I call it a night!

Totals after day 2/99:

  1. 20 push-ups
  2. 20 squats
  3. 10 plank rotations
  4. 10 seconds holding the firefly (Tittibhasana) pose
  5. 10 minutes of deep breathing

>Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<<   ~Mai

Day2

 

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#igot5onit99 | Day#1

Premise

If you read my initial post about this – you have an idea of what this is about.  This is a new challenge I made up for myself, and successfully recruited 3 accountability partners.  Everyone is choosing their own spin on it – but the goal is the same: Complete (at least) a set of “5” everyday for 99 days.  It can be 5 total, 5 sets, 5 seconds, or even 5 minutes.  I am being joined by my fiance (shout out to my #1 supporter!) Nui, my baby sis (1st cousins) Janay, and my sister-in-love, Chelsea (shout out for already completing yours early this morning, keep it up!).

Personally

I have been wanting to get back active for a LONG time, but only recently through this 10-day fast which ended yesterday, have I been able to remove the mind block and just do it! I have chosen to begin very slowly, & sharing my struggles and progress to help keep me accountable and motivated.  So Nui, Janay, Chelsea – your participation is HUGE for me and I appreciate your love and support.  

I have chosen to do 5 different exercises that are very very simple & they will get elevated at the weeks go on, to make sure I am still pushing myself.  In my daily #igot5onit99 posts, I will share when I finished, the biggest struggle, how I feel, and the totals.  For reference, these are what I have chosen:

  1. 5×2 (10) Push Ups  Push ups
  2. 5×2 (10) Squatssquats
  3. 5 plank rotations (going from full plank to resting forearm planks and back up = 1) plank-1
  4. 5 seconds holding the firefly (Tittibhasana) pose 
  5. 5 minutes of deep breathing 

1.15.18 = Completed

Biggest struggle: Squats, still MAJORLY sore from leg day.  I am feeling: Sore all over, but motivated and excited to continue and see where it takes me!  I still have random back pains that come & goes as it pleases that I am always careful to listen to as I complete my structured sessions.

Totals after day 1/99:

  1. 10 pushups
  2. 10 squats
  3. 5 plank rotations
  4. 5 seconds holding the firefly (Tittibhasana) pose
  5. 5 minutes of deep breathing

Now, time to go prep dinner for the family and enjoy their company.  May your worries fall dormant, your minds embrace peace, and your body exude strength in all things.

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>Respectfully submitted<<   ~Mai

 

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End of the Fast | Day#10, made it!

Ten days.  

Wow, it has been  a couple of years since I fasted and it definitely is more than anything, a mental exercise on various levels.  For me personally, I dream more vividly & am able to focus akin to when I was in peak performance during my years as an athlete and honor student.  I am able to set clear goals and surpass my expectations every time.  Additionally, things are just much clearer for me to see and to understand.  I have also found, that things that I had focused on, thought about, and truly need are always brought to me, like extra bread when the basket is empty.  Well, not quite like that Рbut I think you understand.

This fast is something that may be part of many cultures, but is attached to the oldest traditional culture that all subsequent variants are derived.¬† Last year, I was unable to take part, because you do not fast when you are pregnant, sick, breastfeeding, or on your menstrual cycle.¬† ¬†Without getting too deep into the origins (on this post at least…), it is a time of reflection, lamentation, and to focus on cleansing yourself through your thoughts and actions alike.¬†

This fasting season, I took the opportunity to use it as something like a reset button for myself.  Getting back to a healthier place.  Getting back focused on my goals.  Getting back into better habits over the course of the day.  Getting back to doing things that are going to benefit myself, my family, and those around me.  In that respect, I think that this fasting period served these purposes very well, and I am pleased at how I have made necessary adjustments to orient myself towards these little victories.  

Moving Forwards…

I am now focusing my energies on being consistent with this blog for several reasons.  

  1. The benefit and beauty of being able to transcribe my thoughts is something that has been missed in recent years.  I have always found it very soothing to just memorialize my thoughts, and return on a later date to reflect on where I was at and see if I am still moving in the same directions, if I have fallen off, or if my direction is now more refined.
  2.  In so many ways, it serves as a catalyst to change.  Changing the way I engage in communication with others, meet other, share ideas, learn, and to also track my growth.  As I continue to walk the various legs of my overarching journey; through motherhood, marriage, health, and entrepreneurship, it is a means of keeping me accountable to myself.
  3. ¬†There are a couple of books that I have begun writing over the years, but I have not really been able to completely give myself to the process of writing and I think that is in part due to lack of “exercising” my writing muscles, if that makes sense.¬† Just like anything – the more often you do it, the more proficient you get, the more you understand it, the more confident you get, the more you engage, the more you grow.¬† I am here for that growth!

Ah yes… arm day.

Yes, I went to the gym this evening to get on my arms.  I got there pretty late and only had about 35 minutes before it closed for the day so I did not get to do quite as much as I would have liked, but I still did plenty.  Due to the time constraint, I allowed myself much less rest between sets than I normally would have.  So, here is to hoping I am able to function tomorrow with my legs still dead and my arms possibly falling off when I awake.  

I plan on taking before pictures in the next day or two; but I will not be posting them until I have made SOME progress.  I want to be able to say; oh this WAS how I looked and this is now.  Baby steps.  Not that there will be too huge of a transformation, I am already petite.  One thing I have to constantly tell people when they try to tell me I am already in good shape; there is a difference between being thin / skinny and being in shape.  I know how to dress my body and what is flattering to my unique shape Рbut I am not where I want to be health wise, which is first and foremost.  Secondly, I want to have the confidence of putting on that bathing suit in the summer and knowing I can stand confident in the discipline that etched out the body that is presented.  Yes, of course, I want to look good Рbut most importantly, I want to feel good.  For me, that comes from the strength of being disciplined & hard-working.

Funny thing happened today at the grocery store

In 2014 – I had a miscarriage (I lost a set of twins), and a few months after that I had a follow-up appointment with a family health doctor.¬† She reviewed my test results with me and let me know that unfortunately,¬† I would never be able to have children, and if I did happen to, it would not be naturally & she wanted to send me to a fertility specialist to see if I could be helped.¬† It was a miserable time for me as I wanted many children and a big family.¬† To add insult to injury, she was a solid 6-7 months pregnant herself at the time.¬† ¬†Fast forward to today, I had my baby girl shopping with me and I was turning to leave the store and a familiar face caught my eye.¬† Low and behold, it was the doctor that had given me this news.¬† I said something along the lines of “Hey… I think you were my doctor a couple years ago?…”¬† She turned and cocked her head slightly to the side and after a few brief moments she said; “Yeah… oh yea!¬† You kind of look familiar.”¬† A few seconds later, it hit her and her eyes got a little bigger, so I just smiled and said, “Yea, I see you had your baby, congratulations!”¬† She gestured at my baby as if to say you too, to which I replied, “Yea, and here is mine.”¬† Neither of us had to say anything, we both knew.¬† I wished her a great remainder of her evening and walked to my car.

It was a great opportunity for me to be thankful in that moment, because for a while, I did not think I would be a mother.  Humbling encounter and I am so thankful baby girl made it through.

>Humbly submitted & Always thankful<<   ~Mai

 

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The Aftermath

Saturday | Day#9 was pretty good, mostly because I woke up for the day around 1pm.¬† Yes, I woke up super late, so the waking time I was fasting was pretty slim.¬† So that struggle was more manageable.¬† But… these legs? The picture says it all…

We had our monthly sushi day with the family (cousins & siblings), so naturally over the course of the meal, I needed to relieve myself.¬† Something you should know about me is, I actually do not sit on ANYONE’s toilet outside of my own simply because I know how often and how well it it cleaned, and those so called seat protectors only go so far:

  • Depending on how deep the bowl is, too much pee, dropping the used toilet tissue, or if you should have to drop a deuce, can all have the unfortunate effect of back splash up to your sacred areas.¬† No thank you!
  • They are so flimsy, as you go to sit on top of it, some random bathroom “whoosh” of air could remove your set protector just as you were sitting, leaving your exposed underside to battle with the toilet grit.¬† No thank you!
  • There could be some unfriendly liquid situation (toilet splash, urine, diarrhea, blood, snot, or combination of the aforementioned), on the sides of the toilet, so putting the seat protector on that simply soaks up the liquid, which then still makes its way on your bare buttocks and backside.

Moral of the story is whenever I hit the public restroom, it is a quick 30-60 second workout where I squat low enough to get it all in, but high enough to not accidentally glide skin on the cold infested porcelain or be too close for a possible back splash.¬† I have been doing this for YEARS, even through my pregnancy (not easy…), so it is typically no problem.¬† Today though? PROBLEM.¬† When I tell you I felt my legs clench and I felt my body wanting to give out – I had never pushed out and wiped so fast in my life.¬† A split second later and I would not have made it.¬† I never felt more accomplished even after two degrees, making it to 30 with no legal record, and giving birth naturally with no medication after 36 grueling hours.¬† Well, that was an exaggeration – but you get my point.¬†

So, here is to another day, another work-out, another small feat, and to keep pushing – even when all odds are against you.

Toilet = 0 & Mai = 1

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>Respectfully & Humbly Submitted<<    ~Mai

legday

 

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Has me limping…

What?

First day back in the gym and it was definitely harder than I remembered.¬† Being on the eighth day of my fast contributed heavily to the difficulty, stress, and anxiety involved in getting my feet wet.¬† Besides that, it has been over two and a half years since I last stepped in the gym to maintain my athleticism.¬† Since then, I have given birth to my now emerging toddler.¬† Being athletic my entire life, I have enjoyed the luxury of stepping into any gym the first time & after a few moments of getting the lay of the land, feeling at home and getting to it.¬† ¬†Today was not one of those days…

 I had to fight through the anxiety of teaching myself over again how the machines work without looking like a complete novice.  I had to regain knowledge and confidence in how my body works, what my limits are, and what it needs from me.  The length of time between my workouts paired with fasting had me disconnected and more connected at the same time.  It was like that first 5 minutes of an encounter with someone you once called your bestie.  The comfort set in only after some nervous gestures and elongated pauses.

Too add to the complexity of this evening’s escapade, I have become so distant from my body that recently created & sustained life.¬† ¬† Weight bearing activities feel much more extreme because although I have circled back to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body is just… different.¬† How I walk, how I am proportioned, and even how my mind works are aspects that never reverted.¬† Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a beautiful thing and a blessing!¬† I only say this to paint a picture of all the ways the fit and confident athletic woman that once was me, is a simple memory tucked in the back of my mind where only I can still see.¬†¬†

On the next turn of the page, I am humbled and thankful that although much later than I anticipated, I DID IT! I STARTED! I GOT UP and I MOVED! I knew just how important it was to give my body a legitimate rest after having a child (it takes at least nine months to create a child we should give our bodies at least that long to HEAL).¬† This “snap back” fad is so detrimental, women are engaging in unhealthy actions too early for the sake of “getting back” without understanding your body does not ever go back.¬† It has transformed, it has done what it was designed to do – so you (including your body) will not be the same.¬†

[“Snap back rant” deleted]

But, I say all of this to say Рbaby is peeking around the corner of a year and a half, I have had the time I needed and I am past due to realign myself with my more active self.  Sure I pick her up thousands of times a day, run after her, lunge with her, carry her Рbut active with baby is not the same as accelerating your heartbeat and tearing tissue to rebuild it stronger than before.  With the fast ending on Sunday and my 99-day challenge beginning on Monday, I think I am stepping into this next phase more confidently & definitely, much more sore!

>Respectfully Submitted<<   ~Mai

 

 

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#igot5onit99

Challenge. Ready… Set.. GO

So, I figured out what the next challenge of mine will be!  After I finish this 10-day fast (concluding on Sunday 1.14.18) Рmy next challenge is gong to be a 99-day challenge.  The goal is to develop a habit of being active, even if only for mere moments everyday.  It is also so simple that it can be done anywhere and at any time.  

What is it?

Simply choosing one (or several) exercises and doing either 5 reps/sets, 5 seconds, or 5 minutes.  This can be a different exercise everyday or the same one(s) / combinations for the duration of the challenge.  I am going to be doing the same group of exercises each day so that I can see the progress over time.  I will be posting updated / photos from start to finish for my own accountability and to reflect back on.  I will probably do an ultimate time-lapse photo every 9 days as well. 

Why 9?

Well, 9 is my favorite number ūüôā

I thought about a slightly variant of this challenge earlier Рbut it relies on the continual participation of multiple people to be effective, so I figured this is a good one to start with.  I am excited to jump start my road to recovery (I have been plagued with laziness & procrastination for the past 2.5 years).  I have so many goals that I am ready to step into and accomplish and I think this will assist in removing the final mental block.  ~Mai 

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Stepping into 31 flavors!

I am starting this blog simply and slowly.¬† I created this to be my own monitor of my growth as a mother, wife, friend, teacher, student, and human being.¬† I aim to learn, grow, share & hold myself accountable for where I am today and tomorrow – so I can smile upon my yesterdays.¬† Today is Day#6 of my 10-day fast & I am looking forward to where this journey leads me.¬† To all who are here reading this (especially you MaiMuna…) you are blessed beyond belief and I wish you good things in your path, discipline in your mind, and forgiveness in your heart.¬† ~Mai