Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Weightloss Trifecta

Hi Friends,

Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read my musings.

I have been struggling with my ride on the wagon.  I keep falling off, and can't seem to keep my place.  In losing my place, I lost myself.  I couldn't quite figure out why I couldn't get back on the wagon I had come to know and love so well.  Then it dawned on my that I was pushing out a very important part of my healthy lifestyle equation.  Support and Accountability.  I had always had this, but stopped tapping into this resource when I needed it most.  I have amazing people in my life who lift me up and keep me going.  I turned my back on them.  Also, I stopped being accountable with myself, by doing the research and self development that was helping me keep my head in the game. 

When I first started losing weight, I found that keeping myself educated on various topics helped keep me accountable and pushing towards my weightloss goals.  Building on what I learned the week before helped me keep on track, break through plateaus, and understand how what I was doing effected my body.

Ultimately, this feeds into the other two parts of what keep me on track.  The two attributes that I have the most control over.  That is my diet and exercise.  I realized this when I was really digging into my soul to understand how I had gained almost all of the weight back.  I need these three things all the time in some capacity in my life to maintain my health.  I call it my Weightloss Trifecta.

I actually got to the point of where I was neglecting all three areas of my weightloss trifecta.  I let my kids rule my life.  I couldn't figure out how to manage their schedules and mine.  I got tired of making two meals.  I had a lot of excuses.  But, the bottom line is, that I got in my own way. 

I have gotten better about controlling my diet.  Now, I am reaching out and working with my support system.  I will be using this platform to help inform you of the topics I am researching.  And lastly, I will be scheduling work outs to ensure I get it in and posting pics to social media.  So it is exercise and accountability all in one :)

Where I really beat myself up with all of this is over the fact that as a Beachbody coach, I have my trifecta at my finger tips.  I have work out programs paired with nutrition and a network of people who support me.  We run challenge groups to engage people just like me and you who want to take control of their health.

Where do you struggle?  What can you use more help with?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Taking Care of You

With school in session, I am really feeling the effects of being a working parent.  There is the rushing out of work, picking the kids up from after school care, running them to xyz activity, and trying to squeeze in homework, dinner, and some quality time together and time for myself.  I do not think this feeling is unique to a single parent, either.  I hear it from women who are married with children.  They discuss how their husbands take one child to xyz and they take the other to abc.  It shows that it just isn't adults who are busy - kids are too!

But, let's talk about what this does to parents...SERIOUSLY.

Do you ever feel like you lost yourself since you have had your children?
Do you ever wonder when you will have time to _____ (something good for yourself)?
Do you ever wonder how on earth you are keeping it all together and if/when you are going to drop a ball?
Or, have you dropped so many you have lost count?

My intent, tonight, is write about the importance of self care and what that means to you and your children. 

I stopped working out.   I stopped planning out meals for the week.  I stopped eating healthy most of the time.  I stopped drinking enough water each day.  I stopped taking care of myself. 

These were things I that I had down to a science in my life.  And slowly, I gave them up.   I realize, I have deviated so far from where I was.  Now, I feel like I am really struggling to get back on track.    And I believe I struggle, because I am wondering about why, when, who, what, and where did this happen.  I obsess over it, instead of doing what I know I need to do.  That is stop giving a flip whys, whens, whos, whats, and wheres.  It is grabbing onto the reigns that I had a grip on before and kicking the horse to get him to gallop. 

The truth is that these young humans we are raising are watching us and learning from us.  They see our cues and those get programmed into their minds.  Sure, I can't get them to eat broccoli, but if they see me consistently eat it they will come around.  Them not seeing me exercise sends a message that it is not important.  They want to be like us.  That in itself should make it important for you to take care of yourself.  Then, your children will learn good habits to take into their adulthood. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Giving Up

How did I get derailed from my path to happiness and my ideal life?

Divorce, new job, mass layoffs at new job, and maybe some dating.

Divorce stinks.  Divorce is the worst thing I have gone through.  My marriage crumbling away was frustrating.  I tried to keep it together.  Now, maybe I didn't got about keeping my marriage intact in the best way.  I know I didn't.  I enabled my ex- husband, myself, and our relationship to take the course it did.  Never did I speak up, address him, or take action clearly enough to steer the marriage back on the right course.  You see, I did probably the worst thing.  I tried to fix it on my own.  I didn't seek input from my ex on what we needed to do to right the ship.  If he gave input I shut him down or out.  In my defense, the last few years of our marriage I didn't feel like I had a partner.  I felt like our relationship had morphed into roommates.  And, at the very end, I felt more like his mother than his wife. 

I learned a lot from being married and divorced.  I learned how to be a better partner for future relationships.  I learned how to be vulnerable.  The vulnerability did not come easily.  It took two friends to pull that beast out of me.  You see, I was perfectly uncomfortably comfortable in my shell.  I was uncomfortable because, I felt alone and burdened.  I was comfortable, because no one could hurt me or judge me or break me there.  I didn't have to go through the discomfort of sharing my story and be pitied.

OK, I digressed a bit.  Back on track.  When my ex-husband move out (per my request).  We were in agreement on how everything was to be divided and parenting time with the kids.  I got a lawyer to draw it up.  In the meeting he was agreeable.  We agreed to split the costs of the children based on the percent of what we each make.  I made more, so I would pay more of their expenses.  She drew up the documents.  We proof read them separately, and he had some concerns over the wording.  I told him to tell me what words he wasn't happy with, and I would have them corrected. 

He ended up getting a lawyer.  Again, we rehashed everything.  Amended what he was not happy with.  Then, we waited forever to get finalized documents....only to find out his lawyer left the law firm.  She left the records of our case in disarray.  He came up with new demands.  Which lead us into mediation.  I walked out of mediation having to pay him child support, because he was making $13/hour doing construction.  Which is considerably less than I make.  Ironically, in my small hometown he could have gotten job in a factory making more.  I looked at the help wanted ads and found most construction jobs paid $20-25/hour.  We have joint custody. 

I gave up on myself, because I didn't have the budget to cover my monthly expenses with the added child support.  Especially, since I went from paying 70% of childcare to paying 100% of childcare.  I tried hard to live within my means.  I saw a financial counselor.  When she looked at my expenses, income, and compared it to a typical budget she came up with that I should have a $700 a month deficit.  I didn't have that big of a deficit, because I cut corners where I could, looked for deals, or found creative ways to budget.

Seeing that in a budget format, in black and white...was a big blow to my mojo.  And the deficit would have been worse had I stayed at my previous job. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Establishing my "Why"

What is your why? is a question that gets asked a lot in the BeachBody community.  I have to dig back to myself from January 1st 2012 when I first really committed to getting healthy.  In the past I did it half heartedly.  I joined Weight Watchers, because I was:
  • sick of being unhappy
  • not liking my reflection in the mirror
  • not being able to buy clothes that I thought were cute
  • deeply contemplating what kind of legacy I wanted to leave my daughters
  • not able to keep up with my daughters
  • not living my ideal life
As I look at each of these points I think:
  • What is happiness to me?
  • What do I want my relfection to look like?
  • Where do I want to shop?
  • What do I want my daughters to learn from me?
  • What do I need to do to keep up with my daughters?
  • What is my ideal life?

What is happiness to me?  Feeling free from debt.  Having minimal stress.  Living life to the fullest.  Feeling at home in my home.  Being comfortable in my skin.

What do I want my reflection to look like?  Like this chick from my class reunion in Sept of 2013.  I am totally loving those calves.  Those calves are the result of a good diet and exercise.

Where do I want to shop?  I would love to walk by any store in the mall, walk in, try on the cute number in the window, and it look good on me.  I also want the budget to purchase the cute clothes...yes, this goes against some minimalistic principals, but more on that later.  But, what can I say, I really like looking good.  I don't care how superficial that sounds.

What do I want my daughters to learn from me?  I want them to learn that their body is the only one that they have.  They need to take care of it by fueling it with wholesome foods and getting enough exercise.

What do I need to do to keep up with my daughters?  I don't want to be the mom sitting on the sidelines.  I want to be engaged and involved in their lives.  We have so much more fun playing than we do sitting on the couch.  I want them to learn inner strength, perseverance, love, compassion, and kindness from me.

What is my ideal life?  My ideal life is one where I am not struggling to hold it all together.  I have enough income to cover my bills, save some, and have some for having fun.  I don't have debt; well, maybe a mortgage.  I have a healthy diet and do a lot of from scratch cooking.  I have time to exercise.  I love myself.  I work to live.  I spend time with my daughters.  I feel safe and secure.  I am calm. 

OK, so I was well on my way to achieving that, and now you are wondering what happened....

Well, there is more to come.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lost Identity

I have lost my identity.  I am not talking about my social security number or credit card information.  I am talking about how in the midst of motherhood I gave up bits of who I was here and there.  I didn't have a problem with this at the time.  I loved the nurturing my daughters into who they are becoming.  But, now that they are becoming more and more independent I am realizing that I need to evolve myself as a person and a mother.

I realized that I lost myself as I was going through my initial weight loss journey and my ex-husband and my separation and divorce process.  As I tried to submerse myself in social situations, I felt a bit awkward.  I didn't feel like I had a lot to add to conversations.  It was especially awkward in situations were the majority of the other people did not have kids, because I found my conversations revolving around my kids or I couldn't relate to being able to do what I want when I wanted.

It really hit home when someone at work mentioned that he really felt got to know my kids through working on a project with me. At first I was offended.  I wondered if the people around me didn't think I had any depth.  Did they enjoy being around me, or did I bore them?  I immediately tried coming up with ways where I could transform myself to be more than a single working mom.

That is how I came to realize that I had lost myself again.  I couldn't remember the last time I worked out or really did something for myself (within my own interests).  I was waiting.  But, I didn't know what I was waiting for.  Slowly, I came to realize I was waiting for directions on how I should be living my life.  The realization didn't make any sense to me, because I wasn't the type of person who could be easily defined by the norm.

In my process, I came to some good conclusions.  I enjoy being the mother to my children.  I enjoy experiencing new things with them, watching them grow and develop, and being proud of their accomplishments.  I never lost any ability to do the hobbies I enjoyed in the past.  It is that those hobbies just look different now.  And, as I embark on the next chapters of my life I cannot wait to see how my interests continue to evolve.  But, I also have to keep in mind what MY vision of my life is and the things I want to focus on: improving myself physically, mentally, spiritually; working towards financial freedom, raising my family, enjoying time with my friends, and spending time exploring new places, things, and ideas.

Monday, May 25, 2015


When I was in Weight Watchers, the leader of my meeting would say, "Would you say, 'If I can do it, anyone can do it?''  This was usually in response to someone reaching a milestone or goal.  I had exceeded my goal.  Then, what happened?

Excuses happened.  They were my out.  My way of surrendering responsibility.  It just wasn't to my health.  It was to my whole self. 

These were some of the things I have been thinking and saying:
  • I don't have time.
  • I am a single mom.
  • I don't have money for ________. 
  • My kids won't eat what I make. 
  • I am tired.
  • I deserve a treat.
  • It is just easier this way.
  • I just want to relax when the girls are with their dad.

I was going over notes from some books I read, videos I watched, and BeachBody team calls I listened to that I have acquired in the past 10 months.  Most of them had the underlying message that anyone can succeed if he/she has belief in himself/herself.  I had believed in myself enough to lose a lot of weight, but somewhere along the line I realized that I stopped believing and caring.  I just surrendered to my world around me. 

My friends will tell you that I am a fighter, a survivor, an inspiration.  But lately, I haven't been much of those things.  And, it is because I gave up.  Why?  Because, I somehow developed the victim mindset and that won over my belief in myself.  How can I change this mindset?  I can surround myself with people who uplift me.  I can read, listen, and sumerse myself in personal development.  I can work out.  I can eat healthier foods.  I can work harder.  In short, I can focus and work on myself.

I can dispel my excuses.  I have time to work out.  I have work outs on DVDs that are about 30 minutes. I can meal plan (which will get healthier foods into my house and save my budget).  I can prep my foods (making healthier foods readily available).  I can lead by example for my kiddos.  And as far as being tired...if I was doing the above, I wouldn't be tired!  These are all things that I believed I could do before, and therefore I can do them again. 

This brings me to the idea of change and behavior modification.  I feel that in all of these different messages I have come across there is an underlying theme of fear and change.  It isn't necessarily that one is afraid of gaining good health, but they are focused on what they have to give up.  I found some of those in my excuses.  I know that having sweets in the house is going to be kryptonite to my weight loss.  But I keep buying it "for the kids".  What is going to happen if I stop buying sweets?  Well, there will be some tantrums, but eventually they will get over it.  They will see me eating well, using fruit to curb my sweet tooth, and not be reliant on treats. After a few or more tantrums, I will be stronger in many ways, I will have lost the fat that took up residence in my abdomen region, and I will have shown my kids that we do not need dessert after every meal.

I can do this.  I believe I will do this.  What is something that you believe you can do or are struggling to do?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Overwhelm

Last week, I opened up about my struggle to get my head in the healthy lifestyle game.  This week, I did do better.  I spent time listening to my favorite personal development/growth podcasts and reflecting to understand what is really going on with me.  I realized that I am disconnected from myself.  I got to a mental place of where I am just getting through the day.   I know in order to move on from this island of mental funk, I need to reconnect myself with the April who lost 60 pounds before. 

I know I can't just jump in again with both feet.  I kept trying that, and getting the same results or worse.  My life was seeming really chaotic and full of obligations.  Obligations to my fulltime job, to my children, to my dog, to my friends, to my boyfriend, to fill in the blank.  I started putting myself on the back burner.  I am not doggin' on any of the above things.  I made the choice to prioritize my life in the way that I did, and it overwhelmed me. And, it feels good to understand how I was coping with the overwhelm.

Now, I really can't ignore the all of the crazy elements of my life.  I need my job.  My kids are not independent enough to not have me involved with their lives.  Until, my dog can open doors and feed and water herself; I have to be available for her as well.  My friends and boyfriend are understanding that I am juggling a lot.  My boyfriend is also a single parent, so he more than understands.  Then there are other things that keep coming up.  And, I need to come up with a plan on how I need to deal with them.

When I first saw Chalene Johnson through one of her infomercials (probably for TurboKick), I thought she was not my cup of tea.  I had known people who had success with her programs, and was reluctant to try them.  I once took a TurboKick class at the Y on accident.  The instructor for the class I intended to take was out, and the sub didn't know the routines for the format of said class.  I didn't die in TurboKick.  I wasn't running back to take the class anytime soon.  I heard people at the Y talk about how inspirational Chalene is and blah, blah, blah.  Then, I got PiYo.  (I miss PiYo...but more on that later)  It made me fall in love (not amore, but like/love).  She is so encouraging.  She teaches in a way that I don't feel like I am doing a DVD.  I feel like she is going to come out of the screen and reposition me if my form is bad.

I got PiYo when I signed on to be a BeachBody Coach.  I needed a program that was low impact, because I live in a second floor apartment.  I didn't want to disturb my neighbors with a lot of jumping around (cue House of Pain's "Jump Around").  Anyway, in my BeachBody coaching network, a lot of my fellow coaches were talking about Chalene's book, Push, her Podcast, and following her on social network.  They seemed to get a lot inspiration from this woman.  I submitted to peer pressure, and decided to check her out.  I started listening to her podcasts.

In several of her podcasts she talks about how she has designed her life.  How her life revolves around how she wants to feel.  My personal take, is that no one wants to feel overwhelmed.  Life happens and he get stuck on the hamster wheel.  We run and run and run and feel like we are going no where.  What kind of life is this?  My current lifestyle does not feel like I am fulfilling my purpose.  She encourages you to take a hard look at everything you are doing in your day.  Is what you are doing each day getting you closer to your goals?

  • Are my jobs getting me closer to my goals?  Yes and no.  I love my fulltime job.  The past two months have been challenging.  BeachBody got put on the back burner, but it is what is going to get me closer to my health goals and fulfill my "bucket" of helping others.
  • Do my children get me closer to my goals?  Of course they do, because they are my purpose; my drive.
  • Does Dazie get my closer to my goals?  Yes, she brings peace and comfort to my life.  When things get really cray-cray it is so relaxing to pet and snuggle her.  I do talk to her, and it is nice to vent with out feedback and advice from time to time.
  • Do my friends and boyfriend get me closer to my goals?  They do!  They are there cheering me on. 
  • Does the fill in the blank get me closer to my goals?  I would say, "Most of the time, no."  These are things I do out of obligation.  My dear friend asking me to do a 5K - yes that helps me get closer to my health and fitness goals. 
Since, the fill in the blank is not getting me closer to my goals, I will be doing that a lot less.  I need to prioritize myself.  I need to plan and work my plan.  My plan are the plans I used to make to support my goals - meal plan, work out plan, plan how I am going to spend my time, etc. 

OK, I know you noticed that I didn't mention anything about my family outside of my kiddos.  That is because that is nonnegotiable.  They live 2 1/2 or more hours away, and if I am with them - I am with them. 

Do you have the courage to jump off the hamster wheel and blaze your path?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

180 to 360: The (un)Transformation Story

I have thought about writing this post for weeks.  And I struggled and still am struggling getting words to form sentences that will make sense to anyone who is not in my head.  But, It is important that I tell you about my 360* transformation.

In 2012, I made lifestyle changes to lose weight and improve my health.  I weighed 208 pounds.  I worked hard to slowly improve the lifestyle of me and then my family.  I got down to 147 pounds.  I had made a complete 180* transformation with my health and lifestyle.  I was very strategic in making one lifestyle change at a time.  I would work on it for a couple of weeks and incorporate or layer in something else.

Today, I weigh 181 pounds.  Seriously, what the fudge happened?  How did I get back to where I almost started?  (Now, you are questioning my street cred.  Trust me, I have been, too.)

I noticed my scale creeping up.  My clothes weren't fitting anymore.  Seriously, what the fudge happened?  The answer isn't profound.  I don't have an underlying physical health issue causing me to gain weight.  I stopped meal planning and prepping.  I stopped exercising.  I stopped feeling like I had control over my life.  Yes, I know that I do not need to control every single detail of my life. 

The pictures above you thing should be swapped, but they are in chronological order.  The one on the left is 2 years ago...and the one on the right about 3 weeks ago.


 Well, let's recap what happened since I hit my goal weight (150#): my marriage came to an end, I had to adjust to single parenting/co-parenting, I gave up my gym membership,  I moved, I started a new job, my divorce was finalized, and I ran into financial issues.  This all caused me to lose focus on my health, physically and mentally.

OK, so I had a lot going on...but that is no excuse.  And, I am very ashamed of myself, because I have always truly had the control my food, drink, and exercise.  You may think I am being hard on myself, but I am not.  I am not, because I am the one to blame for this transformation.  Just like I was responsible for losing 61 pounds.  No one told me what to eat or not eat and what exercises to do when I was losing weight.  That was all me.  No one forced me to stop meal planning and prepping or exercising.  Again, all me. 

About a year ago, I was talking to a friend about how I was gaining late.  She was quick to blame a friend who I had been hanging out with.  We would go out for a bite to eat and drinks about once a week. He never forced me to order fries or cocktails.  That was what I ordered. 

Recently, we were talking about it again.  She was quick to say that I am gaining because of my new love.  He has very little to do with the weight I have gained in the past two months.  If anything, he is encouraging and supportive of a healthy lifestyle, because that is his goal too.

So, what am I going to do to turn another 180*?  I am going to take back control.  First, the girls (my daughters) are going to have to suck up and eat what I make for meals.  We need to dial in the convenience foods (going out to eat and kiddie foods).  I need to plan and prep healthful meals for my family and me.  I need to exercise daily.  I have the tools through Beachbody to do this - support, encouragement, and health programs.  Just as I am a coach to others, I have a coach and a network of awesome coaches to help me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baked chicken, baby potatoes, and green beans

I was intrigued by this recipe that kept showing up in my newsfeed on Facebook.  I was intrigued because it looked simple and healthy.  As a single mother, two of the most important things regarding mealtime for my daughters and I are that it is simple and healthy.  I would say the most important would be that the kids like it and don't complain.

I did not save, share, bookmark, or pin this recipe.  But, I did remember that it was chicken, potatoes, and green beans in a baking dish.  If I couldn't find it on the interwebs, I couldn't be that hard to try to figure it out.  I trusted my very knowledgeable friend, Google, to point me in the right direction.  Google did not steer me wrong.  I found the recipe in a millisecond.  The original recipe asked for a stick of butter and a few other ingredients that I did not have on hand.  I had to make a few modifications.  Also, I just enough to feed the kiddos and me plus enough for lunch.

What you need:
  • Oven
  • 9x13 Baking Dish
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken Breasts (I used 3)
  • Washed and Quartered Baby Red Potatoes
  • Frozen Green Beans
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Mozzarella Cheese (optional)
  • Foil

What you should or could  do:
  1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
  2. Spray baking dish with olive oil.
  3. Place chicken in middle of baking dish.
  4. Assemble potatoes and green beans on either side of the chicken.
  5. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  6. Sprinkle cheese on chicken breasts (optional).
  7. Cover top of baking dish with aluminum foil.
  8. Place in preheated oven.
  9. Wait for about an hour.  Check Facebook, read my blog, work out, or help your kids with their homework.
  10. Remove from oven.
  11. Remove foil.
  12. Serve on plates.
  13. Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2015

21 Day Fix 2/3rds review

I am 2/3 of the way through the 21 Day Fix. I have not followed the program to a T, and have seen some results. This has done two things for me:

It lets me know that the changes this are sustainable. Maintenance will not be a problem, because I know there will be times in my life that I will want/need to indulge in temptation.

Motivates me for round 2! What motivates you to keep going, like seeing progress!?

Here are some of my overall thoughts on the program:

I have tried various ways of meal planning in my past. I didn't stick with those. Or found ways to end up at ____ restaurant or fast food joint. But, seriously sitting down and planning out and prepping the food my family and I are going to eat for the week is actually a time and money saver. Yes, it takes a few hours out of my Sunday afternoon, but come Thursday when my brain is mush and making another decision is about as difficult as brain surgery, it is so very nice to not have to think about or decide what to come up with for dinner. And, I have saved some cash, because we/I did not dine out.

My energy levels are up. The reasoning behind the color coded containers is to make sure you are getting all the vital vitamins, minerals, and macro-nutrients you need to sustain your health and put you on track to lose weight. I noticed that when I eat food that is not “fix approved” I feel slow,sluggish, bloated, or overall gross. Eating according to the food plan, I feel vibrant.

I am also enjoying a better quality of sleep. Even on nights where I don't get the amount of sleep I would like, I still wake up feeling rested.

With the girls activities, it is still easy to fit in exercise. Each day, there is a 30 minute work out. Really, it is 40 with the time it takes me to change in to my work out clothes, and drive to the gym and check the kids into daycare walk out into the living room, push play, and get my work out on. I can tell my body is firming up too! My jeans are fitting better.

I personally, am going to take a week "off" before I start round two!  Let me know if you are interested in joining me on my adventure!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Quick Intro

I think there comes a time in everybody's life where they think, “How the _____ did I get here?” It is particularly disheartening when you think you have been doing everything right or when you know the hand you were dealt was stacked against you the whole time. I have asked myself the “How the ____” question a lot through out my life. And, there are instances where I know in my heart that I did everything “right”. There are also instances where I was put into a tough situations. In either case, I could have handled it in a way that (in the long run) I would not have been proud of myself, but it would have been easier to say or do something potentially damaging.

Rough patches seem to be a common theme in my life: from my birth to my current situation. It is not always easy to stay positive or even want to continue working/moving forward with my head up. I find ways to push through my negative experiences, even when it feels like I am digging closer to rock bottom rather than climbing out. There have been times where I have felt all alone in whatever I was dealing with, and other times where I felt I had a huge army of support. In many of these situations, I believe that I cannot possibly be the only one who is dealing with this. There has to be someone else out there in a similar boat. Or maybe, if I am pioneering this problem, someone can learn from me or know that he/she is not alone.

One night a few months ago, I spontaneously asked a friend to meet me for dinner. He is a single dad having primary physical custody of two sons. I am a single mom of two daughters (my ex-husband and I have joint custody). Our kids were being kids, and we were talking about the struggles and stigmas of being divorced, single parenting, working full-time, etc. We manage to interject humor through out the conversation. We got on the subject of winning the lottery. My reply was something to the extent of I would buy a house (still in my community), travel during the summers, work part-time. He on the other hand, said that he would find away to give and work for the less fortunate. It was so touching, and says a lot about this man's character. 

When we got home, I got the girls and myself to bed, and continued to think about what he said. I felt sort of selfish in my response of only doing for my daughters and myself. I thought about the struggles and injustices we discussed earlier in the night. I thought about how far I had come in my journey, and the times I felt discouraged. In the times of discouragement, I couldn't find the resources I needed to get me through. I had this friend and a few others point me in a few directions, but it took a lot of work for me to unearth the tools and resources I needed to get me on the path I wanted to be on. In that moment, I knew I had to do something. Something to help people who can relate to my story.