Starting Over….again

Wow.  It has been over a year since I posted anything to this blog.  A lot has happened in the last year.  I sold my house.  I bought a new home that I love! I got a bit promotion at work that is exciting, and hard, and sometimes a little bit scary.  I started this calendar year out strong with some bold goals.  I have done really well with some and marginal with others.  Overall life is a whirlwind and for the most part I am enjoying every minute of it.

I am feeling a pull to post more–even if it is just journaling and no one but me reads it.  In fact, there are some reasons that would make knowing that no one else was ever going to read this even better.  Alas….I’m keeping the blog public.

When it comes to setting goals I have always had a structure in my mind that would indicate that there should be five categories of goals:  spiritual, physical, social, financial, educational.  I struggle with how to approach goal setting because there is a part of me that thinks that I need a goal in each of these categories.  Another part of me thinks that I should have two or three goals in each category.  What usually happens is that I set two or three in each category–none of them realistic–and then I fail.

I’m finding that to be one of the blessings and the curses of my personality type.  I have great ideas.  I think that so many things are possible.  I set my sights really high and set up a regimented protocol and then I either find that I have way overestimated what I am capable of doing (in that I have too many balls in the air) or I don’t have the resources or time available to complete my goals.  Or I just get bored and move on to the next best thing.

I started the year out with a goal to read the entire standard works (The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price).  I even found a great reading schedule on a blog and was doing a great job of keeping up with that schedule until TV was installed in my new house.  Then… 😦 Boo.  Hiss.

I have a goal to make some great progress on my debt.  As part of the plan for this, I invited one of my very good friends to move in and rent a few rooms from me.  She did.  For the most part it has been great.  She has a cute little cat who is a complete darling.  However, I have never been in a home with an indoor pet.  I knew that there would be things I would need to get used to.  But….I am really struggling with the things that come along with having a pet in the house.  This week has been a rough one in that I have asked my friend to find a new place to live.  I will miss so many things about having them here, but the most important thing is to retain our friendship and parting ways now is the best way to ensure that neither of us becomes resentful.  I am so blessed with and grateful for this good friend and the gracious manner in which she accepted my decision.  It means more to me than I will ever be able to express.  I love her!  This decision, however, has put a definite road block in my path to quick financial freedom.  I am having to take a step back now and reevaluate where I go from here.

I always have great plans for getting fit and losing weight.  I am signed up for a 5K in May and I have done a total of one day of training.  Yes.  I’m pretty sure I will be walking the whole thing.  I also signed up for a half-marathon in August.  Once again we are back to the pie-in-the-sky, I-can-do-everything girl I mentioned above.  What on earth makes me think that I, a 330 pound-5’4″-46-year-old woman will be anywhere near in shape enough to run a half-marathon at the end of the summer?  I am nuts!  I signed up to do a testimonial group at Freemotion Fitness that starts next week that could help me reach that goal.  However, in light of the recent change in my financial situation I may need to rethink that.  One day I hope to be free of wanting to get fit and lose weight and be in a place where I only have goals to maintain my weight and seek fitness for a particular athletic endeavor.

Last year I had a goal to be better about maintaining and nurturing relationships.  I believe I have done a good job at that but there is still some room to improve in that area. I need to set some minor goals in this area, but I think this is one area where I am doing pretty well.

So, my goal for this next week is to spend some time thinking about what I want to accomplish during the next six months, think about one or two realistic goals that will help me achieve those goals.  The main thing I will need to do is to remember to be realistic.  My focus needs to be on making sure I don’t set myself up for failure.  Make sure that I set goals that I can commit to without concern that I will get bored or feel too overwhelmed.

My plan is to stop back here in the next week to 10 days and talk about those plans moving forward.  Some ideas I am kicking around:

*Spiritual–very simple goals….an amount of time reading the scriptures daily….daily prayer….meeting attendance….temple attendance

*Physical–very simple goals…an amount of time exercising…honing in on my dietary beliefs…completing the races I have already signed up for.

*Financial–very simple goals…write a zero based budget every month…cash flow all of my expenses (read….no credit card use here),…even if I can manage that for the next six months I will be leaps and bounds ahead of where I am now.

*Social–very simple goals…make and accept social commitments thoughtfully and keep the commitments I make. I have a tendency to to want to do everything, feel overwhelmed, and then cancel on people.  I want to be more thoughtful about this so that people understand how much I truly value them and aren’t confused about that by having me cancel too often.

Educational….very simple goals.  I need to pick an area to study….just one or two…and make some time weekly to work on that. Things like Photography, Dressing Your Truth, home decorating, etc.



Hello! Is it me you’re looking for?

Hi all!  I couldn’t help myself.  Thinking about what to title this post I thought a simple hello might be best as it has been a while since I’ve written.  Of course, if you know me–at all–you know that if I ever hear a pause I frequently take the word before the pause and start singing.  And what is the first song that comes to mind when I say the word “hello” and then pause?  That’s right….a little Mr. Lionel Richie. 🙂 

Where was I?  Oh, that’s right.  HI! {waves enthusiastically while jumping up and down}

I’m still here.  February has been such a hectic month for me.  It started out by getting the flu the last few days of January which turned into a really bad cold and bronchitis.  I’m still dealing with fuzzy-feeling lungs, coughing a lot, and wanting to do nothing at all in the evenings besides lie in my bed.  Grrrrrr    Me No Likey!

I have lots of posts running around in my head.  You may have seen the pattern that I say that and then you never see them.  I’m hoping that won’t be the case this time–or at least not so much.  50% better?  Yes….I’ll aim for that 🙂  So….here are some possible upcoming things I may or may not want to talk about…

  • I’ve gained weight 😦
  • Life is short–the death of a loved one and the illness of a close friend have me thinking  a lot about my own mortality.  Am I living in a way that best reflects who I am what I stand for?  Do the people who are meaningful in my life know by my everyday interactions with them how much I value them?  And….other deep thoughts 🙂
  • Food.  Juice.  Smoothies.  How I love it all and I need to find a way to make the love work with the weight management or I’ll never ever ever get this conquered.
  • Money.  Like Emma said about Mr. Knightly, “I hate John!  I love John!”  Money is my Mr. Knightly.  We need to learn how to get along.
  • Photography–workshops I missed while I was sick, workshops coming up, being brave about trying to make a little side cash with my favorite hobby.
  • To garden or not to garden… mow my own lawn or stick with the service I bought last year (which I loved, but hate to pay for), to paint or not to paint what color to paint, to sell or to stay put and refinance.
  • The ABC’s of something…..still not sure what. 🙂

Anyway—there is always something on my mind.  I need to start being better about putting it here.  These things are always more fun when shared. 


January was Good to Me….

Sometimes a picture is worth more than words…


Big Goals–Small and Steady Means

For years now I’ve attacked this whole weight loss/fitness thing  with gusto!  An all-or-nothing approach, if you will.  I participated in several “ultimate loser” competitions at my gym that required strict calorie counting along with daily (sometimes twice daily) vigorous exercise.  I’ve dived in head first to several different “diets.”  All of these things have worked  for  a period of time.  And…I’ve found myself exhausted at some point and given up.

My current strategy is little by little, baby steps, managing one good habit at a time.  I’ve had a really hard time being specific about long-term goals because I know I have so much work to do on the small and every day.  But…..I want to put my big fitness goals out there.  So here goes….

I will lose a total of at least 190 pounds from my all time high.   My all-time high was 335.  I’m currently 313.  That means I have 22 pounds under my belt and at least 168 to go. (Incidentally, I was looking back at some data and the first “ultimate loser” I did, my starting weight was 313–I need to make it stick this time).  My hope is to lose 10 pounds per month.  I should be able to do 10 pounds per month.  If I can do that, I’ll be where I want to be in as little as 17 months.  On some levels that seems like a long time, but I started that first ultimate loser about 84 months ago, so….not really 🙂

Fitness level is even more important to me than what is on the scale.  And, over the past 7 years, my faith in my ability to achieve and maintain a healthy fitness level has been undermined by poor health.  I fear this the most.  AND  I need to kick FEAR out of my life.  It may take longer than I want, but I can be fit!  In a perfect world, I would be ready to participate in a half-marathon by fall (even if I just walk it).  So, I’m setting my goals on this one:  Minnetonka Marathon.  That gives me 8 full months to get ready.  Certainly I can pull it off!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m approaching things one by one, step by step.  My first step was to quit my habit of drinking diet soda by the gallon.  I quit on December 6.  I’ve had a few swallows since that time, but only in an attempt to verify (which I did) that I no longer want or need soda in my life.  YAY!

My next step was to cut animal products out of my diet.  The impetus for this is the dairy allergy I discovered several months ago.  I like dairy way more than I like meat.  And, I seem to do better at staying away from the dairy when I stay away from the meat.  It makes it more difficult for me to justify something at the fast food drive through because a lot of their plant based options are just boring and yucky!  I did great with this for 11 days, then I had a few days of struggling.  I’m back at it now and more convinced than ever that I feel better and my body operates better without a large amount of meat and with no dairy.  While I’m striving to be plant-based for three months, I don’t know that I’ll be strictly plant-based after that.  Time will tell.

The next two things I want to tack are exercise and sleep.  I think I may try them together because I think they lend themselves to each other well.  More exercise should certainly improve my sleep and more sleep should help out the will to exercise.   So, starting today I pledge to put in at least 30 minutes of physical activity 6 days per week and to be in bed with the tv/lights off no later than 11 (hopefully I can work into this being 10, but its a start).  Once I have this down, I’ll move onto something new.  Hopefully it will move me in a direction that will help me reach my goals.




I’ve been thinking about and trying to get back to blogging regularly.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, this blog is a conglomeration of my content on three different blogs.  I started out blogging about trying to lose weight and get fit at  One night in a fit of frustration I pushed the “delete” button.  I’ve regretted it.  Since then I’ve blogged with two other friends after we auditioned for The Biggest Loser.  I’ve pulled my posts from that blog into this one so that I don’t lose them.  That blog hasn’t been active for a year.  Then I started this blog with the plan of including my weight loss efforts along with my progress in getting out of debt and any other thing that it is important to my life.  Still, something didn’t feel right and I started yet another blog.  But….I soon realized that I liked this one best, so they are all incorporated here.

And….right now here is a mess.  I’ll be tidying up and making it more organized and easy to follow over the next three weeks.

I’ll be blogging about lots of things, but weight loss and fitness is definitely at the top of my priority list right now.

My friend Shannon recently invited me to get back into blogging and to join a facebook support group of sorts.  We are now on week three and here I am doing my initial post.  Normally being that far behind the curve would really have me in a tizzy.  However, my overall theme for 2013 for each of the areas of my life that I’m working on is INCREMENTAL PROGRESS.  I don’t have to be perfect to start.  I don’t have to keep up with everyone else or any standard other than I need to be moving forward.  Baby steps if you will.  Or layers.  My hope is that by adding one or two good healthy habits at a time and work exclusively on them until they are a habit will help me to solidify them and also make less room for the bad habits by adding so many layers of good ones over time that I have no more room for the bad habits in my life.

One of the things I hear all the time is that you have to know your “why.”  Why do I want to lose weight?  Why do I want to be free of debt? Why do I want to shore up  my spiritual strength? Why do I want to work on developing my talents? There is a related but distinctly different “why” for each.  Hopefully over the next weeks and months I’ll be able to articulate them appropriately.  I’ll start with my “why” for weight loss/fitness today.

I feel a bit like Peter Pan sometimes…..not really aware of my age or station in life.  I think it has finally hit me that I’m not twenty-something any more.  I watch people that I love struggle with their health and ability to get around and it breaks my heart.  Life is harder for them than it needs to be because of choices they made when they were my age.  Sadly, in comparison, I’m a lot farther down that path than they were at my age.  Something needs to change now.  Also, I’ve recently had to come to terms with the fact that I will likely never have children of my own.  That is seriously the only thing I’ve wanted since I was a little girl.  It hasn’t been easy to process.  But, I don’t want to give up on the possibility of one day finding a fabulous man to share my life with. And I want to be able to experience life and go and do things with those surrogate children in my life.  I want to be around for their weddings and their children.  I want to reinvigorate the athlete that I used to be.  I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So, here I am.  Starting over.  Still 180 pounds overweight.  60 pounds up from the last attempt.  But I’m here.  And I’m trying.

A Farewell to Credit Cards

Hi.  I’m Teresa.  And….apparently I am addicted to credit cards.  I didn’t realize it was as bad as I have recently found out it is.  As you know, I’ve been taking Financial Peace University.

Well….I may or may not have been asked to cut up a credit card in class.

….I may or may not have thought that would be a good idea.

…..AND I may or may not have dug that credit card out of my wallet the very next day to purchase concert tickets.

Ok……I did do all of the above.  And you know what?  I am amazed at how many times I reach for that silly card to purchase an even sillier item.  I am able to see so much clearly now how often I would justify a purchase that was not at all necessary and whip the old plastic out to take care of it.

Sadly, I confessed my weak moment at the next class.

Several weeks later when the scissors made another appearance, one of the other ladies in the class made a statement, teasingly I believe, that stung just a little bit.  Something about not pulling out HER credit card to use if after if was cut up. SMH 🙂  I laughed it off, of course, but I have to admit…it stung.  Even just a little bit.

I went home that night and annihilated every credit card in sight.  When I was done it looked like this:

card shards

That’s a lot of shards.  I carried this baggie around for a few weeks.  But, I can’t carry them around forever and I still want to remember.  They have found a permanent home.  Here:


A lovely vase my friend made for me with the word “create” inscribed on it.  How perfect.  By cutting up these cards and taking charge of my money I am putting myself in a position to create the life I want to live.  To create wealth. To create the ability to give. To create the ability to feel good about my spending.  So now….they live here:

card vase

Pardon my dust . . .

I’ve been a bit of an “all-over-the-place” blogger.  First I had a blog called that I deleted one night in a bout of poor decision making.  A decision I regretted almost immediately.  Then I blogged with some friends who were trying to lose weight at fatbegone  That sort of petered out and I was the only one really posting.  I decided to move on and have my own blog and one where I could talk about more things than just my attempts to lose weight.  There is, after all, so much more to me than how much I weigh.  So I started  Like the form blog (fatbegonegirls) I just didn’t feel like the title of the blog really represented what I wanted it to.  Fatbegonegirls played too much to the negative, in my opinion, at least in the title.  I wanted to focus more on the benefits of having the fat gone, but having the word “fat” in the title just never really resonated with me.  Teresatakescharge, on the other hand, felt a little too bossy and self-centered.

In all of this blog creating and trying to hone my voice and what that voice wanted to be saying, I still hadn’t found quite the right niche.  So, here I am again, trying to evolve something that will be really representative of me….the whole me…and what I value….and what I believe.

I don’t believe I’m there yet.  But…I do believe I’m getting closer.

One of the things I learned from deleting the initial blog is that I want to keep the old posts around.  I learn from them.  They are a part of my story.  So….I’m merging them.  I’ve already pulled teresatakescharge into this blog.  Later this week I’ll be pulling my posts from fatbegonegirls in.

I have a vision but it is going to take a few weeks to pull it all together.  So please, bear with me, until I can unpack and get organized.  Hopefully soon there will be more of a flow to things.


A New Life Goal

I’m writing this because I want to remember how I feel today. I’m not writing this post to brag or pat myself on the back.  I’m simply recording it because I know from past experience that there will be a day, sometime in the future, where I might need to be reminded of how I feel today so that I can stay on the path of this new goal/characteristic/person I want to become.

I want to be a giver.  I want to put myself in a position where I can look at those around me and provide something they need or even just share something I love with them because I know it will make them happy. Let me tell you why….

As I have mentioned before, I’ve been taking Financial Peace University. This week was our last lesson.  The topic?  Giving. And, as often is the case, I got the opportunity to put what I learned into practice almost immediately. I’ve been taught about the importance of sharing what we have since I was little. My parents have been and continue to be great examples of giving.  I’ve always believed in tithing and doing what I could to take care of the poor.

I’ve never thought of myself as not being generous, but I know that I haven’t sought opportunities to give as often as I could. I won’t go into details about the gift (except to say that it wasn’t a large value monetarily), or the recipients, or why it was not the easiest thing for me to do.  However, how I felt–immediately upon making the decision–is something that I hope never leaves me.  And…it was more fun for me to share this one item than to use it myself.  It is hard to put into words how happy I felt when it was all said and done.

I have a new purpose for wanting to be financially sound. I want to be in a position to feel like I do today–every day. To know that I can bless and help others along the way. I’m even more motivated to get out of debt now and make my life about sharing what I have with those around me.

November Goals

I know this blog is supposed to be more about just doing something than about the planning.  But….some amount of planning is a good thing.  If you don’t have a map or directions or a plan, sometimes you end up spinning your wheels.  My purpose in starting JUST BEGIN is not to necessarily do away with all of the planning, but to plan wisely and focus more of my efforts on putting my plans into action.

With that in mind I have developed a few simple goals for November—at least one for each area of my life that I want to work on.  Some are simple things that I want to do on a daily basis to improve consistency.  Others are things that I want to work toward completing once or twice during the month.

I will be better about making consistent forward progress if I make my goals known.  Seriously—some of these may seem silly, but . . . that should only matter to me, right?  And I say it doesn’t matter.  Sometimes we need help with the simple and seemingly silly things in our lives.


–          Read ½ of  the Book of Mormon by focusing on 30-45 minutes daily (yes…big goal is read it through by end of year)

–          Attend the temple 2x in November (schedule it now!)

–          Continue with my goals to develop consistent daily meaningful habit of prayer


–          Daily consistent exercise

–          Starch based diet – no animal products (and, BTW, NO DIET COKE!)

–          Brush/floss every day (what can I say—I hate to floss)


–          On-time every day

–          No fb or personal e-mail @ work

–          Pray for and work towards having better focus and being a better employee


–          Keep house tidy every day (dishes, bathroom counter, clothes in the hamper, bed made, etc.)

–          Deep clean weekly

–          Get the yard cleaned up and ready for winter


–          Make a budget

–          Stick to the budget (following what I learned in FPU) (limit eating out to 2 lunches and 1 dinner)

–          absolutely no purchases on credit


–          Take Nicole’s Classes Photo 101, do all of the homework, and HAVE FUN!

–          Finish editing T&M’s family photos by 5/4/2012


Wish me luck….although, I don’t really need it as I have decided to JUST BEGIN and I WILL get this done! J  Cheers!


I believe in God.  I believe in the power of prayer.  And yet I frequently find myself struggling with being consistent in my prayers.  I always have a prayer, of sorts, in my heart; but when it comes to the daily act of kneeling and conversing freely with my creator I find that I struggle.

I struggle to find the right words.

I struggle to feel worthy of such in intimate connection with deity amid my daily struggles to do and be.

I struggle with distractions.

And, I’m ashamed to say it, sometimes I struggle the attitude of a petulant child.

I am reminded of a lesson taught in Relief Society several years ago about prayer that has returned to my conscious recently.  The following passages from the Bible Dictionary struck a chord:

1.  “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship.”

I’m sure that the main cause of my difficulty in consistent, heart-felt, earnest prayer stems from forgetting my relationship with God.  He is my father and truly wants what is best for me.  I love the scripture in Matthew referenced above–particularly verses 9-11, which read: “9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask abread, will he give him a stone?  10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  11 If ye then, abeing evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

My parents are awesome.  I have never–for even a day–doubted their love for me.  I know now, just as I did when I was a very small child, that they wanted to give me their very best and that they would do everything in their power to help me get what I asked for if it was in my best interest.  Why would God not be the same?  And, if He is who this scripture describes him to be (and I believe he is), then why should a consistent pattern of prayer be such a struggle for me?

2. “Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.”

This statement from the Bible Dictionary has really made me think over the years.  Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence….what a powerful statement of the purpose of prayer.  My thoughts lately have focused a lot on wanting to find out what God would have me do with my life.  What is my purpose?  Do I have a mission to fulfill?  Certainly there has to be a higher purpose to my life than simply moving from one day to the next.  Being reminded of this statement further emphasizes my need to JUST BEGIN a daily, consistent communication with my Father in Heaven.

It is also a great reminder that there are blessings that God is willing and ready to provide if I would only ask.

3. And finally, “Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”

Prayer requires some effort on our part.  It isn’t going to necessarily be easy–until, as stated in #1 above, I come to really realize and understand my relationship with God.  I like how in #1 it states that once we do thisthen at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part.”  That is my goal.

So…as is the purpose of this Blog…tonight I will take a step in this direction.