Hello! I’m Ana, a mother and homemaker from Alaska.
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Ana White
January 22 2013

It's been quite a cold dark winter up here in Alaska, yet again.  I feel like every winter the weatherman says that this is the coldest winter in sixty years.  

Even being from Alaska, it's hard to cope with the cold and the dark.  Several years ago, we as a family decided to take a winter break each and ever winter, as a health and happiness investment.  Some years, we really can't afford it.  Some years, we really don't have the time. But we stop and take a break to refresh and renew, stock up on vitamin D, regardless of our responsibilities.

Our favorite island is Maui for two reasons: there's a direct flight from Alaska and Maui is very family friendly.  

And on all of our past trips to Hawaii - and most days of this trip - we spend our time playing freeze tag in the kiddie pool or boogie boarding and making sandcastles on the beach.  We love to spend our vacation time together as a family.

But this trip, the Ram and I decided to take a day long car ride around the southern part of Maui and "take the road to Hana."  We've been wanting to go to Hana for years, but haven't wanted to take kids on the winding narrow roads, in the car all day, when they could be splashing in a pool or at the beach.

We left early in the morning, spending a couple of hours driving across the island to the start of the road to Hana.  I was stressed that we would not have enough time to make the journey around the island and be back in time for dinner plans.

The road is a two lane slow one, giving us ample excuses to sight see as we went along.  I was content to just relax and stay on the road, focused on getting home in time to make our dinner plans.

But the Ram insisted that we pull over when he made out a barely there trail through a patch of boulders.  

I was sure we were heading to a "break" area in the woods.

But was pleasantly surprised to find a waterfall flowing into a pool below.

As I watched the water flow down the waterfall into the quiet pool, restful despite the waterfall, I thought, even water takes a break once in a while.

Back in the car, we made our way to Hana, ate breakfast, and filled the car up.  Then we had to make a decision.  Should we turn around and go back the way we came, or should we venture on, along the one lane dirt roads, and circle the island?

We put our trust in the road ahead.

And trekked onward.

This was by far the most beautiful part of the road for me.

We have a life we love, but each little farm beckoned to me, calling me, saying, come live a simple life up here in the upcountry.  

Spend your days picking fruit and selling in a roadside stand to happy travelers, hungry to not just see, but to taste the beautiful countryside.

But then the road started getting rougher, 

And we started wondering if we should turn around.

They say this road is about the journey, not the destination.  And I started thinking why is it that the most beautiful parts of your journey are always the toughest?  Why is it always a one lane rocky cliffside road when life is at it's best, a six lane freeway when there's nothing to see?  

Maybe life is telling us to slow down not just for the dangerous curve ahead.

But to slow down and see the beautiful curve ahead.

And sometimes, when you start feeling stiff and tired from riding along on this journey, life is telling you to take a break and stretch, to get out of the car.

What you may miss tomorrow because you took the time today is always a trade off.  

But sometimes, stopping to take a break and be in the moment, not just passing through it, can inspire and refresh you.

This life we have is a wonderful one, and we are very thankful for each moment.  But sometimes, taking a break, getting out to smell the fresh air and feel the breeze, is just what we need to appreciate our life more and face new days with fresh optimism.

Find out where that muddy road goes.

It may lead nowhere.

And it may lead here.

The closer you get, the lighter your load becomes.

And you'll appreciate the destination so much more for the journey that brought you there.

We are happy to be home and are feeling refreshed and renewed, already working hard, if not harder, again.  Hope you stop and take a break on your journey as well. There's always a flower to smell or a snowflake to taste along the way.

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Ana White
January 12 2013

Did you start the New Year with the best of intentions, swearing this is the year that you would finally get and stay healthy? Did you do your best for a week, ten days, and then finally give in for just one bite of dessert … that turned into eating the entire fridge? And did you promise yourself tomorrow you’d get back on track … only tomorrow hasn’t quite come?

Remember that this is not just a battle you are fighting. You are waging a war that will last the rest of your life, with your health on the line. Each time you get offered a dessert, walk down the chips aisle, pass the ice cream stand, you are being challenged. And sometimes, you are going to lose the battle. But that doesn't mean the war is over or lost. I always say to myself that today is the first day of the rest of my life. Keep fighting!

The older I got, and the happier and more fulfilled I became, I found it harder and harder to stay healthy and fit. I know this is because losing a few vanity pounds just wasn't important enough for me to fight for. In order for me to get healthy, I had to have a deeper, more meaningful reason. Here’s my ten reasons why I am committed to a healthy lifestyle.

1. Do it for the Kids - ever heard someone say “Oh, she’s naturally thin/healthy/energetic/etc, just look at her mom!” Well, I know there are a few lucky people out there who really are naturally “healthy” and can eat junk food without gaining weight or feeling yuck (we’ll get to whether or not they are truly lucky in a bit) but I believe it’s not just the genes that are passed down, but more importantly the lifestyle habits. And with mom sharing the same genes as you, there’s a good chance she has firsthand experience on what foods you should and should not eat to feel your best.

Funny things is, now we are the Moms. Figure your body out and eat healthy so you can pass down your good habits to your kids. Someday, you can smile when you hear someone say about your kids, “Oh, she’s naturally fit, just look at her Mom!”

2. You Control Your Family’s Diet - If you are a Mom like me (or Dad), not only are you setting an example for your family, you are controlling what is eaten by your family. If you are eating junk, your family is probably eating it too. I find my family would rather get used to eating my way than have to cook for themselves. You are the mom (or dad), you rule the kitchen. You have power over everything consumed by your children. With great power comes great responsibility - cook and eat good, and your family will too!

3. You are So Lucky! - Ever look at a skinny person eating a big mac and fries and feel a tiny bit jealous? You’ve got it all wrong, they should be jealous of you! You are blessed with a body that forces you to eat healthy. When I first realized that I could no longer eat many of the foods I loved, I felt cheated. But after a year of replacing sugar, grains, and starch with fruits and vegetables, I feel lucky that my body forces me to eat healthy. I’m already looking back and thinking I ate 300 apples instead of 300 candy bars just last year! And that’s just changing up one snack! Be grateful that you have a body that tells you to eat better - in 10, 20, 30 or more years, you’ll be even more thankful!

4. Make a Happier Home - Every heard the saying if Mama’s happy, everyone’s happy? I think it is true! As a stay at home mom who is at home all day, I set the mood for our home and family. Eating healthy and getting a little exercise every day has a tremendous effect on my mood an ability to manage stress. When I’m happy, everyone is happy. Be healthy for a happier home for your family!

5. Eat Healthy for Your Country - Yep, I think being healthy is patriotic! You already know that rising health care costs are a major concern for our country. But what if we all did our part and just got a little tiny bit healthier? If we all needed less prescription drugs, less doctor visits, if we all did what we could to prevent diabetes, cancer, obesity - to name a few - what would that do for our country? If kids and happiness aren’t enough, get healthy for our country!

6. Shed the Sweats - Just because you are a Mom doesn’t mean you still can’t look great! Now losing a few vanity pounds was never inspiring enough for me to stay on a diet, but it certainly is a nice silver lining to a healthy lifestyle. I found when I gained those twenty pounds, I hid out, refused to let anyone take pictures of me, and wore sweats. Does this sound familiar?

Now that I’m back down to my healthy weight, I’m excited about doing things and look forward to looking nice. Getting healthy gave me the confidence and pride in my appearance to shed the sweats and open up to the world.
And the Ram isn’t complaining either!

7. Potato Sacks are Cheap- I also find the better health I’m in - and I’m not just talking about pounds, let’s not forget pimples and dull hair and tired looking skin - the less money and time I have to spend on things like clothes and makeup. Seriously, a potato sack is cheaper than $300 designer jeans priced to flatter. Be the mom who people say “She could make a potato sack look good!”

Uh, did I really just tell you to shed the sweats and put a potato sack on?

8. Get More Done - As a mom myself, I know how busy things can be. It may seem at first like having to prepare all these healthy meals and exercise requires time that you don’t have. But look around at the healthy people in your life and tell me, if that’s really true, then why the heck do healthy people get so much done? Here’s the secret: being healthy will give you so much energy, you won’t be able to sit still!

But you have to invest time upfront to get to the point where you feel great. At first you might feel a little tired as your body adjusts and you might even go through withdrawals for sugar and starch. Just be patient with your body - I promise, when you get healthy and start feeling good, you will have more energy and you will get more done.

9. It’s Cheaper - The biggest myth about eating healthy is it’s more expensive. I’m going to argue that eating healthy is less expensive at both the grocery store today and in the long run. For example, a McDonald’s fast food dinner for four could cost on average $28. A roasted chicken with steamed broccoli to feed four will cost about $14 - half the cost! Water from a filter at home is cheaper than soda. Black coffee is cheaper than a latte. An apple is cheaper than a bag of Doritos. And when you say no to things like desert, well, free is always cheaper.

And that’s just the short term cost. Don’t get me started on the long term cost of being unhealthy: Things like having less energy, increased medical bills (Someone pays for medical insurance, even if you are covered, guess who that is? Yep, you.), lost work, and missed opportunities. Be cheap - eat healthy!

10. Be Healthy for You - But most importantly, be healthy for you. You’ve just got this one life to live, make it a rich, full, long one, full of energy and laughter. Be happy and healthy, with the energy to live out your dreams. Our lives are too short to waste on a headache or hiding out in sweats! Be healthy so you can be your best self and live your best life!

And PS - the better you feel, the more time you’ll have to build!

Why do you want to get healthy? Are you already healthy? How do you stay inspired?

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