Anticipating the Thaw

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, are not from the U.S., or have no access to outside news, you know that the better part of the East Coast has been dealing with way sub-freezing temperatures, snow, and ice.  Even Florida saw wintry weather, and they almost never get yucky winter weather!  Here in coastal North Carolina, we got ice and snow.  That in and of itself isn’t really remarkable; it’s certainly not the first snowstorm we’ve gotten since we’ve lived here.  A layer of ice then snow usually brings some widespread power outages – around 24 hours of no electricity and quality family time.  This is followed by a day of full sun and 55 degrees to bring on the melting.

That didn’t happen this time.  We got a little icy precipitation and we were supposed to get 1-3″ of snow.  We got more like 6″ of snow.  And we have yet to see temperatures climb to 40, let alone the coveted 55.

snow picture
A section of our backyard on Thursday morning.

On the plus side, we didn’t lose electricity, for which we are grateful.  This snow has been hanging out since Wednesday night, and it was beautiful.  Thursday, it was brutally cold and we enjoyed some time playing in it.  Friday was still very cold, and the girls enjoyed throwing snowballs at the house.  Today, colder still.  Tomorrow promises more of the same, and lows are staying in the teens, so the ice isn’t going away very quickly.  But… Monday’s coming!

As I looked at the weather forecast on my phone and felt the delirious excitement of what’s to come, I remembered this episode of Northern Exposure.  You may remember this dramedy from the early 90s about a young New York doctor sent to a small town of quirky residents in Alaska to help pay off his med school loan.  In this one particular episode, as the days begin to get longer, the residents are excited and planning a huge celebration.  At last, the long darkness of winter is over!

That’s me as I think about this coming week.  The temperatures will rise and the snow will melt completely.  I will be free to leave our property safely to run errands and take care of business for the first time since New Year’s Day.  I’m almost giddy with excitement!  Me, who spent so much time in December bemoaning how busy I was with all the running around!  I get to run errands and spend over an hour in grueling torment at Dance2Fit.  Yes, it’ll be glorious!

The week has brought ministers snow surfing; teens, kids, and adults playing in snow; snow people; snow angels; snowball fights; widely impassible roads; and many school and business closures.  Even our church is planning its first web-worship, live on Facebook.  It’s also brought salty waves kissing snow-laden beaches and eerily desolate footprints on an empty, snowy pier.  The week made a liar out of me again, as I’d told my oldest when we moved down here that we probably wouldn’t see snow much anymore.

These are the trials and joys of living at the beach.  Snow here is pretty unusual, so the excitement of “just a snow day” ramps up exponentially.  But just like spring’s rains and summer’s heat, too much of a good thing makes it less of a good thing, and we’re ready for the thaw and the promised 70 degrees of later this week.

The time stuck inside being warm has made it easy for me to move on my soap restocking.  Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to see what we’re brewing up that’s new and awesome.  And I’d love for you to join our Facebook group for the first peek at new products and the first tidbits of news from Coastal Carolina Soap Co.


Thankful for the Healthy Coastal Lifestyle

About 13 1/2 months ago, I set out on a new health improvement regimen with four specific goals in mind:

  1. Lose 50 pounds.
  2. Improve my knee health.
  3. Prepare my body for mission trips.
  4. Be able to wear my favorite velvet choker again.

The rebrand of last year and the beginning of my new health goals that came just a few months later led my business in ways I couldn’t have even conceived when I was sitting up in bed late at night, legal pad on my knees, scribbling away at ideas.  No longer was my brand just about enjoying the beach with every bath, but it became instead how you can enjoy this beach life with us as I invited you along on beach trips, the ups and downs (and bruises and road rash) of getting fit, and how we eat in our healthy coastal lifestyle.

So, here it is, over a year later.  How did I do?  Pretty well, but I’m not done, yet.  I haven’t yet lost 50 pounds.  I’ve lost 22 pounds and a LOT of inches.  My knees feel awesome!  The aggravation in my left knee from trying to be active with too much weight on it is gone, and my compromised right knee is doing just fine.  In fact, my knees made it through two soccer seasons with no brace and just the very occasional use of NSAIDs.  Back in May, I had the opportunity to go on my first mission trip since starting this journey.  My dad was concerned that all the walking would stress my knees, leaving me unfit for the real work, but I was fine after some light stretches each evening.  And today…  This morning, I took a few moments and tried on my beloved choker, discovering to my delight that it fits again.

The past year saw some frustrations as I tried to get the rest of the family on board with my goals.  However, it didn’t take more than a few months – OK, somewhere between a “few” and “several” – for my other half to stop preparing 900-calorie dinners on his nights to cook.  On the other hand, it also saw me learning how to cook tasty, filling meals that weren’t horrendously laden with calories.  I also got stuck on a plateau.  The same weight for MONTHS!  Oh my gosh, that drove me crazy!  It’s only been in the past month that I’ve broken that plateau and continued dropping.  But, oh, the joy!  The joy of trying on jeans that are one size smaller than I had been wearing (and hiking up all the time) and instructing my poor, beleaguered daughter to “take these and see if there’s a pair smaller.”  Then there is the delightful hilarity of modeling those jeans and appreciating how well they hug in all the right places.  There may have been singing and dancing involved in the appreciation.

After the fall soccer season ended, I wanted to do something to keep that activity up.  Nothing beats running up and down a football pitch with a dozen littles for burning calories!  Our church offers aerobics once a week, so I decided to take advantage of it.  This is what last week’s class looked like on my fitness app.

Sweet! 500 calories burned in just 48 minutes!

Aerobics has become fellowship time as we talk through the workouts.  Some walks present holy moments with one of my daughters, usually the younger.  Other walks clear my head and help me be more creative.  Today’s, for example, gave me space for some crazy poetry writing, as well as drafting this article.  Everything I do for me ultimately benefits my family and my business, as well.

I’m so thankful for this journey, because it has helped me get healthier, helped me be able to enjoy the beach more, helped my business grow, and helped my family.  On top of that, it’s also made it possible for me to meet several new people and get to know many others better.  I’m thankful that you, my customers, have willingly traversed this road with me, and I hope we continue to grow in healthiness and all that brings with it.  After all, what good is living the beach life if we’re not in shape to enjoy it?

You are invited to continue to follow my progress as I continue to push to that 50-pound mark.  I’ll be posting new winning recipes as I discover them and grumbling grunting sharing what’s new in my workouts.  (My aerobics instructor is talking “steps” for January, and I think half my Christmas list is from Dick’s.)  And just… Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.