January 2018 – Here we go!

Hello! It’s been a while and we are now right into 2018. How are those resolutions going? Most people I know have fallen right off the wagon and joking about how 2019 is going to be their year. In order to avoid such happenings, I took a different approach in making goals for the new year. I asked myself what 5 things I would like to have happen by 2019. I asked myself what 5 things I needed to be happy. Then I put those together in a list and thought about what would need to happen in order to achieve those 5 things. So wanna know my list? Here it is:

  1. To be healthier and fitter
  2. To write something (see my name on actually published pieces)
  3. To be more spiritual
  4. To be more financially secure
  5. To be in a happy and healthy relationship with a good guy.

So then I’ve gone through each of those things and made some notes about what needs to happen for those things to happen. For example, with number 1… “to be healthier and fitter” I do need to lose some weight and so I came up with a plan for that. I’m not making broad sweeping statements like: “absolutely no sugar or treats for the year and I must run at least 30 minutes a day, every single day of the year”.. but I have things like: follow the keto diet and workout 5 days a week, get back into running, eat out less.

With the second one: “to write something” well, I need to actually write something. I’ve been working on carving out time specifically for writing, because we all know that if one simply waits for the muse to arrive, one might be waiting a heck of a long time. So I’ve set goals that involve joining up with some fellow writers, trying to write a few minutes every day at least, get back to blogging, and have some early mornings or evenings dedicated to writing.

Thirdly: “to be more spiritual” is a bit more complicated but I do want to get closer to God this year, I want to start back with scripture memorization, and I want to find service opportunities in my church and community.

Fourth: “to be more financially secure”.. well that involves getting some savings going again, being smarter with purchases and then changing some habits. I seem to have adopted a strange stock piling mindset. I live like a woman who survived the depression. I need to only buy things when I need them. I live in a big city with lots of stores, so it’s not like I have to live without for more than 10 minutes if I run out of shampoo or dish detergent.

Fifth “to be in a happy relationship”… well that one is a little trickier because I’m only really responsible for 50% of that and these are things that I can’t exactly make happen on my own BUT I will try to make sure that good people know I am looking for a good man and I will try to put myself out there a little more… be more social and attend events where I could potentially meet someone. Yikes!

So the thing is– my goals are long term and involve making good choices day after day. I have adopted the mindset of thinking “will this take me closer to or further from my goals?” That’s it really. I’m looking at 2018 as a year where I make conscious good choices day after day, week after week, month after month.

I also would really like to have a different set of goals next year… so here we go!

Happy 2018!


In which I ramble for quite a while about nothing too significant…

And it’s already mid November! Life has been super busy and continues to be so but I’m in the groove and just accepting that “this is what I do” or maybe this is just what real life is like. I used to give my parents a hard time for falling asleep during Friday night movies but now– I can barely make it through a 40 minute tv show! Yep, wild times around here!

So what do you do when you are stressed and just want to zone out? One of my favourite things to do is to go to Loft. It’s a gigantic store with floors and floors of things that I definitely don’t need but want. My favourite place is the ground floor where they have all the stationary. Pens, markers, stickers, notebooks, journals, notepaper… I went recently and so I’m all stocked up on the stationary front, in case you were wondering.

I’m heading to Singapore with some students on Monday morning. It will be really nice to be in a hot climate again and I am looking forward to the change of scenery. This is my fourth time leading this trip so I pretty much know what to expect. Long days and longer (but fun) nights. We’re taking more students this year so it may involve a little more micro managing than last year but it’s all good.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my job these days. I really have taken on too many things and am starting to feel like I’m not doing anything all that well. Sure, the things get done to an acceptable standard but I don’t feel like I’m doing anything with excellence. So I need to shift some things around and figure out what my main priorities are. I don’t want to be a person who can do a lot of things “okay”, I want to do a few things brilliantly.

Did I tell you I joined a gym? I did. Again. Sheesh! But this one is cheap for Japan, has a few cardio machines and lots of weights and is open 24 hours. In an ideal world I go running 3-4 mornings a week and hit the gym the other days. I am still working on this. I have been enjoying the whole weight lifting thing and they tell me that it’s really good for me so I’ll keep at it.

Lastly, I’m really trying to sleep better and cut back on my screen time so I invested in a real alarm clock. I’m trying not to take my phone to bed with me but sometimes it just sneaks into my bedroom. I am shocked by my dependence on that silly thing and probably need to do a social media fast again.

“Just the Highlights Please” – The September Edition

Really did mean to write a couple of proper posts but this month has been nothing short of a whirlwind and so– here’s hoping there will be some breathing time in October.

PROUD OF: Being able to maintain some amount of sanity amongst the craziness of the school year. It’s definitely been a hit-the-ground-running situation.. sometimes literally. So far I think I’m surviving and haven’t messed anything up too badly. So much of it is due to being able to spend time with God and asking Him to give me time and discipline to get things done. I love how He answers those prayers!

LETTING GO OF: Unhealthy choices. I have been working really hard at losing weight and getting fit and I’m realizing that I need to stop turning to food to ‘regulate or medicate’ myself when I’m feeling stressed or happy or sad or bored. I’m learning that it’s true that being and feeling healthy is a way better feeling than the feeling one gets after demolishing a pizza.

GRATEFUL FOR: My students. No matter what else is going on at work, it’s a happy thing to shut the classroom door and be able to teach and spend time with a great group of girls. They make me laugh even when they are driving me a bit crazy and I feel very fortunate to be part of their lives.

OBSESSED WITH: The 17 Day Diet. My friend and I are just about finished Cycle 1 and I’m really quite into it. At the beginning I thought that I would just try and hang in for the first cycle but it’s working and I’m back to being obsessed with taking care of myself. OK let me clarify that I do know that it’s possible that a diet obsession can actually become an unhealthy thing but work with me here. I have a long way to go before that becomes an issue. Right now I’m just really into making good choices and feeling good about my decisions.

EXCITED ABOUT: The Bible Study Fellowship group that I joined. I have never been part of BSF before and recently found myself part of a group here in Japan. It’s been great so far getting to know people outside of my work and having a group of women to study and share God’s truth with. I’m actually really enjoying the homework and my small group is pretty awesome!

COMMITTING TO: Reading more. It’s hard when the day is so long and I have lots of reading to do for my job but I really want to work on continuing to read my own things and not just for work. I like what happens to my thought-life when I have my head filled with words, words, words..



And so, that’s me for now. Still working away at the same things but also seeing some progress in some areas. October is looking to be busy but at the same time, I have some moments of quiet scheduled in there. And I must continue to remember what everyone who knows me knows is true: A busy J is a happy J.

“Just the Highlights Please” – The April Edition

This month is flying by! Spring is in the air and you can feel the excitement. Lots to do but summer break isn’t all that far away anymore!

PROUD OF: Getting better at my 4 hours a day plan. No this isn’t like a Tim Ferris thing… it’s more of a personal commitment to get on with becoming who I want to be. It involves: Running/working out for 1 hour a day, walking for 1 hour a day, reading for 1 hour a day, writing for 1 hour a day. I can’t say that I’ve had a string of successful 4 hours a day but I’m getting better at it and am much more focused.

GRATEFUL FOR: An unexpected visit from home. I had the opportunity to meet up with a couple from church from home and it was the most encouraging evening ever. It was so good to connect with home. There is also something incredibly comforting about spending time with people who have known me for longer than 2.5 years, know my family and know what I’m really all about. I felt very loved.

LETTING GO OF: work. I mean letting go of being upset by things that aren’t going quite right and people who aren’t acting quite the way I’d like them to be. I know that I can’t let work define me and I’m working on not letting a bad day there affect every area of my life. I’m learning to stop thinking about work when I get home and focusing on the other parts of my life. Balance baby!

OBSESSED WITH: Ingrid Michaelson’s new album – Light’s Out. This is good listening! It’s been on repeat for over a week and I can’t see that changing any time soon! Give yourself the gift of song and download it immediately.

EXCITED ABOUT: Next year. I just found out that a really good friend of mine was hired by the school for next year. I was feeling a little sad and lonely so this new news is just what I needed. It’ll be great to live in the same city again. More later… once she has announced it!

COMMITTING TO: Kissing Wheat goodbye. It seems like my nearest and dearest are all cutting out the stuff and I know that with my own eating.. something’s gotta give. I’ve been pretty wheat and sugar-free lately (with the exception of an evil Laura Secord chocolate egg that was sent by my lovely mother to Tokyo) and I feel great even though it’s only been a couple weeks.


Getting back on the wagon can be kind of fun. I enjoy filling my fridge with healthy food, I enjoy pinning healthy recipes and inspirational quotes on Pinterest, I have fun ordering pretty workout clothes online. I live for creating workout playlists. I get excited about making healthy changes. I can usually keep this going for a couple of weeks…

And then-— something happens. I look at myself in the mirror and.. blech. I feel my clothes and wonder why they don’t feel looser… are they actually getting tighter???I go for a run and wonder why it isn’t easier. I eat a salad for lunch and wonder why it doesn’t taste better… (actually I probably know the answer to that one) I think of my friends who can drink all the wine and eat all the chocolate cake they want and it doesn’t haunt them. I think about how it’s going to be a loooong time before I am able to consume calories with wreckless abandon…And I’m jealous and depressed.
And so – I wallow for a little bit. Not a long bit.. just a little bit. Then I look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that I can do it. Bad days happen to everyone. Good things are worth working for and being fit and healthy is a good thing. In a few months, I’ll be thanking myself for eating asparagus instead of french fries. In a few weeks I’ll be grateful that I kicked my butt out of bed and made it run around the park super early. I might feel discouraged and like all of my efforts are for nothing but I know that they are not. I know this is just a yucky bump and I know that I got over them once before and I will get over them again.
And now — I am okay again. I may not feel fantastic, I may not be having tons of fun but I will get through this day, this week, this month and I’ll come out the other side feeling and looking a whole lot better. I believe this. I have seen it happen.
This is one day, tomorrow is a new one and so I will hang on!

Making it Happen in March!

January and February were very dark months. Not only due to the obvious lack of daylight and uncomfortable amount of cold but I was in a schlump. I was stressed with work stuff and family stuff and friend stuff and so instead of turning to my running shoes for comfort, I found comfort in curry and my couch. Melted cheese and glasses of wine. I would drag my butt out for a run or two but nothing consistent and nothing too difficult. I’d claim to be getting back on the wagon but that didn’t really happen for very long either. My head was too many places. It wasn’t pretty but at the time I didn’t really care.

Then one day, I did.
I was getting ready to go out and changed my outfit about 5 million times. I was trying to find something that wasn’t tight and looked good. It was pretty impossible. I realized that this clothing angst hadn’t happened for ages and I remembered how it used to happen all the time. I realized that I was starting to make excuses for not going out and staying in because I just didn’t feel good about myself.. and that’s when it all clicked back again.
I wrote before about how unless something clicks, it’s nearly impossible to lose weight and make healthy choices. We have to want to change and we must crave the results. For some reason, during January and February, I didn’t want that. Note: I wanted it, I just wasn’t willing to work for it.
And so now March is here, I’m eating much better, making healthy choices, getting caught up with my running shoes, doing high intensity workouts and just generally feeling better about things. My mood is improving and I’m getting reacquainted with the motivated and healthier me! I missed that girl!
The dark days of winter are behind me and summer is less than 4 months away. The goal is to be back to feeling good and fit when beach season hits! Not long now……!

Alone Time

Since August I have been running in the mornings 4-5 times a week. I should be in amazing shape however I’m running with 40-60 girls who while lovely in their own ways, take up more energy than the actual workouts. It’s been fantastic running with them and coaching them and getting to know them and seeing them improve but I’m starting to become anxious to get this season finished.

I miss my alone time. Running for me is about so much more than exercise. It’s about processing and breathing and getting my head in the right place before the day begins. It’s about being in tune with my body and what my body can do and should be able to do. It’s about getting myself grounded before the day begins.

When I’m not coaching, I actually do the 4:44am thing which is earlier than my coaching wake up call at 5:21 but I find I’m way more tired with this coaching thing. From before 7am I have the little voices asking me all sorts of things and it doesn’t stop until I’m tucked back into my hobbit hole of an apartment at the end of the day. I’m not complaining, I’m just noticing that it’s starting to drain on me. But the season is fairly short and we’re in the final stretch so I know it will all right itself.

I have learned so much from coaching and am forever grateful for the opportunity to do it. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my students, myself and running. I am now in the process of setting my own personal goals and trying to figure out what’s next for me in terms of running and races and all of that fun stuff. I’ve been able to witness the excitement of meets and actually, right now I’m in Guam for a tournament. All good things but I’m also happy that the season is short.

I am so looking forward to November 5th when at 5 am it will just be me and my running shoes.