name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day


How To Help Your Kids Understand Grief

Last week, we had a family movie night to watch Coco. I took my youngest to see the movie in the theater, and I definitely got more out of it than she did. In fact, I believe this movie is for more mature audiences as it deals with loss and all its emotions. My son hadn't seen it yet and thus, it became his choice for our movie that night.

Without giving too much away, the story is about a young boy who accidentally gets stuck in the land of the dead and meets many family members who have passed. These family members then help him return to his living family but not without mysteries solved and new revelations made. The music and the message are beautiful; the song "Remember Me" had me crying at the end of the movie. Of course, I was moved because of my connections to loss. What I wasn't expecting was my son - who is 9 - to have such an intense reaction after the movie ended.

When my brother died, I waited two weeks to tell my son. For many personal reasons and choices as a parent, and mainly because I needed guidance on how to do so without losing my mind in the process. I wanted to be present and calm because I knew he would react strongly and have many questions. The day I told him, he had woken up early and crawled in bed with me. I gently explained to him what had happened and that his uncle was no longer here.

He cried so hard after finding out this news. We stayed cuddled in bed for a while, and I just let him ask, cry, share, question. Anything he wanted. I had already decided this day would be about him so we took his little sister to school and had a special day together - doing anything he wanted.

And two years later, he has been doing well with the loss. Honestly, better than his mama. But, this movie was too much for him, and it was like the day he found out all over again. He embraced me on the couch when the movie ended and wept - he just felt the loss again. I was stunned into tears and simply cried with him. We went to bed with him still choking back tears until I could comfort him into sleep.

I don't have the right answers to how a child should grieve - if you need assistance in that, I highly recommend you speak with a counselor as I did. Her advice has helped shape me as a grieving mom support her grieving son. But, with my experience, I can offer advice on what has helped us in the last two years and what helped me this past week.

Let them see you grieve. 

Cry, share what you miss about your loved one. Talk about what grief can do for you on a normal day when you least expect it all to hit. But, also talk about how you have good days, and that those are the best ones. Celebrate those moments - celebrate them big.

Read children's books about grief.

They are so many available; so many that simply explain it way better than I could ever do. Check your local library - they have special sections dedicated to grief. You can also ask a school counselor for great recommendations - they are always a great resource.

Share things that your loved ones loved to do. Then go do them

In fact, on the anniversary of my dad's passing, we went to the library (because he loved books); we cooked (because he loved good food); and we made plans to go fishing soon (anything outdoors, and he was all in). Do the same things with your kids - while I am guilty of wallowing in the gross part of grief, it is important to show them the good parts (yes, there can be).

Gather with others.

Be with your family and share memories or JUST BE TOGETHER (that's my favorite). Involve their teachers - my son's teacher was amazing during the beginning of the loss. She was careful with him and kept me posted on how he was doing.

Honor your loved one.

Maybe do a balloon release on their birthdays or draw a picture for them (maybe send in that balloon or leave on their resting place). Or, create a keepsake box - put in anything that reminds you of that person or anything important items of theirs. We have a small stuffed dinosaur that my brother named Taco - he's always close by.


These are just a few ways to help your little ones understand loss - especially when we don't understand it one bit. Expect the unexpected, too - I carelessly thought he was okay as it had been a year or so since I saw him cry about my brother. I never expected this movie to impact him - and me - in such a heavy, yet profound way. Also, make sure to arm yourself with support, with great resources, with creative ideas, and with all the hugs and shoulders to cry on. 

And, know this, too - they will be the biggest reason you have better days in your grief. Though this unexpected moment took my breath away, that big 9 year old in my arms gave me the greatest comfort. I made sure he knew that as well - he helps me every single day. He makes ME stronger.

The best - and last - tip I can give is just that - remember everyday they are your biggest reasons to fight through that tricky grief. Love them and let them love you so big, too. 


The Easter Story Egg - Celebrating The True Meaning of Easter

Special thanks to Magpie's Gifts for inspiring this post and gifting me with the Easter Story Egg. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Please see my disclaimer on the side bar for more information. Thanks for supporting Always A New Day!

Hi, friends! What a special time it has been preparing for this post. I was able to meet the sweetest and most faithful women I've met in a while. When the blogging world seems so big, and I seem so small, God comes in with Magpie's. My kids and I are so excited to share this perfect Easter gift with all of you!

Magpie's Gifts is a precious, family-owned store in the Houston area - they have gifts for your home, for your friends, for your kids, and definitely for yourself. From the moment we received The Easter Story Egg, my kids have been fascinated about what this season really means. This sweet book and its hand-carved eggs bring Holy Week to life.

The book begins Palm Sunday where you and your littles read the first part of the book that includes Jesus' journey to Jerusalem - the largest egg has a hand-painted palm, too. As the story goes forward so do the accompanying eggs. Then, as you wake up Easter Sunday, the kids open the smallest gray egg which is empty - representing the empty tomb and Jesus' resurrection.

This special time with your family helps children understand why Easter is more than a bunny and Easter baskets - so much more is the story of our Savior. We can often spend holidays rushed into all the fanfare, and this sweet time puts real meaning in each day of Holy Week. What a treasured time for you to gather and make this an annual tradition for years to come.

And, Magpie's wants to help you start this tradition - you can head to the nearest Magpie's and when you mention Always A New Day, you can get 15% off your Easter Story Egg! Or shop for this gift online at Magpie's and include the coupon - ALWAYSANEWDAY - at check-out!

I am looking forward to Palm Sunday more than ever. Thank you to Magpie's for letting me be a part of sharing this gift. The preparation for this post has renewed my purpose in sharing my faith.

Houston friends, if you need a gift for someone or want to be uplifted, make a trip to Magpie's. With three locations in our area, I know you will find a gift that blesses not only you but those you love.

Do you have any Easter traditions? There's something about the spring weather, dressing in our best for church, fellowship, and fun that makes Easter a favorite for me. And, when I can focus more on the meaning, this time of year makes my heart happy.

If you are looking for more non-candy gifts for those Easter baskets, also check out this post for some great ideas.

Happy Easter!


When The Anniversary Approaches - Missing my Dad

Sixteen years. Sixteen years ago, I came home from a long day of teaching, ready for a lazy weekend. Instead, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are waiting for me inside the home I rented with two friends. I see them, and I run. I don't know where I am going, but I know whatever they tell me is not going to be good. I run so it won't be real.

At that moment, my worst fear has come true. Something has happened to my dad. I think heart attack because he's had two prior, but it's not that. It's a fishing accident. They found his canoe, his fishing gear, but not him. Fast forward to nine days later, and we find him. And just like that, I can't outrun this reality.

So, where I am 16 years later on his anniversary? I am a mom. A wife. A daughter and a sister. I try to be a good friend. I worry. I grieve. I sit here right now thinking of how in the world I am here when my dad is not.

Most days, I am good - my kids keep me in real time. I am busy most days with just everyday life. I try on those days to be present because I know that life can change when you least expect it. There are other days - many, in fact - where I just can't. Give me the comfort of my home when I can't face the world outside. When I can't explain my anxiety, my grief, or my depression to anyone at all.

February 28th is the day where I sit in it for those 24 hours. I won't hide my sadness from my kids because I want to be real. I also won't shy away from telling them about the guy who would probably pick them up from school, take them to the park or on a quick fishing trip. The guy who would tell them corny jokes and laugh that raspy laugh. The guy who would call me and read me parts of his favorite book. The guy who would open a beer with my husband to talk business, college football, and how stubborn his daughter is.

My kids are old enough now to really grasp what this day means for me - and for them, too. They are wise enough to know they missed a really good thing. Though I am sad, I want them to a part of this day, too.

We will play Jimmy Buffet because he loved Margaritaville and Son of a Sailor

We will spend part of our day outdoors because he volunteered often to take care of our world.

We will make a good dinner - probably one we just make up - because he didn't follow recipes.

We will talk about good books and reading because my love of reading comes from him.

We will talk about hope because through harder times for my dad, he always had it.

We will look at pictures - like the one of my dad and I dancing at a friend's wedding. 

I will spend some time in the quiet, sitting knee-deep in my loss. Missing him

I will text my friend, Jennifer, and thank my dad and her sister, Missy, for them bringing us together through their deaths.

I will share good memories with my husband because he was lucky enough to know him.

I will hug my kids so hard because I strongly believe he chose them for me.

I will pray hard. For my family. For our loss. For our continued strength that only He can provide.

Sixteen years ago. Sixteen. I've grown. I've lost again. And after this day ends, my dad would want all of us to remember he's safely home - full of hope and fishing in the greatest rivers in Heaven. 


7 Simple Tips To Succeed at Healthy Eating

Another new week is upon us, and while you are planning your weekly menu, you may want to stop and read this post! I am so happy that one of my favorite trainers from my Orangetheory Fitness studio is sharing 7 simple tips to succeed at healthy eating. If you're stuck in a diet rut or want practical tips for healthy eating, Magan is here to help. I've tried diets, and when they fail, the anxiety creeps up. For me, I want long-term, realistic tips for the busy mama. I love what she has to share - you will, too. 


You know that one thing that you could do better on, and it would change everything? That thing that we all like to talk about and do and also has the power to make us a look and feel a certain way? That thing that gives us joy and happiness in one minute, and then in the next makes us feel guilty and regret our decision? You’re probably already thinking about those tacos and margaritas you had last night. Or maybe even as you read this article.

Did you know that in the City of Houston, if you ate out for all three meals, it would take you 10 years to eat at every restaurant the city has? And by then, new restaurants would have evolved, and there would be new places to try - not to mention that we would probably be pretty unhappy and overweight in the process.

Food has this way of taking up our minds, our time, and our paychecks. Whether you eat out or prep your meals at home, you’re trading off either time or money. If you eat healthy and prep organic food - or maybe you married a bodybuilder - it can be both timely and expensive.

Then we throw in all the different diets; paleo, keto, low fat, Atkins, Mediterranean, vegan, Episcopalian, organic, IIFYM, Whole 30 and so on. By now you’re probably confused or hungry.
Nutrition should be simple, enjoyable, and not suck the life out of you and your family’s life.
I read an article on the cost of getting lean, and it was very eye-opening. It painted a very clear picture of what it costs financially and socially to desire a certain body type. Basically, you can’t have your cake and eat it too (unless you’re genetically gifted).

As with any thing in life, you need to stay in your lane when it comes to nutrition. Just because Sally down the street lost 10 lbs on keto doesn’t mean that’s the diet YOU need to do. What are your goals? What is going to work for you and your body type? What’s going to work for your family? I’ve done a few fitness competitions, and I will say that the lack of carbs in my diet turns me into a Mean Girl. Although I had to suck it up to get to the end goal, no carb is not a good diet for me.

So how do we decide what we should be doing? Talk to a nutritionist or a fitness professional (this is slightly out of our scope of practice, but I’d say we probably know a thing or two about how diet affects exercise and weight loss or muscle gain) The first thing is your goal and what you’re trying to accomplish. The second thing is what is your social, work, and family life like? All of these will be affected with any type of extreme dieting. There is no "one size fits all" diet.

Here are some of the tips and suggestions I go over with all of my clients. Very basic stuff and once they nail this, then we get more in-depth.
/1/ Are you eating lean protein at every meal? 

Turkey, chicken, eggs, salmon, tuna, etc. Ladies, your protein serving should be the size of your palm, and gents can probably get away with two palms

/2/ Where are your carbs coming from? 

If you haven’t just worked out or if you are trying to lose fat, then you’d better be eating veggies or fruit, preferably veggies. The best time for starchy carbs (think breads, pastas, tortillas) is post work out. But again, if you’re trying to drop a few pounds, chose these carbs wisely. This will also depend on your body type. Some people can tolerate carbs better than others. Ladies want one fist full and guys, two fists full.

/3/ Where are your fats coming from? 

You should be getting a good balance of healthy fats. Think avocados, olive oil, almond butter, nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans are preferred). This serving should be the size of your thumb (ladies) or two thumbs (gents).

/4/ Are you eating every 3-4 hours?

/5/ What are you drinking

It should be calorie-free (for example - water, tea, black coffee, pre-workout).

/6/ Are you really hungry? 

Keep healthy snacks in reach (handful of almonds, small red apple, hard boiled eggs, protein bars like Quest or Power Crunch). But ask yourself if you’re really hungry or if you are just bored. Hence, the eating every three to four hours. You might really just need another meal.

/7/  Are you tracking your food

You’d be surprised how much you’re eating or not eating and where you deficiencies are just by writing things down. This will also help your nutritionist or fitness professional help you identify what needs to change. Overhauling your diet is hard. Baby steps are best for long term weight loss.

This is skinning the cat on a very wide and broad topic of nutrition. Most of my opinions are based off past experiences as well as information from Precision Nutrition. I have a Nutrition Certification through them, and it is probably the most practical and easiest information to follow. They break everything down by body type, goal, and timing. It’s probably the most robust system I’ve ever seen and the results stick! 

It’s about creating a lifestyle - not a diet. Find what works for you and stick with it. Stop beating yourself up when you fail at an unrealistic meal plan. A meal plan should never make you feel guilty or deprive you so much that you lose your sanity. Of course, change is going to require some sacrifice and discipline, but it should be slightly enjoyable discovering what the best plan is for you. It should excite you to see your body change and make it easier to stick with the process. Unless you plan on walking on stage in a bikini, try to enjoy the process and take it one step at a time. Once you nail one thing, then move on to the next. You’d be surprised how much easier it is when you focus on the little things rather than the complete overhaul of your life and pantry.

Coming from a fitness professional and one who is passionate about wellness, I just breathe a huge sigh of relief reading her tips. I've wanted to do a Whole 30 or a keto-friendly diet, but when I falter, I know the anxiety will be so much greater. Diets don't work for me, but overall healthy choices do! 

Thank you so much, Magan! For more info or any questions feel free to email her at maganb@hawaii.edi

Have a healthy week, friends!


Why I Will Keep Watching This Is Us

I was going to be quiet after watching last night's Super Bowl episode of This Is Us and let it all sink in - the way Jack died, how the family handled it, and how they "handle" it as adults. I am too connected to them and their stories for multiple reasons, and I went to bed thinking of so much. Social media can be so silly sometimes, and I wish I didn't let the silliness get to me, but there are so many out there questioning why one would watch such a sad, depressing show.

And as protective (and maybe too vocal) I am of my grief, I had to pull out my favorite lines from the show last night. Sure, I cried, but I felt so much more -  mainly comfort. When you grieve, you often feel alone. And leave it to a TELEVISION SHOW to make me less alone. That's why I will keep watching This Is Us - tears, swollen eyes, and all.

The last episode - before the infamous Super Bowl tear-jerker - of This Is Us left shook me to my core. Yes, we knew Jack would die. Yes, we knew the crockpot was the culprit. But, I suddenly felt myself float back to the day I lost my dad. Soon, these characters would suddenly lose their dad, too. And, I hated that for them. I hate that for ANYONE IN THE REAL WORLD who ever had a regular, carefree day not knowing their world was about to be ripped in two. Or, a sudden burst of throbbing pain like Randall describes. 

For me, this show has words I've been searching for since losing my dad. I don't feel alone when watching - yep, a silly show does that for me. I don't watch it to wallow in pity and to cry my eyeballs out. I watch it because someone out there wrote words for these characters to say, and I feel them all. 

He died because of me. Because in the scariest moments of our lives, he couldn't bear to disappoint me? So, if for once a year, I want to beat myself up for it, please just let me. Let me just sit in it, okay? - Kate

When you grieve, some days, you want to sit in it - knee-deep in it. Why would someone choose to grieve like this? Because we NEED to and because we WANT to sometimes. Kate did with her VHS tape, and I did by watching this episode. And while I felt it ALL, I also felt lighter after. I don't think I've ever thought about it that way because I've been told so much to move on. Get over it. Count your blessings. But, some days, sitting in it is part of the process.

And when I would break, you never ever gave up on me over and over again. Never gave up on me and made me believe in me. You changed my life, and you saved my life. - Kate

My husband knew my dad though briefly. And, I had the blessing of KNOWING how much my dad liked him. My husband (boyfriend at the time) helped search for my dad when he was missing. My husband has given me a life I know my dad loves. My husband gave me two kids who changed and saved me. I'm not easy, folks. And, I break daily. This sweet speech Kate gave to Toby was a blessing. And a needed reminder. That moment was everything and pure sweetness.

And then you were born. And my life flipped. It did a somersault, you know. And, I realized I didn't even have to try...because I love this little girl so much, I didn't even have a choice. You're my number one, baby girl. You're the little girl that made my life somersault. - Randall

Let's see if I can get through this one without crying. My kids have saved me. I don't know how else to phrase it. On the dark days where I miss my dad, they somehow love extra hard. On the days I don't want to face the world, I always remember THEY ARE MY WORLD. This little boy and little girl of mine made MY life somersault.

I remember being in Home Depot one day after my dad was found and after his memorial. Walking through the aisles, I just remember so vividly that this is my new life. Life after dad. I didn't think life would be good again. I didn't think I could exist in a world where my dad didn't. Then, my life somersaulted in 2008 and 2013. I didn't have a choice, but my dad did. He gave them to me. 

Rebecca said Jack comes back each anniversary to make her smile, and with my dad's anniversary looming, maybe this strong pull to write about my favorite show is my dad's smiling moment for me. He did love when I would write.

I will keep watching. And I can't wait for the next episode.


Why Most New Year's Resolutions Fail - And What You Should Do Instead

New Year's resolutions stress me out - well, life stresses me out, let me be honest. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to make these monumental changes to our diet, organizational life, the mom game, etc. But, what happens when we don't match up to our big plans? For me, more anxiety.

I knew this year had to be different than the last - and the one before that - so I NEEDED to make changes for my health, that mental health I talk about so much. Though I didn't want to go crazy diet-wise, I committed to better eating choices. Not for my waistline, but for my heart. I'm happy to report that my choices have been so much better (though we don't need to discuss the cookie butter I ate last night). While overall, I am eating better, I am being realistic in recognizing that being perfect in my eating only causes my anxiety to rise so I am forgiving myself for said cookie butter.

As for that pesky anxiety, I feel pretty good. I have my bad days (this post can describe how I feel about the current state of illness this winter), and I am trying to accept them as they come. On a rough day this week, there was quite a bit of self-talk throughout the day - it will pass, you know it will pass. Get rest, a new day will bring more light. This practice is HUGE for me.

The workouts are on point, the eating is better. Go me. The anxiety ebbs and flows (I am realistic in knowing it won't ever disappear completely), and I am making small steps every day. I worry, I will always worry, but I feel more prepared for when that jerky worry swoops in to steal my joy.

But, what if January was still gross, and you haven't found that perfect path? I am here to tell you that is nothing to be ashamed of - though that shame is so real you can pretty much talk to it - because you are not alone in feeling depleted. Maybe we could start a group for the resolution fails we've had so far, then we can remind each other how bad ass we are.

I say that if your resolutions aren't up to where you wanted to be, you forgive. If you see someone rocking all the things they set their mind to on January 1st, and it brings you fear/regret/sense of failure, you unfollow and clap that you're still in it, even if in it means you are covered in the mud and clawing your way back up. And you claw until December 31, 2018. But along the way, you talk. You move. You find a tribe. You find an outlet. You create. You rest. You wash your hair every other day (or every 2-3). You just do you.

In our lives we have so much pressure - be a good mom, be a good friend, be a good wife, and so on. This is why my resolution was simple - find hope through my tribe, my creations, and my dirty 2-day old hair. You can still find hope. I am still seeking mine, and I know it will be a daily practice, and not one that is in full effect come February 1st.

What if you feel stuck and 2018 already feels off? You let yourself feel the feels because you are allowed to have rough days. You eat that cookie butter, and you call a friend. You send each other funny memes that only you get - because that friend is still stuck on January 1, too.

Do not let a failure of resolutions stress you out - we have enough of that as it is in our busy lives. I still worry. I still have anxiety, and January brought some tough days, but you have to remember you're tougher.

And as I put the finished touches on this post, I receive a text that made my anxiety skyrocket. Time to practice what I preach. Dig those heels in, and maybe go find that cookie butter.


The Busy Mom's Health And Fitness Must-Haves (+ The Best Smoothie Recipe)

Checking in on those resolutions - how are we doing?! Finding healthier outlets for all my anxiety has been a top priority for me. I LOVE my workouts, but in the past year, it's the nutrition that was bringing me on down - queso become my love language. Well, really anything Tex-Mex was at the top of my stress-bustin' list, and it was time to quit the queso. 

Have I fallen off the resolution train? Of course, I am human. But, I can definitely say I'm learning better ways to ease the anxiety. From those beloved sweat sessions to our weekly meal plans, things have improved from my daily indulgences in the past. Thanks to  Redefined Wellness and these must-haves that honestly appear on the daily. And, if I have essentials that make my resolutions happen, I want to share them with you. Take a look and see for yourself - from what I wear to where I go - it's all here.

And if you read to the end, you can find THE BEST SMOOTHIE RECIPE that I have every single day. All the nutrients are there to help the busy mama get her groove back. 


If you follow me on  Instagram, I talk often about  Orangetheory Fitness. My husband calls it my "Orange Therapy" because that's exactly what it is for me. When I was lucky enough to try a free class for  this post, I was HOOKED. The challenge. The people. The strength. Go find  a studio near you, and report back. I am doing a transition challenge with them starting January 29th, and I am ready. Come join me!

After each class, you get a detailed report emailed to you - it contains your final calorie count and  splat point total. These results are exactly why I do OT. I love seeing how far I can push myself each class. You aim for 12 splat points per class - 12 or more means you will get an awesome after burn for up to 24-48 hours. Yes, please!


From my running shoes to my favorite sports bra, I watch the budget and do not spend a ton. This sports bra has tremendous support for the long runs at OT. I also love a good, loose tank top - I own two of these!

I have stocked up on some Zella leggings that are my absolute FAVORITE. Can I just say high-waisted? They smooth the mom pooch and do not roll down when working out. They are perfect for rest day lounging, too. 

The no-slip socks and Sweaty Band headband are genius as well. I've had to stop mid-row at OT to pull up socks or get hair out of my face, and these helped stop the madness.


Since I started my health goals, I've found supplements that help my overall health. I add the collagen peptides to my smoothies and toss a Nuun tablet into my water after a sweat session. I love how they flavor the water because is it just me or does drinking water get boring? These little gems spice up your H2O. 

Nike Women's No-Show Socks / Nuun Electrolyte Tabs / Zella High-Waisted Leggings

Mix all ingredient above in a blender and enjoy! Add ice cubes if you like that texture.

From my favorite smoothie recipe above to all the goodies that keep my health goals going, I hope you find something that boosts those healthy resolutions. Get to shopping for any of these essentials, and let me know what you think! 

Feel free to comment or reach out with your health tips or any questions, too! What are your must-haves for a healthy 2018?

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no cost to you). Thanks for supporting Always A New Day! You can read my full disclosure on the sidebar. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Design by Get Polished