Chrissie Bader
Y'all knew this was coming, right? My New Year's post? Well, actually, this isn't the one. That one will show up in the next couple of days in the wee dark hours of the morning from a deep place of contemplation and reflection. ;) This post isn't that one. (Although I am listening to my favorite version of the Pachelbel by the beautiful and talented Laura Sullivan, which is my music for contemplation. Seriously, go check her out. She's absolutely amazing.)

I normally love the last day of the month anyway because I get to make a fresh new calendar for my fridge and I love the excitement of a new month. The last day of the year is even more exciting!! First thing I did today was sit down with  my coffee, my calendar, and my markers!

Yep, I do two months out because it's easier for me to plan ahead especially as we really get into the current month. I need to always see at least 4 weeks out. Anyone else like that? 

As I was making the February calendar (January was up already), I marked in my baby's 5th birthday. Enter freak out mode! My BABY, Kiki, is going to be 5 in less than two months. Where, seriously where, is the time going? I want to do an ugly cry just thinking about it. But then, I find such solace and comfort knowing that this is going to be such an incredible year for all of us! 2015 was our healthiest year ever thanks to essential oils. Seriously, we have never been so healthy in all of our years as a family, especially with our kids still being small. So, we are going into 2016 healthy as well! We will begin our 2nd semester homeschooling!! How exciting that is!! And this year, that I would be sending my last child off to Kindergarten, I will get to treasure and celebrate that milestone with her at home with me and her brother and sister. What an absolutely amazing blessing!! That alleviates much of the heartache that I felt sending my other two off to school on their first day of Kindergarten. 

So, feeling sort of retrospective, here are some photos of New Year's Eves past. Can't wait to go make some more wonderful and happy memories with my beautiful family. These are the special times! :)

New Year's Eve 2014 - Kiki and Danny couldn't make it. 

NYE 2014 - Reagan

NYE 2014 - Caleb

NYE 2010 - Caleb

NYE 2009 - Reagan

And right now we are headed to our favorite place to spend New Year's Eve with our favorite people. Happy New Year everyone!! Be safe! Make memories! :)

Peace out!

Chrissie Bader
So, the other night when I was doing my workout, about halfway through I was so tired and winded. I wanted to quit so badly. That's when I looked around at my walls and saw all of the items I have stashed around my workout room to keep me motivated and to remind me why I'm doing this....again. I wanted to share some of those things here.

This one motivates me for several reasons. First, it reminds me how proud I was of myself for what I accomplished. Second, it reminds me that I can do it again! Now that I know it's possible I'm less likely to give up during the hard times. 

This one motivates me probably more than any other photo! At the time of the Spartan Race I was actually dissatisfied with my midsection despite all of the progress I had made elsewhere. After the race and when I look at this photo I only see and remember what my body was able to do that day! Absolutely amazing!! It motivates me to get back to where I was because I want to do this again....SO BADLY!!

I took this picture the day of the Spartan Race after I got home and washed the mud out of my hair and face. My hair wasn't styled and I had no makeup on but my smile says everything I was feeling inside. I don't think I ever felt as beautiful as I did that afternoon and it was all based on achievement, not looks. 

This photo was after one of my P90X yoga workouts that I totally nailed! That's a hard, long workout and I was so proud that I was finally able to perfect it. Plus, my shoulders looked pretty nice here, lol. ;)

This one reminds me that fitness is a journey not a destination. Every day is a chance to start over or keep going. It also reminds me that I'm not alone on this journey and the special friend who made this for me is cheering me on the whole way. 

The last two are pretty self-explanatory but I know that my dreams and desires are possible with God on my side and that I am always in the process of transformation. I may not be where I want to be at this particular moment but the process is meaningful and will ultimately become something beautiful. 

What kinds of things do you keep around to motivate you?

Chrissie Bader
I said I would update my fitness journey. Well, here's the truth of it. In the picture to the right of here that shows the start of my fitness journey, I weighed 194. That was the heaviest I had ever been. Going for full disclosure here; I'm now at 201.

Yep, you read that right. I gained it all back plus some. Now, I can sit here and make all kinds of excuses up about the how and why. The truth is that it was easy and I got lazy. When I quit my job, pulled my daughter out of school, lost my grandfather, and moved AGAIN, my routine got lost, I hit rock bottom, got lazy down there and now here I am. That's it. 

I've made several short-lived attempts at getting back on track but I've been unable to maintain the intensity that I start out with. To add to my misery I felt like such a failure and so unworthy of calling myself a Beachbody coach that I abandoned the people I had promised to lead because I was so ashamed of what I had let happen to myself. Be all of that as it may, I am starting over again. The only difference this time is that I'm holding myself accountable here instead of privately where my excuses and failures can't be seen or known by anyone but me.

So, here's my Day 1: Les Mills Pump: Pump & Burn

I was going to start P90X (because I loved the results I got from it last time) but spent over an hour trying to get my Beachbody On Demand to work on the Fire Stick, then the Roku. Finally gave up on it and plugged in the old DVD player but it was so late at night by that point, I decided to go with a shorter workout.

So, last night I started P90X: Week 1, Day 1: Chest & Back

And tonight should have been W1D2: Plyometrics.....but instead is Les Mills Combat: Combat 30. At my current weight, Plyo would have left me with killer shin splints so for cardio days, I will supplement with Combat, which is my soulmate workout. LOVE, love, love Combat.

My nutrition isn't perfect yet but I'm working on it day by day and I'm finally at a point where I'm tired of waiting for everything to be perfect at the same time. It's time for baby steps a day at a time. I'm making no promises other than that I'm going to do my best every day. So, there you have it! The ugly, vulnerable truth. Who's ready to dig in with me? 
Chrissie Bader
I seem to have always had a penchant for discerning the moments in life that once they were gone and you could never get them back, that those particular types of moments are the kind that can cause deep regret later in life. You may say that all moments are moments you can't get back but I say that not all are ones you would want to. But there are some, when you and your children are laughing so hard over something really silly and you make eye contact and laugh even harder, when your child tells you something really special that you hope you never forget, when they learn something new and you know it was a blessing from God that you were there to witness the pride and excitement......those are the kinds that once you miss it, it's gone. It can never happen again, ever. Not when they're the same size with the same innocent smile, with the same baby fat or the same, well, anything. You missed it and it's gone.

I have always had a knack for recognizing when I have just witnessed one of these moments and realizing the need to capture it in my subconscious and try to hang on to it for the remainder of my existence. I have a deep need to collect these moments with my kids. The thought of missing one or forgetting one feels like suffocating and the tears begin burning and my chest feels like it might cave in. I haven't always been the mom I should have or could have been. Depression robbed me of recognizing the happiness in so many of my babies' early moments. But, by God, I was there!! No one can EVER accuse me of not being present for my children. I made sure of that, by being there.

It isn't always easy. I'm the first one to admit that sometimes I crave some time for myself. And I used to complain a lot about my lack of alone time. However, now that my kids are older and less demanding (read, all potty-trained, lol), and I'm not reeling from the grip of postpartum depression, it no longer feels like a life-suck to be with my kids 24-7. And since I really only get a few hours a month to myself, it's probably good that I do have a deep desire to be very active in the production of my kids' most core memories.

Today I took my kids to a pumpkin patch on the fly just because we passed by, it was beautiful, and the kids wanted to go. While we were there, I connected on a level with my son who had just realized how much he loves the Fall season. I got to see my daughters go crazy over all of the beautiful pumpkins. I got pictures of this day that I hope I remember for my lifetime because they were 11, 6, and 4 and absolutely precious and perfect and happy. And one day they might not want to go to a pumpkin patch with me. When we got home they wanted to play ball, so I got out there and caught, batted, and pitched with them. We played baseball barefoot in the cool autumn grass. I showed them honeysuckle and taught them to smell and taste the nectar. The four of us laughed and played until we were tired, hungry, and happy.

I don't ever want to be the mom that took for granted the gift of her childrens' childhoods. Because it is so fleeting. One day you will turn around and remember them (or not) the way they used to be, look, smile, laugh. And when it's gone, it's gone. They are only little boys and little girls so long and then they say, "so long". So, make the sacrifices of time and personal things, make side trips, forego "plans" so you can do something better, play ball, say yes, and be there and be present. Put the iPad or the phone down and be present. Study their tiny faces, the lines of their smiles, their tiny teeth, their eyes when they laugh. These are the special times they WILL remember. Let them remember your face, your smiles, your eyes when you were laughing, and the look of you completely soaking them in for all eternity. It's what matters. Don't miss it.
Chrissie Bader
If someone would have asked me only two years ago what I would be doing Fall 2015 I would have known exactly what to tell them. I was going to finally be living for me again!! Heavens, yes!! I was going to finally have the time to devote to growing my electrology practice and proper marketing, and for the first time in 11 years I was going to be able to hardcore focus on my dreams, for at least 6 hours per day. Because that's when our youngest would be old enough for Pre-K. I couldn't wait! I just knew it would be glorious.

So, what am I doing now that the long wait is finally over? I am homeschooling all three of my kids. Ha!!! I first felt called to homeschool a couple years ago when we had to pull Reagan out of Christian school and enroll her in public school at the beginning of her 4th grade year. We even went through the county to have her enrolled in one of the "better" elementary schools in our county as a transit student, which just meant that I was responsible for her transportation because the bus would not pick her up.

What a nightmare it was! The calls home almost every day about absolutely everything! The tears over math homework (thank you Common Core), the crazy lack of an actual grading system, and the lack of communication, in general, between the school and myself. At our first parent/teacher conference, the teacher assured me that Reagan was doing great and was right where they considered it average for her to be. She had been a A Honor Roll student the previous 3 years at Christian school. By the end of the first semester, they notified me that she was failing Language Arts which is her strongest subject. She would come home depressed and told me stories of other children who "hated" her and bullied her to tears. The school counselor actually called me and said Reagan was in her office too often (at least once per day) and that we should seek outside counseling.....which we were already getting!! We did therapy twice a month to monitor her ADHD medications, appointments that usually ended with an additional prescription and an increased dosage of everything else she was on. And nothing was working!!! She was not getting better, she had side effects from all the medications which they would just prescribe other meds for, she was having worse problems in school than ever before, and to top it all off, she had fallen completely off of the growth chart for her age group. I was at a completely utterly hopeless loss for what to do to help my beautiful girl who once had been the happiest, most outgoing child I had ever known.

After much praying and crying, and prayerful crying, I began to be lead to different sources of information about homeschooling. I read an eBook named Called Home that said practically everything that was in my heart about it and I decided to go for it. I turned in my notice for my job, withdrew her from public school after one especially hellish week during which I had had absolutely everything I intended to take from those people. I felt liberated and completely terrified. You have to understand, I am NOT one of "those" moms. You know the ones I'm talking about? The ones who think their kids are just the best thing since sliced bread and want to spend every waking moment planning crafts and activities that will enrich the little darlings' lives? Yep, that mom. I'm not her. Not by a long shot. I'm the mom who began counting down the days until Summer break was over and I could get rid of them again. Don't judge, there are many more where I came from. So, I was taking a huge step out of my comfort zone deciding to do this. But while I may not be "that" mom I am most definitely the mom that will always do what's best for my kids no matter how much I dislike it.

So, homeschooling it was. The first thing we did was put a stop to ALL of her medications. All of them. Then I got a bunch of books and started handing out reading assignments while I searched for a curriculum that didn't cost a million dollars. Then my grandfather died. When that happened, I decided that this idea called unschooling sounded like a nice idea for awhile. Besides, I had heard that children needed to "deschool" for about a month for every year they attended public school before beginning homeschool. I still think that may be pretty excessive for most children but to each their own. I needed to believe it at that time because I was beginning to come apart. At the same time I was trying to come to grips with the loss of my grandfather, we also bought our first home and the packing and the moving commenced. And that, as well, proved an extremely emotional period of time for me. My babies had grown up in the house we currently lived in and while I did want our own home, I had loved our rental a lot and didn't want to think about leaving all of my memories behind.

But leave, we did, and everyone adjusted well. We loved our new home and got settled in pretty quickly. But shortly after the move, the kids began talking about how they wanted to go back to school. I felt conflicted about it but reasoned that since we were in a better school district, things might be different this time. So, I got Caleb a spot in the local pre-k and enrolled Reagan in 4th grade at the new school. It ended up being the same old nightmare with Reagan and we were so fortunate she even graduated 4th grade based on testing alone because her grades wouldn't have allowed her to advance. It was all so disheartening and, honestly, devastating to think that she had gone from being considered such an incredibly bright student to a kid who was about to be held back a grade. I felt like such a horrible failure as a mother. I remember sitting on my front porch was beautiful Spring day, face in hands, bawling like a child after one particular phone call from her teacher. I felt so lost.

Over the summer, I contemplated homeschooling again but decided against it when Fall came around because Caleb was so excited to start Kindergarten and Reagan was wanting to see her friends again for 5th grade. And secretly I lacked the self-confidence to homeschool them. All of the "what if" fears haunted me and I really didn't believe I could do it without ruining my kids. So, public school it was.

The school year started out pretty rocky. With Caleb, it was a huge adjustment to long days where he was required to sit still and do seat work, no naps, and late lunches. He came home grumpy and exhausted daily. Homework was a nightmare of tears and frustration. Eventually, we stopped doing homework other than story time because I felt it was utterly ridiculous to require a Kindergartner to do homework after being in school for 7 hours. 7 hours!! With only a 15 minute recess and 30 minute lunch for a bunch of 5 year olds; I just don't comprehend the logic. (Massachusetts had half day Kindergarten with a long recess and Reagan learned to read very well by the end of the year. Why couldn't Georgia do the same?) By the Spring parent/teacher conference, the teacher was threatening to hold Caleb back in Kindergarten another year because he wasn't at the reading level required for 1st graders, even though he was ahead in math. WHAT??

The beginning of the year with Reagan was much the same as the end of the previous school year. Academically, she was struggling and behaviorally she was REALLY struggling. Constant calls home and visits with the principal and counselors, respect letters lost, and even the privilege of hall monitor was taken from her because of an outburst one day. The tide started to shift when, in October, I made a blend of essential oils for her in a roller bottle and started applying it to her every morning before she left for school and most afternoons when she would come home and do homework. The change wasn't immediate but gradual. In fact, at first I didn't know if the oils were working at all but we were desperate to find something non-medical that would help her.

By Christmas, not only did I notice a huge difference in her but everyone close to her began to notice as well. The outbursts of anger were less frequent, the depressive sobbing episodes stopped, she seemed happier and more content. She didn't bounce off the walls at home all the time and was calmer and more pleasant. Everyone began noticing these subtle changes in her. Her grades started coming up as well. By the Spring parent/teacher conference her teacher and aide, both, were asking what we were doing at home because she had made a complete 180. Not only did she pass 5th grade but she did it without anymore visits to the principal and was even given the Rising Star award at the end of year ceremony. There are only a few things I can give credit to for this miraculous turnaround; I never stopped praying for her and our situation, diligent principled chiropractic visits, and amazing essential oils. She's even back on track with the growth chart! Hallelujah!!

We started Summer with the intention that all would be going to school in the Fall but my head started swimming with thoughts of how hectic it was going to be. Caleb would be in Elementary which starts at 7:30am, Kinley would be in Pre-K across town which started at 8am, and Reagan would be in Middle School which started at 9am. And they would all have different pickup times as well. Whoa! Add to that the anxiety of Reagan starting middle school which is an entirely different monster from elementary, which we had JUST gotten acquired to with her. So, homeschool started to sound really good again. But I was absolutely terrified to commit!

I spent the whole Summer praying about the decision, discussing it with my mom, and weighing the pros and cons. I finally made my decision to go all in with homeschool about 2 weeks before the new school year was to start. So, I chose our curriculum, bought school supplies, and planned the first week out for each child in their own separate Evernote notebook. The week of orientation at school, I went to the school to withdraw both children. I was nervous about the response that I would get but they were nice about it and I was beginning to feel more and more confident about our decision each day.

So here we are! We have been officially homeschooling for 2 and a half months and things couldn't be going better!! What a tremendous blessing it has been for all of us! Honestly, once I obeyed God and followed the call I felt in my heart, everything began to fall into place. I can now see how unfounded all of my fears were. I'm so thankful to be right in the middle of His will for my family. I will post more about our homeschooling adventures in another post; this one is quite long as it is!

Chrissie Bader
God is about to do something so HUGE! I can feel it like I've never felt anything before. I usually start the New Year reflective of the previous year but this year I want to put it behind me and glance lovingly, trustfully, hopefully, and expectantly toward the possibilities that this year holds. Possibility, what a word!!

As I always do, I sit down with my journal on New Year's Day and write down my goals, dreams, or hopes. Instead of resolutions, I decided this year I would set intentions. I intend to read 52 books this year. I intend for my family to be healthier. I intend to eliminate more and more synthetic chemicals from my home and my life. But like anything, without a plan of action, the days will pass and before long the year will have passed and I will once again be setting intentions for another new year. Making plans, however, is not one of my stronger qualities, so I decided to leave it at intentions for a time and wait and pray about what my next step should be.

After finishing my first book of the new year, Visioneering by Andy Stanley, I began my year of intention excited for what would be in store for me. Innately, I heard a resounding, "Behold! I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it?" And indeed, I do, and I can't wait to see what it is!! 

That night I began reading book 2 of 52, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Let me just start by saying that this book doesn't really have anything to say that hasn't been said in a million other personal development books because there was nothing in it that I haven't read or heard before. But the timing of it coming into my life and the voice with which he delivers his message was as synchronistic as events can be thus providing me with refreshing and deep revelation into my next step! It seemed so obvious that the very best thing I could for myself right now would be to start waking up earlier. Since we moved last year I developed a terrible habit of staying up VERY late and then sleeping in very late also. Even on days when the kids had school I would sometimes come home and go back to bed sometimes sleeping until almost noon. I knew it had to stop because it was hindering so much productivity. 

So, the idea behind The Miracle Morning is simple. Wake up early and make personal development priority #1 of the day essentially pointing your day in the direction that you want it to go, fundamentally giving you the tools to change yourself and, thus, your life. I knew all of these things but now it just made so much sense to implement it in my life. But like everything in my life recently, I procrastinated my Day 1 because sleep is so highly coveted. So, when was I actually going to start?

Over the weekend I began hearing a lot of talk of people doing these 21 day fasts with their church. I began researching prayer fasts as a spiritual discipline last year but have never done one. Still not convinced it was for me I went about my business and my reading. On Saturday, I read a blog post by one of my upline Royal Crown Diamond distributors with Young Living describing this yearly 21 Day Prayer Fast that she participated in with her church. After reading sbout her personal experience with this yearly fast that isn't always related to food, I was thoroughly convinced that I would incorporate a fast into my Miracle Morning. Sleeping in would be the thing I fasted and, instead, prayerfully devote that time to the Lord, knowing that He would have something spectacular to show me during this time period. I began that Monday.


I am 12 days in to the Miracle Morning and devotion. I have failed about 3 times but I will say that I now absolutely treasure that time in the morning when it is peaceful, quiet, and all for me. There is something about the dark at that time of day that is so still and perfect but you know that dawn is just around the corner and with the first light the world will come to life. 

I have been given some amazingly incredible insights during my devotion time. It truly is miraculous and it has created a domino effect of profound changes in my life, changes that I will inevitably be sharing here on this blog. I'm so excited for this new year!!! Stay tuned!! I can't wait to share it all with you!