Facing Anxiety in New Seasons

I wasn’t expecting it, I had been going to therapy, talking through everything I had swirling in my mind and it still punched me in the gut, hard.

Anxiety wasn’t unfamiliar, but unexpected in this new season, especially past the first trimester. I kept my pregnancy completely under wraps through the first trimester, two years ago I could barely keep myself alive so I highly doubted I could keep another human alive.

But the first trimester came and went and everything looked great, but the anxiety never left the scene. Into my 16th week, with all positive doctors reports and I still felt like I was walking on eggshells. Every time I got too hot, the car breaks slammed too hard, or I felt off I would panic. I could think logically, but it never clicked. Most of the time I combatted it with keeping myself busy with anything that I felt would keep me safe.

Why couldn’t I let go? Why couldn’t I just enjoy this season? It was defeating and isolating. BUT I knew freedom was possible despite what the enemy wanted to keep me trapped in.

So everyday I started in quiet instead of letting the days agenda start raging. Digging up all the lies and worry taking up space in my mind, taking those thoughts captive and replacing them with gratitude and hope in the future. Slowly, slowly the narrative is beginning to change. It’s only been 10 days since I started working so specifically on these moments, but every day is a little bit calmer, a little less stressful, and nothing seems quite as overwhelming.

I believe it’s the same for all of us. How often do we truly start the day in complete silence? Phones still away, no one else communicating with you yet, not attempting to conquer a workout, or be inspired by a podcast or new playlist? In today’s culture is it really possible?

Yes, and it’s necessary. AND it’s possible because God is bigger.

Put the phone down, keep the kids (or dogs) in bed for just a few minutes longer, create the boundary around that space. And work intentionally on turning every fear, lie, and overwhelming thought into something glorifying to the Lord.

Because of Him we can have hope in the future. Because of Him we can be free.

It starts with Day 1 and it may never fully feel like it goes away, but just keep pushing friend. We are in this together, and He has got you!

Why San Clemente Quickly Became a Go-To Spot

Kristen is one of the friends you just want to have. She’s the most loyal and thoughtful friend and she also lives in a great spot in California. When I hopped off the plane in LAX Thursday night, we had only roughly talked about our weekend plans. She’s lived out there over seven years and we’ve been able to do all the landmarks during some of those trips (Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills, Disneyland) so there was nothing that I was overly drawn to do. 

To my surprise Kristen and Zack had this whole thing planned out. We stopped for a quick bite in Irvine with Zack and headed to San Clemente. She had booked us a cute little Airbnb right on the coast. San Clemente is the southernmost beach town in Orange County. We crashed pretty quickly Thursday night but were excited to enjoy this spot come Friday morning.

Local Coffee Shop

We headed to this cute little coffee shop just a short walk from our place called High Tide Coffee. Incredibly instagrammable except that pretty much every spot in this beach town is in this category. While the coffee was great, I really loved this spot because they let you pick you mug, and they had a nice assortment of pastries including gluten-free, dairy-free donuts. That is the mothership in my opinion! Plus, it was pumpkin flavored and even SoCal was a cool down from Atlanta, so it felt so much more like fall. 

Waterside Brunch

After we chilled for a bit that morning, we decided it was time for a true brunch/lunch. I am always trying to add brunch spots to my 30 before 30 bucket list items, and I was able to add quite a few places to that list this weekend. Our Friday spot was called Pierside, it didn’t sit directly on the water, but it had an ocean view, and was super reasonably priced. We helped ourselves to a shrimp and guac appetizer as well as some incredible avocado bruschetta. Our main dishes looked more like breakfast with a delicious egg scramble and the BEST (no exaggeration) fingerling potatoes. 

Savory American 

After a great beach day, we headed back on their great beach trail (a 2.2-mile one-way route that hugs the beach the whole way) to rest and get cleaned up. For dinner we headed to their downtown strip area, slightly off the water. There is no lack of options but we wanted some simple so we headed to a spot called The Local, I was feeling a little full since my body thought it was closer to 10pm and just grabbed a Thai Salad and some Brussel sprouts to share, who knew these would be the perfect example of a well done Brussel sprout. Blistered to perfection with a balsamic glaze was a fun way to stay simple, but tasty. Kristen got a monster burger which she said was delicious. 

Sweet Treat

If you want to know something about Kristen, she has a hankering for ice cream and as beach towns across the country do have no shortage of ice cream shops. We found this spot on Del Mar called South Swell Hand Dipped that had all natural, no additives selections of gelato. While at that point I was stuffed, we both tried several flavors and were blown away!

Cultural offerings 

Saturday morning, we went for a nice run out and back of the beach trail and had our hearts set on this crepery called La Galette. Located right next to Pierside we loved having a water view while we enjoyed our French breakfast. We split a sweet (berries and cream) and savory (chicken sausage, potatoes, and cheese) and thought both were 8/10. We walked around for a bit and decided it was time to make our way back towards Irvine for a special spa day that Zack had surprised us with. 

If you are a runner you’ll love the North Beach Trail that overlooks the water. It’s a 4.5 mile out and back and flat as a board, the ocean air providing a really nice breeze as the sweat starts to glisten.

10/10 would recommend San Clemente and we would go back again in a heartbeat. 

Have you ever been? Any other spots you love?

Traversing the Unknown

I can’t go into this without thanking everyone who has walked through any period of these years with us, and to everyone who has supported us through it all.

There really aren’t words to truly put this season and past two years into words. It’s definitely not the way I expected life to go when Jon and I said “I Do” just a little over four years ago. If you have known me for any period of time over the past two years you know that my body has been through a roller coaster of marathon training, exercise and eating disorder, recovery, balance, stress, job shifts, and lots of unknown. I’ve suffered through the Female Athlete Triad (I have a blog post about this back in 2017), and it’s taken my body (in every way) a long time to readjust even after the weight came back on and I was able to gain control of exercise.

This all came to a climax when my doctor suggested surgery back in early March. After never having been under anesthesia, there was a slight fear of what they might find but we proceeded knowing it might be the only way we could keep moving forward. So, in the middle of April that surgery happened, and after a recovery that went sideways with infection and the discovery of dangerously low iron, I felt hopeless. While my iron levels improved, there was another deficiency that was wreaking havoc on my body, all the while my body still wasn’t cooperating the way it should in other areas. 

In June, I was having bunch of sensory issues along with a sinus infection that just seemed annoying. I was tired of fighting, I went in for another round of blood work not actually expecting them to find anything, assuming it would be more of the same just getting through the days. God wasn’t scared of this challenge though, and much to my surprise the test results DID show something. While my iron had improved and maintained, there was another vitamin at play in the realm of anemia – vitamin B. Specifically for me: Vitamin B12, completely explaining the sensory issue since this vitamin plays to the health of your neurological system. So, we started on Vitamin B12 shots and a regular supplement. They also started me on an antibiotic for the pesky sinus infection, and then another, and then another. At this point I was pretty sure I just needed to go under surgery again and just get my sinuses flushed, but something was just still off in general. 

When I went to pick up my third prescription, they asked me point blank: “are you pregnant? You can’t take this if you are” I told them it was near impossible, but that I would grab a test and make sure before I started the medicine, that sounded good enough for them, I guess. So, I went home took the test: negative. Pretty much what I expected knowing what my body had been through (and not been through). 13 days later I had finished my prescription, my sinus infection wasn’t going away, and my constant body changes left me depleted and I lost it. Puddle on the floor. In that moment, something told me to just take the second test that came with the one I had taken two weeks before. Positive. I freaked, no one thought this was possible and I DEFINITELY couldn’t believe it was real. So, I went out and grabbed two more tests: both clearly positive. Unfortunately, I was headed out of town for four days and couldn’t get a next day appointment with my doctor to confirm. We ended up having to wait a week and change to see my doctor, despite the fact I have had to be there WAY too much they know me and my story and were thrilled to see that we might be expecting, and even more so when it was confirmed. 

You might be thinking at this point: well how far along were you. That’s a good question. We don’t actually know for sure. Through blood work and ultrasounds, we suspect I’m right at 14 weeks, with an anticipated deliver somewhere between mid to late March of 2020. Honestly, I was so in shock and so SICK it has been hard for me to get excited, but I am finally almost there! Having my hormones go from one extreme to the other over a period of weeks has also been REALLY challenging on me mentally and emotionally. Jon has been one incredible man through it all and of course he got excited right off the bat, naturally, which has helped me through some of the toughest days! 

At 11-12 weeks we were excited to hear a strong heartbeat and can’t wait for this next phase of finding out the gender. While we could have found out these past couple weeks, with our travel schedules (Los Angeles, Orlando, South Carolina in consecutive weeks), and a huge event I’m helping plan on October 5th I just decided to wait until our 16-week appointment (yes I, because Jon would have been there two weeks ago). 

So, I tell that story also to say this: God is in the business of displaying his perfect and God sized plan and he literally will do whatever he wants whenever he wants no matter what the circumstances might look like. Oh, you also might be wondering about our adoption plan!! We still plan to, our timeline just looks different now, because God is orchestrating our steps in a slightly different way. Our hearts aren’t any less towards adopting one day SOON! In all honesty, it’s pulled at my heart strings even more so. 

You also may be wondering about running. Every day I can be out there running I am so grateful. Right now, it’s a good bit slower and shorter, but if I can get 3-5 miles in, I am a happy camper. I’m hoping to increase the mileage slightly as the weather cools down in Atlanta, with a goal of doing a 10K each month leading up to delivery. I am of course expecting the Lord to change some of that thinking, but I would love to maintain my running for as long as possible. I will absolutely do some consistent blog posts about it during these next six months so give me a follow if you want to be notified about those! 

If you want to know any more about our story these two years, I would be happy to talk with you via email (Jordan@fuelingherforward) or face to face! 

For now, cheers to a new season, and thank you Jesus for your unfailing love and sovereignty 

Until next week friends (when I finish recapping LA and hit Food & Wine at Disney),

Jordan

The Awe of Acadia

I’m only assuming here but when you think of National Parks I’m assuming your mind goes to the “biggies”: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion. Acadia wasn’t even on our radar several years ago, but after my family shifted to wanting to do more outdoor adventure trips we quickly made a list of national parks that we wanted to see. So while my family was planning an out west adventure (the only one of those I’ve seen is the Grand Canyon), Jon and I were looking for something a little closer to home for our anniversary.

By now you’ve probably read, or at least seen, the posts about our time in Boston, but Maine was special. Before I dive into Acadia specifically, I’ll give you a little overview. We flew in and out of Boston because it was WAY cheaper than flying into Portland or Bangor, however it’s a near five hour drive north especially if you take regular breaks. If/when we go back I would spend the extra money flying into Bangor so you have extra time to spend in Maine/Acadia.

Because of that drive I routed us a few times to lighthouses and restaurants that allowed us to experience more of Maine as a whole, which was stunning!

Nubble Lighthouse

We stayed in a wonderful little motel a little north of Bar Harbor (the town next to Acadia), called Belle Isle. Although the room was small, it gave us just what we needed, and the grounds were gorgeous and super well maintained. It’s just a couple miles in when you cross onto Mt Desert Island and a little less expensive then staying in the heart of Bar Harbor.

We quickly headed over to Bar Harbor for dinner and our first views of the incredible Maine coastline. It was really stunning. Something I’m so used to being a regular to the Florida Atlantic area is that when you look out into the ocean you just see vastness. It’s just ocean forever. But here, it’s little islands everywhere; some with mountains, some big, some tiny, the sunrises and sunsets hitting them all in a completely different way. It just makes you pause and take all of these mental pictures you never want to lose.

While that first evening we didn’t go into Acadia, Bar Harbor has a great coastline trail that you could literally walk forever with its views and cool breeze.

Friday was definitely the most epic. After researching the best sunrise hikes in Acadia, Cadillac Mountain was on our radar. Then that was 100% confirmed by one of Jon’s co-workers. The catch with Cadillac Mountain is that it’s the first spot in the US to see the sunrise, which also means it’s the earliest. About an hour and change earlier then Atlanta, so if you want to hike it you are out the door by 3:30am in route to park at the base. But it was absolutely worth it in EVERY WAY. Pictures do not do it justice, but hiking it up and down (we took two different paths to get different perspectives) was one of the most incredible experiences, but also one of the most rewarding. Side note: you can drive to the top, you still want to go early to get the entirety of the sunrise, and the parking is limited. Poor Jon looked at me like I was nutty, but when you are married to a an 8, 3, 1 on the enneagram there was NOTHING that was going to make me drive to the top verses having the fulfillment of hiking it. 

I wish I could go ahead and tell you what kind of feast we had to celebrate, but that’s for next blog post. 

After a satisfying breakfast we took time to relax on a bench overlooking the harbor. The boats starting their days and the sun starting to dance higher and higher. Jon took time to nap after such an early wake up call, while I read further into what it means to feel like it’s okay to not be enough because Jesus is enough and we get to be utterly and completely FREE in that. Heavy reading for vacation, but a truth that needs to be hammered in. And then before we knew it, it was TIME. 

Time for what? For only three hours a day the tide lowers to open up a walkway of a sandbar to Bar Harbor Island. Technically part of Acadia national park, roughly between 9am-12pm you walk across onto this island and an easy two mile hike up to the hillside overlooking all of Bar Harbor and the northern side of Acadia National Park. It was a lot after such a hike that morning but 100% worth it, this “trail” is steady with people so stay aware, but not full enough that you risk being trampled.

We got back to Bar Harbor around 11 or so and headed to lunch. Again for next blog post and then back to the motel for a much needed and well deserved nap. 

We took the evening easy, walking the coastline trail again, shopping, and eating great food.

Saturday morning was Jon’s favorite part! I wanted to get in a trail run and Jon had a spot he really wanted to check out that ended up serving as the perfect spot for an easy run. Jordan Pond. It sits in the middle of the park surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and an epic sunrise. It’s right at 3.25 miles around and flat the whole way. While easy for 85% of it, there is a little bit of rock climbing at two points so be careful! 

After we left Jordan Pond we drove around the Southside of the island, taking in the south part of Acadia and its incredible views. We had one last breakfast in Bar Harbor before we packed up to head to Boston. We were sad to have to end this part of our trip, but as I said before when (not if) we are to do it again we will fly into Bangor and spend more time in this beautiful place.

Let me know what you think? Have you been? Anything you loved that I didn’t mention?

Until foodie time,

Jordan


5 Things You’ll LOVE About Coronado Springs Resort @ Walt Disney World

I recently stayed at the newly opened Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort on the Walt Disney World property. It was majestic and the details intricate and stunning but it wasn’t my first time staying on this property – we stayed in one of the regular rooms as a family back in 2012, and had such a wonderful time. It really has everything you need at your fingertips, and for a reasonable price, want to know why? Here ya go:

  1. Customizing Your Vacay – You can customize however you want and for the price you want. A suite by the pool? A water view from the top of Gran Destino? How $200s/night, high $400s/night (at club level)? Now that Coronado has expanded it really has something for everyone! A great place for a family vacay on a budget or a romantic honeymoon for the happy couple with an incredible view you can choose from an array of options to fit your style and budget.
  2. Foodies Unite – you literally have every option here from top of the new tower to the middle of the lake, the restaurants are plentiful and flavorful. Do you want quick service? Check out Cafe Rix or El Mercado for Mexican inspired and traditional American cuisine. Want a nice restaurant surrounded by the water? Check out Three Bridges that sits in the middle of the lake. Want some incredible views from up high? Check out Toleda for Tapas, or Dahlia lounge for drinks. If you desire something more themed check out Maya Grill. And you can keep going. There truly is something for everyone in the foodie world.
  3. Spa and Fitness – Not every resort has a spa and fitness option but this one gives you everything you need inside the budget you are on. We all know how hot and humid the Florida days can get so this is a great option for keeping in shape while staying cool before you hit the parks for the day.
  4. The perfect running spot – But if you do prefer to keep it outdoors for your cardio this resort is perfectly located and side-walked for a 1-5 mile run. You can get around a mile just running around the waterfront, and if you want to expand the side walk road right out front of the resort gives you a direct and flat route over to the All-Stars and back.
  5. Pools that are top notch – This is one of my favorite pools mostly because of the incredible slide that waves you in and out of the rainforest and pyramids, but I also love the smaller pools that you can find outside some of the individual resort spaces. Besides the pool itself, Coronado has volleyball course and hammocks on the beach area right near Gran Destino Tower.

Obviously I love Coronado for so many reasons, but it’s a really great place to include everything you want on a vacation into one spot and on a budget. Let me know if you have ANY questions: jordan@fuelingherforward.com

For now,

Jordan

Navigating the Bar Craze When the Whole Aisle is Consumed By Them

It seems like every day there is a new protein, health, or real food bar hitting the market, and honestly it can seem overwhelming. I walked into my local grocery store the other day and saw three new brands I had never heard of. Now, most bars have a particular purpose: snack, protein, energy, but how do we organize those and what’s best for our individual day-to-days? To be honest I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I hope this helps just a bit!

My biggest rule of thumb is, and we all know it, whole foods first! But what does that even mean in a culture of 50 bars to choose from all with claims on their label of being this or that? Hopefully this little break down will help you clarify just a bit!

Snack Bars:

  1. RxBar this one is my favorite because the sugar isn’t off the charts and its all natural, and there are so few ingredients – which are all listed on the front of the label. This bar gives you a well rounded option when you’re hungry in the middle of the day or on-the-go! This can ALSO fit into an adequate protein bar so win-win.
  2. Larabar – the sugar here is a little bit more substantial but again the ingredients are all whole foods that are pronounceable and generally good for you. Personally I’m a little fuller when I eat Larabars, they are richer on my stomach even though the calorie counts of RxBar and Larabar are similar, but Jon LOVES them and I know he’s eating a decent snack instead one of the super processed and sugared granola bars or Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
  3. CLIF Whole Lotta – we all know this brand and the multiple lines of bars they make, however depending on which bar you are consuming the ingredient list can be a little lengthy and the sugar count high. HOWEVER, this option is short on ingredients and gives you just what you need to curb hunger, and from a reputable brand.

Biggest bar to avoid: standard CLIF. In my view CLIF stands in a unique place. If you are an endurance athlete and need a boost during long training sessions then a CLIF product is NO problem, however, for their standard bars their ingredient list is long and sugar high. So, if you need a boost of energy it’s so much better to find some whole foods that can give you something more well-rounded and nutritious.

Protein Bars:

  1. Quest – Quest came into my life a little over a year ago when I was still trying to put on weight. While they don’t have the simplest of ingredient lists they do supply a healthy dose of fats, protein, and fiber and very little sugar. They keep me full and balanced on long days of work and training. **NOTE: not every flavor is the same so check the ingredients before you indulge 
  2. Epic – while they don’t have an ample amount of protein I love these pars because they are whole animal, low ingredient, and low sugar, all while being filling and delicious.
  3. Health Warrior Protein Bar – plant based, real food, low sugar bar that I have come to really enjoy for a boost.

Biggest bar to avoid: ThinkThin. I actually used to love these as one of the first bars to burst on the scene of the bar-pandamonium , but their sodium and sugar alcohols are through the roof, and their list of ingredients is just not worth it!

Energy Bars:

  1. Picky Bars – Lauren Fleischman and Jesse Thomas are the brains behind this brand and being endurance athletes themselves I was intrigued by what they were creating. While the added sugars aren’t my favorite in the case of endurance athletics and a pronounceable ingredient list these bars are perfect and definitely rise to the top! Just make sure you are using them in the correct setting!
  2. ProBar – These can also be used as meal replacement so be careful of consuming too much. However, they have pronounceable and clean ingredients and can be a GREAT source of well rounded nutrition in a bind or after a long workout!
  3. Kind Protein – these are substantial, and while they don’t have a super fighting power sugar content they are well rounded with almost anything that your body requires when you are grinding through the week or pounding the pavement.

Biggest bar to avoid: PowerBar. One of the originals. But the first ingredient is cane invert syrup and Maltodextrin follows closely behind it, just not the whole food, well rounded nutrition that’s best.

Honorable Mentions:

*Goodness Knows – Snack

*Jimmy Bars – Protein

*Bonk Breaker – Energy

I hope this guide helps you breakdown some of this bar craze, and that it helps you find the best products for your activity level and overall health! Enjoy!