Health and Fitness, Hobbies

My First Challenge Group!

I am really excited about having joined the Beachbody team and having hosted my first free challenge group! Finding the discipline to push myself through a workout routine has always been hard for me, so being the coach of this challenge group really helped to hold me accountable and build up the discipline I need to achieve the results that I want!

Before starting my own challenge group, I joined in on another coach’s group just to see how it was done. Her group was amazing and I hope that I did at least half as well as her!

My group was a multi-program group, which basically means that each participant was free to choose whatever regimen they felt they would best benefit from. This could be as hardcore as “complete the 21 Day Fix” program, or as simple as “drink water every day!” My role as a coach was simply to motivate, encourage, and hold each participant accountable during the journey. I posted little blurbs each morning that (I hope) were inspirational, and every Sunday I checked in with each participant personally to make sure that they were doing okay and to see if there was anything I could be doing to better serve them.

For my workouts, I decided to do Flat Abs Fix with Autumn Calabrese for the first 11 days. After that, I switched over to Shaun Week – which took me a few extra days to complete because we were busy moving! I used Beachbody on Demand to complete my workouts, which is an excellent resource in which one may find all kinds of workouts for all kinds of people. It is amazing!

It felt good to get into a challenging workout habit. I was also drinking Shakeology during my challenge group and enjoyed the extra boost of energy in the mornings after drinking it.

While I did see some physical results over the past three weeks of the challenge, the best result for me was the return of my ability to breathe normally, and the development of longer endurance.

If you were a regular reader here before my short hiatus, you already know about the medical issues I faced after giving birth. Being hospitalized with a blood clot was not fun, but it gave me a taste of what life could be like in the future if I don’t take care of my body now.

I spent a year and a half looking in on Beachbody and feeling skeptical about it before deciding to join. What I love about Beachbody is that it doesn’t make empty promises of quick weight loss or fitness solutions. There aren’t any easy fixes. Beachbody recognizes that health and fitness take work, are a way of life, and that fitness goals are more easily achieved when one has a support group that offers accountability and inspiration.

I’m excited not only to be on my own health journey, but to be able to help others on theirs as well!

Keep in touch with me and follow my progress here on the blog, on the Facebook Group TeamAdvance, or on Instagram @teamadvance_ !

And if you’re looking for any support or accountability, I’d love to serve you in that way!

Let’s do it together 🙂

General, Hobbies


Whenever I have a little downtime, I have been reading and note-taking as much as possible about how to get started down a path toward entrepreneurship. Honestly, I’m kind of a late bloomer. So many of my family and friends have already started accomplishing their business goals, and although I have long had business goals I never considered myself “business-minded” enough to be able to actually make something work. Better late than never, though, and I promised myself that 2017 would be the year to make stuff happen. So I am going to make stuff happen. 

That’s going to mean some changes for this blog, though! And I’m not entirely sure what that will look like, just yet. So, until I figure it all out – I will be taking a short break from blogging. 

I love Thisblindmouse and have had it for 5 years! But it’s mostly been a hobby blog – meaning that I’ve kept up with it as a hobby and not as anything that helps me to accomplish professional goals. I am unsure of whether to simply transition it, or to start completely fresh with a new blog all together. We’ll see. 

I don’t expect this to be a long break, maybe just 2 or 3 months  (which – lately – seems like the amount of time I’ve been taking between posts, anyway!) But I have been doing a lot of brainstorming and am ready to start taking steps in the direction that I want to go. 

Many Thanks to anyone who has ever kept up with me, here. And hopefully we’ll remain cyber buddies regardless of what’s next for Thisblindmouse! 

Ta-ta for now! 


Baby Steps

In my last post, I talked about wanting to share my nature photography with others – and I am happy to be able to say that I finally set up an instagram for my photos and their accompanying anecdotes. 

It’s a small thing, but it’s also a big thing. I am not generally such a transparent person, and I have decided to be more transparent in sharing my photos and what they mean to me. I am also proud of myself for just  doing it, instead of only thinking about doing it and analyzing it to death. 

So, if you follow me here but also have an instagram – check me out @thiswholeearth! 

I look forward to crossing many of my other goals off my list this year, as well! 


A year of execution 

At the risk of seeming like someone who only does things because they are trendy, I want to share the fact that I really enjoy photography. I always have, in fact. My mom bought me a Polaroid camera when I was younger and I used to love taking pictures that printed out immediately (though the film was expensive so I tried not to waste shots). My mom has always believed that I would one day become a photo journalist, and who knows? Maybe I still could. 

Now that everyone seems to be into photography, it’s hard for me to be openly interested in it without feeling like I’m just buying into the hype. One things that sets me apart from most people I know, though, is that I am less interested in photographing people and more interested in photographing still life, landscapes, or scenes of nature. 

There is something so peacefully profound, to me, about photographs in which an inanimate object or a part of nature is at the forefront. 

One of my goals for 2017 is to start taking myself more seriously in terms of setting out to execute the various ideas that I have been holding onto. I have a wonderful imagination and am quite ambitious, but find it hard to get ideas from being a lightbulb over my head and into reality. 

I’d love to start a small photography business in which I can share my love of nature and still life with whoever crosses my path. This year, I won’t just daydream about it, I am going to do it. 

Family, Holidays

Habari Gani? Imani!

It’s the seventh and final day of Kwanzaa, and I’d like to take a moment to be proud of myself for actually finishing this series. 

Today is about faith. Kwanzaa emphasizes having faith in our families, teachers, communities, and in ourselves to overcome any struggles or adversity that we may face as we experience life in brown skin. There are many of us who feel that we cannot reach beyond certain heights, but we can – and we will do it together. That is the concluding message of Kwanzaa, which ends on a day where many are making new year’s resolutions. 

The seven Kwanzaa principles are meant to be lived all throughout the year. There is so much that I didn’t cover in this series, but if you are curious to learn more I encourage you to do so! 

How can we celebrate the concept of faith, today? 

Write yourself a letter of things you want to accomplish by next year, and open it next year to see if you’ve gotten those things done! 

-spend time listening to stories of people you know who, despite adversity, accomplished something important to them. 

Many families celebrate the last day of Kwanzaa with a special meal! If you plan on doing that today, enjoy it! 

And happy new year! 

Family, Holidays

Habari Gani? Kuumba!

My mom always used to tell me to leave things nicer than when I’d found (or borrowed) them. She always modeled this by offering to help clean when we were at others’ homes for dinner or meetings, or by sprucing up a borrowed item so that she returned it in better condition than when she’d borrowed it. I try to follow in her footsteps, but I’m sure I am not half as good at it as she is. 

The idea of Kuumba isn’t just creativity for creativity’s sake, but creativity in aesthecially bettering our communities. Wherever an environment is visually appealing, it always seems that morale is higher as well. We need to feel good about our surroundings because it goes a long way in helping to fight off negativity and depression. 

What if all our neighborhoods, no matter the income levels, were beautiful? What if all our neighborhoods were clean? What if we used our creativity to make this happen, regardless of how much money we do or do not have? I think it would make a huge difference in lifting the mood of a community’s residents. And when you feel better in life, you do better in life. 

It’s really pretty simple. 

So what kinds of things can you do this Kwanzaa to help express the principle of Kuumba?

Redecorate your home or get some early spring cleaning done! 

Help pick up trash in the neighborhood!

Find out if you can volunteer to beautify any public spaces in your community. 

We’re almost through! Tomorrow is the last day of Kwanzaa, and the New Year! We’ll be wrapping up this Kwanzaa series and hopefully employing the seven principles of Kwanzaa throughout 2017! 


Family, Holidays

Habari Gani? Nia!

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” -Proverbs 29:18

The fifth day of Kwanzaa is all about purpose. The official Kwanzaa statement on purpose has a lot to do with finding out how one can use his or her strengths and abilities to contribute to his or her community and to the world at large. It is a good idea to take stock of what you are passionate about, good at, and enjoy doing. When you use your skills and interests to help solve community issues, you are stepping into your “purpose,” in terms of being a productive and proactive member of society. 

There is another layer of purpose that moves from the individual and toward Black people in the United States as a whole. What is our purpose here? Are we – as a group – fulfilling that purpose? This layer can be tricky, as it is totally up to opinion and interpretation and can be muddled with all sorts of different experiences and ideas of what it means to be Black in America. I don’t know that various people groups have “vision statements,” but I often think it would be interesting to see what the world would be like if every group of people in it strived for a particular ideal. And if that were the case, what would the Black ideal be?

Dr. Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa, is an atheist and the celebration of Kwanzaa is/can be totally free of religion if that’s what the celebrants prefer. But Kwanzaa can also be personalized so, because my family are followers of Christ, there is another layer to the issue of purpose. 

It’s fine to have our individual and national/ethnic purposes, as long as they don’t override our ultimate purpose which, I believe, is the glorification of Jesus Christ. As I consider the principle of purpose in the context of Kwanzaa, I also have to ask myself whether I am fulfilling my first and most important purpose – becoming more and more like Jesus. 

So what kinds of activities can we participate in on this fifth day of Kwanzaa? 

Talk with family and friends about purpose! What does it mean in your context? What can you be doing to fulfill it? What can you be doing to help others fulfill their purposes?

Create/update your goals! Try to include family and community building activities as goals, also. 

Create a new prayer rule! Orthodox Christians have a practice of creating prayer rules (specific prayers that they pray at specific times). Your prayer rule can be anything, as long as it helps you to focus on your spiritual growth/purposes. 

 Stay tuned for day 6 of Kwanzaa tomorrow!