Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Post Dividers!

This is fun! Check out my new post divider below!


As of tomorrow, it will officially be two months since I turned 29 and officially declared my 30-before-30 list. Since then, I also posted this blog about checking some items off the list. Since that was back in December, I thought that it was about time for another update!

Totally Complete:

19. Find a creative outlet- maybe rekindle my love of photography.
Photography is going to have to wait until I can afford the camera I want: Canon EOS Rebel T1i. But that's okay because I've found two new outlets. One is crafting a very specific item and the other is digital scrapbooking/blog design. In fact, they are turning into a business venture! That's all I really want to tell you right now other than more info. is coming VERY soon!

23. Make a new friend.
I've actually made a number of new friends in the last two months. I've never met so many women that I can relate to. However, I am thinking about one person in particular. I don't want to name names because I don't want any hurt feelings, but I knew the night I met this one particular woman that we were destined to be great friends. Has that ever happened to you before? Not me. Now, don't get me wrong. I have some WONDERFUL girlfriends who I really WANTED to be friends with from the moment I met them, but this was different. I actually felt in my heart that we were ALREADY friends. I wanted to give it some time to let the friendship develop before I just declared this mission accomplished, but it truly is!

In Progress:

8. Read 30 books.
I'm really going to have to pick up the pace if I'm going to accomplish this goal. I've only finished Eat Pray Love. I'm in the process of reading The Book of Mormon, Say You're One of Them, and a few others. I also have a list of at least 5 other books I want to read next. Three of those book were written by one of my new friends: Marcia Mickelson. (Had to give her a shout out!)

15. Schedule all of my needed Dr. appointments!!! I am so bad about that!

So far, I have already scheduled and had my yearly well woman checkup. I hadn't been to the gyno in almost 2 years, and I had been off the pill for almost a year. I won't go into any more detail, but suffice to say that was a major one that needed to be taken care of. Just have a few more to take care of before I can check it off the list.

Struggling With:

2. Lose 100 pounds- one of the reasons pregnancy probably won't come until the
end of the year (lol)
You all know it, but it's time for me to come clean about it. I had lost over 14 lbs, but have COMPLETELY fallen off the wagon. I am going to blame part of that on a stressful couple of weeks dealing with some family issues, but I have to be honest that I've just lost my drive. I'm trying to get it back together, but I'm struggling.

10. Follow FlyLady's daily routines.

I got started on the 31-day babysteps and got to like day 7 and that was it. Life changed and I didn't know how to adjust my routine, so I fell off of the program, but I am happy to report that sink has mostly stayed shiny. I'm slowly working towards getting back into the groove of things.

20. Watch no more than 1 hour of television a day. I'm just tired of wasting so
much time.
This one is ridiculous. Truly, ridiculous. Here I am complaining about time and yet, I find myself in front of the dumb tv most evenings. Part of the problem (but only a small part) is that the hubs is ALWAYS watching tv. We live in a small apartment with only one tv, which is in the living room, which is basically the only other room besides our bedroom. But nevertheless, I could remove myself from watching it with him if I wanted to. Most of the time I can't stand what he is watching anyway. I just tend to get zapped into to mindlessly watching the glowing box instead of doing whatever else I need/want to be doing.

So that's where I am in this whole 30-before-30 journey. I'm looking forward to possibly scratching two more items of the list this weekend! Are there any goals you've complete, are in progress, or you're struggling with? Any advice for me? Please, do tell! (I'm thinking about paying you for comments, or at least following me!) :)
Photo is from flickr.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


"So... A new blog name. Really? Why?"

Hmmm, good question. And there really is a good answer, but it's a bit of a story. Care to listen?

Back in 2005, I joined Myspace and started blogging there. I didn't know what I was doing, but I just used it as a way to keep my family informed and also to express myself. There was no rhyme or reason, no structure, but I loved it. Back in the summer of '08, I started blogging about my weight loss attempts and found it thrilling. It was cathartic for me and I got so much support from my friends through the blog. I was hooked.

About the same time, two things happened:

1. Myspace was being replaced by Facebook.
2. I discovered Blogger.

So without doing any research as to how start a blog- I set out and failed miserably at two blogs. No catchy name, no real "theme", no consistency... They sucked.

Then one more thing happened: My marriage was failing. Cue- The Love Dare. We saw Fireproof, I went and bought the book, and with some online research saw that many couples were blogging about their experiences. Hence, La Vida Ledesma was born.

I had a name, I had a theme, I had consistency- I had a successful blog! But then, it wasn't really about the blog. I worked hard to finish that 40-day Love Dare. It was tough, but so worth it. Through that process, I actually learned so much about myself and I had a spiritual breakthrough. But eventhough it was amazing for me, my husband felt differently about it. In the end, it didn't have the desired effect on our marriage and within months we separated.

That's when the bottom dropped out for me folks. I was so broken, but at the same time this resolve emerged. I was determined to pull myself out of that hole and emerge a stronger person than I've ever been.

I abandoned La Vida Ledesma and started a new blog. Butterflying Brandi was my attempt to get my stuff together. You can read about the meaning behind the name here. And it was incredibly therapeutic to write about what I was doing, experiencing, learning. This amazing thing happened:

When I started working on myself (instead of my marriage) the marriage just started working itself out. Isn't that wierd? I learned alot from that. Made me see just how much of a role I played in our problems. I don't want to make it sounds like I'm the only one who needed to do work, it's not like that at all. But what I found is that it was okay for me to make the first steps. I didn't have to worry about him or us. I just needed to worry about me.

And then an even more amazing thing happened which you can read about here. We had no clue or plan to find our faith when we did, but isn't that how all the great things in life happen? Reading the Scriptures, praying, and sharing the gospel bring us closer in ways that I couldn't have fathomed before. Of course, we continue to have our struggles, but I've been amazed that we remain diligent about our faith and focusing on better ourselves- we seem to resolve our issues.

But the most amazing thing of all that has happened to me (and I'm getting to the end, I promise) is personal revelation. My entire life view has shifted. Which sounds major (and it is) but at the same time it had to happen with all of this newly found knowledge.

My blog tagline was "I'm on a journey. I don't know where it ends, but I know it begins with me." Now I know that isn't true. I KNOW where that journey ends but I won't get there until I'm dead. It didn't begin with me either, but I am on a journey for sure. I also realized that I'm never going to reach perfection in this lifetime, but that's ok. I can be happy and imperfect. But that doesn't mean I should also just be content the way I am. I should always be striving to improve. I found this quote last week that perfectly sums up what I've been feeling.

"Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb." -Winston Churchill

Thanks to Miley, "the climb" is a pretty cheesy idea these days, but stop and think about what that really means. Yes, our journey will eventually end, but not while we are alive. As long as there is blood pumping through my veins and a thought in my brain, I will have room to improve.

I don't know about you, but that is incredibly freeing to me. That I don't have to meet some deadline (no pun intended). And I will fail. I will not be perfect. But that is part of the process.

So, that's why this blog is titled: La Vida Subida. Roughly translated, it means Life's Climb. If you were to put it into a translator it would also come up with Life Increase, which I like too. Plus it goes well with La Vida Ledesma which is making a comeback with a fresh voice soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I did it!

I made the layout and header all by myself! I'm not all that happy with it, but it feels good to have created it myself.

See, What Had Happened Was...

I'm not really sure where to begin. I left the blog months ago without much of an explanation. So, I guess I just need to begin there.

In August of 2009, Xavier and I separated. It was all based on one particular event that I really don't want to go into detail about. You can read about it here. As a result, I felt this determination to take the focus off the marriage and turn it to myself. I had just spent months working on The Love Dare, and what I had realized is that it wasn't enough. So, I set off on a new journey- one that is still in progress which you can read about here.

If you've been following my blogs for a while, you'll notice that I've once again changed the blog title from Butterflying Brandi to La Vida Subida. (You'll find the explanation at the new blog)

But I'll get back on track. Basically I spent the next 3 months focused on taking care of myself, and the relationship started to repair itself. We both realized that we had a lot of work to do, but we wanted to do it. We wanted to save our marriage.

We reunited in Salt Lake City, Halloween weekend which also started a brand new journey that weekend without realizing it. As a result, we have since converted and are now member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You can read all about that here.

Xavier was sent home shortly after my visit and it gave us the opportunity to work on us face-to-face. It hasn't been perfect, but we are still a work in progress. Our faith has strengthened us in a way that I really can't explain. I feel closer to him that I've ever felt before.

As of today, everything is stable. We're both working. We're both happy. We're both healthy. We're both ready to move forward. Which is where the blog comes in. As we continue to move forward, we are going to be sharing our combined experiences here.

That's right! Xavier's voice will soon be a part of your reading experience!

We're excited!

Friday, January 22, 2010


So, this has been quite a week...

I'm going to get back on top of things (life, goals, sanity) very soon, but I just felt like sharing something very random with you today.

This isn't going to be news for some, but will probably be a little known fact for most of you... You see, I have this gift. A Spidey Sense if you will. It is be a pain, but mostly it brings a great deal of satisfaction. This give of mine is an uber-sensitive sniffer.

This gift has saved my life- GAS LEAK. It has been a tormentor- NO ONE ELSE SMELLS DEAD RAT?! But mostly it has made me happy- SCENTED PENCILS!

When I was teaching, I was infamous for having every smelly product known to man. Stickers, Pencils, Erasers, Markers, Goo... It was my THING. All the kids and teachers knew about it. I kind of miss having a good reason to buy that stuff. Although I have to admit that I still have some scented stickers and markers at my desk.

Beyond that, it is more important to me that my home smell good that to actually be clean... Strange, I know. I guess the same goes for me. I'd rather smell good than look good. LOL

Here's just some of my favorite scents:
1. Lavender
2. Celery and Onion being sauteed
3. Amber
4. Spices (ALL of them)
5. Citrus
6. Vanilla
7. My Grandmother's house
8. Eucalyptus and Spearmint Oil
9. Firewood Burning
10. Fresh baked bread

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Game Plan

Last week, I posted here about my serious need for some time management skills. I also promised to be sharing my game plan the next day, but then the most wonderful thing happened:

My husband got a job!!!

And so my game plan changed. I wasn't even sure if I should make a game plan yet because his schedule is only temporary until he is done with training. And so, I went back and forth all weekend about it, and I decided late last night that I had to start now, even if I could only make a game plan for myself day by day for the time being.

Since the hubs has to be at work by 6:30am, I have just been going into work early. Today, I used that time to update my calendar (majorly needed), look up some info., and think about what I needed to get done. I was alone with my thoughts and wayyy more productive!

Therefore, I was able to come up with a plan for the day, and I would like to share it with you:

Today's Plan-

  1. Dinner will be made. Whole Grain Rigatoni with meat sauce, Spinach Salad and Squash.
  2. We will have Family Home Evening during which we will finally watch the Finding Faith in Christ DVD that was loaned to us at least two weeks ago, and we will also read and pray.
  3. Because of the new schedule, I have NO time in the morning for anything. So I'm going to have to bathe at night, set out clothes, and make sure breakfast and lunch are taken care of. If I don't do it tonight, it WON'T happen in the morning. Period.
  4. Finally, If I have time, I need to write a grocery store list so we can go to shopping Tuesday night. If I don't get it done, I at least have to get everything together and write the list in the morning.

I'm hoping I can get to bed at a decent time. We'll see.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday!

On our Wedding Night. Doesn't he look happy?

Today is my husband's 29th birthday!!! And he's starting a new job today!!! He is not longer Xavier, or Havie, or the hubs... He is officially-

C.O. Ledesma

He is a correctional officer with the county sherriff's office. And boy does he look hot in his uniform. Seriously never knew I was a uniform kinda gal before, but owwww! And he was issued his own pair of handcuffs! :)

Anyway, I digress...

My husband is the kinda guy that likes to work. He derives alot of his self-esteem from his ability to provide for us. He prides himself on being good at what he does- always striving the be his best. So, the last two months haven't been so happy for him.

I love to see that man smile. That's how he won me over if you don't know that already. He flashed a bright smile at me and I was sold.

It's so good to see him happy again. I'd let him sell peanuts for $1 a day if it made him this happy.

P.S. Thank you for the comments on my last post! I got some great advice, and I'm going to be posting another blog soon with my game plan! So, stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I'm doing it again, people. Please help me out here because I don't want to repeat this pattern!

My WI was last night and it didn't go the way I wanted it to. I didn't gain any weight, but I also didn't lose any weight. Stayed just the same- to the very ounce. I was even wearing the exact same clothes! lol...

It shouldn't have been a surprise (and it honestly wasn't) but I'm still feeling all down and out. I'm getting that typical feeling that happens not too long before I just give up, and I'm not going out like that again.

No! I'm not.

The frustration I feel right now is with myself, but that isn't even productive. I know better. So, here's the facts:

We have made some AMAZING changes in our life here lately and all of a sudden, we have a LIFE. We went from the two of us sitting our lazy butts in front of the tv all evening, every evening to lessons with Elders, Family Home Evenings, Dinners with new friends, etc. And while we've enjoyed them- TRULY- it has thrown our household into a tailspin. The ONLY reason we haven't completely lost it yet is because Havie is still not working and has time to make sure laundry is done and the house is clean. If it weren't for that my friends, I would be sitting in a corner drooling. Seriously. I just can't handle this much chaos. I'm a creature of habit. I like routines and structure.

SO- I'm just going to have to make it happen.

It all boils down to one crucial thing- Time Management. UGH. I am really terrible at this folks, always have been. It is totally standing in the way of my weight loss/health goal. It's this terrible cycle of not being prepared and then resorting to eating whatever is convenient, and often being so hungry by the time that I do eat that I massively overeat.

I have got to figure it out though. Things are only going to get harder from here:

1. We were informed Sunday that we will be called this week as Co-Chairs on the Activities Committee. I am so excited because I'll get to do some event planning! Of course that also means I'll be needing to devote time to the cause.

2. I will be starting Visiting Teaching soon. Something I'm also very excited about- especially because my companion is someone I've wanted to get to know better. Again, also something that is going to require some of my time.

3. Havie is very likely going to be working again soon and then there will be no one to pick up the slack during the day. (It's actually been quite a blessing having him at home)

I know that this is not just a weight issue. It's a whole life issue. It's making the majority of my life predictable, so that I may be able to enjoy the unpredictable without devastating consequences.

So, this is where you come in- How do you do it? Are there some tricks or skills I missed out on? How do you balance all of your obligations? I will try ANYTHING you suggest!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Say What?!!

Yes, just like that...

I stared at the total in utter amazement... I guess you could call it "sticker shock". (hardy, har, har- had to throw a little WW pun in there for ya) But I honestly couldn't believe it said that I had lost 7.8 L-B's this past week.

YES! 7.8! I KNOW! I couldn't believe it either. That's alot. Even for a big ol' gal like me...

Or is it?

Because then I promptly plunked my plump personage (try saying that 5 times fast) on the eliptical machine at the gym and did sweatin' to The Biggest Loser. Isn't that one the best? (p.s. they are really turning up the drama this season)

And it got me thinkin'...

Some people may look at 7.8 lbs and be like, NO FAIR. I can't lose that much in a week! And it's true, they really probably can't because they would die. lol... But seriously, isn't it all about the percentage (ala Biggest Loser style)?

So when you break it down like that- I started out 312 lbs. this week, so my percentage of weight lost is: 2.5% which seems MUCH more reasonable.

Most importantly, I realize that I won't keep this up. My goal for next week is still just 2 pounds. I'm just going to continue to track my points and get in my work outs. (More coming on that last subject soon.)

And a final note- I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that I'm really not doing this alone. Cayce and Ashley- you two may not realize just how much you keep me motivated, but I just cherish the fact that I can count on you two for encouragement and know you're going through the same things I am. And beyond that, I am been blessed by so many friends and family who are cheering me on. And finally, I am so grateful to have a husband who is willing to eat good stuff with me and go to the gym with me. What more could a girl ask for?

Sunday, January 3, 2010


The first Sunday of the month, we fast and pray about something specific. We go without food or water for 24 hours, or basically two meals. It serves two purposes:

1. It shows God how serious we are the particular subject we are praying about.

2. We then tithe what we would have spent on food for those meals we missed and the Bishop then uses it to provide meals for the hungry.

It is my favorite weekend even though it is tough for me. It has brought home just how much my world revolves around food. My first fast was a HUGE wake up call. I sat there an OBSESSED about wanting to eat even though I wasn't even hungry. And really, it's ok to be hungry. Yes it is an uncomfortable feeling, but it isn't painful. I've realized that I NEVER let myself even get hungry. I'm so focused on preventing the uncomfortable that it had been a really long time since I had even FELT hunger.

I won't eat again until dinner tonight and while I've had pangs of hunger at different times throughout the day, they have passed. At the moment I feel fine, but I can smell the lasagna in the crock pot and I'm a little tempted. It reminds me of something I heard recently:

The pain of sacrifice only lasts a short while. It's the fear of the pain that causes us to hesitate indefinitely.

I could go into a whole diatribe about how we have made a whole culture of avoiding pain and sacrifice, but I won't. I am just glad to be removing the hold food has on me, even if it's just for 24 hours once a month.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Best of 2009

Happy New Year!

Yesterday my general attitude was "Good Riddance 2009, you sucked." Then I had two different mind blowing conversations that made me sing a different tune. By the end of the day, I was feeling a whole new level of gratitude for this past year because:

a. It could have been MUCH worse and was for some people that I love.
b. Even the bad is good. Think about it... See, I didn't realize it either!

So, I'm going to follow in Leslie's footsteps and share my 2009 Top Ten list. (in no particular order)

10. For Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class. If we hadn't found it when we did, we could have been in BIG trouble at this point. We majorly reduced our monthly budget and have followed it since March. We saved an emergency fund which we have not had to touch. We have given more money than we ever have before and we've seen it flow back in. It's changed our lives in a major way.

9. For being able to move from one job right into another. I got super lucky. I took a major leap of faith when I left teaching, and it paid off.

8. For the breakdown of my marriage. I know it sounds like a strange thing to be grateful for, but it had to happen. It woke me up. It re-lit a fire within and started a new journey for me. It also made me realize just how much I love my husband.

7. Speaking of which- I am blessed with a husband who loves me beyond my comprehension, makes me laugh until it hurts, protects me and takes care of me, has an infectious smile, is super driven, is steadfast, is so giving, and is a great cook. We are so alike and so different and so meant for each other. I almost lost you Xavier, and I promise to never forget your worth again.

6. For therapy. I wish everyone would try it. It took me a little bit to find the right person, but it's amazing what we've been able to achieve together. I've learned so much about myself, and learned to be so loving of myself and others (a major feat). I actually understand who I am for the first time ever and it is so liberating.

5. For LOTS of time alone. It was excruciating at the time. I was so incredibly lonely, but again it was needed. I had to listen. I only had my thoughts to keep my company and I had to face myself. I didn't like what I found in there. I had kept myself so distracted for so long, I had completely disconnected from myself. It actually breaks my heart to think of it now.

4. For being able to reunite with Xavier in Salt Lake City. We were able to celebrate our 3rd Anniversary together in a beautiful city. It was the first time we had seen each other in almost 4 months. It was when we both KNEW that we wanted to make our marriage work. That city will always hold a special place in my heart.

3. Speaking of which- When we visited Temple Square, it was merely an attempt to be good tourists. We had NO IDEA that it would lead us to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is truly the most AMAZING thing that has happened in my entire life, let alone this year.

2. For all of the people in my life- new and old, positive and negative. They all play a role even if it is just to remind me of who I don't want to be. I can love them all the same because we are all the same. We all have something to offer to each other.

1. For goals. I have also recently realized that I'm on a perpetual journey of self-improvement. For the first time, I know where I'm going and it will take my whole lifetime to get there. I can achieve everything I want to achieve, but it will be a process. The biggest difference now is what is motivating me. It used to be fear, but now it's love. And it is truly beautiful.


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