Gardening for Good Health

I grew up in a very rural community nestled in between the towns of Bowman and Orangeburg, SC. At the core of my community there was faith, family and farming (eat, love, pray).

However, I can recall being so embarrassed by the fact that my high school was located directly across the street from a cow pasture. The summer time smell of the cows or the chicken manure used to fertilize nearby crops left very little to be desired except to be located anywhere than where I actually was. I can remember being frustrated by the cotton grown in the field in front of my home and hogs being raised in the rear of my home. I can remember the weariness I would feel looking at bushels of peas to shell, beans to snap or corn to shuck. I promise my childhood was not as traumatic as I’ve made it to seem.

Then I remember the pleasantries that I often long for now such as the fresh figs and pecans grown on the trees in my grandmother’s yard. Reaping and enjoying the harvest of sugar cane, watermelons, strawberries and peanuts for boiling is one of my favorite memories. Farm to table is not a new or fancy concept to me – it was indeed a way of life! Most of my cousins and I left the country and farm life for the metropolis or suburban life and we left in a hurry with no looking back. With little manpower and harsh economic as well as natural climate conditions, the family farm has dwindled greatly.

I unfortunately did not inherit my family’s green thumb, so there is not even a little box garden that I am able to boast of. However, I am proud to say that I am aware of and try to support a number of farms that are local to the Charleston area. There are even some urban farms that are pretty impressive. I was most pleased to learn that you can purchase shares of crops from some of these farms and have overloaded baskets of fresh local produce delivered to your home. I have also seen in the Mom swap groups that I am a member of, a trend of multiple families pooling together resources to purchase whole cows and hogs for butcher. While the traditional farm life may be miles away from me it is good to know that I can attend a Farmer’s Market or even find local produce in the grocery stores that I frequent.

Fresh produce is a great asset to any diet! After reminiscing as I was writing this post I am more committed than ever to ditch the canned goods whenever possible. I need to get back to my country roots! Which leads me to my acronym for this week. In high school I was a card carrying, blue corduroy jacket wearing member of the FFA – Future Farmers of America. I encourage you all to research and get to know this great organization.

Until next time,
Be great and be grateful!
Team Hawes and in Charge

Have FUN during your workouts

Webster defines vacation as a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel.

According to CNN Money, 56% of Americans have not taken vacation in at least a year. Research indicates that the top 5 reasons Americans do not use their vacation days are as follows:

1. Fear of returning to a mountain of work (40%)
2. The belief that nobody else can do the job (35%)
3. Inability to afford taking time off (33%)
4. Fear of being seen as replaceable (22%)
5. To show greater dedication to the company and the job (28%)

I am guilty as charged, however with 3 small children at 3 different school and managing a chronic health condition I choose to stockpile my PTO for the event of an emergency or special occasion. Michael, I would categorize as a #1 and a #5. He probably would prefer to just cash in his vacation days.

Madison and I recently wrapped up a trip to the Barrier Islands and Camp St. Christopher. I initially felt guilty about taking the time off but It was awesome time had by all! We went on scavenger hunts, seining, hiking, star gazing, we enjoyed camp food and even got down and dirty in a mud pit. I exceeded my 10,000 step goal every day. Neither of us had any problems falling fast asleep each night and we were in a cabin with 18 other girls and women! Vacation is definitely a time where fitness and activity can be made fun. I am already looking forward to our next retreat from everyday life and excited to pack the time with fun filled activities that will make us as well as our fitness trackers happy!


Until next time, have F.U.N.
Find time to do enjoyable activities that you’ve been putting off.
Use your free time to rest and rejuvenate.
Nurture your family. Make memories and establish traditions. Youth disappears within the blink of an eye!

Team Hawes and in Charge

Lean and be leaned on

Knowledge of the tides in the Charleston area is crucial. As a part of the daily weather report you will also find the times and heights of the tides. This knowledge allows you to prepare and safely navigate the Lowcountry. When high tide is during commuter hours it amazes me how many FB statuses and tweets (social support) are dedicated to advising of the dangers and inconveniences that will lay ahead of us. Even after 19 years of living here I’d still rather avoid the downtown area as much as possible during high tide.

Unfortunately, life does not equip us as well to pinpoint the timing our highs and lows. We can wake up in a great mood, only to be stuck in traffic (story of my life) and then feel as if the day has now started on a downward spiral. Conversely, we could have had an awful day at work and get home to an ambush of hugs and kisses and the day has been saved. I find that in times when I want to eat all of the “wrong” foods or curl up in a ball on my couch instead of workout, there usually is a trigger. While I know what most of my triggers are, it is equally as important, if not more, for me to have a support system of people who know my triggers and can help me safely navigate through them.

I am a member of several fitness groups (Black Girls Run, Girl Trek and Hike It Baby) that I became aware of through Facebook. I have used these groups to find workout partners, to share my struggles and successes, to gain motivation and to expand my support system. Even I, a self-proclaimed loner, can admit it’s nice to have someone to lean on.

“Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on”

Those words are the lyrics of one of my favorite songs Lean on Me by Bill Withers.

This week’s acronym is L.E.A.N.

Until next week, lean and be leaned on!

Team Hawes and in Charge

Bringing an open mind to meal planning

When I think of my own obstacles to meal planning from now and throughout various stages of my life several come to mind.

1. I don’t have the time.
2. I don’t have the financial resources.
3. I don’t have the energy.
4. I am never home long enough.
5. I don’t know what to cook.
6. I don’t want to cook.

My hope is that if you indeed see yourself struggling in any of those areas that our experts will be able to speak to you through this blog and through this challenge. While I’m no expert I think if you bring an open mind to the meal planning lifestyle you’ll quickly find that it actually addresses all of those obstacles and more.

My life is what I’d like to call “organized chaos”. There are a number of variables in life which are simply out of my control – and let me tell how accepting that realization became a game changer and a life saver (maybe on another post), however the ones that are within my control I find that having a plan magnifies the organized and minimizes the chaos.

As promised, my acronym for the week is P.L.A.N.
Pause – Take time to get your mind in the correct space to visualize your goal.
List – Write down your goal and the tools you will need to accomplish it
Acquire – Get the tools from your list.
Now- Execute the plan now!

Until next time, start where you are and deliberately move towards greatness!

Team Hawes and in Charge

T.I.M.E. Together Incorporate Movement Everyday

There are certainly enough legitimate excuses for us to make to avoid fitness. I think lack of time is one excuse most can agree on. I, like many of my peers, have a hard time trying to “fit in” time for fitness. Typically, it’s not until I’m no longer able to “fit in” my favorite pair of jeans that I realize I haven’t made my physical health a priority.

In today’s society pressures exist all around us to get more done in less time. There is always a deadline to meet or a record to beat. In trying to achieve and compete we often neglect our most precious resource, the health of our bodies. No one is more guilty of this than myself. On May 15 of this year I will celebrate my 5th “Re-Birthday”. This is the day I survived a heart attack at the tender age of 31. On that day after hearing the doctor advise me of the diagnosis, I can clearly recall hearing myself tell him that “I don’t have time to have a heart attack.” That was me – I didn’t have time to make my health a priority, I didn’t have time to notice the warning signs and I almost didn’t have time to go to the hospital on that evening. Fortunately, I did go and was blessed with more time on my journey.

I would love to be able to tell you that on that day I Iearned my lesson and have always made fitness a priority but I haven’t. It is very easy to fall back into unhealthy habits. However, the bright side of this story, for both you and me, is that today is always a great day for a new beginning.

Michael, the kids and I are eagerly looking forward to employing the great strategies from the experts on finding time for fitness. On another more random note, I love acronyms. To aid my family in remembering important concepts I create acronyms. (Don’t judge me! LOL) Our newest acronym is T.I.M.E – together incorporate movement everyday – it’s one of our goals! Talk to you soon!


Team Hawes and in Charge