Body Work

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I had a great month of blogging in October 2014. It is now June 2015. Since the end of October I just quit blogging. No real reason, just haven’t done it.

But I need to do it. Blogging helps me process ideas. Blogging keeps me motivated. Blogging makes me work on my writing.

So, I am adding it back to my to-do list. At least once a week. Baby steps to get me back into my routine of three times a week.

Here goes. And it’s Monday, so here are my musings for today.

  • My daughter graduated from 8th grade last week which means I have not only a teenager, but one that is going into high school. Not to mention my son is headed to junior high. It blows my mind how fast time has gone, but I am so grateful and proud of the young woman and young man that they are becoming. Spending the day with each of them for their end-of-school-year trips gave me another opportunity to watch them interact with their friends and be thankful that they are making wise choices in friends and in life.
  • Planning events is amazingly fun for me. I love to pull together details and people to make something happen. But what is even more fun is watching it come together to make a memorable event. I got to do just that last week for my daughter’s 8th grade class. Watching them dance, laugh, take silly photos, and otherwise have a great time made my night.
  • In 37 days I will be at 1 year since I began (again) a journey of transformation following my knee injury and surgery. PiYo became for me a gateway to a life-change I could never have anticipated. I had a goal of becoming certified to teach this extraordinary class in 2015 and realized that goal at the end of February. I have been teaching for over two months now and I LOVE it. In addition, PiYo, 21-Day Fix, 21-Day Fix Extreme, Shakeology, and various 30-day challenge groups I have run have helped me to achieve a 50+ pound weight loss.
  • This summer I am excited to be starting a health and wellness program for the youth in our community. I am in the midst of research and writing curriculum and planning schedules and in two weeks we will begin. I am looking forward to teaching and sharing what I have learned with them, hoping and praying that we can help them see how important it is to care for both their physical and spiritual health. Partnering my passions for Jesus and for health is amazing, and being able to do this program by also building partnerships and relationships with other organizations in the community makes it even better!
  • I love lists. I love to check things off of lists when they are complete. And when I make lists, I am very good at following through and completing the tasks listed. But when I don’t make lists, I get all kinds of distracted by whatever pops into my head. So I am working on my list-making this summer. When I am working on one task and another one pops up, instead of chasing that rabbit, I will simply add it to my to-do list for later, and keep focused on the task at hand. And my new favorite app for lists is Wunderlist. Not only can I make myself to-do lists, but I can also SHARE the lists with others. My hubby and I are currently sharing our grocery list so whoever has a chance to run to the store can grab what is on the list. When we think of things we need, we add it to the list. When we purchase something on the list, we check it off. Simply amazing.

What are you musing about on this Monday? Questions in your mind? Things you are grateful for? Fun you had over the weekend? Goals you are setting for yourself this month? Let me know in the comments!


2014 Top 10

Happy New Year! We made it to 2015! It seems impossible to be 15 years in to the 2000’s!

Looking back over the year, there are so many things I have to be thankful for, but here are 10 of the many:

  • My husband, Mike.
  • My daughter, Anne.
  • My son, Ty.
  • My parents moving in just 5 blocks from us.
  • A new job crafted just for me, provided by the Lord.
  • More time with my family.
  • God’s provision in multiple areas of our lives.
  • New epically uplifting friends.
  • Ending the year over 20 pounds lighter and 17 inches smaller, despite losing running as an outlet.
  • And God, who has blessed me abundantly.

Here are the 10 blog posts that you liked the best during 2014:

Why don’t you take a moment and make a list of at least 10 things that you have to be thankful for from the last year. And look forward to all the potential 2015 holds!



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Monday Musings

It’s Monday. And I am feeling a bit Garfield-like about today.

Garfield Monday

Not that anything bad has happened. I am just tired. And getting sick. And blah.

So instead of drowning in “I hate Monday” madness, I thought I would share a few random things that are going through my head today.

  • The laughter of my children is the most amazing sound in the entire world. And I was privileged to hear lots of it this weekend.
  • If you like fun apps, you need to download Relay. My friends and I have been sending funny gif messages back and forth since we discovered it and I may have spent too much time yesterday looking for funny ones to add to my collection for future messages.
  • If you like books about strong women paired with fantasy, you need to read Pennyroyal Academy. I just started it a few days ago and haven’t had a ton of time to read, but I am loving it and can’t wait for Anne to read it, too. Nothing like squelching the idea that princesses have to be of a royal bloodline and are just pretty faces with the fact that princesses are warriors for their kingdoms, just like knights.
  • When the weather turns cold, the depression sure comes on fast for me. I have had to fight to get my workouts in this past week, and I have not done very well with eating right, either. Here’s to a new day of doing what I know helps to keep the depression under control – exercise and eating right!
  • Singing at the top of my voice to some of my favorite music is one of my favorite things to do, ever. Thank you Trisha Yearwood for music that fills my soul!
  • A good cup of tea makes me smile this time of year when the cold is starting to seep into my bones. These are my three favorite varieties: Trader Joe’s Decaf Irish Breakfast Blend, Good Earth Decaf Sweet & Spicy, and Stash Decaf Chai Spice.
  • I have been working on a crochet project just because it is a pattern I have always wanted to try, but I have been looking for a new gift project and this week I was blessed with not only a person on my heart for whom to do a project, but the perfect project placed right into my hands. I found the perfect yarn yesterday and am looking forward to beginning on the project on Thursday. So excited to be able to bless someone!!
  • For the last few years, my family has done various forms of daily Thanksgiving. We have had a wall of Thanksgiving where we added post-it notes every day. We have had posters on each of our doors that we wrote reasons we were thankful for each other. This year, life has been a bit chaotic and I haven’t gotten anything organized to do daily, so I am thinking about other ideas. Right now, I am thinking of making family “Thanksgiving” trees on Thanksgiving day with all of our family that will be together. How are you practicing Thanksgiving with your family this month?

I warned you that this would be a random post! But just putting these things down in print has helped me move past my initial Garfield-esque response to Monday. If you are having a case of the Mondays, perhaps you should make a list, too!!


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Food & Fitness Friday


That is all I have to say this morning.

After two months of 21-Day Fix workouts, I started PiYo again this week.

And I am feeling it.

But it helps me to remember that it is GOOD to switch things up. Different exercise routines use different muscles in different ways. When you do the same thing over and over again, your body gets used to it, so switching things up helps your body continue to work and get fit in new, and sometimes painful, ways.

So if you see me walking like an old woman whose hips are sore today, you will know why.

And even though I am sore, it is a happy sore, because that means what I am doing is working.

And working is progress! Progress toward being more fit. Progress toward my weight loss goals. Progress toward a stronger body.

And I like it!!!


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Parenting is hard. It is constant work. You can’t let it slide. You can’t assume it is happening. You have to work to be on your toes and aware of what is happening with your kids.

And we all fall short of that ideal. Often.

Some days we are lucky if we get them out of bed and off to school, never mind making sure homework is done, they have had a healthy breakfast and they remembered to brush their teeth.

But the purpose in me blogging for 31 Days this month isn’t to make it seem like I have it all together when it comes to parenting. It isn’t that I have all the answers. It isn’t that I think I am doing a fabulous job in every possible area. It is really that I want to share my experiences and hopefully inspire someone to take that extra step, put in that extra work, and in the process, that I will also be inspired to be better and do better.

This is how it is in every area of my life that I put out there on my blog.

I talk about depression in hopes that someone else can get the help that they need.

I talk about health and fitness so others can find encouragement to get healthy.

I talk about giving to others, so that someone might be inspired to give of themselves.

I talk about music because of its ability to lift us up and move us forward.

I talk about faith because it is the ultimate inspiration in my life.

I truly want to inspire YOU to be the best YOU, the one created and loved by God.

Put in the work, be inspired by others, and be the best parent you can possibly be to the children that God has given to you.

You can do it. I believe in you.


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Let’s start with the obvious.

It is hard to be a woman in today’s society when it comes to our looks.

Body image. Models. Photoshop. Exercise plans. Get thin quick hoaxes. Diets. Songs that project a standard no woman can reach. Fat. Skinny. Chunky. Bulky. Ugly. Beautiful. Quirky. Pretty. Cute. It is too much. And I propose we switch out all of these words and standards for a different word. Yes, just one word.


All of us were created in the image of God. That means that no matter what we look like, what our body-type is, how our hair looks, how tall, short, fat, or thin we are, we are beautiful because that is the way that God created us. Psalm 139 says he knit us together in our mother’s womb.” I knit. It isn’t a quick thing. It takes time. It is a process. He took the time to work on us and make us to be exactly the way He wanted us to be.

And all of our daughters (and sons) need to hear this. I focus more on daughters, because most often we are seeing women portrayed in a certain way in our society. You have to be this or that if you want to be popular. You can’t be this or that if you want to be accepted. Photoshop has scarred the way women see themselves.

News flash – no one looks like the women on the magazines, even the women on the magazines, without lots of work, much of which happens on a computer screen.

Navigating this with our daughters is tricky. We want them to feel good about who they are. We want them to make healthy choices with their lives. But we can’t allow them to hear that they don’t look good enough, or that so-and-so is prettier, or does their hair better, or dresses better, etc.

We have to be the ones who remind them that they are beautiful, because that is exactly how God created them.


End of story.

No hairstyle, clothing item, diet plan, photo angle, or anything else can make us more beautiful than the beauty of being created in the image of God.

Let’s start making sure that our girls are being taught, shown, and told this daily. Let’s figure this out for ourselves so that we are able to believe what we are telling our daughters. Let’s embrace who we are created to be and help our girls embrace who they are created to be.

You are beautiful.

Because God created you.


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Healthy Kids

Eat your vegetables.

Get up from the couch and go play outside.

No, you can’t have candy at 8:00 in the morning!

Yes, we are walking to the store, we don’t need to take the car to go six blocks when we just need three things.

These are the kinds of things you might hear me say at my house.

My kids are used to it. Because I eat a vegan diet and they do not, sometimes they don’t like what I make for dinner. Because it is full of vegetables. But they have to eat it anyway.

They are usually pretty good about staying active. It helps that I can’t get Anne off the trampoline and can’t get Ty to sit still for more than about a minute at a time.

But sometimes, they get lazy. They don’t want to walk to the store. They don’t want to ride their bikes to the pool (a rule I instituted this summer – bike to the pool every day!) They don’t want to get an apple out of the refrigerator, but it is ok to get the bag of chips out of the basket next to the refrigerator.

Last night, after we watched last week’s Biggest Loser (that my classmate from Greenville College is on this season), the kids and I had a little discussion about health and fitness.

We talked about the fact that I was always thin like they are – until I got to college and stopped running regularly, started eating more junk food, and let’s be honest, drinking some beer.

Because I upped my calorie intake while slowing my fitness output, I started gaining weight. It wasn’t long and my size 10/11 body was wearing stretchy pants in size 18/20.

The thing is, I didn’t necessarily know why I was gaining weight. I had never really thought about what I ate – and didn’t need to because I was active.

Next came a comfortable relationship that turned into marriage and two pregnancies. Anyone with young kids knows that finding time to exercise and eat well with little ones is a struggle.

But then I got fed up and felt like the Lord was prompting me to do something. So I started eating better and exercising. I lost weight, but eventually I quit trying and put it back on. And then I did it again. And again. And again.

And then something changed. I started educating myself. I started reading books, blogs, and articles about healthy eating and exercise. I started watching documentaries about healthy eating and exercise. I started living out what I knew to be right and good for me.

And you know what? Now if I stop (like when I had a knee injury and surgery this spring) something in me feels totally off and I can’t wait to get back on track. If I have a day where I eat something I shouldn’t, I can tell! I feel sluggish and gross and can’t wait to get back to eating the way my body wants to eat.

But I can’t keep this all to myself. As I get more education about nutrition and fitness, I have to pass that along to my children so that they understand the importance of fueling their bodies appropriately and keeping them active. If I don’t teach them these principles now, then they will have to learn the hard way, the way I have had to learn, later.

I have to help Anne fight her tendency to want candy all the time.

I have to help Ty understand that the copious amount of bread he consumes slathered in peanut butter shouldn’t be his go-to meal.

I have to help them both learn that if you can walk or bike instead of drive, you should.

I have to teach them that if it comes in a box, it probably isn’t the best choice.

I want them to see with their own eyes the importance of taking control of what goes into their bodies, and how to keep their bodies fit and healthy.

I want to be an example to them, yes, but more so, I want them to be participants in their own health. Starting now.


Not sure where to start? Here are some documentaries (and their corresponding websites) about food that might be a good place to start the conversation:

As with all things, you need to do your research and not always just take the word of someone else just because they are on TV, write a book, or write a blog. Be your own health advocate, and your children’s!!


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I have never watched The Biggest Loser before. I know, people have told me that it is good, and inspiring, and yadda, yadda, yadda, but I didn’t need one more show to watch.

But this year a classmate of mine from college, Sonya Jones, is on the show, so of course I want to watch her succeed and I have now watched the first two episodes of the season.

You all know that I have been on a health and fitness journey for quite some time (and I plan for it to continue for the rest of my life), so it always inspires me to watch other people “get it.”

Last night’s episode of The Biggest Loser showed the contestants the importance of owning what it is in their lives that got them to this point, and the fact that until they deal with those underlying issues, they will not have success in losing the weight AND keeping it off.

I think we all know this on a surface level, but how often do we actually do the work to deal with those deep-seated issues that have kept us complacent for too long?

I went to bed thinking about this and thinking about all the things that have to come together to make the difference between temporary change and lasting commitment.

Just like to be truly fit and healthy you can’t focus on only diet OR exercise, you also can’t expect diet and exercise to magically make the underlying issues for being unhealthy to disappear. Whether it is seeing food as a reward rather than sustenance, or a traumatic event that hasn’t been fully death with, or baggage from your family of origin, or something else altogether, the underlying issues must be unearthed and dealt with if there is to be any lasting change.

I know for me, I have had to specifically remind myself (often) that I cannot allow food to be a “treat” or something I “deserve” when I accomplish something, because that works against my health. In addition, I have to work on not perpetuating this “reward” way of thinking in my family since one of the ways I tend to show love is to cook or bake special things for them.

And as with anything, there probably is not only one underlying cause for what has happened to get you to where you are right now, so unearthing the issues could take some time, and possibly even some time with a therapist. And that is okay. In fact, it is better than okay. It is good when you get to a point that you know you need to seek out help from someone else.

Now is the time to stop making excuses and start making progress toward a goal. It could be a health and fitness goal, but it could also be something completely different. No matter what it is, figure out what has been holding you back and deal with it so you can move on – forever.


If health and fitness is your goal, I would love to help you achieve it. Message me for more information about your health and fitness options. The time to start is NOW!




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I have learned a few things in the last few weeks:

  • I have gotten really good at being vegan. I took a 5-Day Jump Start Diet and made it completely vegan while keeping the calorie counts almost identical. Yay, me!
  • Even when exercise doesn’t look the way I think I want it to (a.k.a. running) it is good AND effective. During the first month of PiYo I lost nearly 11 inches and 8 pounds.
  • Running challenges keeps me going and I love encouraging others on their journey to health and fitness.
  • I did 100 push-ups yesterday!!!
  • Yesterday I put on a pair of capris that I couldn’t even pull up at the beginning of the summer.
  • It really does make a difference to eat three small meals and a couple of snacks throughout the day rather than just two or three big meals.

Whether you are thinking about doing something, just getting started with a lifestyle change, or trying to push past a plateau, I encourage you to JUST KEEP MOVING today. Even getting up off the couch and doing something for 10 minutes is better than staying on the couch and doing nothing. And if you need direction or encouragement, send me a message. I would love to help you!



A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted this as his status:

“No one improves by accident…”

You don’t accidentally get a better relationship with your husband.

You don’t accidentally become a better parent.

You don’t accidentally develop deeper friendships.

You don’t accidentally excel as an employee.

You don’t accidentally become stronger and healthier.

That is why we must keep working day by day – whether that is working out, eating well, working on relationships, getting better at our job, or anything else at which we wish to improve.

It takes work. It takes practice. It takes time. It takes an effort.

You can’t expect things to magically change for the better if you aren’t willing to put the time and effort into it.

I have been working at being healthy for years. It is a process. I will always want to be better, and I know that takes me putting my hand to the plow and not looking back. Sometimes I have bumps in the road (like knee surgery) that knock me off track for a bit, but I fight back.

Do I want to eat pizza and ice cream every night for dinner? Absolutely! Do I actually eat pizza and ice cream every night for dinner? Absolutely not!

Do I want to sleep in rather than get up and exercise? Duh! Do I actually sleep in and skip my workouts? Not unless I am sick as a dog!

Yesterday I finished a 5-day challenge that I offered to 10 people in the area. At the end of the 5 days of workouts and a specific jump-start diet of healthy food and Shakeology, I am down another 3.8 pounds and 2 more inches. That brings my total since starting PiYo 4 weeks ago to 7.8 pounds and 10-3/4 inches.

These results are not accidental! I am working my butt off (quite literally) to get them!

Real change in any area requires real work.

Don’t think you can get to where you want to be without the work. It is not an accident.


If you are interested in these kinds of results, send me a message. AND there will be another opportunity for a 5-day challenge at the end of August for those in the Greenville, Illinois area.

PiYo or 21-Day Fix Challenge group starting Monday, August 4.

New FREE 30-Day Challenge starting August 11.


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