Do you believe in miracles?
I experienced my first miracle when I was about four or five-years-old. The memory of it is just as clear today as though it happened weeks ago rather than decades. My family was living in the parsonage of a church, my father’s first position as pastor in Brooklyn, New York. On this night, there were cats screeching and screaming in the alleyway and my sisters and I were fearful at the sound. As a child, it sounded like they were fighting and killing one another. As an adult, I realize it could have been that or it could have been a violent mating ritual. No matter the actual event, the sound was terrifying. My parents tucked us in and bade us goodnight but we were so upset by the otherworldly sounds outside of our window we could not settle.
“Let’s pray about it, okay?” Daddy started the prayer and we all joined in. I cannot remember the words we each said but I do remember the sound of my father’s voice asking God to calm our fears and my biological mother’s tone as she said, “and let the cats be quiet as soon as we say amen.” The prayer was finished, we all said, “amen,” and there was silence. It was the loudest silence I had heard up to that point in my life. Deafening. We thanked God for hearing and answering our prayers but I laid awake for quite some time half expecting to hear the cats attempt to defy my big God. They never did.
That was the first answer to prayer and miracle I recall in my life but not the last.
For those of you who have known me for some time, I have never hidden my faith or my walk. From the time little me slid my bowl of Spaghetti-o’s to one side, asked my parents to help me pray to ask Jesus into my heart, and then went on with my dinner, I have loved my Daddy God and tried to live out my faith in the ways I could understand. There have been peaks, valleys, oppressive shadows, radiant sunlight, sickness, health, death, and life, but through it all has been God. Even during the two and a half years that I battled myself due to trauma while away at university, my faith in the Most High remained.
This last eleven years has been riddled with serious medical issues that have baffled doctors and specialists, left me struggling physically, resulted in over a dozen major surgeries, left me with more scars that answers, and even prompted me to draft what I assumed were goodbye letters to friends and family should I not make it another day. As frightening as those moments of inwardly making peace with my death were, living in constant, agonizing, medicated, inconsolable pain were oftentimes worse. I know because I have lived both lives.
In the interest of time, I want to skip ahead to my most recent encounter with the miraculous but I will revisit the saga of my lengthy medical journey at another time. Make sure you are signed up for my newsletter and connected with me on social media so you will be notified when that chapter of my life is ready for reading.
Back to the present. Saturday, December 12th, met me with a horrific migraine. It plagued me all day long and I was unable to function. As far as I can remember, I accomplished hardly a thing besides barely feeding myself and napping fitfully. Sometime shortly before pouring the mushy goo of my being into bed, I texted the worship leader at my church to tell him I had a migraine and may not be able to sing in church the following Sunday morning. Well, I awoke around 0300hrs with the familiar hangover that I let me know I had just had a seizure episode.
That clinched it. The brain fog, need for medication, exhaustion, pain, and more signaled my inability to drive anywhere, let alone serve by singing on the worship team. Guh, I have been singing since before I could really talk and it has been the only thing I have ever really wanted to DO do if I were able to choose my “job.” Each Sunday I am unable to use my voice or my guitar to present my worship at the foot of the throne and help others enter into a heart of worship is one where I feel … wasted.
This same, physically challenging Sunday, my phone chirped and dinged unremittingly and I saw invitations from friends to attend a service where an amazing evangelist, by the name of Nathan Morris, would be speaking. There was such excitement in their messages and urgency in their attitudes and I knew I needed to go. I was not very familiar with his ministry or his giftedness, but I learned that day.
Evangelist Nathan Morris of Shake the Nations Ministry.
On this particular evening, at World Evangel Prayer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, things shifted. After an amazing message, Ev. Morris asked if any present would stand in the breach for our faith, Church, our God, and our country. The service had been powerful already and I had no idea what would come next. He asked all of those who would stand in the breach to come forward. I knew this was a call for my heart and my walk, so I went forward. My pup trotted along beside me, ever the loyal service dog.
Once up there, Ev. Morris got out of the way and allowed the Lord to move through him. Before this evening, I had only seen one of his messages and watched a sort of promo clip of him doing healings, but I was as skeptical as any human and believer in the Most High should be. I have full faith and confidence in the miraculous nature of God and that miracles are present even today - that is far from the issue - but I have seen people pretend to be slain in the Spirit, have read of many churches having “plants” in the audiences or congregations for “healers” and “prophets,” and the like. Mighty men have fallen low when their “sideshow acts” were brought to light and it has cast a mighty shadow on Christians and the very real phenomena of miracles.
This Sunday night, I needed to stand in the breach, miracle or not. Up to the front I went, grateful to have the company of some new friends who have become my family in front, behind, and on both sides of me. The closer I got to the stage, the more I was aware of a palpable change in the - for lack of a better term - atmosphere. With each step I recommitted to focusing only on what the Lord was going to do with me, emptying myself of any expectations, keeping my eyes on Ev. Nathan Morris or my pup, and eventually just closing my eyes and listening to the words soaring through the speakers and the music hanging in the air. This was a moment between me and my Daddy God.
Eyes closed. Arm raised at the elbow, parallel to the ground, palms toward heaven. Head bowed. My heart, open. My self, empty. The day’s preparation of emptying myself found me asking God to touch me in a way He had never touched me before. Whatever that was, my answer was “yes and amen.”
I have no idea how much time passed and, quite honestly, I lost track of my friends. You see, due to spinal trauma suffered during a routine spinal fusion, I was diagnosed with something called Brown-Sequard Syndrome (BSS). One symptom of this syndrome is that I have a lack of proprioception - meaning that I do not know where my body is in space. Where your radar may tell you that someone is moving close to you, how the average person can walk up a flight of stairs knowing where the position the next footfall, and the mechanism that allows one to pass a roadside sobriety test are some of the aspects of my body’s perception that are now missing. Some days are worse than others. The night of December 13th, my radar was practically gone, robbing me of any idea how close anyone was to me.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I placed my left hand on my neck - as close to the site of the incision from my two, failed, cervical spine fusions as possible. This was the medical issue that was limiting so much of my life. This was the situation that I had allowed to consume so many sleepless nights. This was the monster that I permitted to feed my fear. This was the foundation of the, “the life you used to live and know is now over,” statements from my specialists.
Eyes closed. Heart open. Self empty. Yes and amen.
The swell of praise and worship and music and prayer and celebration was thick as I realized tears were running down my face and falling from my chin. Ev. Nathan Morris stopped the music and asked those of us who had prayed with him, commanded sickness to flee, and touched our bodies with faith that our Father in heaven heals to test our bodies and see if there was any change. Were we healed?
Eyes closed. Heart open. Self empty. Yes and amen.
No. I moved my neck and felt the familiar icepick, the streaking lightning down my shoulders, and the limited range of motion. Nothing had changed. That prickly voice of doubt and lack of faith tried to hiss in my ear, awakening embarrassment and shutting down my, “yes and amen.”
Eyes closed. Heart open. Self empty. Yes and amen.
The warm jelly slid down my spine cord until it was just between my scapula and slowed down dramatically.
There were so many sounds around me. People were cheering, Ev. Morris was healing people on stage, the music was a declaration of praise, and the chatter of people lost in their own conversations pressed in all around me. The temptation to lose the point was almost overwhelming but I was determined to focus on this one encounter with my Daddy God.
Eyes closed. Heart open. Self empty. Yes and amen.
For the second time, Ev. Nathan Morris commanded us to test our bodies to see that we were healed. Was I healed? I was healed. The range of motion opened wide as I turned my head from side to side. The burning acid and searing lightning from my pinched nerve, my spinal fusion complications, my other nerve damage and all of it - gone, gone, gone, gone, gone. Simultaneously, my fear of and uncertainty concerning the future were gone.
There is no other way to say it - I wept. Yes, I was crying but the overwhelming emotion and catharsis was one I had not felt since the day I rededicated my life to Christ as a young adult finishing up my undergrad. This was more than tears or crying. I wept. Merriam Webster defines weep as “to express deep sorrow or passion for usually by shedding tears” and even that does not do the fullness of the experience justice.
An earthquake hit my soul. The Holy Spirit charged into the deep within me, shattering all of the “why me” and “it’s all my fault” and “I'm hideous” and “I deserve the bad” and “no one will ever really love me” and “I don’t matter” and the acceptance of earthly limitations and the lies of Satan that I allowed to distract and derail me. He flooded every dark corner with marvelous light and there was relief. That valley in which I had been living, shrouded in darkness and fog, exploded with promises and prospect and purpose.
Eyes open. Heart open. Self open. Yes and amen!
There was nothing else I could do but sing along with the swelling worship in the sanctuary! I opened my mouth, took a deep breath, and started right in, but the second breath caught me completely off guard.
Singing has always been my first love but one that came with the complicated strings of severe asthma triggered by many things and sometimes nothing at all. From the time I could babble, I was singing, and some of my fondest musical memories were singing four-part harmony with my two sisters and mother in church or anywhere else. My baby sister and I used to perform the National Anthem at sporting and formal events, something I miss very much. Well, having such weak lungs resulted in my finding ways to work around the limitation - such as memorizing songs in advance to determine where to breathe extra times without sounding too out of breath.
On December 13th, the second, singing breath after my spine was healed almost choked me. The only way I can describe it was that I almost drowned on all of the air that rushed into my mouth. It just kept flooding in and filling lungs that have never, ever absorbed that much air. Once the panic of being inundated with so much oxygen subsided I was able to sing the next line of the song without my additional breath break.
Wait, what? I kept singing.
No way!! And straight on through the next line. No breath.
Stop it right now! No, don’t stop!
This was more than I had commanded healing for. I placed my hand on my neck and commanded the pain and damage to go because it was the worst problem and greatest limitation in my life at present. It was something I had been suffering from for at least six years but maybe more like 14. My asthma, on the other hand, has been a part of my life for my entire life but I have never asked for God to take it away or commanded it be healed - it was a part of me. God decided to show off a bit and give me more than I could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) because He loves me just that much.
The next week was rich with sharing my experience with so many of my friends and family that I have lost count. While on the phone with my Daddy, he told me of a supernatural experience from his youth when the Holy Spirit covered him in protection with something he could only describe as “warm honey.” WHAT!?!? I know! Come on, God. I love it when He Shows off by confirming things like this in the stories of many different people at completely different times and places. And to have it be my own father with such a similar experience? SO GOOD!
Of course, some will say that my body just healed up - no miracle. Some will believe I was not as injured as I claimed and just gave up the act - no miracle. They will be wrong and the mountain of medical records documenting everything from examinations to scans to surgeries and more will attest to that fact. The reactions I have received from the physicians and specialists who have seen me since my miracle have ranged from complete disbelief, acquiescence to the fact that "something" has changed but unwillingness to go with my version of the truth, and one specialist who high-fived me with a "hallelujah." Their belief or disbelief in my Abba does not change what He did for me and wants to do for you.
What a blessing to be able to experience the miraculous healing the Lord was waiting for me to receive. God can use anyone, anywhere, in a myriad of ways to do the miraculous if we are willing to come to the end of ourselves, trust Him, and step out to do it. I remember reading a blog post by Anthony Scott Ingram and he wrote,
"The authority of a believer, today, does not come from within ourselves, and it cannot be something we claim
for ourselves. Our authority is explicitly given by Jesus, the same as it was to His disciples, and therefore we can only accomplish the things He commanded us to do, by doing them “in His name.” It is the name of Jesus
that is our ‘badge’ of authority."
This is the authority that Ev. Morris understands and acts upon - the same authority every believer has access to and is commanded to tap into.
So, what next? I’m sure you are wondering just as much as I am. Well, whatever God wants. He is going to open doors for me, speak to my heart, answer my questions, and more and I am committed to a response of ,”yes and amen” as I press in to hear from HIm. He healed me for a reason and I cannot wait to see where this testimony and this new body take me in His service.
If you want to know more about what a relationship with God is like, if you have been curious about a feeling that something is missing, if you need healing in any way, or all of the above, we should chat. I would love to share my faith and pray for/with you.
👉🏾Some people appreciate (and others don't) the fact that I work so hard to be clear in what I say. I paint word pictures and use analogies for things in the listeners lives' to convey my message. There may be pantomime, fully costumed reinactments, and references to the Allegory of the Cave, if need be. I'm in it. I'm committed to communicating!
👂🏾The vast majority of the time, I listen without interrupting and I ask a lot of questions to be sure we are on the same page. That level of clarity can piss people right on off and I'm still not 100% sure why.🤔
🙋🏾♀️You see, my dad and I are analytical, methodical, detail-oriented, thorough, INTJs who still have our individual warm fuzzy aspects of our personalities. Speaking for myself, I appreciate romance and levels of spontaneity and certain aspects of the less INTJ folks (even if I have to appreciate y'all in small bites and baby steps 😉😁). But, our assumed detachment can be misread by those who don't know us or who have chosen not to learn how to speak our language.🔡✍
🤷🏾♀️When you were in high school, did you think that people would stop being clique-ish, drop the drama, and get past the guilt trips and passive-aggressive behaviour? Did you tell yourself to hold out for college because things would get better? Then, for your first big girl/boy job? Then, whatever other milestones were ahead in your field and age group?💁🏾♀️
🤣How foolish I was. I assumed that age and experience would help us all (myself included) be more communicative and honest in our speech. Assumptions sure did make a "fool" out of me.🤡
😶😑😶I believed that we would all mature and be ready to speak with (not at) one another and listen (without planning our response) to hear one another fully out without pre-assuming or pre-jumping to conclusions and then refusing to communicate about one's assumptions or conclusions or how things were heard or perceived by the listener.
😑😶😑That we would talk TO one another instead of rewatching conversations we "happened to" record from the security cameras in our houses or running to bffs/siblings/offspring (part a. isn't a problem) and then fail to circle back to have the actual speaker from the conversation now that we have sought wise council (that's the part b. part that is problemmatic).🤯
😶😑😶That a person could stand up in a town hall meeting and respectfully speak her mind with out GROWN MEN AND WOMEN booing and heckling her so much that the town council president had to silence them, repeatedly, eventually leading to some of thr ADULTS (using this term loosely) were removed and one woman fell on the ground and nearly fainted due to lack of oxygen from screaming and hissing at the speaker.
😶😑😶That friends and family would (because I know we COULD) bury age old hatchets, allow bygones to be bygones, realize that blood is important, and release the iron grip and false comfort family members have held for YEARS on the razor wire cape of being RIGHT. (This really happened, by the way.)
I would love to make a suggestion. Just one because I don't want to be responsible for more than one thing that people may come looking for me over. Maybe I'll change my appearance. 🤔😎💥👵🏿 Aaaaaanyway, my suggestion would be that we take some time each day, with the ones we love or are physically the closest to, and talk to them.
LET'S CHAT: 🗣What words do they use when they're building up to a joke? 🗣What does it mean when he/she gets quiet or starts muttering? 🗣Does he have a way he breathes that lets you know he's happy? 🗣Does she have a happy dance that means something crazy awesome must've happened? 🗣Do they hold or lose eye contact when you bring up that one subject? 🗣Are you the only one laughing at the type/kind of jokes you're making? 🗣Has she asked you not to move that thing? 🗣Why is he so picky about pillows?
These are just a few examples of learning to speak your loved ones languages - visually and physically. When we truly want to see the world, we can turn the tide by hearing, REALLY hearing others, and being heard.
These are just a few examples of learning to speak your loved ones languages and monitor cues. When we truly want to see the world, we can turn the tide by hearing, REALLY hearing others, and being heard.
Anyway, my flash back, class research, dealing with life, mind had a moment and I'm just overall kinda done with nonsense.
🤝🤝🏻🤝🏼🤝🏽🤝🏾🤝🏿Let's be adults and mature and clear and patient and open and curious and have some conversations, shall we? I'm all ears👂🏾(not really, though, because being made of all ears would be gross and wouldn't allow me to speak, which is central to what I was just typing about☝🏾☝🏾☝🏾☝🏾).
As always, I would love to hear from YOU!
What communication failures, stumbling blocks, and/or immature reactions most get on your nerves?
Which ones are you guilty of?
Are you willing to take steps to truly hear others and speak to be heard?
If so, how are you going to go about it?
Need some resources? I always do, so, I'm gonna nerd it up and share some of my favorites with you!
1. The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships by Michael P. Nichols
2. You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
3. The Lost Art of Good Conversation: A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life by Sakyong Mipham
4. It's the Way You Say It by Carol A. Fleming: Becoming Articulate, Well-spoken, and Clear
5. The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh
Let's all get our learn on 🤓 and start a wave of positive and fulfilling communication!
If you’re an Autumn Calabrese fan, a Portion Fix follower, or if you’ve ever done a Beachbody On Demand program, you know those 7 color-coded portion-control containers are everything.
And by now, you’ve probably heard about the new Ultimate Portion Fix nutrition program.
But you’re probably asking, “What’s the difference between Portion Fix and Ultimate Portion Fix?”
Portion Fix* gave you the basic tools to master portion control; Ultimate Portion Fix is a 30-day nutrition program with shopping tips, meal preps, tracking tools, hundreds of recipes, and more.
Think of it like this: Ultimate Portion Fix expands on the foundation set by Portion Fix and takes it to the next level with more nutrition information, more support, and more options.
Autumn has refined and clarified her portion-control approach to teach you and your family — including your kids! — how to eat delicious, healthy portions for good.
*Portion Fix is no longer available for purchase.
Check out this handy chart below for a quick comparison:
And that’s just the beginning — you can check out more about everything you get with the Ultimate Portion Fix here.
Bottom line: Ultimate Portion Fix is a nutrition program that can help you gain a deeper understanding of nutrition and what it means to eat healthy.
With the information, strategies, and healthy hacks that Ultimate Portion Fix provides, you’ll be able to create a healthy way for you and your family to eat for life.
I'm allowing myself to take as long as I want to be in this chapter of my book. It's speaking to me as though I'd never read it before (though I have).
Christians talk about times in the valley, refining times, faithbuilding times, and these may all be statements that you don't understand - whether you're a believer or not.
As a child and a teen, it mostly meant not getting my way, sacrificing for others, giving of my time, mulling over why I got grounded (which didnt happen often, thank God), handling my feelings when we or a close friend down the street had to move and we pretty much knew that was goodbye (pre-interwebs, friends), and putting sick a puppy down.
Those times were hard but they were all "for a reason" or "in God's plan" or "wouldnt be wasted" or "were making a way for something better that the Lord had in store."
Mentally, I knew that. My heart for my Daddy God burned with both trust in Him and some sadness for what I had to let go of. Trust always won.
As an adult, refining comes in the form of clinical depression, major medical issues, broken home, 2 divorces, wandering rootless, 3 miscarriages, failed adoptions, and feeling a bit like I'm spinning my wheels with all kinds of fervor but going nowhere. Yet.
Here's what I've learned about refining times as an adult:
🔶 They can hurt. They can hurt you in deep places you didnt know existed, but God has a healing balm that mends us.
🔶 We each have to go through them alone. Even if we are married, have loving families, or a supportive church family, or a solid friend network. In the end, you face off against your faceless enemy in the muck and the cold and the heat and the times of both strength and exhaustion. He attacks with cunning both and accuracy
️🔶️ You're never FULLY alone. I know, that contradicts what I just said, but so goes it. You see, no one can switch bodies and brains and will with you. That means, you alone have to live your life. But, the same God who created the Northern Lights, Hercules beetles, glow in the dark scary fish in the depths of the sea, and everything else that exists, is the God that made you. Precious you. And He would never leave you to suffer and wither and utterly fail.
He is with you in your refining times. He wants to hold you when you cry over a marriage ended, the death of a loved one, loss of employment, natural disasters, and every trying to. But He loves you enough to give you the choice. You can choose to ask Him to be there in those dark times and He WILL show up.
🔶️ The ONLY good thing I've ever had to hold onto in refining times is the unwavering belief that my God wins. Sure, the enemy wants me silent and sulking, licking my emotional wounds in some forgotten corner. He wants that because he knows the God of the universe wants to use me for His will and that I won't be any good to myself, my circle of influence, or my God if I'm attending a pity party. "Service for one, please."
That's my brain dump from my chair time today. If you find yourself in a dark place, a really dark place - a dig the hole, climb in the hole, and pull the dirt and sand over your head kind of place - before you make a permanent decision, breathe out, "I need You, God. Please." You ARE NOT, nor do you HAVE TO BE, alone.
Something I’ve been forced to do over and over again is rebuild hope.
And even while I lean on faith, sometimes it’s hard to see or feel it. When we lose hope, we have to do do what feels impossible. We have to give hope form.
I had to rebuild hope after my first husband allowed his pornography addiction and selfishness destroy our marriage.
I had to rebuild hope after a supervisor attempted to get me fired for things that were her doing. After my parents divorced and my mother and sister made it clear they saw me as an enemy. After my first spinal surgery failed and I had to do it all over again.
I had to rebuild my hope after my health tanked rapidly, forcing my to have an unnecessary hysterectomy and ending my lifelong dream of carrying children.
I had to rebuild hope after my second husband and I lost a baby boy in adoption; after my marriage was falling apart and my husband left to be far, far away while my health deteriorated and I underwent three major surgeries. I had to rebuild hope after the man I loved and waited for told me he no longer wanted to be married - informing me 4 days before my second spinal surgery. I had to rebuild hope after the loss of my most recent day job that provided my apartment and medical coverage because my employer couldn’t wait for my surgery recovery.
As you can probably guess, this doesn’t cover it all. How can it? Our lives are full of beautiful, joy-filled moments but there are also moments when we can’t feel joy at all. Instead, we feel broken and defeated.
But here’s the thing.
I believe that each of us can choose hope.
We don’t have to allow circumstances or how others treat us to dictate our hope. Choose hope and stop that right now. Just stop.
Tie that Rambo strap around your head, wrap your knuckles, and crack your neck. Crush those distractions and false truths ‘cause I’m here to help.
If you’ve seen the horror film, then you know that “IT” is more of a concept than an actual monster. Often, we see something on the surface, distracting us from our reality, but the actual thing inside us runs much deeper.
Take time to acknowledge what you’ve been through. Think about what’s bothering you or stressing you out.
Let’s just say Victoria comes to me and says her entire world is out of control.
But what does “out of control” mean? What is “IT” really? What triggered her extreme feeling of powerlessness?
So I’ll ask the questions and we’ll discover that Victoria is hurt. Her doctor fussed at her because she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to. She gained weight, her blood pressure increased, then she felt like crap for being chastised.
Once we figure “IT” out, we talk about it. We name it. We acknowledge it.
You're allowed to have the feeling but you are NOT allowed to live there.
Here’s where the tough love comes in.
Yes, you’re allowed to get on tinder, make a mistake, then regret it the next day. No you aren’t allowed to call him or her 20 times, move in together next week, and then cry about how the relationship isn't working every time we talk.
Go delete the account, lose the number, clean the slate. Do the thing that needs to be done.
And while we are being tough, never tell anyone (or yourself) to just get over it. Those feelings are valid and you are where you are for a reason.
Instead, put on your warpaint. Flex in the mirror. Scream your battle cry and go do the thing.
You won’t want to. You may not believe you can.
Start with one small thing, then the next small thing, then the next. Trust me, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. Your strength will bring you through it but we don't minimize what we're going through by saying that we or others should "get over it."
And remember, we’re going to get through this. Even if I have to call you at 5 am and tell you to make your morning smoothie. I’ll hate you for making me get up but I’ll freaking do it. Okay?
You know how you feel when you do that thing? That small thing you thought you couldn’t? It feels AMAZING, right?
So celebrate it!
And if you want in on a secret, I love celebrating. My facebook page is pretty much a virtual party (and you’re invited). Click here to take a look.
I’ll celebrate someone for checking in with the group, eating a clean meal, crushing a workout, or not wearing a ponytail for the 5th day in a row (because they are fighting the laziness and stepping up their primping game).
I’ll celebrate you going just a little bit further into a workout than you did yesterday.
I’ll promise to celebrate the mess outta you so you can feel successful.
And if you’re looking for happy dancing hacks and ways to keep on track, check out my blog on How To Commit And Keep Committing.
Because even though you get back up, life happens.
I mean, why do people host birthday parties with triple chocolate cake? If this is you, I love you and hate you at the same time.
So, next time you come to me and say, “I can’t do anything right.”
I’ll ask, “What do you mean, ‘you can’t do anything right?’”
It will eventually come out...
“I had pizza.”
No one’s perfect. Life isn’t perfect.
But we’re going to keep going. Step by step. Little by little.
This is how I tread water and sometimes just manage to keep my head above water. On those difficult days and in those darker times, 3 steps is about all I can handle and they do work.
Remember, don't overcomplicate things, just ......
Step 1 - Name It
Step 2 - Move It
Step 3 - Celebrate It
THEN, rinse and repeat!!
I hope you will give my 3 steps a try and let me know how they work for you.
P.S. What is your favorite way to celebrate little wins in your life? I mean, you woke up before your alarm clock, you step your clothes out the night before, or you managed to take all the trash out of your car (finally) kind of little wins. How would you - or would you like to - celebrate those wins? Let me know!
I ALMOST FORGOT! I'm getting back into the newsletter swing!
No, it's not one of those tacky, sounding like a sleazy used car salesman kind of newsletters. Instead, I will share my adventures, detail my new favorite recipes (healthy and delicious ones), photograph my dream of getting back to the skoolie conversion, and, yes, share my health, nutrition, and fitness journey.
You are going to want in, trust me. So, just go ahead and click the SIGN ME UP button below and give me your email address! We'll chat soon!
I am a God follower, a Boxer dog mom, an aspiring blog writer, an invisible illness warrior, and a nature lover. My dream is to help people find their way back from the brink of whatever darkness they're battling. If I could somehow manage to serve in the capacity of praise and worship vocals and take some time to retrace my childhood nomadic path just to soak it all in before the zombie apocalypse breaks out, that would be nice, too. Have questions about nutrition, health, and fitness? I'm your gal! Interested in Nathan Fillion, Battlestar Galactica, and Fringe? I'm also your gal! So, let's connect!
My hands are sweating so profusely they keep sliding around my keyboard causing quite the typing disaster. My fingers are shaking like the wind in the leaves outside my bedroom window. I don't know if my chest is tight from my neuropathy or illnesses or syndromes or if it is just that it has taken me some 3 months to type this all up and it POST.
I assume you can guess where I put my money on.
This post almost faded into obscurity when I would sit down to type it and think to myself, "self, you DID want to die at least once today." Dagnabit, that makes me a liar for TODAY so I should just wait until the next time I have a day that I don't want to die.
You can imagine this jig of a dance of madness that myself and I had almost every day for the last 3 months. Don't jump all over me about having me placed in a padded room. I'm not crazy, just spent.
But, this is really the heart of the matter: and then what?
I don't think anyone would have labeled me as a sweet, naive girl who skipped through life without a care or a worry. A young lass who . . . let's just stop there. No, that was not who I was. A hurricane in tomboy skin (back in the day before we had to clarify that as being heterosexual or not) wearing one of many beloved #10 or #23 Chicago Bulls basketball shorts, playing ball on the courts until the streetlights came on or until we couldn't feel our fingers.
As the middle of 3 daughters of an Army Chaplain and his wife, we moved often and adjusted to new places and people and sounds and smells more times than I knew how to track back then, in our pre-interwebs haven. Now, the adulting me knows - I've had 43 addresses in my life.
But law abiding, middle child, introvert, Daddy's girl, tomboy, God follower me didn't have it all come up roses. There were years in school when the administration would have to decide that the attendance policy was pretty much out the window for me as I would have more sick days than days in school. The work got done and the grades were achieved but my chair sat empty.
And I didn't want to die.
I was never cool or fashion forward or part of the in-crowd though I sometimes wished I could be. I wasn't pursued by guys or even considered when it came time for romance because, "you're like a sister to me," can only be heard so many times before you take out your aggression on a hand dryer in the girl's bathroom.
And I didn't want to die.
Let's be honest, I sometimes still wish I was put together and witty and accomplished and that I could fit in wherever I go. That's just not the card the Lord planned for me to draw.
Through middle school and high school and into undergrad, I managed well enough academically and found a home in groups of fellow misfits and fit-outters. It is a relief to let your awkward turtle out of its shell and allow it to interact with others who find your awkward AWESOME. But fear stops us short, doesn't it?
Then my parents marriage ended and I felt a bit like a pawn and school got a little harder and walking pneumonia and summer school and terror on American soil and a glimpse of what romance could be and graduation and it was all too much.
And one day, I wanted to die.
And all of those bottles of pills that I hadn't finished or that I could get a refill on easily because I needed them .... well, they were my first answer. Until they didn't kill me, just made me sick.
MORE RECENT THEN
I believed the hype. Get the degree, get married, settle down, get ready for a career, build a family (starting with a puppy), and bask in the glory of all the gifts the Lord bestows on young people just starting out.
My attempts at adulting and being a dutiful wife and holding down a reasonably high paying, 40 hour work week job turned into a triple sow cow straight into the suck that I was nowhere near prepared for.
And I wanted to die. I didn't necessarily see this as I had the first time, though. There was no plan, there was no suicide letter, there was no, "t-minus 2 days," or any of the other warning signs. Instead, I just wanted to stop - for it to all stop.
THEN OF 2014
How does one absorb the body blows and vicious words, the blame as well as the guilt, the abandonment and the constant fear without breaking a little bit more each and every day? I still haven't figured that out but I do know that the desire to STOP and be GONE and to be DEAD has been closer to me than my favorite toe socks or my snuggly pup.
Feeling the life slip out of your heart and rereading the words you penned on late nights, lonely holidays, while sacrificing for another, and somehow still tinged with hope, I asked myself, "Self, and then what?"
Do you put all of this into it and them and him and all of it and you cross the finish line haggard and drawn? Do you lose sight of all that makes you YOU and layer on as much social grace as you can, simultaneously praying they can't see how puffy your eyes are?
Or, maybe, you die.
And I wanted to die at least once a week.
I have been disappointed and cast aside. I have had people completely betray my trust and leave me out to dry. I have battled racism, a body that doesn't want to function as it should, the hate of those who think interracial marriage is a sin (not an issue now that he left me), academic setbacks, bosses that make Hollywood depictions look tame, and financial struggles I didn't see a way to come back from.
And, I wanted to die most every day.
When you tell people what you're thinking, especially those you hadn't yet realized aren't your true, ride or die, put it in the vault type friends, you end up in situations and conversations that cause you to WANT to make a plan. Instead, you learn.
But, when the sun curtsies low, covering her golden petticoats with a sacred blue shawl, inviting her sister out to grace urban and rural life alike with her ivory smile, the inky black comes. The black that steals into every corner and hallway and memory and what if and why me and why now you could ever come up with. And he says to use your shame and fear as a morbid amusement park for his enjoyment.
And I really want to die.
Nearly every single day.
Including the day I put the finishing touches on this post.
AND, THEN WHAT?
Not my problem, right? I came into this world alone and I'm happy to go out of it the same way. Really? I just can handle this burden, weight, issue, drama, pain anymore. I get that.
But, then what?
When the papers or the interwebs report on your passing, will they share something you would be proud of? Not even Nobel Peace Prize big, but an influence you've had on someone's life kind of big! Or, didn't follow that guy who cut me off all the way to his final destination in order to tell him how I feel about his driving big deal stuff.
When it all stops, when your clock winds down, when the total of our physical, temporal limit is reached and we die, will you pass away feeling grateful for what you've been able to accomplish or carrying the bitterness that has rot your veins and miss out on love? No more do overs, game players. No 1UPs.
THIS IS WHAT
This is when my fear of and love for the Most High guides me to think . . .
THE WRAP UP RIGHT NOW
By no means am I dangling trite sentiment in front of you hoping the donkey will notice and that I can make the shambles of a rickety cart roll on when you feel that is the depiction of your life. To be honest, I have felt that way for a long time, so, you're not alone.
I am also going to refrain from dropping empty, recited and memorized bombs of scripture as though we stand on opposite fronts and the best way for me to win is to deaden your love for the Gospel. If you have something meaningful to say and you know the recipient can receive it or that it's time to share it, carry on. Just know, we on the receiving end can smell a fake 400 yards off.
Today, I wanted to die once. It was from pain and meds and medical bills and seeing no way to really change my circumstances.
But, I didn't try to die. And I'm not dead.
So take heart. Some things will take some time to improve. Some things are meant for you to drop by the wayside and keep it movin,' some things are waiting for you rather than the big fat "no" you perceived a while ago, and still some things are simply out of our control and we must ride the storm until it's over.
And when it is rightfully over, you will die. I hope you'll join me in committing daily to really live - in whatever blissful way that is for you - so the reasons to save your own life far outweigh the siren song of the inky black.
Let's fight on.
Want to know my secret for eating healthy and nutritious and on a budget? I don't really have one.
My goal is to have my meals be one pot, one pan, one bowl, set it and forget it kind of meals. I want to get into the kitchen and get on with my life as quickly as possible for some many reasons. Not just because I value my time, but because my spine causes me great pain the longer I am walking, or standing, or performing repetitive motions, or just about everything else. 😟😕😒
Nevertheless, the side effects of my medication needed to be curtails, along with the effects on my body of being so sedentary. I want to banish the bloat, fill my belly, and feel good about the choices I make. So, I decided to try this soup that I found online. Once I made it strictly to the recipe, I made a few changes to make it my own.
What in on the goodness? I know you do.
And rather than making you scroll through the rest of the story and explanation, I'm gonna be kind and give you the recipe now. Just give me another few seconds to read on below it!
Once you make it, let me know how you liked it!!
Can we be real for a moment? I want to talk about commitment but not on the relationship front (we all know how my last 2 relationships have been ????♀️). No, I want to talk about the relationship you have with your health and fitness knowing full well that these tips could help you in other areas of your life, as awell.
When it comes to health and fitness success, there’s more to the equation than just figuring out what to eat.
A quick internet search will who you that the interwebs are stocked with about 827,387,023 meal plans (approximately).
And working out isn’t rocket science either. Unless you’re a serious athlete, you generally have an idea of what kinds of activities your body responds well to.
You want the real issue? It’s all about commitment.
How to do the thing, then keep doing the thing.
Once you find the meal plan, how do you keep using it? How do you shop appropriately and KEEP shopping appropriately? How you hit play every single day? How do you print out that calendar and actually stick with it?
And let’s cut the fluff and get REALLY tough here. You know full well we all need those big sister pep talks from time to time.
Some of us have an unstable dating relationship with our health and fitness.
We want to be serial daters and move from one thing to the next, making excuses for why it’s not “working out” and why everything else is keeping us from meeting our goals.
Well friends, it’s time to put a ring on it. Let’s stop making excuses and start talking about our commitment issues. I’m going to show you how to finally commit and crush your total fitness goals.
And don’t worry, I’ll be there every step of the way. Consider me your wingman and emotional support when the relationship gets rocky. ?
If you’re committing to a program, set up a timeline and reward yourself along the way.
Let’s say you want to crush a 60 day workout challenge. You’ve tried three times before this but you’ve never quite hit that 60 day mark.
This time, establish how often you want to reward yourself then go out and actually buy those gifts. Do this BEFORE the challenge. Wrap them up in your favorite wrapping paper (Star Trek wrapping paper from last Christmas? Heck yes!), write little love notes, then fill in your calendar to open one on days 7, 21, 30, 45, and 60.
These can be cool headbands to hold up your hair while you jam to Piyo, those fancy pairs of steampunk or Tigger leggings you’ve been wanting, or a sampler pack of Shakeology (strawberry, vanilla, chocolate? I can’t decide!).
By buying yourself gifts, you’re investing in your success. You’ve told yourself, “I AM going to do this and I will be rewarded when I meet my goals.” PLUS, you’ll have some awesome swag to look forward to when you meet your mark.
** skip a day of the challenge? Don’t sweat it. Hop back on that goal crushing train and continue to reward yourself for sticking to it.
What’s more satisfying than ripping a page off a countdown calendar?! Okay, pulling that plastic, protective sheet off some new electronics is pretty fun too. But I REALLY love ripping some paper off the wall (and seeing that number go down).
If you don’t have a countdown calendar, you can use fun shaped tabs or sticky notes and line them up on a door you pass through often.
On a few of them (not all) write yourself fun notes of encouragement or inspirational quotes. Each time you complete a workout AND clean eating, rip off the sticky note and add it to your calendar for each day.
By adding the sticky notes and tabs to your calendar, you are tracking your progress and seeing an actual visual representation of the progress you are making. Look at you, you fitness warrior.
Share Your Journey
Take a friend with you on this fitness journey. If you decide to start 22 Minute Hard Corps, make a plan to show up in your living room at 10:00 each morning (or whichever time woks best for you both). Take turns bringing breakfast or coffee. If you are meeting up virtually, take turns sharing a motivational quote or devotional. You’ll be much more likely to show up if you know someone is counting on you.
If you don’t know someone who wants to do the program with you, remember - virtual friends count! Message me here to connect. Give someone permission to check on your progress and see if you are on track. Bonus points if they can tell it like it is AND you’re open to constructive feedback.
Find or Wear Something That’s a Reminder of Your Journey
Explore your motivations for embarking on this journey in the first place.
Do you want to be a healthy example for your family? Is there a 5k you want to sign up for at the end of the month?
Once you connect with your “why” then find a physical representation or token of that motivation. Here are a few examples. Feel free to get creative.
Schedule Your Workout
It’s 8pm, you barely made it through the door after a long day of appointments, grocery shopping, and vet visits before collapsing on your big, comfy couch. So you kick up your feet, turn on Doctor Who reruns, then realize . . . you forgot to workout. At this point, you could pop in that workout DVD or pull up Beachbody on Demand but you’re just too tired.
You can beat this by planning your workouts or select your specific workouts and then adding them to your calendar. Make sure you schedule time in each day so that you do this automatically, like clockwork.
This will remove that pesky “should I workout today?” thought or those late-night guilt trips.
So there you have it
This is your new game plan to commit and KEEP committing to your health and fitness relationship. Because after all, a commitment to your health is a commitment to yourself.
And you DESERVE to feel that love.
If you need additional support, I am here for you. Join my FB group here, where I walk you through challenges, share funny life moments, and help ignite motivation and inspirations for your personal journey.
And remember, you can do this.
"My name is Anya, I am a divorcee, I struggle with a love of most all things food, I’m a health and fitness lifeline, and I have a gym membership.”
Okay, it may not be as bad as all that, but I have had very interesting responses from people when I tell them that I now have a gym membership. Especially since my business is helping people find their best health and fitness from the comfort of their own home.
That is the first bit of confusion.
WHAT IS IT THAT ANYA DOES?
I am a virtual, health and fitness lifeline. There when you need me so you don’t drown in your bad food decisions or failure to commit to a fitness regiment; piled in an organized circular bundle in the corner for when you are having success, handling business, and needing to test those new, healthy wings of yours.
Yes, the programs that I have come to love and believe in are found on DVD and streaming on our digital platform. That and the ability to press play and go from almost anywhere do lend themselves to me sharing that you can workout from your home or your yard or the park or even in a vacant group fitness room at your local gym. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have a gym membership, too, if you want one.
WHY DOES ANYA HAVE BOTH?
It may still seem a little counterintuitive for me to have a gym membership so let me break down why I now have one.
#1 - I am still healing from spine surgery and complications. That means that the workouts I love to do and that have helped me achieve great results (getting down to a size 2/4 for the first time in my LIFE) are not the ones I should be doing. My specialist still has me on the “don’t lift more than 10lbs (preferably 5lbs), no jumping, no jarring, no lifting or throwing heavy items over head, no running” regiment which nixes a number of the at home programs I love.
Where does that leave me?
I’ll tell you. It leaves me in need of 2 stationary bikes (recumbent when the pain is bad and spin when it’s manageable), an elliptical machine (moving as smoothly as possible), the cables & pulleys station for range of motion, and more. If you’ve been following me for at least the last month, you may recall that I am living in a borrowed trailer. In case you are not aware, too much bouncing and shaking and moving the trailer is not in my best interest.
And, #2 I’m not in the market for nor do I have a place to set up large pieces of fitness equipment.
Kinda sounds like I need a gym membership, huh?
WHY HAVE A GYM MEMBERSHIP AND WORK WITH ANYA?
This is the question, isn’t it? Let me tell you some of the reasons I have heard from others that I completely agree with.
a) - I love doing live group fitness classes with friends and soaking up the energy in the room.
2) - I am training for a triathlon/cycling event and I need access to a spin bike for when the weather prevents outdoor riding and an olympic size swimming pool.
d) - my gym offers child care, tanning facilities, access to a masseuse, etc. (tell me what gym that is because I want in on 2 out of 3 of those)
[there was a little bit of a Home Alone reference there for those of you who caught it.]
CAN I DITCH THE GYM ALTOGETHER AND STILL GET GREAT RESULTS WITH ANYA?
You’re darn right you can! I lost almost all of my 92 pounds after breaking up with the gym and doing my workouts in my living room, backyard, and sometimes study (I grabbed whatever patch of floor was free). My major transformation was done with my TV, my laptop, and my tablet from home, visiting family, and even away on vacation.
People think you can’t get a six-pack at home unless you have tons of equipment and resort to practically starving yourself. I would argue that that is not true. Let my transformation pick do the talking for me!
So, if you are a runner or a cyclist or a hiker or a climber or otherwise have a fitness program, regiment, or hobby that keeps you active and you are looking for some help taking your game to the next level, keep your gym membership but also see what I have to offer. If you love your fitness class, keep that up (it’s great for you)! And, if you are seeking a breather from your tiny humans needing your constant attention or want to get a mini spa session on, I will be on the other side of the screen moderately jealous of you.
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest and I hope it gives you more insight into who I am, what I do, and what I can do for you. Want to chat about your specific needs? We can do that - click here! No commitment necessary, let's just hash it out!
I mean, I post a lot of videos on Facebook and I have gotten on the IG stories and FB day bandwagons. But, I still have my good 'ole YouTube channel that I intend to resurrect this year. In the spirit of doing so, I shared one of my most recent revelations.
If you haven't be over to my channel, yet, come on! No, really! Come on over, see what I've already shared, and tell me what else you'd like to see.
I'll even make it easy for you to get there. Just click the link below!
There are quite a few days where I can go without anything sweet to eat or drink and be completely fine. I mean, I like some chocolate now and again or a piece of candy, but my cravings lean toward the salty side (pizza, chips, Chinese food, Chipotle, Ping Pong Dim Sum - you know, the usual).
But if I have a hankering (what does that even mean?) for something sweet and I just cant shake it, this will always do the trick.
Quick & Easy Nutella Fruit Wrap
I take 1 Aldi Live G Free gluten free wrap and spread on a thin layer of Nutella (approximately 2 tsp).
Then, I add slices of half a banana.
Next, I slice (or chop) 3 - 5 strawberries and add those.
Finally, I fold the wrap and devour it with vigor!
I hope this little snack can help you keep from going head first into a New York style cheesecake or a vat of fudge - equally difficult to resist on my sweet tooth days.
So, life has a funny way of reminding you that you are alive. I know, I know. You are likely sitting there thinking, “self, does that girl think we forgot we are living? I mean, we aren’t undead and we aren’t dead so we have to already know we are alive, don’t we?”
I would beg to differ. It goes a little something like this,….
You wake up and jump right out of bed. The sun makes you happy, the birds are chirping, the pets are well-behaved, you don’t have morning breath, and your hair is on POINT! Right? Nope. Not usually. Even the most die hard morning person alive has mornings that just seem to come more quickly than most.
And on the mornings that we are dragging or late or it’s super cold or we wake up sticky from the summer heat,….we remember we are alive. We feel everything and notice things that we don’t normally.
“Did I always have that one long hair on my upper lip?”
“Does the puppy always take so long to pee? I gotta go!”
“I’ve never worn these shoes with those pants, have I?”
“I’ve never felt that muscle get all tight and angry before.”
When we feel those out of the ordinary feels or notice those out of the ordinary actions, it causes a slight hitch in our step and we are reminded that the autopilot came off and we are alive.
There are other times in life when we are reminded that we are alive. Trials. Heartbreaks. Losses. New beginnings. New loves. New jobs. Whether life-alteringly awesome or life-alteringly awful, we suddenly notice LIFE.
When he/she looks at you, you can’t breathe and your heart races and you realize you are alive.
When he/she leaves, you can’t breathe and your heart races and you realize you are alive.
When he/she is born you and you think of how fast pregnancy flew by, and you are struck by how big and short life can be!
When he/she passes away, you think of how fast the last few years have flow by, and you are struck by how big and short life can be!
When we were kids and we went to the playground to mess around, compete against one another, lay on the merry-go-round while someone else ran around and spun it ever fast, beat up the rude boys (oh, wait…was that just me?), played basketball, and more, we also played on the see saw (or teeter totter, depending on where you are from). Do you remember that?
What was the WORST thing that could happen when you were on the see saw with someone else? Especially if that someone outweighed you by a bit and had a mischievous streak? Cherry bombs. That’s right.
For those of you who are not in the know, a cherry bomb is when someone is opposite you on the see saw, waits until you are up at the highest point and they are at the lowest, and they jump or roll off the see saw thus causing you to fall the full height of the drop. That nonsense hurt in so many ways! Your back, neck, butt, ankles, and sometimes even your teeth slamming together or biting your cheeks. Cherry bombs were, and still are, the worst and the cause of many playground brawls.
The reason unexpected cherry bombs were so bad was because you felt safe and secure in this balanced, give and take relationship with another person. You would each push off the earth and try to get as high as you could - even sometimes flying off the seat at the top and only managing to hold on because you gripped the handles like a vice. Sometimes, you and your partner would try to balance perfectly even with the ground, grabbing little kids as they ran by to distribute the weight more evenly or sliding toward the middle of the beam to lessen the weight distribution like a playground scientist.
But, when your partner lulled you into a false sense of security and jumped or rolled or dove off his/her seat at the last minute…..you had a Wile E. Coyote moment as your brain processed what was happening and then you felt the earth meet your coccyx and the starts pierced your eyes. The pain and surprise and anger (depending on who did it and if you had discussed the option of cherry bombs as a game of change) reminded you that you and your coccyx were alive. And it….was…..war.
Over my lifetime, I have had ample opportunity to feel alive. I have had playground brawls, dealt with childhood illnesses, stressed over a father deployed in hostile territory, moved all over the world, watched my parents’ marriage fall apart, survived a sexual assault, found release in counseling, fell in love, lost my love, gave up on dreams, fell in like, lost my like, changed jobs, married the man i have loved more than any other, been betrayed and abandoned by the same, and all throughout I have balanced the life of a chronically ill person fighting through blackouts in public, debilitating GI issues, casts, slings, crutches, walkers, scooters, unemployment, and near homelessness.
Each time I felt like I was gaining some momentum or recovering from the last cherry bomb, life locked eyes with me, smirked, tucked and rolled off one side, the other, or the back of the doggone see saw.
This is the important part. Mmmmkay? IF you’ve made it this far, please read this so you understand me and what I’m all about. Here we go. This is it.
MY DADDY GOD AIN’T RAISED NO QUITTER.
Your life may have a lot of smooth sailing, prayers quickly answered, wishes granted, dreams come true, things fixed the first time, no lines at the grocery store, trying on bathing suits my be fun, the glass slipper fitting perfectly, you may never get sick, and animated birds may alight on your fingers. My story is a little more Tim Burton, but I’m not gonna quit.
The things I’ve shared with you are the very tip of the iceberg. Just the last year alone I have had such physical, emotional, and psychological pain that the diagnosis of clinical depression was more of a relief than a disappointment. You mean to say, there’s a chemical and psychological reason why I can’t focus, cry uncontrollably, eat like I’m trying to win a medal, and sometimes think of the sweet relief but fear the thought of suicide? i’m not crazy, i just need some help? Phew!
What I need you to know is that some days just suck. SUCK! Go back to bed, abandon all adulating, veg out on violent 80s action movies, eat whatever I want to, let the puppy make all decisions for the day SUCK. Other days are good. Some are great! None are perfect.
But, sometimes you need to let me feel safe enough to share with you that things are suck and not have my honesty prompt verbal rainbows and glitter covered platitudes or motivational quotes you picked up from a drug store card isle. Some days I’m not okay and I’m allowed to be not okay because I’ll get it out of my system, dig into the Word, connect with my Father and family, and get right back up on that see saw for round…..I don’t know….57,819,421.
If you see me in a FB or IG live and I seem a little down, remember that my divorce was finalized 20 days ago today.
If you read a post on social media or a blog post (like this one) on my site and it seems a little depressing, I may be struggling with my depression.
If you see me in person and I’m not high energy, the sparkle isn’t present, and I don’t have full engagement mode activated, remember that I am a strong introvert, I may have over-peopled that day, my stress levels may be high, my spine pain may be higher, I may have just gotten off the phone with my divorce attorney, or I may have had my debit card refused at the store because this move and failed school bus cross country trip sucked up twice the money I budgeted.
I say all of this to share with you that my life seems to have more than its fair share of cherry bombs on a weekly, monthly, and definitely yearly basis. The only thing that keeps me from going postal, allows me to smile, encourages me to sing, and reminds me that it could be worse is my relationship with my Daddy God and the love and support of my friends and family.
If you can relate to my story and feel like you have had your fair share of cherry bombs, feel free to connect with me! You can comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week, friends.
Now, I think I’ll give the swings a try.
They seem a lot less dramatic.
Okay, okay - let me start from the beginning.
A couple of years ago, I friended a fellow military spouse on FB. She and I had a lot in common but, life happened and distance was an excuse and I failed to follow up and connect with her. Come on, don't look at me with that Judgey McJudgerson look on your face - you've done it, too.
Well, we reconnected when my soon-to-be ex-husband and I had the pleasure of being invited to (and taking them up on their offer) Thanksgiving 2016 at her house. It was a quick road trip to Delaware that allowed us the face-to-face time to grow our bond.
After that, we texted one another, connected through social media and different messenger accounts - it was great. How refreshing to find an independent, tomboy of an outdoorsman, not afraid to get dirty, biker chick friend who was also a milso (military significant other) and knew the nonsense and disappointment that can come with being a military dependent. We clicked.
Then, something awesome happened. You see, she knew I was an entrepreneur, living a life to help others connect to their healthiest self. Come to find out, this creative, passionate, empathic new friend of mine decided to start a new business and it sounded amazing! She was a little nervous about her launch (as we all are when we first get started as business owners), but her fervor could not be contained or hidden and I just knew big things were in store for her.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️
My new friend launched her business. BOOM! It was out there and her site is gorgeous (I kinda hate you but only in the way that it's a compliment and not actual hate-hate), her emails are clever, and the offer looked amazing. So, of course, I had to support my girl! I clicked the "connect with me" button and scheduled an appointment for a free consultation. Best decision of my LIFE!
There is something you feel when someone truly listens to you. Not in a way that you know they are rehearsing their reply or how you can sometimes feel that someone is listening to guide you into a trap or something. Nope. She listened deeply, took a lot of notes, and soaked it all in to see if she thought she could help me. After some discussion, we both felt it was a go. She emailed me, I prayed on the decision, we took some time in our respective corners to be sure it was a good match, and we came to the decision that it was. Time to get started.
My bi-weekly video meetings with this lovely creature became the highlight of my weeks. No lie. We laughed, we dreamed, she asked probing questions, I got real vulnerable and needed the tissues (twice? ), and something awesome began to take shape. She introduced me to amazing, online resources, I showed her a bit of my world as a health and fitness lifeline, she crafted a clear picture (in written word) of who I am and what I do, and I gave in to the process because she was doing something so heartfelt and catered to me.
On our last business call (because you know we were friend by then and there was no way she was going to get away from me socially even if our business had concluded) she shared with me a bonus free gift and let me read all of the work she had put into my copy. Sweet goodness, wow.
You know how you have those friends who speak truth into your life? You know? Those friend who tell you he doesn't deserve you and that you finish that half marathon and how strong you've been and the things they admire about you and it's not weird or uncomfortable or just an empty platitude. Those friends. You know how those friends make you feel like you can take on the world, walk a high fashion runway, bring back Firefly (because that TV show rocks), and cook the perfect scallop (I've never been able to cook the perfect scallop ? ) because of their confidence in you? That's what Stacia did for me. This wonderful woman is a talented poet, an aspiring author, and a wonderful friend. She is a creative, a dreamer, an artist, a muse, and she pushes herself to give her best to those she chooses to work with. Can you imagine how honored I was to have her choose to work with me? When she describes me as a warrior I went with it. I means, that’s what she said, right?
When all is said and done, I cannot thank Stacia for what she did for me. She fed my hope. 2017 has been filled with pain and difficult change. A necessary spine surgery resulted in a debilitating disability. This change in my health caused me to lose my job and my home. As if that wasn't bad enough, 4 days before my spine surgery, my husband of almost 10 years told me he no longer wanted to be married and abandoned me. At a time in my life when I was feeling beaten down and lost, I was hesitant to invest in myself financially, but Stacia gave me more than I could ever pay for. With her support and talent she helped me to see myself and my potential in such an amazing light and I am certain I can do whatever I set my mind to. Seeing myself through her eyes has been amazing and I cannot wait to work with her again.
I would love to have you join my team and live a life of passion and purpose helping yourself and others with their health and fitness. If you would like to chat and see if this opportunity is right for you, click here.
If you are interested in getting to know Stacia and learning about the opportunity to work with her (I promise you, you will not regret it), click here.
Here’s the thing - I hear the same few excuses as to why people are not meeting with success in their health and fitness journeys. This is what it usually boils down to:
A) “I just really hate vegetables.” Oh, really? All of them? You’ve eaten every vegetable known to man, cooked every conceivable way and you hate them all? Interesting.
B) “I can’t say no to junk. I have no self-control.” Hmmm, did you rear end anyone in traffic who cut you off or was driving 15 miles under the speed limit? So you do have some self-control.
C) "I don’t have time to cook all that healthy stuff." But you’ve spent the last 2 hrs sending me funny pictures with animal face filters?
D) "I’ve tried so many diets and they just don’t work for me." The diet mindset rarely works so I can kinda get on board with you there.
Okay, so, now that we know the players in this game, let’s talk about how we dispel the mystery about how to eat better, how we change our mindset about fueling this amazing machine that is our body, and what to do next. Here are my top 5 tips on How to Eat Like You Love Yourself.
#1 - Stop calling it a diet. You aren’t on a diet because that means you could, at some point, be off of your diet. Not only that, it means that when you eat something no in line with your new intake that you are “cheating” or “backsliding” or “wrecking your diet.” Geez, who WOULD want to go on a diet if it meant that they had all of this negative talk happening each time they did anything, I don’t know, human? Yeah, no, I’m not about that life.
Oh, and if you decide that it’s a pizza kind of night or that you are going to enjoy your 3 day cruise and not focus on calories, colors, or micros, that’s okay! Don’t worry about being so overly strict with your food that you can’t even take some time to enjoy a special occasion every now and again.
#2 - Take time to look things up. So, you hate kale. Fine. I hate kale. Do you know what that means? I don’t eat kale. It’s that simple. I don’t try to “trick” myself into eating kale, I don’t make excuses for kale, I don’t try 50 ways to cook kale and love it, and I don’t seek out ways to grow my own kale. I just avoid kale. Is it going to kill me? No. Do I need kale in my life? Likely not.
Instead, I think of things I like that are in line with my dietary restrictions and my new healthy eating lifestyle. Sugar snap peas? Yes. Green beans? Check. Squash? Bring it. And on and on. Oh, and if you aren’t quite sure how to make something well but you want to make it (like my inexplicable knack for screwing up hard boiled eggs), look up the best ways to cook that thing. You’ll find that you like more things out there than you knew you did just because you now know how to cook them properly.
#3 - Find new ways to cook old things. No, I don’t mean grab old moldy things out of the fridge and find new ways to cook them. Stop it right now. I mean, if you are eating chicken every….single….day, stop that. Stop making bland, boiled chicken. Surprise yourself with some grilled chicken. Then, slice up some of the grilled chicken to add to a salad. Wait, you still have some left? Chop it up and make some healthy chicken salad and eat it with crackers or on a wrap or sandwich. Man alive, this whole chicken game sounds like I can keep it up without hating the idea of approaching, rubbery, chicken dinner.
Remember, there is more than one way to cook just about anything so experiment with grilling, sautéing, broiling, baking, using new appliances like egg steamers, air fryers, etc. Boom, you are going to be a cooking machine!
#4 - Find healthy people to swap (or steal) recipes with (from). Let’s just have some real talk. There are a batrillion gajillion and 7 different social media groups, social media pages, social media hashtags, websites, boards, and more than have catchy titles and are just what you need. You haven’t found them because you haven’t looked for them. Or, more likely, you got really inspired last year in December (and the year before, and the year before) and you made a New Year’s Resolution and you searched for low carb or high protein or sugar free or only things that are green diet recipes and you found a bunch of them….but you didn’t attempt to cook a single one.
Why? Why would you do that? You can’t sit here and complain that you can’t find a decent and healthy recipe for chili if you have 13 of them saved on your laptop, more recipes pinned to a board, and 3 more printed out and stuck to your fridge next to your niece’s school photo and the reminder card from you dentist. Get in the game and start trying some of these recipes or you will forever be making excuses for that muffin top, grandma-bye-bye arm jiggle, or 2nd chin.
#5 - Be prepared. The holidays are upon us and some of you are kicking yourselves because you haven’t shopped, you haven’t exchanged Secret Santa names, you don’t know where you’re going, you haven’t purchased airline tickets, and you may even have forgotten to ask for time off work. It’s coming down to the wire and you are not prepared. If you do things to avoid the stress of last minute holiday shopping, planning, and travel, why wouldn’t you take action to prevent the same time of stress in your nutrition? Oh, I know, because there are cheap and quick fast food restaurants on every corner and because you have accepted all of the excuses that add up to you unpreparedness.
Why not try this - for one week, plan ahead. Plan your meals, plan your snacks, purchase a fun water bottle that you’ll want to use, and stay on track for 7 days. Once you prove to yourself that it really isn’t that hard or time consuming and that being prepared has reduced much of your stress around eating better, getting healthier, and doing something good for your body, you will want to keep going.
Trust me, planning your menu will give you a feeling far better than greasy food guilt (which is just as bad as that last minute, middle seat on the plane between the mom with the new baby and the larger, hairy gentleman who falls asleep immediately and proceeds to snore loudly and repeatedly rest his head on your shoulder no matter how many times you push it off).
Alright, you have the tips. What’s next? Pick one. That’s right - one. This is not the time to go crazy and go through your kitchen and local grocery store in a frenzy, determined to change everything all at once. More often than not, this is met with failure and frustration and then you hate me because I made you waste 2 weeks worth of grocery money, a couple hours of prep time, and the $30 you spent on pizza and ice cream while you were on the rebound. It’s okay, we’ve all been there. That’s why I suggest you pick one of my 5 tips and try it for a week. In a small notebook or as a note on your digital device, write down on day one what you are going to commit to and then finish your day be reflecting on how it went.
Do the same thing for all 7 days. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised to see how well this little experiment will go for you and that you will be racking up wins (or non-scale victories) faster and more frequently than you ever have before.
Want more tips on how to stay on track with your new, healthy lifestyle? Looking for someone to walk this journey with you and show you some delicious alternatives to things that may sidetrack (or completely hijack) your healthy efforts? Ready to make a serious change but just not sure how to get into gear? Let’s do this together.
I’ve been down this road and I’ve continued to work to tweak my intake to meet my body’s ever changing needs (including the hard stop and stubborn changes my metabolism and reaction to nutrition & fitness that my system made once I hit 30) and I would love to share some tips and tricks with you. You are not alone in this so let’s talk about getting you started today! But there will be no kale. Seriously.
Want to learn more about me, how I got here, how I gained and then lost almost 100lbs, how to do it with a gluten intolerance, how a low FODMAP diet might help you, what my favorite recipes are, why I am obsessed with Nathan Fillion, or what are the most important things in my bug out bag (for when the zombie apocalypse hits, because it will happen)? Hit me up by clicking the link here or filling out the contact me form located here.
No one's life is perfect. They may want you to believe that they are and they may show you a picture perfect image on social media or in public or when they talk to you on the phone. They make every conversation with laughter and fill every void with exclamations of how great this is or how wonderful that person is, so on and so forth. They may want you to believe that it is all smooth sailing but that is simply not the reality for most people. For most of us. At least not all the time.
You see, real people have real problems. I'm not saying that those real problems are gargantuan and overwhelming to the point of causing us to freeze in our tracks, quit on ourselves, or spiral into debilitating depression. There are indeed those problems and some of us do face them and force ourselves to get up and get dressed and get moving every day, but, by and large, the problems are more - regular.
On any given day, husbands and wives are arguing, parents are exasperated over their children, supervisors are rubbing their temples over their subordinates, subordinates are griping about their supervisors, entrepreneurs are freezing in their tracks, friends are attributing characteristics to their friends that just aren't so, lies or being spewed, fears are being entertained, budgets are being stretched to the limit, and the list goes on and on. On any given day, those with the perfect teeth and the perfect hair and the picture perfect families are hiding their struggles in hopes that their friends and families won't be disappointed in them or judge them or gloat over the fact that they are indeed…..human.
But the truth is, if we can just get ourselves to a place of supporting one another, we could all have the freedom to be human. We could open up to one another about our struggles and ask for prayer and support. We could alleviate some of the stress associated with these daily life stressors by NOT swallowing them down and lathering makeup on them and outright lying about everything being okay.
I'm struggling with two really huge monsters in my life right now. I've opened up about them to my friends and family and prayer warriors and I posted a bit about them here and on other platforms. By no means do I feel the need to go into ridiculous detail in order to garner sympathy points but I strive to be transparent about the fact then my life is far from perfect. I want to live a life of honesty and give other people hope that, if they are going through similar things, there are indeed ways to cope as well as the possibility of a successful resolution. I share because it's a great reminder that I'm not alone. I share because I, too, need to hear from people who have blazed this trail and made it through successfully and can breathe life and hope into me.
So, as you retake that selfie for the 57th time, and edit your Tweet to sound perfectly witty, or only check in online when you are at a lavish location, think about those who need to hear what you are going through because it could give them just the hope they need to hold on. Your struggles and your battles and your journey are far more valuable than that expensive gift you got or that extravagant dress you found (don't get me wrong - if you are showing me that there are rags to riches stories or that I can believe and hope beyond my dire financial straits, please, post with a purpose and share your life in a way that is real and adds value).
Hmm, okay. That's all I've got. I'm gonna go to work and pray that my chronic pain let's up enough to have a productive day and the ability to make it to all of my engagements. I'm gonna believe that the pup won't poop in her house and roll in it like she did yesterday, for some reason. I'm going to read some books and listen to some articles about a relationship I'm struggling with and then do my utmost on my end to repair it. I'm gonna dig into my business and make the time to do what I need to do to meet with success - because it's childish and unreasonable to believe that anything is just going to be handed to me. I’m going to help others find the financial independence I am developing and celebrate their freedom. And I'm going to praise the Lord for my family, or my friends who have become family, for all of the blessings He showers upon me, for the things I have that I don't deserve, and for everything in store for me if I'm faithful and believe.
I am Christian Straightedge Christ follower, an Army Brat, an ex-milso, founder and CEO of FitnessAnyaMind, a sofa CEO, a nomad, a fur baby mom, and a mindset builder. I enjoy nature, reading, music, cooking, and taking care of those whom I love.