Snapshot Story

Snapshot Story
Arrival in Hawaii, 2009

In this daily post prompt, we are asked to grab a photo album and write a story about the first picture we see of ourselves. In my photo album on my computer, this is the first photo I saw.

Taken on the balcony of the Hale Koa hotel in Honolulu, we were so excited to be stationed in Hawaii! We couldn’t wait to explore paradise. With our then-5 month old baby boy, I had no idea what three years on an island in the pacific would mean for my family, my marriage, or for me.

I remember thinking at the time, “Hmm, I’ve lost a bit of weight, I’m on the right diet.” Now when I look at this picture, I see a bad hair ‘do (Christmas Tree cut, anyone?!), a tired mom, anticipation of opportunities, and more.

What I want to do is take this girl by the shoulders and shake her. I want her to discover how good it feels to eat healthfully and MOVE! I want her to not shy away from the camera. I want to tell her to stop wearing black in 80 degree heat!

I want her to start writing and never stop.

I want to tell her it’s okay to say goodbye.

I want to tell her to be open to new things, to be open to new people.

To try new things, even if failure is a possibility. Don’t always take the safe road.

That when she feels scared, it’s okay to sit in the fear, feel it for what it is, but then never to let it immobilize her.

There are many things I want to tell her. But she’ll soon discover it all for herself.

“All great achievements require time.” -Maya Angelou


Fitness as a Vehicle

I love working out.

Okay, maybe that’s an over-statement. I love the way I feel after I workout. I love the way I can keep up with my kids, I like the strength, and the energy that being fit and pursuing fitness affords. I am clear-headed and more me when I run and workout consistently. It also provides creative inspiration for my work as a writer; a benefit I never saw coming!

Over the last 3 months, I broadened my workout group from 2 people to roughly 20-25 on a regular basis. We are an accountability group. I design and lead workouts, but they continue to show up. They keep coming back for more. Sure, the group is free, but they are willing to be my experiment as I study for my certifications.

During this short time, I have been shocked, floored, and humbled by the comments, kind words, and crazy hard work by these fit friends. I recently received a message that a person was hesitant to join us because she didn’t want to feel weird because she wouldn’t know anyone.

I wanted to reach through the computer and hug her.

Seriously. It was like a window to my thoughts 3 years ago. I was afraid. Of everything. Fear of looking foolish, being out of my comfort zone, fear of what other people would think of me, and fear of failure. It’s so prevalent. We are afraid to reach out to our neighbors. We hesitate to chat up the other mom at the playground. We sit in the same place at church every week because sitting in a spot other than “ours” would mean we may have to meet someone new. It’s scary. Rejection hurts. It’s so much easier to just stay in our own little world and not risk anything.

What I have discovered, in part, over the course of the last 3-4 years is that being brave and stepping out is not only worth it, but it breeds just a tiny bit of confidence to do it again. And again. And again. Until it becomes who you are. What if I had never reached out to my neighbor across the street? What if I had declined invitations to parties and get togethers? What if my then aquaintence chose not to pursue a deeper friendship with me? What if she had never invited me to to join a crazy bootcamp workout class she’d heard about? What if another friend didn’t have the courage to ask if she could join us as we were sweating in my driveway? What if I had been too afraid to ask our community center if we could use the gym through the winter? What if?

The last 3 years would have been entirely different.

When people ask me, “I can’t seem to find the time/motivation to workout. What motivates you to keep working out?” I simply say that exercise and fitness has been the vehicle to so much more than I ever imagined. So much more than just physical. More than just being fit.

It has been the vehicle to cherished friendships, bravery, courage, risk, deep joy, true confidence, the desire to learn and grow, and more. It has changed me for the better. The ability to be in a position to share that gift with someone on their own path is something that overwhelms me.

It is a gift for which I will be forever grateful.

Facing fears and finding me the fifth: Part two, how I lost 70 pounds

Love this post by my niece over at Hangin’ by a Thread! She nails the essentials of lasting change!

Hangin' by a Thread

(This Part two of the blog-version of a presentation I recently gave. Part one can be found here

As I wrote in Part One, accepting myself as is and believing I was worthy of happiness and healthiness was essential to losing (and keeping off) 70 plus pounds. Obviously though, it takes more than believing in one’s self (even though it’s a necessity) to effect life-long, positive change. Throughout my healing journey, I have had to make some choices that have required me to change how I looked at my life and my health. For starters, I took the word “diet” out of my vocabulary. I encourage you to do the same.


Instead of ever saying I was going on a diet, I chose to say that I was opting for healthy changes and then I slowly integrated those changes into my lifestyle. For example, I added more fruits and…

View original post 1,276 more words

To The Beginner

Winding road

It sucks starting something new.

Having hope is scary. I know, you’ve had hope before and then it didn’t work. You see those skinny chicks and wonder how it would be to live like that.

You think, “I’d be happy in my life, if only I looked like that.”

Staying the same just isn’t an option. You’ve stopped looking in mirrors, you’ve learned to shut down the voice that questions “how did it get this far?” You don’t realize it now, but you WILL feel so much better. You may not even realize just how bad you feel now.  Being numb to life will do that to you.

It will hurt. You will ache and the pain will be damn near unbearable. But ever so slowly, you’ll start to see some progress – and it will be so motivating. You’ll see that you can do more, push more, and are so much stronger than you think. You’ll be astonished at your mental capacity to keep moving when your body wants to give up.

Keep at it.

Don’t give up.

One push up, one half mile, one bike ride, one step at a time.  You’ll start to walk or jog outside – terrified that someone will drive by and laugh. (They won’t – they’ll be thinking they should be out doing something, too.) You’ll start to raise your gaze to passersby.  Maybe, just maybe, this fitness thing will work.  And it won’t be a fad, a phase, or just that thing you did one time. It will be a way of life – YOUR way of life.

Small victories that will lead to big wins.

You’ll be “that” person in your neighborhood that is always seen walking, running, or moving.  Someone will call you an “athlete”, and you’ll look behind you to see who they’re talking about, suddenly choking back a sob as the realization hits that it is you they are discussing.

You’ll get to the point where you’ll relish the labels “dedicated”, “consistent”, and “persevering”.

It’s never easy getting there from here.

But I promise you it will be worth it.

You are so worth it.

Changing the Subject

I am only about 2 pages into “Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight” and I’m hooked. The book is written by Linda Bacon, PhD (You can check out her website here).

Here’s the paragraph that had me reaching for the computer immediately:

“Many of us have a disturbing preoccupation with food and an intense fear of being fat. Instead of eating for enjoyment and fuel, we regard food as our enemy, as a test of our resolve and willpower-and even of our moral superiority.  Instead of moving for the sheer joy of feeling our bodies and our power, we view exercise as a workout, our penance for eating or weighing too much. Instead of putting our energy into thinking about how we can improve the world, we obsess about how we can change our bodies.”

This paragraph simply states how I’ve been feeling lately. I haven’t read the book in its entirety yet, so I am very intrigued. Ultimately, I (as most other women in America) have dieted, watched our mothers, aunties, and grandmothers all diet. We’ve all jumped on the scale and let it determine our mood for the day. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of the “I hate my body”, “I can’t have that ‘bad’ food because I’m on a diet for a special event”, “How can you eat that? It’s so fattening!” type of conversations. Blah, blah, blah, yawn. I don’t want to be 90 years old and on a damn diet. I want to live my life. I’m tired of the kool-aid drinkers who swear they have the “miracle fat cure” and want to sell it to me. I’m especially tired of the folk who think that their way to lose weight and live life is the ONLY way to do it and become elitist and snobby.

Let’s change the subject, shall we?

I want to know about how good it feels to connect with another person, even when it’s scary to step outside of a comfort zone.

I want to know how exhilarating it is setting a goal, and then achieving it!

I want to hear about how spectacular you feel, because you can keep up with your teenager.

I want to hear about your amazing recipe – because it tastes good, not because it only has x amount of calories.

I want to hear how you felt so confident that you danced with abandon with your spouse and had a ball!

I want to hear less about rigidity and rules and restriction and more about people living life; having fun moving and fueling their bodies, enjoying their families and being healthy in the fullest sense of the word.

How about you? Are you ready to change the subject?


I’ve been told that things I’ve done or written about have been inspirational. This has been said to me numerous times. It has me thinking about what I’ve done that’s really all that exceptional. I always think to myself when I hear this is, “Well, if I can do it, so can anyone!”

Perhaps because it’s me  – I find it all very ordinary. To put it another way, once you’ve run a marathon, a half marathon isn’t mentally as challenging. (Half marathons aren’t easy, but I’m using the comparison as the example. The same could be said for a 10k vs. a 5k.)  Once you know you can do something, the task itself becomes less daunting.  Maybe it’s just the fact that when you know someone personally, that change becomes inspirational. And this isn’t to diminish the change itself. It’s not easy, as most people don’t make drastic life changes. It takes the pain of change being less than the pain of staying the same.

Since people generally don’t do what it takes to change, be it losing weight, getting fit, eating right, changing habits, etc., when someone does actually break out of the same ol’ same ol’, it does carry with it a bit of inspiration to those in close proximity.

Maybe the inspiration factor comes from another place. A place of being willing to be open and transparent. I suppose I over-share through this blog, but I figure if I’m learning and growing and going through life, then maybe someone else can relate, identify or learn with me. At best, I hope people won’t make the same mistakes and learn and grow with me, or look at something in a new way.  At the very least – have a good laugh at the comedy show that is my life!

Either way, I’ll count working to change for the better and being vulnerable and authentic a win. And something I strive to do. Everyday.

Old vs. New

It has been a crazy couple of weeks getting settled and unpacked!! Went for an icy bike ride with the kiddos today and am gearing up for working out in the morning bootcamp style with my mom and sister!

Over the past week or so I’ve noticed some astonishing differences being back in my hometown area as the new me vs. the old.

Eric has done deployments before, and while they stink – doing them with kiddos is just a whole other level of suckiness. However, before I would have been terrified of the responsibility of two kids on my own. Now, though – yes it sucks and I would much rather have him home, the fear is no longer there. I know some days are going to be better than others, but the terror has been replaced by an acceptance and a sense of “Yeah. I got this. I’m not going to sit around and be sad. We are going to make the best of it and have a life and not just sit around waiting for Daddy to come home.” This is huge.

I meet peoples’ gaze and am the first to wave or smile and say hello. This is such a seemingly small thing – but huge for me. Old me would wait for others to approach me or make the first move. Not so much anymore. And everyone in our new neighborhood has been so friendly. For some reason I don’t remember the valley being so friendly… But perhaps I’m just seeing it with new vision 😉

Went shopping yesterday for winter clothes for my new body and had a blast with a good friend. Old me never let thin friend into dressing room. New me: fashion show parade in the room!!!
Lots of laughs, catching up and cute new clothes that I’ve worked so hard for. And I didn’t even charge her for the tickets to the gun show! 😉

Going to church and watching my mom watch me and seeing her see the differences in dropping off the kiddos at Children’s Church. She even remarked at how dropping the kids off was “something you would have never done before”. The kids have a great time, get to interact and play and learn with other kids and I get a much needed mental break and spiritual recharge for the week. Win win!!

I have scheduled a test date for taking my certified personal trainer exam. NEVER would I have thought I was good enough, athletic enough, or whatever excuse to do something like this. And I find all I feel is excited!!! Yeah, a little nervous because I want to do well and not have to retake the thing – but mostly just excited! I can’t wait to help someone else to feel as good as I do. I can’t think of anything better.

Instead of waiting until __________ , I am getting out and making things happen. I’m more proactive. This is partially due to wishing I had found bootcamp and done it sooner. I don’t want to miss any opportunities in our new location. Hit the ground running baby!!!

It’s just a bunch of little things like this that in the past week or so have been very apparent to me.

I can appreciate old me. She got me to here. But new me is way more fun, has so much more energy and is comfortable in her own skin. And I love that!