Posted in Abundance, and Love, Carpe Diem, Celebration, child, Creating Art, dreams, faith, Faith, Hope, and Love, Family, Freedom, goals, God, Gratitude, grief, Healing, Healing a Wounded Soul, Home, Hope, Impossible, Joy, lessons, life, life and death, life lessons, Love, Marriage and Family, Memorial, Memory, Pain, Possibilities, Tattered and Mended, Train Up A Child, Transparency, Writing

In which I grieve and mourn…

What makes a life? I know the arguments run in circles. Does it start at conception? Does it begin with that first, gasping breath after hours of labor? Maybe that’s the wrong question. I’m still trying to figure out the right question to ask.

One week ago, I was thrilled to announce that a long-awaited event was taking place. After months of trying, I got a positive sign. (Actually, it was four positives and one digital negative…I had to be sure) I probably didn’t need one, because I just KNEW it. My body was starting to feel different and I knew it was true. In my head, I was already planning out the next few months, hoping my morning sickness wouldn’t get too extreme, and praying that just this once, I’d be able to enjoy my pregnancy in full. I estimated I was 6-8 weeks. My midwife calculated a little more efficiently given my irregular cycles and said I was WAY earlier. I hoped I was later, but figured she probably knew a thing or two about this…

So I was anywhere from 4-7 weeks, but it didn’t matter really. I felt amazing, if a little tired and gaggy, and I was determined to enjoy the next nine months, come what may. Was I apprehensive? A bit. This was the first pregnancy where I was at a VERY healthy weight, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. Everything felt different, but I figured I could still safely tell others my news. I mean, I had three uncomplicated pregnancies prior to this one, right? No big deal.

Maybe the question I should be asking is, is that tiny little life real because I believe it to be, or do I believe it to be real because it is?

Friday morning I woke up. Had my coffee, spent time doing school with the kids, pondered a conversation I’d had with my mom the night before about my fears regarding pregnancy and loss. Worked out pretty hard and felt great afterward, if a little winded. I’d been experiencing a bit of an achy stretch on my right side from the beginning of the pregnancy, but thought nothing of it. It wasn’t pain and I figured my uterus hadn’t been in use for over three years, so it was natural to feel some stretching. No big deal.

That was until I got out of the shower and started to bleed.

Beyond the fact that I had NEVER experienced abnormal bleeding with any of my other pregnancies, I knew right away something was wrong. There was no pain (at least not that first day) but I knew that for whatever reason, this brief period of time where I once again was given the privilege of nurturing a new life, was now over. Call it a gut feeling, a matter of the heart, or just the facts. I knew. And I lost it.

My darling husband came home to find me curled up on the bathroom floor bawling my eyes out. He held me, prayed with me, and we discussed the next steps. There was no drama (other than my tears) that day, but we both wanted to find out for sure. So I called the midwife, got in to an emergency ultrasound that afternoon, and took a blood test to find out my HCG levels.

Even if my levels were higher, and they weren’t, I would have known when I looked at the emptiness on that ultrasound. I could see all the preparations for sustaining a life in the womb, but no life. Not even a blip on the screen. I’d FELT empty before the ultrasound. Now I had proof that I was empty.

I’ve fought PCOS since puberty hit. I was told that I would struggle with infertility and irregular cycles and difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. None of this was new to me. Thankfully, I’ve been managing my symptoms well enough that even the midwife noticed the lack of evidence for PCOS where there should have been. I’m not cured, but perhaps I’ve been given a reprieve.

And the three children I bore prior to this pregnancy proves that infertility isn’t that much of an issue really. I mean, we tried three times, and three times we made a baby. That simple.

Actually, we tried four times, and four times we made a baby. It’s just that now I get to tell people that one of our babies isn’t going to be present here on earth. That hurts just writing it. I’m a mother four times over and I won’t get to meet Pelokid #4 until I get to heaven. Something tells me, it’s a girl. Sweet and precocious and bubbling over with life.

There are a million explanations for why this pregnancy did not end with a live child 40 weeks after conception. Some explanations even range into the, it wasn’t really a baby idea. I’m going to block that one right now, because one, it doesn’t offer me any comfort whatsoever. And two, it brings me back to the question I asked earlier. I believe I was carrying a precious life for at least 5 weeks and that life is no longer present in my womb. I will grieve and mourn that life and then I will take joy in being chosen to be the vessel for that life for a few brief, but absolutely precious moments. All life is a vapor, some lives disappearing sooner than others.

The day after I miscarried, we watched a video on science and faith in regenerative medicine. There was a picture of a basic human cell. A basic picture from a typical biology textbook that any high school or college kid could read. As the scientist/researcher explained the components, I picked out names I hadn’t heard in years. Golgi apparatus, ribosomes, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum. I like Golgi apparatus best. The name is just cool.

Each part of these microscopic cells works in harmony to create a miniscule organic computer in basic scientific terms, but it’s SO much more than that. Put billions of these working, tiny cells together and you create things like skin, organs, muscles, eyes, ENTIRE Human Beings. If just ONE part of ONE cell is out of order, it can cause the entire structure to collapse. To decay and degenerate. The research in regenerative medicine takes these cells, breaks them down into their multiple components, tries to figure out how all the individual components work, and then attempts to recreate a cell using that knowledge. And it goes wrong, so many times. But when it works, ligaments are healed, cartilage and bone are renewed, and skin is grafted. But the original cell is what amazes me most. Because as much as a scientist or doctor can do their best to work with lab-created clones of the real thing, they will NEVER be able to perfect it to the level that our Creator God did on the original model.

Right in the middle of that talk on regenerative medicine, when I was feeling the physical pain of losing a child, struggling with the emotions and mental strain of the ordeal, I felt God wrap me up in His arms and whisper His reassurance in my ear. I looked at the three children He’d blessed Jake and I with and marveled on the fact that, of all the billions of ways it could have gone wrong, HE knit them together in my womb and breathed life into their tiny developing bodies. HE started their hearts beating and formed the neural pathways in their developing brains. HE fit every joint and bone and ligament together like a perfect puzzle and told each cell what its job would be.

I got to carry them and do the work HE created my body to do for nine months of their life. I was the vessel, but HE.

He is ALWAYS the Creator and Sustainer of life. And that little life He recently allowed me to carry for a few brief weeks was His too. He granted me the privilege of being mommy to not one, not two, not three, but four fearfully and wonderfully made children. His image stamped on each and every one of them. Three, He gave more time for me and Jake to love and cherish and raise. The fourth one, He called home. I have NO idea why He gave me the privilege of being a mommy four times and I pray that I will get that privilege again. I have no idea why I was given the privilege of keeping three of His babies, but I’m looking forward to watching them grow and showing them their Heavenly father’s love. I have no idea why the fourth one won’t be in my arms for a VERY long time, but I am so very glad I got to carry her under my heart. And I cannot wait to meet the child who is more alive now than she ever could be here on earth.

Advertisements
Posted in Abundance, Celebration, faith, Faith, Hope, and Love, Family, Freedom, God, Gratitude, Healing, Home, Hope, Impossible, Joy, lessons, life, life lessons, Love, mission, Obstacles, Pain, Passion, Possibilities, prayer, Transparency, Uncategorized, Why, Winning, Writing

In which God is on the Throne…

I could post my initial thoughts on waking this morning, but they would sound like the results of a hangover and hardly reliable. And I wasn’t even drinking. Okay, I’m going to preface this part with, I’m human and these are my very first human thoughts for the morning. Then I’m going to speak as a human made in the image of God and hope that it comes out all right.

I woke up this morning, feeling my heart racing, my mind tumbling, and my gut clenching. I wanted to vomit because the panic and worry was SO great. I’m human and an American. The uncertainty and hatred and fear in our nation is so great this morning as we welcome a new president and close out a very fear-inducing presidential race.

As I said, I’m human. It’s okay to face those human feelings and emotions head on.

I’m also a child of The King. Bought by the Savior’s blood, redeemed at the cost of His life, and forgiven while I still bore the mark of His enemy.

And my King is STILL in charge.

My stomach is still a bit queasy, my heart is still racing, and I’m still a little “hungover”. But the overwhelming panic I experienced this morning is gone. And you want to know why? Three things:

  1. GOD is STILL on the THRONE. No government built by the hands of mankind can take away that truth.

    “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” ~ Revelations 1:8

  2. God ALWAYS keeps His promises and He promised to: meet our needs (Philippians 4:19, Psalm 34:9-10, Matthew 6:31-34), work ALL things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), give wisdom to those who lack it (James 1:5), grant salvation to those who believe in Him (1 John 2:25), do the impossible (Luke 18:27), Forgiveness (1 John 1:9), give the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), heal us (Psalm 103:2-3, Jeremiah 30:17), give peace that passes ALL understanding (Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6), grant victory over temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13, James 4:7-10), deliver and protect us (Psalm 91:4-6, Proverbs 18:10), Come Again (John 14:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
  3. I trust in the God of my Salvation and the One who promises ALL of this to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

And then I had another revelation, although I’m not sure it’s a revelation so much as a reminder.

I am a child of the King. I am called by my King to love Him and to love others. To look after the orphans and the widows, to advocate and care for the oppressed and the poor, to bind up the wounds of the broken and offer Christ’s hope and light for the broken-hearted. To forgive as Christ forgave me, to train up my children in the way they should go, to teach them, by example, what it means to follow Christ, and to count the VERY HIGH COST of following Christ.

Because in spite of the “charmed life” we Christ followers live here in America, the majority of the world’s Christ followers know EXACTLY how high the cost of discipleship is. And if there is ANYTHING I can say after this election that will make an impact it would be this:

Christ followers are called to go against the culture and preach Christ to the nations, giving up EVERYTHING, including their own life, to follow Him. We are called to speak the truth in sincere love, to honor one another above ourselves, to bless those who persecute us, to hate what is evil and cling to what is good, and to not repay evil for evil.

My children, husband, and I have been working hard to memorize Romans 12:9-21. After that initial panic this morning, THESE sweet and precious verses poured into my soul and I reminded my kids of the words as we ate breakfast. It goes like this:

Romans 12:9-21 NIV

Love in Action

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge,my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[c]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Because I have a God who DOES NOT CHANGE, I have a purpose that DOES NOT CHANGE! Governments come and go, life moves on, and good and evil continue to war here on earth’s battlegrounds. But I trust in the promises of God and one more promise He makes is that the WAR is ALREADY WON. God is Victorious in the Past, the Present, and the Future.

REVELATIONS 21:6-7

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Being creatures bound by time, it is understandable that we respond with fear and uncertainty about our future here on earth.

Being creatures bound by eternity, we also have hope beyond the bounds of time and in THAT we must trust in God’s promises.

This earth is temporary. At the appointed time, it will pass away and God will restore and renew ALL things (A new heaven and a new earth). What He asks of us as His followers is this:

That we live in the light of His victory and not be afraid at the days to come. That we love Him and love others. That we honor His commands and obey His instruction. That we celebrate life in ALL its forms and reject the false teachings of this world. That we teach our children and children’s children of these truths and train them to test the spirits of the age against the Holy Spirit and the Word.

And whatever the future holds, may GOD heal our nation and our world.

joshua

Posted in BeachBody, benefits of exercise, Carpe Diem, Celebration, discipline, exercise, Freedom, goals, Gratitude, Healing, Healthy Eating, Humor, Impossible, laziness, Pain, Passion, Uncategorized

In which I run a marathon and feel disappointed…

LastBurst

This was me after 26.2 miles. Putting that last burst of speed on so I could cross the finish line just ahead of my sister. Sorry, Laura. I really did have to. Not for the competition, but because every race I’ve run ends like that and I can’t stop my feet from moving faster.

Although the competition part of it is DEFINITELY what kept me running the whole race. Intervals. PAH. What’s an interval? We ran a darn good race and it only took us 5 hours. Every time I wanted to slow down, I looked at my sister and she kept running. So I did too.

At the end of the race, I cried. Just like I said I would. It wasn’t big, fat, ugly tears that blotched my cheeks and snot dripping down my nose kind of a cry. It was more like, heaving, gasping, sobs without tears because all the salt was on the outside of my body dried as sweat and I had no more water to shed.

Later, I walked like a 90 year old woman with arthritis and massive bunions. Took a shower and just about cursed when the water first hit those chafed areas on my back and between my legs and breasts. Bit back another curse when I tried the stairs for the first time after arriving home.

Then I took some Recharge from Beachbody, went to sleep, and woke up with a pleasant, aching sensation all over my body.

The stairs still hurt like the dickens, but I felt an overwhelming wave of disappointment.

Not at running the race and finishing a little later than I wanted. It was only 5 minutes, no big deal, and I didn’t have a PR time to beat. This time.

No. It was the sensation that I’d somehow been shorted on the whole marathon experience. Why?

Because aside from the stairs, I wasn’t hurting enough to make excuses for the next two weeks. I didn’t have a reason to be lazy because my body felt fabulous, stairs notwithstanding.

Yes, this disappointment just goes to prove that I am something of a masochist. And lazy. Let’s not forget that one.

I ran 26.2 miles for goodness sake. The masochist in me protested that I had a right to be lazy and feel horrendous pain for a little while longer. The lazy in me wanted to curl up and pretend I HADN’T just told half my family and friends that I had no excuse to be lazy, so I could actually pretend I had an excuse to be lazy.

I mean, not even a toenail fell off. Aside from the stairs and the slight chafing parts, I had no complaints. Did I mention the stairs?

Even that has gotten easier as I’ve continued moving and stretching. One week post-marathon and I feel like I never ran it at all.

I cannot decide whether that’s the best thing I could have ever hoped for or I should be pissed because I have to jump right back into life and not force everyone else to baby me.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both. I am going to go with the fantastical idea that I’m part Amazon woman and running is in my blood. It sounds a whole lot better than masochist.

Now, when’s the next marathon?

Posted in Celebration, discipline, Entrepreneur, exercise, Family, Freedom, Humor, Time Management, Uncategorized, Writing

In which I begin Spring Break…

It’s not actually a break, so I don’t know why they call it that. I mean, we get a week off of school, but who really gets a “break” when they have little children, are planning a move, building a business, and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle?

A break to me is just a different kind of school all together. We’re still learning and growing and moving forward, but we don’t have our heads in the textbook or our eyes glued to a history lesson on the computer screen.

The kids still make me five million art projects and leave the unused pieces all over the house. We still need to eat 3-5 square meals a day and I fully intend to insist upon physical education daily. Our house still needs to be cleaned, and our laundry done.

Break? Not so much. Besides, I don’t want a break from Spring. Bring on the warm, tee-shirt and shorts weather. Let the sun shine and the rain wash away the last of winter. Let me get a few good runs in for my marathon training. Let me take the kids to the park or have an impromptu picnic on the porch.

Let me FINALLY get a consistent Power Hour in for my business building every day.

I’ve decided I’m going to take this week as the gift it is. A chance to not focus on subjects like math and spelling and an opportunity to freely enjoy other areas of my life I’ve neglected while pursuing an education for my children.

Happy Spring…not-break. ♥

Posted in Abundance, and Love, BeachBody, benefits of exercise, Celebration, Corny Jokes, Dinner Time Entertainment, discipline, exercise, faith, Faith, Hope, and Love, Family, God, Gratitude, Healing, Healthy Eating, Home, Hope, Humor, Joy, lessons, life lessons, Love, Marriage and Family, Possibilities, prayer, soul surgery, Spiritual disciplines, spiritual training, Telling Stories, Transparency, Uncategorized, Winning, Writing

In which my attitude gives me altitude…

This week was really rough.

And it’s only Monday. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, this week will continue to be rough. Just the facts and I’ll tell you why.

All three of our kiddos succumbed to (DUN, DUN, DUN) the winter ick. That hacky, barky cough (no not whooping, the other one) where it sounds miserable and you want to cry every time your two year old (or five year old, or seven year old) can’t catch a breath between bouts. I thought we’d make it all the way through the cold season without a, well, cold.

No such luck. Now the prayers have shifted to fast healing, and keep it away from me and Jake. The essential oils are on double overtime and we’re cleaning every surface multiple times a day. Which reminds me, I have to go over the bathroom door knobs again. And recheck the hubby’s cleaning job in the boy’s room tomorrow morning. It still smells like ICK.

Anyway, I’ve got like seven hours of solid sleep on the last 48 hours and that might be a little generous.

Two months ago, this would send me into a crazy tailspin of emotional outbursts and meltdowns. I would leave my family in a trail of wounds on the battlefield of my angry rants while I tried to come down off the ledge without slipping and falling.

This year started out with the theme of Redemption. Restoration. Repentance. I could go through the thesaurus and find more, but we’ll go with the three R’s. It’s catchier. I’ve struggled for years with a negative worldview. Everything was colored by a glass half empty (or all the way empty on some days) perspective and even after my choice to follow Christ, that perspective didn’t seem to leave. I felt burdened, heavy with the weight of my constant failures and successes just seemed to be little bumps in the road instead of the road itself. I do a “good” job of living as if I don’t believe the power of God in my life and the power to change my attitude.

Except that Restoration, Redemption, Repentance, ALL have a POSITIVE view of the world. They are words resounding with the idea that THIS is NOT all there is. That life offers SO much more and it doesn’t end six feet under ground so what’s the point.

The three R’s say that hope is NOT some wispy phantom just out of reach, but present, purposeful, and completely possible.

Apparently, I like alliteration.

So two months ago, I would have freaked out when the kids refused to eat the meal I had slaved over and the toddler threw up ALL over me, the floor, his Powoh, the blankets, and. Let’s just say there wasn’t much room space he DIDN’T manage to cover. I would have lost it when the kids, instead of being helpful, decided that was the perfect time for 20 questions, only their version is more like 1,579 questions plus 1 more. I would have reacted, no second thoughts, regretting the explosion of broken, bleeding hearts after Mount Sarah erupted.

I’m not taking ANY credit tonight, because what DID happen, had NOTHING to do with me. I LAUGHED when I tasted the food and realized exactly WHY the kids weren’t eating it. My husband decided to brave through the artery clogging, ten-times-worse-than-a-salt-block flavoring and even gave me props for the colorful meal. I called his bluff when I gagged and hacked my way through the fish taco, promptly downing three large glasses of water to allow the salt, smoother passage through my digestive tract.

I’m going to regret that fish taco tomorrow. I can FEEL my eye sockets swell up and I’m pretty sure I just went back up three bra sizes. (Why do I ALWAYS gain weight in the face and chest first?)

#22MinuteHardCorps here I come. I don’t care if it’s 9 0’clock at night, I’m not going to die of a heart attack in my sleep.

We ate bananas and peanut butter sandwiches to balance our bodies on a cellular level again.

Which brings me to my son’s projectile vomiting episode right during the bedtime routine. I only got a little frustrated when my husband didn’t move at MY speed to fix all of our world problems. I calmed down pretty fast, which doesn’t ever happen for me.

And the 1,579 questions game? I calmly, but firmly informed them the Mommy textbook was closed for the evening and packed them off to bed…once I got the toddler and myself hosed down in calming bubble bath-laden water. He held my hand the entire time and managed to look about as pitiful as a toddler can look, when they are trying to milk the pity as much as possible. Oh, I’m not denying he is sick. I’m just saying, he takes the sympathy play to a WHOLE new level.

If it had been ONE of those situations two months ago, I would have blown a gasket. And humanly speaking, I came close a few times tonight to losing my cool and letting it all explode.

I could go into all the natural reasons WHY my attitude has made an altitude adjustment. Good exercise, healthy eating, relationship building…

However…

Supernaturally speaking, SOMEONE had my back. And this tired momma is MORE grateful that you all know.

Now, I’m going to sweat it out for 22 minutes and hit the sack for my nightly ration of two blissful hours of sleep before the interruptions start. I never knew a king sized bed could be so small before I had kids.

10288800_763607938270_3164439645762610341_n
Dinner tonight was a real Gag! No joke.

 

Posted in BeachBody, benefits of exercise, Carpe Diem, Celebration, discipline, exercise, Gratitude, laziness, Spiritual disciplines, spiritual training, Uncategorized, Writing

In which I push through pain…

My muscles were burning and the sweat dripped in my eyes. A few not very feminine grunts issued from my mouth as I pushed through rep number ??? I couldn’t remember at that point. The “Hammer” or Sagi Kalev in BeachBody world yelled at me to keep pushing past the pain as he hoisted up a 40 pound weight just to make me look puny with my minuscule 10 pounds. I yell back at him to shut up and let me concentrate, but inside I’m smiling as my Amazon side perks up at the challenge.

At the end of a workout like that, I absolutely LOVE the child’s pose. I close my eyes, drop my chin, and rest. Filling my lungs with air and releasing it over and over again until my heart has stopped racing and my mind is processing more than just the burn of newly shredded muscles.

Why would I put myself through that torture every day except Thursdays, which happens to be my active rest day?

For the same reason I keep working on a recipe that failed on me three times before or apologizing to my kids when I lose my temper or sitting down to have my quiet time with God after I’ve neglected Him for a little while.

It’s painful to grow and change and admit failure. But the results are worth it. SO worth it. When I finally perfect that meal that I worked so hard on and I see my husband’s face as he enjoys every last bite. When I check my temper and work through the kid conflict with patience and unconditional love. When His Word cuts through me, sharper than a two-edged sword but oh, so very gentle in His teachings.

When I add a few pounds to my weight reps and feel the strength flowing through my arms and legs. When I can run faster and farther. When my energy doesn’t flag mid-morning and I’m able to resist the temptation on that second slice of birthday cake. When rest day becomes a day I wish I could work out some more.

Because I see the permanent results and the pain is only temporary.

The change in me doesn’t happen over night. I’ve been pushing through these workouts for three weeks now. I’ve lost inches and pounds, but it takes work and dedication and a will of iron.

Today was a perfect example. We had a busy, active week and I just wanted to curl up and sleep. I can feel a mild cold coming on, but it’s already taking some of the stuffing out of me. I debated napping first and THEN doing my workout. The instant I thought that, I knew a nap would be the death of my willpower and I reluctantly got off the couch. All through the 50 minute exercise video, I grunted and breathed, pushing my exhausted body to the max.

I used ten pounds where I had used eight. I used fifteen where I’d lifted ten. And I felt like an Amazon woman when I yelled back at Sagi.

Inside, I just smiled. The pain is temporary. Child’s pose feels amazing. And the results are worth fighting for.12643005_759167082780_3061951456344007006_n

 

Posted in Abundance, BeachBody, benefits of exercise, Carpe Diem, Celebration, discipline, dreams, exercise, goals, life lessons, soul surgery, Spiritual disciplines, Writing

In which I begin a new journey

Technically, my journey began in college. Or if I want to be completely accurate, my journey started sometime around my fourteenth birthday. Or maybe when I turned nine and realized I was a bit ahead of the development curve in my peer circle. However, since I lacked awareness of development and puberty and all the things that come with blossoming womanhood until later, we’ll start with my college years.

I had already been a woman for several years by that point and had grown accustomed to the way my body handled food. It felt like I could just LOOK at a piece of cake and gain five pounds on the spot. My cycles were all over the place and often a major hindrance to my activities of daily living. My health was so-so and my energy reserves almost non-existent.

By the time I finished my freshman year, I’d gained the “freshman fifteen” and beyond. Discouraged, I looked to exercise programs and diets to “fix” my body issues, still unsure just what issues I actually had. Oh I knew I ate more than I should and on the less healthy end of the food scale. I was a college kid. A broke college kid.

A broke college kid with weight issues and a crummy self-esteem. I couldn’t afford a gym membership and my “diet” consisted of rice, cheese, and whatever meals I could beg from my friends at church and in the community.

So I signed up for ROTC. I LOVED it. While I never got the opportunity to sign on as a full-time military member, the program called for early morning PT five days a week. I started losing weight and gaining muscle. I had a team around me who encouraged and supported my desperate attempts to get and stay healthy.

At my best time health-wise, I was 117 pounds and running four miles a day.

But my diet was still unbalanced and my energy still flagged. I suffered migraine headaches and my hormonal cycles were seriously inhibiting my ability to function in school.

Then I got married. Last semesters of college and I gave up ROTC to finish my degree in Nursing and spend time with my new husband. While I NEVER regret that choice, I do regret not continuing to improve my health goals and manage my weight. By the time I was pregnant with our first child, I was 220 pounds and gaining. I felt like I would ever control the downward spiral.

After she was born, I tried to get started with exercise and healthy eating again. I cut out most sugars and processed foods and walked regularly. I lost a few pounds, but would gain it back faster. I moderated my portion sizes and tried to limit my eating out.

But I still suffered depression and severe fatigue. I went to specialists and OB/GYN doctors to try to explain why I gained more weight even while dieting and exercising regularly. They ran blood tests, urine tests, and a dozen other procedures, all turning up nothing. One doctor told me I was too young to feel this way. I burst into tears and told her I knew that, but I still did feel that way and would she just tell me why.

I made progress, but it was slow and discouraging. Even though I wasn’t 220 pounds anymore, I still felt like I would never feel healthy and energetic again. My husband tried to support me, but he suffered with his own effects from a serious car accident in his late teens and he wouldn’t join me when I tried home exercise programs. So I pressed on alone without answers and with very little active accountability from those around me.

Shortly before my second was born, I finally found a doctor who discovered what was going on in my body. She diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and told me I could either be on hormone treatments for the rest of my life, or I could find the correct diet and exercise program to manage my weight and the symptoms. Fatigue, depression, rapid weight gain, trouble losing weight, irregular and heavy cycles, insulin resistance…the list of symptoms went on and I had them all.

Instead of getting discouraged though, I felt instant relief. I FINALLY knew WHY my body struggled to stay healthy. And I could finally get more intentional about finding the right plan and the right food to get the results I wanted. Mainly, to lose weight and keep it off.

The next three years, I researched and educated myself on what PCOS was and how to combat it. I came up with meal plans and threw away the processed grains, making my own bread and using alternative sweeteners like honey and agave nectar instead of the white sugar and all-purpose flour. Though it still sneaks in at times (particularly around holidays) I have steadily decreased all the unhealthy foods in my diet and started using better supplements.

I started running. That first 5K was devastating and exhilarating all at once. I was so sore and exhausted, but I felt like an Amazon Woman afterward. Now, every time I cross a finish line I bawl my eyes out, because a few years ago all I wanted to do was give up and not care anymore.

Then my sister invited me to join her BeachBody challenge group. Actually, she asked me several times because I was oddly reticent. I had excuses. I can’t do it alone. (We don’t live close together, so it still feels a little isolated). My husband won’t join me so I won’t do it. I have kids. I don’t have the money for it.

Finally, this last November and December, I got stupid and binged on all the foods that are the worst for my body and my health. And I realized that all my excuses were just that. I couldn’t afford NOT to commit to change the rest of my life. And neither could my husband.

So I told her I would join her challenge group in January as long as my husband joined with me. He refused to join without HER husband. I lost SEVEN pounds in the first two weeks. That’s the fastest I’ve EVER lost weight and I’m still losing it. I’ve got a partner in crime to workout with me now and the motivation is incredible. Even on my REST days, I want to get up and move. My energy levels are rising and I’m kicking the cravings for unhealthy foods.

The rest as they say is history…or is it?

Because I decided to take one more leap of faith and change the rest of my life for good. I decided that I wanted to share my story and my transformation with others. So I signed up to be a BeachBody Independent Coach. And I decided that I needed to share my story with the world.

I’m chronicling my journey here so that others can see the honest struggle and the reality of fighting and overcoming the odds. I am SO excited to partner with and encourage others. No matter where you are on your journey, it’s NEVER too late.

IMG_4208.png