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.

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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 Abundance, Age, BeachBody, benefits of exercise, Carpe Diem, discipline, Entrepreneur, exercise, faith, Freedom, goals, God, Healthy Eating, Hope, Humor, Impossible, laziness, life lessons, Obstacles, Pain, Passion, Possibilities, Spiritual disciplines, Transparency, Uncategorized, Why, Winning, Writing

In which I shed tears during corpse pose…

Last night, I did a Yoga session as part of my cross-training for the marathon in June. Before anyone asks, it’s not Grandma’s Marathon. 🙂 And yes, it’s my first.
 
Anyway, I tried the 30 minute X3 Yoga session with Tony Horton, thinking: “I’ve done yoga before. It’s 30 minutes. No problem.”
 
It’s not called X3 Yoga for nothing. By the end of it, I was sweating and praying just to get through the last few minutes alive. Apparently, there is a WHOLE new level of yoga, I’ve never experienced…until just then.
 
So I’m in the last pose, which is definitely my favorite one now. It’s basically a resting pose and it felt AMAZING.
 
But as I lay there, breathing and feeling the sweat and stretch of muscle groups I THOUGHT I had been adequately working out, I started crying.
 
My mantra throughout the workout was Psalm 18. At least the part that says,
 
“The God who arms me with strength
And makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
And sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”

Usually my workouts don’t make me cry. I mean, I’ve shed tears of joy when I crossed the finish line after a half marathon, but no matter how painful or crazy hard they are, I don’t usually bawl like a baby. So I had to wonder why.

I’m lying on a yoga mat, trembling like a newborn baby, and crying.

It hit me then. Because that Yoga session reminded me once again of my WHY. My balance sucked, my joints protested every move like I was making them do something they had no desire to do, and my resting pose was the only “successful” pose I’d done the whole 30 minutes.

I hate the thought of aging. The first time I found a silver hair, I was in my early twenties and I cried, after plucking it out and throwing it away. I’ve never had the best balance, but in college, I could do sit ups, push-ups, and a 4 mile run with a 40 pound rucksack on my back, wearing BDUs and combat boots. I even managed 5 pull ups in a row a few times.

After having kids, my abs didn’t support me anymore and my posture suffered. My tendons and ligaments loosened, which is natural and part of motherhood, but I’ve had hip and knee problems ever since.

One of my greatest fears is ending up in a nursing home bed, fighting bed sores, obesity, and a degenerative brain disease. NOT the way I want to exit this world.

Stories of 90 year old men and women who cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon, 50 year olds who can rock climb with only a rope and their two, muscled arms, 70 year olds who look like they’re 50 because they’ve eaten healthy and taken care of their bodies well. THOSE are the people I aspire to be as I age.

At one point, the fear paralyzed me into inaction. I figured it was inevitable, given my health history, genetics, and a host of other excuses I kept throwing up until I actually believed them to be true.

I may not EVER be able to hold a Tree Pose for longer than 30 seconds, but I for SURE won’t if I keep up that attitude.

Someone posted on my Facebook wall that they were so proud of me for sticking with my program and accomplishing my exercise goals. Then they ended it with a line that makes me sick to my stomach, no matter how many times I hear or see it:

I could NEVER do that.

That phrase makes me simultaneously want to strangle the person and vomit. Mostly because I’ve seen the results of those words on a person’s life and it’s ugly and heartbreaking and devastating.

We have ONE shot at this people. ONE shot to live a life that THRIVES and OVERCOMES and SUCCEEDS in whatever we do.

We don’t GET a second chance at life. We won’t all be Olympic Athletes or Marathon Runners or experts at Sayanasana.

Shyasana

Heck, as impressive as that pose is, I have NO desire to ever try it. I’ll leave it to Yoga enthusiasts with killer balance and a strong equilibrium. ♥

But I don’t ever want to say I could NEVER do it.

What a horrifying word.

NEVER.

I’ll NEVER be healthy. I’ll NEVER get that scholarship. I’ll NEVER cross that finish line. I could NEVER be a mother. I will NEVER be a coach.

How limiting. How devastating. How utterly untrue.

The only time I can make that true is if I say it over and over and over again until I believe it. Which I have done. A lot more than I want to admit.

In my brief sojourn on this earth, I have seen the absolute LIMITS of the human capability. I have also seen what happens when someone BLASTS through those limits as if they never existed in the first place. And those are the people I want to strive to emulate. Not the person who publicly declared for the world to see (or at least my corner of the world anyway) that they had no desire to strive for what they deemed impossible.

So as I cried like a baby on my yoga mat, I realized the tears were because I was once again telling myself NEVER, when I should be telling myself,

WHY NOT?

Our culture is a culture of CANNOT and NEVER. What that really means is we’ve lost our focus, our WHY, our purpose. So we choose instead to see our limitations and not our possibilities. Because what good are possibilities if we have no purpose, no focus, no WHY?

I beat my body into submission, NOT because I have a sadistic need to feel pain. I do it because I REFUSE to be that obese, disease-ridden, aged beyond her years person in a hospital bed when I’m 90 years old.

No one needs to tell me my limitations. I already know them. They were my best friends for many years.

What I am determined to discover is how fast I can leave those limitations in the dust as I focus on THRIVING and SUCCEEDING.

The only NEVER I want to hear from my mouth is, “I will NEVER let my limitations define and devastate my possibilities.”

yourbody.png
Posted in Abundance, BeachBody, benefits of exercise, Entrepreneur, exercise, Finances, Financial Peace, Free Fall, Freedom, goals, Home Based Business, life lessons, Obstacles, Passion, Possibilities, Transparency, Uncategorized, Why, Winning, Writing

In which I create my client persona…

Oddly enough, my client looks a lot like me. 🙂

Sarah

I could add a whole lot more to that list, but I was trying to give a summary. And I’m not JUST looking for people exactly like me. But it’s a nice place to start. Especially given that I can relate with a person who has gone or is going through what I have and do go through on a daily basis.

I started Beachbody coaching in January and I am terrified every single day that I won’t make it as a coach. I see my successes as a lucky break and there are days when my fears keep me from inviting a single person to change their lives. NOT because I’m afraid of their response to my invitation. I’m afraid that I will fail THEM in the end.

I mean, let’s face it. I’m not a model coach on my BEST days. My follow up still needs a LOT of work and I still have stretches where I don’t work out every day like I am encouraging others to do. Sometimes, my invites sound like a sales pitch and I know I’ve lost before I even get started because I AM the product and I failed to prove that.

I do have an amazing story to tell and not everyone is going to catch fire like I did when I finally realized it. I’m okay with that. What I’m NOT okay with, is letting my own fears douse MY fire right out of the gate. And in the process lose my why and my ability to change lives. How can I change lives if my own passion has fizzled? What use am I if I can’t even motivate myself to work hard and not just wait for you to come to me?

This is a difficult business. It’s not a walk in the park, and my first few months prove that. I hit goals because me and my husband worked our tails off and proved the results to the people we helped. I can’t sit down on the job and expect to bring in a $1500/week paycheck. I’m blessed to be paying for my own Shakeology right now.

I want so badly to be a team leader and to raise up others who are just like me. So I have to constantly return to the bigger picture. A lot of hard work in the beginning is going to make waves the more lives I change every month. I WILL reap the rewards in the long run, and in some ways I am already seeing rewards in the lives I am already inspiring to change.

The first life I have to change, though, is me.

Posted in Abundance, BeachBody, benefits of exercise, discipline, Entrepreneur, exercise, Family, Finances, Financial Peace, Freedom, goals, Gratitude, Home, Home Based Business, Humor, Joy, Time Management, Transparency, Uncategorized, Why, Writing

In which I compare and contrast…

Why I chose Beachbody over a Gym Membership:

  1. I get to work out with my own personal hunk. Yummy!12814267_10100981407354325_9104245845472910326_n
  2. I don’t have to pay for a daycare and have my kids bringing home a million and one new germs for us to experience. funny-5-second-rule-germs-chip-crisp-ground-comic-pics
  3. MY equipment. MY rules. MY germs. ba609f62ee2809242613404935ff3961
  4. I don’t have to go out in the dead of winter to start my freezing cold car at 4:00 in the morning just to drive fifteen minutes to a gym where I workout for 30 minutes and drive home to shower. Notime
  5. Challenge Groups. #nuffsaid
  6. I get to be my OWN coach. Which basically means I get pleasure from inflicting pain on myself. On the plus side, I can call a mean cadence during #22MinuteHardCorps.
  7. I can CIZE it UP and no one will laugh at my dance moves. dance_moves_3_xalext.gif
  8. Personalized meal plans and Shakeology at my fingertips.
  9. It’s a #Family affair. IMG_4063
  10. I get paid to workout, inspire others, and BE the product.
Posted in BeachBody, benefits of exercise, Carpe Diem, discipline, dreams, Entrepreneur, exercise, Finances, Freedom, goals, Healthy Eating, Home Based Business, Hope, lessons, mission, Passion, Possibilities, Uncategorized, Why, Winning, Writing

In which I realize I need a bigger table…

I got to participate in a Fundraiser/Expo today. We set up our Beachbody products, gave out samples of Shakeology and the HEALTHY version of chocolate brownies (which are to DIE for, in my opinion). We even set up the Beachbody on Demand on my computer and played random workouts through the day, so people could see what options we offer.

It was fun, I met a lot of cool people and got to share my heart and passion. I know I will improve my “pitch” as I go, but for my first time, I’m satisfied with the process.

EXCEPT…

I need a bigger table.

I was a cheapskate and brought my own card table instead of the 8 foot long monstrosities they offered for $10 more.

I should have paid the $10 more. 12809797_763298772840_6253608061101919690_n

I’ve got a list of stuff I should do to enhance the set up and presentation next time, but the bigger table is a MUST.

Plus, I got to try out my new NINJA blender and while a little loud in a large, echo-y room, it did the blending in record time. I LOVE it. Our old blender at home is sounded wheezy and whiny, and it takes five minutes just to get everything blended evenly. PLUS, it’s a pain to clean.

Maybe I should have titled this, “What I Learned from My First Expo” or something catchy like that.

Here’s the picture I posted to show off our new and improving bodies. There’s another thing to note: Make Before/After pictures bigger.

BeforeAfter

Posted in Abundance, BeachBody, benefits of exercise, discipline, exercise, Freedom, goals, Healthy Eating, Home Based Business, Hope, Humor, life lessons, Obstacles, Passion, Possibilities, Uncategorized, Why, Writing

In which I handle objections…

Okay, not going to lie. This post is probably going to not come out the soft, gentle way I wanted it to. I’m trying, but I tend to get a little passionate and abrupt. So I figured this would be easier. Write it on a blog, so no one thinks I’m targeting them or judging. I’m not. Just trying to answer the objections I get as honestly as I can.

If there’s a little sarcastic humor in there, pardon me and just laugh. That’s what I do when I think up some of these answers.

Objection 1: I can’t afford to buy a challenge pack/nutrient dense meal replacement shake/workout program.

Answer: But you can afford the countless medical bills, complaints on social media that your family is sick YET AGAIN, and that $550 gym membership you’ve used ONCE since you bought it on January 1st of LAST year? I’m not saying MY plan is the best one for your family, but I can tell you for certain that your plan isn’t working either.

Objection 2: I’m not into diets and protein shakes.

Answer: Neither am I. In fact, a typical day for me looks a little like this:

Before breakfast: Workout, drink my first 20 ounces of water, and have a cup of coffee after my shower

Breakfast: A nutrient-dense Cafe Latte, blended with flavors that any coffee bar lover will envy

Snack: A banana smothered in an all-natural nut butter (my favorite is cashew with peanut being a close second), and 20 ounces of water

Lunch: Avocado tuna salad and my second 20 ounces of water. A handful of Dark Chocolate Espresso trail mix for dessert

Snack: 20 ounces of water, a cup of coffee or tea, Apples, cashews, and two slices of my favorite cheese

Dinner: Homemade Chicken Caprese with Zucchini Noodles and fresh Parmesan, with a little Red Wine and water.

Objection 3: I don’t think coaching is for me.

Answer: Do you like to inspire people with your story of triumph, success, and victory over failure? Do you like to show people what it looks like to make better choices and change your lifestyle? Do you like to lead by example?

Objection 4: My spouse/significant other is not supportive?

Answer: This one I can understand. I was going at my workout/healthy living plan alone for almost nine years and just this year my husband FINALLY got on board and said yes. Oh he ate the food I prepared and smiled when I showed him the numbers on the scale dropping. But he just didn’t seem to get enthused about joining me, REALLY supporting me. It takes time, it’s discouraging, and it might never happen anyway. But YOUR health is VERY important and if nothing else, you can let them know how important it is for YOU to live well. Ask them to watch you for a while and see what the changes are doing in your body and on your outlook on life. It’s amazing how a previously skeptical spouse will not only become your biggest supporter, but also get right down and sweat it out with you. Patience is key. Believers are not made overnight and they certainly aren’t made by nagging the person into going along with your latest whim. Show them that you ARE a product of the product and that you ARE winning.

Objection 5: Sounds like a neat program, but it’s just not the right time for me.

Answer: So when WOULD be the ideal time? Because I’ll tell you right now, that “ideal” time doesn’t exist. If you don’t make your health and wellness a priority NOW, you might as well understand that you are guaranteeing it won’t be until it’s too late. Or until you get a really HARSH wake-up call and are FORCED to make changes that are going to be a LOT harder. For me, it was a diagnosis and 85 extra pounds (and counting) that finally woke me up to the fact I HAD to make changes or I was going to end up in a hospital bed. It was several thousand dollars and many specialists later before I finally figured out that I needed to take action and get my health under control. As a society, we don’t often think of LONG term consequences for short term choices. We don’t count the REAL cost when we choose not to pay for a monthly shipment of Shakeology and an exercise program. Instead we keep popping hundreds of dollars of prescribed pills/supplements/vitamins and making multiple trips to the doctors/specialists, hoping they’ll fix our health problems.

News flash: The health professionals aren’t going to fix your health. YOU are the only one who can take FULL responsibility and take steps to improve/”fix” your health. I’m not downplaying REAL health problems. Some things ARE beyond our control. But taking charge of your health is NEVER beyond your control and we limit ourselves when we say the time is not right or there’s nothing I can do to change this.

I’ve heard other objections, but I’ll stop there for now. Every day of our lives, we make choices, for good or for ill. FOR our health or AGAINST it. To THRIVE or to just SURVIVE.

And just to prove that MOST obstacles and objections CAN be overcome, here’s a story for you!