It’s All About the Climb

Friends, it feels like an eternity since my last blog post. Just before Christmas, I turned onto a new section of trail along my continuous journey toward wellness. Here’s the humbling photo depicting that starting point…is what it is.

It was a restart of the same holistic weight loss program I slayed back in 2012-13, so this re-entry was kind of like the 2.0 version…who knew that shortly it would become a more challenging master course? I’m older, more beat up and my horomones are vying for complete control, even more reason to hit reset, right? It was well past time to regain focus and I was so, so ready to ignite and set flame to this leg of my journey. See, I’m still dreaming and working toward a healthier me, but extenuating circumstances and that darn voice within immediatly started saying I’d never reach it. It all but extinguished my fire.

Mere days in, so many new struggles attempted to knock me down, that I began likening my situation to Miley Cyrus’ song “The Climb.” It was uncanny how aligned this road was becoming with that song!

I suddenly became support person for my brother that landed in the hospital with an appendix so outraged, they couldn’t remove it yet.

Every time I’ve been in that hospital, I’ve felt literally trapped. Time and energy are consumed in mass quantities and there’s nothing left but exhaustion. My big bro was discharged Christmas Eve night and that’s when the uphill battle really began for both of us.

I did all the little things I could to fit workouts and good nutrition between my everyday family stuff, work and my brother’s check-ins at the hospital. But as the song suggests, “always gonna be an uphill battle,” and this one felt like it was trying to knock me down. At this time, my mom was wintering solo in Arizona with unmistakable signs of dementia. I seriously felt lost with no direction…which way to turn? With my bro out of commission and no other siblings to share the load, it was clear to me at this point, I couldn’t allow this all to take me down…I had to keep on trying to find time for me. I kept my head held as high as I could even though I felt like crying my eyes out at most inopportune moments/places like the gym, work, social gatherings, etc.

I reminded myself I had to be strong and keep pushing on. But at the same time, I had to grant myself some major grace knowing sometimes, in my endeavors, I’m gonna have to lose. At the moment, it felt like my weight loss endeavors were smothered.

An upcoming short vacation I had planned, before all hell broke loose, had me questioning which way to turn. I didn’t want to lose this one. I had others I was responsible for to consider, and many people giving me opinions. In the end, I set all my ducks in a row, trusted my gut and decided that little getaway was what I needed most. And that afforded me some much needed time with my husband as well as a meetup with my faraway soul sister.

The respite was exactly what I needed to recharge so I could come back to everyone and everything stronger and ready to face whatever came next. And am I glad I did, because I got thrown right back in the hot seat, or plane seat to Arizona; it was time to bring my mom home so I could help her instead of just worry about what I couldn’t do for her from afar.

Knowing it was perhaps the last time I would be in the area, I had some unfinished business that seemed all too appropriate. Picacho Peak was a nearby mountain I had meant to hike/climb everytime I was down there, so it seemed to be now or never at this juncture of the sojourn. I felt like I had something to prove to myself. I did my homework to know this was going to be an uphill battle as in a difficult, strenuous metaphor for what was going on in my life.

Though parts of it were downright dangerous, I reminded myself it just wasn’t about how fast I got there. I was simply determined to tackle those chances I’m taking, the struggles I’m facing. Sadly, in my heart, I knew I was going to be climbing tougher, more terrifying challenges in the future with my mom’s declining health.

Though stretches of Hunter’s Trail/Picacho Peak were the hardest, sketchiest thing I’ve ever done, I know it doesn’t compare to what my heart will be going through in the near future, I just have to keep pushing on. I have to keep moving, climbing, and keep the faith as Miley urges.

At my own pace, in a body that’s proven its strength again and again, with plenty of what sustains me (water, fuel, faith)…well, I knew I could do it. And I stayed up there long enough to remind myself…there will always be another mountain that I’m always gonna wanna make move. And I should listen to those desires within because stretching myself, taking important time for me…these are going to be the game changers for my soul.

I figured as much effort as I put in, I needed a little reminder of what I had just accomplished…love that hat! I’ll be sure to wear it on days I need to dig extra deep. And with that, it was time to pack my mom’s things up and bring her home.

No sooner did I get her home and settled as best as I could in this frozen trundra, it was time for someone to finally get rid of an appendix!

Friends, if you’ve managed to read this far, know I appreciate you for listening. All of us are on this forward journey of life with our loved ones. We can be oh so grateful when life is calm and uneventful. But I invite you to take the inevitable struggles in stride, because it’s not about what’s waiting on the other side of these mountains. Just keep moving, keep climbing, (take care of yourself the best you can throughout) and keep the faith. These challenges with our loved ones, they are the moments we will remember most because it’s all about the climb!

My New Word for a New Year/Decade

I’ve been feeling deeply into this approaching New Year for weeks, been soul searching for what I hope 2020 ushers in. I dropped New Year’s resolutions along the wayside a couple years back, as I noted what little impact most have had on me long term. I recently attached an intention to my year to simplify my aim with clarity and focus. But tomorrow, I will fine tune yet again, choosing a single word for the upcoming year.

It’s been a challenge finding that one word; I knew many notions I wanted to encompass and this word became a tall order! Before I could think ahead, it felt right to reflect…to know where I hope to go, it’s important for me to remember from where I’ve come.

In fact, the realization that tonight draws to a close an entire decade, well it simply blew my mind! I began clicking through thousands of photos to get a better understanding of just what the space of a decade looked like. I disappeared down a rabbit hole…I was astounded at how much happened in the course of those glorious 10 years!

It seems strange for me to think 2010 was that long ago; when I return to this moment, it honestly seems like moments ago. We were raising these wonderful boys (aww, look how little), running non-stop from school, to church, to scout meetings, to campouts, to extended family events, to work, an occasional vacation or getaway. The thing that stands out most was just how busy life was, and feeling into that, well, it just makes me tired! But there was great happiness because all was well.

Just a few years later, 2013, the kids grew quicker than I could comprehend. They continued to succeed in all their endeavors, yet I was a mess. Eric had lost his appendix in 2011, and I lost my dad. My grief was suffocating. I began focusing on my health a few months later, and although I made major lifestyle changes, the grief continued to be crippling. Somehow, life just continued all around me, and I had to roll with it the best I could. My oldest was driving!!! How the heck did that happen?!?

2014 came in like a wrecking ball! January literally hit me with a pick-up truck and I had to navigate life from the couch because my body was broken from the impact. Six weeks later I was back to work and rehabbing my injuries. I have no explanation for what happened next…maybe anger, perhaps determination…my body started running, and running, and running. Any time the kids had an activity, I dropped them off and spent time pounding the pavement. It became an escape, an addiction, eventually a ticket to a LOT of new friends, travel, races and medals haha! 2014 was also the year this FIT BFFs blog was born…who knew I could write?!?

We were now the parents of a college kid…how the heck did that happen?!? 2016, two short years later I’d run a couple marathons, a pile of half marathons, and riden my bike across the entire state of Iowa among many other crazy things. I was still working on that grief and dealing with a breast biopsy/lumpectomy, but all the running, biking and a bunch of travel served as a big distraction that put both in a place that seemed less painful and scary at the time. Happily, by 2016 we added this wonderful young lady to many of our family photos, as our oldest found LOVE!

And 2017 was simply a blur! Our youngest is DRIVING and in HIGH SCHOOL!!! Wait…what?!? And our oldest is ENGAGED!!! I continued killing it at the gym, but at this point, my knee was killing me, so no more running. I began delving into that grief again, and sure enough, it had waited right there for me all along. I took more time for myself, time to travel and grow.

2018 made it official…our little family of four was now five, and I was no longer the shortest haha! I also made a lane change in my career, moving to an activity-based/healthy lifestyle youth mentoring non-profit that made an abundant, purposeful shift in my heart. And again with the travel…I’m so hooked. What an amazing year!

And 2019…here’s where I start deep breathing, because I don’t even know how we got here when I look back at the first couple pics! The married couple now work for an ambulance company, saving lives for a living (no, guys, I don’t need a lift!!!). Our youngest (as in baby) is a SENIOR and has chosen a COLLEGE…seriously, folks! But here’s the kicker…my husband (that young handsome guy) turned 50 this year, and we celebrated our 25th Anniversary…stop it!!! To celebrate, we rode our bikes across Iowa haha! And yes, the travel continues…I just returned from my first trip to Europe…swoon!

Of course as with everyone else, we’ve withstood loss, challenge and struggle, but we’ve also enjoyed beautiful blessings too.

It was important for me to glance back to realize I’ve experienced more personal growth this decade than any other. I look forward to what the new year/decade bring…I’m always up for a good challenge! But I’d be totally fine if things would just remain calm for a while…because it’s time for me to get even more serious about my health and longevity.

Whatever 2020 brings, I’ve adopted a word to keep my gaze firmly fixed upon…

PLENITUDE n 1. completeness 2. abundance

Happy New Year, Friends; I hope your year is filled with a plenitude of great blessings!

Yes Gal!

Once upon a time, several years back, I adopted a new mindset that has vibrantly colored my life nothing short of astounding at times. If you’ve followed me for a while, you may recall some of the many adventures I shared here…none of which would have occurred if not for a single, solitary word. YES!

This mindset was encouraged, in part, by the humorously thought provoking 2008 Jim Carrey film, Yes Man. This movie portrayed a man living a mundane existence until he learned to unleash the power of simply saying YES. The thought intrigued me. What would my life be like if I said YES more often? I admit, I was careful about what I considered because I’d become a big believer in saying no to things that did not serve me. But what if I said YES to opportunities meant to enhance my life?

The crazy part of it all, the more often I said YES to things like running marathons in Honolulu & Washington DC, participating in a 24 hour urban scavenger hunt/adventure race in Vegas, hiking the Narrows of Zion, walking Key West over and over, climbing a mountain here and there…the more these opportunities seemed to seek me out. Here’s a fun example of how this YES mentality worked for me…

A few months back, my neighbor asked if I’d like to accompany her on a business trip to Chicago. An amazing hotel was covered and I’d just need to come up with airfare. There was never a moment of hesitation…the answer was an obvious DUH! And before I knew what hit me, I was on a plane, and the Universe seemed to nod with exulting approval…

In anticipation of the possibilities of this playground, I did some recon before we left. In doing so, I was able to make some preparations to assure our trip’s awesomeness; as soon as we landed, it began to unfold!

Of course, Jane was there to work, so while she was occupied, I jumped into an event I knew I was meant to attend.

Weeks before, I found the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk and could already envision myself helping make a difference. Armed with generous American Cancer Society donations contibuted by friends (thanks again!!!), I joined thousands of others that morning with a united aim to put an end to this vicious killer! No need to guess how I felt about it…

It still blew my mind how easily I found myself in the very place I was meant to be in that moment. And how surreal to find myself surrounded by abundant love and a common goal as I walked across the start line.

What a brilliantly perfect way to sightsee!

Before I could even comprehend what happened, I found myself talking with a girl I have no doubt I was meant to meet in this sea of fuschia. Emma and I had an instant connection and spent nearly the entire 3.1 miles sharing our stories and lives. I LOVE when this happens!

Oh how that serendipitous time flew! Lovely to meet you, Emma! As we went our separate ways, I came upon someone else I felt destined to meet.

Melissa is a BADASS WARRIOR SURVIVOR…no other way to describe how she’s chosen to pay forward her struggle. She is the co-director of Ginger The Movie, inspired by her courageous, ongoing battle with breast cancer. I can’t wait to see her movie when it hopefully hits the big screen in my area or shows up on Netflix soon. Friends, keep your eyes open for it!

I was also grateful for the opportunity to sing OOFOS’ praises for the love they’ve shown me over the years. I walked in memory of Duncan Finigan, OOFOS fearless Brand Leader & Marketing Director, creator of Project Pink.

With my heart broken wide open, and my awareness greater than ever, the event came to an end and I was reunited with Jane for some sights and tastes of Chicago…like how can you hit the Windy City without some deep dish?!?

Oh, how we celebrated with a heck of a YES to that pitcher of sangria! Uff-da! Or explore the city without a stop at an icon or two…

And you’ve got to love this chance encounter…imagine me running into a health expo at the church I chose to attend lol! No way I could say no to free acupuncture (I’ve been dying to try) and massage…thanks, Healing Paradise Acupuncture!

And if I hadn’t done my research, I’d never have known my beloved Powell’s in Portland originated from this treasure in Hyde Park…what a fun place for this book addict to play!

Time and again on that trip, I was reminded just how glad I was that Jane invited me (thanks, Jane!) and that I had the good sense to say YES!

My favorite line from Yes Man kept washing over me again and again, “The world’s a playground, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it.”

That, Friends, is something I refuse to forget! The world is a playground and I just can’t seem to get enough. As I tuck Chicago away in my precious cache of memories, I look onward because I’ve said YES to much more in the near future. I’m preparing for an upcoming trip to Spain in a few weeks and it’s time for this YES GAL to do her homework!

Trusting My Intuition

Friends, it wouldn’t be a normal week for me without some kind of bizarre adventure; this one was no different! For the past several weeks, I’d noticed a very curious growth forming on my right upper arm. Now I’m not one to jump to conclusions and consume myself with worry, but the thing certainly had my attention.

It’s hard to ignore something that dripped blood every time I snagged it with a towel after showering. It was bothersome as it didn’t seem to want to heal and insisted on sticking with me. I’d like to think I’m pretty in tune with my body, and this was not a harmonious little bugger. As a few weeks passed, I kept recalling something I’d learned in health class many moons ago, a few warning signs to get checked: a new mole or growth (check), a lesion that bleeds (check), a sore that doesn’t heal (check). Yeah, this was all of that and I kept wondering if my swollen lymph nodes a week ago had anything to do with this too. Team that up with the facts that I am pretty fair/light skinned and I have spent a lifetime in the sun, having acquired my fair share of sunburns in the past. Yeah, I suspected the “C” word, but no need to put that out into the universe haha!

If you know anything about me, you are aware I am no-nonsense when it comes to proactive/preventive care, so I tried to schedule an appointment with dermatology. It blew my mind that they couldn’t get me in until February…seriously?!? If this was anything serious, I knew better than to wait that long. A friend encouraged me to take a different route, and I stopped in at an acute walk in clinic the same day.

Though the practitioner did nothing more than look at this little crater-shaped thing, she advised me to make an appointment with a primary care provider who is willing/able to send a sample biopsy to pathology. Though that may seem like a wasted trip, it was the best advice because I was able to make an appointment for just a few days later…not FEBRUARY!

So I headed off to my clinic Tuesday. Many of you know I see all kinds of signs throughout my days. Well, walking into the lobby and spying this lone magazine…

Chop Chop indeed! I literally LOLed hahaha! And just below, I was reminded…life IS a picnic, my gentle reminder to keep worry out of this.

I lightheartedly continued on to my appointment. My doc assured me I did the right thing by coming in. From the shape and my description of the little guy’s behavior, she had a usual suspect in mind. She numbed me up, razored the pea-sized sample, controlled the bleeding and sent my specimen and me in separate directions.

I wouldn’t hear results from pathology for days, so I employed a little strategy I used back when I had a more nerve wracking breast biopsy. Every time I began to think about the results, I calmly reminded myself that this is nothing until it’s something, and right now, it was nothing. No use getting worked up over nothing, right?

The rest of the week quickly passed, and my results popped up yesterday afternoon on my portal. I took a couple slow, deep breaths and opened it up. The big long named skin cancer variety my doc suspected? Not! This thing was nothing more than an innocent little irritated capillary hemangioma for the win!

Folks, I realize I dodged a bullet, but I also took great relief knowing had it been something far more serious, my self care take-charge, proactive approach was important in early detection/treatment.

So here’s the take away, Friends…if you notice something not quite right, trust your intuition, get checked out and move on. Peace of mind is PRICELESS and one more way to put that Best Foot Forward!

Well…Here I Grow Again!

Wait! What just happened?!? An entire season has come and gone without nary a blog post. Apparently my life has been put on an even faster forward…do you relate? I can’t fathom where summer has gone, so it’s time I share with you a peek at what I’ve been up to since my last entry back in (gosh, oops…) May! If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you already know haha!

I welcomed the warmer weather by tilling and planting my garden because I love the gifts the growing season provides. I knew homegrown veggies would add a fresh flavor to all my favorites.

I got a few early season 5Ks in, but my jerk knee’s knee jerk reaction was not pleasant, so that was that.

My husband joined my beloved athletic club and I gained a brand new source of live-in gym accountability! This pic was from the morning of our 25th Wedding Anniversary…got the workout in before we celebrated!

We observed our anniversary by continuing Eric’s Hop Passport Brewery Tour…we knocked out a few of the 68 breweries in his passort while playing in Minneapolis/St. Paul. That passport has challenged me to work off all the empty calories I’ve been consuming with each tour, a battle I sense I was losing.

Next came our annual family vacation up north; though relaxing, I did all I could to keep it an active one…

Loved the time it allowed me to spend with our oldest and his wife…feels like there’s never enough time, so this week was a great chance to put everyday life on hold and just play!

Ahhh, but that fresh air and lake vibes!

And the sunrises!!! What a beautiful place to catch our breath as summer began to take flight.

I got a quick room overhaul accomplished, turning our oldest son’s room into a place of mindful rejuvenation. I don’t mind telling you, I worked through some emotions as I painted over a little boy’s youth.

It seems to have helped me work through the feels I needed to release. I managed to get the room pretty close to finished just in time for a houseguest.

My soul sister flew in from Portland with that giant bag…part of an epic plan! What a treat to have this Lady with us for an entire month. Pinch me!

Eric and I had been training for RAGBRAI, a weeklong bike ride across Iowa, and Nadia decided pretty last minute to join in…YAY! I rode RAGBRAI back in 2016 by myself, so I was pretty excited with the prospect of having some really fun company this time!

We got some great training rides in with part of our fantastic team…such important preparation for success.

Even on days we didn’t feel like it, we still figured out how to keep moving forward…air conditioning helped haha!

A few short weeks later found us in Council Bluffs, IA at the RAGBRAI expo, ready to set this adventure in motion. Remember, I’d done this before and once was actually enough for me, until this 50-year-old decided it was time for him to do it too. Now how could I say no when he asked me to join him?

And just like that, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa happened…427ish miles of it!

Was pretty much an exhausting, seven day party as we ate our way across the entire state of Iowa…fuel, you know?!? Uff-da!

Felt good to see completion of another training schedule and event. Goals can get a person pretty far!

My job continued allowing me to share the great outdoors and fitness with the mentors and mentees I work with. I’m grateful to say I love the work I am doing…seems more like play if you ask me…WIN!!!

I spent a portion of the summer partnering with the Rochester Police Department encouraging the youth in our mentoring program to accomplish some of their 10 mile bike rides. How amazing it would be if one of them goes on to ride RAGBRAI in the future…how cool would that be?

My flexible part-time work schedule has afforded me some important time for much needed self care. I’ve taken many opportunities to work on me this summer. Sure, I spent a ton of time being active, but I also took time delving into some healing modalities that I’ve been meaning to explore. I’ve been holding on to some baggage it was time to unpack and release.

In the process, I’ve enjoyed profound relief from things I’ve felt were holding me back from being my best. It was challenging but necessary work to move forward.

Time and again, I put myself in the way of beauty and let nature facilitate the healing.

I’ve made my emotional and spiritual health big priorities this summer, and the shift I’m experiencing is a divine gift. One that is right on time, because life is constantly changing and I want to be ready for what’s coming next…case in point…

See, this is something else we accomplished this summer…senior pictures. How is our youngest already here? As I know all too well, this will be the fastest school year yet. This young man has been busy with incredible academic government and musical composition programs this summer, as well as traveling abroad. I feel like we barely saw him. And my heart knows what little time we have left before the nest is empty.

I know how important these fleeting moments are, so I’m tucking the memories away one by one, as long as I can.

So I look back at this summer with such joy as this guy and I evolve into a deeper relationship. The one where we begin to remember who we are without our kids, and what that looks like going forward. I think about how quickly 25 years really go and what I want for myself and for us.

And this right here is it. I want to go forth with love and longevity the best way I know how. That means it’s time for me to take way better care of myself, to get honest on a very vulnerable level. I know I’ve been neglecting myself when it comes to mindful eating and that mofo scale has been shouting obsceneties at me. Or maybe it’s the other way around lol! So it’s time to show the damn thing what I’m made of. Again.

So, well…here I grow again. I already know I can.

I’m embarking on a new leg of this transformational journey I’ve been on these past 8 years that will ensure I go into our next 25 years with my very Best Foot Forward.

Onward!

Hi Friends! As I looked back today, I realize it’s been two months since my last post. I’ve been quiet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy practicing what I preach. I stepped away from blogging for a bit to make extra time for myself…some extraordinary experiences of personal growth and much needed self care. I took time for what my body/mind/soul craved…

I joined family in making new memories.

When alone time was needed to heal some hurt, I savored a quiet getaway to feel instead of avoid.

And I’ve learned when I face what weighs me down, head-on, I’m lighter, more ready to move forward. After nourisning some grief last month, I went ahead to become trained and certified in Laughter Yoga Ho-Ho Ha-Ha-Ha!!!

 

Next thing I knew, I was facilitating a Women’s Wellness Weekend getaway so others could recharge too.

 

I continued, this past month, to be mindful of what I needed to feel most myself as the hum of the holiday preparations began to sound. I made consistency at the gym(s) a priority.

 

But soon I felt as though I was spinning my wheels. Something was missing. Something that hasn’t been there for quite some time…I needed a new challenge to work toward, a new goal. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know it needed to be BIG! I did some soul searching and came up with some driving motivation that will take me well into 2019.

I’ve always been so inspired by Diana Nyad’s courage and perseverance. She’s the DIE HARD that conquered the swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West. I knew of her incredible walking initiate EverWalk, and recently saw on the website she is hosting a life-changing event in Key West…a wonderful week of walking 10 miles every morning and volunteering for Habitat For Humanity–helping rebuild what Hurricane Irma destroyed every afternoon. This was exactly what I was looking for…a fitness event with a service component! EPIC!!!

Though it will be tough to wait until April to embark on this next adventure, that leaves me time to diligently prepare. I put great thought into how I will train to be ready to rock Key West; I devised a plan that will help keep me accountable. I’m going to set aside the more stressful aspects of the holidays, the ones that no longer serve my family and me. In saying no to certain things and people, I am saying yes to what I truly need and want. I’ll spare you the family portion, but for me, that looks like walking. A LOT of walking.

My plan is to walk at least 110.86 miles…the distance Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Key West, and to do it this month…starting NOW! Thanks, Julie, for helping me kick this off despite the 17 degree wind chill…I LOVE fellow walking warriors!

A couple quick laps around the lake and my challenge has begun…

Onward!

 

Why Wait for the New Year!

Friends, it occurred to me on this first day of October…there are only three more months until the New Year! How did that happen?!?

I’ve been in a funky headspace the past couple of days. Maybe it’s the drastic transition into fall that killed my summer buzz, perhaps an overdose of fake, sensationalized social media…who knows, but it stirred up a bunch of yuck in my mind that has taken me days to clear…I keep thinking I’m beyond this, and yet, here I am again.

See, I made a few drastic lifestyle changes back in June that I thought would make significant progress toward my long-term wellness goals. I thought I had given them a fairly decent shot, but real life seemed to pull the proverbial rug out from under me again and again, leaving me with no measurable results. It would be easy to declare defeat…something I defaulted to over and over again in the past. Compelled to avoid the old habit of backslide, I dug up a tangible reminder why I won’t do that again.

I pulled this photo out of the vault for some valuable perspective. I can’t believe I’m sharing it!

This was my exhausted reality eleven years ago. I yearned to be active outdoors, had strong desire to be well but was crushed in a number of suffocating ways. I was struggling with obesity, high blood pressure and great sorrow knowing my dad’s cancer journey was nearly over by then. I look into the eyes and heart of that girl, knowing she felt about 80 years old back then on any given day.

When I revisit that image, I’m so grateful for the perspective! I’m reminded that although I didn’t get to where I was hoping to be by Oct 1st, my summer looked very different from that 2007 version.

My body allowed me to continue exploring new fitness modalities.

Despite coping with some chronic injury pain, I was able to move forward in ways that recharged my spirit!

 

I was able to embrace and celebrate special days I wasn’t completely sure I’d be around to witness.

I was able to tackle new adventures in a way that old body would never have allowed.

   

This newest version of me, despite not hitting that latest health target was able to play every inch of the way!

And so I may not be exactly where I’d hoped to be…I’m far from feeling as sick, tired and broken as my 2007 version. As a matter of fact, in ways, I am more driven, more balanced than ever before…

Friends, as we head into these last three months of 2018, I can choose to forget my routine notion of that past…that the upcoming holidays are a big giant train chugging closer and closer to derailment. That it will be time again to care for myself as the festivities wind down and the New Year reminds me to start trying again. Well, I could. And I used to. But why would I do that now?

There is no need to give up hope! We have such a great opportunity to be your best you, to start again today! Wherever we may be right now, we can make some loving, caring changes for ourselves one day at a time. Why wait until January?

I forgave myself for not hitting that bullseye I was aiming for these past few months. As I look back, I realize I didn’t miss the target altogether…I just need to slightly readjust, refocus my aim and give it my best shot. One more way to put my Best Foot Forward…and you can too!

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Come Away With Me!

Friends, I have been very busy on a project I’ve been dying to tell you all about! You know these past four years that I’ve blogged my transformational journey, I have worked hard to get where I am today. I’ve loved myself through a multitude of adversities, learning and implementing everything I can regarding self care.

It has made ALL the difference! You may also have noticed how frequently I take fun little breaks and getaways from my normal, everyday life. These have become instrumental in allowing me to live my best life…so much so, I’m inviting you to join me this time, Ladies, and I’m sharing my plethora of wellness secrets with you!

I’ve reserved some cozy rooms in the Miracle Lodge at Ironwood Springs…one of my favorite places just minutes outside of Rochester, MN (only a couple miles from the RST airport). Each room comfortably sleeps three (or up to five if you are really close friends/family haha), though one of you may need to climb a bit…

 

Plan to spend the weekend of November 9-11th unplugging to recharge your batteries! I’ve also reserved a wonderful meeting space for us to enjoy…

And we will be treated to some delicious, nourishing meals right next door in the dining hall…

Invite your besties you know could use some renewal too, but don’t feel at all nervous if you are coming alone. I will welcome you with open arms and you will probably leave the weekend with a bunch of new BFFs! I only ask that you arrive open-minded with a kind and open heart, willing to try some new things…who knows, you may just find some new favorite interests! Of course I won’t force you to do or try anything you don’t want to, but I invite you to explore and grow while you are here!

The weekend will offer some very gentle introductions to meditation, yoga and Tai chi chih, some exploratory journaling designed to guide you forward on your own journey, a stunning guided hike…

…a breathtaking zip-line ride or two (if you dare)…don’t worry, I promise to go first haha!

…a sunset hayride, some nourishing meals, some gifties from some generous sponsors, a bit of pampering and spoiling (think facials and chair massages!!!), a bit of crafting, an unforgettable girls’ night in, and some free time to enjoy all this beautiful venue has to offer!

You won’t want to miss some unique photo ops, like this giant adirondack chair that makes me feel like a kid every. single. time…

This getaway may leave you feeling like a kid again too; did I mention they have animals? We will likely catch a glimpse of some deer, turkeys and an eagle while out hiking. But if we don’t, Ironwood is also home to bunnies and chickens and llamas, OH MY! But that’s not all…

Look how happy those two are; you will totally understand when you get here! And if we’re lucky, maybe the peacocks will give us a show…

And you certainly won’t want to miss meeting my friend, Clyde!

I specifically chose the weekend of November 9-11 so you can destress before the holidays this year. When is the last time you went into the holiday season with a renewed and energized spirit? I’m telling you, Friends, the secret to all of this is self care…it’s time to show yourself some love, to treat yo’self! Consider giving yourself that first gift this season!!!

Of course we should talk details…

I will require you to sign a liability waiver/hold harmless agreement, as you will be involved in outdoor and physical activities…it is what it is.

Plan to arrive Friday evening, 11/9, at 6:30 pm, to get moved into the lodge before we begin our adventure together. We will need to check out of our rooms Sunday, 11/11, by 11 am, but can remain until 1 pm before you head home ready and motivated to be your best you.

Spaces are limited and will fill quickly, so free up your schedule, talk with your friends, and arrange for child care if needed, as this is a LADIES ONLY WEEKEND haha!!!

Cost for this amazing, all-inclusive weekend is $309 per person! Email me at fitbffs@gmail.com to sign up today!

 

A HUGE thank you to our sponsors: Momentum Jewelry, MassageZen with Tylynn, BeBetter Bars, Eco Lips and Essence of Vali

 

 

 

52 Fridays…How Far You’ve Come

Friends, we did it…we made it to Friday! Some weeks are tougher than others. Some leave us with a sense of accomplishment, others pass with no noticeable progress.

This week seemed to slip through my fingers. Though I worked HARD on me…nutrition, workouts, headspace, I saw no evidence on the scale. I’ve learned that number rarely reflects my efforts. If I got hung up solely on that number (as I used to), I would have considered this week a failure. Once I get that stinking thinking going in my head, the old patterns of sabotage threaten to return.

So instead of looking back at my week as a total wash, I chose to take a quick peek much further back for perspective…

When I think back over six years ago, how broken and empty I was, then consider the kinds of things I did this week to enliven my soul…none of that would have been possible back then. This week’s weight training sessions, a 5k, two hikes, a bike ride, some Tai chi chih, multiple walks and an earth shattering vinyasa yoga class would have killed that girl!

I make a point to refrain from looking back too often in useless guilt or regret, but today’s recollection was solely motivational. Journaling some of these thoughts helped me keep this week in perfect perspective.

Wow, I sure made this one all about me, didn’t I? I guess I wanted to make this 52 Friday’s quote relavent and gave you a look inside my journaling journey. Friends, it’s your turn. Take some time to explore what looking back does for you. Does it leave you feeling stalled or does it inspire you to endeavor forward? Where were you then? Where are you now? Give it some thought, then write down what comes…

 

52 Fridays…Sacred Space

Happy Friday, Friends! I’m SOOOO on top of this week’s 52 Fridays thought! I’ve had my coffee and was already relaxed into my chair as I did a little end of week meditation…just part of my mindfulness practice. I couldn’t help but think how calm I’ve been this week and as I dug into the why, it kept coming back to something I don’t often talk about.

So, Friends, grab your journal, pen, soothing beverage and settle in for a few moments to adventure with me on this journaling journey of you!

What is sacred space? It’s a term that I have heard more and more, lately, as I’ve delved deeper into my spiritual awareness. As I searched the internet for a simple definition, I realized no two explanations are alike. Why? I feel like we have such varying interpretations because each of us experiences sacred space in our own unique and individual ways…so much so, I had great difficulty finding an all encompassing definition that applied to me, let alone everyone else.

I did find one vague enough that resonated for me on thefreedictionary.com…see what you think.

sacred space,

n space—tangible or otherwise—that enables those who acknowledge and accept it to feel reverence and connection with the spiritual.
Give that some thought; feel free to jot down what comes forth. Do you take time within what you would consider your sacred space, whether it be in a physical or non-physical place. If so, what does this space look like for you? Is your space within or outside of you, indoors or out? How does it feel? Do you associate any smells or scents with that space? Any sounds? Is this a space you can go freely, at any time? Do you wish you could spend more time within that space? If so, what’s holding you back? Has your sacred space shifted throughout your life?
Is your space inside or outdoors…within or outside of you?