February Focus…Show Yourself Some Love

Happy February, Friends! It’s a new month, one which places a pretty heavy emphasis on LOVE! It can be so easy to love others far more than we love ourselves.

Well, I’m ready for a new focus; how about you? I chose to work on something I haven’t always been very good at…self-love! Or, in other words, self-care.

In the years leading up to my weight loss, I didn’t often put much thought or effort into my own preventative health or wellbeing, and a direct result was misery.

Fast forward to today…I am so stinking happy these days! Know why? I feel fantastic because I take great care of my body. It feels incredible to be healthy! How’s that for transformation?

Friends, let’s spend February examining what our bodies need. What check-ups or exams are you due (or overdue) for? Let’s take the next 28 days to get things scheduled and happening! Of course, while we’re at it, if you are responsible for loved ones, get them up-to-date too!

Have you gotten your flu shot yet this year? Yes, it’s late in the season, but if you have not done this yet, what are you waiting for? The flu is a SCARY BEAST this year and getting vaccinated not only protects you, but many others as well!

I’ll admit, I’ve been the biggest procrastinator when it comes to my vision appointments, but I came to a simple no-brainer this year when my eyes gave me some issues…eyes are a gift! And just like anything else, without proper care, I could lose that gift…in, well, the blink of an eye! I got myself there this week so I can mark that off my list too!

I don’t have a fun picture to share regarding teeth, but when’s the last time you’ve seen your dentist? Teeth are another one of those gifts, and I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to chew my food for the rest of my life! That’s why I get in for a visit every six months. That, and my biannual visits with my dental hygienist are some of the best therapy sessions of the year! See you in July, Wendy!

And let’s not forget annual physicals. Are you proactive about yearly exams? Or are you one that waits until you have symptoms to be seen? And if you are regularly seen, do you actually follow your doctor’s advice? To fully benefit from these exams, arrive with a list of questions/concerns. Be honest and open with your physician…tell him/her what’s going on. Don’t be embarrassed, be frank about anything you are dealing with.

In the past, I put off routine mammograms and that came back to bite me far worse than that machine ever could. Procrastination can lead down a scary path I’m not willing to hike again, believe me! Ladies, I can’t say this enough…if you are 40 or older and don’t already, get that mammogram appointment on your calendars!

If money is a factor holding you back from preventative care, look into community resources that are in place to help. Many areas have free or a sliding fee scale to help make health care affordable. So get in there for these important appointments…no excuses. YOU are WORTH IT!!!

These above are merely some basic, mindful ways to embrace health. Dive deeper if you find relief through therapy, health coaching, massage, acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic treatment, etc. And NEVER underestimate the benefits of proper nutrition and physical activity!

Yesterday, I took time to do something I’ve found paramount in the past for optimal performance. I visited Joan, my phycial therapist for a current foot/shoe assessment. Many places will do this consult FREE, just call and ask! A properly fitting/performing shoe can make a world of difference! How’s that for taking a step in the right direction?!?

Let’s spend some time this month thinking about what preventative ways we can care for ourselves. Make those appointments, Friends. Show yourselves the LOVE! It’s one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!


10 Ways to Win Your Week

Friends, I spent some time looking at the week before me…it’s a busy one. But I’m looking ahead for very good reason; I’m setting an intention, right now (as always), to be mindful of my time in order to win my week. Because when I do, I feel like this…

See, if I don’t gaze forward in awareness of upcoming events and possible triggers, the week will likely have its way with me, leaving unwanted consequences in its trail. By taking a peek at my upcoming week and making a plan of attack, I’ve already decided to win my week. Here are 10 ways I plan to do just that…

1. Set yourself up for success in the kitchen. If that means running to the store today, do it! Ensure that you have plentiful healthy food options that are ready for those on-the-go times throughout the week when you’d ordinarily make less than stellar choices. Keep some snacks handy throughout your day so you don’t even have to think…just refuel. If you want to take it a step further, purge all the junk that’s lurking in your cupboards!

2. Schedule your workouts. Look at your planner and place your workouts within. You will be far more likely to follow through if you’ve already made a plan of action. I promise!

3.  Invite company to the fun. If you’ve decided to try a new class, take a break or lunchtime walk, attempt a new hike or adventure, or are just doing the same-old same-old take a friend along. It will feel less like a chore and more like a party with a family member, co-worker or bestie. Better yet, this person may turn out to be the best darn accountability buddy you’ve ever had.

4. Hydrate! Even though it’s winter and you may feel like you need it less…drink that water! Shoot for the recommended 64 ounces per day.

5. Make sleep a priority. Sometimes we have to get protective of our time to accomplish this, but you are worth it! Sleep goes way beyond just feeling rested…there are all kinds of important benefits/restoration a good night’s sleep provides your body. And did you know, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between 18-64 years of age get 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Work on it!

6. Do what you love! Carve out a bit of time each day doing something you love. Whether that’s reading, crafting, gardening, playing a game, catching the latest episode of your inspiring podcast or simply meditating…do it!

7. Plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s setting a goal, registering for an event or planning a datenight, getaway or trip, put something on the calendar and make it happen. Without something to work toward, train for or eagerly await, we can feel stuck simply going through life’s daily motions.

8. Defend your time. Are you one of those people that says yes to all those extra commitments, only to find yourself feeling bogged down, trapped and overwhelmed? The magic word here is NO! Use it, mean it and don’t forget saying no to other people means saying yes to your wellbeing.

9. Don’t forget self care! This is also known as me-time. It is not selfish to do something kind for yourself, it’s necessary. Take time for a calming massage, soothing bath, facial, pedicure or nap. Take care of you! I challenge you to take it a step further and put ME-DAY on your calendar for an entire day each month and treat yo self. You will be amazed at how this enhances the rest of your month!

10. Look at the bright side. It’s there, within every situation, so look for and find the bright side in everything rather than dwelling on the negative. It might be tough at first, but you will find that silver lining if you take the opportunity to look. This is a most meaningful step toward a lifetime rich in gratitude.

This may seem like a lot to juggle, but the good news is it’s not rocket science. Start small in embracing these 10 practices; soon they will become second nature. Friends, have a great week and reach for the WIN!

52 Fridays…Get The Weight Off Your Shoulders

Happy Friday, Friends! It’s that time once again…

Grab your journal, pen, calming beverage, (maybe fuzzy socks?!?) and ease into that comfy chair.

Today I’m exploring all that stuff I still carry around. That baggage that weighs us down. Do you know what it is for you? It makes not only climbing, but mere moving a difficult chore. Is this any way to go through life?

Put a name to each of these weights. Take a deep breath in as you read one at a time. And with each exhale, one by one, LET. THEM. GO!

It may be far easier said than done; I know, I’d been carrying the weight of the world on my tired shoulders for years, but the sooner we release that heaviness, the quicker we can begin a pretty phenomenal ascent up toward a lighter, happier life.

Spend some time with this today, tomorrow, this weekend. Find those things you can breathe into, to see if you can let something go.

Our 52 Fridays quote really says it all…

Let’s all find a way to just climb.

52 Fridays…Time Flies!

Happy Friday, Friends! It’s that time of week again already. If you haven’t joined us yet for 52 Fridays, today is the perfect time to begin!

Grab your journal, a favorite pen, a calming beverage…find a few quiet moments and ease into a comfy place.

I have such a hard time believing we are three Fridays into 2018 already…how is that possible? Where in the world is the pause button? The concept of time is something I struggle with again and again, so I thought I’d look deeper today.

I cracked open my planner and the proof was right there…in the day-to-day busyness. I am continually reminded if I don’t make a conscious effort to schedule time for ME, it doesn’t happen. I’m digging into this with my journal today…

So there’s our quote for the week.

Let this idea soak in, turn it over in your mind. Close your eyes and breathe. What does it mean for you? How will you let this idea shape the rest of today? Or the weekend? The rest of this month? How will you navigate the remainder of 2018?

Remember, you’re in the pilot’s seat!

52 Fridays…a Happy Soul

Friends, I have no idea what happened…a minute ago it was Monday and somehow it’s already time for 52 Fridays-Week 2! I admit, I ran the full length of this week. Between making my workouts a priority, tying up all sorts of miscellaneous loose ends, filling some of my etsy shop orders and doing some long-range lesson planning for a class I teach…the week got completely away from me. But that’s all about to change! My guys left early this morning to do something they absolutely LOVE…ice fishing near the Canadian border for four. whole. days!!! Do you know what that means for me?!? Yup, FOUR DAYS of ME TIME!!!

This brings me to our 52 Fridays theme for the week. Pull out those shiny new, barely broken-in journals, find a quiet spot, a few uninterrupted moments for yourself and get comfortable. Here’s your thought to ponder…

Do you make time for what makes you truly happy? Do you even remember what it is that makes your soul smile? Pause to reflect on what these things are, then consider making some plans to do them more often or to simply get back to doing them at all. Here’s a little secret I’ve learned…in this hectic day and age, our souls are not on happy autopilot; we must be intentional about nourishing them. Is a happy soul high on your list of priorities? If so, what will you do to make this happen? How soon can you start?

Once you’re done and if you feel comfortable, leave a comment below sharing one thing your soul is looking forward to doing more often.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get my plan in order because I know how quickly these four days are going to fly!

Just the Beginning…52 Fridays!

Friends, I am embarking on a bold new year-long adventure today! I’ve decided to walk down my unique path of self discovery.

But rather than keep this to myself, I thought I’d invite you all to join me. There is no need to sign up…just show up every Friday in 2018. If you miss one here or there, no sweat, do what you can. I’m calling this exploration 52 Fridays. Work on it right away, or wait for the weekend; make it something to savor.

All you need is a blank journal or notebook. That’s all! But you may choose to have your favorite pen, beverage (wine is fine…not judging and it may help!), and fuzzy socks are always cozy lol! Note: you may want to place yourself in a quiet, interruption-free zone.

So how well do you know your inner self? I mean really know who you are deep down, and what makes you tick? Here’s what we’ll do. Start each week with a couple deep breaths to calm and center yourself.

I will provide a simple quote designed to encourage you to do a little digging below the surface. Read the quote a couple times, sit with it a while. Close your eyes and breathe the words in and out. When thoughts pop up, run with them. Spend just 5-10 minutes ingesting the idea and letting whatever comes to mind pour out onto your page.

If you are anything like me, you’ll often be astounded by what you’ve written. And that, my friends, is self discovery! Once you delve within, you can unleash all sorts of new feelings…happiness, clarity, joy, fulfillment and, perhaps, enlightenment!

Are you ready to get started?

Jot the quote down at the top of your page and consider what you want out of 2018 or beyond. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t hold back. You are all set to begin finding where this journey might take you!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m grabbing my favorite Paper Mate pen and my journal…here goes!


2017 in Review

I need to let you in on a little secret, Friends! When you say or write something, you can actually speak it right into existence. Here’s what I mean…a year ago today, I posted this photo…

And do you know what? 2017 ended up being nothing short of ridiculously amazing! I had some basic notions of what I wanted out of the year, set some intentions/goals and went for it. Much of what I aimed to accomplish focused on fitness and wellness, while spending time with friends and family. Here’s just a peek into my year…

January was a snowy one, so much of my activity revolved around it…


But back indoors where it was warm, I spent some time rock climbing and doing yoga with my mentee…


And there was a fun little racquet sport date night Eric and I took a whack at…

February brought more snow, so I was right back out there in it!


And took a little trip to Wisconsin for some cousin hiking, walking and roller skating fun!


March rolled around quickly and found me hiking, biking…


And more biking…

And back to Wisconsin for more fun cousin time because I just can’t ever get enough!

And as April rolls around, here’s where all heck breaks loose and the year completely gets away from me in a ridiculously amazing way! Like Spring Break in Colorado where we hiked a mountain and got the rockstar tour of Rocky Mountain National Park from an expert!

Managed to get a bucket list workout at Red Rocks Amphitheater crossed off while we were out there…

Soon it was time to head back home because I had a flight to catch for Portland, headed up to Hood River to mark Multnoma Falls and the PCT Bridge of the Gods off my bucket list with glorious cousin time!


And while we were there, I had some of the most life-changing yoga classes at Flow. Just putting this out there…I dream of taking my yoga teaching certification there someday!

May was here before I knew it and the weather was extraordinary for lots of walks, biking and hiking!

Next think I know, I’ve blinked and it’s June! I spent an entire year with my mentee and it’s time to graduate from Bolder Options, but not before one last hard core Pound class on the Plaza!


Next thing I know, I’ve hit the open road, helping move my cousin and pups to the Florida Keys!


And I sure would have loved to stay longer, but I flew home just in time to leave for our annual family vacation on the lake. I don’t know how, but that week goes faster every year!


And just how did this happen? I somehow blinked and it’s already the Fourth of July; I’m back in Wisconsin again!


But not for long and we’re back home and hitting the bike trails of southern Minnesota…


And I’m so glad I got that family time because next thing I knew, I was flying to Vegas for the IDEA World Fitness Convention/Blogfest where I met some fantastic people and learned more than I ever thought possible!


And just like that, I’m back home and it’s August! But I’m not there long because I’ve got a fun girls’ getaway planned with my friend Summer Katie. We may have set a record on waterfall hikes along Minnesota’s North Shore and into Canada!


And just as that trek comes to a close, I’m right back up there in the same territory with my mentee on a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor adventure through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with new friends. Thanks, Bolder Options and Quetico Foundation!


I came home just in time to Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Soon it was September and life slowed down. So much so, I found myself on a fall getaway where I had a resort’s beach all to myself as I tagged along on Eric’s work seminar. Never have I experienced more tranquility than alone on the sand and docks. It was a time of great reflection and introspection.


October allowed me to continue with the calm and relaxation, embracing the beauty of the outdoors…


November tried to copy October’s weather so I was able to get many miles of hiking in before winter arrived…


 I managed to sneak in some last minute yardwork just before December when I got one more great hike in.


Winter has definitely hit now with temps below zero. I’m so thankful I have this place to call home…

I’m sure glad I decided 2017 would be so great. It was phenomenal! And with the new year mere hours away, I figured I would speak my hopes right into existence again…

Simplified Christmas

Friends, it’s been a while…

I found myself at a point where life got so hectic, I needed a break to analyze and refocus. I examined my schedule and daily habits to clean house, so to speak. I was allowing old tendencies to creep back in; it became time to shut them down…to prioritize and let the rest fall by the wayside. I’m happy to report this helped me remember my why. And I’ve realigned myself in an effort to move forward.

So here’s the thing, the holidays used to kill me. I mean I used to work frantically from the moment my feet hit the floor until I collapsed into bed every. darn. midnight. of December to make Christmas everything I thought it was supposed to be for my husband and kids. It robbed me of my health and joy. I’ve worked the past several years to recreate my expectations…to get what I want out of the holidays instead of doing what I think others think I should. Boy, am I done with that!

I’ve posted this before, this little something I borrowed from Facebook. You’ve likely seen it…

I’ve learned that if I want to survive the holidays intact, I need to let stuff go. LOTS of stuff. Last year my family traveled to Florida for Christmas. I still yearned for a tree, so I took a simple approach. Not only did all the ornaments remain boxed in the crawlspace, I didn’t even shop for or wrap gifts. The trip was our gift to one another. And just for giggles, I decided to quick make the tree mine…

I stuffed several pairs of my running shoes in the prelit tree and hung my race medals from the year…took me 10 minutes tops! But it soon fell over from the heaviness of the medals so we enjoyed a bare naked tree. No one objected! I didn’t even send out my usual 100 Christmas cards, and do you know what? Not one single person mentioned that they missed it.

As December flew past, we suddenly found ourselves on Cocoa Beach Christmas morning…no guilt laden cookies and candy, no shredded gift wrap, piles of gifts we didn’t need…simply spending the day together this way was the best gift of all time!

Oh how I wish this was our new tradition, but it’s not realistic right now. No, we won’t be on the beach again, but I leaned some valuable lessons from last year. I’ve simplified my gifting, I’m being that one person who won’t be mailing cards. Heck, my tree is naked again and the jury is still out as to whether it will be loaded with ornaments or remain simplistic. I mean, I kind of like the natural look…

I did a simple “Advent calendar” with goodies for my teenager, but I promise you, I didn’t stress! Those days are OVER! I’m done with the even higher high blood pressure, stress-induced, mindless emotional eating, panic attack trip to the ER, sleep deprivation to sew matching jammies for everyone, chronic crabbiness, yada, yada, yada. None of it served me or my family.

So while the general population is spending December stressing themselves to a frenzy, forgetting what it’s all truly about…I will be working on the above bucket list. I’ll be enjoying my family. I’ll be at the gym continuing to work toward better health and simply breathing.

Santa could learn a thing or two. I spoke frankly with him this week. Since I won’t be baking, he may have to settle for a yogurt at my house on Christmas Eve. He doesn’t look too excited, does he? Ho Ho Ho? Well, Ha Ha Ha!!!

Here I Go Again!

Hey Friends, I wanted to let you know that although I haven’t been writing frequently lately, I am not slacking! Those of you that read my previous post know that I spent the month of October and the first few weeks this month completing a step challenge. It was a very simple idea, work toward getting the recommended 10,000 steps in daily. It was a bit harder for me than it sounded because I tended to get my activity done in ways my Fitbit doesn’t track. No worries, though, I made a conscious effort and hit the target all 42 days. Since I last posted, I continued to walk or hike daily, oftentimes with friends…


Even after the challenge wrapped up, I continued to find myself hitting the 10,000 step target every day…great new habit! One that put a crazy idea into my head…more on that in a moment.

I made another great investment of time lately too. A couple weeks ago, I joined a new maintenance support type of group made up of folks just like me who were members of the weight loss program I completed. We have come together to help one another through the holidays and beyond, keeping focused on our health and wellness. Our first meeting two weeks ago featured a healthy potluck. Ordinarily, the thought of a potluck terrifies me because I already know my choices will be few and far between. But this time was very different…not only were all the offerings healthy, the salads and main dishes all included recipes and nutrition info. Here’s a glimpse at one of the two bountiful tables!

This was the first potluck I ever felt safe about, if you know what I mean. So this program is simple, come together twice monthly to discuss challenges and successes, share helpful tips and weigh-in. We were also offered a food journal and encouraged to use it.

I should mention I joined this group because I not only wanted to maintain what I have left of my weight loss from these past 5 years, I want to forge ahead and drop more pounds. So this is what my first two weeks looked like…

I pretty diligently recorded my eating. I wrote most everything down nearly every day. I didn’t really begin with a calorie target for each day, but tried to keep it under 2000 calories.

I refocused my fitness efforts too. Just a few weeks back, my gym began a major renovation, one I couldn’t help thinking kind of symbolized my renewed goals too. I looked closely at my workout habits and routine and gave it some fine tuning. Beyond continuing my 10,000 daily step goal, I scheduled my strength training workouts and classes into my planner. This has been instrumental in my consistency. Because before I wrote these into my week, they were much less likely to happen.

I’m excited to report I’ve had two tremendously successful weeks. The scale dropped 5 pounds, my active wear fits much less like touniquets and I’m seeing some fun definition changes already…

Although the gym changes are obvious, you may not notice any with me. But that’s okay, I FEEL them and I know they are there. Even better? I’m driven to continue through the holidays and beyond.

One thing I’m so excited to share is that I remembered my why. Not only that, I remembered how excited I am to work toward some short and long term goals. I set an INSANE milestone goal for 2022 when I turn 50. It’s so damn crazy, I’m not going to tell you quite yet what it is. Just know I haven’t done much of anything lately that scares me, and this thing is well outside my comfort zone. Way beyond this continent even!

Friends, when’s the last time you refocused, redefined and reset? If you are spinning your wheels, maybe the time is now. It is making all the difference for me and is another great way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Moving Toward a Greater Good

I know I’ve been really quiet lately, Friends; it’s that time of year for me, I guess. Readers who have been with me for a while know I’ve been struggling for the past six years coming to terms with my dad’s death. Each year as October rolls around, although another year has passed, I find myself feeling that same familiar sting.


Remember, I was very much Daddy’s little girl, his continuous shadow here on earth until his very last night.

I’ve been spinning my wheels…in a holding pattern unable to move forward for a while now. So, recently, I did some tough work with my health coach. It was sort of disguised as a weight loss sort of session, but this woman is so gifted at peeling away the layers, tearing clear down to the heart of the matter so effortlessly. I’ve been working with her for the past 5 1/2 years throughout my weight loss journey and beyond.

Much of my struggle keeps coming back to grief and loss. So we did some pretty intense work on it recently. I’m finally coming to terms with the belief that although I grieve for what I lost, I know that a greater good will follow.

Thankfully, my husband and I have been involved in a challenge Walktober through his employer’s wellness program. It is a simple step challenge from Oct 2-Nov 12. I’m grateful I had a goal for this time of year, something to calm my October inner storm. Here’s what happened with that…

I put out an all call for walking buddies and grabbed this bull of a challenge by the horns. Here’s a little proof of the consistency a goal/challenge can afford. I got the job done EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It really helped to have company, gave me someone to catch up with, someone else to think about. Because on the days I was alone, it felt a whole bunch more somber, like this…

So I continued turning over that notion of a greater good following this immense loss I’ve experienced. And I know that can mean a million different things. But something happened, something so unexpected, something far too coincidental to be random, which made that idea crystal clear in my mind.

On the anniversary of my dad’s death a few weeks back, one of my dearest friends lost her mom. And on the anniversary of my dad’s funeral, we came together in Omaha to celebrate her life. The morning of her funeral I took some time to continue work on my step challenge in a most profound way.  The reality of what happened began to sink in.

I was simply astonished. Leave it to God to do something so unique, so healing through someone else’s loss.

This friend has walked supportively beside me throughout my journey (even on this challenge!!!), and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do the same while observing those tough dates together from now on. Something I think I may have needed but didn’t realize. A greater good?!? Well, maybe that’s not exactly what my health coach meant, but I can’t ignore a sign of this magnitude.

Just as in years past, as October turns to November and the focus shifts, the lump in my throat loosens, the tenseness melts away and I can breathe deeply once again.

I’m so glad I had a challenge to keep me moving forward. I have four more days to go…who wants to walk?

I must admit, with all those miles behind me, I can hardly wait to do anything other than walking!