52 Fridays…Nourish to Flourish

Yup, Friends, it’s totally that time again…52 Fridays! We survived another week and are headed for the weekend! YAY!!!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed so many people running around, stressed to the limit, trying to accomplish their tasks in a hurried frenzy this week. Is that you? Unfortunately, I’m very guilty! It doesn’t even add up for me, as school is out around here…our son is off for the summer, but those summer activities are already in full swing. Somewhere, I missed that notion of relaxed summer days, but I’m about to do something about that!

I’ve learned when I am at this point, to pull back. It’s time to observe the observer…to break it down and get to the heart of the cause. In doing so, I can look around, adjust what needs it and go forward a bit lighter. Refreshed.

That is my sole aim this next week, and it can be yours too!

Take some quiet time for yourself. Breathe. What items on your calendar can you let go for next week to bring yourself back to a more “youer” you? Think about what feeds your soul (maybe take a moment to make a list) and carve out some time for that instead.

It’s impossible to flourish is we are constantly throwing ourselves forward into the next thing, and the next thing…we need time to replenish ourselves. It is not selfish, it’s absolutely necessary! It’s very important to understand, this is not a one-time fix; it’s a constant work in progress.

Friends, this 52 Fridays challenges you to remember what nourishes you because you’ve got to nourish to flourish.

Have a nourishing weekend!

 

I Still Do!

Today marks 24 years I’ve been married to my BFF! I can’t imagine where in the world I would be without Eric by my side. He’s supported me through every last challenge and struggle I’ve encountered…loved me though them all. He encouraged me every single step throughout my tumultuous road to a healthier, happier me. Truth is, he has loved me unconditionally, whether at my largest or smallest. My size never mattered to him, only my happiness.

As I searched for a quote that sized up this relationship, many resonated, but one stood out today…

“Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.”

Friends, I’ve recently been reminded again and again of a story I shared over a year ago.

Funny how a symbol of love can mean so many different things throughout a relationship. At this moment back in February 2017 is was far more than a token of our love…it was also a great metaphor for the repaired, resized, restored new me (and we).

If you missed it, check out my greatest NSV-non scale victory of my transformation journey…that gift is still very much giving here.

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Growing Around the Grief

Growing up, my parents taught me a LOT about gardening. They grew an impressive vegetable garden each year and included me in every aspect of its growth. I’m grateful to have learned the process. So much so, that I’ve carried the practice into my adult life. I’d like to say I’m half the gardener they were, but maybe someday I’ll get there.

Our family’s time-honored tradition of planting occured every year between May 14th-21st for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. I wanted to follow this rule, but was incredibly busy all week in preparation of some pretty important events.

Our family is growing. Hitting me square in the feels, our oldest son Logan arrived smack-dab into adulthood Friday night, graduating from the Mayo Clinic’s Paramedic Medicine Program. That sweet little heart of a boy has grown so much and is ready to save the world one person at a time!

And the family is growing in other directions too…Saturday afternoon, my amazing mother-in-law did an exquisite job of helping me shower Logan’s fiance in a lovely manner. We will soon be adding this beautiful young woman, Anna, into our tribe. Again with the feels, Friends!

So yesterday I needed to decompress, to let it all sink in how quickly this precious life goes by. I found myself out in that garden…boy did that thing need attention to get it planted by my deadline.

See, we used the May 14th-21st span because the frost is generally done by then, an easy rule of thumb for us to remember because those dates are my brother and dad’s birthdays. My dad’s birthday was rolling around again, this the 7th year we’d celebrate without him. These special days so hard to get through, yet I’ve grown, Friends, and I had a plan to observe this year a bit differently.

I’m stronger these days, more grateful for EVERYTHING! I couldn’t help focusing on that gratitude yesterday as I rototilled with the tiller my dad gave me when he stopped gardening. Couldn’t help feeling him holding on because the thing is a BEAST! I planted all my seed vegetables yesterday but saved the seedlings for today.

I purchased my plants just as it began to rain. Drat! But do you know what? I was so determined to finish planting by the 21st that I did it in the rain. He’s probably the one up there who made it rain anyway…he was quite the jokester and why would now be any different. Instead of feeling the familiar heaviness in my heart, I smiled.

I wore one of his favorite shirt jackets, played a playlist of all the songs just like he used to play on the organ, and I got it done. On time! The birds we both love were out there singing too…it was as if he was right there with me, and we had a ball. I can’t wait to watch this garden grow and think he had something to do with it. This felt like the perfect way to spend his day.

Birthdays have always been very special in our family. I look back to one of the last we celebrated with him, and gratitude hits me square in the heart again…

I came upon a video on Facebook the other day that best illustrates how we grieve; it made HUGE sense to me. Check it out here.

I wanted to share it with any of you missing a loved one so much it hurts. As I think back to the pain of missing this guy these past seven birthdays, yet moving forward with an abundant, happy life, it makes perfect sense. I’m growing around the grief.

Happy 82nd Lotus Conrad, thanks for being there today!

 

 

Boobs, If You Love Them, Check Them!

Friends, I’m traveling to Jacksonville, Florida this evening on a mission…

Two years ago this weekend, I came together with some childhood friends to participate in a half marathon among other things. It was a great opportunity to catch up with one another and we had plenty of time to do that because we walked every last step of that 13.1 miles together.

This was a great event right there on the streets along beautiful Jacksonville Beach. The weekend was created in 2008 by a three-time breast cancer survivor, Donna. It has become the wildly popular and successful annual Donna Marathon Weekend to FINISH breast cancer.

Back in 2016, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really there to support breast cancer, I was there to share a good time with friends…

As we worked our way along the course, there was a party on every corner! There were lots of posters with boobie humor, and many spectators came dressed for the occasion…like this boob-loving ape!

It was easy for someone like me who was not personally touched by breast cancer to miss the point; I simply viewed the finish line as a fun accomplishment…

But for some reason, my attitude changed. As I looked through the photos from that weekend, they spoke to me…especially the one with the ape. It suddenly occurred to me, I was LONG overdue for a mammogram. And I’m sure glad it did, because as soon as I returned from Jacksonville, I scheduled an appointment.

When one mammogram became another, then an ultrasound, and a biopsy, I slowly began to gain a wider understanding of what that weekend was all about. I was really lucky, though, Friends, my biopsy came back benign. But because the tumor was precancerous, my team wanted that thing out…and that’s when it started getting very real for me. A lumpectomy was my next hurdle.

I’d been working with a health coach prior to (and during) all of this, and I was in a really good place. Rather than fearing the worst throughout the process, I kept my thoughts in check. I kept reassuring myself, and everyone worried for me, that this was nothing until it was something. And at that point, it was still nothing.

Again, Friends, I was very lucky. Blessed, rather. My post-op pathology also came back clean. AMEN!

You’d better believe I made my annual appointment the very moment I could for the following year, where something else turned up, but was much less than last year.

This was all fresh on my mind as I decided to do Donna’s half again this year, as I registered for the event months back, and as I packed this morning. So much so, I called radiology to schedule my appointment for this year before I left for the airport. I’m not due to go back until May, but you’d better believe I will be there and every year from now on!

I look forward to this weekend. I’ve learned my lesson and I know this half will be less about the laughs and ALL about the gratitude!

 

Bookworm Workout

Once Upon a Time…

like just this week, I was struggling to find my normal workout determination and motivation. I was looking for adventure, a unique and fit activity that would occupy both mind and body while enjoying the spectacular fall weather…so I did a little brainstorming.

And lately, Friends, I’ve noticed some super cute little book houses popping up all over town. So I decided to do a little research to learn more. I was intrigued to discover that some of these neighborhood libraries are part of a nonprofit organization initiative that fosters free neighborhood book exchanges around the WORLD! I found this information about Little Free Library here. And upon doing a search of my hometown of Rochester, MN, I found this…

But when I took a closer look at the map, I realized there were quite a few more around town I had seen that were not on this map. So I dug deeper and did a little search for Rochester neighborhood libraries and was sent to my local library’s website that provided me a map with even more options…

I enlarged the map enough to jot down multiple addresses in an area I wanted to explore and my adventure took shape. I made a mental map of the route I would take on my bike considering safety and distance. I filled my waterbottle, tossed a snack in my backpack, secured my bike helmet and was ready to ride! I rode for only a couple blocks before I came to the first one.

Now keep in mind, the selection is small, but changing daily. Also, the cost is free and there are no due dates or late fees…my kind of library! I was impressed with what I found within in terms of something for everyone. Friends, there were board books for babies, picture books for toddlers, early readers for preschooler-primary, chapter books for the more experienced, adult non-fiction and fiction…so many genres in one little place. I didn’t find a book that sparked my interest, but no worries…I had several more addresses to explore. So after a big drink of water, on I rolled!

This little library was color coordinated with the owner’s house…how cute is that? And again, a wide assortment of titles for all ages. Still nothing for me, but I was just getting started.

This one was painted to resemble some of the flowers in this owner’s beautiful garden. This was beginning to be somewhat of an art tour as well. I think how excited my boys would have been if these had been around when they were little. I imagined them popping out of the bike trailer to see what fun things awaited them at each stop! Just thinking about it made me smile.

What inviting little places to pause! This house offered a bench to enjoy the library’s contents right then and there in case you wanted to stop by for a quick little read. I took the opportunity to hydrate before moving on.

This library was perched on the edge of an enchanting garden with a welcoming bench lining the sidewalk and driveway…how nice is that?!? I’d put several miles down between these stops and was beginning to get hungry, so I sat down to enjoy my snack while perusing a Minnesota wildflowers book. I’d yet to find a book that called to me, but I wasn’t done yet, and I was getting one heck of a great workout! Time to hydrate!

Stop after stop, I was becoming more excited with each library I arrived at because this was like a fun little treasure hunt. I knew, eventually, I’d find a book or two that were meant for me!

And there it was…just the inspiration I was hoping to find! I popped that baby into my backpack, excited to find something that will light my motivational fire. I could hardly wait to get home and start reading, but I had a few more addresses to go. I marveled at how many miles I’d gone and how much fun I was having. Could this really count as a workout lol?!? Another drink break and I was back on the road.

The more I stopped, the more I found myself thinking about putting one of these babies in my front yard. I would LOVE to share the gift of reading with my neighbors! As I starting considering the possibilities of what ours might look like, I arrived at the final address on my list. I was grateful I had found a book, but figured it would be the only one I was returning home with until I spotted this…

I LOVE when the universe works in this way because as I spotted the title, I knew that book had my name written all over it; it was there just waiting for ME! Not only had I enjoyed an amazing outdoor workout, I found just the thing that will keep me motivated for many rides to come…a biking trail guide for Minnesota and Western Wisconsin! BOOM!

I rode home with renewed energy. This had turned out to be a great day…getting fit with lit hahaha!

Friends, if you are in need of renewed motivation and a creative workout, look up your community’s neighborhood and little free libraries, map them out and get moving. This bookworm workout is one more way to put our Best Foot Forward and…

Live Happily and Healthily Ever After!

 

Win-It Wednesday-Local Prize Winners

Friends, I had such a great time hearing from many of you regarding the wonderful local prizes offered in this past week’s giveaway. They seemed to create quite a buzz!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each of the generous contributors; many thanks to:

Christy Olson of Your Inner Sanctum

Cody Cooper and Matt Ebeling of A New Beginning

The Rochester Athletic Club

 

Without further ado, let’s announce the lucky winners…

One-Hour Health Coaching Session: Ashley R.

45 Minute Reiki Session/Intuitive Reading: Dawn O.

60 Minute Massage: Marisa H.

RAC One-Day Guest Pass: Brenda S.

RAC One-Day Guest Pass: Branda A. 

RAC One-Day Guest Pass: Colleen S.

Congratulations, Winners! I will email each of you for contact information. Many thanks to all who entered.

If you didn’t win, make sure you stop back later today when I announce our next Win-It Wednesday giveaway in continued celebration of FIT BFFs 3rd Blogiversary!

Oola For Women Review

While waiting for my flight to Portland last week, something awesome happened…something very Oola! Because the flight was overbooked, the airline offered generous compensation to a volunteer willing to catch the next flight. I just happened to be traveling alone, was scheduled to arrive earlier than necessary and, incidentally, had a book I was dying to dive into; without a moment’s hesitation, I stepped forward!

As I tucked my easily obtained reward (enough to purchase my next getaway flight) into my bag, I pulled out my advance reader copy of Oola For Women I received in the mail just days earlier. There was nothing to do but relax and digest the wisdom of Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl with Janet Switzer and the inspiring stories of 42 women.

This was sort of deja vu for me as I recalled reading Braun and Amdahl’s original Oola book last year on a flight to San Diego! That’s when I was first introduced to their 7 key areas one needs to balance and grow, to live the life of one’s dreams…fitness, finance, family, field (career), faith, friends and fun. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to put these areas to work in my life and have found extraordinary balance in doing so.

These same 7 key areas are beautifully re-presented in Oola For Women, using powerful stories to further the reader’s understanding and connection. The poignant story each woman humbly shares brilliantly illustrates these areas, and beyond as the authors warn of traits that block one from living the life of their dreams, as well as ways to accelerate reaching those dreams.

I kept thinking as I read story after story, how they resonated deep within, how I related to so many as if they could be me!

The last section of the book invites the reader to look deeper into her life, to get real with where she is and where she wants to go. A simple strategy designed to get readers on The OolaPath is spelled out in a straightforward manner, and as they say, “Once you start, there’s no going back to ordinary.”

Braun and Amdahl are currently traveling across the country in their OolaBus collecting a million dreams, so how appropriate there is a blank OolaWoman Goal sticker in the back of the book to record that dream! It’s become difficult for me to narrow it down to a single dream, so I will continue to think on that.

In the meantime, as I finished their book during my Portland vaca and know the OolaGuys are big fans of doughnuts, there was only one thing left for me to do…

 

Dave, Troy, these VooDoo Doughnuts are in honor of your beautifully crafted tool for women to find that delicate balance in an unbalanced world! You two are changing lives all over the world with one word!

Why not treat yourself to less stress, more purpose and uncover that greatness within! Friends, Oola For Women hits bookstores across the country tomorrow, May 2nd. If you’d like, check it out at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

 

Oh, and keep your eyes open for that VW OolaBus!

Win-It Wednesday OOFOS Winners

Happy Win-It Wednesday!

Friends, your response to the FIT BFFs OOFOS giveaway was amazing! I’d like to thank my generous friends at OOFOS for another opportunity to educate and reward my readers with their fantastic products.

I’m excited to announce our three winners:

Suzanne G, Hope C-R & Rhonda M!!!

Congratulations! I’ll email you for shipping details.

Many thanks to all who entered…I wish I had a pair to give each and every one of you because I know you’d love them too. Why not stop by the OOFOS website to take a look, because treating our feet is a soothing way to literally put our Best Foot Forward!

Win-It Wednesday OOFOS Sandals

Happy Win-It Wednesday, fellow FIT BFFs! Yesterday I reviewed a wonderful pair of OOFOS OOlala Sandals here, in case you missed it.

As promised, OOFOS has partnered with FIT BFFs by generously providing some OOlove for us this week…how awesome is that?!?

Three lucky winners will each win a pair of OOFOS OOlala Sandals, OOriginal Sandals or Sport Sandals of their choice; that means both men and women can get in on the giveaway action!

 

To read more about this amazing footwear, to select style/color/size you hope to win, or to order your own because you simply can’t wait to see if you won, stop by the OOFOS website here.

To enter, simply leave a comment below stating which sandal style, color and size (men’s or women’s whole sizes only) you hope to win between now and Tuesday, March 21st, midnight central time.

You may enter only once on the blog, but can earn one extra entry for doing each of the following:

  • LIKE the FIT BFFs Facebook page if you are new to the page
  • LIKE the Win-It Wednesday post on the FIT BFFs Facebook page
  • COMMENT on the Win-It Wednesday post
  • SHARE the Win-It Wednesday post

Giveaway open to US residents only. Randomly selected winners will be announced here on Win-It Wednesday, March 22nd. Good luck!

Some Magical Awareness

Friends, something happened yesterday that was just too exciting to keep to myself. Let me back up a bit to set the stage…

A few weeks back, my friend Matt nominated me for a push-up challenge to spread awareness for veteran suicide. I was to do 22 push-ups daily for 22 days. Why 22? Sadly, each day an average of 22 veterans kill themselves.

Well, as many of you know, I can’t back down from a challenge, and there’s a huge place in my heart for our veterans…those brave men and women who have put their lives on the line for us. So I just couldn’t say no.

Each day I’ve been posting a video of my push-ups on Facebook. I realized right away how boring it would be to do those push-ups in the same manner every day, so I thought I’d try to spice things up for my Facebook friends.

It has become great fun for me to choose some interesting locales as my backdrop. A set in the snow back home in Minnesota was a great contrast, as a Christmas trip found me doing push-ups on Cocoa Beach, under Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, beneath the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom and next to the Knight Bus at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios.

Friends, yesterday will be impossible to top, as I had some magical help from a life-long friend. I met up with Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice for a quick round of 22. What happened next blew me away! Watch the video to see Mickey do something completely unexpected…props to you, Mickey, and thank you for helping me spread awareness for #22kill!

You can check it out here!

I encourage you to reach out to the Veterans in your life and remind them that they have your love and support. Please spread the word that Veteran suicide is not the answer!

Veteran Crisis Hotline for veterans and families in immediate crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255 and press “1” or send a text message to 838255. You can also chat with someone online at www.veteranscrisisline.net