Category Archives: Faith

I’m an Author! OMG!!!

Holy cow!! This happened!!!  Check that off the bucket list!

This book as been in the planning stages since 2013.  I’m glad I didn’t write it back then.  The period from 2015 to 2017 was intense with respect to staying on track and struggling with the mental game.  There were lessons to be learned and my ego needed to be beat up a bit to learn them.

My perspective on how to sustain a “fit life” is more balanced now.  I tried to get all of that into this book so it will become a handbook for “how not to quit” along with some practical tips about eating and such.

When I finished teaching in June, I made a plan to write this book in 30 days.  Took a few weeks longer.  But hey!  It’s up now!  Yay!!!

My inner math nerd did my very best to go live with the book on Amazon on August 18 at 8:18 am.  Yes.  That’s 8/18/18 at 8:18 am (if you write your dates like we do here in the states).  Hahahaha!

While I wait for Amazon to set up the “Inside this Book” feature, I thought I’d share the intro with you here.  These are images of the actual pages in the book.  (Pause the slideshow to read.  Maybe increase the zoom on browser, too.)



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I’d like to thank my husband, Paul, for helping me with the cover.  (If you remember – there was a banner behind me on stage with a picture of a guy in board shorts. Check out Paul’s self-imposed 77-day boot camp adventure here.)


Next step – get the Kindle version up.  That shouldn’t take long.  Just need to check on the formatting to make sure it looks good as an ebook.

Eventually – Audible.  That may take a bit longer.  I learned I can do that as a self-publishing author.   Yay!   I want to narrate and edit it myself, so I need to watch some tutorials about how to do that.

If you want to purchase the paperback book on Amazon, you’ll get it speedy quick!

If you want a signed copy, that will take longer because you’re getting that from me.  I’m waiting for my copies to arrive, then I’ll write in your copy, then mail it off.  Limited supplies on that option, so click here.  If you get a order form, there are still some left!

When the copies I ordered arrived, I will be randomly drawing a name or two from the mailing list and sending off a free copy.  If you’re not on my mailing list but would like to be, you can join us over here.

If you would like me to be your Accountability Coach or Nutrition Consultant, click here for more information.



Filed under Books, Faith, Life, Nutrition, Organization Tips, Weight Loss, Workouts

67 Weeks – Clarity

Published on Saturday.  Edited on Sunday.  Processing continues…

Life happens, right?  I really have been walking around in a fog for the last month.  Not the worst time in my life, but stressful.  And then this morning – clarity.

I’ve been lucky and have been able to train with sufficient focus for a few years.  It looks as though 2014 is literally karmic payback time.  Life was already a little stressful before my husband’s accident (he’s recovering well, thank God), but after that, there was just so much extra for me to worry about do that I haven’t been able to keep all the balls in the air.  I’ve been waiting for the spring break from school that started today to get caught up on work and sleep.

But without getting into details, in the last 72 hours, the Universe has provided several unrelated events that I interpret as a sign that I’m supposed to be doing something else.  I have a few years before the state says I can retire,  but it’s pretty clear that changes are afoot.   And that makes me incredibly sad.  Heart broken.  I’ve been feeling that sadness and grief for the last two days.  This morning, I woke up feeling nauseous from it, but a few minutes of reflection and prayer got my head to the right place.  It’s time to find my courage and embrace the change that is happening.

Some of this is out of my control.  But no worries – things will work out exactly the way they are supposed to.   It has been harder over the last few years to do what I do.  The gap between what kids need to know to be successful in upper level mathematics and what they have actually learned has been getting wider.  I will keep my mind open and follow the path as it presents itself.  I’m wondering now if the next move should be into the middle grades.  Maybe I can use what I’ve learned in upper levels to help prepare younger kids for what’s ahead.

One of the reasons I’ve accomplished what I have as a teacher is that I take ownership over my practice as if it were my business.  So what happens next, whatever that turns out to be, it will be my decision.    My priorities are lined up correctly – husband and training come before any job.  But I am that teacher – the one that likes to ask questions, rock boats, build programs.  I like to invest myself.  I like to empower kids – I do not teach or practice compliance.  I teach”Badassery 101″.  My students will run things.  And that, I suspect, is why I am not a good civil servant.  😉

I will continue to reflect, pray, and talk with hubby and friends, so that a plan will be made that sets things up to honor what’s important and helps me transition to the next thing.  Just in case my kids are reading this – don’t worry. We still have AP exams right around the corner and you will rock it.  I will help you stay fiercely focused.  My loyalty is to you.

But enough of that.

My life works best when I’m lifting.  Lifting is better when I’m focused.  I’m excited about the progress I’m making – especially considering I’ve been making progress while navigating the change in routines that come from two people sharing a car, one of those people healing from an accident, and that car needing repairs.  Too much stress and too many little things bothering me.  But that stress over the last couple of weeks has started a weight gain, too.  Not worried.  I know how to handle that.  Make some decisions and move on.  I’ve also been working with a new coach online who adjusted things in my program so that I can stay on track while handling this crazy time.  (No negative issues with previous coach and I still recommend him.  Change is good and even necessary.  I like learning new things from new people.)

So on this first day of spring break, I reconnected to my joy of lifting.  Today’s lift was an upper body hypertrophy split.  I’m getting stronger and bigger.   I’m excited about what is going to happen over the next year.  I’m certain that the next time I compete, the improvements will be quite noticeable.  I don’t think for a second that the obstacles I have to navigate are over.  2014 is going to be a challenge.  I’ve had challenges before and I am confident in my ability to get a thing done.  I’ve done a lot already, and I’m not talking about bodybuilding, because I haven’t accomplished much there – yet.  It took me 16 years from start to finish to get that Bachelor of Science in Mathematics – my most feared subject in high school.  There have been some awards, a national certification, and a masters degree.  I’ve accomplished almost* everything I chose to accomplish letting time be the variable.  I’ve taught for 18 years and I think I’ve taught every level of mathematics from 8th grade through calculus 2.  And I can give a pretty decent pep-talk, I’m told.


I’ve told people that I feel like the old dog at the pound that no one wants to adopt.  Well, that’s just how I feel at work.  I feel joy when I lift.   Afterwards, I feel hopeful and excited about the future.  I daydream about new adventures and new opportunities.  I dream about having a life where my success is based on my hard work.  The responsible, grown-up part of me knows I have to wait until the state says I have earned my retirement.  There is a possibility that this is all happening because there is some amazing opportunity in education I don’t know about yet because everyone knew I wasn’t available.  No matter what happens, I will maintain forward progression.

This week was not great, but today was pretty good.

*I did not get the Presidential Award for Teaching in Mathematics.  I decided to wait to apply again when there was a president I wanted to meet.  😉









Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, Faith, Life

The Most Frustrating, Inspiring Part of Bodybuilding is…

TAMMY vs. ____

It feels like I’m constantly battling against some obstacle.  It’s usually a cranky hip.  Sometimes, the pissy back jumps in to help out her cranky buddy. Did I really just say that my back has my hip’s back?  That’s silly.

Sometimes, it’s just my f’d-up geometry.  (Scoliosis, flat feet, bunions)

Sometimes, it’s my job.  Had to put in academic warnings today.  Third quarter academic warnings are always tough.  Makes me question why I bother.  Should get a job in an office somewhere.  At a nice, quiet desk job.

But sometimes, my opponent is more – formidable.


I had progress pics and got a DXA bodyfat analysis done.  I sent all the data off for a second opinion.  I’m not going to share specifics just yet.  I’m still in shock.  And I’m probably overreacting.  But the inner voice I’m battling tonight is repeating “You just wasted the last three months.”  And then it goes to the really scary place – “You’re too old for this.  You’re not an athlete.  What were you thinking?”

And after a certain amount of time to process that, a very quiet and calm voice slowly begins the pep-talk.  She reminds me that setbacks are normal and they are necessary.  She reminds me that I do this because I love the activity of doing it.  I do it to overcome fear.  I do it to repeatedly fall and get up.  Every setback is a lesson that needs to be learned.

So the most frustrating and inspiring part of bodybuilding is the continual opportunity to grow psychologically stronger as my ego repeatedly is handed to me on a platter.  I want to quit.  I want to hide.  I want to crawl out of public view.  But what I think of as a major setback is really nothing in the big picture.  This is anything but a life and death situation.  This isn’t important.  It’s just a setback.  It’s just an ego check.

I’m learning.  I’m listening.

Yeah, I have my battles.  Because I know I want to hide when things are tough, hide and feel sorry for myself with nachos and ice cream – that’s why I started this blog and the Facebook page sometime later.  I need to keep pushing myself out of the comfortable place and out in the open.  I never wanted to be ‘inspirational’.  I want to be held accountable.  I wanted more support.

I’m trying to build as much muscle as possible.  I’m trying to get bigger and stronger.  Ultimately, I’m putting myself through a challenge every day.  My body just isn’t cooperating right now.  The psychological part of this is so much harder than the physical.  That’s the challenge, I guess.

The news I got today isn’t the issue – it’s just data.  What I’m writing about is the real obstacle – the mental game.  The mental gymnastics, the uncertainty, the questioning…that’s the rub.

Sometimes, all that’s required is faith, patience, and courage.

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Filed under Faith, Life, Motivation, Teaching

I Chose the Foggy Path

It’s so weird what triggers these blog posts.  Just watched a video of a young competitor who had a bad rebound after her last competition.  Read a bunch of comments that just reminded me that sometimes people get hyperfocused on things that don’t matter in the big picture – or at least they don’t matter to me as much.  Maybe it’s because I’ve got more miles on me.

I started this life-transformation thing because I knew, really deep down KNEW, that I was on a fast train to an early death.  I had to slow that train the heck down!  There is no stopping it – death is inevitable.  But I love this life and want to be here as long as possible.  Posted a link on the LMS Facebook page to a life expectancy calculator.  I would never have done it before because I knew the news wouldn’t be good.  But now, it’s kind of fun.  I’m starting to plan my 103rd birthday party.  

When I was in high school, I lived on a farm.  I used to go for walks by myself on sunny days.  On those walks I distinctly remember being frustrated that I only had two small eyes and couldn’t take in everything around me at the same time.  I resented that I had to turn my head to see things and lose sight of the other things.  Especially the sky.  I wanted to have one giant eyeball on top of my head.  I wanted to see everything at the same time.

I still feel like that.  Especially when I’m driving home.  We live in the foothills of a mountain, and there is a spot 0n my drive home where I come into a valley where the mountain is on my left, sunset behind it (if I’m lucky enough to be driving home that early), and on the right is a wide open expanse with beautiful high dessert landscape and more mountains in the distance.  If there are clouds, they are almost always doing something breathtaking because they are coming over the mountain on the left.  At sunset, it looks like paint stokes of oranges, pinks, on the blue sky canvas.  Sorry – no picture because I’m driving on a freeway when I experience this.  Sunrise going in the opposite direction is equally impressive.  That sunrise always fills me with hope and gratitude.

I understand that this is primarily a fitness blog.  So what’s with all of this sunrise/sunset stuff?  This is why I value my health so much.  This is why I lift.  This is why I eat how I eat now.  I feel connected to my life now.  I hated feeling depressed and anxious almost 24/7.  These days, I have my moments when I’m wound up about something, but they are moments.  OK, maybe an hour or two.  But hardly ever are entire days/weeks/months lost to feeling hopeless.  I used to lay down at night, feel the weight of me on my heart, and feel afraid to fall asleep because I might not wake up.  Looking back and comparing how felt and what I thought about then, to how I feel and what I think about now, I know that my state of mind is dictated by my state of health.  Because I didn’t feel good, I used to work to attach outside reasons to that feeling and I would react to any stressor.  I looked for those stressors to explain how I felt.  Now, I feel good.  So when I’m anxious about something now, there is probably a real situation that needs my attention.  (Assuming I’m not having a cortisol response.  An update on that – I quit doing cardio.  Boom.  Fixed.  I will do HIIT – eventually.  Been dealing with the same flu bug everyone else on the planet seems to have caught.)

Rambling – sorry.  It happens.  But I will try to get to the point…

I’ve lost and gained weight several times in my life, starting when I was in high school.  I didn’t gain weight back this time because something fundamental changed when I was hooked up to machines in an emergency room in March 2009.  I suppose that was my personal “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment.  I was shown what was coming.  It was a fork in the road with two paths to choose.  One was familiar and I could see the whole path.  I knew where that one would end.  The other was foggy.  I didn’t know what would happen if I chose that path.  I didn’t know where I would go.

It was fear that made me choose the foggy path.  That path has become clearer because I invested, researched, and did the work.  I watched the scale and I watched the mirror.  I hit walls.  I screwed up.  But I didn’t quit.  Quitting would be like walking back to the fork in the road and taking the clear path, the shorter path, the easier path.

Found this image on a great blog called the Internet Monk. Please click and visit.

Oooo – let’s do something scary.  I’ve never thought about where I would be now had I not changed everything.  In 2009, I was gaining weight at a rate of about 15-20 pounds a year and was already on high blood pressure meds.   My heaviest weight was 198 pounds and it was climbing.  I had one ER visit for a possible cardiac event, that they diagnosed an anxiety attack, but they kept me there for four hours.    The nice female doctor was very direct about how it was an anxiety issue this time.   Had I taken the shorter path, today I would probably weigh well into the 200’s and have a body run down and at risk for a major cardiac event, if I hadn’t already had one.  That path is always there waiting for me.

The foggy path led to a magical place for me.  The gym.  The iron.  I was so intimidated by that place, but I just pushed forward.  I’ve been discouraged or disappointed with something every single week since June 2009.  But I’ve also done something new every single week that I couldn’t do the week before.

The path is still a little foggy.  The next few months are going to be extremely challenging.  I have a a demanding teaching schedule this semester.  I am working with clients.  But my own training and nutrition will not be compromised.  Period.  I’ll keep pushing.  Doing anything else is walking back to the fork and choosing the short path.

Did you notice that I never once mentioned being preoccupied with what I look like or my size?  If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, I would hope my motivations are clear.  I want to enjoy good health and I want to lift.   I want to compete as a bodybuilder.  I have been fascinated with bodybuilding for decades.  When I compete, I am concerned with appearance, but it’s bodybuilding.  That’s the sculpture, artistic part.  It’s fun for me.  But my point is that if there is anyone following my journey who is concerned about being a specific size or weight, and that is a priority before your long term health, please consider this – if focusing on your appearance hasn’t worked for you to make a permanent change in your lifestyle in the past, it’s not your motivator.  Change your focus.  Look for your own fork in the road and chose your foggy path.


Filed under Competing, Cortisol, Faith, Life, Motivation, Opinions, Venting, Ranting, Weight Loss

God’s Little Kick in the Ass

The last post was about how busy I am.

Today is the second of two days off from work for sick days.  Well, today is also a dental procedure – part two of the triple root canal thing I had done two weeks ago.  Today, the temporary crown is popped off, the effectiveness of the medicine for the infection that was at the bottom of my roots will be assessed, and I hope the news is good so the new crown can be installed.  More on this later…

When I got to work on Tuesday morning, I got sick.  A mild, but annoying, tummy flu sort of thing.  I didn’t feel well enough to set up for a sub that day, so I pushed through.  I took yesterday off to rest.  Sat on my arse all day and did desk work.  Got up early today to get a few sets of Farmer’s Carry in before I headed over to DTR to open and set up for the class this morning.  I had stomach cramps from the time I woke up, but I was able to get a few sets done.  Left DTR to go to school to set up today’s sub.  While there, I felt shaky and cold.  Decided I should skip the rest of the workout and come home to rest before the dental procedure this afternoon.

OK – boring stuff, I know.  Nothing terribly inspirational.  Except maybe that I was still able to do four sets of Farmer’s Carry with stomach flu.    Yeah – probably stupid.

This stomach flu is a gift from God and I am grateful for it for a couple of reasons…

1) Our town has an annual hot air balloon race and it started this morning.  Had I been well and at work, I wouldn’t have had the experience of driving home UNDER the balloons as they were flying low and coming down near the freeway.  That was cool.  It’s always cool.

2) I wouldn’t have had two days of forced “slow down” time.  It finally hit me as to why I’m feeling more strung out than usual.  I’m one of those people who needs quiet alone time to stay sane.  This morning, I have the house to myself.  Just me and the dogs, a bird, and a lizard.  Many pieces of data that have been cycling in my head like a tornado are starting to fall into the right spots.  I’ve been talking about changing my priorities, but I have let people/circumstances pull me off in a different direction from where I need to go.

At the end of this video, I whine/vent a little about needing help today and not getting it.  That has to do with the dental procedure.  I have dental anxiety and my endodontist prescribes a little “happy pill” for me to take an hour before.  It really helps – and it has interesting side effects should I take it with a beer…

Oh my!  I wouldn’t want to talk on the phone or make and eat food!  The rest sounds like fun, though.

I am required to have a driver when I take this pill.  I had it set up with Hubby.  He’s done it twice before, so to say he hasn’t been helpful to me is unfair.  He has. But a week ago, he was hired by a client to do a photo shoot today, so I had to find a second driver.  So I asked someone who I’ve been helping a lot lately.  Last night, the second driver texted me to say they couldn’t do it either because yesterday they scheduled something for today during the time I needed the ride.  Or it was just inconvenient?  I’m not sure.  Depends on how you read the text.  Hubby gave me plenty of notice – driver #2 did not.  But it’s good to know where I line up on the priority list for this person.

Today, I’m feeling a little foolish and disappointed – with tummy flu symptoms and dental anxiety.  But a reality check was needed – and if I have to meditate instead of medicate to get through the procedure today to learn the lesson, so be it.  “God’s little kick in my ass” because I haven’t been paying attention or just lying to myself about being helpful and supportive expecting nothing in return – which clearly is not the case since I’m pissed off about not getting what I need today.  I’m sure I’ll feel better emotionally when it’s over and when I’m not sick on top of being nervous.

But the lesson is learned.

I apologize for this post, actually.  I personally hate reading about how people think other people have let them down.

Hubby gets frustrated with me when I won’t ask for help when I need it.  I got married later in life and just learned that it’s easier to figure out how to handle things alone.  I swear if the receptionists at the dental office would let me walk out of there alone today, I’d take my happy pill and drive.  But that’s stupid.  I might end up making and eating food while talking on the phone and driving.

So when my little pity party is over and I’m back to full strength – I’m going to make a serious effort to prioritize properly.  Things have shifted in my head over the last 15 hours and I’ve been quiet enough to let it happen.  The little pieces of data have fallen together into a new perspective.  Now I completely understand my place in the pecking order, despite what has been said to me.  I also know what I bring to the table.  I am clearer now on what deserves my attention and what is just distraction.  THINGS ARE GOING TO CHANGE.  Yup.  I’m yelling online…at myself.


This is fun… while I’m writing this at home, my students, who are working on their homework online at school with the sub, are emailing me questions.  It’s kind of awesome.


Filed under Faith, Life, Opinions, Venting, Ranting, Strong Woman Training

“You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.”

A friend shared a link to this video on Facebook.  I didn’t want it to get buried in my feed, so I’m sharing it here.

This is Zach’s story.  Zach passed away yesterday, May 21, 2013.  A beautiful soul.  I’m going to join millions sending prayers to his family and loved ones, although I’m sure their grief is overwhelming.  I’m very grateful they agreed to share Zach’s life with us.


Filed under Faith, Life

Latest Interview

I’ve been following Lee Malaulau’s blog for sometime now.  He is an amazing young man of faith and a very inspirational fitness advocate.  I love his positive energy, and to be honest, I need it some days.  When Lee contacted me and asked if he could interview me for his blog, I was honored.  An easy “yes”!  I hope you like it.  And please explore his website, be inspired by his writings, and check out his Facebook pages.

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Filed under Faith