Tag 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

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

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

Heavy Crosses

I was thinking about my week.  It was an interesting week.  Martha called it my “Rockstar Week”.  I have been blessed and I know it.  And yet, I still get into these little funky moods when I am stressed about having to manage all the blessings.  I was contemplating a blog post about my week, but I’m busy with food prep and chores.  But sometimes, I’m just overcome by a need to write.  Write right now.  Drop everything and write.

Today, it was that story I just reblogged about Kayln.

The reminder for me through her story was powerful.  I am dealing with NOTHING compared to many of my brothers and sisters on the planet.  NOTHING. My cross is light in comparison to most, and I need that reminder all the time because I live in my own head too much.

I am healthy.  I am well fed.  I am married to a great guy who loves me.  I live in a warm house, have warm clothes, and have a good job.  And any one, or several, of those circumstances can change in a heartbeat.

I practice gratitude daily anyway, but right now, I’m crying as I write this because I’m ashamed of myself for manufacturing problems to worry about.  Especially after a week like this one.  THAT is not being grateful.  That is being self-absorbed.  I don’t like it.  Some will probably try to make me feel better by saying I deserved the attention I received.  I disagree.  I did what I wanted to do (bodybuilding), I was able to do it because I was healthy, could afford it, and my hubby was willing to pick up the slack of everything I don’t do anymore because I decided to live this new life.

I don’t believe my story is intended to bring attention to me.  I’m not sure how He is using me right now, or where my life path is going, but even saying those things sounds egotistical to me.  Things were so much simpler when only a few people read my blog – usually just my friends Marie and Lori.  Now, when I write something, I think about how strangers are going to hear it.  I pray that all of this buzzing around me is really meant to help light a fire under a few folks so that they will take care of themselves.  That’s all.  But that’s so much.  When I get a message from someone telling me that their mom, dad, or they themselves as parents, have turned things around with their health – well yeah.  I that’s what I think this is about.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense.  I’m writing this for myself right now.  I need to say that I don’t feel like I’m bearing any crosses, or if I am, they are light.   I recognize the crosses others carry are much heavier, so when they do anything remotely like what I’ve done to improve the quality and duration of their lives, I’m humbled.  And I am so grateful that He bore the heaviest cross for us so that I can bumble around and screw up and still be invited home.


I saved this blog as a draft and left it alone for a minute.  Thought to myself that it’s ironic to blog about how I hate being egotistical, because, well – that’s what blogging is all about – me.  What I think, what I did, yada, yada, yada.  So I left it for a minute and went over and checked Facebook.  There was a little notification from the app called “God Wants You to Know”.   Of course we all know that it’s not really God sending message through Facebook, but it’s a pretty cool notification to get every so often.  This is what it said just now…

“These sparks of Divinity and love can reach into the darkness and transform it. However, there may be times when you need to shine your heart extra brightly because others may be struggling to keep their spark alive. Let your light bring hope to a situation that feels dark and hopeless.”

Really???  Didn’t I just say “light a fire under someone”??  Sure, I know it’s just a person somewhere typing something for the app.  But when the message is legit and timely… well, it freaks me out when God sends me messages through Facebook.

OK. I’ll publish this post.


Filed under Faith, Life, Motivation, Weight Loss

That first step…again.

That first step…

I’ve gotten a little addicted to the adrenaline rush of that first step.

I think about it.  More importantly, I pray about it.  Is this really the direction I’m supposed to go now?

The idea grew in the back of my mind all summer.  I waited.  I did the show thing.  The show was an important turning point.  I’m sure many think it was the end of a long journey.  But I knew differently.  I knew the show was the beginning of my new life – again.

So I took a step this week in a different direction – again.  This one will change my life – again.

I’m so excited about it that I’m writing this blog post…but I can’t announce it publicly yet.  I’m not the only person involved so I need to wait for another piece to fall into place.  It’s going to happen one way or the other, of that I’m sure.  Let’s just say that some big news is coming soon.  It won’t be a surprise when you learn about it.

But that’s not the point.  The point is that…


Filed under Faith, Life, Motivation

What Scares You?

The following is a sample of a conversation I’ve had countless times with students out in the hall, at lunch, after school – just not in my classroom.

Me: “Why aren’t you taking my class?”  (I teach trig/precalculus and calculus.)

Student: “I’m not good at math.  It’s been hard for me.”

What I wish I would have said: “Do you think you’re going to get better if you quit?”


Them (and they usually bring this up, I don’t ask): “I’ve gained weight because I don’t eat right and I can’t workout.”

Me: “Why can’t you workout?”

Them: “Because I have pain in my (feet, knees, back, etc.)”

What I wish I would have said: “Do you think your (feet, knees, back) would have less pain if you were lighter?  Do you think you would feel better if you were stronger and ate healthier food?”  

I don’t say these things.  I imagine that you all think I say everything I’m thinking, but I honestly do try to avoid hurting people’s feelings.  (Although, I’m thinking the response to the student is reasonable.)

Math and Gyms – My Two Big Fears

I hated math in high school and the first time I went to college.  Wasn’t any good at it.  Didn’t get it.  I didn’t finish college the first time and I had to drop out – a long story for another time, maybe.  The second time I went to college, I intended to become a science teacher.  Some math classes were required.  I had no choice but to tackle it.  I was attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and working as a temp to support myself while in school.  One of my temp jobs was as a receptionist at a career counseling service for women.  I was struck by the number of women using the service to change their career paths because, in order to advance at their current job, they needed to go back to school.  The additional schooling was not the problem – they were afraid to take a required math course.  They told me this specifically.  More than one client told me the same story when asked why they were seeking career counseling.  These women decided to start over completely to avoid taking a math class.

Wow.  That is when I realized how I, and apparently many others, allowed my fears to define my life.  Every fear and insecurity was a little fence around me, keeping me from experiencing something new, meeting new people, and growing.  We all make choices that narrow our experiences – and we make them gladly and don’t regret them.  Not talking about that.  I’m talking about the things I wanted to do, but was afraid.

I promised myself back then that I would not allow fear to define me.  If there is something I want to do, but it’s scary, I’ll find a way to do it anyway.  It don’t really have a need to do scary things – I’m not a thrill seeker who likes adrenaline rushes.  It’s just when I reflect and identify something I wish I could do, and I know I’m afraid to do it, that’s when I feel like my fear defines me.  Stops me.

That decision years ago was made with faith and prayer.  I was not on the right path and knew it.  But I let fear stop me. Once I knew I had to face it and push through, everything changed for the better.  Moved, met my husband, became a teacher, moved again, and now I’m doing all that and now there is this health thing.   Not a day goes by that I don’t answer exercise and nutrition questions.  My students ask questions.  My friends ask questions.  I get emails and questions on Facebook.   I’m not sure where this path is leading, but I’m certain it’s the right path  and I am not afraid.

Do you have a fear that defines you?


Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Faith, Life

Posing Practice “Geek” Style

Goal: Don’t look stupid on stage.  Especially since the stage is going to have two jumbo screens and a live web-cast.  HOLY CRAP!  When I set this goal two years ago, the target was a small bodybuilding show at a local high school.  Things changed.  People left my life and new ones entered.  The new people had new ideas that I liked.  So it’s a little bit bigger production than I planned on.   OK  – must be this way for a reason.  I’ve followed the path as it fell in front of me and it’s leading straight to it.  Alrighty then.  Let’s do this thing.   The promise I made during that desperate prayer in that parking garage a long, long time ago was that I would do the work if He pointed me in the direction I was to go.  Never have I ended up in a bad spot since.  There is work to be done, that’s for sure.

Every evening after dinner, I’m going to practice posing.  Actually, I’ve been practicing the quarter turns and the mandatory poses for months, but not every day.  Now it’s time to get serious and train for posing in a methodical way.  I’ve got a timer app on my iPhone for exercising, but I created a timer for posing.  I will hold each pose for 30 seconds to start with and work up to longer times.  Not easy.  First I need to hit the poses fast and then flex for 30 seconds.  I’m using a mirror now, but trying to only glance at it to correct form and then look away.  I won’t have a mirror on stage.  I need to feel the proper form.

And I have to put a routine together.

I’m not a dancer.  I’m a nerd.  So how does a nerd approach designing a posing routine?  TECHNOLOGY!  First, I downloaded a bunch of images of poses I liked or poses that I thought might highlight a strength.  I started by looking at my inspirations – Anja Langer, Cory Everson, and Sue Gafner.  Also found a few images from current competitors.

Next I put all of those images in an order that I thought made sense using PowerPoint because it’s easy to move slides around.

I decided it would be useful if the images were put together in a video with the song I think I’m going to use (keeping that to myself for now).  My version of PowerPoint is too old to make a video.  I tried to use Windows Movie Maker, but that hasn’t been working well.

Today, while playing with my phone, I realized there’s probably an app that will work better.  Found one tonight that might work, but won’t let me edit easily.  I need to do that, so I’ll search again.

I didn’t let myself get too distracted by the techonology.  I did get off my butt and got about an hour of practice done.  I might have the first 10 seconds of my routine planned, too.  Sort of.  Hubby’s studio is a handy space to have set up at home and he got some big mirrors for me.  A couple of those closet door mirrors.  Perfect for home.  I think I will need to practice in an aerobics room, too.

What a weird and exciting summer this is becoming!

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal