Tag Archives: mission

Chapters in life

6 Jun

Last evening, one chapter ended in the life of a very important young lady in my life.  She was part of the class of 2012 and received her diploma for completing high school and will move into the next phase of her life as she enters college in the fall.

Eleighna Chanel is the reason number one that I am an auntie.  She was born on July 12, 1994 and from the moment I saw her being born I was totally in love with this oldest niece of mine.

Because of circumstances, she and her mommy lived with my parents and I; and we were totally taken in with this precious gift sent from Heaven.  Yes, we doted on her and spoiled her and held her all the time and I’m sooooo glad we did because the moments just pass too quickly.

Memory after memory was made with this baby, toddler, little girl, young lady…..

I would wake up in the morning and could look through my door into her room and see her wake up and get a big smile on her face and we would point at each other and she would start giggling.  “I love you more”…. “No, i love YOU more!!!” These statements would be exchanged as she started talking.

Bath time, play time, reading time, trips to the park, trips to great grandma’s house in TN, Disney World, campground, family vacations to Prince Edward Island, etc.

Her first day of Kindergarten, the entire family went with her and escorted her to her room.  Lots of pictures were taken.  It was hard to believe she was already five years old.

During her time in elementary school, I volunteered in her class a few times – went on a field trip or two – was able to take her to school many, many times.  When I would drop her off, I would tell her that she was a princess and that I loved her but Jesus loved her more.  We would say a prayer and prepare her for the day.

She moved to New York for her middle school years; and the day she, her mom & her sister left town, I thought my heart would break it hurt so bad. Lots of trips both ways were made during those few years….

They moved back the summer before Eleighna entered high school…..and as glad I was to have them close again, I was concerned because I knew she would have to adapt to a new school, making new friends, and all the craziness of being a 9th grader.

And….then…..graduation.

I know she will handle the challenges of life just fine because she’s already had to face challenges and difficulties.  Challenges and difficulties I wish I could have sheltered her from.  She faced and dealt with some hurts, sorrows, and disappointments that she should have never had to deal with but because of other people’s choices it left her with consequences.

Not once did she complain or express anger. She would just say, “I’m used to it.”

This oldest niece of mine is kind, compassionate, tender-hearted, strong in her convictions/beliefs, musically talented, loyal, dedicated, sensitive, quiet, introspective, non-demanding, loving and sweet.  I’m so proud of her and being her aunt is a privilege and a blessing.

I hope that the memories she has of the chapters in her life so far will be great ones to reflect on.  I pray that she will remember the good more than the bad.  I hope that the love from her family will be a strong foundation that keeps her grounded the rest of her life….that she will remember the object lesson from her school superintendent at her commencement last night about having a foundation and then adding passion to that foundation and a lifelong love of learning.

It has been my privilege to watch and be part of this chapter in her life.  I’m so grateful for the day she was born into our family….our lives have been much better because of her.  It truly is an honor to be her aunt!

Congratulations, Eleighna, on completing this chapter!  I love you!

Reflections

5 Jun

Today, I get to celebrate another year of life and this year I’m able to be with the people who matter most in my life….my parents, my sister, and my nieces….I couldn’t ask for a better gift.

As I sit with a cup of coffee, listening to classical music, watching 2 five-week old puppies nap after wrestling/playing, I reflect on where I am today and the life lessons I have learned in the past year.

I’ve learned that betrayal hurts just as bad as an adult as it does when one is a child or teenager.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how old you are it still hurts when a “friend” is one of the reasons why a breakup occurs in a dating relationship.

I’ve learned that it still feels horrible to be the one “left out”.

I’ve learned that even as an adult sometimes we feel like we have to be someone we are not in order for some people to like us and accept us.

BUT……I’ve learned some fabulous things as a result.

I’ve learned that the friends who have been in your life the longest are the ones you can still count on and it doesn’t how many miles separate you.  When you need them, they  are only a phone call away.

I’ve learned you still have to keep trusting and that you have to take a chance again…yes, it’s scary and it may not work out but you have to do it.

I’ve learned that a closed door means there is a better door that will open up.

I’ve learned that I get to choose my reaction and that other people’s opinions &  thoughts are not what define me.

I’ve learned like that I really like who I am and I refuse to let someone else’s insecurity/jealousy try to make me someone I’m not.

I’ve learned that there are valuable lessons to be learned from sorrow, hurt and rejection….even when we think we’ve already learned those lessons!!!

I’ve learned to focus on what really matters and to live in the moment.

Yes, these are alllllll lessons I thought I had already learned; I guess I made the discovery that the lessons continues and sometimes the tests get harder 🙂

As I sit and reflect, I love where I am at today and am very excited about this next year of life.  I’m ready to choose health, wellbeing, challenges, discovery, learning, adventure, travel, going outside my comfort zone, blessings, and LIFE!!!!

 

Heroes

28 May

Who is a hero?

What is a hero?

What picture comes to mind when I ask you what a hero looks like?

Do we think of men in capes who fly through the air?

Do we think of men and women in uniforms with lots of medals?

Do we think of ourselves as heroes? (I’d say that most of us do NOT think of ourselves as a hero).

Well, guess what?  Each person is a hero to someone…each of us impact a life – sometimes we have no idea how we impact someone’s day…we may not even know the person…it may be that we took time to chat with someone or that we held the door open for someone or that we smiled at someone.

There are all kinds of ways to be a hero…it doesn’t always involve rescuing someone from a burning fire or pulling a car off of someone (although, those are very heroic deeds).  If we wait around for the BIG heroic deeds where we will be recognized in the news, in the paper, or with a medal, we will miss out on countless opportunities throughout the day to be someone’s hero.

~  Mowing the yard of your next door neighbor who is a single mom or widow

~  Going into a nursing home and spending time with a senior who is lonely and has no visitors

~  Going to the local hospital to sit and hold a newborn who is going through withdrawals because the mom was taking drugs while she was pregnant

~  Giving of your time to a local charity

~  Mentoring a young person

~  Volunteering

There are many, many ways to be someone’s hero….what will you do?  What choices will you make to be a hero?

Let’s Get It Started!

20 May

Mornings…….

Some people have a love/hate relationship with them.

Some people wish mornings didn’t start until noon.

Some people love the pre-dawn hours and get all of their work accomplished by noon.

Some people drag out of bed  – others bounce right out and start at full speed.

No matter which category you fall into….mornings WILL happen 🙂

The choices you make in the morning will affect the rest of your day, so it is very important to choose wisely.

It all starts with a good night’s sleep – it’s important to be rested when you are facing another day.  If you have to be up at 5, you might want to go to bed before midnight.  Study after study is showing that 7-8 hours of sleep is vital for our wellbeing, weight loss, metabolism, etc. It’s been shown that sleep-deprived people eat up to 550 calories more per day and aren’t as likely to burn those calories off. (http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/articles/53-diabetes-news/12409–less-sleep-means-more-eating )

It’s also good to give yourself enough time to get everything done that you need to do before walking out of the house….yes, walking out….not madly, frantically running here and there trying to get everything together and find keys, papers, etc. while making a mad dash out of the door.  If your day starts calm, you feel more like facing any challenge that may arise.  If your day starts frantic and in a frenzy, one stressful moment may push you over the edge!  So, no pushing the snooze button multiple times…..

Drink – start your day with a glass of water.  Your body needs water and your metabolism needs it, as well.  First thing I do after waking up is to go to the kitchen and get a glass of water and drink it all!

Get the body moving – I’m not suggesting that you have to do an intense workout first thing in the morning….especially for those of you who aren’t morning people 🙂  A walk outside in the yard, walking your dog, some stretching, some yoga poses, push ups, Pilates, etc. can help wake you up and energize you.

Eat!!!! – Breakfast is THE most important meal of the day – DON’T skip it!!!!  Food is fuel and your body needs fuel to get through the day.  I’ve had some clients tell me they don’t eat because they don’t like breakfast foods (oatmeal, cereal, etc) – I say, then don’t eat typical breakfast foods…..just make sure you include protein, complex carbs, good fats.  In order to rev up your metabolism, you must eat.

Make time for meditation, prayer, inspirational reading, writing in your journal, words of affirmation, etc.  Don’t forget your spirit – remember that you are here for a reason and that is to make a difference in the world, in someone’s life, in your day.

Each day is a gift….life is precious….each moment counts. The way you start your day determines the way you handle your day and the things that happen during the day.  Your start can set you up for success…..or set you up for failure.  Which will you choose?

The future of girls

31 Mar

As I sit and drink my morning coffee, I’m reflecting on a fitstudio chat on twitter, an article Jillian Michaels tweeted, a news blurb I listened to on NPR, a traumatic day at school for my youngest niece, and my role in all of this.

Yes, this blog will focus on the female gender not because I’m biased but because I am one and I’m a role model for two nieces that are my world.

Empowering Kids with Healthy Choices was the topic of Wednesday’s fitstudio chat on twitter.  As always, it was a great chat with lots of great tips and advice.  Towards the end of the chat, we started discussing role models for girls and how we could be positive role models for the girls in our lives.

One way I do that is to never say, “I hate my_______” or “I don’t like the way my ______ looks”.  I feel that we as women need to embrace our bodies and our unique, incredible bodies that the genetics in our families have helped to create.  I have my paternal grandfather’s nose – he has been gone for quite a few years….but every time I look in the mirror, I’m reminded of him and the role he played in my life.  I have feet like my maternal grandmother…..and just like my Mom and grandmother, if I gain any amount of weight, it will go to my stomach.  All of these unique things make me part of my family.  If I say I don’t like myself or a certain part of my body, how are my nieces going to think positive about themselves?

Jillian Michaels tweeted about an article that had been written by Dara Lynn Weiss about the difficulty of dealing with obesity and her 7-year old daughter.  You cannot find the article online but you can find lots of articles that have been written in response to her article.  I’ve included a few links at the end of this post.

Because of our society’s focus on weight, there’s another BIG issue that comes up.  The NPR news piece that I listened to was discussing the statistics of eating disorders.  Now obesity is an issue that we need to address, BUT I’m very concerned with the unhealthy thinking that can occur in people’s minds and what some are willing to do in order to be “thin”….Notice, I said “thin” and not “healthy”.  Eating disorders cause all kinds of unhealthy emotional and psychological issues and unhealthy relationships with food that people will struggle with the rest of their lives. Many eating disorders happen as a result of a teasing remark or negative role models…..what is disturbing to me is the amount of girls in elementary school that are on diets.  Our little girls should NOT be dieting….the word “DIET” should not even be in their vocabulary.

This hits home for me because over a week ago my youngest niece was in tears after some negative, hateful remarks were said to her on the playground.  She is 11 years old and is not obese or overweight.  No, she is not stick thin…she is just a typical pre-adolescent girl.  She was in tears when she was picked up from school and it affected her for the rest of the evening.  Her mom and dad did their best to un-do the negative, mean remarks but I know that as a child you don’t easily forget those statements made to you by your peers.  Thankfully, my niece is surround by great role models and very positive adults in her life; and, hopefully, we can be a louder voice of influence than the boys on the playground at her elementary school.

I can speak from experience because I was a chubby pre-teen and always struggled with my weight.  I did get some teasing remarks from people but my family never withheld food from me or told me I should diet.  I think a lot of my “problem” was that I was not active…I would rather sit and read a book than go outside and play.  Should my parents have made me?  I don’t think so.  Now we did things as a family – and my Mom always cooked very healthy (we were eating wheat bread before it was popular to eat wheat bread) and always had fruits and vegetables.  As I entered my mid-teens, I took it upon myself to be more aware of what I ate and starting becoming more active.  As a result, I discovered my passion for fitness and nutrition and that is why I’m so passionate about educating and empowering women to be their best.

I think as role models for our girls we need to lead by example…..get outside and be active with the children in our lives.  Teach them that we don’t go on diets but we make lifestyle choices.  Refrain from taking them to fast food restaurants.  Take them to our local farmer’s markets – plant a garden together.  Show them how fun it is to move our bodies….biking, skating, rollerblading, sports, swimming, kayaking, etc. The choices are endless!

Another thing I’m very adamant about is keeping certain magazines out of the hands of our girls….and maybe out of our houses totally.  We need to remember that most pictures are digitally modified and that most females DO NOT look like that naturally.

I want the girls in my life to realize that the world is a big place full of opportunities for them and that food is meant to be used as fuel to help them be their best mentally, physically, and emotionally – that is why we make certain food choices.  I want them to dream big and use their creative, intelligent minds to do amazing things in the world.  I want them to know they were created for a reason and that they are able to make a difference in someone’s life, in the community they live in, and in the world.  I want them to know there is no one else in the world like them….that they are unique and need to embrace that.  I want them to know that their self-worth is NOT based on a the size of any article of clothing that they wear nor is it based on what society says is beautiful.

Two girls that are my world are my nieces – Eleighna is 17 and will be graduating this year.  She is thoughtful, kind, compassionate, talented, beautiful, has a tender heart – she sings like an angel and is learning to play the piano.  She goes with her youth group to a nursing home and sits and plays games with the residents.  She is a faithful, loyal friend. Morgan is 11 and is vivacious, energetic, social butterfly, talented, beautiful, athletic, speaks her mind and has strong emotions and a great sense of humor 🙂  She has fun, beautiful hair that can get crazy wild – and I hope she always appreciates that fun, spunky, crazy hair.  Two amazing girls – two very unique girls – and I want the best for their futures without any of the negative self-image junk that can happen as a result of unhealthy mindsets of food and fitness.

I will always be an advocate for the healthy future of girls.

Here’s a few other women that I feel are vital and important for the future of girls:

www.lisajohnsonfitness.com

www.tobyamidornutrition.com

www.freakingfitness.com

I hope you will check out their websites and follow them on Twitter.  Let’s be healthy role models for the girls in our lives!!!

Two articles that discuss the Dara Lynn Weiss article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hayley-krischer/vogue-mom-writer-child-diet_b_1384845.html

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/03/28/dara_lynn_weiss_s_obese_child_vogue_essay_can_parents_ever_talk_about_their_kid_s_weight_.html

Daily reminder

28 Feb

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Every day when I leave the nursing home, this is what I see…..the Veteran’s Cemetary. I’m reminded daily that life is fleeting and I need to focus on what really matters & determine what kind of legacy I will leave behind. I would like to think that this visual reminder is making me a better person & helping me to live in every moment with passion, purpose, & focus. I only get one chance at this; and, prayerfully & hopefully, I live it to the fullest!