Tag Archives: mission

Alignment

28 Sep

This morning I made my way to Dr. Eddie, my chiropractor, so he could make some adjustments and continue helping my spinal column to be in good alignment.  The vertebrae in our spinal column can get out of alignment due to lifestyle, poor posture, stress, weight, etc.  The spinal column has a very important job of protecting the central nervous system; our central nervous system is VITAL to our well being….it’s how we live, move and breathe! I’m very aware of the importance of good alignment in the spinal column.

Another important alignment that has to be made every so often is on the tires of my car.  This has to be done so that the tires are set to the car maker’s specifications.  It reduces tire wear and ensures that my trusty, little Toyota Corolla will travel straight and true and not pull to one side.

I have to make alignments in my spiritual life, as well.  I have to align my thoughts, my hopes, and my purpose with God’s.  I have to put my trust and hope in Him and know that He is my provider and works all things out and brings about good things in my life.  When I neglect to keep myself in proper alignment vertically (between God and I), the relationships in my life get out of alignment horizontally.  I begin to put people into a position that is not fair to them.This puts unrealistic expectations on them as I begin to expect them to meet my needs or make me happy.   My peace of mind is not dependent on what others do and don’t do; my happiness is not based on people.  However, if I’m out of alignment spiritually, my emotions, thoughts and feelings will be based on others and their actions.  This makes for a very rocky/bumpy roller coaster ride….it’s not fun for anyone – me or the people in my life!  When I’m out of alignment, doubt, fear and worry will fill my mind and these things will make me want to react in negative ways.

As I align my thoughts with the Word, peace, contentment, joy, purpose, hope, trust, faith, and rest enter into my life, my heart, and my mind…..no matter what is going on around me, in me, or in my life.  The following scriptures come alive and bring peace:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:18

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble. Psalms 46:1

I sought the Lord and He answered me.  He delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:4

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him.  Psalms 37:4-5

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

And there’s many more words that bring value, rest, peace, contentment and hope.  That is why it is imperative that I keep my vertical alignment at my top priority…when that is in perfect alignment, all is well.

How’s your alignment?

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Lessons learned in the classroom

14 Aug

As a group exercise instructor, it is my mission to give each class participant motivation, encouragement, a challenge, and a fun time during class so when he/she walks out of my class, he/she feels better, stronger, more energetic, and glad that he/she made the effort to attend my class.

Last Wednesday morning in Zumba at Northside YMCA, I had a new class participant and she had never tried a Zumba class before.  I made sure to chat with her after class and encourage her to come back.  She proceeded to tell me that it’s the first class she has been back to after losing her mother unexpectedly at the end of June.  I could tell she wanted to talk, so for 20 minutes I listened….shared a little bit of my story of losing my grandmother a few weeks ago…and shared how being physically active can help us through dark, emotional moments. We both shed a few tears and then she gave me a hug and a little kiss on the cheek and thanked me for listening and said she would be back.

In this same class I have a senior lady who attends….I figured she was in her late 60s…she has been attending for a few weeks now…always smiles…has a great time….and makes sure to thank me after class.  I was moved to tears when another participant shared me the story of this lady, Phyllis.  Phyllis is 79 and is the caregiver for her husband who has Alzheimer’s.  She hires a sitter once a week so she can attend my class. I was overwhelmed with emotions after hearing the stories of these two ladies.

That is why it is vital for me as an instructor to give 110% in every class…no matter how I feel or no matter the day that I am having.  It is not about me….it is about my class participants.  Health and wellness is more than just physical fitness….it is emotional wellness…..it is mental wellbeing….it is experiencing moments of joy, happiness, and fulfillment.

I want my class participants to leave my class feeling like a better person…a stronger person…a healthier person….and feeling empowered, encouraged, and motivated to face the rest of their day no matter what may come their way.

More lessons I’m learning from the classroom….

Reflections

22 Jul

ImageMy journey with Grandma has come to an end……On July 12th around 7:30 in the evening, Grandma took her final breath here in this world.  I’m not sad for her…..but I am sad for me.  This last two years my life has revolved around her….visiting her on a daily basis…feeding her lunch or supper (depending on the day)…spending Friday and Saturday evenings with her….going to church with her at the nursing home on Sunday mornings and then feeding her lunch….decorating her room for holidays and new seasons…..taking her to activities…..watching her sleep…..seeing her sparkly blue eyes light up when I would walk into the room…..laughing as Grandma would crack me up with some random remark…..holding her hands….rubbing her feet….putting lotion on her…..giving her manicures…..bringing her treats…….praying with her…..  Sooooooo many memories and I’m grateful for each one.

I’m so glad I made the decision two years ago to move from Michigan to Knoxville, TN.  I was the assistant to our wellness director at the YMCA in Muskegon, Michigan, and was going to be hired as the director in the next few months….I took a leave of absence for one month and while I was checking things out in Knoxville, I interviewed with a Y and was given the chance to teach Zumba once a week.  That was enough to know that I was supposed to move….my career as a director was put on hold and I quit working 40+ hours per week and started over with just one class per week.  Scary?  Yes! But knew that everything would work out and that Grandma was my mission and my purpose in life at the time.

For two precious years I was able to be with her on a daily basis…I find it interesting that she was my caregiver the first two years of my life (my Mom worked full time when I was born so Grandma was my babysitter) and I was her caregiver the last two years of her life.  And, I wasn’t ready for her to leave just yet….thought I had more time….I spent time with her on Wednesday, July 4th and then I left on Thursday for a few days…went to Delaware to celebrate a wedding.  I got back to the nursing home on Tuesday, July 10th and walked in Grandma’s room to see her on oxygen and not looking well.  I just thought her O2 levels were low and the oxygen would make her all better.  I spent time with her and then had classes to teach.  Wednesday morning, the nursing home called to let us know that Grandma was not doing well and probably would not be with us longer than a few days.  I finished teaching my morning classes and hurriedly showered to get there.  I walked in and knew that she would not rally back for us this time….I called my Mom and told her she needed to get on a plane or get in the car and start driving.

Grandma was not left alone until 6 p.m. on Thursday…..people came to hug on her and love on her.  I stayed by her side until 6:00 Thursday morning….had precious alone time with her and sang her favorite songs and then reminded her of all the things we did together – assured her that she was the best grandmother and that she had done a great job.  She would hear my voice and focus in on me for a moment – or if I got up and did something, she would become alert again before fading out.  I gave her many kisses and just loved, loved, loved on her.  My boyfriend, Jeff, arrived around 1 in the morning and stayed with me until my parents arrived at 5 a.m.  Mom stayed with her while we all left to get a little sleep. We all came back and spent most of Thursday with her – I decided to go ahead and teach one class – my parents and uncle went to get a bite to eat….and while we were all gone, Grandma took her final breath.  I really believe she wanted to protect us from seeing her leave us.

Grandma was 85 and would have turned 86 on the 25th of this month.  She lived a full life and made many memories with all of us.  She showered us with love – prayed for us – bragged on us – gave of her time, energy, and money – she never missed a birthday or special occasion – she was a classy lady who dressed like a queen.  She loved  wearing White Diamonds and her clothes still smell like it.  She carried beautiful embroidered handkerchiefs and loved her angel brooches.

Her life was celebrated and remembered by the many people who came to the visitation and funeral.  She was surrounded by pink, her favorite color.  The flowers that arrived were simply breathtaking and would have made her so happy.  One thing she would have been upset with is her thumbnail was snagged and not filed….she would not have liked that!!! 🙂  Her nails were always manicured. I didn’t wear black….i wore ivory and rose because that is what Grandma would have wanted.  And my sister and I sang at her service…something else Grandma would have wanted.

Now we begin the process of continuing life without her being in our daily lives and routines – that is a little unsettling because there will be no more Grandma’s house to go to….and as we all know, there’s no one like Grandma 🙂 My daily routine will seem empty and void for a while….my family has been here so it’s not settled in, yet…and I know I have more tears to cry.  However, the last two years of my life have been filled with so much love and joy and all the moments are priceless.  I’m honored that I was able to have that time with her. Life is short and we never know when we will have to say goodbye to a loved one….that’s why it’s important to focus on what matters and what will last.

Goodbye, my sweet grandmother…..until we meet in Heaven…..

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?