Tag Archives: purpose

Blank pages

5 Jan

I know we are in a time that we can do everything on our laptops, our smart phones, our iPads, and all other sorts of devices.  We can write ourselves notes, fill in our daily calendar, journal, read our books, instant message, email, text and so much more.  However, there are some things that I just refuse to give up – my journal and my Franklin Covey planner.  To me, there is nothing like opening my brand new journal and writing my thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  I also love putting my new planner pages into my binder and filling it up with my classes, my appointments, important dates, and my “to-dos” . 

That is how I choose to look at each new year – it’s a brand new year filled with blank pages and I get to choose how I fill those pages.  I get to write my own book this year – no one else writes it for me.  No matter what happens, I choose my reaction.  I get to choose my emotion.  I get to choose life, hope, trust, joy, contentment.  I’m excited about this book of blank pages that is before me.  I don’t want to live with regrets so I choose to take risks, to say “yes” more often, to travel new roads, to believe that anything is possible and that there are no limits except those I set for myself.  I plan on writing a good book in 2013.  What will you do with your blank pages?

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I want to be like you when I grow up….

6 Nov

 

This past weekend I was privileged to meet an extraordinary couple who attend The Rock Church in Sunnyvale, California.  They are proof that age is just a number and that wellbeing can be achieved no matter your date of birth.  I did not get their first names so I’ll refer to them as the people there refer to them…..Momma and Papa Leaman.  He is a spry 90-year old gentleman and she is an energetic 85-year old lady.

There are several choices they make that enable them to live such full lives.

1.   They recognize the importance of moving their bodies.  They attend their local health club three mornings a week and walk for 45 minutes and participate in an aqua fitness class.  Because of the ladies conference this past weekend, they were not able participate in their typical Friday morning fitness routine, and Papa Leaman was disappointed that they had to miss.

2.  They are active members in their church.  They attend services and special events that their local church sponsors.  They help when they can and where they can – they know that they are a part of a community and you can see how the other members of the congregation interact with them and let them know that they are loved, honored, and appreciated.  I was there this past February for a dinner at the church and they were both in the kitchen helping out….and Momma Leaman is quite the chef.  She helps with the food when she is able.

3.  They are madly in love with each other.  They have been married 66 years and she refers to him as her “latin lover” 🙂 (He is Italian and Spanish.)  Upon meeting him, he will proudly pull out a picture from his wallet to show you–it’s a little worn and faded but the beauty of the young lady is breathtaking.  It is one of the first pictures she gave to her sweetheart.  As I watched them talking to other members of the congregation, I saw that they still like to hold hands.

4.  Travel and adventure is still vital in their lives – they don’t leave that for the young people.  The last few years they’ve went with family members to Hawaii for one month to vacation.  Then last year, they decided to take a cruise all by themselves without any family members.  They refuse to let fear of the unknown keep them in their comfort zones.

5.  They realize they have talents and abilities to share with others and realize that hanging out with children can put some energy, fun, and laughter into your day. She has a workshop behind their garage and once a week she has girls of all ages come to her workshop and she teaches them to knit, embroider, sew, and crochet.  Many of these young girls will make Christmas gifts for their family members during these weekly lessons – the week before Christmas, she has wrapping paper for them and they prepare their gifts.  Then they go into the kitchen and she all the ingredients ready for homemade gingerbread men.  They decorate their cookies and then clean up the mess before she takes them out for lunch. I told her I wished I live there so I could go over her house once a week 🙂

6.  They refuse to allow health issues to run their lives and they make whatever changes they need to in order to keep disease from diminishing their quality of life.  When he was diagnosed with diabetes, they went to informative sessions for two weeks to learn everything they could do to help the symptoms from escalating.  They made lifestyle changes and it’s working….he is only has to take one pill a day.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer and she did her research and made her choices and is cancer free.  At age 85, she is only on two prescription meds per day.

This couple radiates warmth, love, and well-being.  I wish all of you could meet them because I know they would inspire you as much as they inspired me! Momma and Papa Leaman, I want to be like you when I grow up!

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?

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….

Lessons I’ve Learned While Watching The Olympics

5 Aug

I am one of the millions who has been staying up way too late to watch the world’s top athletes compete in the London 2012 Summer Olympics.  As I’ve watched, I have learned some valuable lessons that I hope to apply in my own life.

As I watched 16-year-old Gabby Douglas go through her gymnastics routines, I could not help but be drawn in by her engaging smile and her fun attitude.  She had me smiling as I watched her have fun while performing her floor work.  Yes, she knew she was at the Olympics; and, yes, she knew she was performing for the chance to win a medal.  However, for Gabby, it appears as if it was just another performance doing something she loves and enjoys doing.  Her smile lit up her face the entire time…she was having the time of her life.   I learned from her that if you do what you love and do it with passion while having fun, you will win the gold.

While watching the interview with Carmelita Jeter, it was mind-boggling to hear how people have slammed her, made negative remarks about her, posted things on the internet about her and questioned her authenticity in her performances.  What intrigued me and taught me a valuable lesson was the statement she made towards the end of her interview: You can let what people say consume you or fuel you.  Wow! If it consumes you, it drains you and is negative.  If it consumes you, it energizes you and fuels you to personal best records on the track.

And how can I fail to mention Oscar Pistorius, the first double amputee sprinter to compete in the 400 meter run in the Olympics????? Can we say “NO EXCUSES” to go for your dreams??? He has had to fight adversity and naysayers – people who said, “he has an unfair advantage because of his blades….they give him an edge…”  What???? Someone with legs and feet is at a disadvantage over someone who has had both legs amputated below the knees? I’m sure he is another person who doesn’t let what people say consume him.  I’ve learned from him that no matter how difficult it may seem to achieve your dream, you still have to believe in your dream, hope in it, and go for it.

The human body is an amazing design.  We all have an athlete that lives inside us that wants to be challenged.  It’s never too late to go for the gold in our lives….it’s never too late to train to live our dream.  No matter what anyone says…no matter what anyone thinks….. Do what you love and love what you do.  Live every moment with passion and no regrets.  Just do it!

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…..

Let’s make a memory….

27 Jun

As I thought about what to put in my intro to my newsletter for the month of July, I decided to google “July Holidays.”  I had NO idea all the things that I need to celebrate in the month of July.  Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month, National Anti-Boredom Month, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, National Hot Dog Month, and National Ice Cream Month???? I had no idea. And, then we get into the days of the month…it appears that the 16th of July is the only date on the calendar that has no celebration. Here in the US, we are all familiar with Independence Day that we celebrate on July 4th – and those of us that have friends in Canada know that July 1st is Canada Day. But, there are sooooo many more celebrations to have!

For example, July 3rd is Compliment Your Mirror Day. July 7th is Chocolate Day and National Strawberry Sundae Day.  On July 10th, it is Teddy Bear Picnic Day. And on the 13th, we are supposed to embrace our geekness!  I will choose NOT to celebrate National Nude Day on the 14th and don’t want to know if you do 😉  Even the Ratcatchers get a Holiday on the 22nd.You can Take Your Pants for a Walk on the 27th and we would be remiss to miss Father-in-law Day on the 30th!!!  These are just a sampling of the Unique and Bizaare Holidays that one can celebrate in the month of July.  (My source was:  http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/july.htm)

Crazy? Fun? Interesting? Sure!!!! That’s what life is about.  Finding the small things and celebrating them.  Taking ordinary moments and turning them into a joyous occasion and a reason to make memories with friends and family members.  It’s not the big vacations that fill our lives with so much joy…..Yes, they are fun to take and we do create many memories while we are on those vacations.  But, we cannot live at Disney World all year long.  We have to learn to savor the unexpected, fun moments that come our way when we are least expecting it…..and to take a crazy Holiday like, Sidewalk Egg Frying Day, and actually celebrate it.

Too many times we wait for the BIG occasions to make memories and enjoy life….life is too short to just wait for once-a-year vacations.  Every day there is something to celebrate…try it….see how creative you can get…..LIVE in the moment and embrace it!