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Feeding Your Athlete

As a sports mom nutrition is constantly on my mind when we are

“Did he drink enough water today?”

“Did she fill her water bottle for practice?”

“Is that going to be enough water?”

“What will she need to eat after practice?”

“Where will we eat between games?”IMG_9554

Now think about during games. If you are headed to the local sports complex this weekend for a day of soccer, football, etc., then you might already be thinking about where you’ll eat (if you’re traveling you may have already looked up the local restaurants), but it’s important that we realize what we feed our kids translates to their performance on the field.  Have you seen the commercials where kids are depicted as their breakfast foods…..weighed down and sluggish….full of sugar and sugar-crashing on the field? YUP. I’ve seen it too. Between games when the team goes out for meatball subs with sauce and cheese, chips, a cookie and a Coke (goodness),  ight as well tie weights to the kid and then ask them to run sprints. That’s how our kids feel after filling up with heavy carbs, sugars, and over-processed foods.

I’ll never forget when my kids were younger, and families signed up to bring snacks for during and after games. Water and orange wedges were encouraged, or strawberries or even grapes (although grapes have been known to have a gassy effect). The mid-game snack was the healthy snack and the after game snack was the treat. After one game, my son came running to me with a HUGE bag of goodies. “Mom, look at what we got for snack!” My eyes bulging I remember seeing Rice Krispie treats, a soda, colorful marshmallows on a stick wrapped in plastic, pixie sticks, a candy bar and fruit snacks (obviously the word fruit made it acceptable). But please don’t get me wrong, I’m at fault as well. “Let’s reward the kids after the game,” I thought. I’m pretty sure I even made homemade whoopie pies at Halloween to be “that mom.” Seriously (shaking head). OH MY GOODNESS!!! We are not dogs, we don’t need treats or rewards in the form of food! Are treats nice, yes, but do we NEED them to help performance? NO!

IMG_3826I do have a point. As my kids have grown and their games have become more physical, the halves longer and the heat unbearable as we wait for the next game, I’ve watched kids on and off the field and I’ve noticed something. Parents who pack snacks like hummus, fruit, veggies, natural peanut butter, water bottles have kids who last longer and have sustained energy on the field. Parents who run to grab a pizza and a liter of coke complain that their kid seems sluggish…like “he has weights tied around his ankles” and they say things like, “I don’t understand…..the break between games must have been too long.” No…..it’s what they were fed, in my opinion (and there’s the key word…opinion). I’m basing this off of years of participation and watching. Kids perform better if during their games you feed them light snacks of fruits, veggies, and healthy fats, turkey jerky or beef jerky. The carbs need to come the night before (just like if they were about to run a marathon….think slow burning). You don’t want to feed kids a bunch of bread, sugar and junk the day of a big game. That’s a disaster in the making and a sugar crash in the near future.

And parents……let’s set a good example from the sidelines! The whole “I’m not playing!” Not cool. You’re supporting your child so cheering while holding your Big Gulp and a Snickers is a distraction and only makes your child focus on what they aren’t having instead of on their best game. feed for success

As we hit the field this season think about how you can fuel your athlete for their max performance. Make the hard decisions I know aren’t fun to make (parents….we can do this), and pack food. If the team is going to a restaurant be proactive and talk to your server and your kid to educate them on making smart choices! They’ll have more energy to play their best and be their best on the field and they’ll just FEEL better after the game…..when it’s time to run for ice cream (wait…..)  🙂

GAME ON!
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Ready to CIZE IT UP!!!??

Next week I’ll be with Shaun T, live in the CIZE certification learning how to teach this program to ANYONE. That’s what I love about this. Dancing is FUN, it’s an awesome way to sweat and get fit without lifting a weight. MOVING is exercise and doing it to music while laughing and having a great time is THE BEST. So I’m excited to be able to bring this to others and share even if I’m not the best dancer. WHO CARES? Having fun with fitness is the goal, right?

cize 2So, as I get ready to head to Nashville I’m super excited to share that the CIZE test group is now open. I’ll be doing this WITH YOU in August after the program launches July 20! I am now accepting applications for my CIZE LAUNCH SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY group starting the 20th of July with plan and prep, August 3rd starts the workouts! I’m so excited!

The excitement about this program is pretty awesome. So many are ready to dance their way fit and why not? It’s FUN to dance when no one is watching, or involved the family! And I mean who doesn’t love to just DANCE? I could dance for hours because I LOVE music and love feeling that beat!

The program includes 8 dance workouts and goodness those last 4 are a little advanced! But who doesn’t love a challenge right? I’m sensing a flashmob scene. Get your friends and family together to learn with you and then ROCK that wedding reception, or high school reunion. WHATEVER! Make it fun, and dance it out. The dance craze is HUGE and what’s so exciting is that people of ANY age can dance! This is definitely a family-style program and Iv’e seen so many kids and parents getting in on the action together and laughing while workout out ….ooops….dancing! Don’t tell anyone I said “working out!”

 

Check it out! Shaun T explains it BEST! “it’s not about doing push up, it’s not about doing jumps, it’s about moving to the beat!” LOVE THIS!!!!

 

The minute I start this workout I feel happier! Seriously – it’s such a mood boost it’s not even funny (well the dancing part is funny)  I mean it’s called the end of exercise for reason…because you don’t feel like you’re working out.

If you’re wondering HOW….well here you go: It’s a fun workout that is broken down into steps for the any “dancer” at any level.  It’s not about the crazy push ups and diamond jumps… its about focusing on the beat and getting into the moves.  Just move to the beat. Period. You’ll be sweating and working towards your fitness goals without feeling like you’re working out!

The workouts range from 35-40 minutes in length and the program is 4 weeks long but you can definitely extend it as you are learning the moves.  Cize is choreographed to the latest pop music that Shaun T has picked out (and the man knows his music!)

“it’s super fun, you don’t even realize you’re working out!”

Cize is coming out in July and it could even be sooner than the specified date of July 20th!  So you definitely want to get on this list for the details.  I will be sending out an email with the package options and ordering details as soon as I know more next week!  cize 1

What are the requirements?

The requirements to participate in this group is that you must be a customer of mine to participate.  If you do not have a Team Beachbody Coach you can create an account here: www.teambeachbody.com/CoachLaurenDuke
Each participant is required to get the Cize Package that includes the entire workout program, nutrition guide, DVDs, schedule of the workouts, plus the Shakeology and this comes in a package called a challenge pack with discounted shipping!  This gives you access to my exclusive Launch Group where you will get daily 1:1 mentoring from me and support from others just like you that are working towards crushing their health and fitness goals.  You will log in daily and receive tips from me plus daily accountability and support!

Does this sound like something you would like to do?  If so, please complete the application below ASAP and I will be in contact with you to add you to the group!!!

This is my first attempt at CIZE and it was awesome. I WAS A MESS….and y’all….it might look like it….(ha) but I have NO dance training. I know….from my sick moves you thought I was a pro. HA! Shaun T makes you look GOOD 🙂

 

“Cize will change the way you workout forever.”

**This is not for those that are already coaches, please refrain from completing the application if you are already a Team Beachbody Coach.

So if Cize sounds like a workout you would like to rock out to then I’m inviting you to get on the CIZE list today!

It could be released as early as the 15th of July! So don’t wait, you don’t want to miss out on the CIZE fun!!

https://dukefam.wufoo.com/forms/cize-test-group/

“Yo this ain’t no cha-cha-cha!”

 

 

Summer is HERE!

SummerSchool is out and if you’re like me you’re excited, right?  Excited because NO MORE CRAZY EARLY ALARMS and it’s time to make the most of this opportunity for freedom and time with your kiddos, right? BUT balance is key!!! Making time for you and your goals isn’t taking time away from your kids, it’s making sure that you are taking care of you so that you can ALL have a great time together.

It’s so easy to let activities and busyness rule your schedule and days BUT with a little planning you can get in time for you, and enjoy ever drop of Summer WHILE working towards your goals. If you want to eat better then involve the kids in the prep and the shopping for ingredients. Teach them how to make delicious, healthy meals with seasonal ingredients. Plan family BBQ nights where you try a new recipe overtime, and plan a few fun evening activities like bike rides, beach visits, sno cone runs, and even bonfires with friends/neighbors. These are memories that will last a lifetime!

Amidst the craziness and awesomeness of Summer remember to take time for you and your goals and dreams. Involve your kids in your goals and involved them in your fitness to help them learn to enjoy fitness. It’s fun!!!

With beautiful weather and more daylight, try getting outside and trying a few new things! Looking for something to try? TRY THIS!!! I like that this workout is broken up into sets! Involve the family, have a competition, but JUST HAVE FUN!!!!outdoor workout.

The view is worth the climb

My husband and I have been in France for 5 days and it feels like a lifetime because we have gone, done, and taken theIMG_0267 time to experience and drink in the sights, tastes and sounds of this incredibly beautiful country.

Yesterday was our first full day in Marseille and we had ambitions plans with the first stop being Cassis specifically to hike to The Calanques (the two coves). Well I love to hike and was on board immediately. Driving to Cassis was beautiful with rolling hills as we headed closer to the Mediterranean. The hillsides were dotted with vineyards, beautiful Chateaus and then there it was….the beautiful blue Mediterranean Ocean. As we descended into the city we found a market, shops, and then the port with colorful fishing boats and restaurants facing the water. We grabbed a trail map from the tourisIMG_0274m office and off we went, but not before grabbing a baguette, water and fruit. Voila.

Because we were enamored with our surroundings we became “lost” quickly but were still headed in the right direction so we went with it. When we finally reached the trail head I looked around to see that no one else was taking our path. Everyone else was coming from a different direction or headed off on a flat path. Our past said DANGER, with a big RED X, loose rocks, falling rocks and a very steep climb. Chris kept saying, “but we will be able to see from the top and we will have an incredible view. We just have to climb a little. ” Again, I’m all about hiking and trying new things, forging new paths, etc., but this path was loose, and we slipped a lot but kept climbing up. He was right though, as we came over the crest we were speechless. The first cove was a blue I cannot even describe to you and yes we took pictures 🙂 LOTS of pictures. I even stopped and did a few handstands 🙂

IMG_0281                                        As we continued the path became even more rocky and difficult. I stopped because I thought “what a great visual for anyone working towards a goal. The path was at time painful and I found myself  timid at times as I looked for a stable surface, or I was being purposeful about my steps which was taking a little longer. Isn’t that how a journey begins? You’re trying to figure out your way and how you will “attack” this “hill” ahead of you. My husband ahead was slipping and so I took the time to makIMG_0286e my own path after watching him struggle. Again, that’s part a journey! You learn from others, and from your own mistakes. You might need to take breaks and reassess your situation, and you learn along the way that you might need to make your own path and go at your own pace. You’ll get to the top, but you might not bet there at the same time as someone else. It’s ok. Your crest and your view await.You’ll find others to go at your pace and you’ll meet people along the way who appreciate your pace and want to work WITH you…all about the journey.

 

As we reached the top we stopped and looked out over the cliffs into the beautiful sea….and just paused for a few minutes to drink it all in. A little further and we could see the second cove, but again, not without a little hike and a few slips on the smooth marble that had been traveled by many before us. I saw others slipping and decided to make a new path. So what if it wasn’t THE PATH. I could see that it was going to get me where I needed to go without struggling as other weIMG_0282re. Again, the view was spectacular and the colors in the water were from a dream.

On the way down, there were various groups of people descending after swimming in the cove and you could hear some of them (mostly younger people) complaining and arguing as they navigated the path. It was slippery! Then there were others (more experienced climbers) who took their own path and were faster with their descent. And then others who were very slow but steady. Everyone would make it to the bottom, but those who complained were stuck for a while…complaining which others were making it happen and finding a way down; even helping one another so one wouldn’t fall.

What a perfect picture of a team, working together for a goal or a singular person working on their goals and finding their own way.

The journey is definitely worth the view once you reach your goal…but don’t stop thereIMG_0292. There are many other places you can go, things you can see and feats you can achieve. Take the knowledge from your first climb and use it for your second and third….etc.

I dreamed of Paris…..

When you’re little IMG_9857you dream, you play, you imagine and you make believe because you want to be the princess in the story, or the hero who saves the day. You want to grow up and be the strong fireman, or the president of the United States because for whatever reason those people excite you and you want to be like them.  Point is, most kids have imaginations and those imaginations take them places they might never actually go….but they have a belief that they are those amazing things/people/creatures!

Then you grow up. Life isn’t easy, it’s not always fair and there are definitely lessons daily. Sometimes the ability to dream is overshadowed by real life, real responsibilities, real hurts and real disappointments. So we stop dreaming because it’s just easier NOT to set ourselves up for yet another failure. WOW.

But what if it was more fun to hold onto dreams and what if it was more fun to believe that there is MORE waiting for you each day if you truly believe that you have a divine purpose. Do you think you might start to dream? Believe in the impossible? What if we didn’t allow one trip or stumble hold us down but we got back up and kept putting one foot in front of the other because we just knew that our journey wasn’t finished? I heard a wonderful analogy the other day and it has to do with personalities, but I took it one step further. Think of water. Think of how it flows around obstacles even creating it’s own path sometimes. It come come out of rocks finds a way to reach its destination no matter what. It might take time to get there but water never gives up.

When I was in elementary school my science fair project was on erosion. I had a rock tumbler at the time because I loved polished stones. I loved how you could take something not-so-pretty and after a while the rough edges would be worn down and the color would change and a new thing would form from something that wouldn’t have caused anyone to notice it before. And after a little buff and shine this new polished stone was full of colors, dimension. And it got me thinking that that’s just like us. A little rough, a little worn but over time as we are molded and shaped and given the chance to transform then we are beautiful inside and out.

So back to dreaming 🙂 Last year, I was able to go on the trip of a lifetime with the company I represent. What an honor. As one of the top 10 coaches in the entire company I was given this opportunity to go to Italy and while it was incredible something was missing. The trip itself WAS a dream trip. It’s always been my dream to go to Italy and see the countryside, the vineyards, go to Rome and drink (literally) it all in. But my husband wasn’t able to go. After all his travels around the world, I was finally able to go and he couldn’t. After the trip I decided that no matter what I was going to recreate this first class once in a lifetime trip for us. I didn’t know when, how, or what it would entail but I was committed to doing it for us. I worked hard, and focused on helping others and I also took time to work on me. I set my site on going and bought tickets! EEEK! I did it. I jumped. I didn’t know if he could go, or what the future would look like for us 9 months ahead but I did it. I mean someone would go with me if he couldn’t right?  Now here we are….we leave today. First class to Paris. A trip for us and I’m beside myself that it hasn’t been taken away….that he can actually go….that we have support and peace of mind for our kiddos, and that this is actually happening. More than anything I just wanted to create some memories that were OURS.

So, dreams do come true. They might take a while to be a reality but just like water if you persist  and follow your purpose….with passion…and if you flow around obstacles and keep your eyes on the end in mind you will find a way.

#designedlife #sahm #entrepreneur #Paris #travel

 

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Why Not You?

beachI mean seriously, pinch me. There I was, on the beach with incredible friends and family I hadn’t known just 2 years ago. I watched as they laughed and joked and encouraged one another. Another free trip earned doing what I love.  I was surrounded by encouragement, inspiration and everywhere I went I was accepted and known. What an incredible feeling to be where you belong. It’s like the song from Cheers…”don’t you wanna go where everybody knows your name? And they’re always glad you came?” But two years ago no one knew my name and I STILL knew that this was where I was supposed to be. Each day I’m sharpened and challenged in a good way to be a better friend, leader and to reach out and share with people because I want something from them but because I want to encourage them and let them know that someone is there for them; that someone believes in them.

This journey has allowed me to meet incredible people I would NEVER have met, and to develop friendships that I honestly cannot imagine life without! I’ve traveled all over the country experiencing awesome events and I’ve even traveled abroad as a leader in the company. I mean seriously? Is this real? YES! Is it what I expected? NO! I had NO CONCEPT of what to expect because I jumped in as a coach after hearing about the transformations. I’m a sucker for the heart. A sucker for a good story 🙂

Today we talked about transformations within my team of coaches, but I asked people not to focus on their physical transformations. I wanted to hear all about the changes from the inside out. What poured out of people is incredible.  The fact that I’m blessed to know these people and to be a part of their lives is the best gift ever. I honestly pinch myself and cry tears almost everyday when I stop and reflect and thank God for putting me on this path and allowing me to experience this journey. I know that He is continuously using me and I’m excited about what’s to come.

“On top of all of my physical changes I’m learning to believe, breath, and trust myself. And that just might be even better then losing a few pounds and gaining muscle.”

“I’m learning to trust, believe and have faith in myself and what I’m doing! Yes it takes work, lots of it, but it is so worth it once you help that person reach a goal! How awesome to help somebody to become better because of something you helped them with!! Amazing!”

Just 3 short months ago I was depressed. NO energy. NO motivation. Naps EVERYDAY. I hated working out, but even more I hated not feeling like I had purpose. I was STRUGGLING for air. I was GIVING, but I was not RECEIVING. I had a false sense of what is was to be a LIFE giver…GIVE. GIVE. GIVE. Right?! WRONG!
You see, you can fully give until you make sure you are full of AIR. Until YOU are breathing LIFE first. I was running on borrowed oxygen. I needed SOMETHING…fast!

I took a step of faith. I did something that I NEVER imagined doing. Hey, I was desperate! A dear friend reached out with an OPPORTUNITY. I said YES. Not even knowing what I was getting into, but desperate for change. Its called FAITH.
Fast Forward 3 Months:
I am in the BEST shape of my life! MENTALLY, I am UNSTOPPABLE! I have vision. I have GOALS. I have BIG dreams and I have the mindset to ACHIEVE them. My one crazy decision to do the thing I HATED, that I DESPISED (fitness) is INSPIRING others to TRANSFORM THEIR LIVES. Mind and body they are changing!! They are FINDING THEIR STORIES! Changing their lives, their families lives as they are INSPIRING people around them! It is UNREAL what I see, what I hear and what I get to be a part of.”

The best part of what I do isn’t the trips, the income or the perks. It’s the day to day interaction with individuals who are not only selfless enough to help others, they are experiencing and celebrating their own victories. A family is restored, a mother finds strength, and a life is changed to be used to inspire others. I could keep sharing these stories because there are many more, but what I really want to make sure and get across is that I’m not special. I don’t have any special training….but I do work hard and I do sacrifice because I believe in this opportunity so much and in these people so much and in the God who has blessed me with this team SO MUCH that I run after my goals (I HAVE GOALS NOW) and I believe in the possibilities and I KNOW that everyday will be a blessing!

So as I sit here reflecting on ONE HECK OF A DAY, I want to be sure you know how incredible you are and how the opportunity to be a life-changer is available to everyone. Each of the people whose stories I shared above made a choice. They jumped and on the way they allowed themselves to break through the mundane, the boring, the tired and the worn to LIFE!

Is it easy to jump? HECK NO!

Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

Thrive

Some of the incredible ladies who have JUMPED and their lives are forever changed from the inside out. I only knew 3 of them 3 years ago… and this is just a handful of the amazing people God has brought into my life!

Cize is gonna ROCK YOUR WORLD!!

So admittedly I love to dance. I never said I was the best dancer but I do love music and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE moving. It’s so fun to use dance as cardio and wow it’s one of the best ab workouts I’ve EVER felt.

You can just tell when someone is a dancer. They are fit, agile, and come on….they look comfortable on the dance floor.

So when I heard about this program today, saw the video clip and then SAW SHAUN T preview it I was FLOORED! YES YES YES!!! This is going to be my cardio,  my fun, and I can invite people over to join me and then we can rock the dance floor or the living room or the kitchen dance party. WHO KNOWS and the sky is the limit!

CHECK IT OUT!!! My video is quiet but I wanted to show you how Shaun T teaches the program and it’s hilarious 🙂 Turn up your volume.

So welcome to CIZE and just so you know, this program is going to be available July 2015. I’ll get my hands on one of the sessions/workouts Monday and I’ll preview it for you OF COURSE, but if you would like to be in my VIP group to learn more about this program, please fill out the contact form below /email me at coachlaurend@gmail.com

THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!!! OHHHH and it’ll be available on Beachbody on Demand (DIGITAL STREAMING) as well! The first video will be available in JUNE, a month before the program is available!

EEEEEK! and now the LEGIT video!!!!

Contact Me

Send Me!

-Oz5bXQd-XjZ6PX7SdFXeBdpEdoPCF8GnoURfJWCl-Q,VgUGB_4w4FFsZifGEu7YjZ3TZsai4QOSZ8owHh0O-0oWhen we say that, what changes are we committing to? What have we gotten ourselves in to when we take the first step and inwardly or outwardly proclaim…..SEND ME? I’m not talking about an actual trip requiring a ticket purchase, I’m talking about mentally and physically committing to step out and believe that you are meant for a greater purpose. Sometimes THAT is the hardest step to take. The step of belief.

I’m reading a book by Christine Caine called Undaunted and I’m finding so many lessons I can use in my personal life. It’s eye-opening and sharing this is my way of saying SEND ME!

I have been truly blessed but not without sacrifice and struggle. The thing is, when you are doing something you love and making an impact in the lives of others it’s like childbirth. You forget the pain and focus on the blessing. All I see and feel are the many blessings. Despite my past, my fears, my apprehensions here I am, writing, sharing, inviting and hoping more than anything that the people God brings into my life will embrace their greater purpose and believe that they are made for more. No matter their past, no matter their present, no matter what…..”send me” means reaching out to them, encouraging them and believe in them!

You might say “that’s easy for someone else,” but nothing WORTH anything is easy. There is always a sacrifice, a lesson, an opportunity to grow (and growth is often painful). What began as a simple desire to experience and help others with their fitness has blossomed into a ministry with a loving team of people who inspire me daily. I call it my family and we share, encourage and lift one another up! It’s an incredible community of individuals whom I trust and who sharpen me.

That wasn’t part of the vision I had! My journey started with ME, stepping out and feeling that calling to SEND ME even thought I wasn’t sure where I would be sent or what the journey would look like. So many times we want the map. We are too focused on the destination and how to get there instead of the journey, and this life is a constant journey just like fitness. There is no destination. You will NEVER reach the end. You will NEVER get to a point where you just stop taking care of your body. It’s a journey and a fulfilling one when you are surrounded by people who are equally as passionate about inspiring and helping others.

I know what it’s like to feel “lost” and to feel alone. I lived most of my life feeling this way and still struggle, but God is truly doing a work in me to show me that HE has a greater purpose for my life and that HE has a clear path for me to follow. I trust him not because he’s given me “things” but because I FEEL fulfilled when I am doing what I know brings Him glory. The scary, the new, the thing that allow me to grow and see him more clearly are the things that affirm I’m on the right path.

While my “job” is to reach out and help people lose weight, inches, feel better from the inside out with whole food nutrition, I can use this opportunity to encourage and build up at the same time. I can share that we aren’t alone and that we aren’t meant to do this life alone. We all have a purpose and when we are living that purpose it’s easy to wake up everyday excited about where we will be sent. And one of the greatest joys is to see others believe in themselves and realize that they CAN impact and they CAN help others in such a simple way. THAT is what brings me so much joy….that lightbulb….that realization that “wow, this is so fun….the message I received brought me to tears because I know that I’ve helped her….” WOW.

So, I’ll do my workouts consistently and continue to set new goals, I’ll share, and inspire others to see the value in sharing how they feel from the inside out….why? Because I can see that God is using THIS opportunity for his glory.

A Heart’s Cry.

It’s hard to pick yourself up after you fall. It’s so much easier to stay down, hide away and remove yourself from whatever situation knocked you down in the first place. Maybe you put on a “happy face” or act like everything is “just ok” but inside you are truly hurting and uncertain. So maybe it isn’t easier to stay down and hide? Maybe it’s easier to dust yourself off, get up and keep trying? I’m not sure. I do know that prayer plays a big role and God always has something incredible in store.

For the past 15 years we have been a part of the military and as a new military wife the life seemed exciting and fun meeting new people every few years. And it was! As a young married couple with a new baby living in a teeny town in Texas it was so fun to have get-togethers, go to events and participate in the military lifestyle. That carefreeness has been replaced with having to grow up, kids activities, responsibilities and the desire to do more than just follow your spouse around from base to base. At some point you feel there has to be more and you crave that sense of belonging and sense of home. When people ask where I’m from it takes me a second. It used to be easy. “I’m from Oklahoma,” I would say. Now I have to think about it because I’m not sure. It’s been so long since I lived IN Oklahoma that I guess I would say I’m from there…..but that’s not home anymore. Trying to make a new place home and find my place has been difficult. “Will I be accepted? Will there be room for me to plug in? Will my kids be able to participate in their sports?” All are common questions that run through my mind. Usually we jump into a church first, for the kids and for me since I love to sing and GOD ALWAYS PROVIDES!!! Why do I question that? My family is together, we are healthy and that’s all that matters….but I’m a woman….and I’m silly…..and I need to remember that as long as we are together we are OK!

I used to think it was easy to be IN the military and move because you’re assigned a new unit and have to jump in to fill the spot to which you’ve been assigned. But I’ve learned that that’s not true at all. Personalities, leadership styles, etc. all play a huge role and again, you have to do your best to fit in.

So as we’ve grown up in the military it’s becoming more and more evident that we are ready to settle down. We want to find our place, and we want the kids to have their place and make a home for them. We want them to have the four years of high school that we had growing up and be able to participate and make memories with friends. We marvel at our children who “seem” to jump in and make friends, but it’s not easy for them either. They are resilient, strong and incredible and they teach me so much. Watching them interact and gain acceptance makes me SO happy.

imperfectly

It’s funny. I never thought that I would be someone who would stay home and work. I always thought that I would have to find a job outside of the home, staying busy, running around because I thought I enjoyed being in the mix of everything. But over the past couple of years I’ve realized that I needed to find myself after so many years of doing what the military needed me to do (coffees, trainings, spouses events, dinners, recognition events, etc., etc.) it was time for me to find ME. So, a few years ago I did something that was completely crazy, and out of “character” for me but what I felt I was called to do. I’ve found my place and my passion helping others and combining my love of fitness with the desire to meet people and help them. I like that I can keep the two separate and have a life where I’m baseball mom, track mom, soccer mom and then have my thing when the kids and hubby are out of the house. Win Win. God has taken my talents and allowed me to use them on a greater scale than I could have ever imagined, doing things outside of my little bubble. I’ve been called to do things outside of my comfort zone and to grow.

I finally feel like I’m finding me, but at the same time I’m finding I ned to learn balance. I’m an all or nothing kind of person and it’s taking me time and reflection to find my “happy place” where I’m not 100% to the left or the right. I might be a slower learner than some, and I might jump in and do the thing before reading the instructions but I figure it out in my own time. I guess this post is about grace, about faith, and about believing that even though I don’t see it or feel it yet, that there is a place for me here, in this new place we call home. It might take longer than other places to feel “right” but perhaps because it’s taken me longer here it’ll mean more. Perhaps it will never feel “right” because I have a calling outside of this geographical location on a larger scale. Who knows. What I do know is that I’m learning to be more present, more invested in the things that TRULY matter with my family. Making memories, being spontaneous and allowing the cell phone to die when I’m out with my daughter. It’s ok to be lost for a while 🙂

This life I’ve been given is a huge blessing. I take nothing for granted and it’s good to be broken and brought to my knees every once in a while so that I can look up and reevaluate, where I am and where I want to be and where God wants me to be. Because I know He’s put us here for a reason.

Maybe this post makes no sense to you and maybe it screams loud and clear and speaks to you. Either way, it was on my heart to share. It’s funny, as I write I find more peace, joy and just pouring this out allows me to experience and see a whole new perspective and to really examine my TRUE feelings and not the spontaneous emotional crazy with which my day began.

Photo on 4-3-15 at 9.42 AM

Build them up….

This has been in me. I guess. I just didn’t realize it was here until someone unknowingly popped the bubble that released the pressure.

Girls, and boys, we’ve got to stop tearing one another down in the name of building ourselves up. I listen and watch and take note of the way girls especially treat one another. It’s not funny or silly to drag someone down only to hold them down and kick them. Of course I’m speaking metaphorically, but honestly the picture I have is a physical torture. A look, a cutting comment, a “diss” or plain ugliness does nothing but scar. I wear the scars. I’ve carried mine around for YEARS. They’ve healed but they are reminders of another time.

beautySomeone asked me tonight if I would help her know what to say to her anorexic niece. Another friend asked if I could write a letter to a hurting young girl hospitalized again for an eating disorder. Heres the thing. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t want anyone’s help. I didn’t want anyone to reach out to me because they hadn’t reached out when I was hurting. They hadn’t given me a hand when I was knocked down. In fact in some cases they had initiated the trip that caused the fall. Why should I listen to them now? They didn’t care about me or they would have cared when I needed them. No….I don’t and didn’t know what to say to these girls. I can tell you that someone who is hurting that much needs to know that they are worth more than a number, or a size, or an unachievable expectation. It’s impossible to achieve the picture in our minds without severely damaging ourselves. I know. I tried. I was damaged and more than that I DAMAGED those close to me. Those wounds took YEARS to heal and cut deep. “Selfish” is what I could say to those girls. That’s what this is. But that won’t help will it? It might only add to the punches and kicks.

My daughter came home last month and told me, “mom, I’m fat.” Immediate sweats. Shock. Anger. Shaking. All of these things happened at once. “Who told you that?” I asked. I was infuriated. After working SO HARD to keep my own insecurities quiet she was still tripped. Another girl spat that comment out without even thinking. A girl larger, and obviously hurting herself. Why else would you do that to someone else? Why else would you “punch” someone that way? Misery loves company perhaps? A feeling of powermasterpiece? Evil? All of the above? Perhaps. What I do know is that I told my daughter that she is perfectly made, she is precious, and she is not to listen to anyone else’s opinion of size. She’s strong, athletic and smart……and loved. That’s all she needs to know. Growing up is hard enough without walking through it with labels stuck to you. And what’s more, those labels are dished out by insecure individuals who have NO IDEA how to deal with their own emotions so they lash out at others. For about a year my daughter wore a lot of eye makeup. We couldn’t understand why because she’s naturally beautiful (we may be a little biased). We didn’t push but just made sure she knew she is beautiful (when the makeup wasn’t on) and now….no more makeup. She even said, ” I don’t need to wear makeup.” That’s a victory. She’s confident in HERSELF and she feels safe.

And here’s the kicker. I now work in the fitness industry. An industry that most think revolves around how you look, what size you are and the number on the scale. Well, it’s my goal to change that. How do you feel? Do you have energy? Are you healthy? Are you strong? Are you confident in your clothes? Do you love you? SUCCESS. We CAN change anything about ourselves, even our shape and size but if the reason for change is to please someone else then that’s the wrong reason. If you want to challenge yourself and achieve a goal. If you NEED to change do it. You CAN! But don’t do it because some idiot tells you you’re “fat” just to hurt you. Be uniquely and beautifully YOU. Nothing brings me more joy than to hear someone’s excitement about their energy, their strength, their confidence and about fitting into their goals jeans or feeling attractive for their upcoming event. THAT is a victory. And it starts with being filled with encouragement and belief.

So, what would I tell those girls? Well I’m not sure they would listen, but I would tell those close to them to remind their precious girl how precious she truly is. I would value her and look her straight in her cold blank eyes (because that’s how I was) and with tears streaming down my face I would make her understand her value and her beauty from the inside out.

I didn’t understand that I was a masterpiece. I was and AM created perfectly and passionately by THE Creator. Nothing trumps that. NOTHING! I’m not saying you stop struggling. We are human, and flawed. But, if we are filling our hearts and minds with positivity and surrounding ourselves with those who would build us up daily then it’s easy to shake it off and go back to being awesome. My prayer is that we would be stronger to stand up for those who need help and quick to stop the punches. Be the advocate your child needs. Be their protector and remind them how truly precious they are not just to you but to the ONE who made them.

 

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