Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Growth on The Climb

I leave Friday for the mountains....for another fun, growth opportunity.  Another opportunity to do something I could not even think about doing 2 years ago!!

Still blows my mind...how God continues to work daily miracles in my life.

In the middle of a stressful couple of days...I find myself just really getting that as much as I want to accomplish my goal of losing weight...the daily life lessons...the climb...that is where the gold is...that is where the growth happens!

This Journey is not easy...but it is remarkable.  It is imperfect by nature...but perfectly glorious with God's help!
I have no idea what the view will be like when I reach the place I am going...don't know how I will get there exactly...but I will do my best to cherish each step!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The True Meaning

OK...Back at the gym tonight...climbing "pretend" mountains and preparing for this (major) mini goal!

Truth.  No part of me wanted to be at the gym tonight.

Truth.  Had to pray my way to the gym.

Truth.   Had to pray to remember that my goal is to be the champion of my life...to push a little farther than I think I can everyday!

Got to the gym...the below was written on that same white board as last night's inspiration!  

The True Meaning Lies in the Journey...

This Journey continues to open my eyes...my heart...my mind...This Journey continues to teach me that I have more to give...more to learn...more to love!

This Journey continues to teach me that I am in a vibrant, energized, loving relationship with God....and that through him All Things Are Possible! 

It reminds of one of my favorite song lyrics...


Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Will to be Stronger

It is late...too late to be thinking and writing a blog post. 

So...in an effort to start this week off winning...this will be short. 

The below words were written on a white board at the YMCA tonight...

I want to be a Champion!

Strive for it Everyday!  Have some good examples in my life!

6 days til the mountains!

Need the Will to be stronger than the Skill!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Conquering with Enthusiasm

7 Days and counting...7 days until I am off to Colorado....off to conquer another "major-mini goal"...off to hike a mountain and maybe slightly "off" my rocker!

I am feeling a little like my "training" for this challenge has been inadequate....HOWEVER. ..I am doing it!

Not only am I doing it...but by golly...I am excited about it!  It won't be the first uphill battle I have faced...and it will most likely not be the last...

But I have decided to conquer this  climb with enthusiasm!

As a bonus...I am thinking it will be beautiful...hiking in Colorado...in early fall!


So here's to uphill climbs with scenic views and Here's to putting one foot in front of the other!

Here's to continuing this Journey with enthusiasm!  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Go Team Clint

Tonight, a group of family and friends gathered together to rally around and raise funds for my young cousin Clint who, as many of you know, lost his right leg in a boating accident in July.

Tonight, people from his life...his friends, family, community, all came together to give back in a way that will help him take his next step in life.

It was heartwarming...inspiring...hopeful and exemplifies the concept that there is strength in numbers!

A great team is unstoppable, impenetrable, and together can weather any storm!

Clint is surrounded by a great group of supporters and that great group supports an exceptional young man!

A wonderful synergy! 

Clint will conquer this challenge one step at a time and I predict that along the way, he will inspire many!

Team Clint...you did a wonderful job!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Braving the Thin Air-All In the Name of Defluffing

So in 10 days...I am climbing a mountain...or at least hiking in the mountains...as one of my major-mini goals for this Journey.

I am looking forward to the challenge and still quite nervous about breathing!!! 

I find that at times...I have trouble "breathing" through this Journey.  So the thought of taking on a challenge that literally may take my breath away is a little daunting.

As always...each time I step out and do something different and stretch through many of the self-placed obstacles in my head...I experience a few growing pains.  I feel some discomfort...outside my "normal"...some fear and hesitation. 

However, the past 2 years I have learned something quite valuable.  I have learned that when I take those risks...when I do step out on the ledge of new and different...I feel pretty amazing afterwards. 

I feel liberated...I FEEL lighter!  Though the scale doesn't necessarily reflect that "lightness"...my heart and spirit shed another layer of what I like to think of as my "internal fluff".

That fluff that lives on the inside...that makes at times, for a heavy heart, a worried mind or a dampened spirit.  It matters little these days how that fluff got there...what matters to me is that I am finding ways to shed it. 

I just spent a better part of 5 days in an environment I LOVE...celebrating my Mom (whom I love-DUH) with a group of wonderful people that know how to love in a big way and DO so as naturally as breathing and whom I can't help but love!!!

I got to spend some priceless hang time with a friend who just so happens to be a gift of this Journey and a lovely, God-placed inspiration that reminds me how important it is to Dream Big and Believe and actively encourages me to do so!!! 

I was reminded throughout the entire 5 days that this Journey is about taking my life to a new level...stripping away the fluff...really embracing all of life's possibilities!  I may stumble through that at times...I may at times, let the fear and hesitation sneak in...but each time I push through that...each time I choose to breathe in that seemingly rare air...another layer of fluff bites the dust.

That my friends, is such an amazing blessing.  God continues to put people, opportunities, challenges and moments on my path that strip away the internal fluff...giving me the strength I need to reach new levels...reshaping my insides and my outsides. 

So....I will take on this mountain of a challenge to reach new heights (literally) and I will brave the thin air...all in the name of DeFluffing!!!!

Feeling Inspired and weepy (LOL... Liquid Fluff...comes with the territory)

Phil 4:13

Monday, September 22, 2014

Back to Work!

Full Heart!
Inspiration tank filled!
Blessed Infinitely!
Eternally Grateful!
Ready to take the next step!
Reminded of God's Amazing Grace through some amazing people!

Next Step...Live Intentionally, Love with Gusto, Be an Example...Work Hard...AND

Climb every Mountain! :)

Back to Work!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Gift of This Journey

What a day!!!

What an unbelievably exciting, fun-packed, love-filled day!

Mom and I had the wonderful privilege of seeing Kerri and April win their 7th STRAIGHT AVP title!  That would be a sweep by the way!

We got to share that Kerri and her family...a wonderful honor!!!

We got to see an excellent final match filled with great plays by both teams...We got to soak up some stellar Cali weather...and we got to spend a little more time with some of the best people I have ever had the honor of getting to know!

That my friends, does NOT suck!!

My Tone Tone got to feel the cold Pacific and take a bit of a stroll on the beach!

One more day filled with some unbelievable Blessings and some unbelievable people! 

This gift...the gift of this Journey...gets better every day...lifts me higher and pushes me onward.  This Journey is not a dream or a wish...It is a reality and for THAT,  I am beyond grateful!

Here are a few pics....

Saturday, September 20, 2014

In Search of The Perfect Sentence

If I was a writer extraordinaire with an unlimited ability to craft the perfect sentence...even then...I would not be able to put into words how amazing this day has been!

This presents a problem for me...I would so love to be able to just write one sentence that perfectly describes the wonderful kindness...generosity....sublime joy...and heart warming love I have seen, felt and experienced today...

I really did...in my deliriously happy, tired mind...try to sum it all up in one sentence....Sadly...all I could come up with is..This day kicked ass...in a million different ways and I got to be a part of it!

I have decided to sleep tonight and hope that I have a better sentence tomorrow!

Here are some pics that are hopefully better than my sentence!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A GREAT 1st Day!

What a GREAT 1st day in sunny California!

Beautiful weather...beautiful scenery...getting to watch amazing volleyball courtesy of my sweet friend Kerri Lee...with my wonderful Mama...all in the 1st 24 hours!

Somebody pinch me!

So very blessed by this day...by the people I got to spend this day with...by the beauty of God's artwork....and blessed that this is my life!

I even got in a good workout!!
After all...I do have a mountain to climb...in less than 3 weeks!  Holy Toledo!!


Here is a bit of our day!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cali Bound

WE ARE HERE...in Cali!!

Long day...stormy ( literally) day...FUN day...Decent flight...only an hour late...

We are ready for a few Zzzzzzz!!!

Tomorrow we will be watching some great volleyball...basking in the sun...oh yes...we WILL be basking...and continuing Mom's birthday extraordinaire!

Tonight...even amid the fatigue...I am so very aware of how blessed I am to be living this Journey...amazes me daily.

More tomorrow!

Here a few pics of the "journey" to get to the airport today!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No Giving Away My Joy!

Hello to All...

Today has been one of those days that tests my ability to be patient, to remember that we are all children of God and to just be a grown up!

Today I was unceremoniously tossed into the middle of a chaotic situation...one that drained me physically, emotionally and spiritually!

Today I was reminded that people, when driven by insecurities, fear and an unhealthy level of competitiveness...can be and often are, destructive...knowingly and unknowingly.

I was further reminded that I, when I let said people rent space in my head...can be self-destructive.

Today,  I let said persons steal my Joy! DAMMIT! 

As a result...
I am truly exhausted!

Today was tough...not so good choices on my part...

Tomorrow....my challenge...to evict the toxicity from the space in my head...and relet the space to the thoughts and ideals that fortify my spirit....and this Journey.

I am feeling derailed today...

Tomorrow is an opportunity to get back on track...no subletting brain space....no flailing in the chaos...no giving away my joy...DAMMIT!

I think I will start that process now...by turning this brain off!

One last thing...Cali bound tomorrow!  Taking my Mama to the beach for some world class volleyball! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Open For Business

Actually running on fumes tonight...

Kinda had a derailed Journey kind of day...

Still praying for daily focus and courage...

Feeling a little weary and wayward....

Gotta remember this is not a sprint...

Slow and steady wins the race...

Forge On....

Head Up...

Heart In it....

Can't close my mind to God's plan...

Must stay open for business...


Breathe...Pray...Be Present...



Monday, September 15, 2014

Birthday Fun!

Short post...very long day....but a great day to celebrate my Mama's BIRTHDAY!

We are gearing up for our trip to California! We will be celebrating her birthday hanging at the beach...watching a little volleyball!    She will be getting to see Kerri play for the 1st time! 

We both are excited about the trip!

More great memories to make!

In the meantime,  I must sleep...lots to do in a short week!!

Here is my Tone Tone birthday collage!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Forge On-Fully Present

It has been a busy, full weekend.  Lots going on and leading into a very busy week.

I did a 14.5 mile bike ride today followed by church and a pre-birthday lunch for my Momma! All before 2:00 PM!

As I head into this very jammed packed week...my hope is to be attentive to God's voice, eat healthy, finish boot camp strong, sleep well and do my best to be fully present each day...fully present in the blessings of this Journey.

Here is just a quick snapshot of my weekend.  Grateful for the fun...the friends and the family. 

Here's to a productive,  happy, healthy week!

Forge On....Fully Present! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Peaks and Valleys

It has been a rollercoaster of a day...highs...lows...a bit bumpy at times...crying...laughing...crying because I was laughing...up, down and everything in between.

Much like this Journey...today was filled with opportunities to fully live life...embrace the day...warts and all! 

This day was like a Journey within the Journey...Truth is...it was stressful...but valuable.  Tiring...yet energizing...painful...with a side of hilarious...and amid the difficulties of the day...this day was one more necessary step forward.

Despite the peaks and valleys of the day...I am grateful.  Grateful for the opportunity to live it...struggle through it...embrace it and ultimately,  change the direction I was heading.

Now I must sleep.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Boot Camp Reality

OK...Boot camp just got real! FOR REAL!

Friday night boot camp already poses motivational challenges for me...so walking in the door tonight felt like a big effort...I HAD NO IDEA!

Walking lunges...I call them cross-town lunges. ..cause it feels like I have walked across Houston and back after finishing my sets...

We did some serious supersets...squats...planks...lunges, among others!  Hardest night yet!

Feeling pretty good about getting through tonight's workout...

So now...it is all about relaxin' and ice packin'

Here's to a great weekend! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Using Every Minute of This Second Chance

This day, as is true for countless others, is forever ingrained in my brain.

 This day marks one of those moments when we remember exactly where we were and how we felt when we found out about the tragic events unfolding in our country. 

There was so much going "wrong" in my life on September 11, 2001...and yet, when my Mom woke me to tell me what was happening in NYC...it all seemed insignificant...pointless.  The bad part for me is that life was already feeling a little insignificant and pointless before I woke up that morning.

I was very ill... rarely left my apartment and ultimately, was less than 8 weeks away from a major surgery and lengthy recovery. I had allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the cards I was holding...not really wanting to play my hand or fold...but feeling quite lost. 

For those of you that know me well...you know that I am an absolute news junkie...with a degree in journalism and a lifelong love of news...I was completely engrossed in the coverage of  9/11.

So that morning...I became obsessed...watching every single minute of the T.V. news (for weeks)...trying in some way to make the events of the day make some sort of sense. 

It was so tragic...so unbelievable...so devastating and I was not even there...did not know anyone that perished...but it felt so personal.  I was an emotional and physical wreck before that morning...before I began to try to absorb this unthinkable tragedy.

Life was hard...I was 34 years old with the physical health of someone much older.  I was not working because of my poor health and I was miserable.  

On that day...I received some painful perspective on life. 

I think of that day often.  I think of how much life has changed since then...how in the midst of such pain...people rose up...joined together and vowed to Never Forget those that gave so much on that day.

At the time...I remember having the thought that though my life might feel tragic...it was no tragedy...it did not have to be pointless and on some level I knew...It was going to be up to me to change the trajectory.

I had no idea how to do that! NONE.  It would take years to begin to figure that out.

So here I am, 13 years later...still very cognizant of the importance of that day...the importance of remembering the events that lead to lost lives, damaged families and a whole world of painful experiences.

However, I am also very aware of how important it is to remember the Unity, the Resiliency and the Faith that was displayed on that day and since that day.

For me... I am figuring it out...how to change the trajectory of my life...how to make a point of living life fully...and I am, though this may sound really odd, grateful for the perspective I gained on that day.

 It has taken some time for that perspective to permeate all the layers of my life...but as I write this...I am grateful to God for the chance.

Though I will never forget the importance of this day...No looking back...only moving forward...using every minute of this Second Chance I have received.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finding My Core

Boot Camp continues....tonight was about core stabilizing and strength...

I think it would be fantastic IF I had a core...while others were strengthening and stabilizing their core...I was searching for mine.  It may be that my core is there...but heavily disguised....shielded by layers of fluff designed to specifically ward off these heinous variations of crunches,  wall sits and the like!

I am betting that by tomorrow morning....when I attempt to get out of bed...I will have a pretty decent idea of where my core has been hiding!  It will be easily identified by pain level!

So here's to finding my core...come out...come out...wherever you are!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Charming Gardeners

I saw this quote today and loved what it had to say...shared it with a friend...thought about it...and decided to write about it here.

It's funny...there really is not a day that goes by on this Journey that I am not supported, loved, encouraged and inspired to keep putting one foot in front of the other and move forward.  Even on those days when I feel like I have lost my way...there is always someone there. The only difference on those lost days lies within me. 

The dedication it takes to move forward...the perspiration generated from my efforts and the inclination to do it all over again...day in and day out is achievable because of the "Charming Gardeners" that grace my life.

God has seen fit to plop me right down in the middle of some pretty skilled gardeners and these people help me cultivate this "better than ever" life I am going for...that I am trying to grow! 

I love the whole imagery of this quote....the idea that I am surrounded by a joyful group of happy horticulturists...that help me stay out of the weeds...keep me firmly planted in the ground and make sure that I bloom to my fullest potential! 

Trust me...at times, I have felt choked by the weeds along this Journey...but no matter how tough times get...there is nothing more powerful...more reviving...than the wonderful touch or the kindest words from one of the Charming Gardeners in my life. And you can trust this...to those people in those moments,  I am forever grateful!  

Thank you for helping this soul blossom...for keeping me grounded in God's plan  and for putting up with me when I am a "blooming idiot"....hehehe...couldn't resist!

You are ALL quite charming!

Monday, September 8, 2014

What's Good For the Soul

OK...so it is really late...so short post.
Tonight...I got to step out of my routine a bit...and step into a night of laughs, fun and a few games of Bunco.

There is something healing about just hanging out...laughing...and just being around a group of people looking to do the same thing!

I needed it...I got to spend some time with a couple of close friends as well as a few folks I only see a few times a year!

Laughter really is good for the soul...it really does heal...and it is WAY better than medicine!!

Grateful for this lovely diversion and ready for the next step!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Rope Holders

I walked into church this morning, got settled and opened the church program to see that the title of the sermon for the day was the following.

Jesus Is....Healer

The minute I saw those words I thought...Sign Me Up...I could use some healing!!

As I sat and listened there were several thoughts that struck a chord with me. 

The minister told the story...one that I have heard many times...about 4 friends who carried their very ill friend on a mat to see Jesus...in hopes that he would be healed.  The friends knew of Jesus' healings of the sick and believed that He could help their friend. When they arrived, the crowd was so large that the men could not get into the building where Jesus was teaching...so, they carried the man on the mat to the roof of the building, removed a portion of the roof and lowered the man down (using ropes) to the center of the room...to in fact, ultimately be healed...rise up...and walk out the room...carrying the mat on which he had previously been confined.

After the minister finished the story, he asked this question,  Who are your "rope holders" and who are you a "rope holder for"?

Great question...I have had and do have many rope holders in my life.  Some long term and some only for a moment....but all have at times, carried me in my sickest, weakest moments to a place of healing...a place where I was given the opportunity to be healed....rise up...pick up my things and walk on my own. These rope holders are the conduit to the miracles of this Journey. They bring me to Jesus when I can't get there on my own.

The Minster said this today...Christianity is nothing if not relational.

This really is so true for me...As I look back on my Journey....there is not one moment that I have not had support, encouragement, prayer, guidance and inspiration relationally.  Other people's Grace...as I like to call it...and ALL possible because of God's Grace...and ALL in relationship to His plan for each of us.

So...as I face a few challenges with my health....I am so gratefully aware of the many rope holders who lift me up and lead me to God's Grace so that I can continue on this Journey...One Step At A Time and be Healed.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Medicine for the Soul

Really tired today...but as usual, found solace in spending time with people I love.  THAT coupled with a little TX high school football complete with a late night at IHOP...medicine for the soul!

Other than that...All I can say is...One Day At A Time, sweet Jesus....One Day At a Time.

I am quite clear that if I keep my eyes fixed on God's plan...that this too shall pass and I will have overcome yet one more challenge and will be stronger for it!

Here a few pics of me in my "happy place"...:)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Roadblocks to Speed Bumps

Really fighting some big internal battles these last few days...but doing my best to do so in a healthy way. 

Consistency is important.  When I hit these roadblocks...it is essential that I maintain consistency in my workouts...in my daily prayers...in my relationships...in my eating habits and my rest patterns.

When I face roadblocks...I often find that I make them bigger than they really are by being reactive. I give credence to their existence by letting those roadblocks rent space in my head.  However, if I stay the course on my terms...if I consistently do those things that positively fuel this Journey...those roadblocks become speed bumps.

Today...though.... I do have consistency issues in a few crucial areas in my life.  Oh...I have been making it to the gym consistently...bustin' my butt in boot camp....but I have some work to do elsewhere!

Still forging on...trying to take life one step at time!

Remembering that "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" ~Phil 4:13

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Joy in the Journey

Another Day on this Journey...and I am feeling a little low on words...if you can believe that.  For my entire life I have loved words though and when I don't have my own...I like to borrow others.  I have done that many times here...Today is a day when I find solace in some of my favorite words spoken and written by others.

It is one way I like to Find Joy in this Journey...


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

No Limitations...More Miracles

It is Hump Day and I am having a little trouble getting to the back side of the hump!

I talk a lot about being honest here...and...I make every effort to tell my truth as I make this Journey.  I think it helps me stay grounded in the purpose of this trek and my hope, is that it invites truth and honesty into my life.

It is not always easy to speak the truth...not that lying is a good option either...but OMISSION....well, that is a viable option for me at times. 

But...you know as they say...the truth will set you free. 

So...here's the thing.   I have shared from the beginning that I have some lingering health issues...one in particular...that is cyclical in nature.  I HATE talking about it...don't like thinking about it and really not too fond of the effect it has on my efforts to pound off the pounds.

But it is a part of my Journey and it does complicate matters.

For the last few weeks, I have been aware of some symptoms...fatigue, pain,  etc....and generally,  my solution has been to ignore...but that is becoming a little more challenging in the last few days. 

I can share here that I have seen so many remarkable improvements in my overall health over the past 2 years...that when I find myself back in this cycle...I get frustrated and fearful that I am going to get "stuck" in this cycle and lose ground on this Journey.  Just to be clear...it is not about losing ground from a time perspective....but losing from a quality of life perspective. 

So...if I am being honest...and I am,  I decided to share this here to

A.  Get it off my chest
B.  Further tell my truth about this Journey because that kind of honesty has gotten me this far!

My struggle...when to push through...and when to rest.  ALWAYS! 

Tonight...I pushed through...went to boot camp and worked hard. 

No real end to this story...other than this is one of those moments when that whole Walk In Faith part is imperative!

I can tell you this...my brain and my heart are so in for the fight....I just need my body to cooperate. 

I can also tell you this...my Journey has been chocked full of miracles...so who am I to put limitations on what God can do! I just have to keep breathing, believing and battling! No limitations....More miracles!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Fluffy is Down!

The fluffy girl is down...wiped out...sick! Bummer!
Today has been rough...but, tomorrow is another day and another chance to do something great! 

Here's to recovering as quickly as possible....boot camp tomorrow! 


Monday, September 1, 2014

The First Day of the Rest of My Journey

Happy Labor Day!!! 

It was really nice to have a 3 day weekend. As September begins...I am 30 days out from my trip to the Mountains...and I am getting ready for the challenge. 

Boot camp is going well...pushing beyond my comfort zone is proving to be motivating...reminds me that I can almost always take one more step than I thought I could. Which is nice!

I even have a war wound from today's session...yep...blister...pretty impressive...working my fingers to the bone and all!!! :)

So...boot camp this morning at 8:30 am...On Labor Day...hmmm.....But was up and ready to bust a move or my butt...whichever came first.  Walking Lunges...Ropes...Push ups...Planking...band work (thus the blister), super sets and did I mention those freaking ropes!!!! 

I am doing this boot camp with 2 friends...each of whom I have known for more than 20 years...but at different stages of my life.  One...since Middle School and a former Volleyball teammate...another...from my early working days (College Summer job).  Thanks to Facebook...we have reconnected and are now in doing this boot camp together...funny how life works. 

After boot camp today...Tammy (high school teammate) and I went out for breakfast and 4.5 hours later we had done our best to catch up on what has been going on for the last 30+ years.

I have shared here before that I, particularly since I started this Journey 2 years ago, have had the chance to reconnect with old friends, coaches, teachers...etc. AND I have had the opportunity to meet new people and form new relationships...ALL of these experiences have made this Journey what it is...meaningful, educational, remarkable and quite frankly, bearable.

There is something quite wonderful about sitting down and talking with someone that knew you from "back in the day"...It is kind of like getting to step into a history book of who I was and introducing that history to who I am today.  In some ways...not much has changed...and there is some comfort in that.  And in other ways...I am reminded of how far I have come...how much life I have lived and some good perspective on how many amazing people have graced my life.

Another really special part of getting to sit down and talk with someone after so many years..is hearing their story...seeing how God has worked in their lives and realizing that we ALL are on a unique, special Journey. 

It was a lovely way to spend 4.5 hours! 

Today is September 1st...The 1st day of the rest of this Journey.  Today I was reminded that God gives us ALL the strength we need...EVERY DAY...No Exception.  Today...is the first day of the rest of my Journey...a Day that deserves my very best efforts...A Day that is Blessed and a Day that is filled with limitless opportunity to grow a little wiser, love with all my heart and give it all I've got!

Tomorrow I get to do it all again!

Forge ON!!!!