Hope, Uncategorized

Hidden Treasures

As so many of us are doing during our self-quarantining, lock-down time, we are remodeling, rearranging and getting rid of certain eyesores around the house.  Believe me when I tell you, this 40 year-old fixer upper of a California home has tons of potential to keep us busy for years after this madness has ended.

Upon the removal of a hodgepodge of ugly bushes, an ancient birdhouse was discovered, smack dab in its middle.  Ok, maybe not exactly “ancient”, but extremely old and rusted.  It looked as though it had fallen a long time ago and the previous owners just let the bushes, at least I think they were bushes, grow in all around it.  They made no attempt to pick it up or move it to a safe place.  They just left it.  Interesting.

I’m sure in its prime, the birdhouse was a safe and happy haven for some neighborhood birds as a comforting stop in their daily routine.  I wonder how often they looked for it after its fall before they gave up and changed their daily habit altogether?

Now, of course, it is less than appealing.  Seems to have out-lived its usefulness.  Maybe it was best that it was hidden from view after all.  Selah.

There is no doubt that we are living in extremely troubled times, where hatred and unbearable losses have become a daily occurrence.  We are forced to stay in and socially distance ourselves from those we love and care about.  We have found ourselves feeling lost at times, hidden from view, and even depressed.

Earlier today, a dear friend of mind mentioned her deepened sadness and over all feeling of being “drained from life”.  I believe that so many can relate to that feeling.  We daily wonder if things could ever get better?  We may feel helpless or hopeless at times.  We may even decide to stay hidden, which is a luxuriously comfortable and tempting idea to those of us with introverted tendencies.  We can just stay in our safe, comfy home-based cocoon and focus on ourselves while the weeds or bushes of the world just continually grow up all around us until they completely take us over.  As they hedge us in on all sides, we may become even more afraid to venture out, have an opinion, or live our lives as God intended.  We can stay well-hidden for years, just like the ancient birdhouse in my yard.  Or maybe we can sleep for twenty years like Rip van Winkle, as the world moves on without us.

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  Mathew 5:15 (NIV)

Jesus said that YOU are to be the light in the world!  YOU are the salt of the earth!  You are unique and well-equipped for exactly the time you are currently living in.  You were not meant to live a less-than life,  always silent and hidden from view, much like my poor wretched little birdhouse.  You have a heart, you have a voice, you have a passion and a God-given destiny.  It’s ok to be sad.  It’s ok to admit to a day of feeling hopelessness and despair.  We all have them.

If we have learned anything positive during these difficult times, I’d say we’ve become masters at staying connected to those we love.  We’ve become creative in our ways of encouraging each other and discovered the ease of video chatting for work as well as quality family time across the nation.

Now is not the time to grow silent and hibernate.  Someone needs your voice,  your beautiful happy face, or your ear to simply listen.

YOU are the HIDDEN TREASURE.

Don’t stay hidden.

Be the light in someone else’s darkness.

Your blessing is right around the corner, and you may miss it if you are hidden.

Never be afraid to let your light shine.

Namaste.

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My Father’s Eyes

An unpleasant Memory re-surfaced today.  I thought I’d share a little in the hopes of encouraging those who find it difficult to forgive.

Years ago, I was continually thrown into social gatherings with a person who clearly couldn’t stand me, and who seemingly enjoyed trying to make me feel inferior every chance she got.  Though I have to admit, her distaste stung at times, I chose to ignore it as much as possible.  Until the day it affected my young daughter.  When adults purposefully hurt each other that’s one thing, but when someone hurts your child-the mama bear claws come out.  Believe me when I say, It’s almost impossible to forgive the ones who hurt your children, and negative words spoken in hatred can last a lifetime.

But God.

Something interesting happened.  One evening I sat around the table with a few friends and my arch nemesis as the topic turned to faith.  It was then that I learned the truth about this lady.  We were discussing Bible studies and wanting to have a deeper relationship with the Lord when she spoke up and stated that she had no desire to ever read the Bible, let alone study it.  She had no time for God and saw no value in pursuing him at all.

Right then and there, my heart broke for her.  I understood her completely.  She didn’t know the Lord, at least not intimately.  She was lost.

Though lovely on the outside, affluent and appearing to have it all, she actually had nothing.  Nothing lasting anyway.

She had tried so many times to hurt me, make me feel inferior, etc., because she herself felt insecure.  Less than.

I like to say that the devil tipped his hand that day.  Because she actually spoke up, I knew exactly how to pray for her.  That’s my “superpower”, I pray.

One of my prayers is “Lord, please allow me to see others the way YOU see them”.  Just like “My Father’s Eyes”, a beautiful song recorded years ago by Amy Grant:

“Eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around.

Eyes that find the source of help, when help just can’t be found.

Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain.

Knowing what you’re going through, and feeling it the same.”

She ends the song by saying, “And on that day when we will pay for all the deeds we have done, good and bad they’ll all be had to see by everyone.  And when you’re called to stand and tell just what you saw in me, more than anything I know, I want your words to be ‘She had her Father’s Eyes.”

That’s my prayer for you.  That before you judge, you choose to see others with our Father’s eyes.  Eyes full of love and compassion.  Forgive them, they are the ones truly hurting on the inside.  Life’s too short not too.

As for me?  Well, every now and then I get a little painful reminder of someone who has hurt me or one of my kids in the past.  The tinges of wounded feelings have lessened as I pray for the ones who have inflicted the pain, and I pray for those who I may have hurt as well.  I forgive as quickly as possible and pray for my own forgiveness.  It’s how we heal, cope and move on.

The future is too bright and full of hope to hang on to past hurts.  God is up to something, and it’s not just good—it’s going to be AMAZING!

Please let me know if there is something on your heart that I can pray for you about.  It would be my honor to lift you up in prayer.

 

Namaste.

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Go BIG or Go Home

The first time I had ever heard these words of great wisdom were from a lady by the name of Georgi, the trainer of all trainers. Georgi epitomized the perfect trainer. She was basically one big muscle, not an ounce of fat to be found on her body, knew her craft well, and was soft spoken but ornery beyond belief. I knew within a moment of meeting her, that I wanted to be just like her when I grew up, still do and I’m currently fifty-ish! Needless to say, “Go Big or Go Home” has been deeply embedded into my soul ever since.

Georgi was a wonderful mentor and example of what hard work, diligence, and discipline could accomplish. Giving up was never an option to her. The word “can’t” wasn’t even in her vocabulary. I took her words to heart back then, and long since have remembered them on the days that I felt like quitting or giving up.

I’d like to believe that Georgi coined the phrase around twenty years ago in Rockford, IL. The truth is that trainers had been saying it for many years. We ever so lovingly egg each other on during a workout with the phrase, which ultimately would encourage us to push ourselves a little harder. If we’ve said it to you or our clients, that just means that we like you and believe you can do it.

Georgi’s reminder has been popping into my head daily for quite a while. If you’ve followed my previous blogs, you know well that ideas need time to percolate in my mind before a story or message unfolds and allows me to write it down on paper or send it out into the world wide web. So the studies and possibilities ensued.

Another truth that complements Georgi’s words of wisdom are found in Luke 1:37 (NIV), “For nothing is impossible with God”. Nothing? Really? Of course, if you are familiar with this verse at all or are looking it up at the moment, you will see that these are the last words an angel spoke to Mary, Mother of Jesus, before leaving her. He told her that she would miraculously give birth to Jesus, as a virgin. The angel also let Mary know about her cousin Elizabeth, who was believed to have been unable to have children and was at that time six months pregnant with John the Baptist. I’m sure you would agree that these are extremely big and amazing miracles that happened so long ago. But what can that mean for us today? Are God’s miracles only for the past in Bible times or are they applicable and even possible today? Well, I’m relatively sure that the birth of our Lord and Savior is pretty much a one and done kind of event.

I have to admit that there have been more days than I could count where this scripture stating that nothing is impossible with God has seemed so very far out of my reach.

We are taught in church that God answer s prayer and I believe he does so even today. Our church teachers or pastors often explain that his answer may be “yes”, “no”, or “wait”. My magic 8 ball toy from long ago tells me the very same thing. If I don’t like its answer, I can just shake it a little until I get the answer I want. Sometimes I wish that worked with my prayers.

I have recently heard from one of my favorite pastors that God never tells him “no”. This line of thinking goes against everything I had previously been taught. How can that be right? This man is most definitely exemplifying and living out in true fulfillment the title of this blog, “Go big or go home”. He has often quoted James 4:2 (KJV) “you have not because you ask not”. Consequently, he asks big. Mega-big, and he always gets what he asks for. What’s his secret? It’s probably not what you’re thinking. It’s not clean living or living an exemplary life. He’d be the first to tell of his heathen upbringing and his rock-n-roll band playing days. His past is less than ideal and even as a pastor he’s not perfect. (no-one on this earth is). The thing I admire most about this man is his relationship with Jesus. He talks to him as a close personal friend. His prayers get answered. He fully and whole-heartedly speaks to, relies on, listens to and gives glory to the Lord at all times. He’s divinely dialed in and feels God’s presence every single moment of his life. He seeks God’s face not his hand. God supplies all of his needs according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus, as stated in Phil. 4:19 (paraphrased NIV).

Acts 10:34 (NIV). Then Peter began to speak, ” I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.” What God has done for our heroes in the Bible, he can do for you or for me. What God has done for the above mentioned pastor, he can do for you or for me. Knowing that all we have to do is ask and receive, why do our unanswered prayers and dreams often still seem so far out of our reach? Could it really be that simple? This doesn’t mean that we go to God with our wish list and expect to get everything we think we want or have to have. He’s not Santa Claus.

I personally believe that the closer our relationship grows with the Lord, the more our wants or desires will change. Our desire to know him grows and we begin to want what he wants for us. He is the God of health and restoration. The God of abundance. Since every good thing comes from the Lord anyway, why not ask big? Why not dream big?

We are limiting our own potential by staying “status quo”, settling for less than God’s absolute best for our lives. He is God of the impossible.

“Go BIG or Go Home”!

With God on your side, ANYTHING is possible. We need to set bigger goals and dream bigger dreams.

So maybe, our new mantra (or battle cry) should be “Go big or go home”! I’m all in, are you?

Thanks for the reminder, Georgi!

Namaste,

~the Fitness Dr.

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It’s the Thought That Counts {AKA: Thoughtless Gestures}

“Familiarity breeds contempt” by Geoffrey Chaucer, excerpt taken from “Tale of Melibee” 1386.

A few evenings ago, I had an interesting conversation with a friend who was having an extremely challenging night. As she unraveled just a little, I listened intently and the wheels in my head began to spin, some out of sadness and a little out of anger. She was definitely hurting and I felt powerless to help her.

As human beings, I believe we have such a huge capacity to show love and genuine care or concern for others. On the flip side, we can instantly do irreparable damage by thoughtless words or negative actions we may, or may not take.

I wonder if Chaucer was on to something when he stated that “familiarity breeds contempt”? Perhaps we can amend his statement slightly and say that familiarity has the capacity to breed contempt. I get what he’s saying and as it is, his version could most definitely pertain to marriages, families, friendships or even workplace relationships. Could it be that the closer we become to a person, learning everything there is to know about each other, the easier it could be to take the relationship for granted? Maybe the nervous tick he has or her habit of humming when she’s happy, once considered endearing, over the years have become a source of unbearable torture. Could we become too familiar with each other that we cease to see each other’s needs or value? A damaging result could be the ending of healthy communications, as we begin to think only of ourselves. The doubts in our mind begin to form and we may think that we are no longer a priority in the relationship. This feeling could build until we have an overwhelming urge to either end the relationship, ignore the person completely or cry ourselves to sleep. Ever been there? Anyone dare to admit that they have? I am in no way, shape or form, a relationship expert. I just have to believe that there is a way to come back from this.

I have a few ideas of what will not work.

A little quiz for you:

It’s your 25th wedding anniversary. Do you: a) A month or at least several days before the date, purchase a meaningful card and special gift or make reservations at his/her favorite restaurant. b) You know the date is coming, so you make a special coupon booklet full of things he or she likes to do. That you can do together. c) It’s the day of your anniversary. You run into the nearest store, grab a card and whatever you can find to give to him/her a few hours from now.

Be honest. What did you pick? What kind of giver are you? Do you give out of love or out of obligation? Do you give without expecting anything in return, or do you give in the hopes that the receiver will like you better or even favor you at some point in the future? Do you genuinely and truly just love to give and bless others? Or are you a wait until a couple of hours before the big event to grab whatever you can find as your gift, kind of giver? Do you just get a “good enough” kind of gift? I mean, at least you got something, they should be grateful, right? Make no mistake, the big event means a lot to the person it’s about.

I know it may sound as though I am majorly materialistic. Maybe my friend is the materialistic one and I’m just defending her. Whether you choose to believe it or not, our focus is not on the materialistic gifts themselves. Though cliché to admit, it is the genuine thought behind the gifts that truly matters. It would be better to get nothing at all than to get a thoughtless gift. More times than I can count, I have proudly displayed a bouquet of beautiful dandelions that one of my little ones had hand-picked for me. I’ve happily worn macaroni necklaces and priceless painted beaded bracelets. I’ll bet you have as well. These were tokens of love and didn’t cost a penny, but meant more than words. At that moment, you knew that little one had you on his or her mind and your heart just melted with love. Those are treasured, priceless memories.

Likewise, a thoughtless token gift given speaks volumes and unfortunately may end up in your mind palace for years to come. This could, in fact, widen the growing gap between two people in a relationship that could already be suffering.

If you can relate to any of the above, take heart. There is always hope. Hearts can mend, relationships can be restored. Sometimes counseling from a licensed professional can help you along the way. Opening the door to healthy communication is not only key, it’s vital for your relationship and overall well being. Make sure to get your daily dose of Vitamin D, exercise, healthy living foods (fruits & veggies), plenty of water and remember to laugh.

A final thought before I close: One of the very best gifts we can give to those we love or care about is the gift of our time. Undivided and intentionally focused attention could go a long way to strengthen and ultimately repair relationships.

2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV) Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And so do I 🙂

Namaste,

~the Fitness Dr.


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2019’s Quarter Quell {& Fitness Check}

Happy April everyone! It’s hard to believe that we’ve already completed the first quarter of 2019! Our year is officially one fourth of the way over. I’m extremely interested in hearing how yours has been going so far. In fact, I’d like to take a poll and find out all that you’ve accomplished and the goals you’ve set. If you are anything like me, the first quarter of the year has flown by and has left me scratching my head in wonder of what I’ve actually accomplished since the first of the New Year.

I’d like to begin this blog by explaining its title. Yes, I loved “The Hunger Games” and am also a fan of alliteration. In the movie, “The Quarter Quell” was an event that occurred every 25 years of the Hunger Games. I love the freedictionary.com’s definition of quell as a verb meaning to defeat, overcome or conquer. Let’s breakdown the first quarter of 2019 and find where we stand on the goals we’ve set for ourselves at the beginning of the year and find the desire and energy we need to totally “quell” all obstacles that have been hindering our progress. In other words, “It’s Go Time”!

I love the positive expectancy that often accompanies the end of the holiday season and the ushering in of a brand new year. THE year that we will not only make new goals but have decided that we will actually do everything in our power to meet and exceed those goals. This year, will be the best one yet! Goals (I refuse to call them resolutions because resolutions are easily broken and can slowly fade away) may be financial, personal, spiritual, physical , career or family oriented, just to name a few. No goal or dream is wrong and usually the first thing that comes to your mind is the right direction for you to focus your positive energy on achieving. How close are you right now, one quarter of the way into the new year, to achieving that goal and quelling all roadblocks? What actions are you presently taking to get you back on course if you are slightly off track?

I often tell my clients that they are never too young, too old, too out of shape or too far gone to begin again. It moves me to tears when I come across someone who has lost all hope and has given up on their fitness goals or personal dreams. Believe me, I understand that sometimes you may feel it easier to just give up and accept your current health/fitness level or position that doesn’t stretch you to the full potential that’s deep within you. I get it. I’ve been there many-many times. It’s easier to maintain the status quo than to stretch yourself as far as you can, or to step outside your comfort zone which is uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

I’m sincerely hoping that those of you who read this blog will respond and let me know where you are at in the goal-setting, goal-achieving first quarter of the year and the roadblocks that are or hindering or impeding your progress. It’s our “Quarter Quell” time. Time to overcome and be well on our way to success by the next quarter’s end.

Let’s talk heath and fitness. My favorite topics. I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years now, so I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve been in it long enough to know that trends come and go and companies make big money on our little imperfections that get magnified as we compare ourselves to the seemingly perfect media stars of the moment. Our self-esteem can drop a notch or two when we see how someone on any social media outlet lost twenty pounds in less than a month on the new fill-in-the-blank diet. Or if you buy the latest supplement, it will enable you to burn more fat at an accelerated rate, which is exactly what this or that star did to lose all his/her weight for their last movie role. If that were not enough, now our computers, phones, etc., have certain algorithms embedded in them so that if we mention a key word or look something up, just once, they will bombard us with commercials or ads for those types of items from now until the end of time. Case in point, I pressed the “like” button on a few fitness sites on Instagram and Facebook. Now when I’m strolling through a feed, I will receive hundreds of ads for the latest fitness app, trend, or supplement that I must have so that I too can be thin, super buff and wrinkle-free. I’m mentioning these sites for a reason, I promise. As we’ve just ended the first quarter of the year, you may have fallen a bit short on the goals you’ve set for yourself. Then you see one of these ads. You may already be a little vulnerable because you have once again not done all that you had set out to do the first of the year. You may start thinking that nothing you’ve tried so far has worked, so why not invest more money and buy into the promises these ads are promoting. THESE ADS ARE USUALLY DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU FEEL LESS THAN OR BAD ABOUT YOURSELF. Low self esteem is big money in this country.

Though I can’t speak for all personal trainers, I can tell you that most of us who have been in the industry for as long as I have know the score. We know that many times companies are just reinventing the wheel, giving it a new trendy-hip name, re-branding or marketing it and selling it to the consumer as the latest and absolute best work out program or supplement on the market today. Since our society today is flooded with FOMOS (fear of missing out people), we buy into the lie or latest idea so that we too can join the hottest fad or club. And, the wheel spins round and round…

We are bombarded daily with so much information at our fingertips that it can almost be impossible to know where to turn, what to do or who you can trust when it comes to the best health and wellness program. It’s also challenging to know which diet or eating plan would be the best one for you, due to all of the different ones we are constantly hearing about. So let’s be absolutely clear about a few very important things you need to think about before deciding to implement the latest new workout program, buy a new diet plan or invest in supplementation of any kind.

The ONLY way to safely lose fat is to expend more calories than you consume. Since one pound of fat contains 3500 calories, cutting your daily caloric intake by 500 calories will enable you to lose 1 to 2 pounds safely per week. Daily exercise including cardio and strength training is an absolute must. Should you decide to “diet” by joining any plan that allows you to lose weight at a quicker pace, you need to understand that once you go off that plan, you could end up gaining more weight leaving you heavier than you were when you started it.

You also need to know that just as one size does not fit all in clothing, the same holds true for exercise programs. Just because your friend had success with her new exercise routine doesn’t mean that your results will exactly duplicate hers. No two fingerprints, eyes or people are the same. We are all unique individuals with our own different personality traits, dreams, hang-ups and body types. We are all wired differently and that’s what makes life fun and interesting. Add to that age, sex, hormone levels, genetics and ailments and you’ve got the perfect remedy for failure on the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself. This is especially true if you are relying on these trending fitness programs you’ve invested in to fix what you think is wrong with you. The truth is they can’t because the program is being sold as a “one size fits all” kind of program. What works for some will not work for others. Oh, you may lose weight at first and yield some positive results in a few areas and that is wonderful! Most likely, you may hit a plateau, fall off the wagon or stop seeing results. Or maybe you just plain get older and the things that worked for you when you were in your twenties or thirties won’t work any longer. A switch will get flipped, hormones will kick in, disease may attack, or an accident may occur that will forever change the way you need to work out. Although these all sound negative, they don’t have to stay that way. There is always hope. This blog’s for you.

I have to admit, I get a little angry (ok, A LOT angry) when I’m continually bombarded with all of these diet programs, books on what we should and should not be eating, and latest workout crazes that just want our money. Sometimes I feel the heat rising and steam begin to come out of my ears when I see them. I’ll see a sweet friendly post, then get hit with an ad, another post, another ad, and on and on and on. I know I’m not alone on this.

There are many wonderful personal trainers and holistic wellness coaches out there who believe as I do. Those of us who address our clients’ fitness levels, past injuries or illnesses, body chemistries, body types, and nutritional needs. I personally develop an individualized workout and eating plan as needed and change them accordingly as clients’ needs or goals change. Definitely NOT “one size fits all”. What works for you may not work for me.

One more personal note; No one on this entire planet is perfect. God knew what he was doing when he made you. You are incredible and capable of accomplishing any goal or dream you have set for yourself. Do NOT give up! Let’s totally quell these quarter of the year roadblocks, get back up on that horse (or Harley) and ROCK THESE GOALS! I believe in you 🙂

{Please remember that not everything we see in the media is true, regardless of who appears to be endorsing it.}

Namaste,

The Fitness Dr.