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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Today is a very special day....

Today is holy day for me.

 Rebirth is far too heavy a word for it so I have settled on holy. This day three years ago I was close to death, in fact most people with an aortic dissection do die - about 80%. But for whatever reason, I didn’t.Each near death experience is different and not all include white light, encompassing love and seeing your whole life flash before you. Mine was clinical and then mysterious. 

The entire first year after my “event” was a fog. I spent it trying to get better which simply did not occur on my time table. I believed each doctor when they said I would be better in about 6 weeks. What garbage that was. Open heart surgery is as intrusive an operation as one can have. Your arms are tied back (no one told me this and I wondered for weeks why my shoulders and arms were so sore) for the duration of the surgery, your chest in hacked open in a way only Genghis Khan could appreciate and every tube in the hospital is inserted into each orifice you have not to mention the 10 or 15 they invent. Then after the surgery you are tasked with the new job of surviving - evidently the first 24 hours being the most crucial (I always thought every 24 hours in our lives are crucial) followed by a long, in my case, very long journey of healing. When I woke up from my surgery the first thing I did was look down my hospital gown at a nasty incision. I thought I looked like an autopsy. Then I looked around at the faces of my worried family and immediately realized what must have occurred. I had uncharacteristically terrified my family. That feeling of guilt stayed with me for a long time. But I did what I always do when I don’t like what is in front of me - I put it behind me. I ignore it. I have done this my whole life. 

When my mother left I cried and then put it on a shelf.

When my mother died I cried and then put it on a shelf. 

When I found out I was adopted, when I moved from Texas, when I had a miscarriage, and then another, when my children left on missions, college and marriage and even when my parents died. I bottled up each difficult episode and shelved it until the shelf became too full. I learned some valuable tools for dealing with my shelving problem years before my aortic event but this was too big to deal with at once. So I shelved it. No matter how well Valerie had taught me, I reverted. That first year was learning to live with pushing myself to do anything. The medicine I take makes me so tired as it is designed to slow me down and boy does it. My resting heart rate can go as low as 45. My surgeon told me he wants my heart to beat as seldom as possible right before he said it could happen again. 

Good Grief....

The first year was filled with tests and more tests. Each doctor visit included a revisit of the whole aortic dissection experience because meeting someone who survived it was so rare. I felt like a medical Balboa, I had traveled to a far away land but returned and everyone wanted to know what I saw, so to speak. I remember a simple visit to the doctor for a colonoscopy that turned into a side show as she gathered all her medical students around me to hear about my “experience”. I wasn’t prepared for the inquisition and spent several days mentally recuperating it. I felt I had surgery PTSD....

I went from not being able to walk to the kitchen to walking to the end of the street as my family and friends encouraged me. Now I walk 3 miles without thinking about it but in the beginning I had to push, prod and plead with myself to do it. I don’t like to push myself and usually stop at the first sign of discomfort, but I kept at it and saw progress. 

That whole first year was cathartic - I admit that now. My beliefs were all tied up, my emotions were a mess and I lived with constant guilt that I lived when so many others died. I am better now....not where I want to be, but certainly better. Since my dissection we have squared away our loan modification which kept us in flux (and terror of losing our home) for 5 years, we have a wonderful new daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Our business continues to pay the bills and Raymond’s health is on track. 

We truly have a new lease on life....but it is just a lease and we both know that. 

The best part of my dissection is how my faith has changed. And my faith can be interpreted into anyone’s belief system. I am learning to put away the heavy hammers of obedience and replace them with the simple love of Christ. I find the love from Christ, but you can call it anything you want to. I not only offer that love to myself but to those around me as I try and see people as God does. He loves us despite our shortcomings. He loves broken things. 

Not long ago I relived a day from my early childhood when I didn’t have religion in my life at all, but I wanted to pray, I wanted to be with God. So He came and walked with me, I remember, as a 6 year old I believed in God with all my heart because somehow I knew Him and knew He was with me. My parents were coming and going, homes were here, there and everywhere but God was always with me. It was a simple faith, a child’s faith. I believed in Him and I knew He loved me and I didn’t have to do anything to deserve that love. Since my surgery I have slowly gone back to that kind of faith. He knows my heart...a heart that was almost broken because of a faulty artery. It’s funny isn’t it? My heart is fine...but what kept it alive was broken. A perfect metaphor for are perfect, but the things that feed you might not be. So surround yourself with good people, good food, go outside and enjoy the rain, or the good books, speak with God....wait for His counsel and follow it. Love...let everything you write, think and say be based in love, think of it as the food you give your heart.

I love you all. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

My life today.....

I am going to enjoy my life today....not when something changes, but today. I am going to enjoy my life right where I am, not where I can be or ought to be...but where I am...with what I have, who I know and who I am. I am going to love people and cherish their stories. I will learn what I can and teach what I may and I will forgive as quickly as my fallen heart will let me - 70 times 7. Please let me remember the Savior of my childhood, a being of light and love, acceptance and kindness....a being that softened my heart and healed my little girl soul when chaos swirled around me. But more than anything I am going to be grateful...grateful for life and for those who choose to walk this life with me.

Monday, September 2, 2019


I started the day off the way I start most days...with a coin toss as to whether or not I will get my can out of bed and answer the call of the work out. Every day I complain,to no one in particular. I guess I enjoy reminiscing about the old days when my children were small and each day was a war of wills.  But today I was really curious about how I would react to being older....I guess every day I’m older, but this day was different. 

Today is my birthday and  I am 65. 

I have to let that settle on me. 

I’m not complaining, getting older is a blessing - I know that very well, but this birthday is a life change and I need to let it settle on me. I read this statement on aging the other day and it gave me such a feeling of peace about the cycle of life, and it works for any belief system. 
“God consigned a gift to our bodies. It is the blessing of aging, with visible reminders that we are mortal beings destined one day to leave this “frail existence”.
Our bodies change every day, To remind us that we are mortal children of God, with a guarantee that we shall not be stranded upon the earth forever.
Aging and physical death are essential to God’s great plan of happiness.  Mortal life, glorious as it is, was never the ultimate objective of God’s plan.” 
Russell M. Nelson

There are so many more things I want to see and do during my life so following logic that means I will be getting older and older!!  

The lessons I have learned so far are many but only a few are worth repeating..Here are a few...

Everyone is doing the best they can, forgive as you go.
Every day has so much to be grateful for, look for it, write it down, celebrate it!
Look for ways to help folks around you, might be as simple as a smile or as big as a kidney...
Fill your life with light and energy because that is the best way to dispel anxiety, worry and stress - it also provides the best possible way to remain creative. 

Three years ago my body had enough of the stress I was inflicting on it and one of my arteries exploded but against all possible odds I lived and being a slow learner,  I am just now starting to understand how precious life is. There is much more I want to do during my trek through mortality and because of that I will not waste any time with negativity or the need to be right. I am going to be a peaceful traveler for the rest of my time and enjoy the life I have been given. I will look for ways to help others with whatever I can and be incredibly grateful for the journey. That is the gift I am giving to myself this wonderful birthday!!
My love to all xxoo

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Back Surgery and Dexascans

This week we have been in Dallas with our daughter. She had some very extensive back surgery. I am happy to say she is doing well and it is for several reasons. One, she is in an amazing hospital with the best doctor for her back issue in the country, and two, she is in great physical shape. 5 years ago she had a discectomy    (gymnastic pounding and then simple wear and tear left her with real problems) then last year the discectomy failed and she was left with bone on bone in her back and a lot of pain...constant pain. So she went in search of a cure but she had decided against any kind of, never...nope, no surgery. EVER!! 

Then as we were crowded around the TV watching the Masters this last April the announcer mentioned Tiger Wood’s back. His injury was exactly like Ashleigh’s. Same place, same problems, same pain....immediately she started researching and by Friday morning of that week she had found all the information on his surgery and his doctor. By Friday afternoon she had sent all her x-rays and history to the doctor to find out if she was a candidate. By Monday the doctor determined she was a very good candidate. Things going fast? A little too fast because she was determined to never have surgery again. But then, the pain that was always there got worse and after several consultations she decided to go ahead with it. 

The surgery and everything connected with it was a success. From the front office to the nursing staff things ran like clockwork. Everyone involved kept remarking on her quick recovery...over and over they said it was because she was in great physical shape. For the last year even though she was in terrible pain she never stopped eating well and using her Peloton. 

Once again life comes down to being proactive and not reactive.

Two of my friends had some serious falls in the recent past. One tripped over a hose while she was pumping gas, the other slipped and fell at work, both told me they werent doing anything out of the ordinary but from the resulting injuries both needed shoulder surgery. Simple falls that have turned into a year long recovery. I am not saying we can prevent every injury in life, accidents occur, but we can be in better shape to mitigate such a long, long recovery. A simple fact is more muscle around our bones and then just stronger bones helps us recover faster and get injured less.

Muscle buildup and stronger bones comes from exercise...weight training is the best thing you can do to build up your muscles and bones that will help prevent an injury. There is a test called a DEXA scan that I highly recommend. The technical definition is “Two x-ray beams with different energy levels, are aimed at the patients bones. When soft tissue absorption is subtracted out, the bone mineral density can be determined from the absorption of each beam by bone.”  Or in Donna terms you can find out your bone density, muscle mass and total body fat. We all need to know those numbers to be able to prepare for better futures. The owner of my gym, Gene Carrillo, is offering a free DEXA scan test to anyone who calls and mentions my little blog and takes a tour of the facilities. What a great way to bribe my friends to come in and see all the fun stuff and get a painless test for free? Call Paula at 702-750-9420 then mention my name and get this great test so that you will have more information about your body that can help you have a better future. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Great Expectations

The novel Great Expectations centers around a character named Pip. I am not sure if I like the title best, the names of the characters involved or the story itself. But who wouldn't want to live in a world populated by people named Pip, Miss Havisham, Abel Magwitch, Jaggers, Wemmick, Biddy and Uncle Pumblechook? Thats not even a full list - just all I am willing to list. However it's the title that has always intrigued me - Great Expectations, because I expect great things to happen.

Until they don't.

Then I don't know quite what to do. I know things don't always work out the way I plan, but I still take it as a personal affront when they don't.

While in the course of living my life I have discovered frogs stay frogs, the end of the rainbow is often just the end of the rainbow and a handsome prince comes with a mortgage, diapers and occasional mayhem.

Again, not what I thought. My Great Expectations have always been just a tad (or a mile) above what actually occurs. Which leaves me breathlessly critiquing everything I do using my third grade teachers BIG red pencil to correct mistakes so everyone knows I fell short.

My life is covered with big red pencil marks....self inflicted.....for all the world to see.

So is anyone surprised that after almost a year of working out with weights, straps, machines, wall balls, slam balls, pushing boxes across the floor, holding a plank and slamming heavy ropes I am DISAPPOINTED that my weight loss can be measured with a teaspoon?

And this is where it gets dicey. I am so much stronger, my lab numbers are good, my knee doesn't hurt, in fact nothing hurts. When I get up from a chair I spring up from the chair. But my weight hasn't budged. Not being a science denier I know the formula, less calories in more calories out equals weight loss. I do a lot of calories out...but I also do a lot of calories in. That's right, I eat too much and with medication that slows me down to sloth pace, being older and surrounded by food all the time are reasons why it has been so hard.

I felt like I failed....

But did I?

I have stuck with an exercise program for almost a year and experienced leg strength to a point my knee no longer hurts. I can pick up heavy trays, crates and boxes I couldn't even budge a year after my surgery. When I started exercising my core was non existent. I could only do a few setups and now I can do 60 without thinking about it. I can hold a plank over a minute 3 times in a row and literally pop up from a chair due to never-ending squats from a box holding weights. Open heart surgery is a way bigger deal than I thought, and getting my strength back has been hard. When I first got home from the hospital just walking to the kitchen was the impossible dream. Today I am SO MUCH BETTER!! But I am not thin, I'm not even much thinner, and I expected to be thinner and that seems to be my only benchmark. I guess for all my bravado being thin was what I really wanted, not just being healthy and strong. My expectations certainly ruled the day. Although I did want to be stronger and more fit, I really wanted to LOOK stronger and more fit. The problem with expectations is they tend to be a bit disingenuous. We expect things from a vacation, a marriage, children, friends, or a workout plan that often cannot realistically be delivered. But what we are given in our journey is often much better than what OUR plan was. The last year has been filled with personal accomplishments I thought were behind me. Yet I proved to myself I can still do tough physical things. I can lift heavy weights, I can do squats and push ups and pull ups and and I can work out around people half my age and call it good. And if I can do this I can other things I want to do. It is not too late! I love my trainers and friends at Xuberance who never stop trying to help me and have made sure I am safe every time I work out. I can push myself to the edge of the cliff because I know they will catch me.

So I am taking this template to everything in my life. What else have I applied an expectation to and then didn't appreciate where the road led me instead?  Have I been grateful for my life even though it doesn't include the retirement plan I wanted? Open heart surgery is a pretty big bump in the road, but have I appreciated the fact I survived? And all the experiences connected to that survival? Financial ruin is horrible but do I remember the miracles we have experienced while climbing out of that abyss? Yes difficult things have occurred in my life but tremendous things have won the day each time.

I believe this is the same for everyone. Each person I know has a story to tell that will inspire and motivate. And I am talking to are an inspiration. Start writing your story and see if I am not right. And while you are writing find the good in every bad thing that has happened to you. See if it doesn't turn your thinking around, if not your life. I love this quote about ships not being made for the  Harbor

You aren't made for the Harbor either....get out there on the open sea and find out what you are made of!!
Carpe Diem!!!!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mick Jagger Is My Spirit Animal

Mick Jagger has always been "that guy" for me. He has effortlessly gone through life simply being the coolest guy in the room.  If you start making a note of his shortcomings, stop. I'm not holding him up as an example of ANYTHING except simply being the coolest guy in the room.

That is until now.

Mick Jagger is now the absolute best example of never giving up and not letting an age number chart his course. And this is why Mick Jagger is my spirit animal. 

Let's recap, Mick has not always had the healthiest lifestyle, in the early days of the Stones he was a proper rock star doing all the mischief making rock stars do. I am not advocating any of his mischief making, in fact he is doing what he is doing today in spite of it. 

Here is what I am preaching (cut to inspirational music in the background) 

"Brother Mick is 75 years old and is bringing back the old testament life expectancies of hundreds of years of life. And not just sitting around the tent-life...but a life of performing, exploring, learning, teaching and yes....dancing!" 

I firmly believe that we must shake off the ideas of our parents which regulated them to the couch at 60. They believed all kinds of things that are just not true. They downsized before they wanted to  because they were convinced the family home was simply too much for them. They stopped growing, exploring, creating, teaching and well, living, mostly because they stopped believing they were alive. And then they stopped's hard I know, but we have to move! I have proven that exercise is not the sole answer for the fountain of youth (Speaking of moving I haven't moved the scale much) but it is a component that moves everything else. 

Think of moving as the project manager. Moving your body tells your brain you are alive and it's time to do something. So what do you want to do? Get out that pen and a notebook and let's make some plans. Planning together is the best way to get things done, you need a tribe. If you don't have one, create one, join one...find one! Why do you think chicken is best with a sauce? Nothing is good alone. That's why life coaches are so popular, it's why Oprah was such a guru. It's why we have trainers, event planners and hair stylists ( I tell Crystal everything) ...we need encouragement from people we trust that will help us get out the butt-kicking machine! 

On my list of goals is giving a Ted Talk so I attended a Speech class from Amy Ayoub the Zen Speaker. Oh my gosh was it incredible! And was I the oldest person in the room? Yes! And aren't they lucky to have my wisdom and acceptance? Yes! And did I have to stomp out the tapes in my head of my father asking me why I would waste time "at my age" to take a speech class? Yes!! Sadly, I did. But I stomped those tapes out, put on some red lipstick and went out the was fabulous. 

Just Move!!!!

Being stronger and more fit is also a goal because that is how I can achieve all my other goals. I have to be strong both for my life and my business, so I go to a great gym three times a week. (you must contact me for info on Xuberance because it is literally giving me what I need physically) Am I the oldest person at my gym? Yes.....Do I care? Well, at first I did but then I got past it and focused on how much better I felt. But it has not been easy, and sometimes I have to use the 5 second rule to get there. Once I am there Sarah, Anthony and Josh encourage me in every way to get the job done. And I know I am stronger for it. Wait..I am MUCH stronger so I am dwelling on that and not the scale, The scale will come along as I continue this process. It's obvious I haven't lost much weight and I know that doesn't make me the best ambassador for the Christie Brinkley award but every other one of my numbers are where they are supposed to be and I am so grateful for that.

None of us want to do hard things...but we can do it if we do it together. I need some input, one thing this week. What is your morning routine/breakfast/like? I need new breakfasts, new ideas...what do you do??

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Mick Jagger Is My Spirit Animal

Mick Jagger has always been "that guy" to me. He has effortlessly gone through life simply being the coolest guy in the room.  If you start making a note of his shortcomings stop right there. I'm not holding him up as an example of ANYTHING except simply being the coolest guy in the room.

That is until now.

This is why Mick Jagger is my spirit animal.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Journey Continues...

This morning I showed up promptly at 7:50 for my 8am stress test the cardiologist insists I need along with an ultrasound tomorrow.


However this test will be better because I don't have to go into the cylinder like last year and when they shot me up with something that would have been banned at Woodstock. All to make my heart race...

Hated it....

This time I was taking my act to the bike and I was confident and caffeine free! I didn't drink any diet coke or take an excedrin. I was ready....

Ready, Set....Stop.

I took my medications which includes a pill I cannot pronounce to slow my heart rate. I was not supposed to and when they asked if I read the papers they gave me, I had to say....Papers? Nope.
I heard no caffeine and filed everything else away. I mean no caffeine for 24 hours...what would you hear after that?

Regroup and reschedule....sigh, so dumb not to read the instructions, but whatever.

Off to the gym, but on the way I took time to think about my last 8 months and the journey it has been.Whenever I spend time in the cardiologist's office I go into a mental tailspin. There are people from every walk of life sitting in the waiting room with me. Some very, very ill, some on walkers, some on oxygen, some so overweight they can hardly move, some so thin they look like they will break in two...and some that look perfectly normal just like me that have scars only they know about. We are all equal there, none of our equality the same...but equal.

I drove to the gym without the radio...just alone with my thoughts on the journey and I went in to the gym happy because every person there cares about me. They are all invested in my success. They know how hard my road has been because they have my medical records! They see me 3 times a week trying so hard to lift that kettle bell, bang those heavy ropes and sprint on the elliptical. There have been times I really didn't want to go, times that one last circuit was just too much. I have done so many squats, so many sit ups, planks and leg lifts. But getting up from a chair is easier and not being able to made me feel so old.  I can lift things, I can lift really heavy things.

I am doing things I thought I would never do again.

I do admit I have called my trainers Caligula

I am the biggest complainer....

And I often  I feel like Sisyphus. But I am better than I was 8 months ago


This is Joanne one of my workout buddies....not only is she doing a minute plank, but she has a huge weight on her back. Her core is going to be made of stone!! I waited until she did it again and took her picture because she has to keep this near her always as a reminder of how amazing she is.

There are tons of success stories at the gym. My friend Brian is sticking his finger in the eye of age and has recorded 18% body fat. 18%! When he left the gym the other day he went straight to hockey. He can do that because he works out. There is my friend Crystal who is on her feet 10 hours a day, she works out so she can work. When I first started working out my core was nonexistent because of my my posture is so much better, my endurance is better, and I know I'm not as worried about getting older. My blood pressure goes from 144/83 before I work out to 119/77 after I work out. (For me lower blood pressure is key -high blood pressure will cause big problems with my aorta.) A combination of lifting weights and cardio is the key....and your life will be so much better!

Then there is Gene Carrejo the owner of the gym...He is a happy, effervescent man in his 60's who is there every day. He doesn't ask anything of us that he doesn't do himself so he works out right along side us, sweating and hoping to make it through the circuit. Our trainers,  Caligula (Sarah, Anthony and Joshua) treat him and his lovely wife Lisa, just like us.😓 I asked him today to share his fitness journey. And what a star - he sent it right over!

From Gene:

We have been in business close to 18 months in the beautiful city of Las Vegas. Xuberance has evolved into a home for people who are looking into establishing longevity and vitality to their lives as they move forward in this hectic world we exist in. Lisa and I are not only invested in the financial and operation aspect of our business, but are totally involved in the actual process of adding vitality and longevity to our personal wellbeing. My journey to anti-aging began after the holidays in 2018, I have been very diligent in following the fitness protocol that Sarah and her team have built for me and thoroughly enjoy the creativity and thought that goes into my MWF workouts. Once I established a baseline through the formal evaluation process and realized I had plenty of room for improvement, I made a personal commitment for fitness. The sense of accomplishment in the gym is very important but if you are not entrenched in the rest of the process the results you are looking for will not materialize. (He is so right, food is my nemesis)
Our doctor suggested hormone balancing to help with metabolism enhancement and energy along with mental focus. Jeremy (the nutritionist) and I have regular dialogue on what I should be eating also he adds a very creative twist that doesn't not become tedious. I am a sugarholic and have substituted fruit as my sugar fix. I have watched my cravings go away as I watch my energy improve. Simple fixes and a commitment to listen and implement are the keys to success.
I started the process at 209 lbs with a 28% body fat ratio, I am now 178 lbs and 20% body fat ration and I added 6 lbs. of muscle. It definitely works and the bottom line for success is a personal commitment. We need that same thing from our clients which gives us the opportunity to guide and counsel them through the process. 
I'm proud of what we are accomplishing and our clients are reaping the rewards with our recovery methods. Yes, massage and ozone therapy are also part of the process!
Thank you Gene....

This process has been such a blessing to me; hard, hard work but a blessing. With so many people invested in my success I know I will eventually get to all my fitness goals. I have achieved a great many so far, but as they say, "Life isn't a destination, it's a journey!" So Wherever you are on your journey please keep moving and don't stop. For me getting older is a blessing that was almost taken away so I don't mind the aging process at all. I also know for a fact that working out is a price I am willing to pay so I can have a few more birthdays. I can validate every excuse you may have because I have used each one, but working out is better, lifting weights is's a better way to live. 

Now get out there and move!!!

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Masters and Notre Dame....

Yesterday I was glued to the television watching one of the most intense and exciting sports moments ever. Tiger Woods made a comeback very, very few people have ever even attempted. Only two years ago he was telling other golfers he didn't think he would ever play again.  At that point he couldn't lay down, sit or stand without tremendous pain because of a back injury. My daughter had a similar injury and watching her deal with the pain has been excruciating. But he finally found the right doctor, had the surgery and did the follow up work to be able to golf again.

We all remember this picture of Tiger and his father who was always by his side, so happy he won the most prestigious golf tournament there is.
Watching Tiger confidently walk the fairways yesterday was inspiring. It made me feel like I could do anything also! He looked like the Tiger of 15 years ago and honestly I felt better just watching him.

I know if we believe we can, we can.

And now we have a new picture of a father and son. But this picture, of Tiger and his son, is not just one of redemption, but of grit and determination to come back from an injury that could have ended his ability to ever play again. But he did it. We watched the final round not just to root on Tiger, but to instill hope in our own "injuries". Where do we need to make a comeback? I know all of us have one to hope for. We can indeed make a personal comeback also, regardless what it is.

Today we are glued to our televisions watching an iconic 900 year old structure beloved by people all around the world burn to the ground. As I watched this beautiful building being destroyed I couldn't help but compare these two stories and gain hope from one triumph for the destruction of another.

Notre Dame will be rebuilt because it's what people do. When faced with adversity it is our nature to never give up and that is what will happen here. Tiger showed us just one day ago what a refusal to give up looks like. Rebuilding Notre Dame will take great leadership and the ability to infuse in people that it can be done. I am praying for Paris and for the loss they are feeling. 

Vive La France! You have withstood war, pestilence and invasions. You will rebuild...I know it.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Book Signing, Conference and Babies!!!

One minute my home is bursting from the seams...the next minute I can hear the clock tick. It never fails to make me a little sad when a great event is suddenly over and everyone leaves. I am not complaining because this weekend was so much fun, but when it’s over.....what am I saying? We will just plan another!!

Last weekend started off with a book signing Friday night. And it was gift to me. Joan Snyder, now Joan Moran, was my high school speech teacher, the one teacher who took me seriously. Last year I saw her on facebook and timidly asked if she remembered me. After assuring me she did we had great fun catching up. In January I saw her newest book was about to be published so I mentioned if she was ever in Las Vegas I would love to host a book signing for her. She told me she was coming to town in April to visit family so we quickly arranged a date.

We all had that “one” teacher, didn’t we? The one that changed how we look at ourselves? Mrs. Snyder was that teacher for me, she was the gold standard at our high school where she taught drama and speech. One day she asked me to be in a county wide speech contest and I was thrilled thinking it would be fun but knowing I didn't have a chance. I worked on the speech in front of her, our class and the mirror! I came in third and called it good, but not Mrs Snyder. After the results she flipped her cape around her shoulders and moved with “loud heavy steps” right up to me. I thought her obvious displeasure was because I hadn't placed higher. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "If you were a boy you would have won!" A moment that forever changed me because someone I looked up to so much thought I should have won. Coming in third was the best thing to happen to me because I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much from a first place finish. Now I knew I was a good speaker and boys had an advantage. I have used my speaking ability throughout my life and I never let the boys get in the way!

My third place trophy

 Raymond did flowers and provided incredible was a perfect evening. (Thank you Ray Ray!)
 A little bread is always good, right?

 The people who came to celebrate Joan and her book were was the Algonquin Round Table!
We had a fascinating discussion about Cuba.
 Joan read from her book, discussed some of her strategies for writing and gave us all hope to have a book signing of our own one day!

High School pals together was really a great evening.

But the weekend wasn't nearly over!! My darling daughter Emma, her husband Kacy and their perfect baby Scout, my first grandchild came to town for the book signing and conference.

My other 3 children Ashleigh, Trey his wife Heidi and their perfect baby my little Fallon, Mikey and his wife Alexi came over Saturday and Sunday for food, laughs, watching conference and just being together...It was the best! Having a family like this was the one blessing I truly wanted in my life and I am beyond grateful for them. Forgive me for the over abundance of pictures, but this was a great weekend for so many reasons. I just feel like celebrating!! I wish you the very best, I pray the windows of heaven open up for you in every way you need. 

 Little Fallon

 And little Scout..

 First golf lesson.....

From our family to yours....xxoo

Monday, March 4, 2019

Releasing the Energy Inside....

What a ghastly couple of weeks I have had health wise...a truly nasty sinus infection that I made worse by not going to the doctor until almost a week into the nausea, hacking cough and over all feeling of yukdom. And then guess what? After I got better I was faced with the daunting task of what seemed like climbing mountains to start over with exercise. I hear from people all the time, “why does it take months to get into some kind of better shape only to have it dissolve in a matter of weeks?” But there I was with no physical excuses left doing the last thing I wanted to do which was getting up at 6, tying on the sneaks and trundling back into the gym...

Can I hear an Amen? 

In my journey I have discovered we are all made up of energy, and maybe you want to argue that point as you struggle from the desk to the couch to the toilet and back and feel anything but energized, but it is true ....we are made up of energy and all we need to do is release it.

Physics is on my side....

Newton's first law of motion is often stated as:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. (The definition for unbalanced force is pretty long so I included a link for all my information seeking readers. )

What I gained from this is if you move your Arse you will keep moving unless you bump into another immovable object…a couch, bed, any place for me to just sit down, or even lay down. You get the picture. My watch seems to be in on this since every once in a while I get a notice to stand up. Holy cats, this is what we are reduced to, our watches telling us to stand up.(Oh, by the way, my watch also tells me to breathe...) I get it, if I am sitting at the computer for any length of time I do forget, but seriously how lame is that? 

So if we are made of energy...we need to release it, how do we do that? 

Easy.....Just move, and move as fast as you can. A friend told me the thought of getting up and moving was more than she could handle. Think about that because it is a Red flag for sure. If you haven't been moving then get up and go, don't even think about it, just move, for 20 minutes....move. The other day a woman told me her doctor said if she walked just 20 minutes a day she would diminish her chances for dementia by 40%. Incredibly important don't you think? By the way there are other things you can do to help that number be even higher.

Just move....

Another way to release energy to heal and support your body is through massage therapy. Now to be sure I am not speaking of a regular run of the mill massage, I am talking about massage therapy from someone who has been carefully trained and knows what muscle is connected to what muscle and can truly get to the bottom of things. I went in with a pain on my entire side that radiated all the way up and down. My massage therapist, Jeff (who is brilliant) was able to find the starting point and literally fixed it. I am grateful that he has amazing tools to "fix me". These tools include my complete medical history, my dexascan which unlocks lots of answers with my muscle tissues. He is aware of my workouts, so he knows what large muscles I have been working and through his amazing skills he can combat all sorts of problems I might have from my work. We have a great relationship based on complete communication so he knows I sit at the computer sometimes whole days, and also he knows I sometimes stand for 16 hours straight. A therapeutic massage provides more energy through increased blood flow which releases the energy I need! After a massage I have more clarity of thought, my aches and pains from life are worked through faster, and I bounce back much quicker. The last 2 weeks with the unfortunate infection I had have been super hard, but a massage gave me much needed energy and I know it was easier to get back to exercise. In the past this illness would have thrown me off for weeks as I found excuse after excuse for staying away from exercise. But Jeff, muscle memory and trainers Anthony and Sarah got me back fast! 

Reality is this, you have to move, you have to pick up heavy things, you have to do squats and you have to forget the diet and eat healthy. Consider an incredible massage that will release the energy you need to have better health. There are so many tools we have available to us, they aren't luxuries they are how we stay healthy, so please find them, use them and remember to never give up. 

If you can tell me what you did to move today I would love it. We are all looking for fun ways to move!!!

Friday, February 1, 2019

And the Journey Continues......

And The Journey Continues......

I am posting these pictures of things I couldn't do 6 months ago because I am focusing on progress and not on images I have in my head of where I should be today with my fitness journey. 

I have only lost 10 pounds so if you are looking for a quick fix this won't work for you. But my path is authentic. I have consistently exercised during this time and for that I am stronger, my numbers (except for weight) are right where they should be, cholesterol, heart rate, blood pressure, blood work and ekg. The endless squats have made walking and moving around in general, easier. My knee - the one with the torn meniscus 5 years ago - is not nearly as sore and I rarely think about it. And lifting things? Which in my business is every day and a lot, is a piece of cake. I wish I could tell you my memory is better but the power of a kettle bell only goes so far. 

My metabolism, always a glacier, since my surgery is slower because of the medication I take. And being constantly surrounded by food (and really good food) makes eating a challenge. 

I did the calculations in my head and reasoned that I would be 93 before I reached "bikini ready" and a 93 year old woman in a bikini is only appropriate for the you can understand my discouragement. 

I thought about quitting. I mean if my purpose is to look good (and who doesn't want to look good?) then what is the point? 

What is the point indeed...

I feel better and at the end of the day that is the point. Two years ago I was at deaths door, surviving was the goal of each day not a waistline. I didn't even think about my core because I could barely walk to the end of the street. I am not exaggerating, walking was a chore and I always felt like I moving through mud with each step being a challenge. If truth be told I did not think I would ever improve. 

The top picture is of me and 20lb dumbbells...I started with 5lbs.....that is true progress.

I am competing with myself and that's all I have to worry about. But I still remained so discouraged last week that I began looking for ways to quit.  I wanted to, I really, really did but I knew I would regret it. I  would be back to aching legs and knees, fatigue and even more weight gain. I would miss the flat out head-clearing-exhaustion exercise provides for me. But mostly I would know I gave up. 

Being honest I have not lost the weight I wanted to but giving up is not something I am willing to do right now. My friends are not letting me give up...Gene, Lisa, Sarah, Anthony and Josh just stared at me when I told them all I had considered giving up. They won't stop so why should I? And don't we want to take this as far as it will go? 

For the record I have not been hurt one time during this journey and I usually have experienced some kind of injury in the past that caused time off.  Because of not being hurt or too sore I have been able to progress. I have enjoyed the therapeutic massages that actually work out the old kinks and knots and let me feel so much better and I am relieved that someone takes my heart rate at least 4 times during the workout. After my surgery I felt like it could happen again...there wasn't any warning before, why would there be now? Exercise seemed too risky...

I am going to keep going, I truly am blessed to have such a fine group behind me...they don't think quit, they think next workout, next meal, get better...come back. 

And I will, because this will be me soon!!

For more information about Xuberance call 702-750-9420 Better yet come to an open house next Thursday the 7th from 5:30-7:30 to check everything out! 4280 S. Hualapai Way Suite 104, Las Vegas, Nevada 89147

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

What does you the greatest good?

Recently a dear friend went to see Elton John and she told me he spoke about the healing power of music. That got me to thinking what else in our everyday lives gives us power to heal ourselves? Call it whatever you will there are things in our everyday lives that get us over the hump and convinces us not to slide down next to the wagon and just let the wolves eat us.

Play your favorite music..the music that gets you moving if you need that, or music that relaxes you, or makes you feel young... . but think about taking some time to discern your best music and make a playlist and then just enjoy it.

Laugh -  Who makes you laugh? Can you stay sad or stressed if you are laughing? There is a comic, sadly he passed a few years ago, but he just makes me laugh and through the magic of youtube I can watch John Pinette any time. Every time he says, "Get out of the line!" I roar!

Hold a Baby.  Is there anything better? And with so many babies in the hospital who need someone to hold them babies are easy to find. A sweet baby right from is just joy!

Essential oils....there is one called Whisper by Doterra that completely relaxes me and never fails to make me feel better all over, I love it.

Inspirational talks...I am a sucker for Ted Talks, Les Brown and Tony Robbins. And about a million in between...I also have become a big fan of Mel Robbins and her 5-Second Rule, admittedly well after the crowd, but I still love it.

Scriptures - There is a healing power for sure in words that edify. I find something rewarding every time.

Exercise...the folks at Xuberance will be the first to tell you moving around regularly is the best anti-anxiety drug there is. There is something amazing about holding a plank for a minute when you could barely get in the position 6 months ago...then do it 3 times! Feeling yourself get stronger while you continue to challenge yourself is simply inspiring. I have had lots of conversations with people who tell me they really want to get stronger, feel better and challenge themselves. This is the place to do it.

Contacting someone who has helped you - write a note, make a call, send some flowers...but contact someone who has made a difference in your life and let them know how much it meant to you. You will feel amazing not to mention how happy you will make the the person you contact.

Pet a dog or a cat - it forces you to sit down, breath and love it and the dog/cat loves it!

Take a nap - So many people tell me its a luxury but is it? You could be on your phone or shut your eyes for 20 minutes...I offer you, the nap!

Believe with all your heart it will be ok - yes you had a disagreement, or you were misunderstood, you were cut off or your pants don't burned the toast, forgot the bill, left the water running in the tub and didn't water your will be ok. All will be forgiven, folks will see what occurred, traffic is traffic and tomorrow don't eat the will have another chance to make toast and you can afford the late fee, mop up the water and buy a new will all be ok.

Enjoy Great Friends! This picture is of one of the best days I have had in a long time. Having dear friends from High School come over for lunch. We haven't done that in a long time and I adore these women! We laughed, we cried and we counted our blessings.

Breathe - My phone tells me to stand up and tells me to breathe, I didn't think I would have to be reminded but I do. Yesterday I was so stressed and my short breathing made it worse...I stopped, I started focusing on my breathing (I swear this works) I began to feel better. one minute of walking around and 1 minute of works.

You are going to have disappointments and successes, great days and not so great days....but when you find ways to take care of yourself even the worst days have some great moments

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Everything was ok until a pot fell on my head....

Not many sentences begin with, "And then a pot fell on my head..." but this one will. December is our gloriously busy month. We get the opportunity to bring sweet things to sweet people all month and things truly go quickly. I admit I am like Bambi on the ice when I get moving too fast..

It all started when I had an important meeting with Channel 13 and the Golden Knights about a lunch we were helping with at a local Elementary School. I was putting things away and not really thinking. I didn't see it coming at all when a 5 gallon cast iron pot fell on my head from the top shelf. The first moment all I could think of was how stupid that was, the next second? oh my gosh! That hurt so much!!! Luckily for the first 2 days I just had a numb face and a huge bump on my head, I got through the meeting and the lunch without frightening small children..but the third day? 2 black eyes that just kept getting worse! A couple of days later the headaches started and it was enough for me to get a cat brain bleed (yikes) but a pretty bad concussion. During this time I lost my debit card (finally found it in a plant, luckily I had to water it) and my only car key...I looked for 3 days until I absolutely needed my car and the second the locksmith pulled into the driveway I found it in my apron in the clothes hamper.

I went into this season knowing (hoping) we would be busy so I decorated early. I put up the new Snowman tree

As I take things down this year I vow to reduce...I vow to reduce....I vow to reduce...

What I also learned this season is how much more energy and strength I have. Although eating is my bailiwick (Oh how I wish I were that person who said, "I'm full" and then moved on...however I seem to be this person...that tastes good and that tastes good and that tastes good...urgh!!!) However I will not give up and I take as a win the fact it was easy to keep exercising - (until I couldn't exercise while my head was repairing from the concussion) The pattern I have started with exercise has served me well, and when I went back after a couple of weeks it wasn't painful. Exercise is such a great deterrent to so many things that make us feel old. I will be the first to admit I get depressed when I don't do something physical. And I am excited that I have become the queen of squats! So much so that people send me information on squats which I pass along to everyone. My mantra is-

Squats will keep me out of the nursing home!!!

The last one sent to me was from a crossfit post Chelle sent me.

"The squat (sit to stand) is essential to your well-being. The squat can both greatly improve your athleticism and keep your hips, back, and knees sound and functioning in your senior years."

So I guess my mantra is a good one. Go and do some squats! And if you don't have the discipline to do them on your own go to a class, find a trainer, hop on youtube, but do some squats every day!!

Every day.....
Veggies and fruit
10 minutes of sunshine
40 squats
Learn something can be anything even if you have to go online to "Obscure facts"!!!

It's a new year and although I am not big on resolutions (usually broken by January 16th accompanied by a feeling of failure) I am a big fan of starting over, new day, new way of thinking, forget the past...
We can do anything we set our mind to...But you must believe you can do it. Until now I have not believed I can lose weight. I have been negligent of my health for so long that it is taking me a bit of time to dig out of this hole. But after proving to myself I can exercise, lift heavy weights and bring
down all my numbers I now realize I can also lose weight. I do believe I can do it.

I can do this...Watch me...

I am amazed at the changes so many of my friends have made at Xuberance, they are thinner, stronger and much healthier. A dear friend that we do a Christmas party for every year told me how intrigued she is with what I am doing. Although she is very thin she admitted she isn't very strong and she wants to be stronger. I hope she comes down to Xuberance (702-750-9420) to meet the amazing people there, people who want to help, guide, encourage and teach everyone who comes in. I know how hard it is to get started, so let someone else do the hard work of figuring out what is best for you. It is an experience that is worth every effort to get there.

Happy New Year, my wish for you is you achieve everything you want. Believe it!!!