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The Girl With The Crooked Smile

The other day I was looking for a pic from the camera roll on my phone and found my little kid picture. Kindergarten or first grade. I think it’s first grade. Me. The girl with the crooked smile. The girl with the blue eyes and white hair. The girl with pale skin and skinny legs. The girl with an attitude and a heart of gold. The girl who always, always wanted to hang with the boys. Athletic. A way of life, even then. Outside playing all the time. Climbing trees, running, jumping rope, riding bikes and playing.

In the picture, I have a big scratch down the side of my face. I’m wearing a dress too. Unheard of for this girl. Not sure how my mother pulled that off. I hated dresses. 

At that time in my young life, we had babysitters. The babysitter either came to the house to watch us or we went there. With this one, we went there. The house was big and had a brown stucco on the outside. It had character. I loved that house. 

The babysitter’s name was Gayle. We went there every week day. Our lunches were sent with us every morning. It was usually Campbell’s Chicken and Stars soup. Add a can of water and you’re set with a few bowls. I can remember sandwiches too. I think they were bologna. Perfect for me and my sister, Sherry. 

The house had old fashioned carpet. The kind with darker colors and swirls. I’ve always been a fan of that pattern. We would shuffle our feet across the carpet as we walked and then touch each other’s arms to send that nice spark of electricity through the body. It was fun. 

We played outside a lot. Carefree and wild. Outside at the side of the house was a small dirt hill we would play on. I think mostly kids would ride their bikes down it, pretending to be Even Knievel. We also slid down it and always had a  blast. One of the times I got pushed and went face first down the hill on my belly, catching a branch from a lilac bush to the side of my face. School pictures were the next day. Awesome! I had a nice badge of honor. A mini sized bad ass, that was me.

In the picture I see the scratch on my face. I see the dress. I see a girl with a crooked smile and bright blue eyes. I see the white hair. I’m not looking directly at the camera, but slightly off to the side. The photographer may have done that on purpose. 

I see that same smile and that same look in the face of my son, and in the face of his daughter. It’s crazy how genetics work. 

I wonder what I was thinking. I wonder what I was feeling. Young and carefree—-and wild. That was me. The girl with the crooked smile. 

Rest is the Best

All or Nothing. Balls to the Wall. I’ll sleep when I die. You only live once. More is better. Don’t be a pussy. Any of those phrases sound familiar? I’m sure they do. I used to be that way. I used to think the more I worked out, the better my results would be. I used to think the harder I worked out the better my results would be. I used to think I could stay up late and get up early. I used to think I could eat more because I worked hard and dammit I was entitled. 

But then, I fucking grew up.

Not very many people can get by without resting their bodies. And if you think they don’t need that rest, you are sadly mistaken. Your body needs to recover. That is where the magic of results happens. 

I used to work out every single day. It was a badge. A -look at what I can do-badge. A -look how important I am-badge. The sad truth was I was doing my body no good. I was not getting results. My sleep was crappy. I was tired all the damn time. I felt like crap.

I’ve learned to rest my body. I take 3 strength training days a week. I either do a few bike rides or walks as active recoveries or completely rest. It’s hard though, I get it. I LOVE to work out. 

It’s definitely a shift in mindset. I remember thinking I’m going to lose my mind. I wanted to panic. I thought I wasn’t working out enough. But, the thing, because there is always a thing, I was not seeing any progress. My body was not changing, in fact it was getting worse. I was gaining weight, my strength was decreasing, I was not happy and I felt like crap. 

It didn’t take long to learn the value of rest. My body had time to recover. It was able to recover. Then the next time I had a strength day, I felt like a million bucks! I am not kidding. It’s amazing how strong a person feels after rest! What a concept. A concept that is so foreign to so many people. 

It’s so ironic. We always think more is better. It is so hard in this day and age of go, go, go, more, more, more, faster, faster, faster. We never think we need to rest. We think if we don’t work out more, we are going to gain more weight. We think the working out part is the answer. We never think the rest part or the nutrition part is the answer. Too simple. Too easy. Instead we have to overcomplicate it, just like everything we do. 

More is not better. More is just more. But if you still are panicking because you think you need more and you aren’t sure how to get quality workouts in, then you pay attention to your workouts. You pay attention to how your body is responding. You pay attention to how you feel during your workout and after resting. 

During your workouts, you can focus on the technique – make sure you aren’t half-assing it. It is super easy to just go through the motions. Make sure your motions are spot on. 

Increase the weight when it’s appropriate. You should know when that is. You should be able to feel yourself getting stronger. 

You can add reps, you can tempo up your reps, speed up or slow down or a combination of both. 

Get after it during your workouts, don’t be hanging on your phone during your workout. Pay attention to what you are doing. Give yourself the attention you deserve. 

Then you rest. You will start seeing more progress when you are letting your body recover. Your body will thank you by showing up for you. Your body will thank you for letting it have the rest and letting it get more sleep. 

Rest is the magic pill you guys. I say it all the time. It, along with how you are eating, are the drivers of your progress. If you want to be working out into your 90s, well then you better learn how to rest.  Make your rest days your BFF and develop that relationship. 

Macro Counting and You

You have probably counted calories at some point during you life. If you have ever tried to lose weight, that is what we usually would do. Or we would go on some super restrictive diet that consisted of shakes or boiled eggs and super bland food. My coaching is different. You can eat what you want. Just less. 

My coaching consists of counting macros. 

Our foods are made up of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. 

Protein – each gram consists of 4 calories. Protein is super important for our bodies. It is the building block for maintaining our muscle, repairing our muscles tissues and growing muscle. Protein also keeps us satisfied and helps to regulate our hormones. Protein consists of beef, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs. 

Carbohydrates – each gram consists of 4 calories. This is our primary source of fuel and you really don’t have to be afraid of them. They taste amazing and who wants to limit fruits? Not me. Carbs consist of vegetables, fruits, legumes, bread, rice, pastas and potatoes. 

Fat – each gram consists of 9 calories. So double the amount of protein and carbs. But, your body needs fat. Fat helps regulate your hormones and protects our organs. When our hormones are in balance our bodies have a better environment in which to loss weight and/or build muscle. Fats consist of butter, oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconut and avocado. 

It works like this: You have to calculate your total daily needs. You can find calculators all over the internet. After that, you determine your macros. Protein is usually .8 to 1 per pound of bodyweight. You can also break down your macros into percentages. Some people like a 40% protein breakdown – some 30%. Every single person is different. I work with my clients to find what works best for them. Some people may like more carbs, some people may like more fat. It all depends on that person and their lifestyle. 

Let me give you an example. Let’s say my daily need is 2000 calories and I weigh 145 pounds. I would set my protein at 145 grams per day – because 145×1=145.

I usually start my clients at 25-30 percent fat. That is the percentage of the total calories. So if my calories are 2000 and my fat is going to be 25% of that, we take 2000×25% which equals 500. We have to divide that by the number of fat grams, so because fat has 9 grams per calorie, we divide by 9. My fat grams would then be set at 55. My protein grams are 145 and my fat grams are 55. That leaves carbs. That is the rest of my total daily calories. So we already have 500 calories of fat and we have 580 calories from protein (145×4). That equals 1080. Total calories 2000 minus 1080 equals 920. So 920 divided by 4, leaves 230 grams of carbs. 

To recap my macros would be as follows:

Protein – 145 grams

Fat – 55 grams

Carbohydrates – 230

So why would a person need a coach if they can just set their own macros? Well, they could go on their own and they will probably get some results. If they hire a coach, the coach is going to be able to spot patterns and behaviors that the person might not otherwise notice or want to notice. We are all really good at not seeing our own faults. Or we try to game the system. The coach is a great for accountability, motivation, consistency and guidance. 

Tracking your macros gives you a better view of how you are eating. It helps you see what portion sizes look like and it sets you up for success. It’s not a diet, but more of a lifestyle. 

There you have how to calculate your macros. 

If you have questions, please let me know.

Ready Or Not, Here Comes 2020

New Year’s Resolutions, goals, themes and habits. Do you? Should you? 

Only you know the answer to that. What do you really, really want spice girl? (Yes, I think I’m funny). 

We are all different and we are all wired differently. Something that works for you, might not work for me. That’s the beauty of being different. We don’t need to compare. We don’t need to conform. We don’t need to wish or hope or want to be like someone else. Dare to be different. Dare to be yourself. 

You might be a resolution person. You might be a goal person. You might be a theme person or a new habit person. Yay! 

What’s the difference? 

Resolution – a firm decision to do or not to do something. 

Goal – the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. 

Theme – a word or phrase that resonates with you and embodies something that has been missing from our daily life. 

Habit – an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary – for example, looking both ways before crossing the street. 

You also could decide just to take the pressure off yourself and just decide you are going to do something, just like you decide you aren’t going to do something. The something is totally up to you. 

You don’t have to change everything. But we all probably need to change some things. 

Make 2019 your last year of making excuses. Your last year of wasting time. Your last year of doubting yourself. Your last year of always saying “I need to lose weight.” Your last year of saying, if only. 

Make some goals like breaking a bad habit. Make some goals like learning a new skill, do a good deed, visit a new place, face a fear, trying something new, take a risk, instead of I need to lose weight or I need to exercise more.  

Find something you can stick with. That’s the best one to do. If you want to change how you look, that’s up to you, but it’s not a required resolution or goal. You always have the power of your choice. If you want different goals such as lifting a shit ton of weight, that’s up to you too. The choices are endless. Feel your power. Get in your power. It’s in you. I promise. 

The industry tells us we need to be perfect. There is no such thing as perfect. Progress is way better than perfection anyway. Make a little bit of progress every day. Do better every day. Be better every day. 

But most of all, find what works for you. It may be a resolution. It may be a new habit. It could be a goal or a theme. Find it. Work it. Do it. 

Here’s to 2020 and being your different. 

The place you go to die…

The place you go do die. That’s what she called it. That’s what she said. Was she ready? Is anyone ever, really? She had no choice. It was what was happening. The train was rolling. There was no stopping. My heart hurt. She was so brave. So much dignity and so much grace. 

My mind just knows when it’s close. I always feel different. I always feel less settled and sometimes agitated. Funny, the internal clock. The ticking. The tocking. It always lets me know. 

January 16 is the day. She was only 50. Way too young. 

Sub Acute Care Center. That is what it’s called. That is what she called “the place you go to die.” Never getting out. Never coming back. The slap in the face realization of what is to come. No future to come. 

Christmas in the hospital is never fun for anyone. She kept her spirits up. She was a strong, strong woman. Those days are a blur, yet the end is like it was yesterday. Gathered around her bed in the room. The room at the place you go to die. Watching her gracefully slip away. 

Continue to rest in peace Sandy. 

It’s Never Guaranteed

Every day. I look at it. I can’t help it. It’s right there, at work. On my desk. I leave it there. It reminds me to live each day. It reminds me that nothing is to be taken for granted. It reminds me that we got more time. It reminds me that we got more love. 

In the hustle and bustle of life, we always worry about things. We always complain about things or get negative about things. It’s kind of human nature, or a lot of people’s nature. I try to quash it. I try to not let things get to me. Some days they do, but most days I am good about letting things go. I can’t control those things. 

The holidays are here and some of us don’t have loved ones here with us. We’ve lost them. We miss them and sometimes it makes the holidays harder. But life goes on and we get through the things. 

A picture really does tell a story. What is this story? In the picture, my husband of not even two years. My daughter of 11 months. We were gifted more time. We were gifted more love. 

I wonder sometimes. The what ifs. The whys. You know, the questions we always ask about life things when we are uncertain or fearful, or both. So, I do. I wonder. Sometimes. 

I think of all the life we have lived and all the love we have loved. You just never know. And that’s really okay. 

So when I look at the picture, I am reminded that life is not guaranteed. I am reminded that we got more time and we got more love. This reminder. A good reminder.  I cherish it. 

Hello December

It’s Sunday. I’m looking out the window in the library. Hello December. Snow. Lots of snow. The wind has subsided and we are no longer having a blizzard. December you are coming in mad. It is calm and pretty. The snow is deep. The trees are covered. I am drinking water and listening to the TV as John is out in the living room watching something. I hear him talking to the animals. Koko the cat and the dogs, Jack and Nora.  

I am contemplating my workout for the day. Getting ready. Motivating myself. Pushing weights and walking on the Tread is what I have planned. I am in a good place with my workouts and with my health. I feel strong. I feel good. 

Thanksgiving is over. My favorite month is over. It flew by and I feel like I was present for it all. Sometimes the months are a blur and it seems like I remember nothing about them. Sometimes I  don’t care if I remember anything about them. So many things to do. So many things to get done. Slow down child. Slow down. 

Now I am in the kitchen making crack snack. I can hear the oven fan and Nora barking outside. Peaceful Piano is on the speaker. I am thinking. 

I see things or hear things and I write them in my notebook or in the notes app on my phone. Phrases I can’t push away. Phrases that remind something. Phrases I want to use in my writing or things I want to write about. 

Today something is going through the maze of my brain. If looking above it is like a corn maze. The word. It’s a word traveling through the maze. Boundaries. I pause to check my email. I pause to collect my thoughts. Jack is the at the door, starting at me. He wants in. My coffee tastes good. Luke warm. Not hot. Decaf so I can sleep. 

Back to the word and what I am thinking about. Boundaries. Learning how to say no. Learning what to say yes to. Learning to take control of my work. Feeling like it is okay to say no to everyone’s requests. I feel I have earned my boundaries. I have said yes to so many requests. I have said to so much free. I need to make boundaries. I need to keep boundaries. 

I have to have limits. I have to tune in to what I want. I need to be direct. I give myself permission to say no to things. I pause again. Checking Facebook this time. Thinking more. Rolling the words over in my mind. Listening to the music. Thinking how much I love piano music and how relaxing it is. 

I feel good about where I am going in my business. I feel like I have earned every single boundary I am putting in place. I have earned the right to say no to things. I feel okay about that. I feel good about that. I feel at peace with that. 

Slow Dances Are The Best Dances

When I went to feel all the feels, I find a song. It has to be a thinking song. A song that makes me cry. It makes me think. It makes me grateful. A song that makes me feel things. Today was a day like that. 

It started pretty much like any other Saturday. Errands, eating, coffee. I initially planned on working out, but then started studying and I knew I needed to get my butt in gear on this current certification. Assignment #4 was giving me trouble. It wasn’t hard, just time consuming. I knew I just needed to make that a priority today. 

When I study or when I am working at home I always play music. Usually it is the playlist Peaceful Piano on Spotify. Today, I wanted more. Today, I needed more. 

Sometimes when I get stressed out, I don’t feel like I am stressed out and then this is what happens. The music happens. The crying happens. I realize that IS how I relieve my stress. It doesn’t happen too often. Maybe every few months. It just depends on what is going on my life. 

Today was a day like that. Sitting here. Working on my assignment. Listening to “Remember When” by Alan Jackson. On repeat, over and over. Listening to the lyrics. Really listening to that song. Going through life. Going through it. Vowing the vows and walking the walk and giving our hearts. That was us. That was John and me. 

I’m sitting here letting myself feel. Letting myself feel the music. “Remember when, 30 seemed so old. Now looking back, it’s just a stepping stone, to where we are, where we’ve been, said we’d do it all again, remember when?” 

“Remember when, we said when we turned gray, when the children grow up and move away, we won’t be sad, we’ll be glad for all the life we’ve had, and we’ll remember when.” 

So, I’ve been working for hours. Slowing feeling less stressed. Slowing letting it melt away. John walked by and now I grab him and make him slow dance with me. We both feel the music, we both feel our love that has not wavered one time since we first laid eyes on each other in May of 1997. There is no doubt our love was meant to be. The timing. The synchronicity. Every little thing that came before us, every little piece of life we lived before us, every action and reaction that came before us. What if something was different? What if something changed? What if something the night we met didn’t happen? We never would have met. We never would have come together. We never would have found each other. We never would have gotten married. We never would have had Tayler.

I thank God every single day for this life and this man. I am so glad for all the life we’ve had. 

Emotions and linen closets

I think my favorite house our family lived in while I was growing up was the Prospect House. Green stucco, nice porch and unique features. It was an old house and my parents remodeled it when I was in junior high. 

The upstairs had three bedrooms and one bathroom. The ceiling in the bathroom was slanted, so if you were tall you were out of luck and had to duck in certain areas of the room. I wasn’t out of luck. 

Sometimes Sherry and I would play in the bathroom with super balls. We would shut the door and then bounce the super ball against the wall or floor or tub and watch it ricochet off the wall, toilet, counter window and floor. We had to ALWAYS make sure to close the lid on the toilet. We laughed and laughed dodging it the whole time. The bathroom also had a laundry chute. That was always entertaining as well. Sometimes clothes would get stuck on a nail that stuck out too far, so we would have to get a hanger and bend it in such a way that we could hook the clothes and get them unstuck. I always wondered if I could fit down the chute. I never tried. 

My favorite feature in this house was at the top of the stairs right before entering the bathroom. To the right. A built in. A linen closet. Two bottom drawers and two doors that opened silultaneously to present four shelves. The color was off white, blush even. Unique, just like the house. The closet was filled with towels and bedding, soaps, shampoos and bathroom cleaning supplies. 

It wasn’t so much the linen closet, it was the feelings and emotions evoked from the smells in the linen closet. Have you ever opened your linen closet or where you store your sheets and just inhale the smell. Go try. You will know what I’m talking about. The smell is distinct. It’s unique.

Sometimes when I was sad or wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling, I would climb the stairs from the main floor, one by one, heading to the linen closet. I would unhook the handle and open the doors wide. I would take a big deep breath and take in the smell. I would lean my head against the towels and keep smelling. You know what I’m talking about. The crispness, the clean smell. The even-keel smell. The sheets, the towels and the soaps smell. The home smell. The comfort smell. The safe smell. 

I don’t know if it’s the combination or all the things in the linen closet that produce that smell or if it is just a sheet and towel smell or clean smell. I loved that linen closet. 

I was hugging John the other day and I could smell the linen closet smell on his shirt. I instantly felt calm and comfortable…and home. 

Acorn squash and reminders

I had no idea I would react like that. Least expected. The smell was amazing. The bite. That’s what did it. One bite was all it took. The memories came flooding back. The tears came. Running down my face. The lump in my throat, trying to stop them. But why? Just live them I told myself. Just let them happen. 

Trigger. I prefer a different word. That word always seems negative to me. I will call them reminders. Reminders of things happy. When a simple acorn squash was enjoyed. The smell, the taste, the memory, and then so many years later, the reminder. 

It is the holidays? That seems to press the reminder button for a lot of things. Missing loved ones. Missing the gone ones. Missing the memories. Not being able to make new ones. Cherishing the ones we have. 

The squash did it to me. Dad loved squash. The minute I took the bite I was with him eating dinner at the kitchen table. The Prospect house. Him saying my name the way he did. Talking, discussing, laughing. The best squash and the best way to cook it. The best memories and the best reminders. 

Never knowing when a reminder will appear. Letting it play out when it does. I’ll take that. Enjoy the squash up there.