A semi century of wild wisdom. Here’s a cheeky outlook and journey through the second half of a century. Over 50, taking it on and loving it! A challenge to all to fight off a stagnant or indifferent demeanor, the moment you are in right now is a gift. Embrace it. Treasure it. Live it.

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Wow. Just. Wow.  I came across this picture when I was looking for something else this week.  It is so hard to comprehend how heavy I was at this point. This was my heaviest and I am sure I do not know what those numbers are. I had divorced the scale for a completely different reason during those days.   This picture is from my son’s college graduation in 2008.  I had to stop running due to a back injury.  I was forced to rest and heal. Keeping the SAD (Standard American Diet) while being idle physically caused immediate inflation and I quickly gained weight.  The added weight was not helping the healing process either.  At the same time my body decided to throw in some wacky pre-menopausal changes. I am sure it had something to do with the sudden change from distant training and finishing a half marathon, to coId turkey, absolutely no exercise. I injured my back on the day I finished the 2008 Ocala Half Marathon. I was standing on one leg trying to pry my shoe off my other foot in front of me and fell on my tailbone.
 This is a picture from after the half marathon, January 2008. After the injury my exercise was seriously halted. My diet on the other hand did not halt.  I even considered my diet then, healthier than most. Unknowingly it was adding to the problem.  I did not realize then how very grain and carb heavy it was and how that was affecting my weight gain.  I understand it now.  By May 2008 as you can see, I was quite heavy.   In a short time from the end of January to May, just 4 months.  I went
From This                  To This
     I was extremely frustrated with the weight gain at the same time was dealing with unpredictable cycles continually too close together.  It got so difficult I sent all my medical records and test results to a friend who is also a gynecologist and surgeon to discuss surgery and removing what I did not need. Logically, I wasn’t using it anymore.  I had joked about running so much that my uterus finally had enough and was dropping out.   In reality, I was exhausted and defeated.  I gave in, broke down and unloaded one day on a close friend. This friend pointed out that they had never seen me so defeated. Their serious concern and care helped me back to a fighting stance. So precious are friends that are honest with us, challenge us, and help us back up when we have taken a knock-out hit.  After many discussions with my doctor and my friend, I decided to try and work things out naturally first, and give it time before making any surgical solutions.  It did eventually even out, and though I am still experiencing some pre-menopausal symptoms they are much more normal and manageable.
     I finally got back to gradually increasing my cardio, and then I easily fell into my old routine of yo-yo weight gains and losses.  This led me back to the vicious cycle of more chronic cardio. I was trying desperately to burn the calories in. I know now that is a ridiculous theory, and absolutely impossible. Please watch video “Sugar; The Bitter Truth” from the post “Challenges”.   During that season it was all strife, struggle, and constant contention to try and stay fit and a healthy weight.  It wasn’t until May 2011 when I started CrossFit and began a Primal nutritional lifestyle (Primal 101), that my desired results were achieved and maintained.  This is just some more of the story before this story; My Success Story.
     Many of you have seen some of my success here, but I wanted you to know I identify and understand the struggles. I know what it is like to feel defeated.   I know how especially hard women can be on themselves.  My desire is that you understand and identify with your own unique beauty.  My hope is that you aim for health not perfection.  Your strength is in your individuality and owning it. I admire the beauty of women. I look around and have opportunity to embrace many of you. You all inspire me young and old for so many different reasons. Your own goals are reachable and attainable. When the day is dark and defeat is loud, be determined not to stay there.  Face the direction you need to go, and move towards it.
”You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where you go.”
- DR. Seuss

 
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     Last week, I mentioned that CrossFit was an intense workout.  After thinking about it I wanted to clarify a few things about CrossFit.  When I started out over a year ago, I was doing modified push-ups on my knees and having to take quite a few breaks during a workout or WOD (Work Out of the Day).  I could only do a pull up with a thick band to support me.  It took me eight months to get a single pull up.  I still do pull ups 1-3 at a time. Break. Another 1-3 until the prescribed amount for that workout is complete.  My next goal is to string 5 together at a time. Also when I started out, most any barbell exercises were done with an empty bar, no weight added. Sometimes I only used a light PVC pipe until the coaches thought I mastered the skill enough to add weight.  I am clarifying this for those who have read about CrossFit, seen some CrossFit in action and as a result concluded it was impossible for them to do.  
     The right CrossFit Box (Gym) will provide beginners with excellent technique training as well as supervised modifications that will meet their specific skill level.  Ideally they will have some introductory classes. If you are considering checking out a Crossfit box, my advice is to ask to observe a class or two. When observing pay close attention to the coaches. It will be hard not to be mesmerized by some of the highly skilled athletes, but watch how the coaches interact with those who may be struggling to grasp a skill. Did they take the time to properly teach skills before starting the workout? Learning proper technique and making sure a workout is scaled correctly to your ability assures success and keeps injury at bay.  I am fortunate that I found that combination at my box, CrossFit Pinnacle. From what I have experienced, most CrossFit facilities have the same high standards. Still, I have read a few stories, so it does not hurt to visit and observe.  
     Here I am, a year and half after beginning CrossFit, not only can I do a pull up.  I can do 100 pull ups. Mind you, still about 3 at a time.  It really hit me how far I have come and progressed after we completed the hero workout “Murph”. Our Crossfit  “Hero WODs” are intense workout experiences conceived and intended to be performed with intense effort to honor our fallen Heroes.

Murph

For time
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it. (Murph did) In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it ‘Body Armor.’ From here on it will be referred to as ‘Murph’ in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.
Honoring our hero Murph, I did it.  It took me 61 minutes and 20 seconds, but I completed the workout RX (as prescribed without modifications, well minus the 20 lb vest)

      I say all this to encourage those who may feel intimidated by CrossFit, or if any kind of work out intimidates you. Do not let that fear or a preconceived “fail” attitude keep you from your goals. I would like to add that “age” is no excuse either.  I have seen Crossfit kids, and CrossFit seniors step up to meet the challenges presented them.  I will soon be 52 years old and I am doing things physically I never thought possible, even as a young competitive athlete.    The sense of accomplishment is huge when you master a new skill or complete a workout that seemed overwhelming. Additional bonus, you cannot forget that those endorphins you stimulate will relieve stress and pain. Endorphins work like a natural opiate.  So exercise can release endorphins, which in turn blocks pain. Not only does this amazing little hormone block pain, but it also induces a sense of pleasure.  That’s a win, win and win!
Here is a look at Crossfit:


And here is a good example of why Crossfit is for everyone:


If you are interested in a complimentary intro session contact

 

Let them know you heard it here

 
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Published on November 9, 2012, by in Motivation.

Today, I am not holding back, so proceed with warning, challenges ahead. I have very strong convictions about health and fitness.  We have a responsibility to care for the life and temple we are graciously given.  It’s just as important as feeding our spirit with truth. Both take investment.  It is true, where you invest is where your heart is.  You should know that there are no shortcuts. The truth is, anything worthwhile takes work and investment. Not to mention, sacrifice.  If you want to be healthy you will have to invest and engage in healthy activity. You have to determine to make it a lifestyle. We live in a fast food, instance gratification culture. We have more than we ever need so available to us. This makes all our temptations within easy reach. We have become comfortable and accustom to this excess.  We will never get results without discipline, making changes and doing the work. That applies to anything we are striving to achieve.  It will also take time and demand patience. Results will not be instant. It has taken over a year to get to the point I am now, and I still have goals that I have not met and I still have to deal with setbacks.  It saddens me when people get discouraged and give up trying when the results they are expecting are not instant.  Of course we all want visible results, but more importantly we can be fighting off heart disease, diabetes, even cancerous growth by selecting to eat well.   Are you willing to invest time and effort? Are you willing to learn and grow in this area?  I recommend that you consider investigating a Paleo/Primal nutritional pattern. It is pretty basic; eat meat, vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts and seeds. I allow myself dairy but limited. I avoid eating grains, sugar, or legumes. It has made a huge difference in my health, body composition, and even my blood work and wellness checkups were marginally improved.  But don’t take my word for it. *Read and see if it logically and scientifically makes sense to you. Nothing is for sale here, only information and most of that can be obtained on the internet without charge. The books I recommend just make it easy to access the information in one place where it is effectively in order.  For exercise; MOVE. It does not matter how. Get out in the fresh air and walk, ride a bike or rearrange your house and lift some furniture, take the stairs, bend, stretch, skip, play in the pool or teach a kid hop scotch (That was for those old enough to know this game. We played this before video games). The point is move and move often.   I understand that not everyone thrives on intense challenge like Crossfit or half marathons, but I would like to encourage you to keep moving. When you move, get out of your comfort zone sometimes. Elevate your heart rate, get a good sweat going.  Then make it a habit. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel.  Consistency is always a key, even when I am in a season of failure, giving up and quitting is not an option. Exercise is important but you might want to note that only 20% of our weight loss and body health comes from our fitness routine.  80% of our success relies on our food choices.  Again, I am fully convinced the majority of health and disease issues we face here in western culture are a result of poor nutritional habits and/or addictions. Lust is not limited to sex. I know. I have experienced what it is like to literally lust and indulge in a nasty food choice. Guilty. I am also aware that healthier food can cost more, but preventive health choices will pay off more in the long run.  Read labels and be aware of what all your options are. Buy the best possible choices you can. Also note, that there are no magic foods, diet products, or energy shakes that trump real food. Here’s an easy guideline for choices, Choose God made before man made. That said, you should be aware that a lot of our food source has been genetically modified (GMO) and far from natural, but I will save that for another day. I am passionate and I seriously care about the health of my loved ones and beyond. I see people everywhere suffering from medical illnesses, fatigue, stress and pain. I know some simple changes could make huge improvements. I want that. I confess to being extreme in that I have always had an all or nothing approach. Those grey areas where the lines are blurred, or where mediocrity may live is a scary place for me. That attitude also comes with it’s own demons to battle. So, I am not calling my approach elite. Just providing some definition of me.  I will provide resources, encouragement and some direction where to find good information, but it is ultimately up to you to invest in your own health. You have to fine tune, tweak and come up with what works best for you.  Glean from this what will match your own convictions about food, health and fitness.  If I have made you a little uncomfortable I hope that it is in good way. That you may challenge yourself to stay on course toward a healthy journey. With that,  I am going to leave you with an educational video. Free, it will only cost you time.  If you have an hour and half to invest for your health, I highly recommend watching this.  Actually, I challenge you to watch it completely to the end.  It is a medical lecture and includes some nerdy biochemistry. Yet, it is extremely enlightening if you can bear with it to the end. 3,2,1…GO!

 
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So. Very. Wrong.

I know that this post has nothing to do with health or fitness and seemingly random. Yet, this is my blog and I made no promises to stay single minded, in post or purpose. Then again, keeping our minds stirred and thoughtful is keeping mentally fit. So, with that, I guess it does fit.   I watched a movie several years ago titled Memento. Memento is a collaborated work of Christopher and Jonathan Nolan. Maybe more recognized by most for the screenplays “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises”.  Memento is a difficult movie to watch. It is not a casual movie. It is a movie that you have to watch intently. I must warn you, if you have not seen it, it has graphic and violent content. This movie is uniquely written and directed, as the beginning of the movie is actually the end. You have to engage and pay attention to the black and white scenes interspersed with the scenes in color.  I had to watch it more than once to catch what I originally missed. This movie deals with memory, perception and self-deception. I have heard it defined that deception is actually the act of entertaining an illusion. We do it all the time without realizing it, and then we begin to believe things untrue about ourselves. Some of these lies and deceptions come from airbrushed and perfected images in media. How many times have we allowed such illusions to deceive us into believing thatshould be our reality? I have also seen countless grown women and men who have never got past deceptive lies blatantly told to them as a child, like “they will never amount to anything.” They have taken that lie and owned it. We have to be so careful what we speak over our children. Words hold power. Of all evil, deception angers me most. This was a little off the direction I wanted to go, but I could not resist unleashing a rant against deception of any kind. The movie “Memento” had me contemplating memories. How absolutely amazing is function of memories.  How even a faint scent can take us to a place in our past and stir us emotionally. A song can take us back to where we first heard it and what we were doing and feeling.  I became fascinated, and started evoking memories to identify what I thought and felt about them.  Admittedly,  I was spending way more time than anyone should in their own head. A deceptive memory of my own came to mind, here I confess to acts of deception.  One late night I ate lots of cookies, but didn’t want anyone to know I ate lots of cookies. So, I rearranged all the cookies to look like there were less in each row than packaged. It turned out that it only looked like three cookies were eaten instead of like, eight. I should not be so proud of this brilliant little deception, but it does make me smile and shake my head at how goofy I have been with food.   OK,  I was also one of those mom’s who hid in the closet to eat my candy bar because I didn’t want to share it with my kids. I am very capable of absurd activity. I will not expound or expose myself further on this matter. You get the picture.  Anyway, ……I also started to think about shared memories, how perception can cause two different people to interpret an experience and then store that memory differently. Our perception of that memory is what is real to us. That sparked some more introspection of my memories, and I began to play with words.
   
moments

life is really a collection of moments
it is the moment we capture
it is the moment we remember
it is the moment we hold on to
recalling a moment
is to live it again
of course, the moment
is how we remember it
it may not be at all
the way it really happened
could memory be a liar?

or has our heart stored what’s true
and entwined it in our soul?

 
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Mom with her  puppy  Bonita
Someone recently commented about my blog “you inspire me and make me feel not afraid to get older”.   Aging gracefully and embracing our days is within our reach and defined by the choices we make. However, there may be a day when we do not have that choice.  Grace we hold for ourselves and the simple dignity to be independent, can be suddenly taken from us. We may find ourselves depending on the mercy of our loved ones.  My mom has recently experienced this. Though she was in physical pain, it was evident that the pain and humility of having to depend on someone else was even more difficult to deal with. Independence is so easy; you know you can trust yourself to do whatever is needed to get through a situation. We take pride in our independence and it is an innate part of our growth and tied to our self-worth.  The real challenge is when we are faced with having to be dependent. It takes much more faith and trust to be dependent than independent. It can be very scary to realize you are no longer in control and have to rely completely in faith and trust.   I do not fear age, but I am fully aware that our days are numbered.  What matters most, what has eternal worth, and is the core of our existence, is relationship. It is a simple foundation from which everything else branches.  We were created for relationship. We thrive because of and extend ourselves through relationship. Relationship holds us together as partners in life, parents, friends, our community, and our environment. Even how we relate to, either at peace or at war with ourselves. Our greatest joys and our greatest pains are the result of the depth of love invested in our relationships. Preserving and caring for those relationships goes beyond self preservation.   It is a selfless devotion.  I have no better example, than my mother, who may not got have gotten everything right, but  got everything love. There was never a moment I felt unloved. She invested all she had to give, and I am all the richer for this mantle of unconditional love. 
Little did I know when I was drafting the post above for this week would hold. That our family would be faced with the tragedy of not only losing our niece Bethany, but  also losing another dear friend to our family, Danny. This has been a devastating hurt for all, but especially for my children, who not only lost a close cousin, but a close friend all in a 24  hour period. It seems so surreal and unbelievable. We are just stunned. I was going to write more about Bethany and Danny. Instead, Tori has already eloquently put it in words and I could not have said it better.  This is from Tori and Daniel’s blog.
Heavy Heart
The title says it all. My heart has been so heavy over the last 24 hours. I woke this morning to hear more bad news. That one of my many adopted brothers, Danny, had also left us. Both much too young. But God has a plan, and he is working through every heartache right now. They both were amazing people and I was so privileged to know them and spend time with them.Danny could make anyone laugh on the spot. He was always quick with a witty response, and may have left you wondering “Should I really be laughing at that right now?” I won’t mention that he still owed us a new couch after New Years a couple years ago…

 Danny….unique, funny, brilliantly offensive….at the core, simply a gentle soul

 

Bethany’s life was a testimony of God in every single aspect. I have always looked up to her as my closest girl cousin for all of my life. She was so beautiful and lit up a room every time she entered. She always had a joyful spirit, and everyone could tell why. Bethany certainly fought the good fight and was so strong through all of her heart struggles. I’ll never forget Grandma Wyns always getting our names mixed up.

Bethany…Radiant and beautiful in every way possible


Death is so harsh and leaves a painful void as we miss the fellowship of loved ones.   On this subject of “growing older”  …it is a gift, many are denied that opportunity. All we have is today, right now. That is where we live. The past is behind us and there is no promise of tomorrow. We may walk from earth to eternity in a moment.