Thank you for joining me here! I created this blog to share my journey and my story, in hopes that it will encourage you, perhaps inspire you and maybe even entertain you. But first, let me introduce myself.
The short version: I'm both a northern girl, raised in Syracuse, NY, and a southern girl, living in NC. I'm married with 3 kids, 2 grown and 1 nearly grown. I love Jesus. I love reading. I love sewing & crocheting. I love cooking. I love helping and encouraging others. I get to love on and teach some really precious preschool kids during the week, and this year I have discovered the joys and freedoms that come from becoming healthier and fitter through clean eating and exercise. So much so that I have now teamed up with the same fantastic people who got me started and encouraged me on my fitness journey, to pay it forward and hopefully help some of you either get started and/or encourage you to persevere on your own journey.
But this is how I got here from there: I used to be a stay at home mom for about 18 years, one of my children being special needs, and the stresses that came from that became overwhelming. I struggled for many years, not only feeling like I failed as a parent, but as a spouse and questioned for a long time, my worth as a person. My family moved multiple times for my husband's job, and as my kids got older, particularly my special needs child, the stress became harder and harder to cope with. I got to a point where I felt dead inside, empty and not even like a real person anymore. I stopped eating because I had no appetite, drank a lot of wine because I needed to feel numb, and barely slept. I lost so much weight that my sisters and my mother all worried about me constantly, and I was too empty inside to pay attention. All I wanted to do was just disappear and start over. I had no faith in anything, believed in nothing, and had no idea that anyone out there thought I mattered in a way that I could understand. But I was wrong. So very wrong. On the way home from a trip to Pittsburgh with my sisters, I was sitting in the Baltimore airport at our gate, waiting for our flight. There were playoff NFL games on the tv screens, and being the sports junkie that I am, I took a seat next to a man in army fatigues to watch. He happened to be playing a facebook game on his laptop that I also played at the time, so we struck up a little conversation and added each other to our gaming list. I had no way of knowing in that moment how important Grant would become in my life.
Fast forward a couple months from that, and I happened to see him online, so I opened a chat window to say hi. I found out that he lived near me, (small world), and from a random comment on my part that I'd stopped believing in anything, he began to speak to me, about the fact that I was not alone, that I did matter, and he spoke truth to me about God's love for me, even inviting me to join him & his family at his church that coming Sunday. I don't remember what made me say yes, but I did, and I went. And I went back the next Sunday, and the next, and the next, and before I knew it, I wasn't feeling quite so empty anymore, although it was not for a few more months that I actually hit rock bottom. During this time, even though I was learning I wasn't completely alone, I was also still in a downward spiral at home, bad enough that I told my husband that I was leaving, that I had nothing left to give, not to him, not to our kids, not to anyone. He didn't want me to leave, and we very slowly tried to piece ourselves back together. He began to attend church with me, although ultimately we decided to try out the church our neighbors attended, and that ended up being the perfect fit. At one point, Grant decided that I needed a big brother, so he decided to "adopt" me, and so that is how our friendship has evolved.....a wonderfully blessed, sibling friendship. He has been a constant source of encouragement to me, prays for me, and inspires me. But it was his surviving a horrible car accident that was the trigger for me discovering for myself a real faith, real belief , real saving grace that sustains me today. He was hit head on by a drunk driver on the wrong side of the highway, and after seeing photos of his car and learning that it was a Bible that prevented a metal beam from the door frame from going through his leg to make him bleed out, I finally realized that God was real and He wanted me to know it, and I finally truly believed it, and that was the day I knew I belonged to Him. There is no way Grant survives that wreck without divine intervention. At the end of that summer in 2011, I was baptized in my new faith.
Since that time, my husband & I found our way back to each other. Nearly 23 years married now. Things are better in a lot of ways at home, but remain frustratingly difficult with our now adult aged special needs child, who is still at home. The Lord called my mother home very unexpectedly, a devastating loss that I am still struggling to process 3 1/2 years later. But I am not empty anymore, and I am not alone. So many blessings have come into my life since I gave my life to Jesus 4 years ago, even with the trials and struggles that remain. I have surrounded myself with people who lift me up and encourage me. I am blessed to have a job that brings me real joy, working with kids at the preschool at our church. I get to share my love of sewing/crafting in summer camps at church. And now I have the blessings that come with working on making my body healthier and stronger through clean eating and working out. I was suffering from constant fatigue and insomnia, often waking up with pain that started in my back and/or hips, and shot down my legs, and unable to get comfortable to sleep. I had my doctor test my blood for everything, and everything came back normal. I didn't know what to do. I'm 47, was this what I had to look forward to, this whole aging thing? But I also started to notice my childhood classmate posting on facebook about how she was getting healthier and stronger through using some of Beachbody's workout programs, and drinking Shakeology, and I wondered if I should check it out. I thought about it for a number of weeks and decided to ask her for more details about it. Even then, it took me a few more weeks before I decided to try it out, and wow, it changed everything for me! I lost a few pounds that had crept back on, but more importantly than that, for the first time in years, I wasn't waking up needing a nap, wasn't tired all day long! Changing how I ate, exercise, and fueling my body with all the nutrients in the Shakeology, has made all the difference. I have energy again, I no longer wake up in the night with pain, and I have this unexpected love of exercising because it feels great to feel stronger. I actually don't mind getting up at 5:30 am during the week, and 6 on weekends. I used to crave junky food and being a couch potato, now I crave working out. Who knew?
That is why I named this blog Faith + Fitness = Freedom. By actively working to grow my faith and my fitness level, I have the freedom to help others, to encourage others, and to share my God-given gifts with others. That is the whole point and that is why I'm teaming up with my classmate and the other amazing people on her team, to be a Beachbody coach and help others find their freedom. If I can do it, anyone can! I will post about my fitness journey, my faith journey, and my creative process, and whatever else strikes my mind. If you're still reading, thank you for sticking with me. I promise not all my posts will be this long! And if anyone can relate to some of my journey/story, I would love to hear about it!
with love & blessings,