Category Archives: Motivation


I have never been a major worrier. Most people would describe me as pretty laid back, or calm. But, I have had my seasons of worry.

English: Biting one's lip can be a physical ma...

English: Biting one’s lip can be a physical manifestation of worry. Español: Morderse los labios puede ser una manifestación externa de inquietud. Русский: Плачущая девочка. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I lost my job

When money was very tight

When we were behind on our bills

When I couldn’t find a new job

When I started to lose confidence

When my marriage was falling apart

When I wondered how we could get through it

You could add so many things to this list. But, that was then. Before I learned to stop fighting God. Before I learned to truly trust. Before I learned that I don’t have to do everything on my own. In fact, I had managed to mess up quite a few of those things entirely on my own.

The peace that comes when you finally say yes, and learn to live in conjunction with Him is indescribable.

“Love and fear are literally incompatible in our bodies.” John Ortberg

I am learning to live in this peace and state of happiness that I have never felt.

Have you experienced this? How are you pushing past the fear?

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Filed under Motivation


My friend Jim Woods nominated me for a Kreativ blog award last week. I was floored and honored! Jim writes a great blog about how he found his “unknown” creative side. He also helps others find the “unknown” aspect of their lives through Creative coaching. He is an incredible encourager, and a super nice guy. To pay this forward, I am choosing to share 7 things about me, as well as 7 blogs that inspire me.

Things you may not know about me:

1. I have played the piano since I was 4. I can play almost any sheet music you put in front of me (not as well as I used to!), but cannot play chords or by ear at all.

2. I wanted to be a funeral director when I was younger.

3. I have recently started running, and am really liking it. I am running the Warrior Dash in two weeks!

4. I rarely watch TV.

5. I was a miracle baby, born 17 years after my parents were married, and after they had adopted my sister and brother.

6. I STINK at video games!

7. I say crazy things in my sleep. Just ask my husband.

Seven inspirational blogs:

1. Kristen Keyser – Kristen writes about living a better story by sharing hers. She is incredibly motivating, and shares great book reviews. She and I continue to find that we have similar interests and stories. She writes at

2. Stephanie Ho – Stephanie writes very honest posts about life and trying to live positively. She is also an incredible photographer. She has taken many of our family pictures, and recently took my new headshots. She writes at

3. Christine Niles – Christine writes a beautiful blog about orphan issues and making a difference in the world. She is an incredible encourager, and a great writer. She writes at

4. Tom and Chris Reber – These two are some of the most positive, enthusiastic people I know. They have a company called Motor, which is all about being extraordinary and honoring UNCommon effort. They also have an incredible story. You can learn more about them at and

5. Grant and Kellee Keys – They write about living radically, and just became foster parents for the first time. They are sharing their incredible journey through it all. Their faith and determination are inspiring! They write at

6. Heidi Kreider – I recently met Heidi through Michael Hyatt’s Platform Book launch team. We clicked pretty quickly. She writes about learning to live a life of grace and unwrapping God’s presence in her life. I am currently in the middle of reading her novel, which is really good. You should check it out! She writes at

7. Pilar Arsenec – I also met Pilar through Michael Hyatt’s Platform Book launch team. What an encourager this woman is! She is full of life, and is so incredibly sweet. She writes at

Thanks again to Jim for such an honor. What blogs inspire you?


Filed under inspiration, Motivation

LifeChangers – On a new path


It’s a series about people just like you and me, who decided to do something different.

They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.

They are inspiring.

They are making an impact right where they are.

They are passionate.

They are full of life.

And they are willing to share their story.

I am so excited to start this new series. I’ll be posting once a week with a story of someone who has inspired me.

This first post is very special to me. This person has been on an incredible journey over the last few years. I have always thought he was pretty amazing, but as he continues to grow and develop, he gets more and more interesting to me. He has always had a strong, self-confident way about him, but I have seen the center of that confidence change. It’s deeper, and more intense. I think he’s just starting to uncover what’s been hiding deep inside for a long time.

As some of you may have guessed, I am describing my husband, Rick. Let me assure you right now that I will NOT be posting only about my family on this series! However, I wanted to do this first post in honor of him and his recent significant accomplishments. He has a pretty unique story, and one that you will be hearing more about as it continues to evolve. He blogs periodically at I, Hammer, and I think you will enjoy his posts. He is a pretty cool guy. Not that I’m biased or anything.

Rick’s fitness story is somewhat like mine. He was an athlete for most of his life. Then, marriage, a career, and sedentary life settled in. He no longer played sports. He worked out every once in a while, but it was no longer a priority. Somewhere between working full-time, taking care of the kids, and keeping up with life, he found it hard to be motivated.

A few years ago, he bought a new mountain bike. He has always been good with bikes, and loved to ride when he was younger.  After he got his new bike, he started riding more. He found that he really enjoyed it again. He had uncovered a hidden passion.

Then, late last fall, he discovered a park near us called Saw Wee Kee park. It is a park right along the river with difficult trails, perfect for mountain biking. When he came home from that first ride, I could tell that something had changed in him. He had rediscovered an old love. He was hooked.

Not long after that, he made the decision to sign up for one of the largest mountain bike races in the country, The Iceman Cometh Challenge. Since that race isn’t until November, he decided to find smaller races to help him train. The other weekend, he competed for the first time, at the age of 43, in The Sylvan Island Stampede. The boys and I were so proud of him.

Some people will say, “What’s the big deal? It’s a bike race.” However, this was no easy bike race. It was seven miles of twisting and turning trails on slick mud and terrain. None of the competitors were having an easy time.

And, to me, the fact that he has chosen to train and compete at this point in life is truly inspiring. I know many people younger than Rick that say it is too hard to train and attempt to push themselves at something new. Not Rick. He now has a fire. He’s remembered what it’s like to push himself beyond something that he didn’t think he could do. And that feeling can be addicting. He’ll be competing in his next race in a little over a week.

Rick’s motivation is inspiring.

It makes me realize that you can do anything you put your mind to.

No matter how long it’s been, or the challenges that you’ve faced, you can always choose to start again.

You can choose to step out of your comfort zone.

You can choose to push yourself.

You can choose to live life.

You can choose to be a LifeChanger.


Filed under Dreams, Encouragement, LifeChangers, Motivation

And the Winner Is……

Thank you to all of you who submitted suggestions via Facebook or in the comments. I appreciate your ideas, and some of them were very creative! But, they weren’t exactly expressing what I want the series to be about. I know what you’re thinking – how could you possibly peek inside my head to be able to figure that one out??

My husband and I talked about it all weekend long, and he actually ended up coming up with the name. I feel it best describes the series I will be starting soon. His response was, “So, do I win the Amazon gift card?” Yes, honey, yes you do! 🙂

So what was the winning name? Drumroll, please………………..


It’s a series about people just like you and me, who decided to do something different.

They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.

They are inspiring.

They are making an impact right where they are.

They are passionate.

They are full of life.

And they are willing to share their story.

I am so excited about sharing the stories that I have already been working on. I am hoping that you will be as inspired by them as I am. I will be posting the series once a week.

I would also love to hear from you. If you would like to nominate someone, please let me know.

I have had this series on my mind and heart for a while now, and starting putting ideas together about a month ago. Little did I know that it would go along nicely with our new series at The Orchard! I love it when that happens.

Thank you again for all of your great suggestions. I appreciate it very much!



Filed under Encouragement, Life lessons, Motivation, Uncategorized

Maybe I wasn’t stuck

The other day, I wrote that I felt stuck. And I did. But was I really stuck in a rut with my fitness and healthy eating plan?

Not really.

I have started adding running intervals to my walks. And I’ve continually stuck to my kettelbell workouts. I am working out at a consistency that I have not had in many years. I did have a little work to do with my eating habits, but they weren’t out of control.

So what was going on?

I think I realized it when I read this comment that my husband wrote on my Facebook post.

How can you be stuck when you’re motivating me?  You make it possible for me to pedal those extra miles.

I simply FELT stuck. In my mind, I was beating myself up. I wasn’t doing enough. I was going to start gaining weight back. I wasn’t dedicated enough. It is just too hard. I am destined to be this size forever. I don’t have what it takes to keep this up. It would be so much easier to just give up.

But when I read his comment, I was reminded of other people who have told me similar things. My healthy eating and working out routine has helped motivate some others, including him. They see me making an effort and working hard, and they feel inspired to start making changes. That’s how I started as well. By watching others make significant changes. And being inspired by them. I’m still continually inspired by people I work out with, and friends who are living active, healthy lifestyles. I will be writing more about this soon.

So, I have decided to silence that inner critic. I can do this. It is really not that hard. I am dedicated, and want to truly change and be a healthier me. I just needed to remind myself!

How do you silence your inner critic? Sometimes it feels like a constant battle, doesn’t it?




Filed under Getting Healthy, Motivation

What a difference a year makes

I remember getting ready for the mother/son dance a year ago.

I had nothing to wear. I was out of shape, overweight, and felt so frumpy.

I was looking forward to going to the dance with my son and seeing him with all of his friends. But, I still was focused on me, because I just did not feel comfortable with how I looked.

Fast forward – one year later.

Instead of a dance, they decided to do a roller skating party!

Had I been at the weight and in the physical shape I was the year before, I never would have agreed to go. But now, I was excited about it.

My sons had never been roller skating! So, this was a new experience for them. They were so excited!

And, instead of sitting on the sidelines and not exposing them to this fun activity, I was able to embrace it. I had a great time! (It also brought back crazy memories of skating almost every weekend in the ’80s!)


Because I am in better shape now.

I am stronger.

I am healthier.

Photo by Otree Photography

While I still struggle with finding something to wear, it’s for different reasons now, and not because I am trying to hide every feature.

This is not a before and after picture. Especially since you can’t really see me!  It’s just a glimpse into how you can feel completely different when you start making better choices and taking care of yourself. The simplest things that would have brought stress to you no longer do. I am excited about being able to be a Mom who is active and doing fun things with my kids. My Dad was always that way, and I have wonderful memories of all of the adventures we used to go on.

One year from now, you can either be happy that you’ve made progress, or frustrated with the fact that you haven’t even tried.

What’s your choice?

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Filed under Getting Healthy, Motherhood, Motivation

Six months in…..

Six months ago, I started a journey to get healthy. I finally came to a decision that it was time to stop making excuses for my weight and my health. It was time to change.

I didn’t want to go on another diet.

I didn’t want to drop weight quickly, only to gain it back within a few months.

I no longer wanted to continue on the yoyo cycle that I’ve been on for years.

I wanted to learn how to be healthy.

Six months later, I have made significant progress. I am down more than two sizes, and am in better shape than I have been in a long time. I have lost weight, inches, and have so much more energy.

While the progress is important in order to help continue to motivate me, I am not focused on it. I am focused on making healthy changes. Eating better, working out consistently, and being more active are the main goals. For me, it’s the consistent small changes that make a big impact in the long run. I don’t feel deprived. I don’t feel like I can’t wait until this over. This is how I live now. And I feel stronger and more alive than I have in a long time. I feel like I am myself again.

I am convinced that each person needs to find what works for them. For me, these are the things that have been working.

I read Lysa Terkheurst’s Made to Crave book – it helped me view food differently

I listened to podcasts called Inside Out Weight Loss– it was like having your own personal counselor

I joined a kettlebell studio– This has become a habit (and somewhat of an addiction). I workout 4-5 times per week consistently. And I have an amazing support group of people who are also trying to get healthy. I also have a trainer who pushes us to do more than we would ever do alone. This has helped me remember how strong I am and that I can do whatever I put my mind to.

I stay off the scale – This works for me, as I am muscular and get frustrated by the numbers. I am also working to be healthy and stronger. My weight is not the most important factor in whether I feel healthy or not. I know this does not work for everyone, but it works for me.

I drink a ton of water – I drink water all day long. I also drink a big glass of water when I am hungry. It helps curb the cravings.

I forgive myself quicker and move on – If I have a bad day, don’t eat well, or don’t workout, I don’t continue beating myself up. I forgive myself and move on. Tomorrow is a better day. I was stuck in the cycle of giving up so quickly when I had a bad day. I refuse to do that anymore.

I have multiple support systems – I think this is so important. I have my workout friends, and I have several others who have lost weight and kept it off that I check in with. I share my progress and struggles. They’ve agreed to help motivate me and cheer me on when I need it. I think this is one of the biggest pieces that people sometime miss. Doing it on your own is not nearly as much fun and rewarding as having people help support you.

I am very excited to be starting a new year having already made significant progress. I know that I can continue with this lifestyle, as I’ve already been doing it for six months. The confidence and sense of accomplishment that I feel is so satisfying. I feel smaller, stronger, healthier, and more aware of who I am. I don’t ever want to go back to feeling how I did before this.

So, what works for you? I love hearing stories of how you are getting healthier.


Filed under Getting Healthy, Motivation

Prayers of Blessing for 2012

It was really neat to be able to attend church on New Year’s Day. I don’t recall having done that in a very long time. It was a perfect way to pause after the holidays, reflect on the past year, and focus on the new one.

We went through the process of choosing three words that reflected our family in 2011, and three words that we hope will be reflective of ourselves and our family in 2012. Then, we were given the opportunity to have prayers of blessing prayed over us by a pastor or staff member. It was beautiful and a great way to start the new year.

Here are my three words for 2012.

1. Focus

2. Intentional

3. Trust

I look forward to writing more about these words in the months to come. They also compliment my #FinishYear goals as well. Happy New Year!



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Filed under #FinishYear, Faith, Motivation

What will you finish in 2012?

As you may have figured out from previous posts, Jon Acuff  has had a big influence on my life this past year. Reading his book, Quitter, and attending his Quitter conference, really impacted me. It somehow flipped a switch in me. Or helped ignite a flame that was dwindling.

It’s so weird when someone’s words and suggestions really resonate with you on a deep level. Especially when you don’t know them. I didn’t have the chance to meet him at the conference. Other than an email or comment or twitter exchange, we’ve never spoken. However, I believe God uses unexpected people to help speak things that you need to hear.

That has been the case with him over the last half of this year. His words and the experience of the conference have prompted me to make changes in my life. Of course, there are many others close to me that have helped encourage me as well. And I am so grateful for the communities of people that I have around me! I know I would not have been as open to this message had I not already been working towards making significant changes in my life through their help.

I recently came across a list that I wrote of my goals for 2011. It kind of shocked me, as I had forgotten that I wrote it. I am not a big New Year’s resolution person. I typically don’t follow through on them and I get frustrated with myself when I don’t.

That’s why in June of this year, I decided to do something different. I decided it was time to make some lifestyle changes. I decided to get healthier. The main goal was to lose weight, but it wasn’t the focus. I wanted to change the way that I approached it. I wanted to take it slow and improve a little bit every day, instead of trying to drop a huge amount of weight upfront and not be able to maintain it. I have done that plenty of times in the past! I wanted to be a healthier me. 

What surprised me most when I saw the list was that I had actually made significant progress on almost every item on the list. Wow! I don’t think that has ever happened before. And, remember, I had not been focusing specifically on the list.

So how did I do it? I made a commitment to do it. And, I had communities of people supporting me. When I decided to get healthier, I joined a kettlebell class. The relationships that I’ve formed with people who are getting stronger and healthier (and my incredible trainers) has had a huge impact on my desire to keep going. They support me and encourage me.

After I went to the Quitter conference, I have continued to stay in touch with other people who are also learning to follow their dream. While we don’t speak often, we have continued to support each other in our blog comments and given support through Twitter.

As I have walked through my faith journey over the last few years, I have been surrounded by a community of friends and leaders that have helped me learn to take steps towards becoming the person God wants me to be. This has helped me grow in my faith, and also helped me start figuring out what I think God wants me to do in this life.

These are just a few examples of things that I have done this year. Which is also a very long winded explanation for this post. Once again, Jon has challenged me. This time, it’s to be intentional about 2012.

He’s challenged me to commit to FINISHING my goals.

Not starting them.

Not just work on them.

But, to finish them.

As he so eloquently states, “Starting a project doesn’t change the world. Finishing a project changes the world.”

So, now I’m going to challenge you. Come along on the ride with me! Figure out what your goals are for 2012, and commit to finishing them.There will be a community of people supporting you and keeping you on track. I am willing to be one of them!

I am currently working on my list right now. Wow, it is tough to decide what the right balance is between pushing yourself and being somewhat realistic given your time constraints. But, I am committed to do it! And, Jon helps with that too.

I am so excited about the possibilites of approaching it from this angle. Last year was about learning to dream again and getting myself to commit to start things again. Now, I am going to work on finishing them!

I’d love to have you join me!


Filed under #FinishYear, Community, Dreams, Encouragement, Motivation, Quitter Conference

Do Something

I am reading Erwin McManus‘ book, ‘Chasing Daylight’, right now.

The person who lent it to me warned me that it was life changing.  I can already see why. I think I will be taking a book of notes throughout it!

Here are my favorite quotes so far.

“The most important moments rarely come at a convenient time.”

“The ironic part is that our schedules get packed with the mundane and ordinary, and we become irritated with God when He interrupts us with the miraculous and extraordinary.”

“Have you considered that God’s greatest gift to you is that He calls you to be a pioneer, explorer and even creator? There are things God does for you and things that God waits for you to do.”

“You cannot follow God in neutral. God has created you to do something!”

“What God makes clear is that when we’re committed to seizing his divine moments, He’ll make sure He gets us to the right place at the right time. What God can do through a person who’s willing to act is limitless.”

I think something amazing happens when we say yes to God.

We are no longer willing to give excuses anymore.

We realize that He wants us to do something.

Do we have it all figured out before we start? Rarely.

But the one thing I consistently know is: He wants us to DO SOMETHING!

Have you experienced this in your life? I’d love to hear what you said yes to and what you are doing to take the next steps to start. I will be posting more on this topic in the weeks to come.


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Filed under Authenticity, Motivation