Month: April 2016

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 4

Hiya!

Sigh…so I missed a couple of days.

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All is not lost, not to worry! Let’s just pick up right where we left off, shall we? Day 4.

The weather where we live has just been fantastic the past couple of days and I can’t get over the improvement in my mood and overall perspective. The sun and warmer temperatures also seem to have brought out the bikers and the runners, and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic and lustful for my summers spent training for races. I don’t have any plans to do any super crazy long distance races this year, but I’ve been getting the nagging itch to get back on the race circuit for sure this year in some way or another. Thinking about at least a 10K at some point this year, maybe in the Fall.

What I really need is to quit my full-time job and just pursue my hobbies full time, mmmkay?

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Anyways, today’s topic is one that’s tripped me up a little bit, and maybe that’s why I was procrastinating on writing it.

Write about someone that inspires you.

Should be a pretty simple one, but I actually have had a really hard time coming up with just the right person.

The thing is that there are lots of things that inspire me about lots of different people in my life, in one way or another. But which way to look at? There are a handful of people that really inspire me in the gym and in fitness. Certainly a couple of people very close to me that inspire me personally. Not a lot, but a couple of people inspire me professionally.

I’ve finally landed on one person that I really do look up to quite a bit in many aspects of life. And to be honest, I don’t even know her that well. But I do know her well enough to know that she is the real deal, and that if I develop into half the woman / wife / mother that she is, then I would feel pretty good about things.

I’m not going to name this person, nor am I going to really get into the specifics of who they are or what specifically they do. In fact, this person really hardly knows anything about me, although I’ve been around them for quite a long time.

In a nutshell, this person inspires me a great deal with her intelligence, quiet and unassuming confidence, her strength (both physical and emotional), talent and most of all for her simple human kindness.

Life has not been easy for this person. Although things in her life seem to be picture perfect, I know for a fact that she has been faced with significant hardship. But you sure wouldn’t know it to interact with her.

She is kind to a fault. Not the syrupy sweet kind, just simple, authentic, genuine kindness of spirit. She is also not afraid to stand up and make a well-poised argument for something that she believes in. You’ll never hear emotional outbursts or rants from her though, her arguments are concise, clear and well thought out. She weighs the value and the consequences of speaking her mind before she does.

She is strong. Physically so absolutely, but most importantly emotionally and mentally. She is the wife, the mother, the friend, the teacher that does it all and carries an enormous weight with her everywhere she goes, but does it effortlessly. When she’s speaking to you, she is present. Not making lists of where she should be or what she should be doing. Or at least, that’s the way that she makes you feel.

She is talented. God damn she is good at what she does. She is committed to constant improvement and continuously working hard, and every time she accomplishes something that I think puts her at the top, the next time I turn around, she’s reaching for something else.

Sounds like a pretty awesome person, right? Like I said, I really don’t know her all that well personally, but I have been around her for a long time. And I really, really admire the life that she has built for herself.

So, a cop-out? Maybe. But that’s as good as she’s gonna get for Day #4! 😉

So, tell me…can you think of anyone specific that inspires you?

See you tomorrow for Day #5….or Day #9 that’s really Day #5…..or whatever….;)

 

 

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 3

Holy catfish, what a day today has been. 4 hours in the studio, grocery shopping, house cleaning, a quick visit to my parent’s house has made for one tired Sara.

Today’s prompt is all about listing my top three pet peeves. How whiney!

I must admit that although I’m not proud of it, I am and can be a super irritable person. Especially when I’m sleep-deprived and stressed out. The silliest things can get under my skin and really affect me; its something that I’m working on.

On a normal day when the cheery tone at the Tim Horton’s drive thru doesn’t get under my skin, here are my top three pet peeves:

  • Poor work ethic
This one really drives me up the wall and around the corner. I can’t stand laziness. And I can’t stand people that are all talk and no action. I can spot a poor work ethic 10 miles away, and it’s my number one pet peeve. I’ve been told that my standards for getting things done aren’t reasonable (for example, I will not, never, under any circumstance let 12 hours go by without responding to a work email, at least to acknowledge that I’ve received it and am working on whatever is being asked. I’ve been told before that that isn’t realistic). But I think that they are reasonable. And I happen to be of the opinion that if people spent half much time working as they did either trying to find ways to get out of working, or avoiding work, that things would get done!
  • Selfishness
It’s a tough world out there, and at the end of the day, sometimes it does feel like you really need to look out for yourself first and foremost. But I’ve been finding more and more as time progresses that I just have so little respect for selfish people. At the worst end of the spectrum, selfishness looks like people that will trample over someone else to better their own chances at something. At the lighter end of the spectrum you find people that are so wrapped up in their own lives that they can’t see the big picture, would never dream of giving up something of their own to help another person, and would never consider doing something that inconvenienced them for another. To me, they are all the same quality, and it’s so unattractive. This is probably why I ended up marrying Matt; he is the most selfless person I’ve ever met, and being around him has really made an impact on me and how I look at this character trait.

 

  • Dishes in the kitchen sink
Alright, time for something a bit lighter….true story, I can’t and won’t go to bed no matter what time it is with dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. DRIVES. ME. MENTAL! I also will make myself late for work at any cost to make sure that the dishwasher is loaded and the kitchen sink is empty before I walk out the door for the day. Call it OCD, call it whatever works…I can’t help it, it’s who I am!
Alright, there’s Day 3 in the bag! See you back here tomorrow for Day 4!
-Sara

 

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 2

Hi Friends,

Day 2 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge, and yet again, I’m in just under the wire! Today has been a bit of a frustrating day eating wise, in that I’m frustrated with myself I mean. I’ve been frustrated with my weight ever since the wedding, and today hasn’t been a step in the right direction at all. Unless the direction happens to be the land of chocolate cupcakes. In which case, I took a good couple of steps in that direction today.

Sigh.

Apart from stuffing my face with chocolate cupcakes and eating out not once but twice, it’s been nice to have a slower paced day today, and really nice to have Matt home this weekend! He’s been away for the last 6 weekends or so at his family’s sugar bush, so it’s been nice to have him around this weekend at last.

SO, today’s prompt is an interesting one.

Write about something that someone told you about yourself that you’ve never forgotten“.

There’s a couple of directions that I could go with this one. Positive, negative, somewhere in the middle. Being an instructor and being in the public eye quite a bit, we quite often get people sharing their opinions of us with us (and that’s a wonderful thing, feedback is a good thing!), and so much more often than not, we get people saying the most wonderful things to us about how we’ve positively impacted their lives in someway or another. And that makes everything that we do worth every single minute that we put into it.

I’m going to choose an interaction from the gym that was a bit superficial, but that really did mean a lot to me, and that I don’t think I will ever forget until I die. It was about 3 months before my wedding, and I had been busting my butt in the gym and in the kitchen all year working towards losing weight for the big day. I wasn’t seeing the progress that I wanted and was so frustrated with myself and my body.

I’ve written so many times on this blog about the struggles I’ve had since I was 7 years old with my weight. I half-joke all the time that I think I’m part Golden Retriever, because I just live to eat. And I never, ever want or need to stop. I really, honestly think that if I could, I would eat until I died. I just love food. Reigning that in to something that makes sense and that keeps my body healthy has always been a real struggle for me and still is to this day. To be honest with you, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look in the mirror and think that I hate my body. But I’m working to change that mindset. Really, I am.

ANYWAYS. I give you the sob story background simply to frame this interaction and what it meant to me. It was a Wednesday night, after my BodyPump class. I am so blessed with my group of participants on Wednesday night. They are such a motivated, dedicated, hard-working group of people, and I just love each and every one of them to bits. We work so hard in that class, and the motivation isn’t flowing from the stage out to the floor, it comes 360 degrees from every person in the room. It is truly an awesome 60 minutes, and I’m always so proud of what we manage to accomplish together in that room.

On my way out of the gym, I ran into two ladies who were standing on the landing in the gym at the bottom of the stairs. I said good night to them, and they thanked me for the class as I approached them on my own way out. One lady went one step further.

“I just love your classes, I can’t believe the weights that you lift, they’re literally double what I lift for the back track.”

I laughed and told her that I had been doing the class for a long time, nearly 10 years, and to stick with it, she would get there herself if she wanted to. She then said,

“I just can’t get over it. I mean, I come to your class just to stare at your  body!”

Her comment touched a nerve with me that had never, ever been touched before. I’ve spent so much negative energy hating on my body, wishing that it looked different, looked better, performed better….and here was a lady, someone else, someone not related to me or affiliated with me in any way, telling me that she was envious of my body.

Who in their right mind would want MY body? Seriously…..WHO?

The comment rolled around in my head for a long, long time. Eventually, her comment was the start of a real change in my mindset leading up to the wedding. I started to look at myself through the lens of someone else, rather than through my own jaded lens. And I started to see different things that I had never, ever seen or noticed before. Strong, toned shoulders, well-defined calves and quads, curvy hips yes but a narrow waist.

I know what you’re thinking, “how vain”, “how superficial”….and it is, I won’t deny it. I guess the comment stayed with me just because it felt like real, honest, positive feedback about something that I’ve been so down on for my entire life. I keep that comment in my back pocket and hang onto it for days when I need a boost and am feeling down about things. Like today for example.

Tomorrow is a new day, so as T-Swift would say…. time to….

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Before you take off for the night…won’t you share with me a comment that someone’s made about you that has stayed with you? 🙂

-Sara xo

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 1

Well, that didn’t take long! In the time since my last post, I sat through another hour at work, sat in traffic for a half hour and devoured a mitt full of Quaker Chewy Dips Granola Bars (damn those chocolate covered bits of heaven, damn them all to hell!).

SO, here we are on Day 1 of my 30 Day Writing Challenge, and I’m feeling energized and ready to go already!

Today’s prompt is pretty simple: List 10 things that make you really happy.

That should be pretty easy to accomplish on a Friday afternoon with a belly full of chocolate covered granola bars, right?!

So here goes nothing….

10 Things That Make Me Really Happy:

  • Les Mills Group Fitness Classes
    • Surprised? Of course not! Les Mills takes top spot immediately and without hesitation. Whether it’s one of my own classes, or I’m participating in someone else’s class, I don’t think that I’ve ever walked out of a Les Mills class not glowing from the inside out. More than “making me happy”, Les Mills taught me what real and true happiness and passion feels like. For more on  my epic love story with Les Mills, check out here, here, here or here!
  • Matt
    • Because, well, look at him! What a cutie!
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  •  My kitty cat Blake
    • Few things make my heart swoon like the sight of my little furball trotting to meet me. Especially while wearing a tuxedo collar.
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  • Spending time with my family
    • We’ve always been a close knit family, and I feel like in recent years we’ve only gotten closer since the whole cancer debaucle. Spending time together continues to be a huge source of joy.
  • Finding the perfect pair of shoes for my size 10 wide feet
    • It’s been a struggle since my canoe feet stopped growing when I was 10 years old, and still to this day my heart sings when I find a pair of comfortable shoes that look half decent. Normally I buy at least two pairs in multiple colours, or sometimes the same….’cause ya know….
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  • Going to bed and not setting an alarm for the morning
    • Call me a teenager, but I love to sleep, and don’t get enough of it on a regular basis. Few things in this world give me a more joy than going to bed when I don’t have to set an alarm in the morning.
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  • Finding (and purchasing) a beautiful new notebook and writing in it
    • Ah beautiful notebooks. How I love thee. I love the efficiency of writing online, but it’s just not the same level of satisfaction as writing neatly in a crisp, beautifully covered notebook. Just thinking about it makes me want to take a jaunt over to Chapters and buy one. Totally guilty of buying new notebooks all the time and not filling them with anything.
  • The perfect cheeseburger
    • This one had to make the list because, well, cheeseburgers would be my last meal request if I was going to kick the can. The perfect cheeseburger is: big (I mean BIG, preferably two patties), well done but juicy, covered in gooey, melty cheese, simply topped with mayonnaise (yes, mayonnaise) and lettuce, served on a plain bun served with crispy fries. Ahh heaven. Except for the guilt. Damn the guilt.
  • When things go according to plan
    • This doesn’t seem to happen all that often, which is totally maddening for someone like me, who loves to plan and organize, so when things do according to best laid plans, man does it ever feel good!
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  • Doing work that I feel makes a difference in the world
    • I’ve felt since I started working like a huge gap in my career is that I know from so many different personality tests that doing work that I see as “important” or “meaningful” to the world is a huge part of career satisfaction for me. Unfortunately, in the career that I’m in, I often feel like the only real purpose that I’m serving is to make old white guys more rich and more powerful. It’s a sweet, sweet feeling when I do get involved in projects that I feel great about. I hope that one day I can find the courage to pursue something like that full time.
Wow, that went faster then I thought! I didn’t even get to cheesy garlic bread, successful shopping trips, long weekends, cruise ships or a clean kitchen!
So, with only 23 minutes to spare, Day #1 is officially complete. Before you go, would you share a couple of things that make your list in the comments?
Here is some music to inspire you…. 🙂
See you tomorrow for Day #2!
-Sara xo

Reality Check and a New Goal

Unfortunately, it often seems that we as humans are programmed to only really “get the message” when it smacks us right in the face. Do you find that to be true?

I lived the most self-absorbed,  ignorant life until my brother was diagnosed with cancer. It took that reality check to open my eyes and realize that there are more important things in this world than what shoes you’re wearing or how thin you are. Since that whole experience back in 2013, I’ve changed a lot, mostly for the better (in my humble opinion!). Unfortunately, it took the most horrific experience of our lives to incite that change.

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The past couple of weeks have been tough, and now that they’re over, I guess I’m finding myself deep in thought again. How did I get to this point? What’s really important? How can I make sure that I never get to this point again?

It all started with (what I think was) a rough case of food poisoning.

Sweet land of the living, is there anything worse than food poisoning? It’s kind of funny when you really think about what’s going on (your body just EXPELLING everything it’s got in an effort to get whatever bug out), but NOT funny at all while it’s going on.

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The week in general had been a really rough one. I had been exhausted (partially from the time change, partially just from having way too much on the go all at once), and it was starting to show. I was irritable, snapping at people for no reason, complaining, picking fights where they don’t need to be had.

Yea, I’m a peach.

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It turns out that everyone has their breaking point, and I reached mine that week. I woke up on the Friday morning feeling just awful. Dizzy, nauseous, pain in my stomach. I went to work with the intention of sticking it out as long as I could and then bringing my laptop home when I couldn’t take it anymore. That didn’t last long.

I ended up back at home by 1pm where thank goodness Matt was still around the house before leaving for the rest of the weekend to go up to his family maple syrup bush. Long story short, I ended up puking so violently and so much that I passed out cold and banged my head good in the bathroom, came to, and then passed out a SECOND time in the bathroom.

I then got to take my first ever ambulance ride to the hospital, where they basically told me that I was struggling with extreme dehydration, hooked me up to a bunch of fluids and sent me on my way after a couple of hours.

I woke up feeling better, not 100%, but much better than I was the day before. It took another 4 days, another doctor’s visit and an ultrasound appointment before I finally started to feel like myself again. The entire time, I was so frustrated that I couldn’t be up and about getting things done. The ironic part of course is that I think that’s the lesson that this whole episode was trying to smack me in the face with.

I love living my life at 300 miles an hour; it’s the only way that I’ve ever known how to live. I love feeling productive and like I get a lot done in a day, but lately it’s all been feeling a little bit overwhelming. I’m short-tempered. I complain a lot. Little things that shouldn’t get to me are irritating and pushing my buttons big time. And it’s not fair to those around me.

Perhaps the thing that’s made me the most sad about the pace of things lately is that I’m finding that I don’t set and achieve goals anymore. For years on this blog I preached about goal setting, weekly, monthly, daily, BHAGs…I can honestly say to you that as of right now, I can’t even remember the last goal that I set and worked towards achieving. I think that this piece of my life that’s been missing has been a big part of the reason that I’m feeling a bit stalled, a bit demotivated and overall, a bit frustrated.

So all of that is going to change. Starting right…..

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My dream since I was able to hold a pencil was to publish a novel. Have I ever shared that with you guys before? I’ve written stories, novels, journals, articles, you name it, since the time I was 3 years old. The only problem was that I was petrified to let anyone read my writing. It’s for that reason that I still have only shared this blog link with 6 (yes, the number that comes after 5) people that I know.

While I would love to set the goal to start working on a novel right now, I can honestly say that I don’t have the inspiration for a compelling story……yet. I find writing for the sake of writing (when it comes to fiction) is tough, and I haven’t had much success when trying to force a story to come to life. Some of the best work that I’ve done has been when I was deeply passionate about the story, the characters and when I had the inspiration to keep going.

SO, in the spirit of hopefully sparking some inspiration, getting me writing consistently and reviving my blog, today (Friday April 8th), I officially kick-off….

The 30 Day Writing Challenge 

Sara, what’s this? You ask? Simple! I will be completing each of the writing exercises listed below for the next 30 days: 

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Cool, hey? Any fellow bloggers, story-tellers, BHAGers or disillusioned goal setters…if you’re looking for some inspiration, then feel free to join in! I’ll kick-off the challenge tonight with the first day’s topic: list 10 things that make you really happy.

So let’s write! We’ve got 30 days!

Have a wonderful weekend, see you tonight!

-Sara