week 8: r.y.b. fitness challenge

It’s the 8th and final week!  How are you doing?  I am so excited for everyone who has given this challenge all the effort they could muster, even when that effort has looked less than perfect.

Now it’s time for my confession.  Ugh.  I don’t love confessions.

I have been a miserable failure at the physical activity aspect of this challenge.  Seriously and without exaggeration.  But I have excuses. :)

We moved, which means I had to pack a house while still keeping it clean for showings.  And when we arrived at the new place, there were challenges awaiting me that we couldn’t have foreseen.  But I have an even bigger excuse reason.

I’m expecting my 8th child and I’ve been struggling with morning sickness for the past month and a half.  (I’m closing in on 3 months so I’m hoping to be beyond this soon!) I’ve been moderately active but not intentionally active and there is a huge difference.  I’m bummed because I told myself I was going to move even if I felt crummy.  I guess I lied to myself.

So here’s what I’m thinking.  We all need to use this challenge as a spring board to better health, spiritually and physically.  At the end of this week we need to not see this as over.  Grand prize winners will be chosen and the check-ins on the blog will be no more, but we can keep at it.

Change it up to meet your needs.  Set new goals and go for them!  Don’t settle for less than the best He has made you capable of!!

This week, instead of giving you a verse to ponder, dissect and memorize go ahead and choose one that speaks to you.  Find a theme verse for the direction you want to see yourself go from here.  I’d love to hear what you choose!

See you next week when we announce the grand prize winners!!


week THREE: r.y.b. fitness challenge

How many of you have been tempted to quit?  Or maybe you have half quit only to feel that little niggling of guilt because you know He wants you to exert your will toward improving your physical and spiritual health?

It’s okay.  You’re not the only one.  But a month or a year from now you’ll wish you had stuck with it.  Doing is a whole lot better than wishing.  If you have legs to move you, you need to move.  If you have a heart beating within you, you need Jesus.

The end.


Because, in life, it isn’t really about getting in 20 minutes of exercise or only being able to squeak out 15.  It isn’t about missing a day (or 4) because you were stretched so thin, it’s about jumping back in as soon as you can.  No score card, no demerits.  Only giving Him your absolute best every single day.  Even on those days when your best seems pretty crummy.

We chatted last week about some people who were feeling discouraged.  They were bowing out and giving up because they weren’t meeting the requirements.  So here’s what we did:  we offered grace.  Because this isn’t a competition with anybody else.  It’s about being a better you today than you were yesterday.  If you’re still here and giving it your best, even if you’re falling short sometimes, you’re still in.

Keep checking in.  Keep reaching.

The first part of the spiritual challenge this week is to write out James 1:12 every day.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Because your temptation right now is likely to give up.  To retreat and make excuses.  But blessed is the man that enduredth temptation…he shall receive the crown of life.  Do you want that crown?  Then you have to want it more than you want that extra 30 minutes of sleep.  And you have to choose spending time with Him over your favorite tv show.

The second part of the spiritual challenge is to take that note you made last week about an area of your life you feel God calling you to work on.  Take it out of hiding and place it somewhere you will see it often.  It doesn’t have to be made public but put it in a spot where your eyes will take it in throughout the day.  Every time you see it, or think of it, pray.  Ask Him to help you be aware of ways you can change or improve.  Ask Him to clearly show you opportunities to grow.

Pray, pray and pray again.

Don’t dig in your heels…pray.  Don’t exhaust yourself with the repetition of failure that comes from waking up and declaring you will be more patient (if that’s the area you want to improve on) today.  Pray and ask Him to show you the times when you aren’t and how you can handle them differently.  He isn’t impressed with our superhuman strength.  He is, however, impressed by our weakness when it causes us to cling to His strength.

And by the way, the door is still open if you are looking for a little extra support.  We have a closed Facebook group where we can meet during the week for accountability and encouragement.  ”Closed” means your comments there stay within the group and don’t show anywhere else on FB.  Just click here and ask to join and we’ll get you added.  Note:  The official weekly check-in is still on the blog.

PS.  The weekly prize incentive winner last week, randomly generated from those checked-in, was Heather W.  She has claimed her winnings and will be receiving her skinny wrap this week.  Next up in the prize line-up is a one-month trial membership to Fit2b studio.


Sponsor Shout-out

Have you ever moseyed over to The Pleated Poppy and had a look around.  It’ll just make you happy.  There is such a variety of items and prints and colors all prettied up in their handmade glory.  Lindsey has a gift and it’s evident in her handiwork.


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week two: r.y.b fitness challenge

It’s WEEK TWO!!  I’m almost nervous to see how many people check-in this week.  Seven days is just long enough for the newness to have worn off.  Chase it, grab it, own it.

Do I have to beg you?  Because I will.

The habits we form today shape our tomorrows.  And our children’s tomorrows.  It isn’t easy forming new ones, but it is totally worth it!


Is there an area you’re struggling?  Do you need to start smaller?  If you need to let something go for a minute don’t let it be your devotions.  You need that time and He needs you to guard and protect it.

I know the guidelines I set forth at the beginning.  Exercise 20 minutes per day a minimum of 4 days a week with devotions every day.  I still stand behind that I think it’s a reasonable starting place.  But…

If you are in that place where trying to learn to squeeze both into your day when you aren’t accustomed to setting aside time for either, start by just meeting with God.  Give Him you.  And while you’re there, meeting quietly together, ask Him to help you find, time, motivation and energy for the physical stuff, too.

He’ll do it, I can promise.  If you’re really asking with a sincere heart and then really listening with a willing spirit, He will enable you to nurture your physical self, as well.  Why waste time trying to do it in your own strength when you could be doing it in His instead?

The first part of the Spiritual Challenge this week is to write out Philippians 4:6-7 every day.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

{I recommend using the S.O.A.P. method, outlined in this post, but that is totally up to you.}

I chose this verse because right about a week or two into intentionally setting our hearts on making solid improvements, we tend to grow discouraged.  The old ways seem easier and like maybe they weren’t so bad, after all.  It’s difficult to keep pressing on when your body is tired and your soul feels dry.

But if you do press on, no matter how tempting it is to turn back, you’ll find the Living Water flows freely just ahead and it will renew your strength and quench your soul thirst.  And this verse reminds us to keep soldiering on until we find ourselves bathed in that peace which passes all understanding.

The second part of the Spiritual Challenge is to write down an area in your life you really feel God calling you to re-examine. It could be anything.  Write it down and then pray over it this week.  Don’t make some crazy in-your-own-strength efforts to fix it.  Just pray over it for now.

A healthy body, mind, heart and soul.  That’s what we’re after here.  And it’s worth chasing.

Our first weekly prize winner was Melissa S.  She has claimed her choice of exercise DVD and should be receiving it shortly.  This week the prize is a skinny wrap.  You can read my first experience here.  The wrap is a $30 value and all you have to do in order to be eligible is to check-in in the comments of this blog post anytime before next Monday.

Important:  Being unable to exercise due to illness does NOT disqualify you from the running for the grand prize.  I love the honesty and integrity I am seeing in the comments!  It’s winter and the sickies are fast floating about.  Just keep checking in, even if you’ve succumbed to one of these nasty bugs and been unable to do much physically.

Oh, and for those of you interested who hadn’t yet heard, we have a closed Facebook group where we can meet during the week for accountability and encouragement.  ”Closed” means your comments there stay within the group and don’t show anywhere else on FB.  Just click here and ask to join and we’ll get you added.  Note:  The official weekly check-in is still on the blog.

PS.  Technical difficulties prevented me from posting the video for this week as well as the printable for the spiritual challenge.  If anybody wants to tutor me until I’m less technologically challenged, I pay in hugs.  Or chocolate.

Sponsor Shout-Out

T-tapp is a healing approach to physical wellness.  Teresa Tapp’s routines are very precise, therapeutic and effective.  They are low/no impact and designed for any level of fitness.  If you are looking for a program to do at home that doesn’t require a large space or equipment, I can’t recommend this line of products enough.  The lovely Mary, of The Encouraging Home, has sponsored a copy of the Basic Workout PLUS for the grand prize winner.  You can read her story and experience with it HERE.

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Week One: F.Y.B. Fitness Challenge

I have been excited to get started so I’m so glad the day is finally here!  And it makes it even better that I get to jump-start my year with all of you ladies, husbands, sons, daughters and friends.  :)

And here is a video intro with the absolute worst lighting ever.  My son told me I spoke in the voice I save for people I don’t know. I decided not to read too much into that!


First things first.  

We need to nourish ourselves spiritually every single day.  Make time for it.  Even if it’s in the shower or while you hide under the table because you are so exhausted from a night of lost sleep with little ones that you couldn’t drag yourself out of bed.  He understands mothers better than mothers understand mothers.

Don’t beat yourself up for what you haven’t done.  Give yourself the grace to do what you need to do.

The Spiritual Challenge this week is to write out the following verse every day during your devotions:

“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”  

Exodus 15:26

I say to write it, rather than just read it, because writing things down helps them to absorb into our minds and hearts.  And memorization generally comes so much more quickly.

I’d also urge you to write out your prayer.  It is so easy for our minds to wander while we’re praying and writing them down as we train ourselves to focus is an amazingly effective tool.

BONUS activity:  S.O.A.P. the above verse

  • S-Scripture: write it out
  • O-Observation:  what are you taking from the verse
  • A-Application:  how does it apply to your life practically
  • P-Prayer:  write out your prayer with this verse as your guide

**Note:  If you have a great thing going in your daily devotions, by all means stick with it.  My goal isn’t to dictate anybody’s time with the Lord.  It’s simply to give you ideas and encouragement to make it a priority and to find it meaningful.  All you have to do to stay eligible is to seek Him daily.

To grab a printable version of this week’s spiritual challenge, click here.



Second thing second.  

Grab those tennis shoes and get your sweat on.  I mentioned that you can choose whatever activity you wish and that hasn’t changed.  The only condition is that you work at it for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, at least 4 days this week.  Walk, run, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, ice skate, swim, pop in a video or hit a live class.  Do what works for you and give it everything you’ve got.  Don’t worry what the person next to you has got or the lady down the street.  That doesn’t matter.  This isn’t a competition it’s a collaboration of a whole bunch of people wanting to be better at being themselves.

If it takes you 20 minutes to pop out 10 push-ups and you’ve given it everything, BAM. Tomorrow do 11 push-ups in 19 minutes.

The highest rate of burnout occurs when we try to perform at somebody else’s fitness level, even unknowingly.

Ask God to show you clearly where you are and then ask Him for strength to keep with it until you can barely see a tiny speck of that place way off behind you.

If you need a starting place, check out the sidebar every weekday for a suggested workout.  But keep in mind, it’s only a suggestion.  Adapt, modify or completely disregard.  Totally up to you.

And don’t forget to check-in in the comments below.  If you have any trouble commenting here, try un-ticking the commentluv box and trying again.  If that still doesn’t work, find me on Facebook and shoot me a message.  All entries below qualify you for the weekly drawing and get you off to a great start to qualify for the grand prize drawings.

psssssst.  I created a Pinterest Board for this challenge.  If you’re in search of ideas, check it out.

Sponsor Shout-Out

Gail, an awesome Mary Kay consultant, has generously donated a Microdermabrasion Set for the Grand Prize Giveaway.  If you are in the market for skin care products, she’ll treat you right!


If you are new here and want to check out the intro post and jump in, you can find it here.  You are more than welcome!




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For your convenience, this entire post is print friendly. If you’d like to have a paper copy to keep with you just click the link below.


real help for the post-baby body: when exercise isn’t enough

How many of you are moms?  A great number of you, I think.  Most women who have lovingly tucked a baby away for roughly nine months know what she’s left with when that party’s over is not entirely pretty.

Stretch marks.  Deflated or sagging skin.  Cesarean scars.  Oooh laa laa.

{allow me to interrupt myself to say i wouldn’t trade the amazing blessing of my children for anything.  and anything, in this case, includes an un-battered body.  they are a gift and a treasure and i am eternally grateful He saw fit to share them with me!}


Maybe you aren’t a mother by birth but you have still experienced the imperfections of living in an imperfect world.  Maybe you have a little tricep flop or chin sag or saddle bag.  I know, I know.  Stop already.

Anyway, you’re never, ever going to hear me say the benefit of exercise can be substituted by a short-cut.  But sometimes being fit doesn’t take care of everything.  And even a careful diet can leave behind some pot-holes.  Sometimes you just need a little boost.  There’s no shame in that.

I repeat…there is no shame in that!

It is my personal policy to never attempt to “sell” something I don’t believe in just to turn a buck.  I won’t do it.  I’d rather be broke than to be a fake and a fraud.  But I have used a product that truly has tightened and toned problem areas resulting from 6 pregnancies, including multiples.  I saw the results and then laughed them off as impossible.  And I didn’t even follow the directions exactly as I should have.  

All it consists of is a wrap that you apply to your target area and wear for 45 minutes.  Remove it, rub in the excess cream and toss.  You drink 1/2 your body weight in water on the day you wrap and the 3 days following.  The wrap will continue to work for 72 hours.

Don’t forget to take before and after pictures AND measurements!

Likely you’re thinking it sounds too good to be true.  I know that’s what I thought.  And that’s exactly why mine sat on the shelf for weeks before I ever mustered the desire to use it.  It’s a botanically infused wrap that, in effect, massages your fat cells.  It doesn’t eat them or burn them.  There is something of a detox effect which results in shrinkage.  And it isn’t just water weight and it isn’t dehydrating you as the critics like to say.  You are drinking a ton of water with and following the application which ramps up the process and flushes your system.  It isn’t magic, it’s awesome.

I want to share this with you.  You can get in on it one of two ways {psst. One of the ways is FREE}:

  • 1) Let me hook you up with a 4 PACK of wraps for just $59.  Considering they go for around $30 a pop when purchased individually, this is a steal of a deal.  And by the way, I saw the results I got after just ONE wrap.  With four you could cover a problematic area multiple times or use them on different parts of the body.
  • 2) Host an online party and get your wrap for FREE with their purchases.  Online parties are a cinch because all you do is tell your friends, send them the link and done.  No cookies, punch, frenzied cleaning or stress.

If you have questions, I’m here to answer them.  You can check out my page where you’ll find more detailed information as well as an explanatory video.  You can head directly to the shop but this is the sort of thing that is better when someone walks you through it so you get the best deals and the right products to meet your goals.  Nobody has money to waste on stuff they don’t need.

Let me know how I can help!


Have you signed-up for our 8 week fitness challenge beginning on January 6, 2014?  There is still time and we’d love to have you join in!  It’s free, completely customizable and includes some truly awesome prize incentives!


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recapturing your beautiful–a fitness challenge

A New Year is perched on the horizon and I’m one of those people who gets excited by the thought of a fresh start. A clean slate. A better next year.

And so this idea was birthed in my heart…


I’ve been scrambling to pull together the details and round up some totally awesome prize incentives to keep you motivated.  Is it weird that I’m crazy excited even though I won’t be eligible to win any of the prizes since I’m hosting?  Fine, whatever.  I’m crazy then.

So, here’s the scoop~~~~~~~~~~>>


  • 1)You need to sign up in the comments of this blog post.  That gets you in the door and admission is absolutely free.
  •  2)Grab an accountability partner.  It can be your neighbor, child, best friend, paper carrier, mother, great aunt twice removed.  Aww shucks, it can even be your husband.  Just make sure to send them over to sign up so they’re eligible for the prizes, too.  Note:  You can still join in even if you can’t scrape together an accountability partner.  We’ll still love you!
  •  3) Decide on a fitness approach.  You can absolutely customize this to your level of fitness.  You can walk, run, strength train, pop in an exercise DVD….and you’re free to mix it up if you want.  Monday thru Friday I will (try to) post a suggested workout.  You’ll find it in the right-hand sidebar of this blog.  You can follow that if you’re needing inspiration but you certainly don’t have to.  The key is to exercise consistently.  To remain eligible for the grand prize package you must exercise 4 days a week for at least 20 minutes.  
  •  4)Swing by each Monday for the week’s “spiritual exercise”.  Because one can be physically healthy even as the soul is withering away.  Balance is so important.  To remain eligible for the grand prize package you must complete the spiritual challenge each week.
  •  5)Check-in.  Accountability is key and without it most of us are much more likely to give up.  That’s why I can’t stress #2 enough.  But in addition to keeping in touch with your partner(s) I need you to check in here.  This does two things:  It keeps you connected and motivated as you see others doing the same AND it keeps you eligible for both the grand prize as well as the weekly prize incentives.  It’s a win-win.  All you have to do in order to check in is to leave a comment in the post each Monday.  See how easy to please I am?


Here are a few tips to get you started~~~~~~~~~~>>


  • Write down your goals.  Do you hope to lose 10 pounds in the 8 weeks?  Maybe you want to be able to run a mile or make it through an intense cardio video.  Seriously, write them down.  Just thinking about them isn’t nearly as effective.  And then post them somewhere where you will see them often.
  • Take pictures.  This is probably the only time I’ll encourage you to wear something skimpy.  Get photos from the front, back and side.  Use them as a catalyst to fuel your drive and as a way to visually track your progress.  You can even use the afters to entice your husband, but that’s entirely up to you and completely optional. ;)
  • Make a plan and be sure you have what you need to follow through.  If you needs dumbells (you can use canned goods in a pinch) or running shoes now is the time to get them.  If you’re looking for recommendations for fitness videos that I have experience with you can visit this page to shop through my links.

And now onto the nitty-gritty prize talk~~~~~~~~~~>>


Grand Prize Package

($275 value) One Winner, randomly selected from those eligible.

Eligibility Requirements:  Must have checked-in every week having met the physical/spiritual fitness goals.

New Sneakers:  Your choice up to $100

2 skinny wraps–These are absolutely natural, crazy effective and NO they do not dehydrate you!

BIC Band–For when you just want your hair out of the way while maintaining some measure of cute.

Microdermabrasion set by Mary Kay–Pretty sure this speaks for itself!  

Greens on the Go–Alkalize, Energize and Detoxify. Naturally.  Super immune boosting!

1 bottle of Peppermint Essential Oil–A proven energizer.  Only one oil in an amazing line.


Consolation Prizes

( $100 value) 2 winners, randomly selected from those eligible.

Eligibility Requirements:  Must have checked-in 5 out of 8 weeks having met the physical/spiritual fitness goals.  

3 month subscription to Fit2B–Online fitness classes, with support and accountability forums.

T-Tapp DVD (Basic Workout PLUS)Effective.  Restorative and Healing Fitness.

Body Brush w/ Instructions & CDSkin tightening, cellulite blasting.

Greens on the Go samplesGoodbye allergy symptoms.  Hello improved health and wellness.  Brought to you by the makers of the skinny wrap!


But wait, there will also be weekly drawings done each Tuesday.  Winners will be randomly selected from those who checked in the week before.  You’re welcome.

Soooooo, who’s in??


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