May 9, 2018

Disciplined Kind of Fit

Posted in Inspirational, true story tagged , , , , , , at 10:52 am by Broken & Brave

This morning I ran an errand for my boys. We don’t place our recycling at the curb, we take our water bottles to the recycling center. The funds we make from the collection at the recycling center is usually somehow donated to a fun activity for the kids. Everyone helps collect, press and store the bottles and the men usually make the trip to the recycle center–but sometimes I go and that’s what I did today. My high school boys get extra credit in science at their school for recycling and then turning in the receipts to their teacher. Receipts are due Friday so I volunteered to truck over to the center to acquire the ever coveted “extra credit slip”.

As I opened the back of the truck I realized that I don’t usually handle the oversized–enormous–plastic bags myself. Someone of the male persuasion usually helps me. But today I was sans kids and all alone. An employee kindly came out to assist me. He told me if they had been sorted and didn’t have any water remaining I didn’t have to transfer them into the green trash cans. I was most appreciative and expressed my gratitude. I told him what I just shared with you about my visions of spilling bottles everywhere trying to manage the top of a very full and very large trash bag. Then he said something interesting that I paid no mind to at first…but later on it got me thinking and now I sit here writing this blog.

He simply smiled and stated,” Oh, you’d be fine. You look pretty fit.”

That was that. I recycled my bottles, got my receipt and then left. On my way home I stopped for a little gas. As I walked to the counter to pay I remembered what the gentleman said about my looking fit and then these words penetrated my head…

“When you are physically fit people notice. When you are spiritually fit people notice.”

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Isn’t it true? I’ve been on a fitness journey that began when I was 13. That’s when I had my aha moment and realized that if I wanted a different health history outcome and legacy than the one I saw happening on one particular side of my family, then I had to do something different. So began my fitness quest. I didn’t get where I am now overnight. I had a lot to learn about fitness and nutrition. So I went to work. Because I was interested I didn’t mind the work. I tried and failed–a lot. I’d advance and sometimes I’d find myself taking a few steps back. Then I’d have seasons where I’d plateau or coast on any success I currently possessed. But my hunger and drive never subsided and I’d find myself setting new goals and exploring new roads. Being pregnant as many times as I’ve been pregnant presented other new challenges as far as fitness goes. But I never abandoned my goals. I just readjusted my sails and pursued my course always and assessing and addressing my priorities. Never wanted fitness to interfere with my loved ones. They came first. But I also knew a fit Momma is a happy Momma and she is better equipped with stamina and endurance and tenacity to handle anything Mom life can throw at you.

It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to be fit enough for it to be obvious I was into fitness. I wanted to express it with my results, not anything I said. That my fitness would speak for itself, no words required. It took time because though I’ve been physically fit and strong a long time, my nutrition discipline took time to build a solid foundation. But I persisted without exception. I always knew it would happen for me, God had put the desire in me that never faded or waned. And then it happened. My goal is what I became.

I still have goals, still reaching, pushing, building on the foundation God has given me. But I enjoy the fruit of my diligent efforts. People often comment to me about my fitness even when I don’t realize I look all that fit.

So as I left the gas station reflecting on all of this it also occurred to me this same fact, when you are physically fit people notice…it has application to many aspects of life.

When you are physically fit people notice.
When you are emotionally fit people notice.
When you are mentally strong people notice.
When you are spiritually fit people notice.

I spent much of the last week studying in my Bible about Rebekah, the woman of the Old Testament who married Isaac and ushered in God’s Promise. As I studies the theme the Lord overwhelmed me with was “Discipline”.

What discipline this young woman had to REST in her father’s care, serve as a daughter of noble worth and step into her place in Destiny! Her faithful and disciplined trust helped usher in the Promise to Abraham’s Sons!

It takes discipline to become physically fit.
It requires discipline to control your food choices and become nutritionally fit.
It requires discipline to draw closer to God and exercise our faith, strengthen our understanding of his pure and matchless grace and to be Still and bask in His warm yet gentle embrace.

Spend some time asking in prayer this week how you can apply greater discipline to your Christian life and fulfill God’s perfect plan and purpose for your life!
Because when your fit you will get to eat the fruit of your discipline!

~Nicole

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September 6, 2017

Win it: Sparkle While You Do it!✨

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:07 am by Broken & Brave

You don’t read a song, you sing it.
You don’t play and instrument, you touch it. Your heart and passion does the playing.

You don’t dream a dream,
you live it…

When I was a teen I fell in love with fitness and all things related to health and fitness. Magazines were still read back then and I wasn’t into the normal girly teen magazines so much as I was drawn to the fitness driven magazine. I remember watching the Olympia on television and being captivated. Not by the male competitors, but the women. I was completely attracted to the physique and finished edges of their chiseled frames.

I had a stationary bike in my bedroom at my parents house and I would put my old school Walkman to use as I did my own little personal spin class before spin classes were even marketed in gyms. I guess I had vision and innovation. Too bad I didn’t have the insight to realize that I had a few good ideas and could’ve marketed them to the general population! Even in college, while studying nutrition, I dreamed of nutrition and fitness counseling, not planning menus in a hospital or retirement home (which is what most people in my field of interest did with such a degree in the early 90’s).

Imagine how surprised I was when I began having literal dreams about competing in bodybuilding after birthing my FIFTH child! I kind of blew it off at first. But these dreams began to increase and persist. I began experiencing a series of events that all highlighted to me the possibility that God actually wanted me to begin to compete. Was He crazy? I mean, where was this idea when I was 25? God is so unique, He’d been planting His plans for my life all along, writing my song and singing it to my heart.

You know, Heaven is full of love songs written exclusively for you. Only God can correctly carry the tune and sing the melody of heart in just the right key to cause your heart to swell and the melody to swing. Then we sway in the direction He leads. At least, that’s how the Holy Spirit is with me.

After much prayer and discussion all of this with my husband (who was 100% ultra supportive of my venture despite the enormous commitment and sacrifice it would require from us all) I began to prepare for my first show.

I had no figure coach. My husband assisted me as we constructed a sports specific training program design and the nutrition, well, that’s my department.

I began to study everything I could on how to prep and pose and hold my presence. Bodybuilding is about presentation, head to toe. It’s not just the symmetry and clean lines. It’s the poise, the walk, the finesse. Stage Presence. All of which continues to prove to me that God has a sense of humor because I’ve never cared less to be under any spotlight of any stage. I don’t like it actually. Maybe that’s why He asked me…

From day one this figure competition thing has been 100% about Him and has very little to do with me. How can that be you ask? Because I am obeying the Lord. I have stepped into a world of fitness as fashion full of models. But when you spend time with these people, and most I’ve met are wonderful people, they are real and authentic and broken and hurting and inspiring and looking for things to fill their hearts void. What a Beautiful opportunity I have to build relationship in this community. And that’s what I have done. To me, what goes on back stage is just as important on “game day” as all the preparations made to prepare my physical appearance to step on that stage. Every single time I both hate it and love it. Every single time I agree with my Father to dig deep and continue to compete. The older my children get and more diverse their interests and time demands, the even harder it becomes. It’s hard enough as a Mom to take care of yourself when you’re taking care of everybody else. But all the meal prepping, measuring, calculating, training, training, TRAINING!!! It isn’t easy.

But here’s something beautiful. My first show I truly didn’t know what to expect or what I was doing. I was 300% out of my comfort zone. I swore I wouldn’t do it again…for about 5 minutes. Then I was daring myself to dig in and see what I could really do. So I immediately entered another show that was only another two weeks out. This second show was a much bigger show. 100+ competitors all top notch. Very intimidating crowd.

I loved that show.

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I didn’t place all that well in any of my classes. 4th across the board. I never go into a show feeling ready. No matter how I place. But this show was significant for other reasons.

I met a woman last summer who I was about to compete against in the same class same show. She was friendly and engaged me in conversation immediately as we waited for the dressing rooms to be ready for us to use. In a bodybuilding show they have to paper the walls and floors to protect the surface from all that awesome (sarcasm inserted here) fake tanning products. As we waited she said something to the effect, “You must win all your shows.” I was a bit floored. “Me?”

I see everything that I still need to work on, but she saw something else.

She proceeded to tell me she had seen me compete before. She saw me in that big show I just described to you. The one pictured above. She was there to support a friend I competed against that day (who I knew and remembered as well). She told me I was the reason, the inspiration, she lost weight got in shape and decided to compete. Me… floored again.

Why inspired by me? Why not the woman who won the whole darn thing?

Because of God!!!!

This is what I have always aspired to do! Not necessarily that fit looks like a competitor, but if I can achieve THIS despite all the potential “can’t” excuses, then maybe the woman who can’t get motivated to care for herself will begin to try and believe that she CAN!  To inspire people as a fitness model on all levels! Health and fitness and also spiritual emotional wellness and fitness!

 

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I won that day. I only did 3rd and 4th place on the stage in my two classes…but I won. I won because of those words she had to say. I was blessed beyond measure and realized on a deeper level how important it is to God we obey to do the unconventional methods He instructs in us. It possesses power to reach people in one way or another that doesn’t look like a traditional methodology. That is what I love.

This story is an example of true Joy. My educational background and society around me teaches that you can’t give what you don’t have so learn to love yourself then maybe you will be able to love others. My Bible and my life experience says, “Want Joy? Want happiness? Desire satisfaction and contentment of soul? Love others and you will find your gold.”

I have found by personal experience that when I focus my heart to loving and caring for others most…I have found myself, my Joy, my happiness as a by product. Loving others, serving others, has refined my focus and stoked and highlighted within my own heart the things that make me happy. The things that I feel passionate about. The things I was created to do. The person God created me to be. True Peace is in Jesus, not my form, not my name, not a picture of me with a trophy in a frame. True Joy is in giving ourselves fully to Jesus. It is not enough to camp out next to the River. We must get into the Water. We must fully submerse ourselves in Him. Joy is in serving and loving others while placing our own personal wants and desires last.

J-Jesus
O-Others
Y-Yourself

You’ve got something special within that sparkles bright. It catches the Light and magnifies it causing a glimmer in the eye of those who look upon you. Sparkle Bright. Your Shine has power to dispel the Night. Radiance is all about you.

Keep digging. You’re winning.

~Nicole

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

1 Cor. 9:24-27

 

 

 

September 2, 2017

Build Yourself Up

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:39 am by Broken & Brave

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Luke 6:40

Years ago I was blessed to receive some in depth instruction and training from some premier Doctors in the field of nutrition and preventative medicine. I soaked in and learned enormously from these two men. I was able to obtain my training on audio and would play it over and over in my car. The more I learned and grew, the more I began to sound like these two doctors, full of the knowledge and wisdom they had generously passed on. It was a very cool experience and a rich blessing as I have had a passion and interest in health, wellness and nutrition most of my life. I studied nutrition in depth in college and now I find myself surrounded by people who are highly successful in a field I am passionate about. God put these people in my life to help me grow and learn more and pursue my God given dream to help people build a lasting legacy of longevity, disease free with high functioning mobility.

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Whatever your life holds and whatever your journey entails, be mindful that God will give you exactly the instruction you need when you need it. If you are eager and ready He will bring the right resource to you to help you grow and learn what you need in order to achieve the dream, goal or desire. So don’t give up! Even if you make a lot of mistakes along the way, when you keep trying you will eventually deepen with understanding and get it right. Pay attention as God may bring people in your life who will add value, springing you forward and lifting you up. It is true, the only ones who fail are those who quit. Don’t quit! ~Nicole

November 11, 2016

Balanced Living

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:52 am by Broken & Brave

Everything we do in the physical also affects us in the spiritual. It is unavoidable. Our mind, body and soul are all tied together, work together and compliment each other. This is by Divine Design. So if Rest, Exercise and Diet are our gauges for wellness physically, the same can be true for our spiritual, emotional and mental health as well.

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REST in the Arms of the Almighty. At the end of the day you can rest when you know you’ve given your best and can trust God with the particulars of world order and personal progress and provision. Learn to say no to some things so you can say yes to others. There are demands for our time and attention everywhere. Be intentional about rest!

EXERCISE your freedom to choose to be kind, generous, and willing to discipline yourself in right living. Take up hobbies that refresh your soul. Do charitable work for others. It doesn’t have to be to a specific organization, non profit or population. Last night I spent two hours mentoring a young personal trainer who is just getting started in the business. You get the idea.

DIET. You need to feed your soul strength just as you feed your physical body for strength. What are you feeding on? Be careful about your conversations. Be thoughtful in what you select to read and watch. I encourage you to select a devotional or morning scriptures from the Bible. You will find yourself with greater Peace and ability to “manage” life when you’ve feasted on scripture. Pray. Time spent reflecting and speaking to the Creator also has cleansing and relaxing qualities. It’s like yoga for the soul. Take time to reflect. Journal. Write down dreams, ideas and aspirations. Set goals. It is a beautiful form of release and expression.

When you pay attention to your spiritual Rest-Exercise-Diet (my R.E.D. Flag’s of Wellness) you will notice you have greater balance and perspective in all of life. Refreshed and Blessed! ~Nicole

“..and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19