Saturday, July 30, 2011

Are you on the fence?

I'm very proned to fence-sitting.  I think a lot of it has to do with commitment - if I don't commit to it, then I can't fail at it, right?  As I've recently mentioned, I'm getting over that.  I'm breaking through barriers and learning more about myself than I ever thought possible.  The health coach convention was a huge turning point for me. 

I was privileged to attend the Brian Biro Breakthrough Experience - it was all kinds of awesome. 

Some of my favorite quotes from him:

"What you focus on is what you create - reset your visual destination."
"Don't focus on fear!"
"We don't use our vision to see, we use our memory and conditioning to navigate."
"Change the way you look at yourself - you change the way you look."
"The love we fail to share is the only pain you'll live with."
"Presence is the secret to balance."

I will tell some of his stories in another blog post (because they were incredible).

I'm so grateful to have found this program - and my wonderful coach.  I'm so excited to be on this journey - and that I already have friends to share it with!  I can't tell you what it means to me to have the opportunity to share such an amazing program with all of YOU! 

So, I'm hoping that if you're on the fence (whether it's to get more information, start the program, achieve optimal health, be a coach, etc.), put aside your fears and just do it.  Do it for your health, do it for your family, do it for your own peace of mind. 

One of my favorite quotes says, "To be passive is deadening, to stop doing is to die".

Don't be a fence-sitter, don't live in fear.  You can do anything!

Love and hugs!

PS - This beautiful couple is coming up on the photo blog...stay tuned!

Friday, July 29, 2011


I love being a Health Coach!  I love that not only am I on program (and having great success), I get to encourage others who are doing it right along with me!  I was reviewing my notes from the convention last week and something jumped out at me again:

Replace "can't" with "choose not to".  How interesting is that?  Every time you think something is too hard and you just "can't" do it, remember that your brain rules your body and while you may not want to, you can do anything! 

So no more, "I can't lose weight!"  Because I have the program for you, and you CAN DO IT!

CHOOSE to lose...I'll teach you how!

Give me a call: 541-999-2313

PS - Check out the newborn session on the photo blog!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An open letter to my dear friend, Butter

Dear Butter,

I hope you will read this with an open mind and understand where I'm coming from.  We've had a good run.  I will always remember the good times we've had: baking goodies for friends, making amazing sauces (and frostings and candies and...), smothering you on toast and waffles...and who could forget the fudge?!  But alas, the time has come for us to say goodbye.  You just don't fit into my lifestyle anymore and I can't let you bring me down.  I hope you understand.  I'm sure our paths will cross again, at a different time and when I am ready for you, but until that time's over.


The 57lb lighter me

Monday, July 25, 2011

Live your dash

I'm so excited - down 56 pounds in 11 weeks!  I'm just returning from the most energizing week at the national convention of health coaches in Orlando.  It. Was. AH-MAZING!

I learned so much, felt so much, cried so much and made some major breakthroughs in my personal development.  Again - AMAZING!

It was all so inspiring and I can't wait to share it with you!

I will talk a lot about all of the wonderful speakers, but I wanted to share something Dr. Andersen said, because I really loved it!

"Life is an exciting adventure - LIVE your dash! You know, that thing on your gravestone between your birth year and death year?"

I will never look at a gravestone the same way again.  I'll always wonder about that person and how they really lived.  What did their family and friends say about them?  What will people say about me?  What will they say about you?

Live. Your. Dash.

I feel like I'm starting to really live and thrive!  I feel fantastic and I am looking forward to a very exciting future with my family!

I've been searching for a "diet" solution to weight loss for 2/3rds of my life...I didn't get it, but now I do.  I kept saying someday I'll eat right, someday I'll exercise, someday I'll be healthy...

So where in the week is "someday"?

 My wonderful roomies: Mikelle, Me, Jacqui (our coach), Stephanie (Dew Drop)

These kids were so awesome! 
The resort was indescribable - the nicest place I've ever stayed!  I just loved these HUGE pendant lights!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Closet Eating, and How Smell is Tied to Emotions and Memory

I don't know about you, but I was a closet eater (I have so many stories about this that I'll save for another several blog posts).  Of course, I would enjoy a meal out or over at someone else's house, but it wasn't until I got home, that I would really cut loose - you know, get a HUGE bowl (or trough, as the case may be) of ice cream, topped with chocolate, bananas, peanut butter, pineapple, strawberries, caramel, butterscotch, nuts, whipped cream and several cherries?  Then I would sit back on the couch, unbutton my tight-fitting jeans and essentially pig out while watching tv.  Or after having a meal out in public, I would come home and ransack the 'fridge to see what else I could snack on (even if I wasn't hungry).  The point is, when it came to eating, I did the bulk of it in the late evening when no one else (except my Mr. Charming) was around.

I think it's pretty common for people to want to hide their addictions and for me, food was an addiction.  I didn't want to think about the consequences, I only wanted what made me feel good at the moment.  Food has always been my "feel good" escape.  It was a big part of growing up in my family.  Food (and not just any food, really great food) was served up good, hot and in mass quantities whenever we went over to Grandma and Grandpa's house (who happened to live directly behind us on the next block).  It meant family gatherings with good company and warm feelings.  So many wonderful memories and feelings for me are tied to foods and their smells.  I still think of bellying up to Grandma's breakfast bar whenever I smell rye bread; the smell of bubble gum (Bubble Yum brand) and I am instantly 6 years old searching her "gum drawer" for a piece; and Christmas time - Christmas was Grandma - peanut butter balls, rum balls, fudge, divinity, pies galore and tons of other foods...all masterfully and lovingly laid out across her enormous Christmas-spread table.  I sure miss her.

Do you know why your memories are so closely tied to smell (and food)?  Turns out, the olfactory nerve is located very close to the amygdala, which is the area of the brain that is connected to the experience of emotion as well as emotional memory.  It is also very close to the hippocampus, which is associated with memory. 

We are actually programmed to connect smell to our emotions and memory!  A blessing and a curse, I say!  I really am a very olfactorily-driven individual (always have been).  I don't know why those senses seem to work overtime in me, but I have noticed that I am able to enjoy smells a lot more now, without feeling the need to be in the place that they took me.  I don't need to taste those peanut butter balls to know that I loved my Grandma.  I don't need to eat my mom's best meal (sweet 'n sour chicken with pork fried rice, in case you're wondering) to know that she taught me how to be a great cook.  I don't need to devour a huge sundae to know that because we did it in our younger years, my husband still loves me just the same (okay, MORE)!

I love the ability to smell.  I cherish my memories and I still feel deeply.  I just choose to hold the memories and not the food.

PS - I understand emotional (and closet) eating and I'd love to help you overcome yours.  Give me a call or drop me a text 541-999-2313
Speaking of cherish, how cute is this little guy?!  We had a short visit from April and Nici (and of course, Logan) last month.

I love this picture for so many reasons: the look on Logan's face as he stares at Laethym, his onesie (so cute) and the look on sweet Nici's face.

Group shot

Nici insisted I get in on the action and happily took over my camera for a few shots! Avonleigh threw the petals in the air (impromptu) just as she took the picture.  I love it. 

Nici's necklace - love, love, love it! 

Another one of my favs

Monday, July 11, 2011

Letting go

I really appreciate all of the support & feedback you have given me after my last blog post!  I thought A LOT about it before I pressed "publish".  I meant what I said about not being afraid of failure this time around...however, I still fear rejection.  I think everybody has that insecurity at some point in their life (it's a miracle we ever survived middle school)!  So, as I got up from my computer desk again (still having not published my draft), my husband said, "You said you weren't afraid.  Don't you think it's time to start letting go of all fear - insecurities too?"  Smarty guy, that man of mine!  I think I'll keep him! 

So, yes, I'm letting go of a lot of things - not the least of which is unhealthy habits and unwanted fat!  Monday's are my weigh-in day and let me tell you, I have never been so excited to step on the scale.  I was down another 4 lbs this week!  Hooray!  I'll be posting my results as I go...just need to figure out that best way to do it!

Someone asked me if I felt tempted by my everyday surroundings (kids snacking, cooking for a family, etc).  Honestly, I have no cravings - as in ZERO.  This has never happened for me before.  EVER.  I am the Craving Queen!!  Before I contacted my health coach, I was living (barely) on chocolate and other simple carbs 3 meals/day!  It made me feel like garbage, but it was all I wanted (how's that for a paradox?).  I was told that the first four days would be the hardest, but after that my blood-glucose levels would even out and the cravings would go away.  I thought she was full of bologna (but not literally - love you Jacqui!).  But it was all true - I haven't had the slightest urge to "cheat" or go off plan for nearly 10 weeks!  But the best part for my family is, since I've started changing my habits and becoming more aware of how certain foods help (or hinder) the body, I've become a much more health conscience cook - and everyone is benefiting!

Truly, if I can make this work for me, anyone can!

Psst...head over to the photo blog for the mini engagement shoot I had tonight!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Beginnings

 18 months ago...

I tentatively dialed the number that I had thought about calling a million times and practically had memorized.  I was so nervous - nearly sick to my stomach.  I had followed this woman's blog for months and just HAD to know what her weight loss program was all about.  She was so kind as I explained who I was and how we had met once before.  She was upbeat and positive and explained her entire program to me - including her success story of weight loss!  I told her I needed to think about it - doubting that it could really work for me the way it had for her.

January 2010-August 2010

Over the course of the next 7 months, I tried a fad diet and lost weight (and a TON of hair!).  When I decided I couldn't continue with the diet, I took up exercise.  I started walking, then running.  I really love to run.  But, when the photography business picked up, my priorities shifted and exercise went right out the window! 

From September 2010 to the end of April 2011 (7 months), I gained 75lbs!  SEVENTY-FIVE POUNDS, PEOPLE!  That's a child (a large child) - or a really unhealthy pregnancy!  Except at the end of my "term", all I had was a ridiculously huge and out-of-shape body and extremely low self esteem.  My eating was out-of-control and my lifestyle was completely sedentary.  I drove the kids from school (4 kids at 2 different schools picking up at 3 different times), to activities, to home - where I sat on my butt!

I cried.  A lot.  I wanted to be the happy person I have always been (despite my weight), but it just wasn't happening this time - I couldn't get past how horrible I felt about myself.  And it affected everything else in my life - marriage, family, church, school, photography - EVERYTHING!

I sat in a defeated heap (sobbing) on Mother's Day, telling my husband how unhappy I was.  To his credit, he wracked his brain for ways he could help me.  But as much as he wanted to fix me - it wasn't up to him to fix!  I had to make that decision!  All of my "unhappiness" stemmed from my feelings of self-loathing and failure! 

I picked up the phone for the second time and called that woman.  Once again she was very positive and asked me lots of questions about goals and where I wanted to be in 10 years.  I cried as I tried to picture myself living a healthy, happy life with my healthy family.  You see, we were living in a state of sickness - unhealthy foods, unhealthy lifestyle, unhealthy habits - and really, no one was thriving the way they should have been!

She told me, "It really isn't your fault and I'm going to teach you why."  We talked for nearly an hour and as I hung up with her, she said, "Trust me!  You can do this!" 

It has been more than 2 months since I started on this program and I can honestly say it has saved my life is so many aspects!  I feel better, I'm looking better, I'm exercising and have more energy than I've felt for a year!  I have lost 47lbs in just over 2 months!  In the first two weeks, every morning, stepping on the scale was like my birthday - full of surprises and a new beginning!

I have a LONG way to go, but I am committed and I believe in this program 100%!  I am already a success story!  I want more than anything to help others discover what I have found - IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT AND I'M GOING TO TEACH YOU WHY! 

Having tried every diet - seriously, every type of diet you can think of - I've done it or some version of it!  Dieting since the age of 10! 

This is the program that WILL change your life - and it is a LIFESTYLE change - this is NOT a DIET! 

I'm so excited and I believe so deeply in this program that I have decided to become a Certified Health Coach.  I'm learning, I'm teaching, we're working together for our success - JOIN ME!

I've got big dreams and high aspirations and I'll share those with you along my journey here - because for the first time in my life, I'm not afraid of failure!  I choose health - for me and for my family!

Please feel free to give me a call (541-999-2313) or email me ( if you want to know more about my program and how I can help you put it to work in your life! Don't wait 18 months like I did! Had I started then, I have NO doubts that I would already be at my goal weight and optimal health by now...hindsight, huh?

"Our health is our most precious asset, yet the daily choices most of us make directly conflict with our ability to preserve it.  Why?  Because the negative results aren't obvious right away.  Eating a cheeseburger today or bypassing the treadmill on your way to the couch won't cause a noticeable downturn in your health right away.  By the same token, choosing a healthy vegetable for lunch today or going to the gym once or twice in January won't create a noticeable improvement.  What will make a difference is choosing actions on a daily basis that support your journey to optimal health.  Over time, those choices make all the difference in the world - the difference between death and radiant health."

 This is the ONLY picture I could find of me from the last 6+ months!  It was taken in March.  It's horribly out-of-focus!  I'm here with the adorable Mindy Gledhill.

 I'm still taking pictures....lots and lots of pictures!

 This is me after losing 40lbs

 Front view

Yikes!  Kiss that behind goodbye!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Payton's Visit to Doernbecher Children's Hospital

I took Payton up to Doernbecher's for her post-hospitalization check-up.

 She was very apprehensive, understandably so!  Stepping foot inside any hospital is a scary thing when you have experienced the kinds of things that go on there!

 But by the time she was called back, she was all smiles - and even a little (read: LOT) sassy!  The nurses fawned all over the flower in her hair and her sassy little strut!

 She played while waiting for her check-up

 She just didn't want to hold still for a picture!

After we were done, we headed across the skyway to the Tram.  Payton had talked about riding the Tram since our last appointment at OHSU in February!

 Waiting our turn

 She loved every second of our FOUR rides!

 And the view was pretty spectacular!

 Passing the other Tram

 Heading back up to OHSU

It was the perfect day to be up in the air!  She had a fantastic time together and my wonderful sisters-in-law kept the other kids for the day. 

We will return to Doernbecher's in December for a special procedure called a DMSA Scan.  This will tell us the amount of scar tissue on her kidneys and what kinds of future complications she may have.  It will also tell us if she has a hard-to-detect kind of reflux in her ureters - which would be causing the kidney infections.  So, until then, we are doing our best to keep her healthy!  I am so grateful for modern medicine and Payton's wonderful staff of pediatricians, nurses, NA's and urologists.  I hope she never has to go through this again.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Payton = Sunshine

By her second day in the hospital, Payton was feeling much better and bored out of her mind.  So we decided to have a little fun and spread a little cheer!
 We cut out paper hearts and wrote little messages on them: "Smile, Be happy, Be positive, Love, Fly", etc.

 Then  we decorated them (with the 4 crayons we had)...

 ...and she went out in search of unsuspecting victims!  The staff was so appreciative.  They all put her little love notes on their lanyards and wore them proudly.  Long after we'd returned to our room, we could hear the staff buzzing about their notes and asking what everyone else's said.  It was a wonderful opportunity for Payton to give back to the amazing staff that had done so much for her!

Her nurse brought a wagon to our room and asked her if she wanted to go for a ride!  She was being discharged, so the nurse disconnected her iv and off we went!

 Just before we were to be discharged, our dear friend Charitie came bearing gifts from the Romrell Family: a beautiful bouquet and a stuffed kitty that looks JUST like our Spaz!  We are so blessed to have such good friends in our life!

The discharge finally came and we were free to go!
 Payton waiting quietly for the elevator

And then she saw Grandma pull up with the other kids!  She was SO ready to go home!!

We came home to a wonderful dinner from the Heningers, lots of family and the Glasmanns brought by dinner for the next night! 

Again, can not believe how amazing our family and friends are.  Love you all!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Payton's hospital stay

It's been just about a month since Payton entered the hospital with her kidney infection.  She has come such a long way!  I wanted to get these pictures posted before too much time passes.  As awful as it is to spend time in the hospital, it was a good time for she and I to hang out and bond.  Her strength and sweet spirit never cease to amaze me.
In the ER...her fever had just reached 106 degrees and the staff was working on getting her admitted upstairs

 The next day, once her fever subsided, she was all smiles!

 Daddy brought her brothers and sisters up to visit her

 Christopher had a really hard time with it this time

 And of course, Grandma was always there to help and comfort

 She had gifts from friends - this one was from her little friend, Logan!

 How cute is this card?

 And she spent lots of time playing the iPad and listening to music...
 This was the softest, sweetest teddy bear from the Heningers - and she loved that it smelled like their house - happy, cozy thoughts!

 She FINALLY ate a little something - quesadilla!

But she was always up for a good laugh!  Love this girl SSSSOOOOOOOOO much!!