Jenn’s Story

During yesterday’s FFF Journey To Wellness meeting, Tina lead us in an incredible ZUMBA dance class, followed by some strength and then relaxation. It was a super invigorating workout that had all smiling, laughing and flailing (Tina looked great doing it while I felt like a fish out of water!). During the relaxation, she asked us all to lie down and totally let go. After an intense workout, nothing feels better than just being settled. It’s so simple and nourishing.

Tina ended that experience by asking everyone to focus on the one “thing” we each needed. Following is Jenn’s story about how she responded to that experience.

Todays wellness exercise was great and I believed it worked, as it definitely made me think.  
When Tina asked us to think of what we needed for ourselves, the first word that came to mind was “affection.”  Of course, I promptly pushed that out of my head and then thought “money” (I’m a stay at home mom currently, so money’s always helpful -haha) and then thought “direction” (because what can I be now that I don’t have a career?!) and tried to focus on that…even though there was a red light flashing in my head saying “affection!  affection!” 
Basically, and without writing a whole book, I have mommy issues.  My mother was one of those people that shouldn’t have had any kids, although in a weird way I’m glad she did or else I wouldn’t be here. 🙂 She always tried to make my sister and I be like her, and when I didn’t want to or couldn’t because I was me, and not her, she would ignore me or say hateful or mean things to me.  It got so bad during my parents divorce that I cut her out of my life for five years just to get away from her.  I felt sad the whole time we were estranged and finally went back because I hoped that things would get better.  They were for awhile but then she reverted back to the same way she had always been.  
I grew up telling myself that I never wanted to get married or have kids because of what I witnessed and went through.  I struggled for years trying to have loving relationships of my own – every single one failed as I didn’t feel like I was ever good enough.  I constantly doubted the boyfriend that would tell me he loved me (how?  I’m un-loveable, even my mother doesn’t love me) and would get close enough to try a run at being loved and then it would blow up in my face.  Every.  Time.   
Flash forward years and years and it’s still the same thing, only now I have a child of my own and can’t imagine being mean to him for one second, even when he tries his best to drive me crazy.  🙂  I also have a wonderful husband who I can’t believe can love me after all I’ve been through and all I feel and all I believe that is wrong with me.  
I have a hard time trusting people and getting close, and in turn that makes it hard to make new friends.  I much rather sit at home where I know that I won’t get hurt or rejected, than get out there and try to meet someone new.  
So, here I am in FFF, trying to get out there and meet some new friends and to try not to let my past run my future.

I know Jenn is not alone, in spite of how lonely it seems like she’s felt. I think she’s so brave for having shared this story with us. What is your story?

Erin’s Story

Erin is taking some huge life challenges in stride. We’re so proud to be a part of her next chapter!

After being laid off from my job that I did not love in 2011, just 7 months after have my first child, I decided to take the summer off to figure out what I really wanted to do with my career.  Well, as summer came to a close nothing had struck me as my “dream job”.  So I took another job that turned out to be horrible.  My desk at that job faced a real estate office, having work in some area of real estate most of my life I finally decided that was my sign that I was supposed to finally bite the bullet.  In 2012 I quit my job to pursue a job as a real estate agent.  I finally got my license in March 2013 and had my daughter in April 2013.  Two months after that my husband fell down a flight of stairs breaking his neck & foot (literally head to heel).  After less than 6 months he had fully recovered.  But all this didn’t leave much time to focus on my new career.  I am hopeful that 2014 will be the year I finally realize my goal to start a successful real estate career!

Amazing Arlene’s Story!

Thank you, Arlene, for sharing this incredibly inspiring story of positive change with us. We hope our FFF J2W Lady-Crew will enjoy learning more about Arlene…and be inspired to grab life the way she has!

Not too long ago I walked out of the doctor’s office in tears when my gynecologist told me I should not have any more babies with the risk that my babies could lose their mommy during childbirth or due to chronic hypertension, diabetes or stroke at early age. Never mind that I was thirty pounds overweight or my husband’s constant nagging of having more on my plate than he did or family members making a point to comment about my weight at family functions. I could not bear the thought of my kids not having a mommy. I had to change.

I’ve also reached a point in my life when everyone thought I had everything is now all gone when a joint venture with my sister, long time family friend with our husbands decided to close our business. My husband and I with our two kids decided to move in with my parents as we transitioned out of the closing of our business. But I didn’t lose anything. I had my husband, my children, my parents, my sister and friendships still intact and our health. In my mind, I still had everything, but the pressures of other’s perceptions were the hardest to deal with. My parents thought my sister and I had failed and lost everything, which in turn made them feel they failed as well. My parents had such a strong hold on me, where most of my insecurities stemmed from. While living with my parents, I finally realized one thing… I could not change my parents. They will be and will always be the same and can’t expect them to change. At that point, when I felt everything building up and reached my breaking point, I finally surrendered myself to God. I forgave myself and my parents. I finally felt free.

When I turned 40, I vowed to myself that I will change – mind, body and spirit. My grandmother who’s still living at 103, who lives a life full of prayer, had me realize that I’m only half way through my life and have so much more to live for, so much yet to do. I want to be able to fulfill my bucket list item of skydiving when my son turns 21, and be like some of the 80 something ladies I see at the gym lifting weights or swimming laps in the pool. Here’s my journey of what I did to change my mind, body and spirit, and how I’m continuing my journey to becoming fun fabulous and fierce.

Mind: I’ve always been insecure growing up. Often times it would get the best of me. After getting married, I was so insecure about my job, I would come home complaining and fussing about what really was my own frustrations on how I dealt with things. My husband finally told me: he didn’t want to hear about it, it was bringing him down and that I had to do something about it – either change my job or get myself out of the situation. I’m so grateful for my husband for sticking it through with me and being straight and up front with me. I finally changed my job and changed my outlook with jobs in general. Through all the jobs I’ve had I’ve always had a strong authority figure for a boss with similar personalities. I finally realized that all my bosses are just like my mom. They are very authoritative and commander-like with biting comments. To paint the picture, my mom was called the commander from her siblings while growing up. Don’t get me wrong, my mom has a good heart with good intentions. I’ve always felt I wasn’t good enough or doing enough and stressed myself to points where I felt I couldn’t live up to expectations and complete my tasks. I wasn’t mature enough to accept the individuals as they are, and with their comments personal or not, I took it very personal. What changed? My church invited a guest speaker. He touched on points of why the high rates of divorces, addictions, suicides, etc. He’s a priest who used to be an alcoholic. He talked about his journey overcoming being an alcoholic, his life as a priest and how it felt more like a job. What was his message? The bible talks about to love God first, love one another, love your neighbor as yourself, but it doesn’t emphasize to love yourself. You must love yourself to accept your own faults. Once you do that it’s easier to accept and forgive others faults. That’s where my journey to change my mind began and will continue through every encounter. My relationship with my mother is so much better. As much as my mom wants me to be like her, I am so different than her. There are times when I miss my late aunt who always reassured me that I looked fine that my style is my own. I have an awesome relationship with my boss, with his many faults and who I would’ve despised and would’ve been unhappy working for earlier in my life, I now accept and deal with much better. Sometimes I think, certain individuals with similar traits come into your life unwanted or not, until you finally accept it. I’m grateful for all the authority figures in my life, from my mom to all the bosses, as they were stepping stones to help me become a better me.

Body: When I turned 40, my best friend (I’ve known since we were 6) and I decided to join the gym and signed up with trainers. In six months I lost significant amount of weight from the group classes and new techniques I learned from my trainer. I told me trainer one of my goals was to change the look of my body. He was up front with me and told me was that you have to have the heart to change and work hard. Some have the genetics to quickly build their muscles with definition, others have to work harder. My best friend and I also tried the Flat Belly Diet, which taught me significantly on portion control and eating a balanced diet. I often battled with emotional, stress eating, but I was able to overcome it when I started loving myself. This was key to help change the body. I lost my last 10 pounds from diet alone. In less than a year, I lost 30 pounds, 6% body fat and completely transformed my body. The results were better than I expected. I am probably the thinnest I’ve ever been my entire life. I went from size 8-10 to 0. I was taken off two blood pressure medications. I no longer wheeze from asthma with intense activity and hardly sneeze with seasonal allergies. I’ve reduced my risk of diabetes and stroke. I reached my goals as I was ending my 40th year, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and added at least 20 more years to my life to be there for my children. My fitness journey still continues and now challenging myself with heavy lifting and trying new things with FFF.

Spirit: Often times I hear my sister and girlfriends talk about how they’ve lost themselves and don’t know who they are, what their interests are. We’re so engulfed in our families and activities with no time for ourselves. I felt like I was missing something in my life as well, until one day while sitting in mass (catholic church gathering) everyone was called out to find what they can do for their community. While listening to the teens sing and play the guitar and drums, what I missed most was playing the piano. As the dusty piano sits in the front living room of my house, I realized that music has always been integral to my life. Since I was a baby, my parents and their friends were constantly singing around a piano and dancing. I started playing the piano at age 6. I would sing and play the piano at every family function. I started my church ministry in the youth choir as the piano accompanist. Through high school and college, I joined school and universities choirs and even doo wop workshops. After college, I did a little bit of church masses when my aunt was still alive and would often times sing at a couple of my friend’s weddings. But after getting married and having children, everything with music went to a standstill for more than ten years of my life. It suddenly didn’t become important. It became a devoid space in my life, my piano became just a decorative piece of furniture, until the calling at church. I now play the piano with the teens at my church. It is the one thing that fulfills my life and fulfills me spiritually as well. What were great influences in my life growing up from the choir and music directors, I’d like to someday be for the teens as they journey into their lives. Search through your childhood and life and find out what fulfills your spirit. You might even discover it by trying new activities through FFF.

What’s on my horizon now – learning to be more grateful. I’m seeing so many great benefits.

The FFF movement is an awesome thing. Everyone has a story to tell and share. There’s always room to learn from each other. Thanks for allowing me to share my story.

We’re so inspired by Arlene – what an amazing way to transform her life. She makes it sound so easy but I’m certain it was a journey…and clearly well worth all of that work! Getting all that fear out of her way and being deeply honest with herself seem to be the keys to her success. 

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Arlene Before

 

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The Arlene we know!

Jessica’s Story

Now that our second Fun Fabulous Fierce Journey to Wellness (J2W) is underway, we’re excited to highlight the stories of some of our lady-crew. Jessica has been with us since the beginning and we’re thrilled to share her story with you!

This year I’ll hit my third decade and I am looking forward to it!  Ambition has driven my entire life; my mother used to joke that I was “2 going on 20”.  I started my first career as a veterinary technician at 16.  I moved out on my own the day before I turned 19 and have been actively supporting myself and going to school since.  The year 2012 was remarkably lucky for me: my husband and I welcomed our daughter into the world on 3/2/12 and I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry.  I was lucky enough to finish school and raise my daughter in her first year of life and now appreciate stay at home mom’s even as I return to work as a research chemist.  Finding B-A-L-A-N-C-E is my biggest goal for 2014 as I have always had the go, go, go mentality and I am not interested in another go, go, go, DROP year. 

Getting Our Groove On!

Lady-Crew! It’s been a few weeks since our last post. We took the holiday times off in order to settle in with the family but now it’s time to get back on track!

Our second Journey to Wellness (J2W) started YESTERDAY! This time, we’re doing a 12-week challenge meeting up every other weekend. Yesterday Tina kicked off the program with a circuit training workout at Heather Farm Park. Our next meeting is coming up on January 26 and it’s going to be ZUMBA!!

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Our J2W is going to be full of great women, great speakers and new fun workouts. You know we’ve got some surprises up our sleeves so grab your lady-crew and join us!