When the going gets tough…

When the going gets tough…

What do you do when the going gets tough??! When life is throwing you curve balls. When is seems like nothing is in your control… or going the way you want it to!?!?

Here are some of my thoughts  (you don’t know to know them all…) from tonight’s bonding session with my running shoes.

I have been hearing myself say a word quite a bit lately and I don’t like it. The word is Failure. “I feel like a failure” has come out of my mouth more often like I would like it to. it’s time for that to change… and it’s up to me to change it. I fail at my job. I fail at keeping my apartment clean. I fail at getting things done that I want to get done. I fail at being who I want to be in my relationships sometimes. I fail at following through with things that are very important. I fail at keeping my checkbook balanced. I fail at blogging as much as I want to. I fail at reading books that I really want to read…. you get the point.

Why is my brain saying that I am failing at these things?!?! I think it’s because I am working on them. And it’s hard. And I’m not seeing results as fast or in the areas I want to see them. I am a work in progress and that’s okay. and that does NOT mean I am a failure.

Work is hard. I don’t think it would be called “work” if it wasn’t hard. It would be called… Retirement. Tonight’s blog is about doing what is hard.

Tonight I went for a run (which has become harder as I’ve gained some weight and haven’t been focused on running) and it wasn’t easy.

I came upon this incline. A steep… horrific incline. Staring at me in the face. I had 2 choices. Face it or turn around and find another “easier” way to get home. IMG_5824

I started thinking about life. How I want big things. How people that I work with want big things! Lots of money in retirement, a beach house, a BMW… a nice house… a good education for their children and how we can get it all. But it’s a battle. A mental battle. An internal battle of “can I do this” “is this real” “is it worth is” “what if I fail”… all these things… and I sure I missed things.  We can get those things if we work hard. If we put in effort and create habits that get us what we want. I think what is standing in our way most of the time is…. OURSELVES. Our BRAIN.

But what do we do?!?!

Here is what I did:

IMG_5825

I put on my big girl pants and ran up the dumb incline. It was NOT fun at the moment. In fact I was severely under hydrated tonight and phlegmy and at one point ended up with spit in my eye (don’t ask)… but you know what?!?! It was freaking worth it. I felt amazing after my run was done. And the reward?!? So many things. Mental clarity. Toughness. Endurance. Mental strength. And it was for my own good. Sometimes we fight things that are for our own good because they are tough. Because life is hard. Because a lot is expected of us. But nothing easy is worth doing. The hard things are where you flourish. Where you grow outside of your comfort zone.

It’s real easy to break under pressure. To throw in the towel and quit. To literally just run away. I feel this particular subject is top of mind right now because of all of the recent suicides that have been in the news. Everyone struggles. EVERYONE. Even the ones who appear strong and unshakable are weak and shakable. The going gets tough… what are you going to do when it does?!?

tough

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to people in your life who care for you. Something else that has been circling social medial is “check on your strong friend”. Do it. You may not know what they are struggling with.

IMG_5826

here is a visual representation of it being “worth it” after I climbed that hill… there was a bridge over the Mississippi river and here is the treat I got. There is no filter on this photo… this is real life.

Big money (insert whatever it is that your after, Health, better relationships etc) is on the other side of the struggle. On the other side of Tough. On the other side of your comfort zone. The other side of where you are now… how are you going to get there!!?! and how much better will you be when you do?!?!

 

Advertisements

Thrive

This is a word that’s been stuck in my head for months so… I figured I’d write about it. 

I don’t really know where to start… Maybe with the song. That’s a good idea! 

There is this song that I often hear on the radio at just the right time by Casting Crowns called Thrive.

Here are some of the lyrics….

It got me thinking about this word THRIVE and the concept of Thriving. What does it mean? What does it look like? 

I didn’t have answers… But I started looking and searching. 

What I started seeing was a whole lot of people  (myself included) just going through the motions of life. Getting up. Going to work. Playing on Facebook. Watching TV. And going to bed. Rinse and repeat. Ordinary lives. Just existing. Some of them dreading life and Just waiting to die. What’s the point?!? Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. 

 I talk to people everyday who are in a very rough times of their life. People who have been, or are being, knocked down by unforeseen circumstances or are dealing with the consequences of decisions they have made. How they (WE) choose to handle these situations what defines us. The best part of my job is when they will let me show them the way and guide them towards a brighter future.

So I looked up the word thrive. Thrive is a Verb (an action word in case you forgot 😉) means to Grow. Or develop. Synonymous With the words: flourish, prosper, bloom, do well, advance, and my favorite SUCCESS. BE SUCCESSFUL! yes! I want that! 

I started to realize that I want more than simply surviving. I want to do well. I want to prosper and bloom. I want to flourish! I mean, how cool is the word flourish? I want to thrive. 

What does that look like? I still don’t have the answer to that totally. I know it doesn’t look like getting to retirement and having to work when I’d rather be traveling the world. I know it means that I can’t be so caught up in work that I fail to enjoy life… Or even work. For me it means investing in others to help them thrive. Planting seeds of possibly and positivity in their lives so they can grow to thier full potential. I know that I can’t flourish if I let my attitude keep getting in the way. I can’t grow if I don’t try different things to create growth. I knew I have to take care of me… Mentally, physically and emotionally if I am going to thrive (something I’m not always so good at). 

Life is only so long. 

Here is what I think is cool… And a little bit terrifying. It’s my choice. Am I going to Thrive? Who’s gonna stop me…. Only I can stop myself! Who’s stopping you from thriving? 

Are we going to survive? Or THRIVE? 

Fitness Cruise 2017 Life Lessons

A month ago I was on a cruise ship sailing around the Caribbean. I wrote a blog about it on the plane ride home, but something happened and that particular blog has disappeared. I was disappointed when that happened because I put a lot of work into that thing…but then what happened was now, I have had a month to reflect on that week and have an even deeper appreciation for the experience. The lessons that I learned are ones that I feel a need to share.

DSCN1810

First A little background. We signed up for this cruise over a year before it was scheduled to set sail. The Tonya that signed up for the cruise had just come off of running 681 miles in 2015 (or what I liked to call 20FITteen). I was feeling pretty good about my self and even my pants size (mostly). I was pumped for this cruise and I was hoping that it would keep me motivated through the year of 2017. Well… life kind of happened. I ate too much, I didn’t push myself hard enough in the gym, I didn’t run enough. . . I bought bigger pants. I have no reasons, no excuse, no justification. But let’s just say that by the time the cruise came around I felt like I was not worthy of going on a cruise that was about fitness or healthy living. AT ALL. Don’t get me wrong, I was way excited to be on a cruise… just didn’t feel like I would fit in. I wasn’t happy with what I had done. I was ashamed and spend A LOT of time beating myself up and not putting anything into action. But then something magical happened:

I embarked on a journey with these two lovely ladies:

DSCN1799.JPG

We left from Miami and sailed to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and then on to Grand Cayman Island (my favorite!) and then a final stop was in Cozumel, Mexico.

The reason I even found out about this cruise was because I have been a long time fan of the show the biggest loser. NEVER, until Season 11 did I really care or feel any sort of connection with anyone from that show. However there was this one particular contestant in Season 11 that I admired. Her story, her attitude and her outlook on life was simply inspirational. Before she got onto the biggest loser she, herself, lost 100 pounds. Her smile light up the room and I thought, I could be friends with this girl. And Holy crap, if she can push herself at the gym… why can’t I! Her, and her super cool mom were my favorite. Well, I started following Courtney on Facebook and her posts keep me positive on a regular basis. When I found out she was going to be on this cruise I started to round up someone to go with. Luckily I have cool people in my life who want to spend a week on a boat with me :). So, had it not been for Courtney I wouldn’t have found out about this trip to begin with. Anyways… this is getting long already. I would probably write a short novel about all the things that I learned but from here on how I am going to go Listy. So in short.. these are some of my fitness cruise takeaways:

  1. From the moment I stepped into this group of people I felt worthy and I felt like I belonged. NO ONE cared that I had gained some weight and that was AWESOME. They were there to support me and encourage me. I will never forget!

26776819389_66b900ba2b_z

  1. Be yourself. This goes back to Courtney. You know, you can be ANYTHING you want to be on social media. Courtney is exactly the same as she is online, in person. She is Genuine. It reminded ME to be genuine as well. Love ya Courtney!DSCN1957
  2. you just never know whose life you are going to influence. I am sure I have said this before, but it’s worth saying again! This women right here is just as inspirational as her daughter. I won’t ever forget your encouragement and your attitude Marci! And of course Kevin too. You guys are so much fun and I wish we lived closer!

23622387_10155882170327387_2947962298744049062_n

3. Fitness and healthy living takes a team. A tribe. A support system! I am  GRATEFUL for mine little circle, but sometimes I don’t let them in on the struggle or know how they can be supportive, but I know they are ALWAYS there. These two are a great example of how you can keep each other going. The winners of season 11. Well the winner and the runner up…but they are ALL winners in my book. Sisters. Such a bond and make me appreciate even more so the bond that I have with my sisters. I am so glad I got to know these girls. They truly are an inspiration. Even years after the show, staying the course and being so dedicated to being the person that they know they are. PS. I now want to go on another trip to NYC and take a Soul Cycle class with Olivia. Love you ladies!

DSCN1960

4. I wish i had a picture to go with this one… but i don’t. I met this girl named “Murn” who taught me a few things.

  • follow your dreams.
  • it’s NEVER to late to become what you might have been in life.
  • you Do you. Don’t care about what other people are doing. You do… YOU
  • Every day is CHOOSE day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. it’s ALWAYS choose day. you get to choose your attitude and create the outcome of your day.
  • Yoga: you can’t do it wrong and you can’t do it right.
  • If you aren’t checking yourself out, how do you expect anyone else too
  • it’s important to breathe
  • yoga isn’t as boring as i thought it would be

5. Do something you might be scared to do. I wanted to Swim out to this infateable playground in Cozumel, but it was a hard swim and then there was this REALLY tall slide that I wasn’t sure I Could get to the top and if I did i would be terrified up there. Well I did it and it was totally worth it.

 

6. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Wait, did I yell that one? Full disclosure I am still working on this one. But here is what I learned from an entire week of not having my cell phone. I use it TOO MUCH. It wastes a lot of my time. I am missing out on a ton of my life by staring at my dumb phone. I am missing opportunities to connect with people. I use it to prevent myself to have to deal with the real world. It’s killing my relationships. And why?!?! Seriously. There was question whether I would be able to go a week without Facebook but it was SO FREEING! I am not kidding you! I still haven’t figured out how to totally incorporate this into my regular life, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I have tried to be more conscience about actually being in the moment when I am with people. It’s such a habit… baby steps.

DSCN1945

7. speaking of that. Be in the Moment was another. Just enjoy what you are doing now. Don’t worry about what’s next or what you should be doing or what ever. Be in the moment.

38520712412_6c496a3dff_z

8. Don’t judge people. Someone who looks unhealthy quite possibly works really hard and is really  very much healthy. We all don’t have the same standard. People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And all these people INSPIRE me! A community, A family… that I will not soon forget! Don’t forget to encourage those around you!

37664823425_28234c75e6_z

9. Don’t let other people define you. Don’t let your past define you.

10. You are stronger than you think you are. Do something that you don’t think is possible. and Be freakin’ Proud of yourself!

38552747401_f7b83fffbc_k

Sometimes is’s fun to get a little fancy

DSCN1803

Also I would like to report that since I got back that I have been on track and my pants are looser. Truth be told, I have increased my workouts (kinda) and sorta started making better choices… but I am inspired and I haven’t totally given up on the whole healthy eating thing and that progress. I can’t tell you the last time I had onion rings OR a cupcake… soooooo. eventually the pants will fit again. But for now I am proud. I am worthy. I am ME and I am happy. I will keep running and making good choices, and someday I will be in smaller pants.

Thanks for letting me share this incredible journey on the Carnival Vista with you all.

and now… it’s time for my run!

2017 Thankful List

SO. Once again I was reminded to write my “what is Tonya thankful for this year”  list. Reminder. This is TOTALLY RANDOM and IN NO PARTICULAR order…. This is purely a reminder of just how many things I am thankful for. The challenge is to come up with 100 things. SOOOO here it goes.

  1. My health (had a bunch of reminders this year to be thankful for my health)
  2. Sunsets
  3. sunrises. (however I am RARELY up early enough to see them, unless I am at work and then I don’t see them either)
  4. THE MOON.
  5. Bridges
  6. Words
  7. the couch of Awesome
  8. my TV remote
  9. my work friends
  10. my Mother.
  11. my crazy, energetic, busy Nephews (the tornado trio) and my entertaining Niece and nephew. and my newest nephew too! (this should really count as 6)
  12. people who know how to do things that I don’t
  13. running shoes
  14. people who save lives. IE. doctors, firefighters, EMT’s, nurses etc.
  15. babies
  16. photos
  17. vaccumm cleaners
  18. indoor plumbing
  19. music. today specifically Christmas music.
  20. pillows
  21. movies
  22. my cell phones
  23. pizza
  24. my apartment
  25. my foam roller
  26. my coworkers
  27. people who inspire me
  28. relationships
  29. rain
  30. people who annoy me
  31. vacations
  32. dreams
  33. ice cream
  34. my fitbit
  35. my high maintenance cat
  36. craft supplies. I don’t use them. but I am thankful for them
  37. blankets
  38. lakes
  39. rainbows
  40. oceans
  41. the color orange
  42. the internet
  43. my job
  44. facebook
  45. adoption
  46. love
  47. journals
  48. my siblings (all of them)
  49. my Aunts, Uncles and cousins (that’s more than 100 reasons to be thankful for right there.
  50. my high school years
  51. my college education
  52. my eyelashes
  53. humor
  54. positivity
  55. Christmas lights
  56. my car
  57. Jesus
  58. rollerblades
  59. running pants
  60. Christmas lights
  61. Cruise ships
  62. the ocean
  63. changing leaves
  64. mountains
  65. family traditions
  66. dancing
  67. joy
  68. bubbles
  69. Pumpkin spice…ummmm… everything
  70. Puns
  71. my friends
  72. inside jokes
  73. chocolate
  74. my journey
  75. my wonderful boyfriend
  76. Gilmore Girls
  77. smiles
  78. gum
  79. Cupcakes. Duh
  80. generosity
  81. my church family
  82. sunglasses
  83. headphones
  84. compassion
  85. giraffes
  86. people who are good at technology stuff
  87. hot hair balloons
  88. storage containers
  89. people who use their story to inspire others
  90. trains
  91. stars
  92. adventures
  93. running
  94. pillows
  95. HGTV
  96. fireplaces
  97. water
  98. Duluth MN
  99. my senses
  100. my memory

This list really could go ON and On and ON. But I am really thankful for this list itself. It makes me stop and think about what I am thankful for atleast once a year. I challenge you to do it to.

Just Breathe

Okay… So this week/ month has been a WEE bit crazy. I’ll spare you the details because it doesn’t matter. But today I went out for a run. I decided to run until I wasn’t “crabby” anymore. I don’t know if crabby really is even the word. Just feeling off.  Everyone and everything has just been rubbing me the wrong way (even myself) and no one can say or do anything that sits right. I don’t know why. But is was really starting to get to me. My whole “choose Joy” thing was way more difficult than it should have been. SO.. I do what I do and I ran.  Here are the stats of that run…

rum

I needed this run more than I even knew. And of course I got to thinking. That’s what happens when I run. I started thinking about breathing. Cuz, well it gets really hard to breathe sometimes when you are running. You know what else? Sometimes it gets hard to breathe in Life. I think that is what was happening. I was starting to feel a lot of pressure and a lot of anxiety. So many things happen that you can’t control. So many things in your brain that you can’t process and you can’t express and start to feel the pressure of life. In my line of work I deal with people daily, who the pressure of life got to be too much. Something happened and their world came crashing down and they crumbed.  Really life boils down to how you handle the pressure. Not only that but it’s a matter of perspective. How are you seeing this situation and what CAN you control!?! A wise person told me that life is really made up of 85% things you can’t control and 15% of things you can. Focus on the 15%. Sometimes that’s REALLY hard for me. It’s way easy for me to focus and dwell on the 85. What I need to do is control what I CAN control. The 15%.

So, what I did in the middle of my run was sat on a bench, turned off my music and took some deep breaths. I let everything that was bothering me, go. I Let everything that I couldn’t control, go. I thought about just how lucky I am for everything good in my life. I told my self to not be so freaking hard on myself (yes, it’s a conversation I have with myself a lot)… and I reminded myself that everything will be okay. And that even the stuff that I can NOT control, God can. He’s got this!!  I sat there for what seemed like a long time, It probably wasn’t that long because I really wanted to be running, and just breathed. Here was were I was sitting. So peaceful, so relaxing.

IMG_4428

 

I think sometimes we just get so caught up in the busyness of life that it’s hard to just breathe in and breathe out. And then we get to a point where we are feeling suffocated and don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we aren’t breathing. So I encourage you to JUST BREATHE.

After my moment at the fountain, I continued my run. I had like 2 more miles until I got home. I spend some of that time thinking about the pressure of life. I don’t really know how to explain it but there is just this pressure. Being an adult is hard sometimes.. that’s all I can say. However, here it was came to be about pressure. I stole these things from Pintrest because I certainly couldn’t have said it better:

diamonddiamond2

There is a song that I absolutely love by Hawk Nelson called Diamonds. The message is simply that God is making Diamonds out of us… but we don’t get to be diamonds without the pressure associated with it.

So, today I decided to embrace the pressure. Change my perspective and view it as a refining process. Continue to remind myself to not be so freaking hard on myself. And on top of it all I need to quit taking the “Funk” I’m in out on my poor boyfriend. I’m so lucky that he “gets” some of this and is super forgiving. However, he certainly does NOT deserve to take the brunt of my crankiness. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to communicate what I’m thinking and feeling….but until then… I run! Okay, who am I kidding… Even if by some miracle I ever figured it out (and I’d probably be rich if I did) I would still run!

Shine bright like a diamond.

Be YOU.

Choose Joy

BREATHE

 

 

 

Are we too comfortable?!? 

 

This was actually written 3 months ago. it’s still relevant and it just never published for some odd reason. so here it is now!

I haven’t written a blog in quite a while. But the thing is now that I’m back to running outside I have more space to think. So be prepared. I don’t know what exactly I’m supposed to exactly right about tonight… But sometimes it’s just therapy for me to sit and write.

So… This run inspired thought is about your comfort zone. I’m pretty sure I’ve touched on this before but here is what happened. I had a memory pop up on Facebook that was my fastest 5k time ever. That was two years ago. I don’t come near running that fast anymore. Why?!? I got comfortable. I stopped pushing myself and did what was easy. Boo. I hate that. I don’t want to be the girl that just settles for easy. And, per usual in my life… This running experience was illustrated at work as well. I got approached by someone who sees potential in me… Called me out about not pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. Had me imagining the possibility of what just might be on the other side. What if I tried something I have never tried before? What if I did something a little bit different?!? We talked about What it could potentially mean for me and my life. Exciting stuff. Scary stuff…. But what if I don’t try?!

Also… I did something totally outside of my comfort zone just recently. I agreed to start a running small group through my church. I don’t know what I was thinking. Oh, yes I do… It was God… Tapping me on the shoulder for oh, a few years. Thinking though…. What do I have to lose. Something beautiful could come of it. Someone could be inspired. Relationships could be formed… Who knows. But who am I do stop it? Not going to lie… I’m getting a little excited about this now. I’ll keep you posted!

So.. I hit up PINTREST for some thoughts on this… I’ll leave you with these:

Redefining success

So…I’ve struggled with writing this blog for months. MONTHS! And I think I’ve got a good idea why. Success is something I don’t feel qualified to talk about. And I’ll tell you why in just a second, but first I just have to say it’s because if those very things I just might be perfectly qualified to write this blog. Here’s the thing. I fail. A lot. 

I fail at maintaining a positive attitude (choosing joy if you will). 

I fail at being the kind of friend/ daughter/ sister/ auntie/ cousin/ coworker/ employee  (You get the idea) that I would like to be. 

I fail at being a good girlfriend (I take out a lot of my attitude and issues on my wonderful, loving, and very understanding boyfriend). 

I fail at returning phone calls (sorry grandma!) 

I fail at doing stuff. I have a lot of great ideas and fail at following through. 

I fail at making good choices… I try… But that dang sweet tooth!!! And that emotion eating thing. And onion rings. 

I fail at my job… More than I would care to admit. 

I fail at keeping track of my checkbook (thank God for my mother) 

I fail at reading my Bible regularly. 

I fail at being in the moment sometimes. 

I can’t even manage to take a ONE a day vitamin for crying out loud. 

When I was growing up I always figured that by 35 I would be married. Have a houseful (more like 2 kids) a house and a dog. I would be working as a kindergarten teacher and loving life. Well… Life had other plans. There is NO freaking way that 17 years as a bill collector (well… Some of those were customer service years) was something I thought of. Ever! But does that mean I’m not successful? I don’t hit my “goal” at work every month. But does that make me a failure? Am I trying new things? Am I going outside my comfort zone?  Am I changing lives? How’s my attitude? I think these are the things that should be defining my work succes. It’s hard…..VERY hard to see that in the moment, but sometimes I need to step back and realize it. 

What I realized when thinking about this whole thing is that sometimes your definition changes over time. When I started my weight loss journey I viewed success as me fitting in a size 10 jeans. No lie. However…. Today if I had to buy a size 10 I would be disappointed in myself. Not because there is ANYTHING wrong with being a size 10, but because I am currently like a size 3-4. And me going back to a 10 at this point would really show I had given Up.   This isn’t about pants size… It’s about how perspective changes as time passes and goals are hit or things change.  On a related topic when I started thinking about wanting to run, I wanted to 30 seconds, yes SECONDS!  Without feeling like I was going to die. Now, I run 5 miles for fun. Things change, the definition has to change at some point.  

I guess I say all this to pose a question. What does success look like to you? How do you define success? I asked this question on my Facebook and had several conversations with people about it. I got lot of interesting answers. Some very specific summed up as results define success. A lot of people said they define success by how happy they are. Some people responded that it’s the seeds you plant and the legacy that you leave behind that really defines success. 

I guess what I’m learning is that it’s the daily things that add up to success. I’m still trying to figure this all out. I’m not perfect. And you know what?!?! . I’m going to keep failing. Maybe success is not letting that failure define me. Maybe it’s not letting failure keep me from keeping on trying. Maybe it’s getting back up once I’ve been knocked down. Idiot really know the answer…. 

What are your thoughts?