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.


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:


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!


  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!


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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


Sometimes is’s fun to get a little fancy


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…


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.



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:


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.


Choose Joy





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:

Life can be rough

Current location: sunny, very windy Cancun, Mexico. Vacation. Full disclosure: this girl lives for vacation. I dream about, plan, and work hard for vacations. 

Here is what happened today on my fabulous vacation. Wind. Making the Caribbean Sea VERY choppy. As the boyfriend and I played in the very rough waves a couple go thoughts crossed my mind. So I thought I would write about them. 

Life can be very rough (just like the sea)… How we handle the situation largely determines the outcome.
 Some days are rougher than others. Yesterday the waves were gentle and super fun. Not to say today wasn’t fun…. Just different. You can’t really judge one day by the last day. Don’t let the struggles of one day carry into the next. Wonder how much different life would be if we could just Let things Go and move on. Just a thought. 

The same circumstances are navigated differently by different people. The boyfriend is an entire foot taller than I am. He struggled less for that reason. He also weighs a little more than I do. You can not judge your experience based on someone else’s. This life is yours to live. Experience. Enjoy the ride. 

Don’t give up. Today it seriously felt like Tonya VS. the sea. And I felt like I was losing. Getting beat up. One wave felt like it slapped me straight in the face. However I was determined to not give up. The reward was totally worth it. As in life. Things that are worth it, don’t usually come easy. 

Surround yourself with people who have your back. Dave (that’s the boyfriend) saw me struggling a time or two. So he reached out and grabbed my hand. He even said “I’m going to just hang onto you, because if I don’t, you seem to float away.” I’ve found an important key in life is surrounding yourself with people who let you be yourself. But also call you out when you are not so much being yourself. Also keep you from danger (don’t let you drown) and don’t let you backslide. I am blessed to have a LOT of these people in my life. 

Sometimes we just need to take a break. Relax! It’s quite amazing how a break from your normal life can reset you. Makes you take some deep breaths. Stop, realize what is really important in life. Think on how blessed you are. Getting some space from the daily stresses of life= Good. 

Life is full of things to be afraid of. The sea is a very dangerous place. Those waves were very powerful. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced. However, we can’t stop that from letting us live. Being in a foreign country were we don’t know the culture, the language, the customs… Could have stopped us from exploring, but it didn’t. Be safe. Have fun. But live life.

I love the sun, sun makes me extremely happy. Winter in Minnesota sucks for a lot of reasons, one of those reasons is lack of sun. However… Too much sun isn’t good either. Just ask parts of my body that got slightly red due to overexposer. Shade became our friend. Life is about finding balance. We can’t just always sit on the beach. Life is more than vacation, I guess. 

 Life can be rough… But it’s also a wonderful, magical, fantastic adventure. Embrace the ride.  

That’s all for now!

S.T.A.R spells Star

Here’s the deal. I like to look at the night sky. I have a slight obsession with the moon and the stars. The girl who struggles with sitting still, can sit and look at the stars for a long time. Why?!? The sky is full of awe and wonder. In a way it’s magical and mysterious. And part of my favorite part of the Christmas story has always been the star part. You know… Where the wise men followed the star…. Everyone probably thought they were nuts…but they didn’t care.  Similarly my favorite church service of all time is when my pastor would do his “star message”.  He uses the Christmas story to talk about how we are stars…. Or should be stars for God. Leading people to see how good God is. Causing people to look up and wonder why we are the way we are. Makes me think every time I hear that message, or think about it. 

The main thing about stars to me is that they light up the darkness. Similar to Christmas lights this time of year. 

This year something else happened that cause me to stop and think.. There is a beautiful down by the river that lights up this beautiful tree. I drive passed it frequently (even thought I have to go out of my way to do it) to take in its beauty. Here is the thing… It isn’t lit up every night. And that bummed me out. One day I was having a not great day and the thought of seeing the tree put a smile on my face.  And the fact that its wasn’t on got me thinking a couple things. 

A. They have no idea how much joy the light of that tree brings to me.

B. What if I am someone’s Christmas tree.?!?

Yikes. That second thought scared me a little. I haven’t been the brightest star some days. And really struggle to shine to certain people. There is this song by Toby Mac called light shine bright and it kind of speaks to this. As a Christian I am called to be the light in a dark world. Let me tell you….sometimes it’s really REALLY hard. But what if they day I decide not to shine is the day someone is looking for a glimmer of hope, a smile or something that can turn their day around?!? What if I shine for them even when everything in me is throwing a pity party? What does it hurt me? Maybe, just maybe they will be that star for me when I need it? Maybe helping them will turn my day around… Maybe not… But what do I have to lose at that point? 

The world has NO problem glorifying “super stars”. What if we started being the super star of our own stories and in the lives of people around us? Think about it. What would the would look like if we all acted like the super stars we are? Who’s world can we bring light into?  And don’t let what others might think of you… Stop you. Be like the wise men. Be Wise. And no I didn’t say be a wise guy that’s a different thing 😜

Maybe someone you know had a rough holiday season… How can you make them smile? I don’t know what it is or who’s live you can touch. But I know for me this whole season got me thinking. It’s time to shine. 

There is the other thing to remember… It doesn’t have to be a  huge thing. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… It really is the little things in  life that make the biggest difference. Go out there and do something. Spread JOY. Be a shining light. And shine your light bright. Be the star that you are (hey, that one rhymed). And let me know how you are letting your light shine. I’m always looking for ideas. 

Be blessed. And be a blessing. Okay… That’s all… Til next time….