faith, food, family and fitness! that's pretty much where the majority of my life takes me....what i love the most? when i can combine a couple of those.....

Dots on Life

I have always liked a good timeline.  (Maybe it says I’m a visual learner?)  I’d rather see a graphic explaining something than hear about something.  I LOVE this one with pics!  **I think I would like a timeline at my funeral…anyone wanna work on that for me?


As an elementary teacher we used to teach timelines and I always found it interesting what the kids chose as ‘dot worthy.’  

Several years ago I read a book.  It put a dot on my life, meaning:  life was viewed one way before the dot and a different way after the dot.  This  book is about food, but not really.  It’s mostly about what we crave (ever had that ‘rummage through the cabinets snack-fest?’  You know the one: it leaves you stuffed and grumbly but still not satisfied??!”)  

The book is by Lisa Terkeurst and it’s entitled Made to Crave, although most refer to it as Crave.  I getting ready to do a study of the book with some of my Online bible study friends from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  The last time I read it, I just read it…no studying involved.  I’m looking forward to really delving into it this time.

I have some unhealthy relationships with food.  I love food.  Healthy or unhealthy food, I overeat.  A good stage of overeating is usually followed by an attempt to mega-control what I eat.  I have also been known to become obsessed with Numbers:  body fat percentages, clothing sizes, bodyweight, etc.  Sometimes it’s for health reasons, other times for vanity’s sake.  (I’m not proud, I’m just stating the facts, folk!)

The premise of this book is that we were made to crave God, but we substitute our craving for God with food, alcohol, drugs, activity…..whatever.  

Would you be interested in doing this study alongside me?  We are about to get kicked off, January 19th.  Online bible study is just that, a guided study of a book with bible study.  You won’t be disappointed.  You can interact if you choose.

You can find out more by registering here:  http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/ 

I share with you for many reasons:  I found this SO helpful, I see many of you struggling as well, I think you will be richly blessed.  AND?  I have done many studies with these ladies and I have learned SOOOOO much from them.  

Come get your own dot!!  You will be glad you did.

i love you, CrossFit!

The Diamond Games, 2013 probably didn’t go quite as planned.  Even though every single Texan can recall Thanksgivings/Christmases wearing shorts, an unexpected COLD front descended early.  No worries for the hosting staff (ha!), they adapted, and the athletes and spectators rocked on.  

All fall our son has been wanting to go compete.  This was the first post-football season competition we could find.  It was nearby and put on by friends.  We checked with the hosts and they agreed to let him register as an amateur.   

Why I love this sport:

  • a 15 year old boy can compete with men in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s
  • even though every one else finished their workout, and it starts to  pour down rain in 30 degree weather, these guys stick around to cheer him through his last few reps
  • an athlete from another CrossFit (CrossFit Centex) took pictures from the field perspective.image

I’m the mom of Phoenix.  Typical- Always Starving, Messy Roomed, Drives His Momma Crazy teenage boy.  This sport has given him an outlet for all sorts of things he loves:  CrossFit, Olympic lifting, matching athletic apparel and photography.  Put him in a room of CrossFitters and he is shaking hands, and the age differences seem to disappear.

I suppose every mom enjoys watching her kid do what he loves.  I just get so darn proud when people that have so many differences (attend different boxes, are different ages, etc.) unite.  It may very well be a  common CrossFit Thing, but I hope it always encourages my soul.  

SO good to hear from you!

Our daughter is STILL on a mission trip.  Due to the nature of this part of the trip, we have only heard from her once in two weeks.  So yesterday when she said she would have wi-fi at 1 a.m our time, I was ALL about connecting with her. Anyone who knows me is clear I’m in bed between 8:30-9 virtually every night.  I was SO excited I could not sleep.  I finally started to doze at midnight, but as soon as the phone rang/buzzed/jiggled/whatever, i popped up.  We FaceTimed!  OH!  How sweet to SEE her face, to hear her voice, and to get caught up.  Brother came in and we lay on the bed marveling at the technology and sweet moments semi-together.  For a brief moment it didn’t seem like she was quite so far away.  I’m A, she’s B!


As soon as we hung up, I got a big fat lump in my throat and tears ran down my face.  Happy, sad, relieved tears, achey tears, proud tears…, momma tears.  No, I couldn’t go to sleep afterwards.  

When I woke up ‘late’ this morning I found a mix of sad and tragic news in my social media newsfeed.  I quickly moved into bible study time….a sure fire way for me to experience peace in the midst of chaos.  

Soon, I was treated to another FaceTime session with My Girl.  No brother included.  We talked about all sorts of different things, I even put the dogs on!  We made attempts to tell each other what we’ve been doing, even talked about the weather (you KNOW she’s been gone from Texas too long when she describes an 85 degree day as ‘hot’!).  I guess what I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t so much WHAT we had to say to one another, just that we COULD talk to one another.  And yes, when we hung up, more tears. 

What’s the take away?  I wonder if God ever thinks:

I haven’t heard from (insert your name HERE) in a while.  How sweet would it be to hear their voice, to have some time with them, to share in their life.  

lesson from daughter’s mission trip 2013: 

I believe God is our Heavenly Father, and that our Father WANTS to hear from us.  When God seems so far away (or even far removed from tragedy) the distance feels shorter when I ‘see’ His face.  

Every year this child travels half way around the world, I get to learn some Big Lesson.  I wish I could tell you that I was excited to learn, or even waiting expectantly to learn…maybe next year.  How sweet I get a lesson whether I sought it or not! and if I gotta learn…then I’m sharing it with you!!  

There she goes, again!

I LOVE my girl, Maddi.  I love the heart she has for others…whether they are Special Needs or Ukrainian….there is little doubt in my mind that God put her here on this Earth to show love to those two groups specifically.  I state that as a reminder to myself….cause OFF she went, AGAIN.  

It does me no good to google just how recently the Ukraine was a communist country.  It also does me no good to figure out how many miles she is away from me right now.  (What IS good to do:  remember that God is the God of the Ukraine, and that HE loves her more than I could ever.)

Okay, so all that you read above?  Is a personal pep talk to myself.  It’s what I have to remind myself as I ache for the hole left behind when she’s gone.  


YET, i wouldn’t deny her the opportunity.  I love the excitement in her eyes  as she gets ready to go!  I love that her world view is SO big.  I love that she is the opposite of self-centered.  I miss the gentleness she brings to our family.  I admire this young woman’s faith and am absolutely honored to have a front row seat to her life.  

So…until she returns, I get to exercise my faith muscle.  Faith that she will be fine.  I get to practice for the near future when she is away at college.  AND I get to be inspired by her love for others.  

Oh, and spontaneous tears….they happen.   


Everytime I hear those words I start squirming….kind of a ‘you talking to ME?!” response…

Even though God says, "Be still and know that I am God."  I’ve always sorta thought:  Hmmmm, well….God, you made ME, you made me super wiggly and since I know you are God…maybe I don’t really have to be still. (I have probably written about this before…it’s a lesson that comes around my life again and again.)  

How awful, huh?  To try and find a loophole around a biblical directive.  Last week I had a verse to focus on.  I was actually mapping it, which is just focusing on the verse and seeking different aspects of it throughout the week.  **google verse mapping

Here’s mine:


Well, i DO know better than to look for biblical loopholes….but to really emphasize the lesson I had it shoved in my face AGAIN…in less than 12 hours from my bible-verse-study-start. 

We were at the gym working on Snatches.  Snatches are a techinical lift.  (or should that say:  The snatch IS a technical lift?!)  If they are done well- they are a symphony of physics.  You simply don’t get better at them without practice.  

Watch this:


***That’s our son, he’s trained for years.  He’s worked with former Olympic lifter (Chad Vaughn).  I used HIM in the video cause when I do it, it looks NOTHING like this.  I’m slowlllly getting better at this lift.  And it probably won’t surprise you that at the point where it’s most uncomfortable to be still, it’s also pretty necessary to learn to be able to allow things to settle.  (Are you seeing the analogy here?)

How about you?  Are you any good at ‘Being Still’, at quieting your mind, shutting out the chaos and drama of the world?  THIS-is where TRUE strength comes from.

Sugar Free ME!

I ate my way through the holidays, like I normally do.  I whined about how I couldn’t wait until January 1 so I could start eating healthy again.  Then I decided that waiting was ridiculous.  On Saturday, December 29th I couldn’t stand it, I cleaned up my eating.   I had been challenged to ‘do something I hadn’t done before.’  I had done 21 days without sugar, Whole 30’s, 30 days Paleo, etc., etc., etc.  But I always come back to eating crappy…granted-over the years my definition of crappy has changed, but one constant has been SUGAR.  I may start with ‘just a taste’ but I end up eating myself sick.  

In October I had a chat with a gal who asked me why I go back to sugar.  I said, ‘because you CAN’T go without sugar!”  (it was said with plenty of attitude) BUT it sure got me to thinking.  Alcoholics give up alcohol if they don’t make good choices with it.  I don’t make good choices with sugar.  Isn’t it the same thing?  

Heck with that.  I’ll just do at least FORTY days without….and then?  See what happens.  Forty days was new, a unconfirmed ending date-that was new, too.  I can NOT tell you what a difference not having an end made.  Instead of thinking, “I’m halfway!  Only 10 more days, only 5 more days, etc.” I just went along-NOT thinking about ‘how much longer.’  

Somewhere along the way I signed up for a team competition, that happened approx. 45 days into my No Sugar Life.  Well, I couldn’t very well eat sugar with a competition coming up!  After the competition, I took a week to have some products with honey and agave (they made my heart race) and then?  Got right back to Clean Eating.  

Define Clean Eating?  one piece of fruit a day, no artificial sweetners (no starbucks!?  no Diet sodas?!)  no bread, no pasta, no wheat/gluten.  

Well, now The Open is coming.  Can’t go off my food plan NOW!!!!  So…

and it just kept happening….the reasons to stay clean kept adding up and the next thing ya know?  


I’m at 100 days without sugar.  I don’t quite know what to do with myself, but be glad.  I’m not sure I’m going back.  I seriously don’t miss it!  I have survived New Years, Valentine’s, Easter, family gatherings, birthdays, and a vacation without breaking.  

What have I had?  Some chocolate, with 85% cacao, some honey covered nuts.  When I wasn’t being super strict I ate fruit twice SOMETIMES three times a day!  I don’t want to give the impression that I ate beautifully, I overate plenty of healthy foods, but I do want to try and plant a seed out there for some of you.  

Breaking the sugar cycle IS possible.   I don’t know when/if I’ll have it again.  I know I like how I feel.  I know eating sugar makes me feel bad.  I still have some ideas on how to further clean up my diet, I’m still an overeater, over salt-er, who eats way too many nuts/fruit when I’ve not planned my meals well.  

MAYBE I’ll be the person who gets YOU to consider the possibilities of Life…Without Sugar.  

**Who are the two people who got me to even consider trying this?  The Hubs, Damon Phillips, and Azadeh Boroumund.  THANKS guys!  I truly appreciate it.  

Life Lessons from The CrossFit Open

Going into the Open I declared that I wanted to finish in the top half of my age group.  Why?  I don’t know.  Looking back, that’s ridiculous.  How smart is it to decide where you will finish when you have NO idea what the workouts are nor who you are competing with?

Week 1-Hello 75 lb. snatch!  THAT was not what I expected.  That’s darn near my max and this WOD confirmed what I already knew:  I HAVE TO LEARN TO DROP UNDER the bar.  What IS a BIG revelation for me?  My Mind is BY far my weakest muscle.  

Week 2-I really upped the amount of times I began checking the leaderboards…obsessively.  Last year I was in THE Open with THOUSANDS of others.  This year I jumped up TWO Master’s groups and found my region to have just 300 ladies in it…after the first week we narrowed down to about 160.  If I’m completely honest, I will say that I am shocked to find myself in the lower half.  

Week 3-Let’s call that one Ego Week…Ego Week coincides whenever my “non Home Girl” Karen shows up.   I have faced that chick 4 times in the past year and quite literally gotten worse each time.  What’s up with that?  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I go around saying:  ”I HATE Wall Balls!  I suck at Wall Balls.  Gawwwww, I HATE Wall! Balls!!” Negativity can NOT be good for the old mental muscle, now, can it?  I never even finished the wall balls.  As soon as I realized that I wasn’t gonna finish them?  I let alllll the Mental Demons in…and hang out….for several days.  


Week 4-Don’t underestimate one’s ability to rise to an occasion!  My one rep max clean and jerk was 95 lbs.  I had determined that at 5 a.m. Wednesday…literally 14 hours before the workout was announced.  Did I try to get 100 lbs. up?  Yes, I successfully cleaned it, but Could.  Not.  Jerk.  it!!  When Wod time came, I literally had no idea what to expect, I knew I wouldn’t get a zero, but had no idea how to plan beyond that.  My score:  38.  Um, yeah, that means I clean and jerked my 14-hour-old one rep max 20 times.  We call that a good day!  

Week 5-FINALLY movements that I am sure I can do with confidence.  This week I began stringing 65 lb. thrusters together in groups of 3 and the occasional 4.  Chest to bar?  I can do ‘em. I don’t do them consecutively, but I can do them.  This week I went in with a plan, I even gave myself a back up plan in case things didn’t work out.  I stuck to the plan.  I walked away with a feeling of complete success cause I did what I set out to do.  My plan wasn’t based on a score.  It wasn’t based on someone else’s score.  

Just like many others, I walk away with a list of “things I need to work on.” I can walk away from the Open with my list….which really is just a Wish List unless I actually do something with it.  Time to set goals and go attack ‘em….

PR’s and scoring well is fun, but none of that happens without steady work throughout the year.  

Were there times where I seriously questioned doing the Open?!  Yes!  Times I even said that I was sorry I did it?  Yes, but it was only when i was focusing on OTHER people’s scores…and not my own.  So…I hereby declare the 2013 Open Officially over for me.  I call it a success because I walk away strongER both mentally and physically.  Thanks CrossFit!   Time to be a spectator and a fan.  I’ll be back next year!!

Got Plans?

  “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” ~ Proverbs 19:21 

Tuesday I had the day off from coaching.  Plans were to work out, run errands, and do some work at home.

I have to be really careful when I have a PLAN for a day.  I’m not a good ‘roll with the punches’ kinda gal.  I can wig out if my plan gets altered.  I’m not proud of it

This week I have a memory verse that I’m truly hoping to instill…in my mind/heart/soul.  So…I have some ladies in my life who are purposing alongside me.  Our assignment today was to write the above verse on a card and every hour on the hour pull it out (focus on it, think about it, memorize it)  

Okay, actually that was my Monday assignment but i totally failed so I busted out the old digital watch.  I set the hourly chime (gah, I used to teach and every hour on the hour when the students’ watches would beep NOT in synchronization!! it would drive me nuts!).  Every hour, I pulled my card out, and read the verse, again. 

imageI know it’s backwards, it wasn’t when I wrote it!  

So my day is cruising along.  I plan to make a quick stop into our local Natural Grocer to pick up a few items.  It faces the interstate.  As I got closer and closer it was obvious something was up.  Emergency vehicles EVERYwhere, lights on, traffic backed up, etc.  

As I get closer and closer I realize that I have come up onto the funeral procession for Chris Kyle.  People are lined up on the overpass, and everywhere else, the intersection is full of people and cars are pulled into every possible place.  Flags are flying, tears are streaming, and the silence is profound.   I literally pulled into a parking spot and walked to the access road (easy to do, cars were barely moving).  

How grateful am I that THIS day my eyes were open to a change in MY plans?  What a privilege that I was able to witness this beautiful moment.  I was overwhelmed by the collective respect and unity of so many!   I am in awe that ONE person could stir the hearts of people all around the state country.  

These are my phone snapshots….two of many.  I couldn’t seem to capture these moments enough times. image

This one, because the line of Emergency vehicles who joined in to pay their respects was SO long.  

And this one because our little community united to present this display.  


The whole scenario got me to thinking……

  • keep your eyes and heart open, Sally!  
  • don’t be so rigid in ‘planning’!
  • have I missed events/people/opportunities because I wasn’t so busy making MY plans that I forgot to notice what God might have for me?
  • look how fabulous we ARE, people, when we put aside our differences.
  • will MY life inspire others?

Eyes Wide Open.

I believe strength comes from pain….ask any one who has given birth, who CrossFit’s, who has stopped drinking or smoking or even dieted……  You can’t get to the Good Stuff in life without taking a trip through some of the bad.  

I recently realized some REALLY gross things about me…and the condition of my heart.  I honestly didn’t want to face it, but this past year I have realized the need to focus on gaining strength…in every possible way (spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. etc. etc.)  I do NOT for one second think that I can do this alone.  THAT was part of the sad reality:  that I have been trying to change myself.  I fought the urge to make a bunch of resolutions by focusing on one aspect, one word.  It didn’t take me long to figure out I lacked strength.  

2 Kings 6:17 (MSG) Then Elisha prayed, “O God, open his eyes and let him see.”

The scripture is just one of the prayers I have uttered.  I’d say it was a starting point.  To what?, you ask.  To the beginning….of a journey to a GreatER life.

CrossFit has taught me so many things.  Every single PR, new skill, new muscle has come at a cost.  Whether it’s through changing eating habits, trying new things, failing at new things, persevering through hard WOD’s….soreness, aches, tweaks/injuries….all those have led me to a strength I would have never known.  I marvel at some physical accomplishments AT MY AGE!!!  Who would have guessed that at 45 I could accomplish 100 pull-ups?  THAT was a product of work over years and it WASN’T a solo effort.   

I am grateful that I can use these lessons of CrossFit and apply them to my faith.  I am SO grateful…that my eyes have been opened to a hope of a strength that can only come from God.  

Just like it took YEARS to attain 100 pull-ups, it’s gonna take some time to build spiritual strength.  I need help-guidance and coaching.  I position myself around folk who can offer their assistance/experiences.  I read the bible for myself (instead of JUST reading about the bible in bible studies or the pastor’s interpretation).  I’m excited.  I’m excited to see what life has to offer when I seek strength from the only source that can really offer it.  

**the above lessons are credited to several sources:  God, prayer, time in the bible,  Melissa Taylor’s online bible studies, the Greater book by Steven Furtick and My One Word by Mike Ashcraft.  Big shout out to CrossFit, group 16, and My Secret Circle sisters.  The journey has been GRAND.  

It may be Christmas tree time…but what about Oak Trees!?!

Several years ago we were house shopping.  I saw THIS house with a for sale sign in front of it.  I called the Husband and said, “I found our house!”  His reply, “How much?”  Me:  I don’t know.  Him:  What’s it like?  Me:  Well, I don’t know…I’m just looking AT it…..and it has the most beautiful trees AND a wrap around porch!!    The details all fell into place.  THIS is my home.  (and that’s my female lab happily chasing her tennis ball!) 


We recently called a professional tree guy to come bid on trimming our trees.  They have loads of dead weight on them and are in severe need of pruning, shaping and whatever it is that tree guys do.  

The guy gave us a wealth of information….can you see that ONE big tree in the middle (in the picture above)?  It’s the matriarch of all the other trees around it, AND all those other trees along the right side of the driveway (in the picture below)!   The Momma tree is estimated to be more than 250 years old.  


All these trees are about to get their dead gunk cut away…which could probably be done by any old soul BUT…it takes a professional to know which branches need trimming in order to continue growth.  

As I’m listening to the breakdown of 1) the costs of this job, 2) the projected hours, 3) the details that will go into post trim clean up-I’m absolutely covered in goose bumps…yes, over trees.  

What lessons can we take from oak trees?  Clearly they are strong, long lasting, and deeply rooted.  But I’m stuck on the fact that THIS ONE tree is surrounded by so many others.  And it makes me wonder:  who are we surrounding ourselves with?  Do we have ‘dead weight’ that we need to get rid of?  to prune away?   If I were to be the Big Momma tree, what am I producing around me (teaching others)?  And if I’m NOT the Momma, but one of the others?  WHO/What am I anchored?

Check out this little gem from Isaiah 61:3

To all who mourn in Israel 
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks 
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

Oh how I long to make the best of this precious gift called life, to be called righteous, and to be planted for God’s glory.  I am currently reading GreatER by Steven Furtick.  I was drawn in by a quote on the back of the cover that says:  most of us aren’t in danger of ruining our lives.  We are in danger of wasting them.  

This life is to be valued…and not just when a friend battles cancer, we lose a loved one or we face trials.  I’m on a journey to GreatER.  I’m wholeheartedly seeking to live the life that God designed ME for….and quite honestly?  I’m sick of trying to be someone I’m not.  

Look around, people!  Find your purpose, find your fight.  Get rid of dead weight and plant yourselves FIRMLY!