Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday | Azalea Faye

Years ago I was exploring Instagram and I stumbled across a tiny petite woman with huge bright pink hair. Her children were adorable, her videos were hysterical and they were all about the crunchy lifestyle.  As she talked about unschooling her children and not shaving her pits one thought would not leave my mind...HOW DID SHE END UP IN LYNCHBURG lol.

Azalea Faye has taken Lynchburg by storm showing people new ways to experience life and appreciate the little things.  Her breast feeding oasis was the talk of Get Downtown and she continues to show me time and time again that thinking outside the box is simply a better way to live.  It wasn't until I started hosting my meetups that I was finally able to meet this beauty in person.  Very few people realize that I have serious anxiety when it comes to doing something new, especially when that new thing requires me to put myself out there in order to succeed. My first meetup happened on the rainiest day I'd seen in Lynchburg literally ALL YEAR.  The flash rainstorm was so hard that it caused a car trunk to pop open because of the weight.  I was literally on the verge of tears as I knew in my heart I put myself out there on the worst possible day for success.  I did it all for nothing.  Who would show up in this mess even if they did RSVP online.

Enter Azalea Faye.

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True to her word she showed up wet.  Soaking wet.  I mean actually dripping wet.  Clothes sticking to her body, makeup running kind of wet...you get the point. I immediately thought "how could you possibly complain?  At least you were inside when the storm hit."  I rushed to her overwhelmed with pity trying to help dry her off.  I couldn't imagine having to make a first impression in her condition.  Then she rocked my world.  

She totally blew it off.  So what she was wet.  Life moves on.

I don't have kids but I can tell you Azalea's littles are so lucky to have a mom like her.  Her joy is absolutely infectious and she finds something to appreciate and be thankful for everywhere she looks.  Beautiful graffiti, a fun hat, a little laughter on a freezing morning.  I don't know how she does it but she challenges me daily to live my life to the fullest.  

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She encourages others to be confident no matter how small the minds are around you.  It would be easy for Azalea to thrive in Portland or Austin but I'm so glad she chose Lynchburg as her home base.  We need more people like Azalea.  People who are willing to commit fully to being uniquely you.  Azalea, I look forward to our friendship continuing to grow in the months to come.  You stole my heart at "crunchy".  So happy to say I know you ;)

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You can read more about Azalea on her blog, www.crunchylynchburg.com

Motivation Monday | Kelsey Baker

It's so rare in Lynchburg for church folks to mix. Thomas Road & Rivermont.  Blue Ridge & Hyland Heights. Oil & Water. But somehow through God's providence this Redeemer Presbyterian girl ended up mixing with the beautiful Kelsey Baker from Brentwood & our friendship is officially on the rise :)

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When Robin invited me to be a part of the panel at her women's conference I had no idea what I was signing up for. She's just so darn charismatic that she can get anyone to sign up for just about anything.  When I arrived at Christine Kennedy's house for the panel get together I was immediately taken back by all the people I didn't know.  But I remember looking over at Kelsey and all of a sudden I felt right at home.  Robin said that we were all chosen to speak because we were at different stages of life.  I knew I was the married entrepreneur with no kids but I wondered what Kelsey's label was.  Then she dropped the bomb. 

ALMOST THIRTY & SINGLE.

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I'll be honest with you.  When I realized that this gorgeous amazon of a woman had not yet found a suitable man I was utterly shocked.  Then I waited for my cue on how to respond.  So often women in this position immediately start speaking negatively when the subject of marriage or relationships pop up.

But not Kelsey.

When it was her turn to speak she just started pouring the word of God out of her heart like a geyser.  She talked about how her heart broke for women like her.  She truly wanted them to experience freedom and comfort in Christ.  Through her time relentlessly pursuing the Lord, she became rooted in her identity in Christ and it was written all over her face.  She was complete. The glow of the Holy Spirit radiated all over her as she raved about what the Lord had done in this season of her life. Instead of placing her life in neutral while she waited for God to provide, she made the decision to keep moving & fervently serve the Lord with all that she had.  

A few weeks after the Relentless Hope conference, Kelsey's status switched to "In a Relationship".  As happy as I was for her I wondered how she was handling this new found relationship.  As I took pictures of her she dropped one of the most profound sound bites I've ever heard.  She said,

It's so easy to cry to the Lord & seek Him in times of want.  Now my prayer is that I will continue to pursue Him in this time of blessing because He's worthy of that.

That's Kelsey in a nutshell.  What a woman ;)

You Really Don't Want My Motivation

"I wish I had your motivation"  "How did you do it?"

I've known for some time that these need a more comprehensive response than what I've been giving.  Maybe it's the fear of sounding self-deprecating or opening a can of worms that's kept me from offering the truth about my fitness journey, "you really don't want my motivation" and "maybe I should tell you how I almost DIDN'T do it." The recent loss of a friend met with far too many I-had-no-idea's has helped me to realize it's time the lines be blurred between the "high-functioning" and "motivated" and the "struggling".

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To be clear, I could take a number of different angles-- relationships, spirituality, work, domesticity, entrepreneurship, hobbies.  These are all integrally related to my fight.  Fitness just happens to be the most ostensible, and I thought it was only appropriate to revisit the matter LaShonda graciously highlighted in our original "Motivation Monday" shoot.  If that element relates to you, fantastic.  If not, don't bail just yet.

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Since beginning her weight loss journey, Lindsay lost 1 pound, 65 times.  Lindsay's shoot was the inaugural Motivation Monday (L) two years ago.  Since then I've spent time on a few select Monday afternoons sharing the stories of incredible women to empower others. Now back to Lindsay's story.   

I battle severe depression, ADD, anxiety, and chronic physical pain. 

I've been medicated for this, un-medicated for that, diagnosed with this, needing re-diagnosis for that. I've struggled to isolate what's natural, chemical, emotional, and circumstantial.  I have very few answers. I was struck about three and a half years ago with life-altering circumstances that either affected my brain chemistry, or inevitable chemical factors just happened to manifest at an unfortunate time.  I'm not sure if I'll ever know.  Simultaneously, I was being drawn to seek healing and wholeness more deeply than I ever had before.  Thus began the trudging ascent I continue today. 

 

I know I look at fellow fitness-seekers and think "I'm still not like them." But if you're looking at me thinking anything like "She's doing something I can't," it's important for you to know that if there's anybody who 'can't,' it's me. I'd like to think that there are more high-functioning depressives out there, but until they become as open about the darkness as they are about their PR's, the divide remains.  Personally, if I waited for that kick-ass, caffeine-fueled, can-do moment to get out there and do the thing, I would spend my entire allotted gym time in the parking lot, daunted by the task of tying my shoelaces (or crying/shaking over it, caffeine depending. I can't do stimulants). 

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So enough of the dark stuff, How DO I do it?

Aside from the practical elements, which you can find in abundance on the internet (don't get me wrong, I'm still more than happy to share personally), I learn to function based on the truth versus how I feel.  Does it usually make me "feel" better? Not always.  Not even usually; HOWEVER, there are good days- days when my feelings and the truth reconcile, and I'm glad I spent that gray time moving forward. 

What is the truth? The truth is that my feelings don't necessarily reflect reality. The truth is that there's hope. 

The truth is that from my waking moments, when the anxieties of the nexthours of the day are nipping at my heels like rabid wolves and distorting my perception of my purpose and responsibility in that moment, there is serenity to be found. In that serenity, I commune with God who reminds me that in doing just that I am serving my purpose, and for the rest, I am free to struggle. The truth is I have no excuse to not tend and cultivate what I've been given, no matter how flawed.  The truth is I have to take an aggressive approach to wholeness in order to survive. The truth is I know this isn't all there is, and this isn't all I am.

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Truly, I'm still neck-deep in it, which is part of the reason I've been so closeted about it all.  I feel hypocritical.  But I know that's not the truth. The truth is that we simply need to know that there are others striving with us. Striving is a necessity; conquering is a luxury, but there will be some of that, too. 

It's time I allowed my journey to benefit others.  I'm still considering how to go about it, as I choose to keep personal and generally serious things off social media.  Until I figure it out, here's this. Also, I'm all about some old-fashioned, face-to-face, wine-and-cheese, conversational kind of support.  I'll cook you food. We'll do it together.

I want to give special thanks to friends who've shared battles and successes alike with me, my momma who instilled realistic expectations about what I can expect my hips, thighs, and metabolism to do and not to do, LaShonda for being the feminine embodiment of Getting' it Done and providing a venue to share my story, my personal trainer Jay and his wife Bettie with LocknLoad fitness, and my long-suffering, loving Michael who knows exactly when to say "get your butt moving" or "sit down and stop moving."

Motivation Monday | Robin Foutz

There are times in your life, if you're lucky, that you have a chance to meet a person who can find the silver lining in all situations.  They can stare in the face of adversity and say with boldness BUT GOD.  But God loves me, But God cares for me, But God still hears me when I cry...it's all good.  That's Robin. 

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Every time I interact with her she fills my heart with the truth of the gospel and leaves me overflowing with the Joy of the Lord.  You would never know by the smile that seems permanently fixed on her face that she's faced hard times.  Her son was hit by a car and is still needs medical attention every day. But instead of staying down she devotes her time to sharing the promises of God with anyone who'll listen. 

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In the midst of working a full time job as a very successful employee benefits agent, she also found the time to launch a ministry called Relentless Living Ministries.  I see the tug on her heart to reach the lost and inspire the saved to embrace their purpose to impact eternity.  God is going to give her a platform...I can just feel it.  But until then, she hits the streets.  She shares the Word with everyone she meets. 

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What motivates me most about Robin is that she doesn't waste a single opportunity to bring glory to God.  It's so easy to be career driven and lose sight of being purpose driven.  Robin seems to have that balance and that's why she motivates me.

If you would like to nominate a woman you know to be featured, comment below.  

Robin, on this beautiful Monday morning I want you to know, "There's something inside you that motivates us all" ~LaShonda