Monday, June 16, 2014

Are you CrAzY?!!! Nope. PASSIONATE!

What are you afraid of?

ME?

Nothing!

I've always been the girl that will try anything once. 
I firmly believe that life is to be LIVED.... not just coasted through!
What fun is it to get up and do the same thing day after day with nothing to make your heart race?!!
How do you even know you are ALIVE if you don't push yourself to the edge every now and then???

I've never understood people who don't CRAVE adventure.... people who don't CRAVE to feel that feel of your heart beating out of your chest.... people who never feel a TRUE PURE adrenaline rush....
I don't understand people who just crave the mundane... the ordinary... the lack luster of doing the same thing day in and day out and never wishing for more!!!

It bores me.

Maybe I'm not normal.... or maybe I'm not your normal.  Maybe something is broke inside me.... but I like to KNOW that I've done something awesome.  I like to wake up the next day and think "MAN - I can't believe I did that... it was AWESOME!"

When I die I want to know that I left a mark on this ol' crazy world.

And until then.... when my son thinks about or tells people about his mom.... I want him to have a fire in his soul when he speaks my name.  When my parents tell people about me, I want them to radiate a sense of pride that can hardly be duplicated.  I want them to talk about my FIRE and my PASSION and my FEARLESS spirit.  When Brad introduces me to people, I want to see a LOVE and RESPECT and PASSION in his eyes that can only come from a man willing to LIVE this life as an adventure right beside me.... every.  single.  day!!  I want to be the one my friends call when they come up with a spur of the moment hair brained idea to drive to FL for the weekend!!  Or better yet.... I'll come up with the hair brained idea.... I just want to be surrounded my friends that say "what time are we leaving?".

I want to be GREAT.  I want to INSPIRE.  I want to ENCOURAGE.  I want people to believe in their potential and their greatness!!  I want people to LIVE and enjoy every single day!

Does this make me CRAZY?!!
Maybe!
But I promise you that a day in my life is way more fun than living every day in fear of trying something new.

I might push myself too hard and too close to the edge sometimes... but I never curl up in my bed because I'm scared of failing.

I will not fear FAILURE!!!
I will fight till the end... and IF I fall..... I will simply get back up and try again.  And if I discover that the path I'm on only ends with a dead end... I'll find another path to get to where I'm going.  I do not believe in IMPOSSIBLE.  I only believe that there is more than one way to anything that you think might be POSSIBLE.... the hard part is finding the right path and never giving up.

Sheeeeeeeewwwwww.....
and on that note..... I've got myself all fired up and I'm rambling.

What I want to say is I am 38 years old.  I never really played sports or worked out or cared anything about eating right or lifting weights.  Sure I've done some time in the gym playing like I was doing something... what?.... I'm not sure.   But these past couple of years - I have once again proved to myself that as humans - we are capable of anything we put our minds to!!!

This past weekend I competed in another powerlifting meet.
I trained HARD up to this meet - but even with the training and the planning and everything that went into going into this meet..... I still somehow managed to AMAZE myself!!!
And I LOVE that feeling!!!

I squatted 275 pounds.  Yeh.  I did.   I had a bar with 275 pounds on it ON my back and I did a squat.  And I didn't die!  ha ha
You must understand that when I started lifting weights I couldn't even DO a body weight squat without stumbling.  And then I tried with a broom handle and actually did FALL on my butt!!!
BUT 2 years later - I put 275 pounds on my back and took it for a ride!!!

Don't tell me you can't work out.  Don't tell me you're not strong.  Don't tell me you're weak!
You aren't
Your body IS strong..... you just need to convince your mind of that.
THAT is the hardest battle.

Don't be SCARED... just JUMP!!!
BElieve in YOUrself!

Pick up a barbell.  Sign up at the gym.  Go skydiving.  Go whitewater rafting.  Drive across country.  Dye your hair.  Cut your hair.  Go to work without makeup.  Go a week without shaving your legs.  But a $200 pair of shoes.  Sleep in sexy lingerie.  Make the phone call.  Send the email.  Apply for the job.  Quit your job.  EAT A DONUT!!!!!!

Whatever it is holding you back from the passion that is missing from your life......... KNOCK it in the face, and just DO IT.  Don't let your mind convince you that you are weak or crazy.

LIFE IS FOR LIVING!!!!!!
We are all headed to a tombstone some day..... there will be two dates on it.  But the most IMPORTANT part that you leave behind is what you put in that "dash".  Live your dash with PASSION!!!  That's what people will remember!

Here's a video of my meet this past weekend.
What I did this day... even if it is the last thing I ever do - proved to me that with enough hard work and passion - you CAN do so many things that you never dreamed were possible!

LIVE YOUR DASH!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Motivational Monday ~Never settle~

We are all guilty of getting frustrated or feeling defeated. Whether it be in life, in our job, in our past times and hobbies, in our families, in our faith ... whatever it might be, it happens  

Sometimes things don't go as expected or we don't get exactly what we expected and we suddenly become defeated. Saddened. Disappointed. Frozen (No, NOT the movie!!) .... Now what??

What you do next is what defines you as a person. Do you walk away, make excuses and give up??  Or do you fight HARDER from deep within for what you want?!

Where's your GRIT??!!

Look at it like this
My passion is lifting weights.  It takes work and dedication and a belief in myself regarding things that I thought were impossible!!!  But every day I get a little bit stronger and a little more confident!!!
I have good days and bad days as do we all.  But on my bad days, I remind myself I AM human, we all have off days and it's ok. I pick myself up and vow to be better next time!!  Those are the days that PUSH me to be better!!

Recently one of the guys I lift with saw an old squat video of me.  I didn't even remember what the weight was (145 - I looked it up! ha) ... But in comparison to what I do now... It was by all accounts "Baby weight".  He made reference to my chicken legs and we both laughed at what I had on the bar!  NOT to belittle anyone else... but because I have come so far since then!! BUT at the same time... you have to understand that on THAT day... I was strong!!  I was so proud of what I came to do and of the steps I took that day!  Flag nor fail told me to "kill it" that day.  (On Instagram!  I still have that screenshot!  And Rob Bailey may never know how MUCH that meant to me THAT DAY!!!). It meant so much to me.  It pushed me!!  And even though what I squatted is less than some people warm up with, for me it was one more step in the right direction :))

The thing is.... it didn't matter what I squatted that day... not in comparison to what everyone else did anyway.  Not that day!!!  Not for this girl who gets nervous even standing in front of five people, much less an entire room full of people who were markedly stronger than me!!!  What mattered is that I took a chance... I took a step.  I took a leap of faith into something I believe in for so many reasons... and I've never looked back!!!

Sometimes I catch myself getting caught up in what's going on around me and how much she squats or how much she benches.   And I can easily feel defeated.  But then I remind myself of where I've been... how far I've come... and the support and drive I've had behind me the entire journey!  (I have a SUPER supportive boyfriend and a GREAT team to lift with!!)
It's not about where you end up... we all want to hit big numbers and have records... but the important part is the journey.  The steps you took to get to where you are today. The people you've met all the way through.  And today... Are you better than you were yesterday!???  Cause if you are, you are a winner already!!!!  World record or not, no one can take away the character you build by pushing through adversity and always always believing in yourself!

As I said before... this doesn't just pertain to lifting weights, but in life as a whole!   Are you better today than you were yesterday??  When you fall down do you get back up and fight harder?!  Do you set goals for yourself and push through them?

Don't ever give up. Never settle. You can ALWAYS do more than you ever thought was possible
Just keep pushing and believing!!!!

I'm gonna keep on being me.  I'm gonna keep on pushing.  I'll keep motivating and driving anyone who chooses to be a part of my life.  I promise you that :))

Here's just a snippet of how far I've come and how much I've changed.  First video is my squat in Feb of 2013. Second is my squat last night.. May of 2014.  Just over one year of hard work and dedication. I may not squat as much as so-n-so does... BUT you can't deny I'm better today than I was "yesterday"

BElieve in YOUrself!!!


Look at my little tiny legs... and those little tiny weights... 145  ;-)

Now here is my squat from last night...... 240!!!  Best  Squat  Ever!!!  (still getting used to wraps so there is a little riding the squat down... but otherwise, I'm pretty happy with it!! And I can't WAIT to get more!!)


Monday, May 5, 2014

Just do it... BE beautiful!


I read this quote recently...
and it got me to thinking..

Don't talk about me, until you have talked TO me.
Don't underestimate me, until you challenge me.
Don't judge me until you KNOW me.


I love powerlifting.
It's no secret.
I love my job, I love my friends, I love my family, I love powerlifting.
These are the things that make me happy  :)

Today, Brad and I were asked to join in a work out at a gym.  The gentleman that invited us owns the gym and trains there.  I thought we were just going to work out and train with some peeps.  Maybe demonstrate some "heavy" lifts, as this was a starting strength class.  As it turns out, Brad and I actually helped some people work on their deadlifting technique.  Which was quite an honor actually.
BUT for those of you who know me, I'm not a public speaker, so just standing up in front of a crowd and being asked to speak KINDA freaks me out.  So I asked Brad to talk and I would go through the motions and demonstrate.  But even then, as I was standing there, all I could think was "should I even be standing here?"

As I said, I LOVE powerlifting and what I do.  But I guess I just don't feel qualified to be demonstrating or teaching or training or instructing or whatever you wanna call it.  I am honored that we were asked, and I'm humbled by the experience.  But in my head I kept repeating "I'm not worthy"!  I'm not good enough to be standing here!!

I WANT to be someone that people look up to and feel comfortable watching and asking questions!!  But there are sooooo many people out there better and stronger than me.  Again, Im just not worthy!!!

Then I read that quote

And I realized how FAR I have come!!!
No. I'm not THE best out there. No I don't have a set of state or world records in my pocket ( I mean I have Shana Ratcliff, Caitlyn Trout and Stephanie Tomlinson all in MY state!!). 
But YES. I have won meets. Yes I DO train HARD!!! Yes I do have goals and I have come a LONG way from the first day I touched a barbell!!!  (Which was only about two years ago!)

So when I stand in front of people who ask "what can I do!?" rather than feeling inexperienced and inadequate, I need to remember how far I have come!!!
Don't stand back there and talk about me until you have talked to me.  Hear my story... I didn't turn into a powerlifter overnight!  And I may not have records but I AM strong!!!  Challenge me!  Push me!  We all thrive on that!!  Motivate me just as I hope to motivate you!!!
And don't judge me based on someone else's opinion.  Judge me on me alone... when you KNOW me!!

I do hope that I left those ladies with a few tips to help them get stronger.  And I do hope that I made them feel comfortable in knowing that we as women CAN train and be strong and be better for it!!!
I hope that the next time the opportunity presents itself I can feel more confident in who I am and what I do.  Not only in powerlifting, but in life as a whole

We as women are so harsh and judgemental of each other.  This in turn causes us to be unsure and insecure in life
We need to remember.....

A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms.

Believe in yourself!!!  BE YOU!!!  Bloom!  That is all that matters.  
You may stand in a field full of weeds or you may stand in a field full of tulips... Regardless, when you bloom, you are beautiful!

I wish strength and beauty upon you all :))

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What they don't tell you...

I watched a video that a blogger friend of mine posted on facebook recently.  And it really struck a nerve with me.
It does have some harsh language in it... the "F" bomb is dropped multiple times.  Try not to get caught up in that and instead try to take in the message.
Don't read more into it than is necessary.... just listen... with your heart.  And a tear... and a little bit of compassion for the young girls and boys growing up in this world.


This world is a crazy cruel place.

Especially for teenage girls and boys....  but even as we grow into adults... the pressure is sometimes just as overwhelming.

I remember as a young girl wanting so bad to "fit in".  I wanted to wear the right clothes, carry the right purse, wear just the right amount of make-up... ya know - just enough makeup to be cool but not too much as to be considered "easy". Because that's how you were judged.... on your LOOKS.  On what you brought to the table.  I cared.  I tried. I had some really great friends.

And then one day ... I didn't care anymore.

Sure I still wanted to dress in name brand (cause I'm high maintenance.... and some things never change! ha ha) But I didn't care if people liked me.  I didn't care if I found a note where someone that I thought was a friend called me a "snob".  I didn't care if someone that I thought the world of said I wasn't their BFF anymore.  I didn't care if no one liked me... because I had come to the realization that the only person I could rely on and trust was ME.
It wasn't because I didn't want to have friends........ it wasn't because I didn't want to trust anyone.  In my head, I think I just decided that no one was ever real.  Everyone had only been playing a part... the quarterback, the prom queen, the class "slut" (sadly this was also a part that was played), the cheerleader, the nerd... The stereotypes... all of the classifications.   And now there are even more!

Why couldn't we all just be friends fighting for the same purpose... all trying to better ourselves to make a future that we could look forward to.

I don't know.  I still don't know.  I never understood. I still don't understand!
 Jr High and High School just get to be so mean.  So heartless.
To the point that some fought back by rebelling, some fought by actually fighting and acting out, some fought by taking reputations to extremes... and sadly... some just gave up. 
For some, answers to the pressure came in the form of anorexia, bulimia, promiscuity, fighting, bullying.... Some hid behind dark walls and developed anxiety that may have never subsided.
The pain is endless
And sadly.... totally preventable
If only our world wasn't so cruel.

We want children to know the reality of life and the hardships of everything not being spoon fed to them, but then they are bombarded by the unfair judgement of peers.

And instead of PREPARING them for adulthood and showing them how to be a TEENAGER and come out as a strong independent young man or woman ... we are too busy condoning children having children and glorifying it on reality tv! Instead of protecting our children from UNNECESSARY harm... we are laying more harm on them!!! I see way too many 15 year old girls come in pregnant!!!  Babies having babies......
When did we STOP telling our babies that having SEX at 15 is ok??  When did it become ok for a high school student to bring her best friends in for her ultrasound because its fun and cool and they get out of school?!  WHY are kids thinking that SEX in high school is ok....
I'll tell you why...  PEER PRESSURE and the twisting of our world on what is ok and what is not....

((Sorry - got off on a little rant there!)

I don't know what the answer is.  I don't know how to prevent it or make it better....

But I can tell you this young boys and girls......

The pressure that you feel growing up to dress right and act according to a role, and be skinny and be pretty and be smart and have sex and have babies....  those pressures....... THEY DON'T MATTER!!!!!!!  They are twisted realities!

What we need to teach our young ones is to just be YOU.  Love YOU for YOU.  Don't let someone tell you who to be or how to look or what to say or what to stand for.
Love others with all your heart.
Never be cruel.
When someone is cruel to someone who can't or won't defend themselves, stand up FOR them.
Be strong.
Be healthy.
Exercise.
Eat right.
Make good friends that you can trust.  Make them friends because you trust them not because of a social status.




What the adults forget to tell you is that one day you will be an adult out in the real world and the people that judged you and the people that you fought so hard to impress, won't matter anymore.
I can promise you that.

don't let ANYONE make you feel like less of a person than you are.

And respectively .... on that same note.... as adults - let's learn to live by these same values.
Every day be nice.  Be healthy.  Judge less.  Praise more.
Take care of yourself and respect others... you never know what they have been through or what they are currently going through.

Stop being SO judgmental and just love one another.

And teach your children to act likewise!

That is all.

Here is the video
(and before you watch it - let me preface it by saying, yes she is openly a lesbian.  But before you judge - that is not what this blog is about and I'm not trying to open that war here... just LISTEN to her words.  Period)


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Just a Lousy Nickel!!

So the other day, I was sweeping my floor.  And I saw a nickel on the floor.  Which I proceeded to just sweep right into my dirt pile....  because it would be too much trouble for me to bend over and pick it up, right?!!  So I just continued to sweep it around the house with the dirt and eventually into the dust pan with the rest of the dirt.  It was afterall...... JUST a nickel.  5 centsFIVE.  That's it.  Not worth the time of me digging it out of the pile of dirt and dog hair that I just swept from my floor!!!

And then I thought .......... WAIT....... WHAT?!?!!!!!!!!!


What the crap is wrong with me??  
Have I really become that complacent in my life... where a nickel is not worth the effort it takes to pick it up?

I then thought back to a time... when Z was just a little boy... and we lived in a apartment complex that had a coke machine by the office.  I remember a time when we would literally go on scavenger hunts in the apartment and in the car to try to gather up just enough change so that we both might go down to the coke machine and buy a drink to enjoy for the evening.  I remember when cokes WEREN'T readily available in the refrigerator.  It was a time when I worked my tail off in order to pay the rent and keep my baby boys belly full.  Cokes were a treat.  And getting to go get one from the coke machine was like an adventure.  It was back in a time when we played games and talked... it was before he buried his head into video games and a cell phone and got too big to "hang out with mom" anymore.  It was back when we would take drives out in the country going nowhere just to get out of the apartment and enjoy the sunshine.  (that was back when we could afford to put gas in our cars!!).  

Back then, a simple NICKEL meant the difference  in having the Grape Nehi or not!  
To be honest, back then a nickel meant keeping the lights on or not.

I pray that I don't ever lose the value of "just a nickel"

And as my son grows up and slowly but surely steps into a world that will crush you in a minute..... I pray that he never forgets the value of "just a nickel" and that he holds near to his heart what that small little nickel means. And when life is busy beating him down..and it will....I hope he remembers that sometimes all you need is just a nickel, a Grape Nehi and a ride around the countryside.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Look at that dirty THUG!

I've addressed this subject before....
but in light of recent events - I felt like it should be addressed again.  I'm curious as to other's thoughts....
Feel free to chime in.....
Everyone is entitled to an opinion - but don't "JUDGE" me for mine.

I have an appointment to get my next tattoo  (keep in mind that I have two small ones already.   Wrist and lower back)
This one is going to be a half-sleeve... TOP of arm.
It is a collage of many different things that I want incorporated into the tattoo.  It is bits and pieces of who I am shoved into one work of arm that will be displayed on my upper arm.


I have attached a pic of the "ideas" going into this work.  Mine will have pieces of these, it will be nothing LIKE any of these alone  ;-)



Now - there are a few members of my friends and family that are, for various reasons, very distraught about this choice I have made.

First of all - I am a MOM!!!!!!!!!  Apparently "moms" aren't supposed to do stuff like this.  Let's keep in mind I AM in fact a mother, but I'm NOT 72!  I also sky dive and power lift and go on spontaneous vacations.... When you turn into a mom, is there like a rule that all fun and self expression must stop??  I'm confused by this??!!   I plan to STILL be a PERSON at 72!!!

I AM a mom..... but I'm not JUST a mom!


Secondly - people will look at me bad.... like a delinquent or a thug I guess??  Some kind of hellion??  Maybe?  I don't know.  Maybe they will..... or maybe they already do?  But getting a tattoo on my arm doesn't prove or disapprove that judgement.
I guess my problem with this "reasoning" is that I just have a problem with judgement in general.  Period.  I know people do it.  But I try not to.  So in response to that - I don't care if people DO judge me.  Because I don't live my life that way.  You are either my friend and know me well enough NOT to judge... or you don't know me well enough and in that case, your "judgement" doesn't affect me?
I know everyone says that they don't care what people think... but we all do - at least to some level. But as far as judgement regarding who I am based on a piece of art I have put on my arm - yeh - I don't care!!!

What about this one...... I am defacing my temple.  Defacing?  NO.  I'm decorating.   I'm not cutting my arm off or injuring myself or doing things that cause me to love my faith or my God any less.  I'm not causing my temple to be used for the devil!  I'm NOT getting satanic LINGO tattooed on my forehead!!!  So how is it defacing my temple??
My ears are pieced.... oh dear - I put HOLES in my body!!!
I wear makeup.... oh dear I look pale and sick without it - how DARE I put things on to look better!
I drink caffeine.  It's a DRUG!  I have defiled my temple.
I.  Cut.  My.  HAIR!!!
NO
No to all of that!!!!
I don't by any means think that WEARING my art and what I consider to be symbolism of my life in pictures to be defiling my temple.
I don't love Jesus any less after getting a tattoo.
Does it affect my WITNESS of being a Christian???  NO.  It shouldn't.  Unless you are one of those "judgmental" Christians that are too busy looking down your nose and judging others, to worry about your own actions.
How I "look" shouldn't affect if people see Christ in me or not.  That is shown in my witness.. in my character... in my HEART.... not on my ARM!

I understand that there are generational gaps.
I understand that there are people who grew up in a time where tattoos were only for army guys and trashy men and women... I understand that you may still look at them that way.
And that's ok if you choose to stick to those beliefs as you were raised.
But do you also not have a TV in your house?  Because I think at one time they were referred to as a thing of the devil infiltrating your house???

Are you so stuck on the "rules" that you miss the blessings that come from change??

I am not saying that tattoos are for everyone.  If you don't like them and you don't want one, that is your decision.  What I am saying is....  how fair is it of you to go around judging people who like and choose to WEAR tattoos!!!?
Are you so closed minded that you must assume that someone who has a tattoo is most definitely, without a doubt, a bad parent, a Satan worshiper, a thug, or a delinquent?

Just call me an inconsiderate thug I guess....... because I have wanted and planned this sleeve for years, and I"m pretty stoked about it!
And for all of you that want to judge or are afraid that I'm ruining my life.... well... I guess if you think getting some ink put on my arm is suddenly going to destroy everything in my life... then wow - you put aLOT of power in an ink gun!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The journey.... Live Laugh Love

The Superbowl is on.... yeh... blahhhh
It's TERRIBLE

It's gym night..... yeh.... blahhh
The weather is terrible and frankly I don't wanna get out and travel in this mess

So it's just me... chillin at home, in front of the fireplace all warm and toasty and sippin on my lemon water  (cause I am still CARB FREE after all!)
*side note - ask me about THAT diet!!!*
And to be quite honest, I'm rather enjoying the quiet... AND my water  :)

And then I thought - I have not posted in my blog for MONTHS!!!  That's terrible.  I miss my journaling outlet and brain vomits, so here I am ..... with just some random thoughts that I have pondered recently...
because....
This is my 20th year out of high school - TWENTY YEARS!!!!
AND I have a son in COLLEGE!!!  my baby boy.... is in COLLEGE!!!

Time is a funny thing
As you are growing up, you can't wait to be 16, then 18, then 21.... then what?!!  You wish your life away birthday after birthday ... and then we all want time to stop.  But it flies.  It goes soooo fast.  And yet - in my mind it seems like high school really wasn't that long ago.   My parents are still in their 40's in my mind - even though I MYSELF am knocking on the door to 40!  Not logical I know.... but sometimes it just doesn't seem real. 
I have elderly patients tell me almost daily.... "don't get old - it's not all it's cracked up to be.  Everyone calls them the golden years, but I don't know what's so golden about them".

So tonight I sit and ponder over my life's journey.  Cause that is after all what it is all about... the journey.  Sure - as is the case with most of us, sometimes I wish I could go back and do a million things different based on what I know NOW.... but at the same time... I LOVE who I am today.  I love what I have been through.  I love the experiences I have under my belt and the stories I have to tell and the struggles I have fought to overcome.  It makes me strong.
Don't get me wrong... I'm a big ol' softie underneath.  I can cry at a commercial in a second (did y'all see that Budweiser puppy/horse commercial?!  That's what I live for!!) ... but when push comes to shove in this life - I do what I have to do to get through it!!!

My son will be 19 this year.  Like I said, he is a freshman in college... with his first semester under his belt! Yay! (which he didn't flunk which is a BONUS!  ha)   So we've had several conversations lately about life... and it made me think back to things I am thankful for and lessons learned on my journey.  Some the hard way... OK - actually MOST of them the hard way! 

Anyway.... just a few things I think you need to know as you are growing up......   OR if your grown up - maybe just a few things you can look back on and be grateful.

*  The teachers that drove you crazy are the BEST!  When I look back over my school days, there are a handful that stand out more so than others.  These are the ones NO ONE wanted.  The ones that MADE you do homework and graded everything with a fine toothed comb.  They MADE you crazy - but they made you push yourselves.  Be grateful for that.  THEY taught you the most not just about the class, but about YOU and what you are actually capable of!

*  It's ok to not know what you want to be "when you grow up".  You will eventually find yourself and you will just know.  Don't pressure yourself so much that you lose the journey to FINDING yourself!  Enjoy the steps along the way and one day you will stumble into something and within it you will find passion.  Let that lead you.

*  Your friends will be your lifeline.  Sometimes they come from high school and sometimes they don't come till later... in the most unusual way.  Treasure those relationships.  You NEED friends!  Of both sexes!

*  Everyone should work in customer service or food service at some point in life!  I truly believe it's one of the BEST ways to learn how to interact with people, to learn patience, and to learn that as a general rule - PEOPLE ARE CRAZY!!!!  lol    Laugh and keep moving.

*  Don't care so much what other people think.  Do YOU!!!  Be YOU!!  And love every bit of you!  You really DON'T need the approval of anyone else.

*  When it comes to love - Don't EVER settle!  Be yourself and not what you think someone will love.  And if anyone EVER asks you WHY they should stay..... Walk away...... NO.... RUN AWAY!!! You NEVER need to convince anyone as to why they should love you.  If they question it, they aren't the right one.  Period.

*  Everyone should live alone.  How else do you learn that your mom will not always be there to take out your trash before you have attracted every rat in the neighborhood!  How else do you learn that there is a point in time when your sheets just aren't safe to sleep on anymore...... they actually HAVE to be washed!  How else do you learn that working is a VERY important aspect in keeping the lights on in your place!

*  Take care of your body!  Exercise.  Lift weights.  If you never have before, start now!  It is so good for you and no one really ever stresses that to you!  It is not only good for you health wise, but it's also a great stress reliever and does wonders for your endorphins.   They say there is no better anti-depressant than exercise.  Just do it.  (speaking of - in case you don't follow me on facebook, I have some GREAT powerlifting updates soon!)

**Most importantly....... enjoy EVERY step of your journey.   It is yours and yours alone.  No ones will be like yours and yours will be like no one elses!!!  Don't rush through the journey... take notes, keep a journal, do some things on a whim and be ready for the repercussions.  There will be bumps and set backs.  There will be days when no one can stop you.  Learn from it all and savor every moment.   Sooner than you think you will be planning YOUR 20 year reunion from high school!!

LIVE.   LAUGH.   LOVE!!!