Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Always reaching for the next level

Making goals to increase your strength and health is an important part of any exercise plan. It's always helpful to see the progress you have made and then create new levels to aim for. When you shoot for the stars, you will find that you are climbing higher and higher and eventually you will reach them.

I remember when I started exercising in earnest again after taking a long lazy hiatus. It made me cry when I realized how much I actually let myself go. I could hardly keep up in classes, a five pound weight might as well have been 100 and I was winded within the first five minutes of class starting. I struggled to keep up and I was humiliated. I had taught these classes three in a row at times , kicking every one's butt, without a problem, and now this one class showed me very how far I had fallen and kicked my butt to the curb. It was sobering. And I cried huge tears. How could I have let this happen??? Life, of course, and just not finding me important enough to take care of.

That was 2 and half years and 45 pounds ago. I decided then to face reality. I wasn't going to get any healthier doing nothing and pretending this wasn't happening. I faced the hard facts and chose a different way. I was worth it. I deserved to be healthy and strong. I was determined to get back to where I knew I once was . . . strong and conditioned and in shape.

To get there I made goals. Easy ones I could obtain so that I could see success. Yes, I even used a sticker chart with smiley faces . . . why not? It worked for my kids, why wouldn't it work for me too? I gave myself a smiley every day I worked out. It was great incentive to see what I had accomplished, especially when it took more energy than I would like to admit just to get me out the door and not turn around and give up. I would increase what I could do a little at a time until what was astronomically out of reach and harder than Hades to accomplish became a piece of cake, and then I would adjust my goals and increase what I required of myself and continue forward.

In this way, I am stronger than I've been in years. I don't let myself say . . . "I don't think I will work out today." I say instead . . . "We are going out the door and you are doing what needs to be done. Period!" And everyday I am finding I can do more than I imagined.

For instance I never imagined I could run and sustain a ten minute mile. But I can now . . . the weight I literally throw around now (really, I mean throw, if you ever saw me in the gym you'd know what I mean) is now 35 pounds and higher. And I'm not done yet. I plan to keep improving and growing and setting goals I can reach and obtain and be successful.

In the pool I am faster and stronger than ever, and I love how my body pushes itself through the water and how it works to keep in control of the water weights, to where I control them not the other way around, using muscle to keep firmly planted and not let buoyancy take over.

I tell you these things so you can make your own fitness plan and watch as you adjust it from week to week with new goals, how strong you will become. To show you that if I can do it, anyone can do it! I have seen it in a lot of people who take my classes already. They are beating me at my own game and becoming faster than me. It is great to see. Keep working hard at mastering your body and building strength. I believe in you and I know you can do it! Tell me your goals and let me hear your successes. They are inspiring!

Bill Phillips asks "Being healthy is a decision we have to renew each and every day. Today in your thoughts and actions are you choosing health?" He also said, "A person's state of health can often be predicted by which he or she takes two at at time- pills or stairs." Remember nine out of ten of the greatest accomplishments were done on a deadline. What is the deadline for your next great accomplishment?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review : Journey of Honor By Jaclyn M. Hawkes

In Jacyln M Hawkes debut novel Journey of Honor the author takes you on a journey filled with adventure and danger. The story is about Giselle, a young LDS (Latter-day Saint) immigrant and Trace a young doctor, turned teamster leader, who discover they are traveling in the same wagon train west. Leaving from St Joseph Missouri in 1848, they find themselves in a situation which requires a marriage in name only for the sake of protection.

The marriage takes an interesting twist when attraction turns to longing and then to love. These two main characters are thrust into many perilous and at many times, life-threatening situations. The secret that Giselle carries with her, becomes a situation that endangers her life, regardless of the consequences she is determined to pull her weight no matter the cost, especially when she needs to help those that fall ill. Unbeknownst to Trace he leaves her to care for the sick which allows him to put both distance between their growing attraction and frees him to lead the wagon train and check on every one's progress.

This arrangement seems to be working well, until Giselle no longer is able to continue with her ministrations, forcing a change of events that forever alters Trace and Giselle's relationship. While Trace still holds honor to his promise to keep his marriage to Giselle in name only; it becomes more and more difficult as he fights his growing attraction and feelings for her. Especially when he holds her close during the cold winter nights. Just as Giselle also attempts to stop the burgeoning feelings of love that are taking root inside her as she allows Trace to comfort her as she faces the emotions of horrendous events that happened before they met.

These feelings of growing love become more focused for Trace and Giselle with the humorous interaction of an Indian Warrior who finds he wants Giselle for his own, and isn't willing to follow the rules of decorum.

Their journey forces them to analyze certain truths they hold dear about what they intrinsically believe and causes them to make decisions that will effect them forever as they reach The Salt Lake Valley. Trace and Giselle must determine if they will or will not get their marriage annulled as the need for protection nears its end.

There are many sweet side stories that brought tenderness and tears to my heart as I read Journey of Honor. I found myself growing attached the secondary characters as much as the primary ones. I thought Trace's adopted brother Mose was sweet and gentle and kind. He had such goodness in him, I couldn't help but love him. I also found Giselle's grandparents to be supporting and compassionate. I loved how her grandfather supported Giselle in her decisions when her parents would not, and were there to lean on during horrific events. I found the quiet strength of these characters to be a great addition to the story as faith and understanding of gospel truths played an important part in helping the main characters discover what truly was most important.

I felt sensitive issues relating to gospel truths were handled with care and were presented in such a way as to be informative and enlightening, in a story where the characters themselves discover what they mean to them, as they learn from one another and grow.

I really enjoyed reading Journey of Honor and found it to be a quick read. I felt at times that I wanted a bit more, wanted it to last just a bit longer in certain parts of the story. I thought that the love between Trace and Giselle was sweet and filled with just the right amount of longing and tension to keep the reader wondering what would happen next in their relationship. There were a number of funny scenes that had me laughing and tender moments that had me crying.

This is a book that has no swearing and would be considered a clean romance. I would recommend this book for ages 12 and over and if you enjoy a light hearted historical romance with out all the heavy history but filled with unexpected adventurous twists and turns, this is the book for you.

If you would like to get your own copy, click HERE. You can visit Jaclyn at I know you will enjoy the story as much as I did.

Disclaimer: Although at times I do receive copies of books to review, my opinions are and will always remain my own.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: Star Scout Rising First Trail by Gary Darby

In Gary Darby's debut book, Star Scout Rising First Trail the reader is taken on a fast paced, intense journey through intergalactic space. This Sci-Fi mystery is filled with political intrigue and uncertainty as Del Baldura and his team of Junior StarScouts prepare to take their No Notice exam that will determine if the years of intense training allows them entry into the Senior StarScouts, who patrol space for new life and planets waiting to be discovered.

As team leader, Del Baldura is in the midst of an important mission that will help him and his four fellow team members advance to the next phase of their training in a field ops exercise. During the mission, one of their team members is kidnapped and the efforts of the rest of the team to rescue her lead them to unexpected adventures and dangers that kept me on the edge of my seat as I read furiously to find out what happened next. As the twists and turns and surprises kept coming, I found myself pulled deeply into the plot of the story, and felt my stomach churning with anxiety with many of the predicaments the team members and other key characters found themselves facing.

In addition to the excitement happening with Del's team, some with great control and power higher up in the Senior Star Scouts organization go against all they stand for and plot revenge against Del as they discover things about his past. They want to be sure he pays for incidents that occurred that were out of his control when he was younger. Power hungry and crazed with desire for complete and ultimate control , Pellar, a senior officer in the StarScouts with high ranking command has his fist wrapped tightly around the very lucrative Kolomite trade and rules the galaxy under concealment, with his corrupt addicting need to be the only one who commands how and where and what happens with any Kolomite found on any planet. He has infiltrated the StarScouts missions by utilizing their systems and encryption codes to secretively push his own agenda of power, wealth and revenge at the cost of all who might be in his way. His evil designs ooze into the pages of Star Scout Rising First Trail as he manipulates those around him.

Gary Darby has the ability to make worlds come alive and battles spark to life within the pages of Star Scout Rising First Trail. I found myself feeling the acid from the lake eat through the uniform and the under brush of a planets unfamiliar foliage brush against me. The adrenaline pumped through my body as I was chased and hunted down by unknown dangerous creatures. I could feel the peace of space as stars twinkled in the distance and the whine of the engines as space ships struggled to be free of capture. Making the experience of reading Star Scout Rising First Trail one I won't soon forget.

I am excited to know that Star Scout Rising First Trail is the first of a trilogy and look forward to knowing what happens next with key players in the story. There are some intense cliff hangers I want to know the answers to. I was left wanting the story to continue and wanting to be a part of the exciting daring missions and rescues that Del would be caught up in. I anticipate the chance to be drawn into the next books as part of the team while they explore new terrains and discover things that will surely shock and excite them.

Check out Gary's website at to learn more fascinating things about Gary and his book. It was refreshing to read a book with so much action and excitment that had no swearing and was clean. I would recommend this book for all ages. To get your own copy click here, so you can be a part of the fast paced ride through space with Del and his team and be part of the mystery and intrigue they constantly face.

Disclaimer : While I sometimes receive a copy of the book I am reviewing, it does not in anyway influence my opinions. They are and will remain my own.