¡Viva Abundante! • heart, soul, mind & strength

Graduation Season is upon us again. While the breeze it brings isn’t all new since our eldest is a junior in college as I write this, the hair tossling this go around reminds me of the changes… the changes that include a grand dance with nostalgia, hopes, errors, awe, intrigue… not that I dress for this dance, but I hear the rumblings that indicates he comes.

I remember visiting a marvelous church in Mexico when I was in college that bore the name ¡Viva Abundante! We stayed with a family who delighted to host us, but even more beautiful was their delight to love one another every day.

When I married & we began our family, I read Edith Schaefer’s “What is a Family?” I remember it being a transformative read for my Mom in my childhood. My Mom’s close knit family of Italian & Swedish roots prioritized family. But, the intentionality of making memories together that are life-giving by connecting generations, but also baton-passing in creating space for intergenerational fun… both the kind that holidays & in the more ordinary everyday.

I wanted a close family. I wanted a compassionate family. I wanted a learned family. I wanted an active family. I wanted a fun family.

And I thought I was ready to make it happen … on most days. In those early days, my husband worked full days as well as earned his MBA. He adored our children & wanted to carve out predictable times together. Sunday Biscuits, Family Fun Night, Donut Shop Day, Snack Night all acted as a compass of togetherness each week. We even wore coordinating Eskimo Joe shirts for our Family Fun Night.

We prioritized an active lifestyle early by taking the children for walks along Riverside in Tulsa or fast races on the Jenks Track. We took them to the gym with us, so they could see us pushing ourselves physically, too.

When we lived in Chicagoland, I discovered DVD workouts that I invested in, so I could continue my workouts as my husband pursued another Master’s.

A great weakness of mine in those early years was preparing meals mostly out of perceived convenience vs. nutritional density. We’re fortunate they didn’t develop an awful sweet tooth. (I think the salty may be the leaning vice.)

As long as I felt physically strong, I felt most myself. And I’ve been humbled a few times physically for pushing my body too hard. So, I also needed to find a place for health while not placing it on a mantle of idolization.

I enjoyed serving as a group fitness instructor at local fitness ministry & genuinely enjoyed helping others hone their health habits. Appearance wasn’t the focus, but increasing our heart capacity to serve … figuratively & literally.

When we made the move to homeschool our children, I knew fresh air & physical activity must be core to our curriculum, scope & sequence.

Throughout these years, many friends encouraged me to get into online fitness coaching. First, homeschooling three children three & six years apart requires a lot of work. Secondly, my workouts were my alone time. Finally, who wants to ruin something they love by trying to sell it.

Our children enjoyed activities from simple running to p.e. style classes to fencing to club basketball, etc.

Fast forward, 2016 I faced a difficult & painful 18 months of a health scare. In the process, I became severely anemic which made me weak… exhausted really. After surgical procedures & down time, I gain some unnecessary weight.

By September of 2017, our eldest son now a collegiate cross country runner, our middle son an active basketball-er & stumbled into track & field, and our daughter a dancer from the heart … they found their groove. But, I couldn’t keep up. My energy was still low.

I began working out more intensely & addressing my food choices. And, even in my 40s, I’ve been able to make sustainable changes & feel stronger than I have in years.

By spring of 2018, I had friends asking what I was doing to shed the inches & get my energy back. As reluctant as I had been for years, I decided to take the plunge & give coaching a chance.

I’d give it three months. If it wasn’t what I hoped for, I’d let it go. But if it met my high expectations, this would be a way for me to contribute to our educational & extracurricular commitments … maybe even a fun family field trip aka vacation.

Well, over the past year, I’m humbled & grateful to have a team of women who Love from a deep well, serve with soul & creativity, and simply want to be healthy enough to Live an Abundant Life today… not reaching for some unattainable appearance, but whole enough to be a vessel of encouragement, hope & light.

If this season finds you longing for energy & community, let me invite you to join us. Join us in seasonally assessing what will help your health be a mere tool for which you prioritize but not idolize.

What are your favorite activities with your littles? Your school ago kiddos? How about your teens? Leave us comments below.

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