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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Until I get back from Florida, that is.
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Do you realize how long I've waited for this vacation to get here??? Sunday morning at 4 a.m. I am leaving to catch my plane. Hallelujah!

I'm only taking one bag. A DUFFEL bag. That's like, the first time EVER I've packed so light. Just the bare essentials this time. Like, travel size shampoos and soaps. No fancy crap either, like conditioner or socks. The old man is looking forlorn. I asked him what was wrong and I waited for the, "Oh honey, I'm going to miss you." What I GOT was, "What am I going to eat while you're gone???" Poor thang. I felt so bad for him that I went to the store and got some stuff that I could make and freeze for him.

Just as my luck would have it, my legs are in ugly shape, between getting tangled up in a briar patch the other day and getting ate up by chiggers. But WHO CARES. I will proudly lay on the beach and smile at the people as they look at them in disgust, because, quite frankly, I'll never have to see them again anyways. :)

I'm leaving the laptop at home. I'm not wearing make-up. I'm not doing my hair. I'm not doing anything but rise with the sun in the morning, taking a lone stroll on the shore, and talk to my God. Rest. Contemplation. Touching that peace that I need again. And eating at Angler's Bar and Grill. I hope that dark-haired waiter still works there...

That's him. I like him because he always gave me an extra big slice of Key Lime pie. :)

So, I bid you adieu in blog form until I come back refreshed and ready to hit the woodsy trail again, trading it for the warm white sand beneath my feet, for just awhile.

Take care. God bless.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARINEMAMA 10/7/2012 7:04PM

    Have a great time!!!M

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LINDAMARIEZ1 10/7/2012 3:41PM

    take me with you.....PLEASE!!!!!

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KONRAD695 10/4/2012 3:00PM

    Hope you are having a wonderful time on the beach. emoticon
Can't wait to see your pics when you get back.

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GEEMAWEST 10/2/2012 10:03PM

    As I write this I am sure you are having a great time. Can't wait to hear all about it!

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LUVS2BIKE101 9/30/2012 5:10PM

    WhooHoo! You go girl! You just inspired me to do the same.....I'm leaving this week to head west to visit sonny. Like you, I will pack very light and carry no make-up. I will contemplate as I line up face to face with the Grand Tetons. There I will do the things that brings me to realize just how great God is.
Thanks for opening my eyes to love life even more than I already do!
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LALMEIDA 9/30/2012 4:14PM

  emoticon Have a great vacation!

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FLY0NTHEWAL1 9/29/2012 2:30PM

    Have a great time!

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NO_SNOW_BODY 9/29/2012 12:49PM

    enjoy

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KONRAD695 9/29/2012 9:21AM

    If we had a leg contest, I think you would win. So when you're on the beach, know they can't be the worst on earth. emoticon I'll pray to my God for sunny skies and a wonderful trip. Please ask your God for my legs to hold together. Have a nice time unwinding. emoticon

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GETTINGFIT4HIM 9/29/2012 3:47AM

  Have an amazing time! Sounds lovely and I'm both excited for you and jealous for me LOL! Thanks for commenting on my friend feed the other day; miss you, too!

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SHARON10002 9/28/2012 11:36PM

    Michelle, I hope you have a terrific time, and that it feeds your needs spiritually, too. Soak up all that positive healing energy from the ocean and the air! Relax, refresh and rejuvenate . . .
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CARTOONB 9/28/2012 10:33PM

    Enjoy Florida! And that cute waiter. emoticon

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JADOMB 9/28/2012 1:16PM

    Have a great and safe time. It's always more fun when one actually leaves their junk behind. (NO, I'm not talking about your husband). I mean to travel light and enjoy God's creations instead of just transporting all the stuff you are trying to get away from.

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KARENE10 9/28/2012 11:51AM

    Have an awesome time!!! I loved this blog,I really did:) emoticon

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IAM_HIS2 9/28/2012 10:09AM

    Have a great time and enjoy appreciating your uniqueness and discovering your inner beauty more. Love ya.

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APACHESTEVE 9/28/2012 4:42AM

    Michelle have a blast on your vacation, sounds fun and soothing all at the same time! Looking forward to visiting with you about our health journey, but when you get back. Your plan to get far away from a computer is a good one! One small thing: I'd still enjoy looking at your bare legs!

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BEAR8MM 9/28/2012 3:23AM

    Have some quality "me time"! Wish I could walk the beach with you!

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JUNIAATROME 9/28/2012 2:05AM

    emoticon

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IRP1114 9/28/2012 12:37AM

    Hope everything is perfect. Enjoy ;-)

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FLEMIDG 9/28/2012 12:16AM

    Have a wonderful time on your vacation. You've earned it. Enjoy yourself, get lots of rest and spend all the time you need with the Good Lord. Enjoy yourself and come back refreshed and relaxed. God bless you. Have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Darlene

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LOLAINSC 9/28/2012 12:00AM

    Sounds like a great vacation plan; hope you have the greatest time ever. Don't forget to wave as you fly over SC.
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EVWINGS 9/27/2012 11:39PM

    Enjoy yourself in the Sunshine state. Wish i knew you were coming earlier, we could have possibly had a meet up!!

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KATRINAKAT23 9/27/2012 11:33PM

  I am so happy for you!! Wish I could go with you.

I wouldn't come back. lol


Have fun and don't forget us back in
spark land.

kat

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CHERIRIDDELL 9/27/2012 11:13PM

    You have a wonderful time you deserve it hugs,Cheri

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BRADMILL2922 9/27/2012 11:00PM

    Sounds like you are going to have a nice and relaxing trip! Good for you, you deserve it! Oh, and an extra big slice of key lime pie sounds fantastic! Look forward to hearing of you adventures in Florida! Safe travels my friend!

Don't forget the occasional hole in the sand!

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Comment edited on: 9/27/2012 11:01:34 PM

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The Biggest Surprise Ever!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

You guys seriously have to check this out! The joy this woman must have felt!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt190ZRqGaw

How were YOU proposed to?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON10002 9/28/2012 6:18PM

    This was awesome! Thanks for sharing.

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SWEETSADDICTION 9/28/2012 9:07AM

    i proposed to him and then we had lawyers draw up prenuptials and then we went to sturgis and got married at the 103 harley davidson rally. we had an indian cheif as a witness. the cermony was incredible as rays of sunshine were in the video on down to us.

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JADOMB 9/27/2012 9:13PM

    I've seen this one before too. Pretty awesome. Mine was much more low keyed. On Valentine's day I gave my wife a teddybear and it had the ring tied around it's neck.

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L1ZB3TH354 9/27/2012 9:49AM

    I was proposed to in a traffic jam on the freeway. We just celebrated 35 years together! emoticon

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BRADMILL2922 9/26/2012 11:32PM

    I saw this earlier on Yahoo! Really cool. She must have just been over the moon at that point! Thanks for sharing because anyone with a romantic bone in them should check it out!

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The High Of Hiking

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hiking has become my meditation, my peaceful sliver of life, my inner sanctum of calm. It is my zazen, my time to be in the present and breathing in the moment. Meditation is very crucial to me for two reasons. It gives me time to reflect on my life, my goals and about what is important for me. As my feet strike the ground I am able to concentrate on my breathing, how my body feels, the smell of nature around me. I am centered. I am in the presence of the here and now, stumbling into spirituality.



At the beginning of my weight loss journey, I asked myself some difficult questions. What opportunities am I going to lose out on if I don't get healthy? How will my health deteriorate? How will the hospital look when I'll have to go for heart surgery or dialysis treatments? Will my lupus progress and become a LIFE-THREATENING disease? Then I developed another picture of myself, a healthier, slimmer, stronger self. What will I do with a leaner body and who will I be doing it with? Where will I be and how will I feel when I am there? How will my life be better if I lose the weight??

So my thoughts shifted to wellness and not "diet." I had been on them all. Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers. The Cabbage Soup Diet (not a pretty sight in any way, shape or form). With each one I lost quickly, but gained back quickly as well. I had to find my OWN way, armed with the knowledge that I learned about my OWN body's needs, how it ticked, how it responded. (A crucial part to wellness is to know yourself. Understanding who you are as an individual helps you to work with your natural tendencies.) I tried running, I tried bonking, I tried cycling. But I was forcing myself into something that I did not enjoy. I am NOT a marathon runner. I am NOT the woman-version of Lance Armstrong.

But I AM a hiker.

I bliss out when I am focusing on the dirt beneath me. It's almost as if I am becoming one with something greater than myself and the energy of the earth itself seems to fill my every sweat-soaked pore. I ooze out of my own self-consciousness. My breaths are exhilaratingly-labored, my heart is beating in unison with each deep gasp. Any negative self-talk at the time wisps away like a puff of swirling smoke when I realize that I am in control of my destiny. I am in control of my body. I am in control of my life.



I've dropped the "perfect" mentality. I've dropped the illusion that I am not strong enough. I've gained self-respect, stamina and have seen the physical, mental and emotional changes that have occurred as a result of finding what is right for me. Now when I fall down, I get back up again, dusting off the doubts and self-delusions of failure. When I stumble it DOES NOT mean I have erased everything I have accomplished to this point. It means that I just pick up where I've left off.

With that I've gained a natural high. On life. My senses are heightened, my endorphins are rushing and I am more alert. My legs are toned, my heart and lungs move more freely. It's almost like I was in bondage before, wrapped in a stifling illusion of limitations...

And I have finally, FINALLY, burst free.

With a vengeance I proceed forward, looking forward to the next degree, the next level, of intensity. With each rock climbed, each hill conquered, I am liberated...

And I am finally being me.



I love you. God bless.



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEPA 11/1/2012 6:27PM

    Hear hear !!

How often do you hike?
Do you hike by yourself?

I love it that hiking is a workout, uphill is cardio, downhill is joints strengthening, especially the knees. I used to have knee problems and I always had tender knees after a hike. Then I only hiked once in a while. In the last 2 years, I have a small hike (can be done in a morning), close to home and go with some friends every week. At first my knees were sore but after about 3 months, I suddenly noticed my knees weren't sore after the hike any more. Wow, I thought knees only got worse with age. This was a huge surprise for me and an inspiratition to try more things slowly and steadily. So much improvement in my fitness since that epiphany. Plus the outdoors are so beautiful. Win-win-win....

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SHARON10002 9/28/2012 6:11PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon


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BEAR8MM 9/26/2012 11:21PM

    You're making me miss the woods again! ( and what is bonking?)

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JERMADSON7 9/26/2012 11:05PM

    Nice Michelle.
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But what the heck is bonking?

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FLEMIDG 9/26/2012 12:49AM

    I am so glad you found something that you love doing that gives you such peace. Keep up the great work. I love walking too, and I often do a prayer walk. Keep up the great work. Take care of yourself. You are so worth it.
I love you too. God bless you.

Darlene

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BRADMILL2922 9/25/2012 11:35PM

    It is so great that you were really able to find what worked for you. Sometimes, finding that one thing can be the hardest part. It also really great what you said about wellness, and not "diet". This thing is so much more important than just losing weight. It is a total lifestyle and way of thinking transformation. We try to be who we are not and that can be a mistake. You know what works for you! You have found you and know who that is! That is beautiful!

Great blog Michelle! Makes me feel like hiking somewhere right now!



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USFBULL 9/25/2012 10:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SASIKHASI1 9/25/2012 10:15PM

    I love to hike or just walk the beach, lost in thought with no one bugging me. I know how you feel. It is so peaceful.

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Just Take The Time To Listen To Your OWN Heart...

Monday, September 24, 2012

First, there was the initial misunderstanding. Brian looked me square in the eyes and opened his mouth.

"Better not buy meat in New England."
"What??! Why? What happened??"
"I don't know. I didn't watch it."
"You didn't watch what? The news??"
"The game."
"Wait...what did you say??"
"I SAID Baltimore beat New England!"
"Oh. I thought you said...never mind."
"Are you hearing things again?"

These things seem to be happening alot lately. It's either that he is not speaking clearly or my mind has been elsewhere. It's probably been a combination of both if I am to be completely honest.

I have worked hard to get where I am today. Mentally, physically, spiritually, I have been delving deep into the heart of me and finding out all kinds of things. Like, what makes me tick, what tickles my funny bone, what God has given and taken away in my life. I've been restless. In all areas. Some days have been wonderful, some filled with uncertainty. But each day I've been looking closer and picking at the things that seem to unsettle me. I've asked myself why they do, what nerve do they hit and why do they hit it a certain way...

I've also torn the soil out from under my feet on my hikes. I've begun each adventure with tender steps only to find myself tearing it up within minutes. The more I think, the harder I trod, the faster I go, as if to keep up with my racing thoughts. Afterwards I am spent, out of breath, only to fall to the earth heavily and suddenly begin speaking to God...

I've realized that I am only one person. I realize that I am beautiful in my own way and I just wish that I had realized it sooner. I realize now that I have tried so hard to be someone else's definition of a good person when all I had to do was be ME. For I AM a good person, made just the way I was supposed to be in the very beginning. I've wasted so much time...when all I had to do was just be silent, listen to my heart and go with God's quiet whispers.

"Well? What's going on with you, Michelle?"
Turning to look at my husband, eyes wide, I put my arms around him and spoke my heart.
"Am I doing okay? Am I somebody that, if you just met, would want to get to know better? Am I interesting? Good? Weird? What am I?"
I could feel his arms pull me tighter and I heard him take a deep breath as he rested his head on top of my own.
"You are doing okay. You are good, a little weird, somewhat hard-of-hearing, and definitely someone I would want to get to know better. In fact, I DO want to get to know you better. Today. So why don't you try talking to ME a little more instead of just yourself? I'm here, ya know."

Yes. I know. For 20+ years he has been. Through the good AND the bad. He's been there, allowing me to "find" myself. Allowing me to blunder, fail, succeed. There are times I do not agree with his point of view (and vice versa) AND we've had disagreements that would burn the hair off of a monkey's back, but we've still managed to find our way through. I try, also, for the most part, to take his advice as well.

So, I'm going to trust him AND MYSELF that I am doing okay. The rest of the day before he had to leave for work was, well, WONDERFUL. We laughed. We even playfully chased each other around the house before we collapsed on the back deck in breathless chaos. Then I realized something...even though I've known all along that I love my husband, I LOVE my husband....

And I love you. God bless each and every one of you. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Through and through.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON10002 9/28/2012 6:07PM

    You've got a keeper there (and visa versa)! I am loving getting to know you through your blogs, and your notes. Maybe I should go back and read your blogs from the very beginning. . . I have to say, I'm glad I found you!

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LOLAINSC 9/25/2012 9:36PM

    Brian has a way with words...and honesty. You are most blessed.

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JADOMB 9/25/2012 12:45PM

    You have a great thing, don't ever lose it.

I think we have so many things in common and I think we are actually going through many of the same things at the same time. Even though I am older, our children seem to leave the roost at the same time and I think that is what is ailing us. The empty nest has it's way of putting us in a fog and making us reevaluate our lives that have been turned upside down for so many years.

As far as the hearing thing, I have a theory on that. First, it seems that my wife's hearing was just fine until she put that wedding ring on. From that point on it has gotten worse and worse. So I've thought of hiding the ring from my wife for awhile to see if her hearing gets better. ;-)

So you are just fine and yes, beautiful. You husband knows it and loves you for more than just the outward beauty. So build on that and regain the SPARK that you guys once had before children. Now is a great time to truly enjoy what you had and what you have. May God bless you and your family.

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STAYCXL-NOMORE 9/25/2012 12:28PM

    Great Blog , enjoy that love my friend :) its rare !!!
Stayc

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WOLFKITTY 9/25/2012 1:48AM

    How utterly, and heartbreakingly sweet. Thank you for sharing.
Take care,
Jocelyn

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FLEMIDG 9/25/2012 12:42AM

    You are a beautiful person, inside and out, Michelle. I am glad you are finally realizing that. I am so glad you and your dh are so good together. I can hear your love for him in your words. You are two lucky people. God bless you.
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BRADMILL2922 9/25/2012 12:11AM

    It is so great that you have come to realize about yourself what all your Spark friends already know! You have worked really hard to get where you have gotten today. It is beautiful that you know how far you have come and can appreciate it. It is beautiful that you have really gotten to know who you are!

You are such a great story teller and this is no exception! Thanks for sharing it and inspiring us all! Sounds like you have a great guy and sounds like you have a lucky guy for having you!

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JERMADSON7 9/24/2012 11:07PM

    That's great. He is lucky to have a gal like you, you know. He's not stupid.

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BEAR8MM 9/24/2012 10:50PM

    You rock!

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SCOTMAMA 9/24/2012 10:39PM

    I love your blogs! I find myself visualizing you and Brian, and I'll admit that most of the time I side with you -- except the other day when he was telling to to just be your age, and stop trying to look younger. lol

I become so involved in your stories, and I smile and relate them to things that have happened to me. You are such a good story-teller!

Have a great day/evening, and remember: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

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Tragic? Or Magic?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I didn't want to do it.

I didn't want to get dressed, stretch and go walking. I didn't want to fool with it at all. I decided in my heart-of-hearts that I could "get by" without one day of hiking. Plain and simple. Whatever. Yada, yada and yada. Then I saw the box of donuts that Brian had bought for his lunchbox. Hmmm. Looking around, not seeing anyone, I took a step closer. Pinching my bottom lip between my thumb and index finger, I toyed heavily with the thought...no one would know. No one.

Then my brain started blaring.

"What's this?! You get on Spark and tell everyone to do their best, to BE their best and you're gonna SNEAK a DONUT?!"
"Shush, annoying little one. What do YOU know? I've worked hard. I deserve it."
"You are a hypocrite."
"WHO'S a hypocrite?!"
"YOU. Wahhh, you don't "feel" like walking today. Whatever! How many times have you told someone to put one foot in front of the other and the rest will take care of itself?"

Then it seemed, as if on cue, the old man came around the corner. His face lit up then suddenly frowned when he saw me hovering near his goodies. Tsk-tsk-tsking me, he scowled and removed them from my presence.

"Have you hiked today?"
"Uhhh...no. Not yet..."
"You're usually out the door."
"Yeah, well."
"Yeah well what?"
"I was getting ready to go."
"Really? In your house slippers?"

Fifteen minutes later, I was "appropriately" dressed and mumbling to myself. It's chilly outside. It's too "breezy." I'm "not feeling it" today. Grabbing my iPod, I crammed the ear pieces into my ears and took off out the door. Just one trip through. That's all I was willing to put into it.

"Hypocrite."
"Shut up, brain."

I put on Alter Bridge, my favorite band, and the song "One Day Remains" came screaming through. Atop the hill, ready to begin my ascent into my woods, the phrase "And I ask you, why do you question the strength inside?" enveloped my ears. Hmmm. Then another, "When the distance to your dreams starts being reached, don't lay down and die."

What? Oh no, I'm not going to lay down and give up, not when I'm THIS close...

Then Myles, in his beautiful voice, bellowed out, "You need to know how it feels to be alive!"

Then, suddenly, as if something kicked me in the rear, I took off. My heart raced, my legs burned and something sat my heart on fire. With each drop of sweat that I felt running down my back, I pushed harder, climbed harder, breathed harder. I could feel the muscles pulling in the back of my legs, growing stronger with each forceful step. Then I realized something...

I wanted more.

I climbed, descended, climbed some more, almost at a running pace, until I could breath no more. Laughing, I plopped to the ground and massaged my legs, breathing in deep breathes and exhaling with jubilation. Checking my watch my eyes grew big. One hour and fifteen minutes?! No kidding, I just started a few minutes ago...

Then Myles said to me, "I see in you more than you will EVER know..."

Closing my eyes, I removed my ear pieces and listened to the air around me as my heart rate and lungs returned to normal. My stress was spent. My irritation, gone. My slothful temptation definitely silenced. I was left with calmness and a peace that can be described with no words.

I returned to the house where there was a lone donut laying on the table and a note from Brian which said, "Did you get lost? Leaving for work. Here's your donut. If you still feel like eating it."

Throwing it in the trash, I surmised that it would be one less donut for him to eat when he got home. He didn't need it either.

"Well, now, looks like you proved yourself wrong."
"Thanks, brain, I did it!"
"And you did two and half more miles than your norm! High five!"
"How do I high-five my brain?"
"It's time to stop talking to yourself now..."

There's going to be days when you don't feel doing jack-squat. Perhaps those are the days when you can break through your own barriers. When you can prove yourself wrong? Your thinking CAN be tragic to your state of mind... or it can be magic, surprising you with your true potential.

Which is it? Only you can decide. But let me tell you something...I don't want to be a hypocrite and tell you to do something that I am not willing to do myself. I proved a major point to myself today. Unless I am physically ill or have a handicap or broken bone that prevents me from doing something good for my body, then there are NO excuses. NO EXCUSES.

Don't question your strength.

Your dreams are within your reach. They are.

God bless. You are loved...more than you'll ever know.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FUNSIZE0789 1/29/2014 8:36AM

    I dream of the day I can run 2.5 miles, let alone as many as you did. Great job, I'm going to subscribe to your blog I found it funny and refreshing lol Check out mine!!

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GREGGWEISBROD 1/29/2014 12:38AM

    Technically, wouldn't smacking your head be kind of like high-giving your brain? One would look awfully funny smacking themselves in the head every time they accomplished something. :-D

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SHARON10002 9/28/2012 6:00PM

    emoticon Proud of you!


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KAILYNSTAR 9/22/2012 4:00PM

    What's that? Oh, sorry, that was my brain laughing at your brain. It sure got to you didn't it?! emoticon

Loved the blog and the past four others. You are so precious!!!!
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IRP1114 9/21/2012 9:26AM

    Awesome blog. Glad you got out there! emoticon

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JADOMB 9/20/2012 5:56PM

    You got it sweetie. Proud of ya.

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OLDERDANDRT 9/20/2012 2:55PM

    emoticon and well said!! Love you, girl! You are setting great example!!
Thank you, my friend, for throwing away the donut and taking that hike to new heights!!! High five, my sweet friend! emoticon emoticon

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BKNOCK 9/20/2012 10:06AM

    and how do you feel today? I like Barb's comment too!

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JUNIAATROME 9/20/2012 1:58AM

    Tend to agree with Barb on everything. Isn't that spooky?

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FLEMIDG 9/20/2012 1:13AM

    Awesome blog. Good for you for not giving into the temptation of that donut and for getting out there and DOING IT. You are an inspiration. Keep up the great work. You're worth it. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BRADMILL2922 9/19/2012 11:14PM

    Really cool and motivational story! Makes me want to get out and do something right now! Glad you got in your hike and got in a brain high-five. I think that should be on a t-shirt!

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NOCALORIES 9/19/2012 10:17PM

    Thank you for your blog. A real motivation to get up and push to really burn some calories. You are appreciated.

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BEAR8MM 9/19/2012 9:45PM

    WOOT! Good for you! I was going to slack today, but the brain whispered, surgery tomorrow, flat on your back all day tomorrow, and the fat cells screamed YESSS! I told them all to shut up, and did my 6 miler, 938 calories in 94 minutes. It IS worth it!

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CARTOONB 9/19/2012 9:32PM

    A slap on your forehead is the same as a high five to your brain, right?

Great job!

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