Out with the Old: 5 Steps to Totally ROCK 2015

Another year has slipped by and while some are nursing hangovers (either from alcohol or rich foods) others are getting ready to tackle this year with the vengeance of a Spartan.

Before you dive head first, check out these steps to Totally ROCKING this coming year….and keeping your sanity :)

  1. Use one word. Instead of writing down every goal you want to accomplish, and transferring the ones that weren’t accomplished last year, try setting the tone of your year with ONE word. Believe it or not, 12 months can hold many life events and a whole lot of change. So, instead of writing goals in January that you’ll forget by March, try setting your year up with a word. This word should encompass what you wish to see in your year throughout all facets of your life (work, relationships, creativity, etc.). You can choose any word that really MEANS something to you and then place it on display where you will see it each morning. Here are some examples, but please use what’s in your heart: SUCCESS, LOVE, FORGIVENESS, PRESENCE, ORGANIZATION, KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, KINDNESS, CONSISTENT, CREATIVE, BOLD, DARING, ADVENTUROUS….you get the picture. Be creative in your own way and let this word speak to you. NOW, about those goals…..
  2. Instead of 1 list of goals once a year, it is far better to set aside some time to write out MONTHLY goals. I know it seems a bit time consuming at first, but writing your goals for each month will enable you to reach far more goals by the end of the year. This gives you a timeline to accomplish your goals and sets you up for success. No more than 10 goals per month you over achievers! Keep it simple, but dream big. Each month, mark off what you have accomplished, then mark off what no longer matters to you, then you can add what is pulling towards your word for the year.
  3. Prioritize. This is a skill that anybody can learn, but few of us want to slow down long enough to do it. Do you ever feel like you are fighting against your true nature? Well, that is a sure-fire sign that your priorities aren’t in line. Take a few minutes to write down EVERYTHING you do (OK, for some this may take more than a few minutes), then start to check off what is either not necessary (like scrolling Facebook all day) or simply doesn’t feed you in any way. Take what is left and begin to prioritize by importance. For me, my top priority is to spend quiet time each morning setting myself up for a positive day. Next is my husband, then my kids. Time with them (together and separately) is highly important, so I make that a priority and no job or client can get into that time. Prioritize by what feeds your soul and you will find that life falls into place more easily.
  4. Have some FUN. I know all this talk about lists and priorities can drag some of us into school mode, so stay with me. Do you remember when you were a kid and you did things just for fun? I mean, I know I did some STUPID things that were just plain fun! Don’t lose that ability as you grow older. Walk barefoot in the grass, sing on the swing set (granted you haven’t gotten old and swing sets now make you sick), go to the zoo, eat the cotton candy (just not all the time), bake cookies, play with your dog, look like an idiot at Disney World! Make time to let go of how you think you should present yourself all the time and make a little time for FUN. This act will keep you balanced and keep stress at bay.
  5. Give back. One of the MOST rewarding aspects of life is giving to others. Choose to make 2015 your year of giving. You can redo your household budget to give more to your local church, charities or missions. You can donate your time to those in need of your talent. Think you don’t have a talent? There are many children who LOVE to read to and have nobody able to do it. Everybody has something to give. Take a treat or meal to your neighbor, give your kids friends a ride, offer to walk somebody’s dog, help your elderly neighbor with grocery shopping. There are ENDLESS ways to give, so tap into your resources and get giving! You will never be the same once you start :) And should you ever want to travel with me, just let me know and I’ll be happy to place you on my team.

There you have it, 5 simple steps that will change this year into a year like no other. Time stops for no man, but we can learn to use the time we have wisely.

Rock on,

Michelle

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Moldova Day 10: Find Your Purpose

What are you doing here?

Right now, write 3 sentences that describe your true purpose.

Was it easy? Most people I talk to are confused as to what their true purpose is in life. What does it feel like to walk around ONLY living from one event to the next?!? Well, I’m not sure how you feel, but I felt horrible for the decades I lived like that. Then, it all changed…

The majority of my life was spent under the radar. I didn’t want to draw attention or rock any boats, so I kept my head down and followed along. Actually, it was more like I just kept my head down and did nothing. So, each day was given to emotions that followed the events of the day. My emotional state was always in a roller coaster freestyle and it led to emotional eating and turmoil within my relationships. You cannot live one event to the next. It just doesn’t work.

THEN…I found fighting. How I came to it is almost a Cinderella story in itself :) I was teaching yoga at a gym and the kickboxing instructor was a no-show for her class. Since I was the only instructor there, I had to pick up the slack. So, I taught a barefoot version of old school aerobics to the few people who remained in class. Something changed in me then. For the first time in my life I decided to branch out and try something new. Not only did I want to try it, but I wanted to excel at it. This lead to taking kickboxing classes (along with buying every Billy Blanks DVD I could find!) and that eventually lead to boxing, which lead to MMA. I found myself through the challenges, not through staying put.

You will never meet a more even-keeled person than a fighter. This is what I am trying to teach the young lady I am working with here. It seems odd that somebody who enjoys beating the crud out of people would be so nice in real life, but it’s the truth! You see, fighters don’t just train physically. They train very hard, if not harder, mentally. This mental and emotional training is what is missing from many other sports. A true fighter is taught to harness emotions and not to live in the NOW alone. If we only live for this very moment, then we are prone to emotional outbursts, rage, anger, depression, etc. If we can train ourselves to live with PURPOSE, then we have control over our reactions to certain situations.

My purpose is clear: I was given a great gift. I was given a passion for fighting, not just hitting people, but training the mind and emotion to be a survivor. Because of this passion I learned more. Because I continue to learn more I can help more people. The people I help when I travel are people who have not only been governed by their own emotions, but young people who have been suppressed by the will of others. We are only limited by our own will and our own reactions to life circumstances. We all get knocked down, but we can choose whether or not to get back up again.

Live with PURPOSE.

Michelle

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Moldova Day 4: We really all have the same issues

Yesterday, I spent some time at the House of Change and was able to meet the workers and girls there. We even had lunch together :) It was a meager spread of fried eggs (very popular here as they are cheap), salad with peas, salted herring, and bread…of course.

We started the session off by getting to know each other and then we launched into some fitness talk. My intern, Doina, lead the majority of it and made me very proud. One thing that stuck in my mind is how we are all different in view points and language perhaps, but we share the same issues.

Can you guess what the #1 fitness question was?

“How do you get rid of the belly?”

That was quickly followed by 2 that I hear all the time:

“Can you tell me what I should and shouldn’t eat?”

“How do you tighten hips and thighs?”

So, if you think that going out if the country to help others is just too foreign to you….think again! We all suffer from something that can be shared…for many of us it is the belly that begs for attention. :)

Physically, I am sticking to my resolution to allow my body a “time out” from hard-core training and over the top expectations (probably the first in YEARS). I do 10-30 minutes of yoga each morning, then train with Doina during the day. I also walk everywhere and take the stairs :) Accidental exercise helps! I am indulging in the local fare, feasting on breads, potatoes, salads, pizza, etc. We even had some cookies.

The interesting thing about sweets here is that they are not nearly as sweet as in the US. We should take a cue from European cooking. When you have a pastry here, you can taste more than the sugar and it doesn’t send your blood sugar spiraling uncontrollably….you simply taste a bit of sweetness carried by more natural ingredients.

Another food difference is that eating takes time. If you go to a café here, expect to wait a minimum of 30 minutes for your food to hit the table…oh, and there are no chips or bread offered for you to fill up on first. Just about everything is fresh and nothing is made before you order it. Take the pizza my daughter loves so much: the dough is rolled out and laced with goodies only AFTER you order….novel concept.

These are just a few things YOU could look forward to if you join me on a trip here :) You will never starve or go without anything for long. And, if you happen to be a medical professional we could really use some help here. Most of the do’s and don’ts are reminiscent of old wives tales and need to be put to sleep permanently.

I will take tomorrow off from the internet to spend some quality time in church here and to spend time just hanging out with Doina. I look forward to seeing you here….but even more so in Moldova.

Stay healthy!

Michelle

Touchdown in Moldova DAY 1 Commencing

Hello people!

So, yesterday was a LONG day! My daughter and I boarded an extremely packed flight from Houston to Istanbul at 7 p.m. so we could sit on the runway until our final 9 p.m. takeoff. Everybody had a baby! Seriously, it was National Bring Your Baby on Your Flight Night….and they all cried until about 5 a.m. when we had given up any chance of sleep. It’s not all bad though :) Security was awesome in the Houston Airport, as they complimented my cool haircut and were super sweet and helpful to Debbie. We were sent straight through with well wishes for our flight.

Our flight itself was full of movies and food. It was a little like a movie marathon with your bestie. Turkish Airlines hands out Turkish Delight before you ever reach cruising altitude. Though it’s not my fave treat (um, hello, chocolate!), it was fun to eat Turkish Delight on Turkish Airlines. It’s the little things in life.

Since the flight was 2 hours delayed, we had a HOME ALONE moment of running through the airport in Istanbul. The doors to our flight opened about 8 minutes before boarding our connecting flight was to begin. We rushed through at a rapid pace…to the security check point. Again, security was awesome and nice, even though Deb had to have her first pat down. Happens to me all the time, so I figure it was a good initiation to missions for her. Once through security, we got our cardio on with sprints through various groups of people and stairs at every turn. Bonus: After sitting for 15 hours the workout felt good.

Once we arrived at our gate, I was thrilled to see boarding had not yet begun. There was a group of young Moldovans in front of us, who repeatedly took selfies with us in the background….”Americans”. Debbie thought it was awkward, I told her to get used to it. We touched down in Moldova around 9:30 and made it out of the airport quite quickly. We were graciously picked up by Vlad (who runs the BOL center: check it out here www.bol.md) and whisked to our hotel where I got about 4 hours sleep.

Now, I have had breakfast and I am seemingly pointlessly telling you about my flights…why? Well, some other things happen when you fly. Most of us fall victim to it, but I am trying to help you avoid it.

First, I feel “fluffy”. You know what I’m talking about? I feel like I’ve gained 20 pounds in 2 days. Now, the science nut in me knows that this cannot happen….however, the woman in me is secretly crying and wanting more chocolate. So, what do I do to help with this issue? Check it out:

  1. Positive self talk: I remind myself that I am here to serve a purpose, not walk a runway.
  2. YOGA! I did 40 minutes of yoga, focused on integrating my core back into place (we lose it on extremely long flights) and stretching out shoulders and hips. Plus, twists will fix everything.
  3. Eat. It’s simple, what I do takes energy. That “fluffy” feeling will not go away if I try to starve myself…however the people I am helping may want me to go away.
  4. Realize the facts: I am extremely sleep deprived, overloaded on stress (did you see the connecting flight issue), and already prone to bouts of inflammation….these things happen. I pack plenty of spandex and sweat pants and I get over it.
  5. Focus on the good. Even though I am fluffy and tired, I was told I look much younger than the last time (YAY for no makeup!) and I actually feel pretty decent. So, instead of focusing on the “feeling” of my body, I focus on what it can actually do.

In a few days, I’ll be feeling back to normal in my own skin. I have promised myself that the next 2 weeks will hold a lot of yoga as my personal workouts, since boxing and fighting will be on deck for training. This will promote balance in the body instead of imbalance which spurs inflammation. Always have a plan when you travel. Travel light and travel healthy! And remember, when the opportunity to enjoy a bit of Turkish Delight on Turkish Airlines presents itself….take it :)

Michelle

 

#missionNOLA Day 3

It’s nice to be back on my laptop…also sad that I can utter those words since I was equipped with a phone that allows me to do more than normal. Be thankful for the little things :)

So, day 3 in NOLA was a life altering day (it takes 3 days right?). The weather cleared and we were split into our groups to make a difference in the neighborhoods. Our group did clean up in a small neighborhood close to the seminary where we stayed. I took a group of them to the median on the street and all of them dove right in raking, shoveling and getting their hands dirty without complaint. This was one of my favorites as it enabled me to spend time with some people I normally don’t even see to be honest. We joked, worked and got a little dirty all together. This very service is something that many people volunteer to do on a weekly basis, so some may wonder if it even helped. I assure you, it did. There were people from the community honking and waving, a man came out of his home as well. I think the people most influenced were those doing the work though…impacting something greater than ourselves and expecting nothing in return.

In the afternoon, we loaded up and headed to the French Quarter for some homeless ministry. The youth had made bags for the homeless the day before and we were on a mission to pass these goodies along. Strange thing was we couldn’t find any homeless people in the quarter (we had split into smaller groups), so we had to trek about 15 blocks to find them under the bridge. Many complained about walking (yes, WALKING); however, those complaints silenced once we saw the people in need. We met a woman who thanked us whole-heartedly and praised the kids for giving of their Spring Break to help others. She also said something that really stuck with me. You see, it was going to get cold that night and the bags held a pair of socks…everybody who got a bag was super excited about the socks. She said we would never realize how many people would think of us that night because they had the socks they needed.

You see, serving isn’t about changing the whole world at once. It’s not about thanks or warm fuzzies. Serving, at it’s most basic, is seeing a need AND following through to fill that need. It may be a neighbor’s yard that needs raking, a median that needs the trash pulled off, or even a warm pair of socks for someone whose feet do not get to feel the luxury of warmth very often.

This week, I saw a group of teenagers do amazing things in selfless ways. Did they complain about comfort? Yes…BUT they never complained about the service. Lives were changed in NOLA this week and I hope that we have brought a small piece of that experience back so we can change more lives right where we live. I challenge you to think of ways you can help others in need this week AND have the courage of these teens to follow through.

Michelle

#missionNOLA day 2

So….you’re getting a double post today because I didn’t keep up. My bad.

Day 2! We basically got a little bit rained out. Instead of clean up in the 9th ward, we drove the neighborhoods and prayed. Almost every kid in our van broke through fear and prayed aloud. I vividly remember those days when that was so scary I wanted to hide…
The 9th ward is still trying to restore. There are slabs where homes once stood, roofs are caved in and the devastation is real and palpable. We all took moments to simply try and imagine what that would even feel like for us. Most of the kids couldn’t even fathom that feeling, but it did stick with some of them…. Small, slow changes.

#missionNOLA day 1

We’re about to leave for day 2, so I’ll be brief:-)
Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking my kids to love on the homeless around New Orleans. We met several people, but 2 men really stood out and were happy to have us pray over them. Rick had a heart attack years ago, lost his job and ended up living in New Orleans. He was forced out onto the street after being robbed while looking for work. Yesterday was Rick’s 55th birthday so we got to sing happy birthday to him and hug on him…..that simple act that many of us take for granted brought tears to his eyes. It was an act of love, plain and simple.
Michael had a story, but wasn’t too keen on sharing. You could tell he was untrusting, probably due to the treatment he had received. He did allow us to pray for him, specifically that he could find a job and get off the streets. He just wanted to live a better life and be a contributing citizen.
So why do I tell you this?
These people that we so often turn our nose to and utter “Get a job” are still one very important thing: people. They crave human interaction, not just money. I encourage you to live a life less ordinary and strike up a conversation. Buy them a meal, then do more than pass it out of the car window. Show a shining light where darkness lingers.
As far as the kids….some are getting there. My note of encouragement to the parents is this: if you sent your kid to camp hoping they would “be changed”, realize that change begins at home first. Don’t wait for your kids to spark a change…be the example of life.

The Ultimate in FITNESS

Happy Thursday Fit People!

I have something extremely special to share with you today. THIS is what keeps my heart going and my passion for life alive. It’s bigger than me and bigger than all of us, but it totally rocks.

As you may know, I travel around sharing the true joy in my life: butt-kicking :) AND HOPE! I share hope too…. In January of this year I traveled to Chisinau, Moldova to work with victims of sex trafficking and human exploitation. Before you think that this really has nothing to do with you, PLEASE, I beg you to read on…

You may not know where Moldova is and I won’t judge because neither did I. It is the poorest country in Eastern Europe whose main export is WOMEN. Re-read that… Trafficking is a serious problem as is the fact that there is little opportunity there and people will flee their country for work elsewhere. This, in fact opens them up to trafficking.

I am a firm believer that NO person should be bought and sold like meat in a window. There is a common decency inside many of us that tells us this behaviour is dead wrong, yet we feel powerless to stop it. WE CAN DO SOMETHING. I have been working to help the Beginning of Life Center build a training center for victims as well as those who are targets for trafficking. This center will serve as a safe space for people to strengthen their bodies and minds. If you’ve been in fitness long, you know the impact this discipline can have on your psyche alone. Though I have not raised all that is needed, BOL has stepped out on faith and construction on the center has already started. I will be traveling back to Moldova (with my 12-year-old in tow) to stay for an extended time teaching self-defense and other modalities of fitness, nutrition, training, sports and general wellness as well as fitness business management (AKA: how to run a gym). Pretty cool stuff right?

I have a question for you though: have you ever wanted more? I mean, do you ever look at life and just wish for more? There is more out there, but we have to be willing to do it. There are LOADS of ways YOU can involve yourself in spreading hope (or kicking butt, whichever you prefer). You can GIVE money. I mean, it does make the world go round and pays the bills right? You can GIVE time. That’s a pretty cool stamp on your passport. You can GIVE resources. Maybe you don’t want to travel or just can’t, but you do have a talent you want to share. HELLO video training. In order to GET more out of life, we have to first be willing to GIVE more. This center will not only empower those who will change this nation, but it will open opportunities that have been missing. Wanna jump in? Click the link above, comment below, or shoot me an email and I can find a place to plug you in. Don’t get stuck in excuses! Together, we can make a bigger difference than we could ever make apart.

Peace,

Michelle

FGS Strikes in Africa

Well, I am slowly regaining my bearings as I return from my latest trip to Ethiopia. As I was there, I had an interesting experience that I feel needs to be shared.

You know I don’t like to throw the phrase “fat” around to describe anything other than nutrients, but there is a valid syndrome in my own life that permeates some of my best intentions: Fat Girl Syndrome. I’ve written on this before, but was reminded of the importance while on another continent. If you are like me and have struggled with your weight for the majority of your life, then you may be familiar with this syndrome. After shedding over 100 pounds, I still feel like I’m not “there” yet. At the beginning of the Summer I vowed not to worry about weight or clothing size and to simply try to be good to my body. This included LOADS of yoga and walking just for fun…no super strenuous activities allowed. I was feeling pretty good and was in far less pain than normal….so what happened?

I, like many others, don’t travel well. I tend to swell up and dehydrate all at the same time. Annoying for one intent on making loads of mission trips each year, but perhaps this is my thorn :) . At any rate, I was ill before embarking on this journey and was feeling quite out of sorts after the long plane rides, followed by long bus rides. My body was lacking in rest, proper nutrition and all things needed to be in balance. It is in these times that the devil’s minions have a field day in my mind. A mind that was once intent on changing the world becomes consumed with thoughts of not being good enough. These thoughts then lend their way to building a wall around who I really am…because who would want to know that anyway?

Sadly, the majority of my thoughts during my stay were the thoughts of one tied to a self deprecating battle field of “feelings.” Our faith and our calling have nothing to do with feelings, yet I allowed them to speak louder than any other voice because the voices of these feelings have followed me since I was a young child. The feelings of being inadequate, fat, ugly….the list can go on and on. All of these take up much needed space for love and service. I felt isolated and alone, no matter what I did.

So, why is it important to share this? Because many of us struggle with the battlefield of the mind. The mind itself seems to be Satan’s playground and most of us give him free reign over our thoughts because it seems too familiar. Thoughts of being sub-par are nothing new to me. In fact, they feel like home. So when they begin to invade the tired corners of my mind, it feels safe to allow them to take root and bleed into all other parts of my brain and being. The problem here is that these thoughts are really not valid at all! I allow them validity and give them a place of honor that should be reserved for better things. The hook in my flesh digs deeper each time I give in to these notions that I am nothing and can do nothing. Each time I allow myself to feel ugly, fat or angry about my outward appearance, I am taking my mind off of what I am truly supposed to be doing: loving.

While I don’t buy into the “self first” attitude we are bombarded with daily, I do think that if I truly abhor who I am it makes it impossible to love others. If I can’t see past the flaws that feel as thought they are in the bright spotlight, how can I reach those who are in the audience of life? I can’t even see them…

The happy tale at the end is that by the last meal I was able to shed some of my armor and do what I came to do. The realization of wasted time on my part had to roll off my back as I strove to make up for lost time, but at least the flights home felt lighter.

Every day offers up an opportunity to let go of things we don’t need. Every day we can weed our garden of things that hold us down. Sometimes these things are pretty, like the weeds we get here that resemble beautiful flowers. Other times that which holds us down is so dark we dare not speak it into true existence for fear of others seeing the darkness inside. The problem with the latter is that is keeps us in bondage. We can never be truly free if we are unwilling to break free from what we consider normal.

I encourage you to challenge the thoughts that come into your mind and tell you that you are sub-par and not good enough. Pull those thoughts into the light and examine them with a thoughtful eye. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of light to bring balance back into the mind.

Do something that challenges you today,

Michelle

P.S. Stay tuned for nutrition fun from Ethiopia (awesome food!).

 

Education, Prevention and Mobilization

Hello ALL!

I hope this post finds you enjoying Spring, no matter what that looks like to you :)

Today’s post is one that hits extremely close to my heart and will hopefully touch yours as well. So grab another cup of coffee (or tea), kick back and try to look like you’re working…..

Moldova Training 2

I am feeling beyond blessed as I stand here today. My journey to this stage in life has been unique and full of God interventions to keep me on my path. I have met many fascinating people and my entire world has begun to open up by leaps and bounds. The road I chose to travel was not easy by any means, but it has brought me to a place of daily inspiration and creativity. I spend my days being able to talk with people just like you (or maybe it IS you!). I educate people on healthier lifestyle choices, proper nutrition and healthy body image. I spread the word on prevention of disease as well as violence. And I hope that I am mobilizing a force to be reckoned with…a force that no longer accepts the status quo and refuses to become a statistic. THIS is my life.

Along with all of the above I am also striving to set an example for my children. A few years ago I simply wanted to teach them that you didn’t give up when circumstances got tough. I want them to be strong souls that persevere through adversity. Now, I strive to teach them more on top of that. I want my son and daughter to learn to be bold. I want them to believe that they can make a difference in a life, in a town, in a country and even in the world. I want them to know they have a voice and they can use it to BUILD or tear down. Each moment of every day affords us the opportunity to stand for something, change something and build something. I hope and pray they learn the quality of conviction and the action of perseverance. I am also loved by a man who acknowledges my flaws and believes in my dreams. He believed in me when I wanted a small studio in a small town and he believes in me when I seek to change the very fabric of a nation.

I don’t tell you all of this so you can think “Wow, she has it good.” Quite the contrary. I want to take you on a journey with me. Through this journey you will be able to visit lands you never knew existed. You’ll meet people and focus on faces who have heart warming and heart breaking stories to tell. You’ll find your “why” to this life. Why am I here? Why do I walk the path I walk? You’ll also discover your what….

I encourage you to join me on this journey with an open mind and an open heart. The best part? You can stay in your jammies on the couch! Well, I fully support moving, but you get what I mean. :)

Join me as we start a movement that will shape the world the same exact way I have been striving to shape lives for over a decade now:

EDUCATION: Just as you enjoy the little tidbits of information I give on nutrition, fitness and general health, there are others around the world who not only enjoy it, but NEED this information. Throughout my stay in Chisinau, Moldova I was able to educate young ladies who had been victims of sexual violence and human trafficking in the art of self-defense. The mere fact that I told them they were worth defending was a totally new concept…. As I go forth to help plan and fund a Self Defense Training Center for these girls and the surrounding community at risk for trafficking, I hope to educate on healthy body image and proper nutrition as well. ALL the same things you enjoy learning about, these girls enjoy as well. My heart breaks for them and I wish I could show you faces and names of those you may meet, but I am not allowed since even showing pictures of them on the web would contribute to further exploitation. Why should you consider being a part of changing someone’s life? You are here for a reason, just as they are. This very site may be where your paths collide and both of you are made a little more whole…

In Ethiopia I will be joined by my son. We will be educating again on self-defense and better body image. I’ll also be sharing any other form of fitness, nutrition or just plain fun and games they need. We will have a whirlwind week of visiting care points and meeting those whose needs exceed my own wishful thinking. They will learn how to nurture their physical bodies and grow in strength. Programs will be discussed for the ongoing help at these care points and the vital education and growth of these young people who have been left without homes and parents. Care to join me? I know, I know…Africa is quite hot in the Summer :) Their stories will be shown and people just like you can integrate them into your own story. The story of ONE who made a difference….

PREVENTION: Disease prevention is huge to me. My mother died when I was 17 and it is my full belief that it could have been prevented. It is also my belief that everything happens for a reason though. With proper nutritional guidance, you have come to know that you can prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. Did you know that with proper nutritional guidance you can even SLOW the progression of some of these diseases (such as cancer, AIDS, HIV) that run rampant in other parts of the world? It’s true. With proper education, we can be equipped to truly care for the bodies we have and that is what I will be sharing in both Moldova and Ethiopia. Along with the prevention of disease, I’ll be sharing something that will be of far more value in the short-term: prevention of further violence, especially against women. It is my heart’s desire to empower these women to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones. Please don’t misunderstand…I’m not teaching them to “fight”. I am teaching them to SURVIVE.

MOBILIZATION: Just as I have people in my own circle who have grown from little belief in their own abilities to actually teaching others, I plan to do the same the whole world over! No worries about me leaving you though, I plan to take you right along with me so you too can grow from their stories. I envision a world where women can wake up excited about what the day may hold, not fearful. I see jobs that girls have a natural affinity for (teaching, anybody?) that open up where they have never been. I see doors opening, much like the ones you may have seen as you began to take care of your body and treat yourself with a little more respect. I see a world mobilized to change.

Just like lacing up your tennis shoes or laying out your yoga mat is the first step towards many, I too have many steps ahead of me. For years it has been me giving you information. Now, I want to take you on a ride. Why? In the short-term, being involved in a purpose has been shown to help us reach our goals FASTER. Why? We’re focused on something other than ourselves, which gives us permission to change from what has become our normal. In the long run, perhaps YOU will begin to tell people what you are a part of and upon hearing YOUR story they will be inspired. Inspiration can spread like wild-fire and I am calling you to start yours today!

Live LOUD, Live LARGE, Live OFTEN,

Michelle

Don’t stay in the cage :)

Moldova 4

Get involved NOW: Chisinau, Moldova Self Defense Center