I'm just back to the gym after dealing with back pain this summer.   I didn't throw up and I only stumbled off the elliptical; I did not fall.   Oh, and the towel that fell off my shoulder hit the floor and did not get caught in the treadmill.   Not only am I feeling better, but I was inspired by a couple of things recently.

First, when we moved, I came across old pictures from before my oldest was born.   The pictures inspired this post as a first step.

This one really hit hard.   My oldest, borrowing one of my t-shirts to sleep in.   I bought this and wore this in the year before I was pregnant with her.   It's a fitted t-shirt, but it was never tight or snug on me.   Seriously.   I wore this to school on a dress-up day when we had to wear a favorite sports team shirt.

Then, I was inspired by my friend, Gina.   We've been friends about twenty-three years now, so we've gone through a lot with each other.

Over the past year, she finally found an activity just for her: martial arts.   She liked how much stronger she was becoming, but she wanted to do more.   She found out about a Make-over contest and decided to submit an entry.   She was chosen, partly because she's that awesome and partly because she wanted to share her journey with others, particularly her high school students, so the contest judges knew the things she learned would not just stop with her.

Now, you have to understand what a huge deal this has been for her.   She commutes an hour and a half to work, one way, each day, with her two daughters who attend the same K-12 where she teaches.   She rises early, works all day and then has to go to the gym.   That's in addition to all her mom duties at home.   Plus, in the summer, she has to attend conferences and workshops almost every week.   This make-over included a sugar/carb-free diet, so she had to manage her eating while traveling with high school students.   She did it, all, though, and she is really reaping the rewards of all her efforts.

In addition to the workouts, diet, and nutrition counseling, there were salon visits included in the make-over.   Gina has had gorgeous long hair as long as I've known her.   Twice, she's cut it for donation, but even then it was not short and she kept her same style.   This time, she decided to get her hair styled and colored.   Friday morning, she let her high school FFA officers cut 17 inches for donation and then she headed to the salon.

I almost cried when I saw the pictures she sent me.   She looked SO happy.   Now she has to buy a new wardrobe because she's hit that point where the pounds are melting off and nothing fits anymore.

Throughout this experience, she's had two theme songs: Stronger and The Motions.  I think of those when I see her after pictures.   Cosmetic change was secondary to what she really wanted to accomplish.   Now, she's a stronger, healthier person for God, her family, her students, and herself.   Who wouldn't be inspired?

Her outward beauty is nothing compared to the beautiful person she is on the inside!

 So, I'm back on a gym schedule.   Last night I bought a new indoor grill to replace our old Foreman grill that finally gave out.   Gina's been an inspiration and encouragement.   Plus, I know she's praying for me through it all.   Now, to pick my theme song...


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