Lake “Retreat”

This weekend I had the pleasure of organizing a one night slumber party for 8 couples that have become like family over the past 6 years. It wasn’t hard…set the date, invite everyone, a few texts and we had it on everyone’s calendars. We had a great reason to get together…. 5 birthdays in the group of 18…. But honestly with this group we never need a reason….Yet last night I heard from almost every couple how much they had needed this “retreat”. 

Hummmm retreat. I hadn’t thought about it that way. I had asked that it be an adult evening. Each of us in this group are at various stages of parenting – a couple of us are empty-nesters, a few couples have little, little ones and most of the couples are very engaged in multiple kid activities every week. So I can see where an adult over night evening outside of town could be a retreat. 

From a work perspective….we all work. Most in this group are teachers as that’s how the group came together. Most of the guys are football coaches at the high school. But we also have a nurse, engineer, police officer, accountant, computer curriculum designer, several also own businesses and a few do adjunct teaching. We are a busy group of adults and all of us are successful in our fields. But most of this group does more than one paid job and this weekend could have been looked at as a mini vacation. 

We have also had our share of “life” issues and concerns in this group. Cancer, bi-pass surgery, job changes, parent health issues, kids going to college, engagements, college graduations, etc. The past year has held lots of ups and downs and I know I’ve depended on the prayers, love & support of these friends and it made getting together that much more important. I would retreat with this bunch anywhere, anytime. 

I pray that this group knows how lucky we are to have each other. To have friends who we love to celebrate with and share with and lean on and cry with. The conversations last night dove beneath the surface because we all care about each other, the success of each of our children, our marriages, our careers, our community. The laughter, the joking, the games, the food, the drinks, the hugs, the music….are all things we will be talking about and build upon into the future. And this retreat will be one of many….that is my prayer. 


It’s 2016

Wow- to read the posts from 2013 and to think about all that has transpired since my last post…. It’s as if I’m living an entirely new life. 

2014 – headlines for that year…

  • Q passed away in January 
  • Bella was added to the family
  • Jeff graduated from high school
  • Family vacationed at Outer Banks
  • Jeff started college at UC – Civil Engineering
  • Nate & I became empty nesters & celebrated 19 years of marriage
  • I turned 40
  • Think Tank was awarded a community advocacy award
  • I was nominated for YWCA Woman of Influence

So much more happened that year but these are the highlights. As you can see 2014 was a year of starting a new chapter and gave me time to reflect on where I am and where I’m headed.  Thank goodness I took some time to prepare….it was very much needed for the changes God had prepared for 2015!
2015 headlines – change jobs??  What really? You have just spent the past 10 years building Think Tank & now you are going to leave? Really? Who does that? 

I do. When God presents the next step He wants you to take…you better be prepared to step or be prepared to face the consequences. 

The second week of January….I had just finished teaching a class at Wright State when I got a call from a colleague at CareSource. She wanted to make sure that I knew they were looking for a VP to oversee the design & implementation of a new model. I have worked with & been funded by CareSource for many years. And I knew that this wasn’t something I needed to brush aside. Over the next 5 weeks I made the decision to interview for the position & was offered the job. Then I had the tough conversations with Marlo, Heather, John & the board that I was leaving Think Tank. At the same time I was going through all of the fun of the “rockstar treatment” with the YWCA Woman of Influence. 

On March 16, 2015 I started at CareSource as the VP/Executive Director of Life Services. For the first few months I felt like a fish outta water. I didn’t understand much about the business, didn’t realize the significance of the position, and had to rely on faith that God didn’t call me to this change without equipping me to be successful.  More on this in a future post. 

Other headlines for 2015

  • Jeff & Kara successfully complete freshman year and celebrate by spending a week hiking the Appalachian Trail
  • Family vacations at Outer Banks for a week
  • Successfully complete 100 mile bike ride
  • Bella gets a brother – Bo
  • Jeff successfully completes first co-op semester with Danis
  • TEDxDayton Speaker (more on this)
  • Connie has successful heart valve replacement surgery 
  • Nate has a rough football season as D-line coach

Finally Back

I wish I could tell you that my absence the past month has been due to being busy, or traveling or something exciting like that – but no it was due to a phone update that wiped my phone clean at the end of October and it taking me almost 5 weeks to figure out how to sign into my account.  

Now I understand security and intellectual property issues but for a non-techie the process was a bit burdensome for me considering that I am freely choosing to share my life with the general public.  But hey – I’m back. 

So what’s taken place – mostly the same old things.  The big news this past month was football playoffs and the end of my son’s high school football career.  I have loved watching him play football for 12 years.  I have pictures from his first season straight through to this year’s senior pictures.  The first year the helmet and shoulder pads covered him from head to toe and this year with his 6′ 3″ 275 frame he looked like a brick wall – one that I am so glad that held its own.

He was named to the first team of the All Southwest District for O line…. pretty excited about that.  However, he had decided to focus on college and not be a student athlete – but a student.  It’s a smart decision on his part.  We are waiting for the acceptance letter from University of Cincinnati and then he will be set.  In other news – we are through Thanksgiving and 5 weeks from taking a cruise.  I would gladly skip December to get to the vacation…. but the waiting will give me a few more weeks to prepare.  This year I am dong an “all homemade Christmas”.  No purchases from big box stores – only items to help me create something with love.  Just finished a quilt, making homemade vanilla extract, BBQ dry rubs, salt/sugar scrubs and magazine trivets.  I also decided this year to do a tradition that I haven’t done since my mom passed in 2005 – make homemade Christmas ornaments for those I love.  I did one of our favorites and spent time praying for each person as well as remembering my mom.  It was a good couple of hours.  

I am pretty excited to be back and blogging…. 



Beginning of Week 2 – Strength Training

Did pretty well with week one.  Man the leg workout kicked my butt (literally).  It took three days for my legs to return to normal.  But I loved the soreness and I am feeling the soreness in my shoulders and chest too.  Must mean I am doing something good for myself.

I stayed on program most of the week – had to adjust one day for Senior Night but other than that – I am back on track.  Today should be an OFF day but I am doing PUSH workout today and the LEGS tomorrow.

Here is what yesterday ended up being

Saturday 10/26/2013 Push
Chest Bench Press (bar) Chest Flys Military Press Pullovers (ball) Cardio
15 each hand 10 each hand 10 lb each hand 12 lb green ball 30 min
Shoulders Front raise Shoulder Press Delt Flys Lateral raise Eliptical
5 lb each hand Ball 5 hand weights 5 hand weights
Triceps Tri Extensions Skull Crush Overhead Ext. (ball)
7.5 hand weights 10 blue ball 5 handweights

And here is the plan for today

Sunday 10/27/2013 – PUSH
Back Back Extension Bent over rows Deadlifts Reverse Flys (ball) Cardio
30 min
Biceps Bicep Curls (Bar) Preacher Curl Hammer

I am looking forward to today’s workout – my shoulders have that slight burn going on and I love getting my back all stretched out with the 4 exercises on today docket!!  Hope everyone had an opportunity to get out there and sweat a little today!!

Course Correction 1,246

Yes, sometimes when you make a plan, you have to course correct.  I am sure this isn’t Imagesomething that happens to you, right?  LOL  Well today is one of those days.  See I have 90 minutes before I have to leave for my son’s football game – a very special game as it is Senior Night.  But I still need to get my workout in.  I have been worried about it most of the day and I finally decided – course correct.  Basically, the world is NOT going to stop turning if I don’t get my workout in today but I can say that if I am late for my son’s game tonight in which he is being honored for 12 years of playing football – all HELL will break loose.  And I would never put that on the line.  So even in all my rushing to get home as early as I could and to get to the gym – I just decided a half-assed workout wasn’t worth it today.

Instead, I am going to relax and share my anxiety with you all…. and take a break.  Enjoy this moment today.  Let me share a little of what the past 12 years have been like watching my only son grow into a leader on and off the field.

I will never forget the day that I found out I was pregnant.  For 2 months I have chalked up the nausea and exhaustion to being a full time college student and a person who has holding down 2 part time jobs.  Nate and I had lived together as an engaged couple for almost 2 years and had been dating since we were 16 in high school.  But neither of us would have said that having a baby at that time was ideal.  We decided to keep the sex of the baby secrete and didn’t find out until that moment in the operating room when the surgeon said, “Its a boy!”

WOW – I hate to say it by my first thought is he is gonna be a football player.  Nate was a good football player in high school and had several colleges interested in him.  I was a pretty good basketball player and had several colleges interested in me.  However, we both made the decision to stay together in college and gave up our dream of playing college sports.  Then three years later we got married and Jeff comes along.  We were only 20, very young and still in college – so we made the very tough decision to move back in with Nate’s parents.  Best decision we could have made!

When Jeff was born he was almost 10 pounds and 23 inches in length – to say he was a big baby is an understatement – he came home in 3m baby clothes and all of infant clothes went back.  He has stayed that way on ever growth chart since then…. and now as a 17 year old high school senior stands 6′ 3″ and 275 pounds.  He is a solid brick wall.

He started playing football in the first grade.  One of the other mom’s told us about the pee wee league and said that her son was going to sign up.  Since her son and Jeff were good buddies, we decided to do the same.  This was a new world for us – Nate didn’t play pee wee and several of our family members were afraid that we had started him too early.  Full pads, helmets, tackling – it could be overwhelming for a 6 year old.  But we decided to see how Jeff did – and from the very beginning he was a natural.

In the 12 seasons since he began we have had seasons where his team went undefeated and seasons where the team only scored 2 touchdowns.  We have seen Jeff move from Guard to Center to Nose Guard and Defensive Tackle.  The last three seasons he as started both ways and this season he is one of the captains.  We have gone all the way to the State Championship game in 2011, which was the first and only time in school history. We didn’t win, but man was that season a ride – 14-1 is something that many players never see and for Jeff to be a part of it his sophomore year is pretty amazing.  His junior year, he was hurt in the third game of the season and struggled for the first time to get back on the field.  It was a knee injury that has required him to wear a brace since then and probably anytime he plays in a contact sport for the rest of his life.  He was able to work his way back that season but in the second round of the playoffs he was taken out in the first quarter and left a big hold (both figuratively and literally).  Between his junior and senior year, Jeff decided to take a look at overall health and nutrition.  From January to April of his Junior year he lost 40 pounds and grew and inch and everything about him grew up.  He has gotten stronger, faster and more competitive.

This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the team.  See there are only 5 seniors on the team and only 2 of them were starters last year.  One of the seniors has never played before.  However, this is Week 9 and we are 8-0.  It has been a great surprise to everyone that the team has pulled together and some of the players that were not stand out players last year and worked hard in the off season and stepped up.  Jeff has been able to stay healthy and strong and continues to lead the line both O and D.  There are sophomore and juniors that stepped in and stepped up into KEY players this season.  We have one senior that is a first year starter but has become a very strong running back and has several offers from D1 colleges.  It is pretty exciting.

I am not sure what the last two games of the season will hold.  I pray that we continue to win and that playoffs are in the near future.  But whatever the future holds – I have enjoyed every game this past 12 years.  I have enjoyed the friendships that have been made with some of the parents in the stands, I have enjoyed watching Nate coach on the sidelines and I have enjoyed watching my son grow into a strong leader.  Tonight I will walk on the field with him and honor all that he has learned on that field and all he will carry with him from those lessons into his future.

Day 2 – Strength Challenge – COMPLETE

Monday 10/21/12 Pull – COMPLETE!!!
Back Back Extension Bent over rows Deadlifts Reverse Flys (ball) Cardio
65 12.5 each hand 50 curl bar 7.5 each hand 30 min
Biceps Bicep curl machine Preacher Curl Hammer C25K
35 40 10 each hand

I did pretty well today!  First of all – I had a dentist appointment this morning and I wasn’t sure how it would go…. a crown and getting a cavity filled and of course they were on opposite sides of the mouth so I had to get my entire mouth numbed.  But, surprisingly, it went as planned and after a few hours the numbing went away.  So I was able to proceed without any complications – and I had the rest of the day off and could get a few other things done!

So I went to get a haircut – that is always kind of a story.  I don’t have a regular stylist – I go to either WalMart or Great Clips and it just happened that I had a coupon for $5.99 at Great Clips.  I usually startle the stylist when I sit down in the chair as I just tell them to cut my hair in a way that will flatter my face and takes less than 10 minutes to style each morning.  The blank stare is a good indication that they have never been trusted before and I work with them to trust their instinct and training and I have always walked out with  great cut.  Today was no different… and since I had a coupon I tipped the young lady the rest of what I would have paid without the coupon – she did a great job on my hair!

Then I headed to the gym.  I am a little sore – the good kind of sore – from the workout yesterday and I hoped that the treadmill would help to loosen me up.  I was not disappointed!  Within 5 minutes of warming up I was ready to go to town on intervals.  Today I picked a workout with shorter intervals that repeated more often.  So I did 5 minutes of walking then 3 minutes run, 90 seconds of walking, 90 seconds of running and 3 minutes of running.  Repeat twice and end with 5 minutes of cool down.  34 minutes…. done.  Went 2.5 miles and burned 313 calories (so said the monitor on the treadmill).

Then I went to the machines and the weights.  Back and biceps… that should be easy to remember.  The only one that I had trouble with was the reverse flys – I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do.  But other than that – the workout was complete.  I need to do a little more research on some of these before I go – but I feel like in a few more rounds I will be a pro at them.

I also started back on the 24 day challenge with Advocare – clean eating, supplements and meal replacement shakes once a day.  Hoping this will take the next 10 pounds off and a few more inches.  Just in time for the holidays.

Good news – tomorrow is a rest day and I am kinda bummed – but since I have a 12 hour day at work – it is probably for the best.  Happy Monday All!!

Sunday 10/20/2013 Push – COMPLETE!!
Chest Bench Press (bar) Chest Flys Military Press Pullovers (ball) Cardio
Bar + 20 50 30 5 hand weights 30 min
Shoulders Front Raise Shoulder Press Delt Flys Lateral Raise (Ball) Intervals
5 Ball 5 hand weights 40 5 hand weights
Triceps Tri Extensions Tricep Press Skull Crush Overhead Ext. (ball)
5 XX 5 5 handweights

This is the first day of a 28 cardio/strength workout.  I decided that I needed to plot it out and I found a good article that talked about the importance of strength training in rotation.  The Push/Pull/Legs split is what I decided to try – it is a 14 day interval that works the following:

Week 1

  1. Monday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  2. Tuesday: Pull (Back, Biceps)
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)
  5. Friday: off
  6. Saturday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  7. Sunday: Pull (Back, Biceps)

Week 2

  1. Monday: off
  2. Tuesday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  5. Friday: Pull (Back, Biceps)
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)

So then I decided that I needed to be specific about the individual exercises that I would do for each group and I built a spreadsheet in google drive that gives the details.  This way I can access and track each exercise while at the gym on my iphone.  On the “OFF” days – I am completely off – well maybe taking the dog for a walk but other than that – no workouts.  On the other days I am going to start with 30 minutes of intervals thanks to my C25K app – I do need to disable the GPS when I am on the treadmill as my stats are horrific :-/  Today I walk/run 2.25 miles in 30 minutes – then did the workout at the top…… then the bonus of working out at Planet Fitness – 10 minutes in tanning bed, 10 minutes in the total body enhancement bed and 10 minutes on the hydro-massage bed.  Yep – that’s right – 60 minutes of workout and 30 minutes of relaxation and that makes for one happy gal!

Then I came home and walked the dog, she is 13 year old so it took us 30 minutes to do .5 miles….. but it is totally worth it as it wears her out both physically and mentally so hopefully she will sleep tonight.  Then had a bowl of chili (day 2 which is the best day for chili).

Have to say – I am feeling pretty good this evening – gotta dentist appt. in the morning – so who knows what I will feel like tomorrow.

Saturday – rainy and wonderful

Embrace the Rain!

Have you ever had one of those weeks that just take EVERYTHING out of you?  That was this week for me – but when I think of all I accomplished I can understand why I am pretty excited about having a rainy Saturday!

I started the week with a “day off”…. but decided to take Jeff to Ohio University for a college visit.  We were up early – 2 hour drive – 4 mile walk around campus while listening to a very arrogant college students who was really one of the worst tour guides ever and then a 2 hour drive home.  Went to workout and home to fix dinner and get ready for the rest of the week.

Tuesday – Ohio Regional Community of Practice Conference that took place in Kettering.  Up early, presented, talked to lots of people all day, home, workout and had to pack for the rest of the week.

Wednesday – Up at 5 a.m. to dive to PA (in the rain) to do three meetings which didn’t end until 8:30 p.m. – in a hotel and had to prep for next day.

Thursday – up at 5 p.m. to leave hotel by 6 a.m. to drive 4 hours for an entire day of meetings which didn’t end until 8:30 p.m. – then 2 more hours of driving and to a hotel by 11. (yes, all in the rain – ugg).

Friday – slept in until 8 a.m. and then back on the road – but the rain was over (Praise God) and drove 6 hours home.  Then to get ready for the football game – to the stadium at 6:30 p.m. and cheer all night for a very very very close game that ended in a win!  GO BRAVES – 8-0 for the season!  So we decided to get together with friends and didn’t get home until 2 a.m.

And then Nate was up at 6:30 to go back to the football field so I ended up awake and here I am three hours later still trying to get the motivation to get off the couch and start the day – grocery, workout, large pot of chili (rain came back) and going to find a couple of good movies to watch this evening as I snuggle next to my “sweetie” and relax.

Yep – I am pretty happy that today is a rainy Saturday 🙂

Planet Fitness Updates

ImageWell as you know I joined Planet Fitness on Sunday.  So the past two days I have been trying to “learn the ropes”.  First I have to say that I am not impressed with their customer service.  I did not receive a tour even after asking for the front desk guy to give me one and two I have had to try to figure out the rules on my own.

Like this rule – I signed up for the hydro bed at 6 p.m. but when I completed my my workout at 5:40 I went to the desk to ask if I could use the bed (no one was signed up and both beds were open) and I was told no, that I needed to wait until 6 p.m.  Needless to say, I decided not to wait and headed home.

But I can say that even though the customer service hasn’t been very good and I am hoping that maybe I am the exception to the rule instead of the “normal”, I have enjoyed the variety of workout options.  Today it was the first day of diving into the weights/Nautilus machines.  Now I have to confess, I really don’t like working out with weights.  I would much rather do cardio but I know that building muscle is the best way to “lock in” and become a calorie burning machine.  So I started with a Chest/Back workout.  I have to say I am quite impressed that I was able to figure out all machines and track my reps/weight on my phone.  I have to travel the next three days so I hope to get at least 1 workout in between now and Friday when I return.  We will see…

Happy Tuesday!


Took the Planet Plunge…..

Planet Fitness = Social Workout Options

For the past couple of months I have been thinking of joining the new gym in town – Planet Fitness.  I enjoy workout out and mostly I enjoy being active outdoors but with winter coming on I usually head back into a gym.  For the past couple of winters I have signed up for classes a couple of times a week and done spinning or body pump but the cost of these classes has increased in the past year and I cannot afford $12 per class.  Especially if I am going to do 2-3 a week.  And to be honest, exercise is a social outlet for me….. I like meeting up with friends so I have some accountability.  The new gym as a “bring a guest” free option but then I am constantly “tagging along” with someone else and I find that I have trouble coordinating around my already difficult schedule.

So I joined Planet Fitness this morning with a commitment that if I don’t go at least 2 times a week for the next month I will cancel the membership – even if it means I pay out the early cancellation of $41.  I do a pretty good job of setting goals and sticking to them – especially when I share my goals with others.

So the inspiration for me joining – Andrea.  Let me tell you a little about Andrea.  I had the opportunity to work with her for a day two weeks ago.  She volunteered to go with me to Toledo to do a training for the United Way.  During the three hour ride to Toledo, I asked Andrea to tell me a little bit about herself.  It was an awesome conversation – a chance to really get to know someone that I have been acquainted with for the past year but didn’t really know.  She is a true inspiration – someone that has lived a very full life and is on the road to transformation and loving each and every step.  One of the topics of discussion was about health and exercise.  She asked me lots of questions about my journey and how I have been able to balance home, parenting, work and health.  We talked about how to get started and how to ease into nutrition and exercise goals because when you jump into the deep end of the pool it doesn’t usually stick.  At the end of last week I heard from a mutual friend that she joined Planet Fitness to begin her health/exercize goal.  This friend told me that she was so inspired by our conversation that she decided she could in fact get started and made a decision to do something about it.  I contacted her yesterday and let her know how much I appreciated her and that I was able to provide some support to her….. so I joined to help me get my winter exercise plan in place and I hope that along the way Andrea and I continue to build our relationship.  I have several other friends who are members – so I feel like I will be able to have “workout buddies” a few times a week.

So here we go – going to put on my calendar at least 2-3 workout time periods for the next week and see how it goes.  Have a GREAT SUNDAY!!