Don’t Tell Me What you CAN’T Do….Tell Me What You CAN Do!!!….(What are the anchors that keep you going through tough times?…)

Don't tell me what you Can't do
So, I’m not sure if I have sprained or broken my pinky toe, but the pain has been excruciating at times. It has turned a wonderful shade of dark purple, since I jammed it into a heavy chair Wednesday morning.

bruised toe

I limped to the gym that first morning, knowing it would be a circuit day, and I trusted that the trainer would help me modify at each station, so that I could still work out. I ended up doing a lot of upper body exercises, I was proud of myself for showing up (remembering that just by showing up, you are “lapping everyone who is still sitting on a sofa”) I was also willing to be honest and ask for help at each station. The trainer was so happy to help me and keep challenging me…quitting is no longer an option. Putting on those sneakers was so painful, and so was just walking. It’s amazing how much you need that little toe for!

Thursday morning, the pain was even worse. As I found myself starting to worry, feeling sorry for myself, and so frustrated… starting to worry about not being able to work out, how long would this injury affect me, will this slow down my weight loss, etc….I had to pray and just bring everything I knew to the situation. It’s time to hold onto everything I have learned and press through this. “Ok Wendy, Don’t tell me what you CAN’T do…tell me what you CAN DO! Pray for the strength, ask to find the motivation.”

With that, I remembered a picture I took of TV the other night while watching “Dancing with the Stars”. It was a picture of all of Amy’s prosthetics lined up along the mirror. I remember pausing the television, taking in that scene and just being left in awe. Here is a woman who has lost the bottom half of both of her legs, and she is competing on “Dancing with the Stars”. She is one of the most amazing dancers I have ever seen. As she approaches each day, each new routine, she is not wondering IF she can do it, she is wondering, “which of these legs/feet should I use to just dance my heart out and do my best!”

Amy's feet

I brought up that picture on my phone and kept it fresh in my mind — to choose to move on. Thursday’s work out was spinning. I wasn’t sure if my spin shoes were going to go on my feet, or if I would be able to push on the pedals, but I was going to try, and if it didn’t work out, I was going to ask for help in finding what else I could do to sweat at the gym that morning.

I limped into the gym, explained to the trainer/instructor that I was going to just do my best, remembering that was what Carter told us at “Unleash the Champion”…you just have to bring YOUR absolute best to every workout, don’t look around and compare yourself to anyone else.

bring your best

I set up the bike, winced in pain as I strapped my shoe on and clicked it into the pedals…then I took one stroke at a time. I closed my eyes, prayed for strength to get through and for the pain to lessen….and pushed through an hour class, which was a strength ride including 4 long, steep hills….I got myself to stand up and push, and just went along, holding onto every inspirational thought. I had my “Unleash the Champion” bracelet on which also has the words..”Start. Sweat. Finish”, so I thought of all the people I am still on this journey with, that I met there, along with those in my weekly Weight Watcher’s family, who continue to inspire me every single day…. I had my “Believe” bracelet on, and on my handlebars, I happened to have the towel from the Sports Bra Challenge, which I conquered over a year ago. I was surrounded with incredible “anchors”, reminders to inspire me to keep going.

sports bra towel bracelets
When I need help to press on toward this weight loss finish line, I am inspired by the people who are in this weight loss journey with me. Their stories, words and lessons are in my head and memory…they are with me at every work out. I also hold onto every bit of wisdom and knowledge I have learned along the way.

UTC Turf picture

When the ride was finished, I opened my eyes, and I looked down on the floor and saw the drippings of sweat, and I was proud of every drop. During the cool down, I just thanked God for the ability to get through the workout…for the memories, verses, sayings, stories all brought to mind during the ride that kept me going.

foot and sweat

As Courtney Crozier has said many times in sharing her incredible weight loss journey, “it might take a while to change your body, but it only takes one split second to change your mind.” I woke up in pain, disbelief, discouragement, despair, bombarded with feelings of doubt and anxiety….and choice by choice, one at a time…chose to get to that gym, walk through those doors and continue to fight to get across my finish line.

Courtney with sign.04_n

At the end of that ride, yes, the pain was still there…but so was the sweat on the floor, and I was walking out of those gym doors believing again…feeling empowered, strong and really proud of getting through it. There is no better feeling than walking OUT the doors of a gym after a great workout.

I don’t know how long it will take for my toe to heal, but I will continue to search for what I can do in the meantime. I share the story of this day with you, because I saw this post on Facebook yesterday….

because of you I didn't give up
I didn’t give up today, because of the people who have inspired me. I have finally been successful in this journey due to the inspiration, time shared and help of so many friends, as well as strangers I’ve met along the way. Some may never know the impact their stories have had, and continue to have on my life. Amy will never know that I took a picture of all of her “feet” lined up in a dance studio on television, or how her courage and story will forever be a part of what I use, now as motivation to continue in my journey.

My greatest joy is passing on the stories and wisdom I have learned from others, as well as what I have learned along this weight loss journey, and this is one of the greatest reasons I share these stories…so that someone else will choose not to give up.

Share your stories and your struggles, ask for help, surround yourself with people who believe in you, even before you come to believe in yourself, have “anchors” all around you to bring you back to your reason “why” you are going to do this. Don’t give up, you CAN do this… One great choice at a time, bringing your best to each day, one day at a time.
this time is for you
PS…after hurting my toe on Wed, I continued to do all that I could do…. and on Saturday, I had a 3.6 pound weight loss for the week!

on boat

Going From A Setback To A Comeback…

Yes, Christmas and New Year’s is officially over, and it is definitely time to get back in the gym, choose to eat healthy, and go back to making one great choice at a time, again. I was doing so great, and allowed myself to slip a bit during the holidays, and boy was it tough going through that first workout on Jan. 2, 2104. But as I struggled going back, like so many of us do, I went to bed on Jan. 1st, and I just asked God to bring back all that I have learned, asked for the strength to move forward, and went to sleep praying for Him to provide all that I needed to get back and get moving, to be able to finish what I started. And again, as the promise states…..”The Lord Provides”.

Jan.2nd , I woke up early, dreading having to go to the gym, but worse than that, already beating myself up for all that I felt I needed to “un-do”….the yucky eating, how gross my body and stomach felt, the pounds gained so easily in less than 2 weeks, that took months to take off. And so here comes the first big choice…keep condemning myself and give in and wallow in this and continue to eat the wrong things still in the house from the holidays…or, choose to start putting those logs on the fire, (great choices) one by one (as Olivia Ward, winner of the Biggest Loser) shared with us…in order to get fired up and burning with passion and desire and motivation again.

At this point, I have to remember I’ve lost about 95 pounds, so clearly I know how to do it, but I have to choose to get back to doing it again. That was going to take holding onto all that I had learned…not only what to eat, how much, etc…. but holding onto every truth and every bit of knowledge that got me here.

I stepped out of bed with words from Andrew Pittsenbarger in my head (he spoke to us at Unleash the Champion..had lost over 140 pounds at the time). He told us that just by choosing to show up and move and exercise, no matter how fast or slow you are going, you are lapping everyone who is still sitting on the couch! I grabbed my bag with my spinning shoes and stuff for the gym, and all I said to myself was, ‘Wendy, just choose to show up at the gym, and you are already lapping everyone on the couch.”

When I got to the gym, and set up the bike, I was still dreading the workout. My body felt so gross from all the junk I had eaten. I had already stepped on the scale and was 10 pounds up (I know all of that weight is not all real, (salt, last day of binging before getting back on track, lack of drinking all my waters, etc… and will come off as soon as I stop the insanity, and the faster I get going, the faster it will come off and not stay). I had to face the damage and move on.

The music started, everyone came in to set up…each and every person admitting to sabotaging what they had worked so hard for, giving into the pressures of the holidays…but we were all back and ready to get going.

At that point, I thought about another thing Andrew had shared with me when we were on a hike…he said, “picture the ocean, and then picture pouring a pepsi into the ocean. Does the pepsi pollute and wreck the entire ocean? No, because the ocean is so much more vast, and you are only dumping one can of soda. Think of your week like that.” He continued to share, “all week long I would eat horrible things, and then I would throw in a few salads or healthy things, expecting to lose weight, but most of my week was bad things, so these few healthy things couldn’t make a difference. In my life now, my weeks are filled, meal after meal with healthy things that fuel my body and make me strong and healthy. If once in a while I would like to enjoy a piece of cheese cake, I do. I enjoy it fully, and it doesn’t change what I have done, because for weeks and weeks my food has been good. I’m putting a can of pepsi in the ocean…my ocean is all good stuff now. That one treat will not undo everything.”

I also remembered one of the most important things I learned from Carter Hays, when we worked out with him on his turf. He expected us to bring OUR best, not anyone else’s. The only person I need to outdo every day is me. This workout was tough for everyone in the room, even the very fit woman on the bike next to me. She was moaning and having a really hard time breathing and pushing through the class, and I was a bit relieved to hear others having a hard time along with me. It’s really frustrating how taking off almost 2 weeks can affect your strength, ability, endurance, etc. But step by step it will come back, and even faster, since we have been working so hard most days this past year.

As Elyse, our WW instructor says, “you may have fallen down a few steps, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw yourself down the entire flight of stairs. Stand up and turn around and start climbing again. Step by step, choice by choice. You will reach the top.”

As I pedaled and started the spin class, I had to remind myself… This week and a half of some really bad choices is not going to take away what I have done these past 2 years of changing my life. I have worked so hard for over 100 weeks, and stopping the wrong choices now and going back to what I have been doing right the rest of the year will keep my ocean, my life clean and back toward a new lifestyle of healthy eating, getting stronger and more fit. Time to stand up, turn and face the top again, and take it step by step. I will reach the top.

I continued to spin and pray and bring to mind so many of the truths I have to now grab onto again, and move forward and back into this new lifestyle I want to be my beautiful ocean of life.

*You are only 1 meal away from getting back on track.

*Get up and drink your hot water and lemon juice first thing and take your vitamins

*You must track your food and your movement (bottom line, if you don’t move more than you consume, you will not lose the weight.)…back to writing down, measuring the food, food scale back out on the counter…and putting my heart monitor on as soon as I get up in the morning, making sure the calories burned are what I need for the day.

The Sports Bra Challenge… Abundantly MORE Than I Could Have Ever Asked Or Imagined…

(Video I submitted for the Sports Bra Challenge Reveal)

The Sports Bra Challenge….Abundantly MORE than I could have ever asked for or imagined….
really hereWhen I watched my “reveal” video that I made for the SBC, after the weekend was over and Roseanne and Bethany had left, I realized how profound my last words were. when I spoke them, it was about a week before the event would take place. I ended the video saying that, I was looking forward to this event, as it started out as a dream I had about 2 years ago, and with this incredible journey I have been on, I was praying that it would be “abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine…not only for me, but for every person there.”  And as I type this entry…let me start by saying, it absolutely was!  It was beyond my wildest dreams…

The weekend was approaching, Roseanne and Bethany were making all of their plans to come to NY and experience this with me. I was so excited that they were coming. We were just 3 women, out of the hundreds who would be there, who were bringing our individual stories… our issues, our “baggage”, our celebrations, our expectations…our lives….our minds, bodies, spirits….just as we were, at this time, to a place to be together with hundreds of others, to celebrate where we were in our lives that day.

I had dreamed of this day for 2 years, since Olivia and Hannah had announced that they were going, after winning The Biggest Loser..2 years ago, 81 pounds ago, I exercised in my house (alone) to an exercise video, shades down, doors locked, in a sports bra, just to feel a part of that day that was happening in NYC, now I was going to check off a dream that I listed on my “dream/wish list” 2 years ago…..Roseanne was celebrating already being over 111 pounds down, since I met her at Unleash The Champion, Bethany was choosing to mark this moment as an empowering experience and time of transformation as she was going to turn 30 this week. This was going to be a time of proclaiming that this next, new decade was going to be one of health and fitness.

Friday finally arrived, and this extraordinary weekend was about to begin. I got the 2 bedrooms all set for their arrival…beautiful flowers by their bedsides, a “Soul Cycle” bag filled with some of my favorite things to share with them, a binder with some pictures of their journeys, filled with some inspiring sayings and things I had learned. I just wanted these 2 extraordinary women to feel cherished and loved…and to just let them know how honored I was that The Lord put them in my life.

bethanny gifts roseanne gifts

With everything set at home, I took the train into NYC to pick up Roseanne. Then we were going to go to the airport to get Bethany…then we were all going to experience a “first” together….spray tans!!! (the thought of exposing this stomach that hasn’t seen the light of day since I was 18 years old…well, a tan makes everything look better!)

I reached NYC, and within minutes, I found Roseanne, standing with her luggage, and I just hugged her! I couldn’t believe she was really here! She looked amazing! Once we were situated on the train, we started to catch up, take pictures and begin walking through the weekend that we had anticipated for so long!

Roseanne trainBethany’s plane was delayed a bit, so we went ahead to our spray tan appointments, and Warren picked Bethany up from the airport. We shared part of our stories with the people at the spray tan place, and they were just sooo excited for us. Geo, the woman doing the spraying, made us feel so comfortable, and when we came out, we took pictures with her to keep documenting the journey! She told us that she would totally fit Bethany in any time that night,if she saw our tans and decided she still wanted one. Well, when we got home and walked in and hugged Bethany, she really wanted to have it done also, so we jumped in the car and went back. I’m so glad she decided to get it done, it was great to go back and have fun seeing her experience it also. Again, a fun round of pictures, and we went back to have dinner at home.
tanningMy family was so excited to meet Roseanne and Bethany, especially my parents, as they had heard so much about them. We visited well into the night, and finally went to bed after midnight. If not for exhaustion setting in, I think we could have stayed up all night talking.

First thing Saturday morning, we drove to my WW meeting. Another group that was looking so forward to meeting these women whom I had been sharing about fore a long time in my group. We got there early, weighed in and met all the staff, including Elyse, who had been waiting to meet them, especially the “woman that I passed my “believe” bell to”. We took some great pictures all together, before the meeting started. Then Lorraine arrived, and those long awaited hugs took place! (As I watched Lorraine and Bethany hug, I was taken back to the day on the ranch, in September, sitting at the lunch tables after reading Lorraine’s daily letter to me….After I read it to everyone at the table, and explained that she had written one for every day I was away…Bethany asked, “promise me, that if I ever come to NY, you will introduce me to Lorraine?,(and I said, “I absolutely promise.)….and here they were, 7 months later,hugging each other, on Long Island.. at our WW meeting…ONLY GOD!
wwAs everyone started to come in, they met them…Elyse lead another extraordinary meeting, and at one point, when everyone heard that  Roseanne was over 111 pounds down, they gave her a standing ovation! What a beautiful moment. It was just so special to share this meeting with 2 special friends I had met on a ranch in Tennessee last September, and to look to my right, and see Lorraine sitting in between both of them, it was pretty surreal.

From the meeting, we went out for a great breakfast all together, overlooking the Long Island sound. Grace, (my daughter) and Hannah (Lorraine’s daughter), joined us, as they were so excited to be with these women also. It was a great “girly” time of visiting and sharing. The rest of the day was filled with a bit of touring the area, we did a little shopping and “cruising the Miracle Mile”, as Billy Joel’s song made it famous…from sneaker shopping to Sephora… we even took Bethany to Lululemmon to buy her first pair of work out pants there.

breakfast lululemon We took a ride over to see the gardens of The Swan Club, then picked up some great steaks and food for a barbecue. More great visiting into past midnight, and we decided we really needed to get to bed, the big day was tomorrow!

I went to bed praying again that the following day would be all that it was suppose to be. We were all excited, but also very nervous, as we had no idea what to expect. That evening, Lorraine decided to go with us, to be “the photographer” and visit and be a part of all of it, because we read on the website that being in a sports bra was optional, so everyone didn’t have to do it, if you just wanted to be there and experience it. Well, God knew all along that she was suppose to be there, and experience it all with us. There was a point during the day, that she just said how thankful she was that she came, as there was no way I ever could have put into words what happened this day.

Roseanne, Bethany and I all walked up to the station to meet Lorraine and catch the train. Thank God Lorraine came with her car. As we came into the station, there was caution tape everywhere and signs that said they were working on the tracks, so buses were running every hour to take you 2 towns away to get on there. If we did this, we were really going to be late. We met Lorraine, jumped in her car, and out ran the train to a station that was 3 towns away, and we made it in time to jump on that train. It was panic mode for a bit! Thank God, if we had to, Lorraine knew how to drive into the city. (something I have never done myself).
caught trainTaking a breath after finally getting on the train…we were on our way! We were excited to get there and also meet up with Susan and Murn (2 more friends from the ranch), as well as finally meet Jenny Gaither (head of the SEAK foundation and Sports Bra Challenge), as well as say hi to Hannah and Olivia, although we knew that they would really be busy that day.

We came up out of the subway at Union Square, and when we came around the corner, we could see the tents and the set up of hundreds of bikes. My stomach was filled with excitement, as well as nerves. It was the most beautiful day, sunny skies, trees starting to bloom a bit… Excitement in the air.

bikesPG We stepped up to the first tent, and we were given our wrist bands. We were told that our bike numbers were written on them. When we walked through the entry way, We saw Hannah and Olivia doing some announcements on the stage. We checked out the different areas, and then visited for a bit with Olivia and Hannah. It was so great to see them, they looked absolutely beautiful. A few of us were interviewed by a woman there, and then while we were hanging out, we finally met Jenny Gaither. It was so great to meet her after talking to her through so many emails. She is one of those people who just brings such a joy and energy onto the scene, along with an encouraging heart and abundant spirit. She is so genuine with everyone she is with.
interview ldy 2 interview lady

She was in charge of this entire day, down to every detail, and yet no matter who she was with, who was coming up to her, including us, she gave her full time, her huge smile and full interest. Every single person mattered to her, and in such a unique way, full of energy, a smile that never faded….she made everyone feel so special, and that it really mattered that they (we) were there.

Jennie Gaither We took pictures with her, and then she lead us over to the “reveal tent”, where we took some more fun pictures, and shared a little of our reveal. All of the camera men, some of the other Soul Cycle instructors, and Jenny Gaither all took turns taking pictures with us. They truly made us feel like superstars!
Ro's reveal reveal tent

It was also incredible to already be in such a safe environment, where people in all shapes and sizes were walking around in sports bras, celebrating their bodies as they are now….and in the midst of hundreds of people, mostly women, not once feeling judged in any way. That was pretty astounding! What an experience.

fun shot wen loie trio

While we were visiting and talking, and meeting up with our other friends, Murn and Susan, Lorraine was taking lots of pictures, and she made her way over to see where our bikes were, to take a few photos of where we would be spinning. Suddenly, I heard my name being shouted from a distance, and when I looked toward the stage, Lorraine was pointing to a bike in the front row, right in front of the stage, and she was shouting, “you’re in the front row!”….a wave of fear and excitement came over me, as I grabbed Roseanne to go and see our bikes. We walked all the way to the front, and saw A9 and A10…OUR bikes….front row center. Oh my goodness! We took a few photos, and then went back to a table to hang out and visit and take some more fun pictures at the SEAK photo booth.
fun wen loie front row my bike

The first Soul Cycle group was called, and we watched them for a while, and we were inspired by everyone riding, and excited to see Hannah and Olivia right up front riding side by side with lots of excitement and joy. The music was so great, and watching everyone ride, in their sports bras…completely uninhibited, was really spectacular.

As the first ride came to an end, I could see Roseanne getting really nervous, and my stomach was full of nerves. My hands were sweating, we started to get into a bit of a panic mode, I started to just pray for strength and courage, and with that, I assured Roseanne that we would be fine. This is what we came to do. It wasn’t a race, it was an experience, and we were not going to miss this amazing experience, and all that it was meant to be for us. She had never done a Soul Cycle ride, so I assured her that I would be right there, and I could hop off the bike at a moment’s notice and help her with absolutely anything she may need. I told her to just put up 2 fingers to let me know she needed help, and I would jump right off.

When our group was called, we brought our stuff up the the front, put our spin shoes on, and there were people to help us adjust our bikes to the right settings. Susan and Olivia also helped Roseanne get all set and locked in, and encouraged her before getting on their own bikes. We started to pedal and warm up as everyone got on their bikes. I reminded Roseanne that I was right there and would help her however she needed, and to remember…it’s not a race, it’s an experience.
ready to go ro set

I started to pedal and to pray, and as I started just thanking God for allowing me to walk through this next dream on my journey, I saw Ayana and Jennie get on their lead bikes in front of us…Roseanne was to my right, and then I realized Hannah was getting on the bike next to me on my left, and Olivia was on the bike next to her!  “Really Lord!!??? I am in the front row of the Sports Bra Challenge….being lead by Jennie and Ayana….with Roseanne next to me on my right….and Hannah and Olivia on my left???!!! Not to mention all of the cameras taking video and pictures right in front of us…because we are next to Hannah and Olivia???”….and then I just felt Him say, “take it all in, don’t miss what I am doing for you and through you. Trust me.”

jenny ayana group ride

The music kicked in, Jennie and Ayana lead and inspired and rocked it out with everyone there. We were stripped down into our sports bras…and we were riding with over 300 people in the middle of Union Square, surrounded by loads of people cheering us on, taking pictures. The atmosphere and energy is something I can’t even put into words, along with going through it, as we all celebrated how far we had come, where we were now…without one bit of judgement amongst every single person there…..just pure celebration! It was unimaginable! It was such a gift!

riding riding fast

The hour of spinning was really hard, at times when I thought I wasn’t sure I could hang in there, I saw Roseanne pouring out her heart and soul, and she inspired me to keep up and do the same. We spun harder and faster…we put the resistance up higher and higher, we pedaled and did push ups on the handle bars..over and over again…then we took out weights and did some weight training (while our legs never stopped moving)….It was really hard, really intense….and we kept up and did it.

hands up 2 hands up riding strong

When the last song came on, there was a point that my eyes were closed as I was praying for the strength to keep pushing and going…and then all of a sudden, The Lord started to flash my entire journey across my mind, as the words of the song washed over me singing, “anything can happen”…. my mind flashed from watching Olivia and Hannah on The Biggest Loser, to Olivia meeting with me and helping me…to being on the Dr. Oz show and making it from 1.2 million people to the final 20….to the finale of the Dr. Oz show…to going to Unleash the Champion, working out with Carter Hays, some contestants/winners of The BIggest Loser…meeting Roseanne, Bethany, Susan and Murn on that ranch (who were now here with me today)….

And as my whole journey flashed in pieces before me, as my eyes were closed taking it all in, as I kept spinning and pushing…an overwhelming sense of gratitude, joy, love and pure amazement in what I was experiencing at that moment…trying to take it all in….the beauty of the blue sky and weather, spinning this past hour while looking right into the eyes of Jennie and Ayana as they lead and encouraged us and just rocked it out…realizing that I was walking in this dream that I wrote down in a notebook 2 years ago…Roseanne was on my right, 111 pounds down since I put my “believe” bell around her neck after she climbed the mountain at a boot camp we met at last Sept….Hannah and Olivia, winners of the Biggest Loser, who went from superstars onTV to be called our friends… were on my left….we were all together, spinning in the front row, amongst hundreds of people celebrating….

With all of that going though my mind, a huge wave of emotion and tears felt like it was coming up from my toes, through my entire body and then out…my face became distorted, and I just began to cry uncontrollably. It was just overwhelming and beautiful at the same time. I remember just thinking and saying, “Oh Lord, what is this??  You actually placed us in this place, for such a time as this! I NEVER could have imagined this.” It was so mighty, I could barely comprehend it and take it in, but I just kept thanking Him for all that He had done and was doing.

At one point. I was crying so hard, and when I opened my eyes as I was facing the ground, there was a huge camera below me taping my emotional breakdown.  I tried to get it together, but the tears just kept flowing until the end.
break down  When the ride was over, I threw my arms around Roseanne. I was soooo proud of her. She kept up, stayed so strong and pushed through every tough moment…and she made it to the end victoriously! There were so many times during that ride, I just thought, she is one of THE most courageous and bravest women I know! And to experience this day riding next to her, was the most amazing gift ever! She is a superstar!
stretch

sbc finaleAs we gathered our things, the photographer who was filming during the last song asked if he could interview me and find out why I was so emotional during the last song. I got myself together and met him back by the tents, and Roseanne and Bethany and I were able to share a bit of our stories with him. It was very emotional for all of us.

I remember just stopping and looking all around to take it all in one last time. People were celebrating, cheering others on, congratulating one another…we were surrounded by hundreds of people just celebrating their bodies, taking part in this amazing foundation to support all of the efforts to support women in building the confidence they need to feel empowered and beautiful in their own skin.

This experience…this day, truly was ABUNDANTLY MORE than I ever could have asked for or imagined. And the amazing thing to me, as I continue this journey, is realizing, and being grateful for the fact that, although it was 2 years ago, 81 pounds ago…when I shut all the shade, locked the doors, and did the challenge in my own home privately, while I prayed to be able to one day experience it in person…God was already working on it, and orchestrating everything, down to every incredible detail of this day…and was just waiting and smiling as we walked through this entire day, in utter joy and amazement…completely awestruck as we finally met everyone there, who made us feel so special…and rode on our bikes, A9 and A10, right in the front row…with Hannah and Olivia on my left and Roseanne on my right, Sue and Murn riding behind us..Lorraine and Bethany photographing us and cheering us on…being lead and encouraged by Ayana and Jenny…surrounded by the energy, joy, courage and excitement of hundreds of people, with not one person judging another. When I think about his day, all I can do is keep praising God for His abundance! Prayers unleash the power for dreams to come true! Keep dreaming big dreams…and pray without ceasing..and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is able to do ABUNDANTLY more than you can ever ask or imagine!

whole group it really happened

January 2, 2013- Now this is an amazing way to start the New Year!…Taking my first Soul Cycle Class with Olivia Ward as the instructor!!!

olivia&Wend
Got up this morning, extremely nervous for this new “first”, but also fully aware that I put this on my “Dream List” over a year ago…and was excited to walk through another dream and have it become a reality.
About a year ago, after Olivia had won “The Biggest Loser”, she had started spinning at Soul Cycle. She would tweet about it and share about how much she loved it, and tell everyone what a great work out it was. At that point, I was just starting out in my weight loss journey, but in my list of “dreams and goals” in my binder, I wrote on my list, next to a box to one day check off, “Take a spin class with Olivia and Hannah”. Well, Hannah wasn’t in the Soul Cycle class I took today, but when I wrote those words, never did I dream that Olivia would actually be leading the class, and I don’t think at that time, it was anything Olivia had pictured herself doing either.
A few days ago, Olivia put out a tweet that she would be leading her first ride at Soul Cycle. I thought about the possibility of going, as I really wanted to support her in her new journey, and I knew that it was also an item on my “dream list”.  I asked a few friends, and they said they would love to go with me. (unfortunately one of them got sick the day before).
So Lisa, (my friend who took me to my first trip to Lululemmon when I celebrated my 5 mile Turkey Trot done on Thanksgiving), and I ventured out this morning, taking the train to NYC, then a subway down to Soul Cycle. The closer we got, the more nervous we became. But I just kept holding on to all that I had accomplished and remembered in one of her talks, Olivia once said, “you can do anything for 45 minutes, you just have to hang in there.”
We finally arrived at Soul Cycle, and when we walked in, Olivia and her husband, Ben were at the counter. It was great to see them. We got our lockers, shoes, water…I think Lisa and I went to the bathroom at least 3 more times with nerves, before heading in to set up our bikes. Thankful to be in the back row, we had a really wonderful woman help us set up the bikes. The room began to fill up with others who spin all the time, and when Olivia asked who was there for their first time….it was only Lisa and I raising our hands.
Filled with energy and joy, Olivia counted down to the start of the class, then introduced us to our bikes which she referred to as our “dance partners”, and she started the music and proceeded to lead us in an exciting, exhilarating, very tough first ride.
She was really spectacular at transitioning us from one thing to the next, but it was the hardest spin class I have ever encountered….it was spinning, mixed with push ups and head banging and lifting weights….all while your legs never stopped going, at times faster and faster. There were many times that I just took in the moment, as well as thought about how far I had come to this point. I remembered the first spin class I had ever taken, where I wasn’t able to even stand up on the bike and continue riding. I truly had come a long way, and I needed to remember that and celebrate it.
Today, on this day,  I was actually at Soul Cycle…on a bike behind Ben (Olivia’s husband), being lead by Olivia…this being her first “community ride” as a leader..in a room filled with really athletic spinners. It was another surreal moment in time….another dream that had become a reality.
Lisa and I kept up,we sweat like crazy, and celebrated when the ride was over. It really was amazing, and Olivia truly was spectacular as an instructor! Her energy was contagious, she encouraged everyone to bring their best, as she gave her very best to all of us. Everyone in that room was so happy for her.
We took a few pictures with her before we left. I got to share with both her and Ben how I had put this on my list about a year ago. It was another fantastic day on this incredible journey that I am on. It was also a great way to really get back on target after the little downfall at Christmas.
At the end of the class, Olivia reminded us all to put ourselves first in this coming year. She shared how 2 ½ years ago she woke up and decide it was time to “choose me”, and urged us all to do the same in this new year.
So, I enter 2013, excited to continue to dream big dreams and meet more goals, and live with a great expectation of what the Lord is going to do in me and through me in the coming year. Happy New Year!  (ps, as I wrote this, Soul Cycle responded to a tweet that I sent out…..I wrote, “starting 2013 right, just took my @soulcyle class with @BL11Olivia, she was absolutely spectacular! Amazing class!” and they responded…@wendybelieveit Can’t wait to keep rocking out with you through 2013!”)