Empowering Strangers

I’ve thought of ways to empower my daughter to build up her confidence. Which led me to the realization that my confidence level is not what I would hope for my daughter. Which led me to thinking how I can build up my confidence to be an example to my daughter. Which led to the realization that I feel most empowered and confident when I uplift other women. My friends, family, and strangers too.

So how does one empower other women?

You know when you think a positive thought about another woman when you see them? You might admire the way they parent, the way they light up a room by their positive energy, the way they go after their dreams without fear, the way they volunteer their time, the way they work their ass off. Insert positive thought here.

Tell them. Even if you don’t know them. I promise you, a positive affirmation (even from a stranger) will lift up their spirit. They will remember it.

I was at the gym the other day, and I was admiring how hard this one woman was working. She’s there often, and she has definition is her arms that takes a whole lot of sweat and dedication to obtain. And I wondered to myself, does she know that her hard work is paying off? So I silenced the voice in my head that said “don’t compliment a stranger, that’s weird.”  I walked over to her and said “I really admire how hard you work, do you know that you have crazy definition in your arms? Your arms are my goal” She just stared at me for a minute, sort of stunned. And my head thought “oh my, she thinks I’m a wack-a-doodle”  Finally, she replied with a smile “Thank you so much, I’ve worked at it for years.” Years people! That’s dedication right there. And that was that. We walked our separate ways and continued our workouts. A couple of days later, she was walking in as I was walking out. She stopped me and introduced herself with a big smile and asked me my name. Which officially makes us no longer strangers. ha!

In the process of highlighting the strengths of women around you, you will start to distinguish your own strengths. It opens up the mind to positive. It’s the very reason I love photography so much. To me, photography is looking for beauty in everything. We see objects around us so much that it becomes “ordinary”. We no longer see. Canadians: how ordinary and everyday is snow to us? We live in a sea of white for 6 months of the year. Have you looked at snow with different eyes lately? A snowflake is the most delicate, intricate, beautiful of our “ordinary objects”. Watch the excitement in someone’s eyes who has never seen snow before!

Open your eyes to the beautiful, it’s all around us and it lives within everyone. A face transforms with a smile. There is nothing more beautiful than a smile. It exudes warmth, kindness, connection. Expand your vision of what beauty is, and think about what you find beautiful about your Mom. Your sister. Your daughter. Your friends. When you think about them, it’s not about their outer. It’s who they are as people that make them beautiful…their spirit.


I have very vivid memories of the women who took the time to uplift my spirit. I specifically remember the women whom I didn’t even know. Why would a stranger spread positivity to me? She doesn’t even know me, so there’s nothing in it for her! I guess that’s why it stuck with me.

So today, find something beautiful within the women who cross your path, and then tell them.

From my heart to yours,


P.S. You are ridiculously beautiful

One Year of Strength Training Results

The other day I weighed in for the first time in weeks and I realized it’s been a full year since I’ve started strength training…thanks to all that I learned from my  fabulously focused trainer friend Shannon Olsen and from the kind and inspiring Kristine Rustand of BMS Bootcamps . Prior to working with these wonderful ladies, the majority of my exercise was cardio based with a bit of strength training. For the past year, I have focused on strength training with a bit of cardio. It’s been a complete change in the way I train to maintain my health and wellness. I love the focus and pride weight training gives me.

Because our society can be so weight loss centered…here’s my weigh-in results after one year of strength training:

I lost a total of 0 pounds.

That’s right I weigh exactly the same one year later.

If I were to base my results on the scale, I would feel like I failed or at the very least I would feel like I didn’t make a whole lot of progress.

Weight Loss: 0


Strength Gain:  I’ve increased the weight I can lift by over 100% in some areas. From squatting my body weight, to squatting 140 pounds for several sets. I’ve gone from a shaky total of 12 pushups to 3 sets of 12 incline pushups. I’ve gone from a dangly no-hope-of-pulling-up-my-own-body-weight to actually being able to do a couple of pull-ups unassisted. That’s HUGE for me. A year ago I had no idea what a deadlift was, today I deadlift a couple of times a week progressing in weight as I gain muscle. At the moment, I’m at 3 sets of 12 lifting 110 pounds. It shocks me each month that I can increase the weight I can lift in every area. It doesn’t seem possible in my limited mindset.

I was always intimidated by the “guy zone” at the gym. The weight training area was off-limits. I felt like I had no business being there.  My biggest sense of joy comes from the confidence I have in that area now.  When I see the squat rack free, I get all excited. ha! I used to spend my entire time at the gym on a treadmill, running to nowhere. There’s definitely a place for running, but now it’s a part of the plan….not all of my plan.

Aside from my new-found-happiness via weights, the greatest gift has been through the incredibly motivating and uplifting people I’ve met this year by consistently going to the gym the same time of day for a few days a week.

The man who was run over after his motorcycle crash…he spends hours at the gym strengthening his new legs.

I met a man the other day who has two brand new knees. After 6 months at the gym and rehabilitation, he was able to climb the rocks in Mexico and jog on the beach with his grandchildren. He said this to me last week: “take care of your body, because when you get to my age, you need it to enjoy your retirement.”

I met a Mom who found self-confidence and purpose through fitness as she coped with her kids leaving for school.

I met a man the other day who showed me how to use battling ropes. He’s got some years on me, but he kicked my ass! As he showed me all he can do, I could feel how proud he was of his progress. Seriously, kicked. my. ass.

I met a woman who progresses every time I see her. She leaves her heart on the gym floor and through one little compliment I gave her about how she motivated me to work harder, we now exchange smiles and hellos rather than two strangers passing by.

And finally, I’m always encouraged by a man who walks the track as he recovers from a stroke. His strength of body and spirit amazes me. He just keeps going and if you could see the expression of determination on his face you would be inspired to just get out and walk a lap along with him.

I’m sharing all of this today because for years I was caught up in judging myself based on what a stupid scale read. I know many of my friends struggle with this as well.

If you have worked hard towards your goals and you are frustrated with your progress, I want to encourage you to focus on the strength you are building in both your body and mind. Focus on how much farther or longer you can run. Focus on the uplifting of your spirit as you sweat out the stress. Focus on increasing the weight each session or the amount of reps you can do. Focus on uplifting others through the joy you feel. Get out and live! Remember where you started, but more importantly WHY you started. Where you are at today in your fitness, is another person’s goal. Be good to yourself and enjoy the ride.

This past year has been a gift as I’ve learned so much more about the limits (or what I thought was my limits) of my mind and body. The correlation between the two in undeniable.

If you don’t know where to start with weight training, go hire a trainer. It’s worth every dollar! Check out: http://www.bodybuilding.com . Great resources for free! (who doesn’t love free)

From my heart to yours,