Tag Archives: #believe

Medium. It’s not just an option for cooking steak.

For the last month I have been patiently waiting for today to arrive. Those who know me know that patience is a virtue I definitely missed, so the wait was difficult to say the least.

Today was the day that my mother, aunt, and I would visit a local medium and have individual sessions with her.

Now before you dismiss this topic, let me be the first to tell you that I went into today with A LOT of trepidation, nerves, and skepticism. I have watched shows like The Long Island Medium before and while I loved watching them, deep down I always wondered how real they were. I mean seriously…can you talk to someone who has crossed over? I was anxious to find out.

I have been very open about my struggles with grief since I lost my father three months ago. I’ve gotten criticism from some saying I should keep my grief to myself since it is a private thing, but I refuse. The loss of my dad is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and talking about it not only helps me, but I like to think it may help others who are struggling with grief, too. The thing about grief that no one tells you is that it is different for everyone. Some may accept their loss quickly, while others, like myself, struggle with it every day.

I’ve been approaching grief in what I like to think is a very proactive manner. I’ve been reading a lot of books, running for my dad, and becoming a part of organizations like The Dinner Party. I also took the advice of a grief counselor and got a seasonal job working a few hours a week styling brides at a local bridal salon. It’s been a true blessing being able to run my own business from home, however, I needed something to get me into a routine that FORCED me to stick to a schedule, shower, and get dressed up, so doing something temporarily was a nice change of pace. Honestly, these things have helped me so much. I tell myself everyday that I will not let my father’s death destroy me, but instead, it will help define me. I’m doing the best I can, and right now, that’s good enough for me.

The day after my father passed away I felt compelled to sign up for Teresa Caputo’s wait list. I figured if I would give a medium a shot, it would be her, but I wasn’t too excited about the five year long wait list. Oy vey.

My mother found a medium not far from us that she had heard about from individuals who had previously seen her and suggested we go. Like me, my mom was a little skeptical about the whole thing, but was openminded to the idea. In our minds, if this woman could give us a little bit of comfort, it would be worth it.

So I did all of the things you do when you go to a medium. I wrote a letter with questions for my dad and also for my aunt, who had passed early in 2014. I talked to them both out loud like I do daily and begged for them to come. I knew from trolling the internet that there was no guarantee anyone would come, and I knew it was a possibility that others could try to communicate with me, too.

As I drove to meet my mom and aunt today I had a million expectations while having absolutely none at the same time; it really is difficult to describe….hoping for so much but expecting so little. I was just very…..hopeful. When I told those close to me that I was going to speak to a medium, most people asked me the same question: “What do you hope to get out of it?” My answer was simple. I just wanted to know that my dad was with me. I would find a lot of peace and comfort knowing that.

When I met up with my family my mother was already meeting with Kathleen, the medium, for her reading, so I waited in the car with my aunt. We had opted for individual readings instead of a group one since we had a variety of people we were hoping would come through for us. After her half hour was up, my mother emerged and told me I was next. I had no clue how her reading had gone and was overwhelmed with nerves. Kathleen had me sit down in her meeting me and immediately told me that my father had come through for my mother, and that he was sitting next to me and was there for me, too. At this point I was still riding the skeptical train pretty hard, but just her mentioning that brought me to tears….mostly because I thought I’d flip out big time if she was messing with my head.

Within minutes the information Kathleen was telling me that my dad was saying made me a believer. There was no way some of the information she told me anyone could have known. In fact, one of the things was regarding our house hunt and the fact that we had made steps this morning toward that….which was true. We had emailed our realtor to submit an offer early this morning, so early that I hadn’t even told my mother or anyone yet. After about 10 minutes sharing with me things my dad had to say, Kathleen let me know that two others were with me in the room, the first being a woman, and the second, a young man. Based on what she had shared with me, the woman was quickly identified as my aunt and, similar to what my dad had shared, my aunt communicated with me topics that this woman could have no idea about. It was comforting and made me feel a sense of relief.

Kathleen then told me that the young man who was there to speak to me had died as a result of a car accident. If you remember from some of my previous entries, my good friend Andy had been in a horrible accident in December of 2012, an accident that had left him hospitalized until he passed away August of 2014. I had a difficult time with his death and had tried to do everything I could during his hospitalization to help him and let him know how much I cared about him. My visits to him always left me frustrated, as I did not know if he knew it was me or if I was even there. Due to the injuries sustained in the accident, he did not communicate other than blinking and was not able to move, and I always hoped that he knew how much he was loved, especially during that time. Kathleen gave me validation that he knew who I was and what all had happened during the time in the hospital, as well as some additional information that, again, were topics that weren’t common knowledge.

As we were wrapping up the session, Kathleen brought up my business, as she had earlier in the reading, only this time she told me that my dad was using the word “exponentially” when describing what we were discussing. This word is not one commonly used by anyone….that is, anyone but me. I use this word probably a little too much, and my dad would always make fun of me for it. It was the final piece of validation I needed to know that what I had just experienced was real.

After my session ended, I was able to talk to my mother about hers. The great thing about Kathleen Moore is that she lets you record the whole reading, so I was able to let my mom listen to parts of mine as my aunt was inside having her reading done. Once we were done, the three of us grabbed lunch nearby and shared what she had told all of us. The medium had told my mom and aunt things that there was no way she could know, much like she did for me.

Am I now a believer in mediums? Yes, yes I am.

I do think there are probably a lot of wannabe mediums out there, but after talking with Kathleen, I 100% think she is legit. Talking with her gave me some much needed peace and comfort, which makes the whole experience worth it.

Do you have to believe in mediums? Not at all. In fact, you could think what I did today was downright silly and ridiculous, and that’s ok. There was a time I thought it was rather dumb myself. My biggest piece of advice that I can give anyone who is going through the seasons of grief like I am is to find peace and comfort in whatever way helps YOU. We are all different. We all need different things to make us feel better and stronger.

Will I still miss my dad and cry about him? Absolutely. Every day for the rest of my life. I find a lot of happiness knowing he is around me and is still a part of my life in some way. It took a medium to help me realize that, and to me that is something I will never forget.

I miss you, dad……exponentially.

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Teary eyed but happy after an amazing experience.

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Rock Bottom is worth celebrating

Victories.

If you have ever been in one of my online accountability groups, you know that this is one topic I discuss every single group. It doesn’t matter if it is a small victory…..like choosing water over pop at dinner….or a big victory….like losing ten pounds. You need to embrace all of the little steps that help get you where you want to be. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It happens every day, little by little.

Today is the two year anniversary of a pretty large victory in my life.

Two years ago today I completed my final workout of T25 and stepped on the scale for my final weigh in. It was a moment that was not only a large victory in my life, but a moment that will always be one of the most defining moments of my life.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how I felt on the morning of November 1st, 2013. Somedays I am simply completing another Shaun T workout and think about how far I’ve come since the days I relied on the modifier. Somedays I am talking to a potential client who feels hopeless and like they can never reach the goals they have for themselves. Somedays I am celebrating with a current challenger about their results. As a coach, it is obvious I get to talk about the programs and the impact they can have on one’s life because helping people get results is what I do. My ability to do so and my belief in what I do is fueled by those feelings that took place two years ago today.

As human beings, it is obvious there are moments (both good and bad) that shape us as people. Moments that help us overcome and triumph, and moments that help ground us when needed. Since today is the anniversary of one of those defining moments, I wanted to take  a minute to share with you the two moments that have completely changed my life and that will forever be the catalyst for what I do.

Defining Moment #1: August 25, 2013

This was the day that Sh*t Got Real in the world of Katie. This was the day that I drove to my parents’ house, asked my mother to take my “before” photos for this silly little online group thing I had decided to do in a last ditch effort to regain control over my health and my life, and put on a bikini that I hadn’t worn in almost two years.

I was humiliated by the process. I was embarrassed and angry at myself that I had dug myself into such a deep, dark hole that putting on a bathing suit made me feel so awful. I missed the days where I could wear all of my beautiful clothes. I missed the days where I liked what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I hated feeling the way I felt.

My mother took the pictures, and I made myself smile even though I was crying on the inside. Then I drove myself home, crying the entire way, and proceeded to get drunk so I wouldn’t be as sad about how the whole picture taking process made me feel. I felt like I would never feel like myself again and could never get back to how I used to be.

How did this miserable moment end up being a moment I classify as one of my defining moments in life?

Easy.

I will never ever ever forget how I felt that day. From the moment I stepped on the scale to do my weigh in to the moment my mother took these pictures….I will ALWAYS remember how I felt.

I remember the sadness.
The embarrassment.
The anger.
The feeling of defeat.
The questioning of self worth.
The loneliness.
The shame.

I think back to that day and know that I never want to feel that way again. It is a reminder to me of my Rock Bottom.

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Defining Moment #2: November 1, 2013

This was the day that, once again, Sh*t got real in the world of Katie. I had completed the sixty day online challenge group, not missing a single workout in the T25 program. I had modified my meal plan and had incorporated a superfood packed shake into my routine to help with my nutrition. Somehow I had stuck to a promise I made to a complete stranger in the group named Theresa that I would not step on the scale a single day during the challenge. I had completely given up alcohol. And as a result of all of that, on November 1st, 2013 I stepped on a scale to realize I had lost 47. 5 pounds.

I cried like a baby. I instantly took my “after” photos and could not believe the difference.

I will never ever ever forget how I felt that day. From the moment I stepped on the scale to do my final weigh in to the moment my roommate at the time took these pictures….I will ALWAYS remember how I felt.

I remember the happiness.
The feeling of accomplishment.
The confidence I had gained.
The strength I felt.
The pride.
The rebirth of a mindset and a person.
The thought that this was only the beginning for me.

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Why is this a defining moment for me?

I think back to that day and see it as a constant reminder that I can do absolutely anything I put my mind to. I think back to that day and want EVERY SINGLE PERSON I WORK WITH TO KNOW THAT FEELING. I want every single person to someday look back at their after photos and feel the sense of the accomplishment like I do when I look at mine.

The photos I took on November 1st, 2013 serve as a badge of honor to me. They were the end of an awful time frame in my life and the beginning of the most incredible.

Side by Side Results!

Side by Side Results!

Awhile back a stumbled across a quote by J.K. Rowling that I 100% could relate to, which I have shared below.

I hit rock bottom. It absolutely sucked.

However, that rock bottom became the foundation for my life. I could never be where I am now….personally, professionally, mentally, financially…..had it not been for me hitting rock bottom.

Because of that, I will continue to think of these two defining moments every single day of my life and be thankful they both happened as and when they did.

I’m proud of my failures, and I love them just as much as my triumphs. Both have made me who I am. Both have impacted the way I live my life and the way I hope to help others. And both should serve as a reminder to you that regardless of how bad you think things are or how unhappy you may be with yourself, you ALWAYS have the ability to change.

Here’s to all of our rock bottoms and the amazing things that come from them……..

Photo Courtesy of fearlesslifequotes.com.

Photo Courtesy of fearlesslifequotes.com.

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The Domino Effect of Life

Life is a crazy thing.

You wake up, you go places, you do things, you meet people, you eat, you exercise, you go to bed, then you wake up and do it all over again. Every day you have the opportunity to start over and do something new. Every action, every decision, every person has the ability to set forth a change of events that can forever alter your life.

Have you ever sat down to think about how actions and choices have the ability to lead you into other directions that perhaps you would never consider? How certain people may not have come into your life had it not been for certain events?  I really started to think about this last night after our Summit Athletic Running Club meeting and almost reverse engineered my involvement with the club. Let me break down to you how running led me to an awesome evening last night:

Many of you know that my father is an avid runner and a real life Benjamin Buttons, as his racing times get faster the older he gets. Because of him and his love for running, a domino effect of choices and decisions took place to bring me into the running world.

I made the choice in 2010 to run my first 5k with the hopes of someday beating my father in a race. (I still haven’t)

I then relocated, gained 60 pounds, fell in love with alcohol, and gave up on running because “I was too fat.”

I entered into a sad relationship with my couch, and one day decided to type running clubs into an internet search engine, realizing there was one in my area named the Summit Athletic Running Club.

I decided to get healthier so I could run with my dad again. After losing most of the 60 pounds with at home workouts, I finally reconnected with my inner runner and made the impulse decision to show up at the Summit Athletic Running Club monthly meeting. I was terrified.

I knew no one at the meeting, and chose to sit at a table in the back of the room. Sitting to my right was a gentleman who told me he ran the Naked mile previously. Sitting to my left was the club president. I didn’t know what to think. Over the next three years, I became friends with many club members. I ran countless club races, volunteered at many events, met incredible speakers, and found myself immersed in a wonderful, supportive running community. That naked miler, also known to the world as Steven Sisco, is now one of my dear friends and one of my favorite people to run with (especially with headlamps). The club president, Steve Hailer, is not only a friend, but a mentor. Steve eventually asked me to serve on the SARC Board of Directors, an invitation I greatly accepted.

Throughout this time I remained motivated, not only by my father, but by others in the running community. I loved stories of hope and positivity and would often find myself searching youtube videos for inspiration and reading articles in various running magazines. One night I came across the story of  Rick and Dick Hoyt, and I truly realized what a gift running is. Two years ago I read a story about a local duo also inspired by the Hoyts, Zeke Petrie and Andre Travis, and followed their story. I was fortunate to watch them finish their first marathon together in Akron, cried like a baby with pride for them, and thought to myself, “those are the kind of people I’d like to know.”

Fast forward to a board meeting back in the spring when Steve asked us members to think of some speakers for our upcoming club meetings. I knew I wanted someone inspirational to come and talk, so I got creepy on social media, located Zeke, reached out to him and asked if he and Dre would be willing to come talk to the club. They agreed. I was elated.

Last night was our monthly meeting and the meeting where Zeke and Dre were finally able to speak to our club. It was incredible. I loved hearing more about them and their journey, and I loved their message. Both men came from rough backgrounds….Zeke had been imprisoned in Haiti and later cleared of all wrongdoing; Dre had a difficult life coming through the foster care system with a disability. They came into each other’s lives by happenstance, Dre asked Zeke if he would take him running, and the rest is history. Here’s an awesome video taken after they completed their first marathon together:

I am always looking for inspiration and motivation….it is good for the soul! To hear a young man who is confined to a wheelchair talk about how running makes him feel and how his dream of becoming an athlete came true….it is a feeling words cannot describe. It also puts into perspective that our excuses are only as big as we let them be.

Running really is a neat thing because anyone can do it and truly enhances the lives of those chose to partake in it. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow, what you wear, what kind of training you have done, how strong you are….anyone can get out there and start!  You just have to be willing to try. I’ve often referenced a quote that sums up running to me. “I don’t run because I like the feeling of running. I run because it makes me love the feeling of living.”  

Zeke and Dre have been able to experience this feeling of living through running together and motivate not only each other, but everyone who sees them as the beacon of inspiration that they are. The two continue to run together and last week actually finished their first half Ironman….such an awesome accomplishment!

Had my dad not inspired me to run, I would’ve never tried it. Had I never started running, I would’ve never known the feeling it brought into my life and the feeling I fought to get back in my life. Had I not surfed the web, I would’ve never found SARC. Had I not attended a meeting, I wouldn’t have gained the friendships and support I have gained through events. Had I not participated in these events, I wouldn’t have formed the relationship that would result in obtaining a position on the Board of Directors. Had I not taken the position, I wouldn’t have thought to reach out to Zeke and Dre. Had I not reached out to them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hear more about their story. Had I not learned more about their story, I would never have had the opportunity to have these two badasses as friends. That domino effect…..man, it is crazy.

Zeke and Dre, thank you so much for speaking to our club! I’m proud of you both and am proud to call you my pals!

Me, Zeke, and Dre.

Me, Zeke, and Dre.

Make sure all of you Facebookers are following Team Dre to learn more about their races and accomplishments!

 

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