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I need to first say this is not pointing fingers at anyone, but it is pointing out a social epidemic. I say “epidemic” because I know this happens to quite a few people. It is very wide spread.

I hear “So and so won’t understand” or “I wish I could talk to (blank) but they have too much going on. I don’t want to worry them with MY life too.”

I took Kadlin to Primary’s this week, first for a clinic visit, then hospitalized because she was having issues that if at home I could have taken care of easily, but driving home was unsafe. To me this visit wasn’t that big of deal. Kadlin wasn’t dying, she wasn’t even all that sick. I just couldn’t drive home safely being the only adult in the car. While in the hospital, I had someone dear to me tell me about a difficult aspect of their life with seconds later saying “Never mind. I shouldn’t bug you. You have a bigger problem. Sorry.”

I have NEVER said my problems matter more than anyone else’s. Because they don’t! Are they different? Absolutely!! But, that doesn’t mean one is more important than the other. While Kadlin is intense, medically and timewise, that doesn’t mean I should ignore and forget other people’s problems and put myself on a pedestal talking only about myself and how hard my life is. My experiences do not in any way discount yours!!

I’ve heard this type of comment quite often and I get it from other special needs families as well as typical families. They tell me of experiences with their special needs (or normal) kids and then immediately retract what they say because Kadlin has more equipment, or because she is just a touch more severe. This KILLS me. I live by the saying “mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice”. If it is important to you, it is important to me.

We are more similar than we are different.
You have a child? Guess what! I have 2!
You are married? No way! Me too!
You have a family? Seriously? Me too.
You spent a week in the NICU? Man that’s hard. I know it’s scary to see your baby hooked up to equipment you don’t understand and relying on others to take care of everything.
Your spouse leaves dirty clothes right next to the laundry basket? Dude, I drive myself nuts because I just toss mine and hope its close enough to in…
Your kid is freaking picky eater? I go insane at the “I hate anything you put in front of me” phase.
New born doesn’t sleep? It’s hard to run on no sleep.
Your son takes selfies on your phone when you put in down for 2 minutes? Yeah, mine too.

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We are far more similar than we are different.

There are things that deserve praise and joy. Things that are worthy of being shared and rejoiced in. Whether it is you personally or your child or spouse, an accomplishment is still just that, something you (or others) accomplished!

You got the promotion at work? That is wonderful! It’s nice to see hard work pay off.
Your kid sat for the first time unassisted? It is amazing to see them as they grow and learn new things.
Karate belt? Gymnastics medal? Top grades? Won a spelling bee?
Kept their temper under control in a very trying setting?
Figured out a solution to a hard social situation?
Saw a need and took care of it?
Did the best they knew how in every aspect of life?

Todd and Kadlin.jpgJust because we are different, doesn’t make any situation more or less meaningful than the other. By not sharing your life with me you are putting me in a corner by myself. You aren’t letting me be with you. You are isolating me and at the same time, yourself. No one has the same life. We are all unique with different things that have shaped our lives. We could benefit each other and enrich our lives by giving each other time listen and learn about others. We could gain compassion and empathy.

It is a beautiful opportunity to have a shared moment of commiseration with you. Life is not meant to be lived alone. I may not completely understand the depth of your feelings and challenges you face, but not telling me because I “won’t understand” or “you have bigger problems” denies us both the chance to try. And I hope that you would try for me too.

Now, you may not have all the same circumstances as I do, but I bet you have had to deal with situations that others may not envy. Share that compassion with me. Don’t make me stand alone because we aren’t “on the same level” and I will do my best to do the same for you.

I’m not saying that if you don’t want to talk you HAVE to share. If it’s personal and you don’t want to tell me, don’t. But please, don’t avoid me because you believe my situation is “harder” and you can’t complain to me. If it’s hard to you, then it is hard.

We all have problems. That appears to be a huge characteristic of the human experience. We all have problematic aspects in life. Some things are certainly more grueling than others.

With so much pain in the world I think we could all do with a little more kindness on a personal level, a little more empathy, a little more understanding, and a chance to grow together instead of isolating differences.

-Mary Beth Stubbs



“Share our similarities, celebrate our differences.” – M. Scott Peck

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Cali sunset.jpgNew Year’s resolutions have always made me feel like a failure.  Either I want something that is out of the realm plausible, or I write something down that doesn’t really give me any forward momentum, generally something someone else decided I "should" care about. So, by the end of the year when I look at the goals from the beginning, if I can even find that small slip of paper I wrote them on, I have the opportunity to look back at my life and realize I have accomplished NOTHING I planned on.

I have decided I don’t care. Life has a way of throwing curve balls. Either I can deal with them as they come or I can whine about all the things I missed.

When I first met Todd in Oct 2009 I was in the middle of applying for a few different things. I was working on joining the Peace Corps and sending in my application to the Trinity College Dublin. I didn’t really care which one I was going to do, I just needed to do something and get out of here. I then met Todd. While it wasn’t really intentional, I put off finishing my applications. I don’t think I even told him till after we were “official” for some time that I had those plans. I’m not angry at him for “holding me back”. There is no reason to be. I’m pretty sure that was the last year I made an official resolution.

I have a general idea where I’m going in life but I’m not worried if I get side tracked for a while. And who knows?, maybe I’ll change my mind about what I want out of this existence. I reserve the right to change my mind.

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I don’t want to look back on my life and think about how much of a failure I am. I want to look back and see the good, happy, fun, adventures and learning experiences I had. Because of this, I don’t bother with New Year’s Resolutions. I take stock of my life, almost, daily and decide what I liked and what I didn’t. What made me a better person and what I need to improve.

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As a mother, specifically to Kadlin, I have the general life goal to not meet her death with regrets. When she leaves me, and she will it’s only a matter of time, I don’t want to face that day or every day after with “what if”. My goal is to make sure her life is as wonderful as I can make it. My goal is to make sure Conor knows he is loved and wanted as well. I never want him to deal with survivor’s guilt. I want them both to know how much they mean to me individually and as a team.

For my personal “goals”, I want to FEEL my best (I’d say “look”, but that is rather subjective), be able to function, keep up with my kids, run with Conor, carry Kadlin and her equipment, be mentally aware and be emotionally available for those who need me (including myself). I want this year to be full of learning, be full of love, and most importantly to me, full of life.

These aren’t what most people would count as “goals”. They are a little closer to the destination on my road map with the ability to take the scenic route rather than a straight line, if that is more conducive.

Each day I will have the opportunity to choose how to get where I’m going. Every day is a new day with an ability to take an aspect of my life and improve it, make it better, align it closer to my end destination.  

Working out 3-6 times a week offers me the chance to take care of myself, which in turns allows me to take care of my children. Spending a few minutes each day being with them individually gives them the chance to know that I care. Finding time to connect with Todd every day makes me a better person. No one else pushes me to be as good as I can be as he does.

New Year’s resolutions are great, but for me, it’s far better to take a daily look at my life and do a little each day to make the life I am proud of. 

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This may not sit well with you, but it's something that you need to know, and so I'm just going to come out and say it.

 

Who Else Is Ready For The Ultimate Fitness Experience?

8

A popular magazine recently boasted the headline of "8 Lies Trainers Tell You." 

This quickly peaked my interest. 

Lies! Me? No way. 

I’ve been home from the hospital for about 10 days. I have only worked out TWICE! I am so terrible.

build muscle 500x333What gives someone the right to teach exercise?

I watch “trainers” daily that dont know a thing about exercise posting videos “teaching” people how to train.