Translate

Apr 11, 2014

7 Weeks Post: A Nail Through My Foot

Dancing again today feels like a bit of a dream, a sense of delusion, and great excitement!



The past seven weeks have been filled with:
  • More doctors, education, and medications for my body than usual
  • Loads of pilates, ballet, mixed martial arts with standing weight on my left leg, upper body conditioning, and everything on my hands and knees and back that avoided harming the punctured right ball of my foot.
  • Dozens of tasks delegated and reorganized so nothing was dropped or left behind
  • More love, friends, family, and support than I imagined could be given
  • More reflection, insight, research, and work toward potential future paths
  • Inspiration from those in equal or worse situations who shared their rehab stories and tips 

The reality of using my foot again today was equally like this:

Jason Mraz: "I Won't Give Up" Official Video

Courage, determination, support, attitude, sacrifice, resources, and willpower are required when obstacles come knocking, or in this case, nailing.

Sending you love and support 
so we can ALL be on top of the world 
and keep going strong.
  
Megan

Apr 1, 2014

Healthy Brownies for April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day can be really tough so I decided to make some brownies for my girls to take to school to help lift their spirits.

http://meganmerchantsblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/healthy-brownies-for-april-fools-day.html

As a fitness educator I am not much of a chef when it comes to treats, but I'm fairly certain these have ZERO FAT CALORIES so I made enough for all their friends, too!  

Please tell me what you think: would you try this recipe?

Ingredients
Brown Paper
Scissors
Container

http://meganmerchantsblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/healthy-brownies-for-april-fools-day.html

Have a happy, fun-filled day everyone! :D

Special thanks to all the people that share their super fun April Fool's Day silliness.

Share in the comments below: What is your favorite April Fool's Day joke?



Feb 11, 2014

Why Everyone Loves Dance

 You can be any size, shape, race, gender, background, income, or education level: 
And Dance.

You can feel happy, sad, silly, serious, heavy, light, strong, free, high, or low: 
And Dance.

You can be anywhere, anytime, anyplace, with anyone, listening to anything: 
And Dance.

Your eyes open.
Your heart opens.
Your mind clears.
And you can BREATHE easier.
When you dance.

This is me, always thinking I can prepare and plan for it... so cocky.
But every day and moment will be different.


Start dancing and let it lift you up...


You can laugh at yourself


...and make lots of funny faces and silly movements


...LOTS of funny faces

Dance is for everyone, 
and loves you as you are.
XO - Megan

http://www.lablastfitness.com/

Photos courtesy of Basil Steele.

Nov 28, 2013

Thank You

Thank you for all the medical trials so when the time and opportunity comes to choose self-improvement, we value the cost of associated risks and possess the wisdom and bravery to make positive changes.
Every day is given physical, mental, and emotional value and meaning.

Thank you for ongoing years of hard work pursuing careers while supporting a family, for the internal passion and fire to work above and beyond every day before parenting begins, and a partner that does ten times more week and after week in support and love for this life and family.

Thank you for the freedom to choose who we give our volunteer time to and the wisdom to know when to stop.  Thank you for the increasingly steeply work ethic and drive of colleagues because only collectively can we achieve the highest change in the world.

Thank you for all the friends and family that give hard choices more clarity, sage advice, wisdom, experience, and research.  Thank you to those that make time to pick up the phone or respond to email because it is always important, and with excellent communication, outrageous wishes become realized.

Thank you for all the gifts from hard workers that enhance our ability to live: houses that are homes, heating blankets and fuzzy socks, water, food, transportation, everyone that keeps utilities and communities functioning, educators, pilots, photographers, customer service providers...  

We all benefit from your care and services each and every day: thank you.



Thank you for a new day to

anticipate
 
experience
 
be
 
do
 
love
 
more
 
together


Thank you.

Aug 16, 2013

169 Lunch Box Quotes

I am NOT the best writer.  In fact, thank goodness for blogging so I have a place to practice at improving for the past few years.  But when my first daughter began school two years ago, I wanted to send her off when positive thoughts and loving words of wisdom so I would write the occasional lunch box note "Have a great day!"  and "We love you!" with little pictures of stick figure smiley faces and sun beams.

Last year her reading vastly improved so I began sending her with a daily quote.  (Thank goodness for the multitude of Internet quote databases nowadays!)  When she didn't understand the meaning she would ask me about it when she came home from school that day.

She has now begun her second grade adventure.  She also began reading Harry Potter and we have to monitor her going to bed at night (ie: she can't put books down!).  And I forgot about our quote tradition and she had to remind me before heading out on her new first day of school.  I'm so grateful she did.

Last year I kept track of all the quotes I found and shared with her (thank goodness for databases #2!)  Perhaps you will begin your own lunch box note tradition.  Have you heard the saying "you are what you eat"? 
Be mindful of what you think... 

Click here for the "169 Lunch Box Quotes" printer-friendly list.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela
"The struggle is part of the story." - Unknown
"One of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away or try harder." - Unknown
"What you can imagine depends on what you know." - Daniel Dennett
"Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms." - Ron Paul
"Life is hard. It's even harder when you're stupid." - John Wayne
"You're off to great places, today is your day.  Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way." - Dr. Seuss
"Always be kinder than you feel."
"When you feel like quitting, think about why you started."
"Hard work is a two-way street.  You get back what you put in."
"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night." - Steve Martin
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller
"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content." - Helen Keller
"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow." - Helen Keller
"My share of the work may be limited, but the fact that it is work makes it precious." - Helen Keller
"We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world." - Helen Keller
" Love is the flower you've got to let grow." - John Lennon
"Just living is not enough.  One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." - Hans Christian Andersen
"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Les Brown
"It will never rain roses.  When we want to have more roses we must plant more trees." - George Eliot
"People respond when you tell them there is a great future in front of you, you can leave your past behind." - Joel Osteen
"Dig a little deeper.  Think of something that we've never thought of before." - Winne the Pooh
"Don't think, and don't worry.  If the times comes, you'll know what to do." - Mrs. Incredible
"I tell myself that I am not afraid." - Piglet
"The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up." - Timothy Mouse
"You just need to believe in yourself." - Rex, Toy Story
"Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts." - Merchant, Aladdin
"Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one." - Grandmother Willow
"Remember, you're the one who can fill the world with sunshine." - Snow White
"Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind or forgotten." - Lilo
"Something feels funny. I must be thinking too hard." - Winnie the Pooh
"You can get it if you really want.  But you must try, try, and try.  You'll succeed at last." - Sebastian
"Say 'please' and 'thank you' even if you're feeling grumpy." - Snow White
"Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?" - Winnie the Pooh
"Today's special moments are tomorrow's memories." - Genie, Aladdin
"Who says that my dreams have to stay just my dreams?" - Ariel
"Your talent makes you who you are.  You should be proud of it." - Tinker Bell
"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient." - Eeyore
"I'm only brave when I have to be, being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble." - Mufasa, Lion King
"To laugh at yourself, is to love yourself." - Mickey Mouse
"Wow, I wish I could speak whale." - Dory, Finding Nemo
"I could get used to a view like this. Yep, I'm used to it. Guys I want a castle." - Flynn Rider, Tangled
"This much I knew. If you are what you eat, then I only wanna eat the good stuff." - Remy, Ratatouille
"There's a lot of love out there, you know man?" - Fillmore, Cars
“I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.” — Edna Mode, The Incredibles
“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself.” — Bruce, Finding Nemo
“Git-R-Done!” - Mater, Cars
"The things that make me different are the things that make me." - A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin
"Whatever you are, be a good one." - Abraham Lincoln
"No one is perfect – that’s why pencils have erasers." - Unknown
"It’s not how good you are. It’s how good you want to be." - Paul Arden
"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on the Treasure Island." - Walt Disney
"Only surround yourself with people who will lift you higher." - Oprah Winfrey
"All of our dreams can come true." - Walt Disney
"Nothing is particularly hard if you break it down into small jobs." - Henry Ford
"Make each day your masterpiece." -- John Wooden
"Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one." -- Robert E. Lee
"Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold." - Judith Olney
"There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch." - Robert Brault
"Clothes make a statement.  Costumes tell a story." - Mason Cooley
"When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, May luck be yours on Halloween." - Author Unknown
"Hold on, man.  We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title." - Scooby-Doo
"If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?" - Stanislaw J. Lec
"A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have." - Unknown
"Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"" - Robin Williams
“Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.” - William Cullen Bryant
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus
"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." - Emily Bronte
"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." - Elizabeth Lawrence
"It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in Autumn." - B. C. Forbes
"Spring comes with flowers, autumn with the moon, summer with the breeze, winter with snow.  When idle concerns don't fill your thoughts, that's your best season." - Wu-Men
"October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter." - Nova Bair
"There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season." - Sir Francis Bacon 
"The leaves are green, the nuts are brown, They hang so high they won't come down.  Leave them alone till frosty weather, Then they will all come down together." - Unknown
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” - Edith Sitwell
“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people's legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.” - Sarah Addison Allen, The Sugar Queen
“Our wings serve as flippers that carry us across the ocean; not in the sky!  Why, us penguins have so much fun in the water, we don't even want to fly!" - Jasmine Jean, Whimsy Girl
“Das Lachen ist die Sonne, die aus dem menschlichen Antlitz den Winter vertreibt.” - Victor Hugo (trans: Laughter is the sun that drives the human face from winter.)
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”- Dr. Seuss
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” ― Dr. Seuss
“If things start happening, don't worry, don't stew, just go right along and you'll start happening too.” ― Dr. Seuss
"The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination." - Terri Guillemets
"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." - William Blake
"One kind word can warm three winter months." - Japanese Proverb
"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." - Roy L. Smith
"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." - Norman Vincent Peale
"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other." - Burton Hillis
"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." - Harlan Miller
"Remember, This December, That love weighs more than gold!" - Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon
"It takes a big heart to shape little minds." - Unknown
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh)
"In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun." - Mary Poppins
"Think left and think right, and think low and think high, Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" - Dr. Seuss
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." - Winnie the Pooh
"Your mission: Be so busy loving your life, you have no time for hate, regret, or fear." - Karen Salmansohn
"One person can make a difference, and everyone should try." - John F. Kennedy
"You have to think anyway, so why not think BIG?" - Donald Trump
"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.  And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them." - Dalai Lama
"Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says "I'm possible!"" - Audrey Hepburn
"Don't cry because it's over. SMILE because it happened." - Dr. Seuss
"The price of greatness is responsibility." - Winston Churchill
"Some people are always complaining because roses have thorns.  I am thankful that thorns have roses." - Alphonse Karr
"If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging." - Will Rogers
"I've always believed that a lot of the trouble in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other." - Ronald Reagan
"The more a man knows, the more he forgives." - Catherine the Great
"The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up." - Paul Valery
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” — Robert Frost
"I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today." - William Allen White
"Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul.  Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal." - Pamela Vault Starr
"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." - Auguste Rodin
"There are two ways of spreading light: To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." - Edith Wharton
"Remember, happiness doesn't depend on who you are or what you have, it depends soley on what you think." - Dale Carnegie
"Life consists of what a man is thinking about all day." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts." - Benjamin Disraeli
"Progress is often just a good idea away." - John C. Maxwell
"Ninety-nine point nine percent of all employees are in the pile because they don't think." - Jack Welch
"You can't stop people from thinking, but you can start them." - Frank A. Dusch
"More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth." - Napolean Hill
"People will never attain what they cannot see themselves doing." - Karen Ford
"Don't ever be too impressed with goal-setting.  Be impressed with goal-getting." - John C. Maxwell
"Good thinkers are always in demand.  A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss." - John C. Maxwell
"Learning to write is learning to think.  You don't know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing." - S.I. Hayakawa
"If you want to be a sharp thinker, be around sharp people." - John C. Maxwell
"One good thought does not make a successful life.  Success comes to those who have an entire mountain of gold that they continuously mine." - John C. Maxwell
"The truth is that you can spend your life any way you want, but you can spend it only once." - John C. Maxwell
"You've got to think about the 'big things' while you're doing the small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction." - Alvin Toffler
"The immature mind hops from one thing to another; the mature mind seeks to follow through." - Harry A. Overstreet
"Keep your mind off the things you don't want by keeping it on the things you do want." - W. Clement Stone
"The joy is in creating, not maintaining." - Vince Lombardi, NFL Hall of Fame Coach
"The person with a plan, a picture, will go after thoughts that add value to their thinking." - John C. Maxwell
"No matter what you are currently able to do, creativity can make you capable of more." - John C. Maxwell
"You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou
"Creativity is the joy of not knowing it all." - Ernie Zelinski
"The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a creative mind to spot wrong questions." - Antony Jay
"Creativity comes from trust.  Trust your instincts.  And never hope more than you work." - Rita Mae Brown
"All human development, no matter what form it takes, must be outside the rules; otherwise, we would never have anything new." - Charles Kettering
"Most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than planning their lives." -  Unknown
"Before it can be solved, a problem must be clearly defined." - William Feather
"A strategy that doesn't take into account resources is doomed to failure." - John C. Maxwell
"The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare." - Thane Yost
"Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done." - Sam Ewing
"You invest yourself in what you believe can succeed." - John C. Maxwell
"The word impossible is not in my dictionary." - Napolean Bonaparte
"Reflective thinking is like the crock pot of the mind.  It encourages your thoughts to simmer until they're done." - John C. Maxwell
"When you reflect, you are able to put an experience into perspective... reflective thinking enables you to distance yourself from the intense emotions of particularly good or bad experiences and see them with fresh eyes." - John C. Maxwell
"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates
"The value you receive from reflective thinking will depend on the kinds of questions you ask yourself." - John C. Maxwell
"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones." - John Maynard Keynes
"The problem with popular thinking is that it doesn't require you to think at all." - Kevin Myers
"The greatest enemy to tomorrow's success is sometimes today's success." - John C. Maxwell
"He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master." - Ben Jonson
"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." - Ben Sweetland
"There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being - to help someone succeed." - Alan Loy McGinnis
"Learn, earn, return - these are the three phases of life." - Jack Balousek
"Little did I realize that my desire to add value to others would be the thing that added value to me!" - John C. Maxwell
"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." - Horace Mann
"People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society." - Vince Lombardi, NFL Hall of Fame Coach
"The happiest life is that which constantly exercises and educates what is best in us." - Hamerton
"Your real influence is measured by your treatment of yourself." - A. Bronson Alcott
"Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb
"We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what we will do, by finding out what we will not do." - Samuel Smiles
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one." - Elbert Hubbard
"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?" - Vincent Van Gogh
"Great effort from great motives is the best definition of a happy life." - William Ellery Channing
"Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us." - Thomas Paine

"Ask yourself this question: Will this matter a year from now?" - Richard Carlson
Resources
www.beliefnet.com/inspiration
www.brainyquote.com
www.disneyandquotes.tumblr.com
www.extratv.com
www.gardendigest.com
www.goodreads.com
www.inspirational-quotes.info  
www.johnmaxwell.com (Book: Thinking for a Change)
www.kidsworldfun.com/quotes-for-kids.php
www.my-inspirational-quotes.com
www.pinterest.com, Disciple 52 "Classroom Quotes for Kids"
www.quotegarden.com
www.quotesandpoem.com
www.nmmarketplace.com, Search "Words of Wisdom"

Jul 25, 2013

The Haunting: "Enjoy it before IT Ends"

I very rarely go to the mall.

But when my first daughter was seven months old in 2005, I flew to a SCW Mania in Dallas, Texas, for continuing fitness education (extremely worthwhile, but that's another story), and I felt as though those two days away from my baby would likely kill us all.  And at a gift shop in Texas, a small brown bear sat smiling at me from a window and called to me to take it home to my daughter, making those two days apart just a bit more worthwhile and a little less unbearable.


Fast forward to 2012 and I found myself with my two daughters at the mall in Utah purchasing Build-A-Bears in memory of their recently lost grandmother.  I was fascinated by the idea my children could make a wish on a heart, place it in the dolls of their choice, and then watch these sacks of fur inflate with life so tightly I thought the toys would burst.  The ritualistic stuffing remained in my mind.

Fast forward to 2013 and my soon-to-be eight oldest daughter has been begging of me for the past year to "inflate" her sweet Texas teddy bear who is so loved he lays limp from the years of snuggles.  And something spurred an urge in me today to finally take my kids to the mall and revitalize her childhood friend, continuing to keep at bay the two lost days of her infancy that plagued me so terribly for those first years of her life.

Why all the drama over lost time with my infant child?  Because for six years before her birth I taught older adults fitness and as they awaited my first successful pregnancy I would hear on a daily basis, "Enjoy every minute.  It goes by before you know it and you can't EVER get it back."  I know they all meant well and I deeply valued their words.

But then my first child and three years later my second were born and the comments never ended.  "Enjoy every minute.  They grow up before you know it.  You can't EVER get this time back."  And here and now at the mall EVERY person walking by is saying, "Aw, you have beautiful children.  Enjoy it.  Every moment..."

Something no one tells new moms is that you will mourn the loss of an ever-changing being constantly because every three months and then slowly year after year the person your child was no longer exists as that same "stage" and what is coming up next may or may not be as beautiful as the stage before. 

Not to be dismissive of the precious growth of a child, but change happens, adulthood happens, death will happen.  What is THE moment I must catch and avoid being forever haunted by because of this constant onslaught of the passing of time?

The answer is: their is no specific moment, and almost every moment has some element of beauty.  While at the mall, I noticed the women that took time to open my daughter's beloved toy, give it new life, and stitch it together for us was beautiful.  And the sub that taught my youngest daughter's gym class was beautiful in that moment with her group of children.  And the class I took tonight with a grown male instructor and six other diverse students were all beautiful.  And the sunset on the way home from class that was BEAUTIFUL and unique to that moment in time.

And rather than caution the loss of time to others let's instead all see that so much more than the stages of childhood are beautiful.  Regardless of age and possessions, beauty CAN BE in every passing moment and interaction.  This photographer found one such moment and shared it:


My thought is that if you ever find yourself interacting with someone thinking what they have is worth acknowledging in that moment, look to your mirror.  Give of your beauty freely and fill the supposed shortage.  And then go to the mall, make a wish on a heart, and inflate a toy to life.

PS, At some point someone had to ask: what about more father-daughter moments?
Those are worth making more of, too...

Jun 24, 2013

Special Thank You from NM LaBlast

A warm and sincere thank you to community supporters that have provided gifts and services for the NM LaBlast Instructor Training coming up June 29-30 in Albuquerque:



Presbyterian Healthplex
Generously donated their spacious aerobic studio for up to 50 instructors and LaBlast staff for two days!  Registration is open now through Friday night for local dance and fitness professionals.




CSP Dance Studios
Host of our public LaBlast classes with Louis Van Amstel June 28 and 29 at 5:30 PM and 7:00 PM, all levels/abilities.  Click here to purchase your ticket online!




Subway at Wyoming and Harper
Generously donated apple snacks, water bottles, and coupons for instructors, keeping us well-fed and hydrated during our two day training!



City of Albuquerque "Step It Up"Program
Provided complimentary "Step It Up" pedometers for all LaBlast instructors.  Stayed tuned for fun City of Albuquerque LaBlast challenges such as 'Dance Your Way to a 5k!"  Visit the Step It Up webpage to find out how you can get a free pedometer, join a walking team, view free resources, and more.


NM Dancewear
Provides a teacher discount card for all local dance instructors, including our LaBlast training participants, as well as fantastic coupons for dance sneakers for the 1st 25 registered LaBlast instructors.



Del Norte Sports and Wellness
Graciously providing complimentary reusable water bottles to the 1st 35 registered LaBlast Instructors.



If you would like to provide a donation for the NM LaBlast Instructor Training, please email Megan at mamerch@gmail.com.  Thank you, New Mexico!