for every shade of gray there is a Light

Anna Splash GODlove
photo by @aarondixonphotography

 

Valentine’s is usually a day I despise, with all the hearts and kisses and so call sentimental stuff, reminds me how alone I am as a single women in a man’s world. Yet this year I am extremely in love with myself! Yes I love myself! I am perfectly content with who I am today and who I will be tomorrow. But first I had to learn to be content with my past.   I had to go through 50 shades of grey . . . .

 

One more drink doesn’t hurt we are just getting to know each other right? One drink lead to another and another and very quickly the poison had control over my body and I was left helpless. Before I could even comprehend my surroundings, this strange man was leading me back to his hotel. . . as I continued to follow him, I was asking myself why are you letting him . . . .

 

Waking up the next morning I did not recognize whom I had become overnight. As I was staring at myself in the mirror, I had an out of body experience as I watched the true Anna Marie Willard disappear and this new dark person replaced her. Little did I know that moment, I had become someone who had no self-worth, no will power, and no strength to take a stand for her self.

 

I believed the lies that being sexual is empowering for women. I had friends encouraging me this is so good for you to have control verses the guy having control. I was the one who started making “the calls,” I was the one feeling the urge to drink and become intoxicated allowing the darkness to comfort me before any type of sexual intercourse . . . I needed to feel connected but instead I felt distant. I battled with who I was and as I continued to listen to what the world was telling, I choose to remain in the dark.

 

After numerous mornings waking up and feeling tired of not recognizing the person in the mirror, I gave up the life of sex and alcohol. I kicked the lies of the world off me! I started my journey to discover my self-worth.   Every day I had to battle the old self by reciting Love poems to myself. I had to keep fighting for myself, and self-worth because the dark person was still lurking and wanting to have control. I was not about to give up discovering the true Anna Marie Willard.

 

As I read these love poems I was able to discover the Light. The Light of Jesus Christ! I see Him and His unfailing love. This light now shines in me and teaches me to live a purposefully and passionate life! God’s loves me who I am now, who I was in the past and who I will be in the future (for I am fare from perfect). His Light shows me one of the greatest act of love is forgiveness. For me to understand a life full of passion and purpose I let love in and was forgiven!

 

He continues to save me from this ugly dark side of my human nature. He is my beauty! My light! that shines within me!!! I had to go through these 50 shades of gray for His glory to be revealed to me to see His beauty!

 

We all have a choice . . . I chose not to see the light at first…

But you can spare going through the darkness …

and being forced to see the light.

 

Choose the Light

Choose LOVE

 

for every shade of gray there is a Light:

  1. Whoever has my command and obeys them, he is the one who love me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him ~ John 14:21
  2. Love each other as I have Loved you ~ John 15:12
  3. Love is patent Love is kind it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth it always protects always trust always hopes ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  4. Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your strength ~ Deuteronomy 6:5
  5. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is Love ~ 1 Corinthians 13:3
  6. Be the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, against such thing there is no law ~ Galatians 5:22 -23
  7. Do not offer the part of your body to sin, as instrument of wickedness, but rather otter yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. ~ Romans 6:13-14
  8. For everything in the world – lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. ~ 1 John 2:15-16
  9. Bu I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. ~ Matthew 5:44-45
  10. How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. ~ 1 John 3:1
  11. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who lived should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
  12. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, decrees and laws. Then you will live and increase and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entirety to possess. ~ Deuteronomy 30:16
  13. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him; whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. ~ 1 John 2:5-6
  14. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you should and with all your mind. This is for fist and greatest commandment. ~ Matthew 22:37-38
  15. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:2
  16. Love bears all things, believes all things, hope all things, and endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7
  17. As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. ~ Proverbs 27:19
  18. But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8
  19. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5
  20. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39
  21. We love because God loved us first. But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God if we don’t love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: love God and love each other. ~ 1 John 4:19
  22. Set your affection on the thing above, not on things on the earth ~ Colossians 3:2
  23. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. ~ James 4:4
  24. Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich. ~ Proverbs 21:17
  25. But I tell you that anyone who looks at women lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Matthew 5:28
  26. Flee from sexual immorality all other sins a man commites are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you know know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
  27. And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But see his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well. ~ Luke 12:29-31
  28. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:5
  29. For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the god of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit – a wife who married young, only rejected,” says your God “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer ~ Isaiah 54: 5-8
  30. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you ~ Isaiah 42:9
  31. Search me, O God and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts ~ Psalms 139:23
  32. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. ~ Psalms 55:22
  33. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flow from it. ~ Luke 12: 29
  34. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Luke 12: 34
  35. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:10
  36. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance and his holy people. ~ Ephesians 1:18
  37. You will see me and find me when you seek me with all your heart ~ Jeremiah 29:13
  38. You see, at just the right time. When we were still powerless. Christ died for the ungodly ~ Romans 5:6
  39. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sine atoned for” ~ Isaiah 6:7
  40. So that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky ~ Philippians 2:15
  41. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ~ Jeremiah 17:9
  42. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
  43. Blessed are those who keep his statutes, and seek him with all their heart. ~ Psalm 119:2
  44. In righteousness you will be established; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. ~ Isaiah 54:14
  45. For in Chris Jesus the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.  ~ Galatians 5:6
  46. In your struggle against sin, you have not test desisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says “My son, dod not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” ~ Hebrew 12: 4-5
  47. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awakened love until it so desires.  ~ Song of Solomon 2: 7
  48. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them ~ Luke 7:8 
  49. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26 
  50. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3: 16-19 

Coming out of the Closet on CrossFit

Many have asked if I am straight, bi, and/or lesbian. This post is not to answer these types of questions. But I am coming out of the closest to set the record straight about my opinion about CrossFit.

 

When I first entered exercise as a professional, I was eager to become part of the CrossFit movement. Yet over a year of doing CrossFit style workouts my body became very broken. As a result of this, I was totally turned off from the Crossfit community. Like a high school student feels being benched the entire season, I felt I was the outcast for physically not being able to keep up with my teammates. Jealous I was not part of the team, I banded CrossFit. Then I find out the gym I am working at is opening a CrossFit “box.”

 

As CrossFit continues to grow, I have been challenged professionally about this growth. Like any type of exercise whether it be CrossFit, Zumba, Martial Arts etc, without the proper coaching there is always going the be the risk of injuries.

 

There is a lot contrast about if CrossFit is healthy or not. When the real question is how are the participants being coached. If you want to perfect a skill through Crossfitt, or kettlebells, it will take time and diligence. We can’t just jump into these classes knowing exactly how to do all the lifts and expect no injuries. It takes time and proper coaching. Even as a coach, I still seek coaching to perfect my kettlebell swings and the water skiing abilities.

 

I have the privilege to work with an amazing team of experts these past three years. They have challenge themselves to continue to expand their knowledge and coaching skills, while at the same time pushes each other to new physical limits. I have learned so much working with them both with coaching and reaching my personal physical goals.

 

With the new CrossFit Bel-Red opening up, I trust all the coaches will take the correct safety precautions. I know this team of CrossFit Coaches will make a huge difference in this community and will start changing the poor reputation CrossFit has to a safe and effect type of exercise. They have changed my opinion of it and I am excited to see the impact this “Box” will have through our community.

 

CrossFit has an amazing community, let this community grow to support all types of movement, exercise, and sports. Even though the high school student may not have the chance to play on the court they are still supporting their team by being there. We all can support one another. Not everyone can physically do CrossFit, more power to you if you can, I may be little jealous. Let us support our differences and remember the main goal: improving each other life through health and exercise.

 

CrossFitt may not be for everyone but movement is for everyone. Find something you enjoy and go “live with passion!”

I will leave you with one last comment. I am not a cross-fitter but I am open to learn from them. I am not bi and/or lesbian but open to dating not a boy but a man.

Seattle Seahawks Superbowl: Something bigger and better

SeahawksparadeIt has been a crazy week with the big win for the Seattle Seahawks. As I was watching the Seahawk’s victorious win, I felt like I was part of the win simply because I consider my home Seattle.  Having a home team win one of the biggest games in our culture, it created this pride within me. I started to be proud to be from Seattle, proud to be part of the 12th man, proud to be part of something big.

With the team’s return, the majority of the city shut down to celebrate with a parade welcoming our team home.  Having this new pride for our team and my new home, I wanted to be part of this big celebration. My co-worker and I were  able to escape the gym and adventure to downtown Seattle.  Like the millions of salmon swimming back their nesting home, every 12th man was making their way to the heart of the city.  Joining the millions my co-worker and I felt like we were swimming ups stream just to find a way to get close to the parade.  With our determination and creativity, we were able to make it and joined thousands creating the 12th man.

Being down there was an incredible experience. It was amazing to be part of the crowd, and how we all had one soul purpose, to celebrate the Seahawks and their amazing season.  Everyone waited patiently upon the team’s arrival and as I waited it hit me.  The 12th man creates a community of people coming together service a purpose, supporting our hawks.  The 12th man is more than just a cheering squad it being part of something that is big, with a big purpose.

We all want to be part of something bigger and better.  The exciting part there is something bigger and better than the 12th man just listen to what our Seahawks say what is it.

Competitions

Being a competitor, I love the challenge of any type of competition. The mental focus of syncing the mind and body to work together in the “zone” can be challenging at times. It is only time the mind and body are able preform at its best. This is what every athlete strives for, being in the zone at the present moment.

Planning water ski competitions schedule for 2014, I start to wonder how do I practice the zone during the off season? I find it extremely hard to practice this when I am not even out on the water yet. Though at the same time I see the mental challenge it creates and I am up for the task. As a water skier, I am always looking ways for improvement.  I am consistently competing against myself and  determined to progress to next level. Every time I am out on the water I treat as if I was at a competition, striving for my best.

Just like making my practice part of my competition, each day we all have the opportunity to make it a “game day.” What every you may be training for, approach each day with the mental tactic of  a competition. On any competition day we all have this mental approach of winning, transition this to everyday by attacking each workout routine or practice set with a winning mentality.  Even though it is not a true competition, your are competing against your old yourself striving for a new part of you. We can’t win every competition and not every day is going to be a fantastic thrilling day, but each day we will be seeking ways to improve ourselves. Make every day a “game day” and enjoy the present moment.

Game Day

New Year 2014: One step at a time

It has been two full weeks of 2014 and I am still puzzled of what to post for the new year.  Reading other articles about tips for a successful new year , I was hoping for some type of inspiration. Yet as I start to think about all the goals I have for the new year I begin to feel this huge black cloud of anxiety start to follow me.  As I look back on the entire year of 2013 and everything accomplished this black cloud becomes darker and the pressure builds as I wonder of the unknown of 2014.

Last year was an amazing year and I have to admit I was not ready to let it go.  It was full of learning through incredible certifications, full of victory and defeat with water skiing, and full of meeting passionate people.  I was blessed to have so many opportunities throughout my career and water skiing.  The unknown can be scary or exciting and I am reminded you have the freedom to choose between the two.

Wanting 2014 to just as good or even better than 2013, I realize I only have the present moment.  It is the minutes, the days, the weeks, the months  and everything done in between that makes up a year. Hoping to accomplish many goals for 2014,  I am focused on my goals by dedicating each day as a stepping stone towards them.  With the simplistic approach of one day at a time, the dark cloud of anxiety vanishes,  I am able to have clarity and focus at the end goals.

Commit to 2014, commit to each day, commit to your goals.

How are you living 2014?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Leon Brown

MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year

Due to the busy season of Christmas, I decided I am taking the month of December off from blogging.  I will be back in the New Year with fun exercise tips and nutritional guidelines.  Till then enjoy this crazy video of me water skiing during the winter.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Live with passion

SFG – Vancouver BC STRONG FIRST

There are certain events in life that create a powerful impression leaving a signature mark. This past weekend left its imprint on my life as I traveled to Vancouver BC to participant in Canada’s first Strong First Girya Certification. This was an unforgettable weekend and I will  keep the memories alive  by  implementing them into my career and my personal life.

The SFG certification puts mental strength,  physical strength, and spiritual strength to the test with three days of detailed intense training.  Part of the certification is to be able complete 100 snatches with a 16 kg kettlebell within 5 min.  There are many other things we were tested on over the duration of the weekend and not to mention the countless  amount of swings.  During this time I learned a tremendous amount of information to improve my clients training protocol while creating lifelong friends.

Snap Sista

However, the main impression taught is how strength is a skill with a deeper purpose.

Many times we would partner up for exercises and I would always find myself with someone who was strong in the areas I was weak or where I was strong in areas they were weak.  Working with each other we used our strength to transform our what could have been our Achille’s heel into a powerful force.  Together we became a mighty warrior by working through our limitations.

This is when it occurred to me that strength is not necessary where we are strong, but rather the areas where we are weak. Perfecting strength as a skill improves our limitations.  As I came to this conclusion, I started to realize the deeper purpose.

First I have to admit where my limitations lie to be flexible for growth.  Strength is having the humility to acknowledge weakness and the diligence to improve it.  When we recognize we each have different strengths to offer one another, it balancing out our own weakness, creating a stronger community.

Thank you Vancouver BC SFG for a strong community and an amazing experience.

Vancouver BC StrongFirst

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the week. Isaiah 40:29

The Scary Truth

Yerba Tea vs Coffee
Yerba Tea vs Coffee

This week I have  been doing a little experiment by taking coffee out of my daily routine.  Scary I know!  Instead I replaced it with Yerba Mate Tea a South American tea that has about the same amount of caffeine as coffee but with healthier benefits. Only hearing this statement of yerba tea is a “healthier” choice in the fitness industry, I did my homework and researched a little about Yerba verses Coffee.

As I was sipping my new habit while surfing on web, I was shocked by the startling  truth of Yerba Mate Tea.  Researching on mayoclinic.com, I found reports of studies showing  people who drink large amounts of Yerba Mate over prolonged periods may be at increased risk of some types of cancer. Cancer! SCARY!!!  Ready to spit out the tea, I started looking up coffee to see if it had any heath benefits (since we all know I can’t live without some type of caffeine).  To my surprise the newer studies have shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer and it has a high content of antioxidants. WOW  great news! Now understand these studies studied coffee, no sugar or cream added. So what I thought was a “healthier” choice was wrong, but now I am happily enjoying the health benefits with my one cup of coffee. Everything in moderation.

In the fitness world there are many products that are coined to be healthy. Just like I was deceived with what I thought to be a healthier choice with yerba tea, the truth can be scary.  But once you know the true facts about something you are able to make the right decision.  There are many lies in this world blinding us from the truth, seek out the truth and you will find it.   John 8:32

Understanding the truth and having a well balanced life is the key to a healthy living.

Coffee  benefits new studies – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coffee-and-health/AN01354

Yerba Mate Tea studies – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/yerba-mate/AN01774

Goals – Turkish Get Up

A goal can be defined as the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

Goals are used in many areas of life and are very helpful to improve the quality of life.  There are many key concepts to setting and achieving goals (read New years 2013 post for Smart Goals).  However the main key I have found to be successful with conquering goals is the power of will and daily belief.  No matter how long it may take you to accomplish your goals the fight to continue the path towards them may be less traveled, may be hard, and may seem impossible at times, but the power of will and belief will always lead you a step closer.  No matter how long it may take to accomplish your goals, never give up.  Daily you have a choice to take a step closer to your goals.

Willard 24kg TGU

Last year I had a goal to be able to do a Turkish Get Up, not only do Turkish Get Up but do it with a 24 kg Kettlebell.  At that time it seemed impossible since I could barely accomplish one with a shoe on my hand.  Yet I did not give up on my goal.  It took a full year of training daily and consistently practicing the get up.  It was an honor to  able to accomplish this goal with my good friend and Co-worker CJ Erkisonon on his last day at PRO Sport Club.  Thank you CJ for you help and support I could not have done this without your expertise. Clink on the link for the video.

Off Season Training Begins

This past weekend I was able to compete in my fist tactical strength competition.  It consisted of max dead lift, max pull ups and the 5 min snatch test.  Those who are not familiar with the snatch text, it is completing as many kettle snatches you can within the 5 mins.  I accomplished a 205 lb dead lift, 14 pull ups and 105 snatches.  However, I could not have completed any of this without the amazing encouragement that was surrounding me from all the other competitors.

The best part of the day was seeing how strength brought strangers to friends, friends to encourages and  encourages to competitors within minutes.  The atmosphere was filled with motivation and inspiration, like a forest set on fire the motivation and inspiration started burning inside each of us in hopes to do our best.  As a result, many people had personal record  PR (in water skiing we call this personal best PB).  It was amazing to see and be a part of the determination, the strength and the encouragement from everyone wanting to improve their physical abilities.

As any competitor, we want a t-shirt to wear for bragging rights.  This was the shirt rewarded to all the competitors.

tshirtTSCfall13

I love the quote on the back of the shirt.  As a personal trainer, I believe strength does have a greater meaning.  For some, strength is losing weight, others may be a fight against cancer,  or it might be like my case a back injury and being able to walk pain free is strength. For me,  strength is a tool, a hope to use as inspiration for others.  Many of you know my story (and if you don’t you can read previous post about my back injury) and from this story of healing I hope I am able to inspire others to never give up on their dreams.  It is people and their stories that motivate me to continue to strive for my best, yet there is still a greater meaning to strength for me.

Snatch Test 105

As a competitor I am constantly reminded where my strength comes from:

  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go ~Joshua 1:9

He is my strength and power.

Strong First

God First