Why I Love Being 47

When I was younger, I thought aging wouldn’t happen to me. It’s not that I didn’t think I would get older. I just thought that since I exercise, eat healthy, get plenty of rest and have good genes, I could beat aging or at least some of the negative aspects of aging. I do believe that my healthy lifestyle is helping me to age well, but I’m still aging. Interestingly, I’m okay with that. I actually like my age and where I am in life. As I grow older, I want to embrace each stage and make the best of every age. With that being said, there are several things that I particularly like about my age.

I am at peace with myself. I don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone. I have accomplished some pretty cool things and am happy with that. I always want to improve myself, but I no longer feel that heavy, driving force that says, “Do More”, “Push Harder”, “Be Better”. This is true in my fitness regimen, too. I don’t KILL my body anymore (Ok, I know some in my classes may argue that). Oh, I work hard, no doubt. But I listen better and rest my body more. I don’t ignore it when it’s telling me to take a couple days off each week instead of one or do yoga instead of run. My exercise regimen is lighter than it’s been in years, but my body looks and feels better. So interesting.

Things don’t mean as much to me anymore. I like to look cute and fashionable, but I seriously do not care if I have the latest and greatest of anything whether it’s clothes, electronics, cars, my house, etc. Walk on to any college campus and you will see SO many young people concerned with status and if they’re wearing the right brand. I just want to sweetly grab them by the shoulders and say, “It really doesn’t matter in life if you’re wearing Hunter rain boots or Wal-Mart rain boots. AND if your friends care about that then you need new friends.”

I’m seeing how short life is. How quickly my children are growing. I don’t want to go, go, go. I want to stay, stay, stay. Spend time with those I cherish. Enjoy weekends with my husband. Take time to love on my children…not just quality time but quantity time. Talk with my parents and learn from them. Eat lunch with friends. Show Christ’s love to those thirsty for it. Relish what God has so lovingly given me. These are the things I yearn to do. Notice I didn’t mention anything about career, material things, looks, etc.

47 is a good age. God has taught me so much over the years and I’m grateful for the lessons big and small. I don’t mind the wrinkles if growing older means growing wiser. It’s worth it.

Fall 2014 347


My Fav Cheap and Not Cheap Workout Clothes

My “work clothes” are workout clothes, so that’s really cool! Looking through my workout wardrobe, I have a wide array of brands that I buy….Nike, Under Armour, Lululemon, Athleta, Gap, Champion (from Target), Impact Fitness, Adidas, Zumbawear, Old Navy, Marika, BCG (Academy brand), Avia, etc. I know, I know. It’s a lot, but it’s part of the job…. Truth is, I LOVE workout clothes! I would rather shop for workout clothes than anything. When my 19 year-old daughter and I go shopping, usually around the halfway point of our shopping trip, I have to make a vow to her that I won’t shop for anymore workout wear. In each store we enter, I feel the strong gravitational pull of the workout section. I’m powerless to it.

Some of my workout clothes are pricey and some are downright cheap, but, like dear children, I love them all. A couple of my “children” stand out as exceptional, so I thought I would pass along my favorite expensive and non-expensive pieces that I currently wear.

Favorite Pricey Item


Lululemon Energy Bra


Oh my, how I love this sports bra. I’m a jumper. I love plyo and any move that is big and requires lots of power. BUT there are certain things that I want to stay put while I do these awesome power moves, ya know? This bra is fantastic for that. It also gives a nice shape without the dreaded “uniboob” look. I have several colors and love them all!

Favorite Non-Pricey Item

C9 by Champion Capri Leggings



These fun tights are cute, comfy and launder well. No matter if I’m teaching my body sculpting or Zumba classes or running or doing yoga, I am comfortable and don’t have to worry about them riding up or down. Also, they look and feel much more expensive than they are. Such a win!




Normal and Proud

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I’m not cool when it comes to my workout outfits. Nope. I’m just downright normal. Almost any class I teach, you will probably catch me in tights and a tank top. Normal shoes. No hats. No jewelry. Hair in a ponytail. Not setting any trends here. It’s not sexy, but, hey, we’re working out. I’m not putting on a show. I’m not the entertainment. I’m just leading the class and the class members are actually the stars of the show. When I teach (and when I workout on my own), I want to be comfortable and feel good. I want to look cute, of course, but I don’t want to look like an idiot. I’m 47 and really don’t want to look like I’m trying to be a teenager again. I think I’ve learned well from my daughter. Whenever we’re shopping and I take something off the rack that she thinks is too youthful, she just sweetly takes it out of my hands and says, “Ummm, NO!” She doesn’t want me to look like an idiot either and I appreciate that.

All this to say, if you’re like me and you just want to look like you’re working out when you are actually working out, I’m with ya! We can be uncool and normal together. Our daughters will thank us!


Photo taken at the Waco Family YMCA, for membership information, click here.


My Story of Healing

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The tongue has the power of life and death…

– Proverbs 18:21

Words are powerful. Who knows why some words roll off our backs and others stick, doing damage so deep that only God can fix.

My story starts when I was a freshman in college. I entered Baylor as a secure, happy, outgoing 18 year-old girl determined to make a high GPA, get in a sorority and make the cheerleading squad. By the end of that year, all of those goals had been met, but I was a different girl.

Cheerleading was a BIG deal to me. Probably wayyyy too big of a deal, but I was young and it was fun and I was really good at it. When it came time for Baylor tryouts, I was ready and confident. I had seen my competition and knew that I shouldn’t have any trouble making the squad. Like most freshman girls, I had gained a little weight, but it was nothing monumental and I hadn’t given it much thought. That was all about to change.

I nailed my tryout and, as everyone was waiting for the results in the foyer of the gym, the head judge (who I admired and had worked with the previous summer as an NCA instructor) came out and sternly said, in front of everyone“Susan, you are the most talented cheerleader out there, but you are too FAT.” He turned around, walked away and left me shattered. I weighed 122 lbs. that day.

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That one sentence changed my life. I began an emotional downward spiral. The happy, outgoing, confident girl became sullen, depressed and self-loathing. Trying to hide my pain and always look happy left me wracked with anxieties and full of shame. I did end up making the cheer squad and what should have been an exciting experience was always clouded by my obsession with my big ole “fat” body. We would be cheering in the most amazing stadiums with excitement all around, but I couldn’t fully enjoy it.

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I became trapped in a perpetual state of starving, bingeing and purging. I developed a very unhealthy relationship with exercise. I worked out to get skinny not for health or stress relief and definitely not for enjoyment. It was my punishment. I began having trouble looking people in the eye and hated being in large groups. In my warped mind, everyone was judging me.

The stronghold on my life had a vice grip that only the powerful hands of Jesus could pry off of me. Having been a Christian since age nine, I continually prayed and cried out to Him. I yearned to be free.

In the middle of my raging mind battle, God sent a bright light. He was a 6’1” blue-eyed hunk of a bright light. Darren (now my husband! Yay me!) helped me realize that how I felt about myself didn’t match up with what he saw. The Lord used Darren to begin to change my twisted body image. Those words, “You’re just too FAT,” began to lose their power over me.

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God also made it clear that I had to give up cheerleading. This was a tough one, but the reality was, it was an idol in my life and any time we worship anything other than the One True God, we destroy ourselves.

As I stepped away from cheer, God began to shed the blinders I wore. I could breathe again. He whispered into my heart that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Who cares what a scale says or what a cheer judge says? What matters is what HE says.

I began to take care of my body as a way to praise and thank Him. Don’t miss that. That was huge. The extra weight fell off without effort. For the first time in my life, I exercised for enjoyment (yes, people, it’s possible). I began a healthy relationship with food. If I wanted a piece of cake, I had a piece of cake and enjoyed it. No punishment. I chose to eat healthy as a means of taking care of the body that He gave me, NOT to be skinny or fit someone else’s ideal.

Although I vowed never again to be put in a situation where people might judge my body, God had other plans and put me smack dab in front of people as a fitness instructor (He dragged me kicking and screaming, but that’s a whole other story). I’m now able to be that bright light to others and to speak life-giving words to them about their bodies. Without God’s healing on my life, I could NEVER do what I do. I’m amazed by it.

I wouldn’t go back and change it. I’m actually thankful for that cheer judge because, like Joseph said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”

Dark Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

1 scoop of protein powder (flavor of choice, I use vanilla)

2 Tbs. almond milk

1 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt

¼ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. dark chocolate chips

1 tsp. stevia


Mix in a mug and heat in microwave for 60-90 seconds.


Chicken Basil Stir-Fry

1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into ¼ inch slices

1 Tbs. cornstarch

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1 small onion, halved and sliced

2 bell peppers (red, yellow, green or mixed, cut into slices

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbs. rice vinegar

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1 c. fresh basil leaves, torn in half

Cooked brown rice


Coat chicken with cornstarch and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in skillet or wok and cook chicken until ¾ done. Add veggies and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes. Add ¼ c. water, vinegar, soy sauce and cook, tossing until chicken is cooked through. Remove and stir in basil. Serve over rice, if desired.

Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs

20 oz. (1.3 lb.) lean ground turkey breast

¼ c. whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs

¼ c. grated parmesan cheese

¼ c. parsley, finely chopped

1 egg

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp. salt



For the sauce:

1 tsp. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, crushed

28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

¼ c. fresh chopped basil or parsley


In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic and cheese. Mix all ingredients and form small meatballs.


In a small skillet, heal olive oil and add garlic. Saute until golden.


Pour crushed tomatoes into the crock pot with bay leaf. Add garlic and oil.


Drop meatballs into the sauce. Set crock pot to low and cook for 4-6 hours. Add fresh basil or parsley and adjust salt and pepper to taste.


Makes about 24 meatballs.

Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

1 c. oat flour

½ c. almond flour

1 scoop protein powder (I use vanilla)

½ c. coconut sugar or sweetener of choice

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

¼ c. melted coconut oil

1 c. dark chocolate chips


Mix everything (except the chips) well to make dough. Add the chips. Form into balls and cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Cookie Dough Balls

2/3 raw cashews

1/3 c. oats

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 Tbs. maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ c. dark chocolate chips


Grind Oats and cashews in food processor. Add syrup, protein vanilla and blend again. Put in a bowl and stir in chocolate chips. Roll into 12 balls.

Banana Bread

2 c. almond flour

1 c. coconut flour

1 egg

2 egg whites

1 small unsweetened applesauce

2 mashed bananas

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

1/3 c. honey


Mix and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until brown.

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