To: Texas Governor Rick Perry

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June 27, 2013

Mr. Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Dear Governor Perry:

The purpose of this letter is to formally register my protest against your calling a second emergency legislative session – a session called in order to deny Texas women access to safe abortions. When I called your office (again) today I was told that, because of the “overload” of calls coming in, your staff is no longer taking the names of people calling to protest. This worries me, because as a registered Texas voter who is vehemently opposed to your gross misuse of taxpayer money to impose your personal morality and agenda upon this state’s female population, I want to be sure my name is on record.

Sir, your proclamation for this second emergency session is not only arrogant, a waste of resources and steeped in misogyny, it is in direct opposition to the majority voice. By calling the July 1st session you, Mr. Perry, are personally, as the Governor, willfully wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. In addition, by calling this second emergency session, you continue to show that you are not the governor of anything other than your personal vendetta against the women of Texas.

It my deepest hope and wish that you abandon your mission to take women back to the pre-1972 era of back alley botched abortions.

Sincerely,

Rev. Sherrie Robinson
Fort Worth, Texas

Who Knew?

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Back at the beginning of June 2012 I was desperate for change. My body, under the influence of the breast cancer medicine tamoxifen, felt cumbersome and thick. I had gained twenty pounds over two years, almost all of it in my belly, hips, butt and thighs.

Tamoxifen is an estrogen antagonist and it’s job is to block (antagonize) estrogen from the breasts. A side effect of that antagonism is that since the estrogen has to go somewhere it migrates to the mid-section, causing the cursed “tamoxifen twenty”.  Another side effect is a slowing down of one’s metabolism. It didn’t matter that I maintained my regular yoga and Pilates regimen: the combination of estrogen migration and changes to my metabolism meant I’d have to work extra hard to lose that new layer.

Month by month my clothes grew tighter and tighter. At first I was frustrated, but over time I started to feel depressed. And then I felt like giving up. My internal dialogue was…well, it wasn’t very loving.  I berated myself about everything that was “wrong” with me.

I couldn’t do anything about the estrogen migration, but I knew I could do something to boost my metabolism. I just didn’t know what that “something” was.  Running wasn’t enough.  I needed to take drastic measures!  As in a P31 Boot Camp. Or two!

P31: who knew I could love it so much?

Thankfully, the moderate and high intensity cross training, with its plyometrics and anaerobic exercise, really kick-started my metabolism.  As I grew stronger I also grew more and more confident. For the first time in my life it wasn’t being “thin” that made me feel better about myself! I found myself focusing on what I CAN do versus telling myself about what I can’t do.

After a few months of P31 my self-worth was no longer defined by a number on the scale or the size of my clothes.  No way! I was celebrating feeling the best I’d felt in years – hell, decades.  My sense of wellness – it was total… complete body, mind and spirit health.  I was also happier than I’d been in years.

Who knew I could feel this wonderful!?

Since moving to Las Vegas I’ve kept up my training routine, and my feelings of wellness continue to grow. Last June I could barely eke out 5 kneeling push-ups; last month I was up to 104 (mostly) standard push-ups.  How could I not feel better? I’m so much more physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fit than I was at the beginning of last summer.

Cardio, Strength and Conditioning

Circuit Training, x4:

    #1 circuit

  • Jump Rope
  • Squat Jumps
  • Prayer Jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Wall Jumps
  • Squats (standard and chair)
  • Running Butt Kicks
  • Lunges (stationary)
    #2 circuit

  • Jump Rope
  • Push-ups (triceps and wide variations)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squat Pulses
  • Wall Jumps
  • Chair Sit (30 seconds)

Mat:

  • Jane Fondas
  • Ab Preps (Pilates)
  • Oblique Ab Preps (Pilates)
  • Oblique Pulses (Pilates)
  • Pulses
  • Side-to-side Crunches
  • Rollback with Twists
  • Switchers
  • Superman

Celebrating Life with a Mud Run

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I’m excited and nervous about tomorrow’s Dirty Girl Mud Run here in Las Vegas. Excited because I love the party-like atmosphere of races, and nervous because this will be my first time to run an obstacle course.

What if I can’t climb over a wall?
What if I fall on my ass?

Those are risks I’m willing to take, because I intend to celebrate my recovery from breast cancer by challenging myself with this race.

 

 

I’m done being fearful! I’m done with worrying about what I can’t do. I’m going to show myself what I CAN do.

fight_like_a_girl

Last HIT Before Dirty Girl

Interval run

Strength and Conditioning

Circuits, x4:

  • Jump Rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Running Butt Kicks
  • Wall Jumps
  • Squats (standard, chair and pulses)
  • Squat Jumps
  • Lunges

Speed Skaters
Triceps Push-ups
Forearm Plank
Plank

Mat:

  • Donkey Kicks
  • Jane Fondas
  • Jackknife Sit-ups
  • Oblique Ab Preps (Pilates)
  • Pulses
  • Kicks and Pushes
  • Side-to-side Crunches

Happy Anniversary, TVB

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That it’s an absolutely perfect day here in Las Vegas is what inspired me to go for an afternoon interval run.  I also had a new pair of sneakers I got at Christmas that I’d been dying to break in.  :) But, more importantly, last Thursday was Valentine’s Day, which means it’s the anniversary of my surgery for breast cancer. I like to refer to my affected breast as “The Victory Breast”, by the way. So, “Happy 4th Anniversary, Victory Breast! You and me, we fight like girls!”

Image from thinkpinkribbon.com

Image from thinkpinkribbon.com

Cardio:
Interval run: walk, jog and sprint
Interval hill run: walk down, jog and sprint up

Incline Push-ups
Squat Pulses

Mat:

  • Donkey Kicks
  • Jane Fondas
  • Jackknife Sit-ups
  • Oblique Ab Preps (Pilates)
  • Oblique Pulses
  • Pulses
  • Side-to-side Crunches
  • Switchers

Desert Series Haiku

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Trilobite hunting
southwest of Caliente
snow atop the shale

Stories set in stone
Anasazi petroglyphs
4,000 years old

petroglyphs4

Etchings in sandstone
Big Horn Sheep and warriors
Basket Weaver’s tale

petroglyphs7

The Basket Weaver
left his mark in the desert
ancient petroglyph

petroglyphs6

Valley of Fire
red and white sandstone soaring
high in the desert

red rock3

red rock2

red rock

Sunny Days in February

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Today is a day devoid of bad attitudes and willpower-induced compliance. Truly, it is the small things in life that count.

A Sunny February Day in Las Vegas

I felt blessedly sunny, energetic and optimistic during this afternoon’s training, and this generalized sense of contentment is today’s “small thing” in my life that counts most.

I decided to take advantage of my surge in sunny-day positivity and motivation and added 100 more jump rope cycles and an additional 25 squats to my first circuit. It felt good to challenge myself! And here, a few hours later, I’m reaping the benefits of my workout: more endorphins, more serotonin.

I do believe I’ll add a nice long walk to my fitness regimen – it’s 60 degrees and, of course, sunny here in Las Vegas. Better be going before it gets too late to enjoy the sun!

Cardio, Strength and Conditioning

Circuits, x4:

#1

  • Jump Rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squats (standard, chair and speed)
  • Wall Jumps
  • Running Butt Kicks
  • Push-ups (standard and triceps)

#2

  • Speed Skaters
  • Triceps Dips
  • Quick Feet
  • Squat Jumps
  • Lunges, stationary

Mat:

  • Donkey Kicks
  • Jane Fondas
  • Forearm Plank
  • Ab Preps (Pilates)
  • Oblique Ab Preps (Pilates)
  • Pulses
  • Side-to-side Crunches
  • Single Leg Stretch (Pilates)
  • Criss Cross (Pilates)
  • Switchers
  • Rollback with Twists
  • Superman

Yoga cool down

Options for Unity Ceremonies

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The unity ceremony most often occurs towards the end of a wedding, after the vows and ring exchange, and symbolizes the union of the Bride and Groom.  Typically, the Bride and Groom each have an item that symbolizes their individual selves, and another item is used that represents the union of those individuals.

However, unity ceremonies can certainly represent more than the union of the Bride and Groom: they can symbolize the blending of many lives.  If the ceremony involves other participants, such as the couple’s children or parents, then it will most likely take place towards the beginning of the wedding, before the Bride and Groom say their vows.

wedding cake topper

Unity: Candles and Sand

In the case of the unity candle, the Bride and Groom each light a taper (the individual) and take their separate flames to jointly light a much bigger pillar candle (the union). What I like about the unity candle ceremony is that it can easily be adapted to include other family members, such as the Bride and Groom’s children from previous marriages.

Sample wording for a Family Unity Candle Ceremony:

Officiant: “This candle you are about to light is a candle of family. Its fire is magical because it burns with the flame of a family joined in love. This candle before you is a candle of commitment because it takes     #      people working together to keep it aflame.

This candle is also a candle of unity because all must come together, giving a spark of themselves, to create the new light.

As you light this candle today, may the brightness of the flame shine throughout your lives. May it give you courage and reassurance in darkness; warmth and safety in the cold; and strength and joy in your bodies, minds and spirits. May your family forever be blessed.  You may now light the candle.”

Another popular unity ritual is the sand ceremony, an excellent choice for an outdoor wedding, where candles may not work. The Bride and Groom pour separate containers of colored sand into a larger container, usually a vase or decorative jar. And like the candle ceremony, the unity sand ceremony is easily adapted to include other family members, with each person contributing a different colored sand from their own small container and mixing all the colors into a bigger vessel.

Alternative Unity(s)

If you like the symbolism of a unity ceremony but want something other than a unity candle or sands consider one of these alternatives:

Unity in Glass: this is a very groovy interpretation of the unity theme in which the Bride and Groom pour colored glass crystals into a vase. The glass crystals are then sent back to the artist and made into a one of a kind sculpture.

Flower Ceremony: a beautiful ceremony to signify the blending of family members and friends, each participant places his/her individual flower into the unity vase.  Here is  sample language:

Officiant: “There are two kinds of family – the family you are born into and the family you choose through friendship and special relationship.  ___(Bride)___  and ___(Groom)___  are blessed with both these families.

This ceremony seeks to honor the continuity as well as the growth and possibilities of those relationships. In honor of the love they feel towards the loving people in their lives ___(Bride)____ and ___(Groom)___ invite some of these special individuals to place a flower in this vase to create a garden of love for us all. Each flower represents an individual, the entire arrangement the interrelationship of these family members and friends. May your relationships continue to grow and blossom.”

Unity Cup: the Bride and Groom share wine from a single cup. Variations of this ceremony can be found in both Jewish as well as Southwest Native American traditions.

Love Letters and Wine Box: the Bride and Groom write love letters to each other which they place into a special box along with a bottle of wine. The box is sealed and becomes a “time capsule” that is to be opened on a predetermined date, such as the couple’s 5th anniversary, or in the event of hardships within the marriage.

Handfasting: whether the traditional Celtic version with ribbons consisting of thirteen colors or a simplified version using one cord, a handfasting can easily be incorporated into a modern wedding as a unity ceremony.

Here is sample language for a brief “Tying of the Knot” with a single cord/ribbon:

Officiant (holding the cord): “This cord is a symbol of your union and love. It signifies binding the hearts and souls of ___(Bride)___ and ___(Groom)___ but not to be of a possessive nature. The two ends represent your separate selves, but looped over into a knot you become one.”

(Officiant gives cord to the couple) “You may now tie the knot.” (Couple ties knot) “May this knot stay tied forever.”

If you’d like to include a unity ceremony in your wedding:

Before you set your heart on specifics be sure to talk to your officiant as well as a representative for the location where the wedding is being held.  Your unity options may be limited by who is marrying you and where you’re holding the ceremony. For instance,  in some locations fire codes may eliminate the option of candles.

Whatever your choice for your unity theme, be sure you include a dry run of the ceremony at your wedding rehearsal.

Blessings to you for a long and happy marriage!
goldwedding rings

Sunday Morning

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Sunday… my favorite day of the week.  What a great day for a long workout, especially when that workout is followed by delicious French Pressed coffee and a hot bubble bath.

I decided to incorporate my weight lifts into the second circuit, mostly just to change things up a bit.  I’m not feeling very “exercise inspired” lately, and I’m guessing that will change when I can get back outdoors for training.

Cardio, Strength and Conditioning

Circuits:

#1 circuit, x4

  1. Wall Jumps
  2. Jumping Jacks
  3. Push-ups
  4. Side-to-side shuffles
  5. Jump Rope
  6. Squats

#2 circuit, with weights, x3

  1. Running Reverse Lunges
  2. Quick Feet
  3. Squat Jumps
  4. Biceps Curls
  5. V Presses
  6. Dead Lifts
  7. Lawnmowers
  8. Triceps Overhead
  9. Sumo Squats

Mat Work:

  • Sit-ups with weight
  • Rollbacks with Twists, weight
  • Weighted Punches in Hip Lift
  • Oblique Ab Preps (Pilates)
  • Single Leg Stretch (Pilates)
  • Criss Cross (Pilates)
  • Pulses
  • Side-to-side Crunches
  • Kicks and Pushes
  • Forearm Plank

Whip It Good

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My workout goals today were simple enough: #1. drip sweat from my face and #2. go at it with enough intensity to hit the endorphin payload. By the time I met goal #1 I knew goal #2 wasn’t far behind🙂

Dip it good

After a couple months of taking it easy on my triceps I added a couple sets of dips today to my second circuit. My right elbow and forearm feel almost completely recovered from tendinitis, and I’ve been keeping all my triceps work at a “maintenance” level – low weights for overhead extensions and using a light tension Theraband and low weights for kickbacks, which I just re-introduced into the mix last week.

Yay for recovery! It’s finally time to whip those triceps back in shape…

Cardio, Strength and Conditioning

Circuits, x4

  • Wall Jumps
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Jump Rope
  • Squats (standard and chair)
  • Plank Jacks
  • Lunges
  • Running Butt Kicks
  • Squat Jumps
  • Triceps Dips (x2)
  • Triceps Push-Ups (x2)

Chair Sit – 1 minute
Plank – 1 minute
Forearm Plank – 1 minute

Mat:

  • Donkey Kicks
  • Jane Fondas
  • Jackknife Sit-ups
  • Switchers
  • Pulses
  • Oblique Ab Preps
  • Side-to-side Crunches
  • Criss Cross
  • Kicks and Pushes