Category: Spiritual

Week 1: Keeping it Simple in 2014 Fitness challenge

Week 1 Scripture Verse:

“I lift my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” -Psalm 121:1,2

Evaluate yourself this week. Pick two goals that you want to work on throughout the next month. Write them down and put them along with the week one scripture verse where you can see them and are reminded of them often.

Share them with your spouse, best friends, sister, brother. We are much more likely to hold ourselves accountable to goals when we have shared them with loved ones and written them down where we can see them.

How crazy is it that only 8% of Americans who set a New Years Resolution follow through and actually achieve their resolution.

I am defiantly convinced that living a healthy and fit lifestyle is more then fitness. A fit life is having a fit relationship with God, fit relationships with those we are close with , with our finances and our career. These are all things in which unfortunately we are never going to arrive in!Oh how I wish we could! We have to keep working at them each day on a continual basis. Your goals may be more related to maybe fitness in your finances or a relationships, we all are going to be a little different on this journey. When I fall into a good workout routine(I feel confident, physically able to tackle any task, accomplished) most of all I find focus. I then see other area’s of my life become more consistent and overflowing with vibrant life. I say this often:” you have to plan your plan and then you have to work your plan!!”

Good Luck, When you are feeling weak or have fallen of path don’t throw in the towel. Be reminded that ultimately we can’t do this life on our own. Look up to the hills and ask the Lord to give you help. The first week in any type of fitness program or  lifestyle change is that hardest. Be reminded of that. I am giving up sweets, because they are my biggest weakness and they become a false sense of oh, I think they will make me feel good in this situation. Usually I end up thirsty, sick, and realizing I was eating to run away from my problems when I should have looked to the lord for Help!

Don’t forget to #livefitin2014 and post your goals this month on Live Fit’s Facebook page (like button is on the sidebar) for accountability and support throughout Week 1! We are on this journey together friends!

Blessings, Michelle

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Coping mechanisms

I’ll never forget that cold snowy January morning. It was two short weeks ago but seems so vivid in my memory still. I told Dennis something seems off. Angelina didn’t seem herself. For two days on and off she was acting weird and not eating as well. The dr. Told us it would be a pattern of three days if Angelina were to go into heart failure at home.

I called the cardiologist and rushed Angie to the ER at Akron Children’s. They knew we were coming. The heart center gave them the heads up.

On my way to the hospital I can honestly say I didn’t know how bad it was. Missing my exit because of my nerves and Angie’s cries of distress in the backseat. She never had let out this type of cry.

Getting their I made the mistake of parking in the parking deck. I was on the total opposite end of the hospital. Racing the stairs with the car seat and running down the long tunnels to get to the ER.

The nurse took us directly back she took Angie’s vitals and looked nervous. She called the nurses right away. They took her back to a room. Two different nurses came and and I literally turned to take off my jacket and as I turned around they were all gone.

That moment for the rest of my life I can honestly say I’ll never forget it. Standing there helpless I lost it. A moment were I realized how fragile life really is. I had always knew God was in control. At this moment it became so tangibly real and heart felt.

Angelina was taken back to a room where if I could count maybe if not more 8 dr.s, respiratory therapists, nurses, and staff started accessing her. Big lights, fancy equipment, big terms, and a fast paced environment that would cause any mother to feel total terror.

I kept asking them: did I bring her soon enough, was it my fault, and telling them she has been doing so well at home. Do they get this bad this quick?

A dr. Came up to me and said: you did the right thing bringing her in. You didn’t do anything wrong. They called in a chaplain to offer me support.

Once stabilized and on a vent they took Angie up to the PICU. I forever will never forget my nurse that day. She was something special. I could not hold Angie and she was sedated on the vent. It was so hard to see her like that. My perspective on parents who have experienced this and have much sicker children then Angie had radically changed. My heart literally hurt as I would walk up and down the hallway seeing numerous children on vents.

Tests were done and it turned out that Angie was in acute respiratory failure that morning when we arrived at the hospital. The grunts we thought at first were her trying to poop were her protecting her airway. Crazy enough it was her way of surviving as her lung were filling up with fluid.

The vent was to help her heart know enlarged and lungs have a break, they set her up on lassix’s to get rid of the fluid. They found that Angie had hypothyroidism which could have been a big contributor to why everything happened as it did. The thyroid slows the body down and affects heart function.

That first night Angie was in the PICU Dennis and I left to grab a bite to eat. We went to target and each bought a pair of comfy pants. Why, I’m not sure because if you know us well enough we love our sweatpants and have a million pairs. We were coping, that night was long as we slept next to Angie’s crib with her pulse oxygen count buzzers beeping and the vent machine buzzing as they were trying to keep her settings low so she didn’t become to dependent on the vent.

I felt God’s hand on Angie that night he provided us comfort. I had a dream that night envisioning angels alongside her bed easing whatever pain and suffering she felt. As I laid on quite possibly the most uncomfortable pull out bed my face sweating on the plastic sheet covered pillow.

The next few days were rough. I ran the stairs, walked the halls, painted my nails some really rad color as we celebrated New Year’s Eve sleeping next to Angie’s crib on the hospital floor. Dennis was doing a push-up routine with a deck of cards he brought while I was trying to rehab my hips as they have been so sore since Angie’s birth. We were coping the best we could.

My sister in law sent a text: “how are you doing?” That’s when it hit me. I
Told her: ” I have my coping mechanisms. Doing the best I can.” I thought this could be so much worse. We know what the problem is and we are treating it with therapies and medication. I watched countless parents walk the hallways, sit next to their children on their iPhone, or one lady who tried to bum a cigarette off me after I have just did my 8 flights of stairs workout. They were all coping the best way they knew they could.

It strikes me now that we are home hopefully until surgery that everyone has struggles,seasons of pain, sorrow and we all cope some how some way.

My biggest coping mechanisms: being with Dennis and the girls, one point it was food, one point it was shopping,then the working out once I was able, was huge to the coping process, and of course a lot of trips to the coffee cart at Akron children’s. Writing on my blog and my fitness challenge in 2014 which you can find here: 2014 keeping it simple in 2014 fitness challenge . Right now I know going back to my workout regimen will be hard with the season I am in, and just taking small steps to attempt to get back to my healthy lifestyle seems like a simpler less overwhelming goal. After seeing a lot of sickness and health issues at the hospital that are out of many children’s and parents control, a lifestyle I am even more passionate about.

Once home I began praying over Angie all hours of the day and night. It struck me in the middle of a prayer.

The coping mechanisms they are all natural and they do help, but the help is temporary. It seems like the Coping mechanisms they start to fade after a while.

But:

Jesus, his love ENDURES forever. He provides comfort at all hours, he is there to listen, to give us the might to move on through the next minute, he helps some how some way get us through really extremely tough stuff. He forgives us, he never leaves our side, and his mercies are new as we wake each morning.

Jesus is how we cope and the only way we have made it through this season.

“Even when I walk through he darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

These lyrics from Hillsong “All I need is You Lord”: Keep repeating through my head this week

Left my fear by side of the road
Hear You speak, won’t let go
Fall to my knees as I lift my hands to pray
Got every reason to be here again
Father’s love, that draws me in
And all my eyes wanna see is a glimpse of You

All I need is You
All I need is You Lord, is You Lord

All I need is You
All I need is You lord, is You Lord

One more day and it’s not the same
Your spirit calls my heart to sing
Drawn to the voice of my Savior once again
Where would my soul be without Your Son
Gave His life to save the earth
Rest in the thought that You’re watching over me

All I need is You
All I need is You Lord, is You Lord

All I need is You
All I need is You Lord, is You Lord

You hold the universe
You hold everyone on earth
You hold the universe
You hold, You hold

‘Cos all I need, is You
All I need is You

All I need is You
All I need is You Lord, is You Lord

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Fitness challenge 2014 | Keeping it Simple

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Don’t you get tired of hearing the slogan new year, new you?

We all are in completely different places in both our physical and spiritual journey.

Currently I am in a season of challenge, change, and caring for a newborn. You can read more about my precious new babies condition on this post: life with my new baby girl

This challenge isn’t about a diet, weight loss, or setting yourself up for vigorous goals you will be unable to achieve.

I’m a firm believer that we expect results to fast, we set our expectations extremely high and in the end give up on ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong weight loss done healthy, cutting calories when the are unnecessary are each equally important. Setting up a fitness regimen is just as important, but before all that and stressing yourself out lets think habits and lifestyle change.

Creating a healthy lifestyle is about setting yourself up for lifelong Success, one tiny step at a time. Setting short term goals for yourself that you are able to achieve will help build the confidence you need to give you energy to chase after your next goal.

How this challenge works:

I have never done a challenge specifically like this on my blog so I’m excited and nervous to see how it works out. It may be messy but together we will figure this out.

1. Like live fit women’s fitness page on Facebook here is the link: Live Fit Women’s Fitness

2.Follow Live Fit Women’s Fitness blog via e-mail to receive updates on how to form healthy habits all year long, get yourself out of your rut, reach your goals, nutrition tips, recipes, simple fast workouts, inspiration and accountability.

3. Write two short term goals you want to tackle by the end of this month on a piece of paper. Take a picture and post them on either live fit’s Facebook page, my instgram or twitter account. (Hashtag #livefitin2014) (Hang them in a place that you will able to view them often)

Example of a short term goals:

Work out three times a week for a month, drink 8 glasses of water a day, no eating after 8pm, no sweets only on the weekend, eat fruits and vegetables everyday for a month instead of chips and pop.

Example of long-term goals:

Loose 20lbs, train for a half-marathon, start a weight training regimen to build more muscle mass.

4. Each week I will feature a scripture verse for you to jot down on a notecard, memorize, and keep in mind for the week. Think about your two goals for the month and on Monday I’ll feature the verse of the week.

5. You are able to share(Facebook, instgram, twitter) throughout the month how these simple short term goals helped you form healthier habits that you can carry out throughout 2014. People who participate and send me a short story on how this helped them get on track both physically and spiritually for the new year will be featured on my blog in February.

I will be documenting my journey on all of my social media outlets. Let’s start by taking tiny steps together and achieving two short term goals together this month!

Don’t harp on yourself if you have a bad day. Pull yourself back onto the road to sucess. The sooner you start, the sooner the results will start to show! Let’s have fun! Ready. Set. Go!

Blessings, Michelle

A Season of Change

I’m not sure what this film is on my teeth, oh wait. I need to brush my teeth. Good thing my brother-in-law is a dentist. My hair looks like I took some olive oil to it instead of gel. in this season a shower is liquid gold. Crumbs always stuck to my feet, I’m not sure the last time I saw the bottom of my sink, piles of laundry, and if I nearly break my ankle on a toy one more time in the middle of the night!! 

I am just in the newborn season. A season were I feed, change diapers, get the baby swaddled back to sleep and three hours later, Repeat. Countless nights of interrupted sleep has left me with cloudy out of sort thoughts.  

What I love about this season: The smell of a new baby, How Angelina looks like a burrito every time I swaddle her, snuggle sessions, sitting on the love seat with my husband and all the girls, the squeals of each of my daughters as they crowd me every time Angelina is awake to see and admire her. They pat her head like she is a small kitten and Amelia is constantly touching her ears. I love the way they nicked named Angelina “Sqeaks” within the first five minutes of us all being home together.

The day they came home after being separated from them for twenty three days they ran in the house to the pack in play where Angelina was laying and they were staring as she was grunting and wiggling around, she made a loud squeal. 

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Amelia mimicked her, laughed and said: baby “Sqeaks”. Angelina’s nickname was born. You see in our family we all have nicknames. Dennis is Len, Den, or Lenape. My nickname is Ralph. Ya, my father-in-law even calls me Ralph. God bless my niece who was learning how to talk six years ago and when trying to say my name Ralph just came out and it stuck. Ava goes by Av, peanut ( she was a premie) and Stinky. Amelia has an array of nicknames. She is your typical middle child beating to her own drum. Her names are: MOO MOO, Mooski, Moo Moo monster, moody moo, and millie. 

I love being in my robe and slippers all day, I love that it’s winter and peppermint mocha’s.

What I don’t love is the endless phone calls. Calls to doctors, various appointments, figuring odds and ends that I never thought I would ever have to face with any of my children and a feeling of uneasiness about how Angelina’s condition could change quickly. Right know she is doing extremely well. She has wowed the doctors. Taking a bottle has been huge for her. Children with Downs Syndrome and who require open heart surgery often are unable to drink bottles and go home on a feeding tube. Our little Angelina continues to show such positive signs for both her current heart condition and her downs syndrome. The drugs  she is taking are working. They are helping her to be able to grow and become stronger before surgery. When we saw the cardiologist last week he was extremely happy with how we are caring for her and the weight she has gained. He would like to wait as long as possible to have her open heart surgery because her being bigger and stronger is best for her recovery. 

I met with a program called “Help Me Grow” that helps montior and set up therapies for Down Syndrome children. Her evaluation went well, she is picking her head up and turning her heads toward sounds.

I remind myself that with each child we have gone through a season of change. Eventually it gets easier, they grow up, and life becomes a new normal for us. The memories of Ava and Amelia being infants seem so long ago, distant. The third time around it’s just a little different, a little more involved and it’s ok if it takes us a little longer to fall into the swing of this new phase of life. This new normal for us is just beginning and like with the other children we aren’t quite sure what is in store for us. Am i angry, somedays yes. Am I sad, somedays yes. Am I scared, absolutely. Do I get down, because I have a lot of strange feelings and feel guilty because I have this beautiful child God has blessed me with, yes. When I look around my house everything reminds me of our life before Angelina and I often get upset because things seemed so simple and easy then. Am I Excited for her life, yes. I am excited to see how she develops and grows. I am excited to see how God uses her to perform “Hope” in people’s lives and just little miracles. She makes me  have more of a love for simple moments and just the little things in life that I took for granted. I love that about her. Well really I love everything about that little grunting, farting sweet Angel of ours. It’s those moments of “hope” that I cling to in this season. When the phone calls, sleepless nights, dr. appointments, and stresses seem to overwhelm me I am comforted by this verse:

” To everything there is a season, A time for a purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

In this season I am going to hang onto not I worrying about tomorrow for it has problems of it’s own. I am just taking it moment to moment. One step at a time. Clinging to Jesus, my family and friends, and embracing every single moment. Thanking God for all the good he has blessed us with. 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

To the countless people who have messaged me in some way, sent cards, gift cards, money, dinners, offered time and support. Thank you truly isn’t enough. You have helped us along the journey and we are forever grateful. Even If I haven’t gotten back to you please know that nothing goes unnoticed .To our families you truly are amazing. I feel closer then ever to our families.  To my sister-in-laws I would truly be lost with out each of you. You don’t know how much you have helped me on this journey. I wish I could repay you but know that I will always be by your side in this life. The same way you have come alongside of me during this time. We love all of you and again are so appreciative and thankful we are blessed. 

Blessings, Michelle 

PS: On a lighter note, Live Fit Women’s Fitness is getting a 2014 challenge together. Who is coming with us? stay tuned 😛 

 

 

 

 

 

Angelina Hope : The Waiting Room

It’s been three weeks and counting since our stay at the NICU. It’s been a little over four months since we knew Angelina’s birth was going to be a little different from our last two daughters. Looking back God has truly prepared us and our family for each step of this journey he has had us on.

We had to be at the hospital around 7am the morning of my induction. I was a little nervous because with my last two births I barely made it in time to the hospital and had very short Labors. My expectation was that once they started the induction that I would progress quickly and it would be similar to my other labors. I was wrong. As I paced the hallway trying to walk and get the baby to come out, Dennis was working out in our hospital room to pass time. We looked like quite the pair. I made him put on some gloves while he did push-ups on the hospital floor followed by a resistant band workout. He really cracked me up sitting at a small table eating his meals In our room. He was coping the only way any Italian could in this situation: eating and working out.

A nurse told me: “don’t wear yourself out walking.” Inside I laughed because to me that was a challenge. I came in and told Dennis watch me I’m going to have this baby natural just like the other 2. It’s that competitive spirit that kept me going that day. If you know me well enough I always have loved a challenge, I felt like giving up that day many times. The prior two months hadn’t been easy and knowing that our road ahead would be bumpy. I wasn’t sure how to stay positive. By the grace of God I just kept walking and it’s the only thing that kept me going. I wanted to be able to get right up after delivery to be with Angelina. I was trying to stay strong for her. I was continually asking God to sustain me.

As I walked up and down the hallway it became clear to me. I had spent most of my last two months in waiting rooms and at doctor appointments. The anticipation of this day had been more then I really ever could have thought. Life had started to feel like a waiting room and has continued to feel like one over the course of the last 22 days.

After bouncing on an exercise ball and a few pretty intense hours and of course my doctor missing my labor, just like what happened with Amelia. Angelina was brought into the world. It was scary as her heart rate plummeted and I was fully dilated and my doctor had gone home to eat dinner thinking I had about 3 hours left to labor. I never have been textbook. I am not someone who Labors long. I dilate from 7 to 10 usually pretty quick. The on call doctor ended up delivering me. I loved my doctor I was bummed she missed my labor!

I heard that cry, We praised Jesus she was alive. We had made it but little did I know how the next few minutes would be some of the most joyful, yet hard news Dennis and I would have been given.

I finally got to hold our little Angelina maybe for a few seconds before a doctor told me that Angelina had all the signs of a Down’s syndrome baby.

We went from thinking we could loose our baby, to seeing her alive, to hearing she was born with a disability in the course of 15 minutes. A lot for anyone to handle in a short time.

We loved on her and looked at how she was intricately and wonderfully made by our father in heaven. Then they took her to the NICU. It was hard for me. I didn’t get to take her back to my room and do normal mommy things with her. I was able to nurse her a few times but I knew in my heart it was to much for her little heart to handle.

Psalm 139:13-16
“For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works. And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me. When as yet there were none of them.”

That night as I laid in the bed praying and processing: this picture came to mind. God’s hands coming around Dennis, Angelina and I holding us up.

That next morning Dennis looked at me and said ” I know my mom said God was going to perform a miracle in Angelina but, she is the miracle that is going to transform our family.”

He couldn’t have said it any clearer. God spoke at the perfect time to help start the healing process.

Our precious girl is a gift from God who has been given to us and we plan to never label her but to continually encourage her that she can do anything she puts her mind to. You see that competitive spirit will help, we will never give up on our little girl. We are excited to see how God will use her life to help us and those around us see the glory of his kingdom.

In 22 short days a lot of tears or joy, sorrow, excitement, feelings of being overwhelmed, she has drastically had an impact on our very simple lives.

We are starting to learn a lot about how we can give Angelina a full life. Somedays it overwhelms us while other days it seems simple.

As for know we need prayer. Each day as we grow close to Angelina her heart grows more tired. Her congenital heart defect needs fixed. She is having trouble gaining weight and they typically like to wait 3-6 months to do the surgery. Each day is critical for they want to see her gain weight. We are hoping we get to take her home very soon! She has been completing her bottles better and is transitioning to a crib that no longer is heat regulated. The bigger she is for surgery the stronger and quicker she can recover.

The one thing I can’t wait to do is take her home and take a picture of her with her other sister’s I am dreaming of the day our family is all together complete at home.

This song has really seemed to play over and over in my head lately:
Building 429: We Won’t Be Shaken

This world has nothing for me
This life is not my own
I know you go before me
And I am not alone
This mountain rises higher
This way seems so unclear
But I know that you go with me
I will trust in you

Whatever will come my way
Through fire or pouring rain
We won’t be shaken
No we won’t be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
That we won’t be shaken
Oooh Oh Oh
Oooh Oh Oh
Oooh Oh Oh
No we won’t be shaken

You know my every longing
You’ve heard my every prayer
You’ve held me in my weakness
Cause you are always there
So I’ll stand in full surrender
It’s your way and not my own
My mind is set on nothing less
Than you and you alone
I will not be moved oh

Whatever will come my way
Through fire or pouring rain
We won’t be shaken
No we won’t be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
That we won’t be shaken

(3x)
We will trust in you
We will not be moved
We will trust in you

As we continue our stay in the waiting room. We won’t be shaken. It’s easy to ask the question why? As time passes God continually reassures us and unravels his marvelous works using Angelina to draw us close to him.

We are excited for what tomorrow will bring and can’t believe how a little 4lb baby girl at 22 days old can leave a footprint so big already on our hearts. It truly has been worth the wait.

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Our Third Pregnancy

I created this blog to share my health journey. Over the last months I have shared a lot about becoming a personal trainer, my fit pregnancy, fit tips, spiritual living, recipes and as my views have increased I really have been praying and thinking about the future of my blog and what goals I would like to have for it come this winter.

I feel such a calling to help women on their fitness journey. I want it to be a place in which I can encourage, motivate and help women achieve both physical and spiritual health. I want this to be a platform in which they can open up about their journey (everyone so different) to physical fitness and share improvements, set-backs and goals. I have spread a little bit about my personal life over different posts. Today I am opening up about my third pregnancy and the journey God has had my husband and I on these last 2 months.

Just almost 9 short months ago we shared with our family and friends that we were expecting our third child.

We were so excited to add a fifth member to our family. As time passed and routine check-ups came and went we found out we were having our third girl!

We couldn’t believe it, 3 girls. Dennis my husband peeled out of the parking lot at the hospital saying “3 weddings! no one is dating our girls! I’m gonna have to shower in my barn!”

It was funny, truly God’s plan for our family and honestly we just wanted a healthy baby. Dennis has truly embraced taking on the role of having three girls. I plan on being a crazy aunt to my nephew’s spoiling them and attending lots of sporting events!

It wasn’t until my 20 week appointment that the ultrasound tech couldn’t get a good picture of the babies heart. “your baby is just to active she told me”. She asked me are you an active person? What do you do for work? Laughing I said replied yes, we can come back in a few weeks.

Thinking nothing of the appointment I loaded the kids in the car snacks and all as we headed to the appointment. You see taking them was always such an interesting time. Amelia loves to play in the water fountain, Ava scaling and climbing every chair in the doctors office. Screaming over goldfish during the ultrasound. At one point I think they pulled down blinds and practically climbed over some women’s back. We had to come back two more times for one more look.

The fourth time we came back I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. “Something is not right,” I told Dennis that morning.

We got into the room and I looked at the tech, “Ok, What’s seriously going on?”

After looking a fourth time she told me she thought she saw a small hole in-between the lower two ventricles. No big deal right! It can close on it’s own or a very minor surgery can repair it.

Waiting for the Dr. as thoughts rushed through my head, thoughts that never crossed my mind in the last 20+ weeks did. The girls arguing over who knows a sucker seemed so drowned out in the back round as I waited for our dr. to speak with me.

“we are going to send you to a specialist and have them take a further look.” She then told me that some other things I should become concerned about is the possibility of downs syndrome. At that point I lost it. I mean what mother wouldn’t. Not that I wouldn’t love this baby any more or any less but just the thought of taking me out of my comfort zone, my perfect world of certainty made me feel so uneasy.That afternoon I reasoned with God. “WHY, I was angry and afraid.”

I’ll never forget the phone call between my husband and I on his way home from work that day. You see God has always been ever present in our home and lives but on this day he became our ROCK.

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, my shield and horn of my salvation, my stronghold”. Psalm 18:2

It was at this moment that our outlook on life dramatically changed. Dennis and I were and still are continually thanking God for this season of life. We had been worrying about things that don’t matter,realizing God first, our relationship as husband and wife next and family are the most important things in this life, we stopped taking our kids for granted, started spending more time with family, realized we weren’t spending enough time knowing the Father in a deeper more intimate way,I was constantly trying to live in a controlled perfect world, and I never asked for help. I had the mentality of “I’m Good, I can handle anything on my own, I’m tough.” It was like my eyes were opened I had such a deeper compassion for people who have struggled or are going through hardship.

A few weeks passed and we headed up to Mercy Medical were they confirmed the hole and pressured us to do genetic testing for the baby. A mess in the room Dennis and I made a decision quickly to decide to take the genetic test. Once we returned home that evening and sat down to talk about it we decided that we made a decision that was in the heat of an emotional moment and that we would call and hope to cancel the test first thing in the morning. We were able to cancel the test and felt such a peace surround us that we had made the right decision.

What was knowing going to change. We would love our baby regardless of her condition and learn each day how to embrace what God has blessed us with. These past two months have been some of the best most joyous times and some of the toughest days in our life. I have had days were I have allowed myself to become completely vulnerable for the first time in my life, broken, crying, days were I can’t even shed a tear, allowing God to take all of this each and every day has been a constant uphill battle for me. God has constantly reminded us of this verse:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

We headed up to Akron Children’s and met with a cardiologist who found a further defect in the babies heart called Complete AV canal defect. Dennis and I felt fried after he explained the treatment, surgery, and diagnosis. I remember after every appointment we just sat in the living room starring at each other and it was just like sometimes no words could come out. The Dr. was very positive, this condition is common, and the baby will have open heart surgery 4-6 months after birth. When she has the surgery depends on how well she does the first few months after birth. She will have routine check up’s with Akron children’s hospital every 6 weeks to monitor her progress. It’s still up in the air as to how she will do when she is born but typically babies are able to go home 3-4 days after they are delivered.We felt extremely blessed to know before delivery, to have a plan in place, and to prepare ourselves for the long road ahead as we await for her surgery.

I started worrying about when she gets here and what care will be like for her. worrying about my two precious baby girls Ava and Amelia, worrying about things again that are again out of my control. I texted a dear friend who has no idea how much support she has offered me in these last months as she went through a very similar situation a year ago. In those moments and countless others I felt God’s hand on my shoulder working through different situations, by what they have shared with me,certain things that have happened and I have seen the amazing power of our AWSOME, never failing God,a God who has so much Love for us.We continue to cling to the hope of Jesus. I can tell you for certain our little girls middle name will be “hope”.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

The support we have received from family, friends, work and our church family at River tree is truly amazing. God has provided, taken care of us, and continues to do so.

Sitting in church the Sunday we found out about the babies heart defect and every day since God has reminded me in the still silent moments that he has plans for our family to prosper us to watch us grow, that we have a hope and a future. When discouraged I cling to this verse:


“For I know that plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Dennis and I can’t wait to meet our third baby girl. We can’t wait to fall in love all over again for a third time with our little blessing from above. She is like the icing on the cake for our family and I truly believe she will complete our little homestead of girls!

Our prayer is the baby is completely healed if not when she is born by the doctor’s hands, that the delivery goes smoothly, and that we can bring her home soon after delivery. We have prepared for the best and both the hard, trusting the Lord has a perfect plan for our family. I am heading to the hospital to get induced on Thursday at 7am. Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts. We will be posting updates here on the blog and on Facebook and if you wish to be on a e-mail chain with specific updates and prayer requests please contact me: Michellevolpe28@gmail.com

Blessings and Love, Dennis and Michelle

My Blog Vacation

Greetings friends,

I have been away and I am ready to get my blog in order and start sharing with you again! Some exciting things have kept me from keeping up over the last four months!

My husband and I are expecting our 3 baby GIRL!

I have been studying to obtain my personal trainers certification and hopefully passed my test yesterday!

I have been in constant prayer about the direction of my blog, Live Fit’s Local fitness ministry and exactly how I will utilize my training certification when I become certified.

In the meantime here is what you can look for on Live Fit’s Blog in the upcoming months:

The strength training post I never got around to posting:P

New exercise moves to integrate into your routine, fitness tips

Workouts: strength training, cardio and the importance of flexibility

Tips on having a fit and healthy pregnancy

Healthy recipes, tips on eating

Canning 101 – How to effectively can and put clean food away to eat all year long

Money saving tips in fitness and on groceries

Random posts on life as a real life mom and wife

The direction of Live Fit’s Ministry, this blog, and how I will use my training certification

I am looking forward to training our bodies in both the physical and the spiritual together! Here is some encouragement as I have been anxious and nervous over these last few months:

” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 4:6-7

Blessings, Michelle

Love Your Body Month Recap

As this month is coming to an end so quickly. I thought I would throw up a quick recap of what we talked about this month! If you have an exercise routine, post idea or question please feel free to comment. I want this blog to be a place were you can come and learn how to live both a physically and spiritually fit life. If you are making that choice to live a fit life both in the physically and spiritual I think it’s important to seek knowledge in both departments and a lot of times they work hand in hand and that’s what I love about fitness for our body and spiritual fitness for our hearts!

This concept of Love your body is so broad. It could boil down to so many different area’s in your life both physically and emotionally. Whatever your struggle I hope that your were really able to work on these area’s and when I mean work I mean gradual change.One day at a time. I think sometimes when we try to change area’s in our life we try to change too much to fast. It’s not something that is going to happen over night but over time if you really focus on Loving yourself as God loves you will be radiating a love for not only yourself but those around you. (We will revisit one topic in March about last weeks post (eliminating one bad habit and adding a good one in its place). Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten keep up the hard work ladies! We are in this journey together to help each other live both physically and spiritually fit lives!

Matthew 5:5 ” you’re blessed when you’re content with who you are-no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

The bible affirms self-acceptance by exhorting believers to love others as themselves. Matthew 22;37-40 “Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind. This is the first and great commandment. and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

The bible teaches that when we genuinely open our hearts to him, God accepts us just as we are. And, if he accepts us-faults and all-then who are we to believe otherwise? God Loves us and wants the best for us, He wants us to live a healthy lifestyle. We can start this journey today, remind yourselves daily of the benefits you will earn when you start loving your body and establishing healthier habits and thoughts.

Reference-Food, Fitness and Faith for Women

Week 1: Being content where you are physically, building confidence and tapping into Christ strength your goals won’t seem too far off.  You will begin to build the confidence you need to become stronger not only physically but spiritually.

Week 2: This week we are beating perfectionism. Perfectionism is our enemy and Christ wants us to know that he didn’t create us to be perfect but holy and blameless, and wonderfully made in his image.

Week 3:Step 1: identify what is draining you,Step 2: come up with a plan of how you are going to eliminate this habit,Step 3: adding in a good habit

Blessings Ladies,

We will revisit Week three in two weeks! Keep working on eliminating the bad and adding one good habit in its place.

Free To Be Me

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I was driving just this last week and this song came on the radio. It caught me at a moment were I was feeling a low and imperfect on so many levels. It was one of those God moments were the lyrics just set my soul at ease.

At twenty years of age I’m still looking for a dream
A war’s already waged for my destiny
But You’ve already won the battle
And You’ve got great plans for me
Though I can’t always see

Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

When I was just a girl I thought I had it figured out
See my life would turn out right, and I’d make it here somehow
But things don’t always come that easy
And sometimes I would doubt, oh…

Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me
And you’re free to be you

Sometimes I believe that I can do anything
Yet other times I think I’ve got nothing good to bring
But You look at my heart and You tell me
That I’ve got all You seek, oh
And it’s easy to believe
Even though

Oh, I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see

I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me
And you’re free to be you

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/f/francesca_battistelli/

We all have dents in our fenders and rips in our jeans. God is helping us put the pieces together and he wants us to be the best version of ourselves, spiritually and physically.

Love Your Body:Part 3

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You heard me right last week it is elimination time! Are you feeling drained, wore out, like you can barely make it through the day?

Take a look at your current life circumstances. Just take this week to evaluate exactly where and what this drainage is a result from? Maybe it’s the foods you are eating, maybe you aren’t drinking enough water, maybe you haven’t made it to the gym for a while, too much coffee, too much time on facebook or watching tv.

Whatever it is for you be aware of your daily routine and keep a lookout for these draining habits. Write a few down or type them in your notes in your ipad or kindle (a place that you frequent often).

Once you have identified the one that is the most physically and mentally draining. Take a few steps to eliminate it from your life.

I’m not saying this will be easy but if you just first focus on eliminating one bad habit and adding a good one in its place overtime this concept of taking away unhealthy habits and replacing them with healthy habits won’t seem like such a huge unachievable task.

From experience when I would try to add new healthy habits and eliminate bad ones I would set myself up for disaster and a feeling of unattainable goals. I was trying to change too much at one time and it was unrealistic. This is honestly were I would just give up and slip right back into my unhealthy habits. Don’t set yourself up for failure with these huge expectations of yourself.   I told myself one day at a time. One small change at a time and as time moves on I was beginning to feel healthier and living much healthier.  (This concept really could be applied to all different areas of your life whatever you may be struggling with).

Step 1: identify what is draining you:

For me it’s eating after 8pm specifically sweets, I know that I’m not even hungry but eating out of boardroom and should be grabbing a glass of water instead.

Step 2: come up with a plan of how you are going to eliminate this habit:

Find an accountability partner, a friend that you can call or even your husband when you are feeling those weak moments that you can depend on that will tell you the tough stuff but totally out of love and wanting you to be successful in eliminating the bad and bringing in the good.

Usually in the past when I have tried to eliminate late night eating it was my husband. He tells me no you know you don’t want to do that and usually just leaves it at that. It reminds me that ya, I did ask him to help me be accountable  and told him to stop me so I can’t really get mad at him for something I asked him to hold me accountable for:)

Step 3: adding in a good habit:

For me it’s drinking a glass of water

Trying to establish this repetition for three weeks straight to create a norm in your life and establish the new healthy habit. would love to hear your success stories 🙂

I came across this verse and it reminded me that what I take in can affect my outpouring of what comes out on the outside, which reminded me of the whole love your body theme this month: ” what? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” ( 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Happy elimination time!

Blessings, Michelle