"Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind" (Leonardo da Vinci).
This quote drew me in this week as I stepped in some muddy puddles and then huddled on my sofa during Texas' mini Icepocalypse where our schools and society shut down for three days. It was a nice break and by Saturday I proudly finished up building the Clue mansion in my Minecraft server.
This week we have the opportunity to began building our own real worlds, thawing out that frozen water and taking those steps forward. They don't have to be big leaps, but they do need To Be. Personally, I have taken a step back to wait and see what would be the best steps. Now I am taking them. What about you?
My best friend and writing buddy convinced me to sign up for a writer's conference called Realm Makers, and I am going to register for it today. Am I a little afraid? Yes. When she first mentioned it, I grimaced. Traveling to another state, for many days, to interact with people who I do not know, about an industry which has been full of roadblocks and hazards, has left me reeling and disenchanted. And yet. That little whisper voice says, "If it scares you, it's calling you out." Stagnant water loses purity. I don't want to become stagnant water. So let's do those scary things.
Scary looks different to everyone. Sometimes 'scary' is actually just 'something different.' What do you need to do today that allows you to be freer than you were yesterday? Maybe it is something like registering for a conference, or maybe it is sending an encouraging text or email. Maybe it is taking a few minutes to go on a walk outside, or attend a fitness class, or put down that soda and drink a glass of water instead.
"I have great confidence in you. I am filled with encouragement; I am overcome with joy in all our afflictions...God, who comforts the humble, comforted us by the arrival of Titus, and not only by his arrival, but also by the comfort he received from you" (2 Corinthians 7:4, 6). Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church, recognized the need for encouragement and for action. He saw the circle of inspiration and how one person's actions influence another, and that 'an object in motion stays in motion.' Encouragement blossoms. Titus showed up, his church encouraged him, he encouraged them, and they encouraged Paul. Isn't that a great picture of why we have a church body? Your actions today matter.
So let's hold each other accountable and have some fun. Do something today which breaks you out of the moldy pond. One little trickle, one little step, that's all you need. Do it scared, do it on your knees, but do it.
Here's a list of options if you need one:
- Send an encouraging text or email
- Thank the grocery store cashier and mean it
- Give a compliment to someone who looks downcast
- Give a giftcard to a teacher
- Attend a group fitness class
- Do That Thing on your list that makes you cringe
- Schedule that doctor's appointment
- Hug that person and let them let go first
- Make up your bed
- Pick up that book and read a chapter
And then once you have done that small (but really, quite big) thing, let me know what it is. I'd love to hear about those steps forward. Let's take them together.
If you need a good book to read, Alliance Book One, Insurrection, is now available in paperback and ebook. You can purchase anywhere books are sold.
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6445369055
Additional locations: https://books2read.com/u/49VD9J
Strange noises. Dazzling beaches. A secret military base. Saylor must navigate these mysterious elements -- or die trying.
Unexpected detours. They happen. Handling those detours, that's where integrity and character get to fiddle around with your psyche. Detours show you a little unexpected adventure, allowing room for discovery, growth, and thrill.
And for the past year, I have been on a detour. Exploring, wallowing, pondering, waiting. However, the time has finally arrived for movement, growth, change, and action.
The Alliance Series will be releasing one book at a time, beginning with Insurrection on January 28th, 2023. The series has gone through a rebranding process with unified cover designs, fresh edits, and availability in a myriad of stores. Whether you read ebooks or print, you can grab your own copy of the Alliance series, beginning with Book One, Insurrection.
I am thrilled to see these books moving forward onto bookshelves. The series will flow together more seamlessly, with purposeful design choices on the covers, spines, and even internally on the pages. And you won't have to wait too long to grab the entire series, with a new title included.
A secret military base.
And no regrets.
One of my favorite things about growing as a writer is seeing how it all started and where we are now. Saylor's voice began young, intentionally, and as I have grown and purposefully improved my writing skills, so has Saylor and her band of faithful friends and their voices. These books adventure along with Saylor and the Alliance Military Guardsmen as they experience their own road blocks, closed doors, and open pathways.
Sometimes a detour is just the direction you needed to take.
To see more information or pre-order your copy, click here:
Or click INSURRECTION
Fear grips the land. Cowardice calls, betrayal beckons, and the Unknown rears its shrouded head before our eyes. Right now -- you are being called out, whether you hear it or not. You get this next moment, this next breath, to cross the shadowed line and bridge the gap of faith.
When in doubt, when you’re on that line and the crowd has drawn back in fear, be the H.E.R.O. — implement a code of Honor, Engagement, Resilience, Ownership.
Honor: The hero serves a greater purpose than self. Move forward in integrity, service, and in honor of others and self. In a quick check, the hero can move from defeat into progress by checking the status of honor. Speak as an honorable person. Treat others with kindness. Honor employs grace and assistance over shame and offense.
Engagement: Engage the situation when intimidation strikes. Forward action initiates confidence. Remember the laws of motion; an object in motion stays in motion. The human brain can perform at high rates of speed, and the more accustomed to movement, the more the brain uses that energy to synthesize solutions. Choices can happen to the hero, or the hero creates the choice.
Resilience: Resilience keeps the hero in the game. Keeping a mindset of overcoming obstacles and hanging in there serves the hero. The abundance of options for action, the abundance of attempts to try again, keep the hero on track when the murky villains have inundated the land. When the protagonist learns how to better navigate obstacles and sees them as the path toward being the hero, then that’s the moment the ordinary human becomes the indelible survivor. Heroes forge ahead, resilient, regardless of the outcome.
Ownership: Ordinary characters become heroes as they recognize their powers, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. The hero plotline demonstrates that every protagonist needs an antagonist; the antagonists teach the heroes who they can be. So maybe it’s best somebody trips you up. In fact, show gratitude for the people who teach you the hardest lessons, for they allow you to become the hero. Own your abilities, improvements, and passions. They make you a unique hero in your ultimate story.
Remember that key verse in 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind. Those efforts which intimidate you, beckon you, call you out. These assignments? They’re all a part of you becoming the hero in your story.
Need some great stories to remind you of Whose you are and who you can be? Grab a free copy of Kingdom Come, a non-fictional inspirational workbook to help you engage your inner beast-mode hero.
December 3, 2020 is also the last day to grab the Insurrection series on sale. The Ebook $.99 sale ends at midnight, so act fast to get those at a great price. Click the buttons below to grab them! Share with your friends, and finish the mission!
The last few nights I have had trouble sleeping. Oh, that's an understatement. Since early February I have had trouble sleeping. "Oh a times, they are a changing" (Dylan). In the middle of the night I wake up, writing, shouting, stating my thoughts to the blank void of my bedroom ceiling. I keep thinking, I should be saying SOMETHING. I should be saying something important, something helpful, something encouraging.
So here's a little bit of something, for wherever you are, whatever you are doing, however you may be feeling:
In all the battles I’ve seen, in all the training exercises, and the obstacles I’ve had to climb in my few days on this planet, I’d have to say that day on the beach was one of the most memorable. I hated tugging that ridiculous net along that beach. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. All of my efforts felt pointless and resistant. With each jerk forward, I made almost no progress.
Anger gurgled in a knot within my ribs. Norita wrenched ahead of me along that beach. He shouldn’t have—he was a weakling who couldn’t even keep his lunch down.
I struggled, sweat dripping down the sides of my face, burning into my eyes, and sliming up my hands so they slipped along the rope, seared. Blisters welled up on my palms, and my back broiled with a fervent, charring ache.
“You gotta pull your own weight, Thompson!” Burkman brought me back. He drew up to my side, hands flailing. He seemed to be everywhere.
“You have to get past those demons! You have to fight them; you have to beat them down. Those voices that tell you to stop, those are wrong. Those voices lie. They steal your victory. Out there be dragons, but in here—” He tapped my chest, “—here lodges your sword and shield. You give up, you’ll never win. You? Give up? That’s not you. You are a victor. You are a success. You have what it takes. Keep going, Thompson. Success isn’t a finish line; success isn’t one moment that makes you great. Success is tackling those obstacles one at a time. Success is dragging this weight until you aren’t supposed to carry it any more. This net is your objective. This finish line, this is where you gotta get. You don’t stop until you get that net across the line. You can’t stop. You won’t stop. You carry that weight. Nobody else can pull it. That’s your weight. Now, you don’t give up. Look around. We need you to cross this line. I don’t care if you do this for us, or for yourself, or if you do this for your mama across the water. Your job, soldier, is to bring this net across this line. You can’t win every challenge. Tucker, you have this moment right here to build up to the moments coming to get you. Tomorrow could be harder. That’s okay. Because you’ll have survived this, right here, right now. Drag that net. Cross the line. The line is all we got.”
Through the tumult of his words, I buried myself in the forward movement. Me versus the sand. Me versus the weight. The weight withheld its grace, but I secured that rope within my hands and grasped with all I had.
That's a little excerpt from HERE BE DRAGONS and it came to me, inspired, and I pray it draws your heart closer to the One who made you, who makes your arms strong, your feet firm, and your heart victorious.
Would you like a free book? Or a couple free books? They are all by clean science fiction and fantasy authors with a Christian worldview.
Here's a link: https://storyoriginapp.com/bundles/97b669dc-1d57-11eb-b2b7-4fc259165361
If you would be interested in purchasing any of my books at a discount of $.99 right now, they are on sale until December 3rd. Here are those links:
Insurrection: A Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy (Book 1)
Incomplete: A Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy (Insurrection Book 2)
Indelible: A Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy (Insurrection Book 3) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07229CDKC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_n7XLFbSCRCXPE
Here Be Dragons
(An Insurrection story/standalone/Book 4)
Earthshine: A Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy (Insurrection Series/Standalone/ Book 5) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J5X6FDL/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_C8XLFbDPHFKN8
The winner of the collaboration giveaway was Katy B. from Louisiana, with 2nd Prize as Teresa K from Indiana.
Thank you again, friends, for persevering in this journey with me. May you see miracles around you, may your heart be strong, may you be courageous, and may you act in peace with faith as your guide.
A Good Hero Story
Amy Purdy's caption on one Instagram photo displays a twenty-one year-old girl in a white hospital gown, with a resilient smile on her face. She'd just had both of her legs amputated below the knees. Her words rang true then and they ring true now.
"In fact when I was wheeled into surgery, I gave myself three goals. 1. To never feel sorry for myself. 2. To snowboard that year and 3. When I figured this mess out, I vowed to help others. And I'm proud to say, that I accomplished all of them and ended up going further than I ever could have imagined. I didn't just snowboard, I won a medal in the Olympic/Paralympic Games. I didn't just help others, I have become one of the top requested motivational speakers in the country and started my own organization @adaptiveactionsports. But most importantly... I never ever gave up on myself. No matter what your circumstances are, don't ever give up on yourself. You are important and your contribution to this world and humanity is needed. You can be whatever you want to be. But there isn't anyone who is going to figure it out for you, you have to figure it out for yourself."
Battling meningitis, losing both kidneys, her spleen, and the hearing in her left ear, weighing eighty-three pounds, and at a two percent chance of survival, Amy Purdy proved to be one resilient cupcake. That same year she strapped on her snowboard. Three years later, she earned a bronze medal in the snowboardcross at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. She’s continued moving forward, joining the Dancing With The Stars cast in their eighteenth season, which is where I first saw her dance with partner Derek Hough. I rooted for her every step of the way, gasping when she’d whirl around on the floor, and as Derek would toss her around like a graceful puppet. She held her own, all the way to runner-up. I voted for her, I gotta say! She never earned a score less than an 8 during the entire run.
Amy has spoken on TEDx talks and her speech has become the example from which others are advised to learn in order to present their speeches; she also has a New York Times bestselling book. “Borders are where the actual ends, but also where the imagination and the story begins,” Amy said in her TEDx talk. “Instead of looking at our challenges and limitations as something negative or bad, we can begin to look at them as blessings, magnificent gifts that can be used to ignite our imaginations and help us go further than we ever knew we could go.” Other accomplishments? She went on a speaking engagement tour with Oprah Winfrey, drove a pace car in the Daytona 500, and runs Adaptive Action Sports, a company which helps athletes compete in action sports. She had to create her own gear in order to continue snowboarding, and has used that knowledge to help others. She also competed in the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang in 2018, earning a silver medal in snowboardcross and a bronze in banked slalom.
Amy’s TEDx talk asks viewers, “If your life were a book and you were the author, how would you want your story to go?” She said after she left the hospital, she had to let go of the old Amy and embrace the new Amy.
You’ve got to admit, we humans like a good hero story. We like a guy who rises from the ashes. You’ve got some button—some button that engages your fears, your failures, your darkness—and you’ve also got the ability to quell them. The Not Good Enough seeks you to serve you. How will you greet it? How will you create your story? The building action drives those decisions you make. You get every opportunity to be the hero. “There's no need to be perfect to inspire others,” Amy wrote on an Instagram post. “Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.” Perhaps you’re sitting on the living room floor, staring at your laptop, illuminated in the dark, just like I am. Perhaps your insides have been trembling in fear. We rise. We rise up fearless, borderless, and creative. Perhaps you’ve been training your whole life just for this incredible moment. This new moment where you embrace your new day. “It’s not about breaking down borders. It’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us.”
See Amy’s TEDx talk here: http://amypurdy.com/speaker/
Book Signing This Saturday
Stop by Arrows and Oaks on Saturday, January 12th from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM for a cozy book signing! Two new books have been released in paperback by my publisher, so stop by for your own signed copies, while grabbing a spot by the fire and the luxurious bath and body supplies. Published by Clean Reads, the young adult action adventures are thrilling for readers of all ages, fourteen and up, and offer an inspiring journey of ‘what if.’
The last thing Saylor McTavish remembers is a cry for help. Now she’s fighting for her life. Deep within a mysterious island, strange things are happening and an army of fire reigns.
Banding together with her closest friends, she escaped abuse at the Oak Point Girl’s Home and fled across the high seas, only to end up a prisoner again, this time at the mercy of the Alliance Military Guard. They are at war and now so is she.
Follow Saylor as she unlocks the dark secrets of the island, learns to wield high-tech weaponry, and ultimately faces an enemy bigger than herself. Will she find the strength to overcome her past or will she discover the power to be the hero the world needs?
Copies of INSURRECTION, INCOMPLETE, EARTHSHINE and non-fiction KINGDOM COME will be available for purchase, as well as freebie-giveaways! Arrows and Oaks is located at 1510 Indian Creek Dr, Brownwood, Texas. Stop by for your one-stop shop for bath and body supplies, lotions, hand-made goat-milk soap, and enter into the grand prize drawing for a comfy evening at home with your own personalized gifts. See more at https://www.facebook.com/arrowsandoaks.
Earthshine Release Day
Fear may be a liar, but hope can be a monster.
Saylor single-handedly saved the world from a devastating solar flare...and it nearly killed her. Now her father's Alliance Military Guard must track down pirated tech, missing ships, and a rogue billionaire, and they’ve requested a reluctant Saylor’s help.
Tucker spent a year training the rookie Guardsmen. They call themselves Dragons. He calls them defiant. Dispatched across the ocean on a mission to retrieve AMG's bootlegged tech, he rallies Saylor to overcome her fears and return to the field by his side.
Working together wielding unprecedented tech and determined to defy their destinies, the two wrangle missing ghosts, brunt force betrayal, and the swagger of power. What lies beneath the earth just might save it.
EARTHSHINE is the final book following the McConnell clan and Alliance Military Guard, a standalone for the seeker of YA Sci Fi Action Adventures.
Today is RELEASE DAY for Earthshine! Go grab your copy on Amazon! Wooooo!
For the faint-hearted. For the disillusioned. For the lonely. For the seeker. For the adventurous. For the lost. For the found.
May you be the hero. May you face the fear with a grin on your face. May you overcome the odds. And may you be somebody’s Earthshine.
My fellow Clean Reads author BW Morris allowed me to visit on his blog the other day. He let me share about the idea of what makes a superhero and how that relates to our real lives. I hope you'll read on and check it out. And share with a friend who could use some encouragement.
Happy reading, friends!
More Than Life
Windchimes swung in the background. A gentle wind hummed. Fingers picked the tinny strings of an acoustic guitar, one at a time cascading into a tender melody.
“Belief in the breeze
The smoky morning haze
The sun on her face
and the touch of lovers' hands
The pain that comes today
Is here, then goes away
And we are homeward bound
I want this more than life…”
Whitley’s version of the song, “More Than Life,” brought Saylor and Tucker into my mind, sitting on a porch swing, watching the sun set.
The two characters have stayed with me over the years, as I have traversed their roads, through wet marshes, muddy mountain trails, and the wilds of the Australian outback. What would they be doing right now, I’d ask myself. The hard part about meeting characters and following their stories is that they stay with you, real as friends. Their lives influenced mine. Their stories shaped mine. So in that smoky morning haze, in the golden, setting sun, what would they be doing, I’d revisit the question in my memory.
Would Saylor ever be satisfied with her ending?
What would she want more than life?
And from the ashes of broken dreams, from the depths of dark nights, of agony, of restlessness, of inability to wait with inaction, the story of EARTHSHINE came to be. Could a girl who’s “done the hard thing” once more rise to the occasion? You see, there is not just one “hard thing” to face in life. There will be one, then another, and another. Each time more difficult, each time more unhinged and chaotic, each time drawing the protagonist further into the hero position. What would Saylor do when asked to face her greatest fears, knowing they are real?
I wasn’t ready to write EARTHSHINE when the words began spilling out. It began with another title – Deadlight.
Halfway through, exploring the theme and tone brought on by the title “dead-light” generated, the word no longer fit. Is death the finale? While it served as an intriguing vocabulary word, no, it didn’t fit with Saylor and Tucker’s story. Theirs is a story of perseverance, of love, of hope. Of reflection. Of audacity. Of moxie. Of grit. One morning as I began to wrap up the final chapters on my manuscript, my “Word of the Day” email popped into my inbox. The term, “earthshine,” lit up my screen. In fact, it lit up my eyes from its first appearance, because earthshine means…well...I suppose you’ll have to read the book to find out.
I hope you will.
I hope you enjoy the story that had to be written.
I hope you may also get back up, once your heart has broken.
I hope you will be the one who shows up, builds up, and believes.
May you be the light, shining into the abyss. May you be someone’s Earthshine.
Earthshine releases in three weeks, on October 9th. Happy reading.
But By All Means
Martin Luther King, Jr:
This is the most important and crucial period of your lives, for what you do now and what you decide now at this age may well determine which way your life shall go. And the question is whether you have a proper, solid, and sound blueprint. And I want to suggest some of the things that should be in your life’s blueprint.
Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity and your own worth and your own Somebody-ness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel like you are nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.
Secondly in your life’s blueprint, you must have a basic principle: the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor. You’re going to be deciding as the days and years unfold what you will do in life, what your life’s work will be. And once you discover what it will be, set out to do it and do it well. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be the sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or you fail, be the best of whatever you are.
Finally, in your life’s blueprint, must be a commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love, justice. While life for none of us has been a crystal stair, we must keep moving, we must keep going. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.
See King's inspiring speech here:
Have you felt overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up? How many times have you waited, unsure, hesitant, when faced with a decision? Is that ache in your chest old yet?
I’ve had that deep ache in my chest these past few months (years?), and I’ve done a lot of seeking. A LOT. I got tired of the ache. Instead, I tooled up. I learned that I can sit there sad, frustrated, burned out and cynical…or I can take action.
Did you know that you have incredibly powerful tools right within your grasp, and you are on the verge of walking through this mysterious, fabulous door to unknown new worlds? Oh, yes you are.
I hope that doesn’t sound too scary….actually, maybe I do. Because fear masquerades around you, calling you out. Are you ready to stop being afraid? Do you even realize when you’re afraid?
I used to think I was pretty brave until I looked at how I was going about my business, hiding out in the shadows, taking the safe path, and venturing only when I was sure the next step would find firm ground. Even putting this book out is the entry into a nail-biting, murky realm for me, but I firmly believe these tools are essential for us and we don’t even realize we have them. But they’re right there.
Opt in for an adventure to discover purpose, tenacity, and to build your empire. Even the most ordinary of humans can do impossible things. The elements of storytelling are tools to help us understand our purpose and to build a life greater.
My latest collection of seeking and soldering has led to a 150-page guide and workbook to help you change your mindset to change your life. Within these pages of KINGDOM COME we discover the three protocols every hero satisfies in order to fulfill the mission. You’re the hero in your own story. Transforming into the hero may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, but it will be the best thing you’ve ever done.
Here we discover the ultimate objective in understanding and experiencing the combined unity of these three tools in your hero story. Get ready to travel the vast horizon of the hero plot line and forge new paths toward your legacy.
Available TODAY from Amazon, in paperback and ebook, you too can join the adventure. Come on, friend. I’ve taken some of these steps myself, and it’s beautiful over here. Let’s get crackin, together. Click here to purchase your copy right now. Only $1.99 in ebook and $6.99 in paperback, you’ll have my crazy little stories about life and how all these problems around you serve as the real excitement you’ve been seeking. The chapters are short and the questions might make you squirm, but I’d rather be out there on that sunny mountain than stuck, waiting for air. Here’s your fresh breath. From my heart to yours.
What does becoming a champion entail? It’s a methodical, ongoing trek toward a goal. It’s a pushing forward, regardless. It’s upward and outward, every day, showing up, and breaking boundaries.
To be honest, it was his turquoise shoes I noticed first. Then, it was his superhuman pull-ups.
One day about a year ago, maybe longer, one guy at the gym did these massive pull-ups I’d never seen with my own eyes in person. He was using the regular squat/pull-up rack in the gym, minding his own business, but with a forty-five pound weight chained to his waist. After a couple reps of those, he went and added to the pull-ups, where he extended his arms down, above the top of the metal rack, shoving his body closer to the sky. That move is known as a muscle-up.
I blinked several times after I saw this the first time, wondering if anyone else at the gym noticed it, but around me the treadmills continued to buzz and the lifters by the weight racks studied the ground by their sneakers. (They were not turquoise.)
Another day, I took to the treadmills in my warm-up and, across the room, this bar lined with multiple forty-five-pound discs begins raising off the ground, the black steel bar itself beginning to bend in the middle. I counted I think eight of those discs plus some smaller ones. I don’t math, but then saw who was owning that bar. And nobody else in the gym even glanced up. He continued deadlifting that grimacing bar, but those hands stayed steady.
I just had to find out what motivated this guy to get up, show up, and lift up. What do you tell yourself when you’re lifting hundreds of pounds? How do you continue to shove against the grain of the earth when all it’s doing is trying to knock you down?
I think I asked him, “How much weight was that?” and he simply shrugged, non-committal, with a, “That was only four-fifty” or something to that effect. What. And then I have no idea what came out of my mouth because math… and I’m intimidated by most humans, especially ones who can lift four times my weight with a shrug. But then he said, essentially, “How you handle the gym demonstrates how you handle life.”
And I knew that my friends and readers needed to hear his story and perspective.
Need some motivation? Go find Travis Cadenhead on Facebook and Instagram at CadenheadKinetix. He’s a personal coach who offers online nutrition and fitness programming. Travis has worked with the elderly, special needs kids, the average gym goer, and pro athletes.
If you’re intimidated about those first few hesitant steps to bettering your life and wellness, then take a moment to rush forward. Success and victory aren’t as far away as they seem.
Here are just a *few* of his recent resume triumphs:
2014—Texas Raw bench press record of 402lbs at 198lb bodyweight. (U.S. Powerlifting Association)
2015—Pig Iron Classic Powerlifting meet. 1st place in weight class and best overall lifter.
2015—Bend the Bar (USPA) Powerlifting meet.
1st place in weight class and best overall lifter.
Qualified to compete at IPL world powerlifting meet.
2015—Unleash the Beast (MSA) Powerlifting meet.
1st place in weight class and best overall lifter.
Qualified to compete at IPL world powerlifting meet.
2016—Clash of the Barbarians (USPA) powerlifting meet.
1st place in weight class, best overall lifter, and a top 30 total pounds in the Nation and Top 4 in Texas.
Includes raw lifts of a 705 lb squat, 440 lb bench press, and 672 lb deadlift. 1819 lb total.
Qualified to compete at IPL world powerlifting meet.
Has your jaw hit the floor yet? I know! How does someone become a champion like this, and stay hungry yet humble? I think it has to do with the shoes. And probably also the commitment to persevere.
1) How did you get into Powerlifting/lifting heavy?
I started lifting during Junior High School for athletics although I didn't take it seriously until I was a senior in high school. It was an outlet for me; I could let out all the energy and aggression I had in the weight room versus somewhere else. I’m confident I would not be where I am today if I had not found weightlifting. I am an adrenaline junkie (fast cars/bikes or whatever to get a thrill) and quickly got addicted to the adrenaline factor of heavy lifting. It may seem crazy to a lot of people, but I love the mentality of "100% effort, give it all you got, get it or die trying." I believe the attitude I, and many others, have developed in the weight room transfers to other aspects in life also.
2) What motivates you to keep lifting heavy? When you’re at the bar, and the weights feel like they are too much, what do you do mentally or physically to continue working?
I always strive to be the best athlete I can be. I hype myself up by trying to do more reps or weight than before. I don't want to be normal and never wanted to be. If a thought comes into my head that I cannot do something, I remember the last time I had that thought, kept trying and accomplished the goal. Fear is not something God created us to have, so I bring that to the table when I am training.
3) What approach do you take to fitness and nutrition and mindset?
Fitness is very important not just physically for me but mentally. It’s been a part of my life for over a decade and I would be lost without it. I do set schedules for specific exercises/training depending on my goal at that time. I train to be a well-rounded athlete. I am always thinking about what I need to do to get better; that includes weightlifting, calisthenics, gymnastic movements, running, jumping, agility, conditioning, and martial arts.
What we put in our bodies is everything. I believe a lot of the diseases nowadays is from the Western type diet most Americans eat. Instead of eating foods with anti-inflammatories and plenty of micronutrients, the American diet is loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats which cause inflammation in the arteries, have insufficient micronutrients, vitamins/minerals, and cause diseases like diabetes and heart disease, etc. I believe eating foods loaded with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, micronutrients, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, along with exercise, will help prevent and reverse a lot of these diseases.
4) What is your strategy for setting goals? Do you set specific numbers and work toward them or how do you decide what your results will be?
I like to set extreme goals. I am either all in or not at all; I have no in between. When I have a goal that is very extreme and hard to achieve, that is what drives and motivates me to keep moving forward.
5) For the regular person who’s afraid of stepping inside the gym, what’s one piece of advice you’d offer?
Don't be intimidated. Not everyone wants to be extreme in the gym or a competitive athlete. Everyone has different goals and levels of fitness. Starting a consistent fitness regimen is, in my opinion, one of the best decisions you can make in your life. It is never too late to start. As you get older fitness training will help you keep your muscular structure, it will make everyday functional activities more manageable, and you will be able to do more desirable activities (hiking, biking, playing with kids, etc..).
6) What is one piece of advice you’d give your teen self?
I would tell myself to learn more about functional training rather than just getting bigger. Bodybuilding like most young men want, without functional training in their routine is not practical. You will look the part but will probably lose athleticism.
7) What is one thing you’d like to leave as your legacy?
I want people to remember me as a Godly man. I want to help people live a more positive life physically, mentally and spiritually.
8) What kind of personal training do you offer, and to whom?
I offer online nutrition and fitness programming. I have worked with the elderly, special needs kids, the average gym goer, and pro athletes. I desire to work with anyone who wants to live a healthier more functional lifestyle, to athletes who wish to increase their athletic performance.
How you act in the gym demonstrates how you act outside the gym. I wasn’t raised in the gym and didn’t start loving the place until I was a mother of two littles and lost my connection to the outside world, and gained a lot of baggage in the process. What about you? Are you ready to feel better inside and out?
By pushing the limits, by digging in harder every time, the reps get easier, the reps simultaneously get harder, and also get more enjoyable. The reps equal results. You want to be the champion? Want to move freely, to do the good work you need to do? Hang in there. Don’t give up. Put in the reps to do your work, and continue pressing on regardless of outcomes, regardless of conflict, regardless of the weather or how you feel about them. If you’re hitting a wall, try aiming for a new one. Reps equal progress. The progress may be slow but all progress counts every single time.
How much do you want it?
Go get it.
And go check out Travis' Insta for inspiration and making new strides toward your tomorrow.
Connect with Travis online:
Facebook: Travis Cadenhead-CadenheadKinetix
Guest Post Awesomeness
The lovely Rae Eckman, manager of the blog A New Look On Books invited me to share a guest post the other day. I wanted to make sure you saw it! I randomly do guest posts but this one in particular came straight from my passionate little heart. Here's a little introduction, and a link to the blog. I hope you'll read it, especially if you're feeling down, frustrated, or stuck.
Happy reading, friends!
Fiction shows us how to handle our non-fiction. We enjoy these characters’ stories, see their pain, feel their journey, and tremble as their spirits quake. We get invited into their space and see the world with its conflicts, heartache, and power. Fiction’s miraculous. Fiction offers a gift of escape, of courage, of grit, of shuddering through temptation with the hero. Are you facing some serious shadows? Are you hearing the grinding of bones in the distance? Just like the heroes in our favorite stories, every person meets a point of deciding who to be and what to do.
Where are the heroes? A friend of mine recently said she wondered where the heroes were. The current trend for stories is that they often feature a strong heroine—and while I am all about a strong heroine, and inspiring girls to believe in themselves—I also believe we need to encourage everyone to protect, to serve, to lead humbly, to explore, to create, and to forget stereotypes. The time has arrived for all of us to rise up as heroes to wrestle the shadows.
Read the rest here, with a fabulous acronym to remind you how to get the job done: https://anewlookonbooks.com/2018/06/18/guest-post-kadee-carder-talks-fiction/
Feel free to share it if it lifted your spirits. Now go be a hero! <3
Flip The Switch
Do you remember the moment you met someone who changed your life? The first time I was invited to go hear Krista Johnson speak about nutrition and health, I didn’t want to go. All of my friends were talking about her fat loss program, how they were suddenly losing all this weight, and how I *just had to* hear her story. At the time, I was a new mom, had just recently lost my job, and possessed little motivation for trying new things.
But I sure am glad that my friends didn’t give up. There in that white-walled church meeting room, as Krista introduced her story of releasing one hundred pounds from her body, going from being a tired mother of four, into a business owner who taught Tae Bo classes and had trained in person with Billy Blanks, I could almost feel the sands shifting under my feet. A fresh, soft breeze began to blow within my spirit. It started out with a plate. Now I’ve changed from that weary new mom who lived on coffee and bagels and struggled to get out of bed without crying, to someone who races to the gym every day to see if I can beat yesterday’s weight bracket. Now I understand that every day I get this great gift, this new opportunity, to speak life into others, and I think my friends understood that. I’m so glad they insisted I go to that meeting seven years ago.
If you’ve never met someone who helped you understand freedom, let me introduce you to my friend Krista.
1. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to own and operate Fit By Faith. When did you establish it?
When I was in the middle of my weight loss journey, down 20 pounds from 242 pounds, I was going for a run. Well, if you want to call it a run. I was tip toeing up a hill, crying in pain, feeling humiliation trying to get my body to move. I made a choice to keep pushing on and I literally heard in my head, FIT BY FAITH. I prayed and God showed me a vision for Fit By Faith and I laughed. How could someone as out of shape as me ever be able to help others get fit? As I began to lose and become fitter, God gave me guidance and equipped me mind, body, and spirit, to start preparing Fit By Faith. About two years later, I taught my first Tae Bo class out of another gym. One month later we opened up Fit By Faith, on September 30, 2006.
2. What does your typical day look like now?
Each day is a bit different. It involves keeping my household running, being available for my family and my famous dogs :) It is a mix of personal training, teaching fitness classes, running nutrition groups online, organizing all the other services we offer that are taught by my Husband, running two Network Marketing businesses and volunteering at my church running the media and working on the protection detail team. It sounds like a lot, but God truly equips me to handle it all. When I become overwhelmed and feel like it is too much, I stop trying to do it myself and get back on track letting God lead me!
3. What kept you going through your fitness/wellness journey when you felt like you were at a plateau? What did you do?
I like how you call it a journey, because it is. I am still on it and will be on it forever. There were times I had no changes, but I think the reason people quit when results stop or give up is because their motivation was a weak one. If it is to be a certain weight by a certain date, to look good in a swim suit, etc, then those are weak motivations that will not last a lifetime. For me it was realizing I had the responsibility to break this cycle and keep it from trickling down into my children. It was realizing I did not want to be this overweight, sick burden to my family. I want to be an example and a blessing to my children and family. So whether I am having results or not, they see me walking in faith, making good choices, being joyful in all situations and then they learn to do the same.
4. Do you have a favorite quote or Bible verse which encourages you?
Yes. There are about 354 to be exact! Ha! But the one that stays with me through all situations is Acts 1:8. I believe we are equipped to do whatever God leads us to do. I may have had no clue about fitness, but when I allowed him to use me 100%, he has equipped me. If he told me tomorrow he wanted me to be a hair dresser, I may have no idea today about how to be one in that moment, but you can bet I would become the best one in the nation because He would equip me to do it :) You shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be His witness to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8
5. Do you have a favorite and a least favorite fitness move? What are they?
I have an equal amount of both, but if I had to pick one, I like burpees. It is funny because when I first did one, I thought they were straight from the pit of hell and hated them with all my being. Now I love them. I love that I can do them and do them well. I love to get creative with them too. Least favorite would be pull-ups. Enough said. Ha!
6. What is one change anybody can make today in order to begin a fitness journey? What about a faith journey?
I believe the absolute first change has to be what comes out of your mouth for both your fitness journey and your faith journey. Our words are life and death. What you speak is what you will become. Change your words, change your life. When I finally fixed the inside, the outside was no longer a battle. It just fixed itself. Until you can speak truth to your body, to your mind and spirit, and only work on the outside, it will be like a dog chasing its tail in circles.
7. Do/did you have a particular struggle in regard to changing your lifestyle? What do you do when you find that weakness creeping back in? Do you have a particular strength or preference that keeps you in the fat loss lifestyle?
I did and still do face struggles all the time, but through them I grow and learn. I see struggles as great teachable moments. You have to be a teachable person and be willing to have not so good days and learn from them. I think what has kept me on this journey is just loving myself through the process. Understanding that my best will be different each day and embracing every victory no matter how small. I think love is the answer to everything, honestly. It is the strength that everyone possesses, you just have to do it :) Honestly the power is always in our hands. You just have to flip the switch on!
8. What’s one thing you would tell your teenage self?
When your flesh wants to handle something, stop before you speak or act and remember this: Be in love, walk in faith, be led by the spirit.
9. What do you hope to leave as your legacy?
John and I have four of the absolutely most amazing children. Each one of them truly is if you know anything about them. They are my legacy and as far as I am concerned, that job is already done!
10. What do you offer at Fit By Faith? Do you offer personal training? Do you have a particular program to help me on my wellness journey? How do I find you online?
We offer personal training, fitness classes, nutrition classes, CPR & Lifeguard Certification, Reflexology, Nutritional products and a lot of love. You can find out about all of it at www.fitbyfaith.net .
It doesn't matter if you're burned out, broken down, or just plain tired. You've got this one moment to make a change and act. Can a mom of four lose one hundred pounds and keep it off? Yes. Can an ordinary chica break a board with a swift kick? Yes. Can even the clumsiest of fumblers learn how to deadlift her weight? Oh, my, yes. Can one decision change a life? You know it.
Flip on that switch, readers! Welcome to this beautiful new day of life, creation, and wild adventure. If you struggle with your weight or nutrition choices, need mental clarity, lack motivation, or just want to feel better overall, I encourage you to check out fitbyfaith.net and see all that Krista has to offer. She’ll get you the tools you need and equip you with courage, hope, and love, to not just be fit, but fit by faith.
Who Invited The Mom That Runs?
"Who invited the mom that runs?" She said it partially in jest, but the hint of insecurity and chastisement were what I heard. Did she really disapprove of the parents who chose to join their kids on the track of the running club? Wasn't the point to get people moving?
No, I think she had a moment where she felt inadequate or jealous and let that win. There's space for every mom. Some moms stand on the sidelines cheering on their kids, some moms drop off the kids and drive to work, and some moms get on the track. I'm glad this mom said her piece, because it inspired me.
The first day of running club, I wasn't sure whether to join my daughter on the track. It was technically FOR the kids, so could parents run too? I stood on the sidelines that first morning, unsure if I could use that twenty minutes to get my own blood pumping.
Then The Mom Who Runs showed up with her kids and took the track with them. She was the only one. The second day? I wore my running shoes and joined the fun.
Don't be afraid or insecure if you want to get on the track. Maybe there's a place for helicopter parenting but I'd also venture there's a place for being an example. I want my kids to see that they can be physically fit at any age, and I want them to be encouraged in their striving. I want them to know they are capable of doing more than they imagine, that it's okay to be courageous, and it's okay to be different.
Time to toss the fear, the insecurities, the jealousy, the inability. You are needed on the field. You're wanted on the field. You're capable of filling the space that needs to be filled. Lace up those running shoes. Take that first step and get on the track. The children are watching. So are the other moms.
I have some fabulous conversations with my college besties. Here's a transcript from a conversation we had the other day about accomplishing goals and realizing dreams. Hope you'll read through and be encouraged.
Part of me sometimes wishes I hadn’t started the journey of my book writing, because I feel like I can’t get anywhere near the level that I want to be, which is just having the book in my hand. It’s so far away. Most people around here don’t even understand that they’re published. They ask me, “When are you going to get those books published?” And I say, “They are published.” But then they say, “No, but when are they going to be published?” They don’t know what an ebook is, or they don’t read ebooks.
If I had not done all this book stuff, if I had not gone forward in pursuing what I really wanted to do—and I honestly cannot say “I felt God calling me to do it,”—it was just something I really wanted to do. It was this NEED, like this need to eat, I had this need to write this story out.
Truthfully? I wouldn’t ever go back, honestly. The biggest frustration is that I can’t get them in print, and that’s my biggest frustration, internally. But getting to where I am now, that has changed me completely from inside to outside. I’ve had to face some of my darkest demons, and I’m not even on the other side of it, but I’m in there. It’s given me such empathy and sympathy for the people who are in the trenches of doing hard things, and even just struggling to be alive. It’s opened my eyes to crushing heartbreak. And I had known it before in high school, when my cousin was murdered, I mean it’s not like I’ve been completely sheltered all my life. I’ve seen really hard things. So even going through this has been this whole new eye-opening experience.
Explore the things you are most afraid of. Explore what you really want to do.
What if God did not have one thing in particular for you to do? What if he had a whole bunch of things open for you? And what if he says, “Pick any of them.” And many of them may not lead to success, but they’ll make you better in your pursuit of them. Usually you will find those jobs in the things you are afraid of. So where you hesitate, I say pursue it.
What other people think about you should not influence the things you do. If you have a passion and a desire, then you follow that. Because God has given you that. He allows you to have fears so you will come alive once you embrace them. Now I’m not saying go crazy and do anything illegal or dangerous, but even if it is dangerous, it could be something life-changing. Like sky diving. Wear that parachute though.
What I have found in exploring all-of-the-things with my books, the fears that I used to have, the fear of failure, of being laughed at, of being a joke, it never looks like you think it’s gonna look in the middle of it and on the other side of it. And you truly can do more than you imagine. And it will always look different than you think.
Branch out. Try something new, something hard. It’s super uncomfortable, and totally worth it.
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