Friday, August 17, 2012

It's The First Day of School!

Sob, rejoice, do a happy dance what is a parent to do on the first day of Kindergarten?  The Diva is excited and I am excited for her but part of me wants to say slow down, don't grow up too fast!  She is ready for this day and has been for some time now!  Two years of preschool have more than prepared her for the beginning of this adventure.  Oh well, time for me to adjust and find something else to fill my time!  Shouldn't be too hard right?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Most AMAZING 2 Days Ever!

I am exhausted!  I arrived home from a two day, 150 mile St. Jude run at 12:30 this morning!  My team raised $62,500 for St. Jude and, YES, ran 150 miles from Mattoon, IL to Peoria, IL.  I am proud to say that I ran 20 miles, which is a major record for me and I did it with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes!  I met some new friends and I had an amazing time even though our RV air conditioning quit.  Have you ever crammed 10 sweaty runners into an RV with no AC?  Believe me when I tell you that the resulting smell is NOT pretty!

We had a group of 50 runners and 20 support people that piled into 5 RVs to make the 150 mile trek!  Little did I know when I started that this would be the most amazingly hard journey that I would make!  It would test my body and my mind to the point of breaking!

So who do you do it?  Well, I run for the kids who are sick and not able to run!  God gave me strong legs and I am using them to give back!  I ran for Alyssa, the daughter of a friend, who was treated and St. Jude and beat her cancer!  How amazing is that!!

 Here I am running on day one of our incredible journey.  This run was on country roads and busy highways just like this!  Safety is always a concern and right before this shot was take, a truck pulling a trailer almost took me out of the game!  Scary situation but I kept moving forward after all, I was still here and still strong!

My favorite leg of the run was run in the dark!  It was 11:30 PM or so and the temperature was an amazing 62 degrees!  We were in the middle of nowhere on our way to Warrensburg, IL, for showers, and there were a gazillion stars in the cloudless sky!  Totally amazing!  We ran with glow sticks and they called me Glo Jo!  During this leg, we ran into a foggy patch and the chase van lights showed our shadows on the fog!  Again, amazing!

At the end of the journey was Peoria, a satellite campus of St. Jude, and a crowd of people ready to cheer for us!  It was awesome to run into the crowd and high five actual patients from St. Jude who had been praying for us on our journey when they are on a journey for their lives!

In the end, I am a St. Jude runner for life now!  I will continue to run for the kids as long as I am physically capable!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Running for St. Jude!

Jo Brazzell's Page  This is the link to my personal page!  Could you please take a moment and use the link to make a donation to my team?  We are running 147 miles from Mattoon, IL to the St. Jude campus in Peoria, IL on July 20-21!  I am running for those kids who can't run because of illness!  100% off all donations goes directly to the kids!

Did you know that no child is turned away for the inability to pay?  That's right!  When a child goes to St. Jude, there is NEVER a bill and this is all made possible by generous people like you who take the time to donate!  I am not asking for a huge amount because ANY amount helps!  How about donating the price of a cup of coffee for one day or a week?  It will impact the life of a child in a big way!

Why St. Jude?  I am passionate about this cause because I know kids who have been treated at St. Jude!  Alyssa was treated as an infant and is now a healthy 9 year old all because someone care enough to donate!  I will not stop until childhood cancers have been eradicated from the face of the earth!  That's how passionate I am!  Please take a moment and help!  Thank you!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I love it when I get to put a check beside an item on my bucket list! Lose weight - check, get in shape - check, climb a 30 foot rock wall - check and check! Yup, I climbed the beast TWICE! Oh what a great feeling! I am ready to go again! I even got a great compliment when one of the other women doubted her ability to climb the wall because she is not ripped like me! It made me giggle because I don't consider myself ripped but I graciously accepted her kind words!

The wall was part of Dad Fest at The Fields church! What an awesome celebration of the fathers in our lives! The stage was decorated with motorcycles and the band did a medley of manly songs while the men drank Dad's Root beer! There were Cardinals tickets to be given away and free rounds of golf! Lunch was pulled pork, baked beans and slaw with cake for desert! There were bag tournaments and lots of kids activities! It was a great day for all!

All in all, it has been the perfect Father's Day!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


We are always becoming something until the day we die. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I began to think about what I am becoming. What am I working on during my short time here on earth? What am I becoming?

The first thing that comes to mind is fit! I am becoming healthy and fit by working out and eating well. I am also becoming stronger in body and in mind. On this fitness journey, I am soon to become a kickboxing instructor to help others become healthy.

My journey to becoming is not only physical but mental and spiritual, as well. I am becoming a better student of life and people and the needs of people around me. I am ever mindful of how others are feeling and what circumstances have brought them to this point in their life. I am becoming more giving of my time to help those who need it most.

Through this journey, called life, I am becoming more beautiful. I do not mean physically beautiful but in terms of my compassion and caring nature. So to commemorate this "becoming" journey, I got this.....

What are you becoming?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Runny Nose and All

So it's concession time here and I hope I'm not alone in this malady that plagues me daily! Here goes nothing: my nose runs when I workout. I'm not talking just a little drip but a bonafide river coming from my nose type of thing.

The other day I did a burpee and had the inevitable river running rampant! During the next burpee, I wiped out! I pretended it was from all the sweat pouring from my body but, the likely culprit was probably my river of snot! Seriously, it is THAT bad!

I carry tissue but a whole box per workout is redonkulous so I started taking my own towels to the gym. I didn't think they would appreciate my snotting in their towels! Besides, no one gets paid enough to wash a strangers snot ridden towel! Just sayin'!

Add seasonal allergies to the workout snot problem and you have a huge snotty mess! I started Claratin today and may add Zyrtec to the mix if that doesn't work!

I took two days off of my normal workouts to get my symptoms under control but tomorrow I will be running and I'm sure my nose will be running with me!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Just Call Me Coach!

My past P.E. teachers would never in a million years believe that I have added a new title to my resume! I am now a Coach! Eeek! I will join the Coaching staff for the Girls on the Run fall session! I will be teaching girls about self esteem while training them to run a 5k.

I never was very athletic in school. I was a dancer and singer and an actor but never an athlete. In fact, I considered myself to be overweight as a result of the uber skinny, popular girls. In hindsight, I realize that I was a healthy weight and not fat at all but perceived myself as so!

Today, self perception starts very early among girls! I'm talking 3rd grade here folks and, unfortunately, that is the age when other kids start mocking kids who are different from them! Yikes! I don't remember going through this until Middle School!

The purpose of GOTR is to teach girls to love themselves and that beauty comes from within all of us! Hopefully, the girls who participate learn lessons that they can apply to every day life and the bullying situations they encounter.

I am just so excited to be a part of this program and to be able to help girls overcome the problems they face. What an amazing organization to be part of! If you would like to know more, you can go to !

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


No, that is not the number of miles that I run in a week but it is the number of pounds that I have lost in 11 months! The weight is coming off much slower now that I am within 10 pounds of my final goal but I am still pushing forward!

I get lots of questions about how I did it and where to start and my answers are always the same! First, see your doctor for a complete physical to make sure your body is ready. Second, start eating better! I go by the 90/10 rule. I eat perfect 90% of the time and allow myself to eat what I want 10% of the time! No food is taboo in my world! Third, put one foot in front of the other! In July of 2011, I started walking/running and in January of this year I added cross training at my local YMCA! This includes: cycling, kickboxing and strength training. Last, NEVER GIVE UP!

I know that the last one is tough but it really is important since you didn't put the weight on in one day do it will take time and work to take it off! I have persisted and I will soon reach my goal! Has it been easy? NO! Has it been worth it? YES! It has become a way of life for me!

There are some great benefits too! More energy, small clothes (from a 16 to a 6/8) and tons of compliments! The best benefit, however, is seeing my 5 year old daughter make smart eating choices! I hope that she never has to struggle with her weight because I was proactive in the things that I have taught her!

Here is another benefit: crossing the finish line in a 5K or better yet, crossing the finish line with my running buddy and her dad during Girls on the Run and having my little Diva there to witness the awesomeness of the moment!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Lesson in Loss

Today we had to put our beloved beagle, Boscoe, to sleep. I knew it would come sooner or later after his kidney failure diagnosis two weeks ago but I really thought we would have more time than we did!

He stopped eating Saturday night and I knew that my food loving dog was really not feeling good! He did nothing but sleep and drink gallons of water and ring the bells to go outside to do his business. He was not the fun loving beagle that we loved and I knew I had to do what was best for him.

There will never be another like Boscoe. He was so smart and learned lots of tricks including: sit, speak, whisper, play dead and dance. Sometimes he would do every trick he knew for the treat that was sure to follow a performance! He learned to climb play equipment and slide down the slide with the kids! He became famous at Fort Campbell for being the beagle who pulled his boy on a scooter. It really was a sight to see!

He was my buddy during my husband's two deployments and he comforted me when my Mom passed away! He was simply the best dog ever!

RIP Boscoe December 2002 - April 23, 2012.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

So Close Yet So Far

Weight loss is never easy. We all know that very well! I am close to the finish line, however, so I keep plugging right along! I have lost 50 pounds so far and only have 13 to go to hit my goal!

I am in a single digit size for the first time since Jr. High and I am healthy! I love it when the Knight tells me that my athletic legs and small booty look good! The biggest motivator, however, is the effect that is has had on the Diva! Just today, while we were out and about, she asked to go to McDonalds to get a bag of apple slices!! What kid does that? She also ate her broccoli and part of mine last night at dinner. No it did not have cheese on it! She is making great choices based on what she sees me doing!! I love it!

I also LIVE it! I want to be am example for my family and others. I am also giving back through fitness. In July, I will run for St. Jude and if you would like to donate, you can click the button in my side bar! 100% of what you give goes to help the kids!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


So the truth of the matter is I have hit a small plateau in my weight loss journey!  Last week I only lost .4 of a pound from the previous two weeks!  I am in the home stretch so I know that I need to kick it into high gear to keep the losses coming!  Running, cycling, kickboxing, step and strength training are all a part of my normal weekly routine and I just keep plugging away at it.

Truth:  when i started this journey last June, I was 217 pounds and size 16.
Truth:  I now weigh 170 and just bought a size 8 jeans.
Truth:  I am healthier than I have ever been in my adult life!
Truth:  I am strong.
Truth:  I will not quit until I reach my goal of 150 lbs!!

On this journey, I have made some changes that I never dreamed would be part of my daily life!  Running never fit into my life before last year.  Now it is something I don't want to be without.  When I had knee surgery, I became depressed because I could not run.  During my recovery, I became determined to get back to running and run a 5K.  I completed that goal on December 31, 2011 so I had to set a new goal.  This time I have decided to run with a group of crazy people for charity.  Our run will take us from Mattoon, IL to Peoria, IL to raise money and awareness for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital!  I know it sounds crazy but I am passionate about this cause and have been for many years now.  I personally know 2 kids who have received treatment at St. Jude's and cannot say enough about this hospital and the beautiful little warriors that it serves, many at no cost to their family!

I am lending my legs to the cause but I really need YOUR help!  I have set a goal to raise $750 for this wonderful organization and every penny counts!  If you could just please click on the link and help me out, I would greatly appreciate it and so would the kids!  It is because of folks like YOU that St. Jude's is even possible!  Thanks for your help!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Taking The Next Step

I am always asking myself; what's next? Where do I go from here? How can I help others get what I have? Lately the answer has been loud and clear! Become a personal trainer!! What?!? You heard right! I have studied the human body and the effects of diet and exercise since 2003. Does that mean that I have always put what I have learned into practice?? That would be a resounding NO, but this time is very different from the rest!

Always before, I was in it for me and only me. Granted, it started out that way this time too but then something changed as others began to inquire about my 50 pound weight loss, eating and working out. I began to see that I could help others be their best inside and out so I am taking the next step.

What is the next step? I am so glad you asked! I have decided to become a personal trainer but the only thing standing between me and that goal is the $600 tuition for the on-line training course and certification test. At this point I am just praying that we find a way to make it work but until then I will continue to work on myself each and every day that I am alive!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Am Melting!

Maybe I am not melting but I am still losing weight! At today's weigh in, I was down another 4 pounds so I am 2 pounds away from another mini goal and 14 away from my final goal! I am excited by the thought that I could be at goal by my birthday, at the end of May, which is also my one year mark for my weight loss journey!

I am not resting on my laurels! I am constantly tweaking my eating and my workout routines. Last week, I adding an early morning spin class to my schedule 3 mornings a week. Getting up at 5 AM is hard enough but stick me on a bike and make me sweat, well, that's a lot! Ha! I am a glutton for punishment but that punishment is paying off!

I have to admit that I am thinking about ways to help others lose weight! I enjoy watching others achieve their health and fitness goals and I am thinking about taking it to the next level! We shall see what the future holds! All I know is that I am getting closer to my goal every day and I will push forward!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Secrets of Success

I watch Dr. Oz occasionally and today it was all about herbal diet supplements that promise quick weight loss for anyone willing to shell out the money! It makes me laugh when they claim that you need not change anything about the way you eat or workout! I also watched an infomercial for Sensa, you sprinkle it in your pizza, burger or fries and you lose weight!

Please!!!!! I get so aggravated at these claims so I am going to tell you the secrets of my success! I am even going to divulge my starting and current weight!

First, I am 43 years old (44 in May) so don't let people tell you that women over 40 cannot lose weight because it simply is not true! At my November 2010 annual physical, I weighed in at 217 pounds! Hello, I was over weight! On June 5, 2011 I made a choice to get healthy and be a good example for my 4 year old Diva and I took the first of many baby steps. I say baby steps because if you try to change everything all at once you will, most likely, fail.

Step one was to change my diet. I opted for a plan that I call the 90/10 plan. Be good 90% of the time and eat what I want the other 10%. For me this translates to eating good during the week and allowing myself to eat my favorite pizza on Friday night! No deprivation going on here!

Step 2 was to start tracking everything that I put in my mouth! I have an app on my iPhone called My Fitness Pal that I love! It is always with me and has a scan feature that allows me to scan barcodes from my favorite products.

So for the first month it was all about what I ate and keeping track of it. Doing this I lost about 10 pounds! Then on July 5, 2011 I took another baby step and began running! I ran for less than 10 days before a torn ACL took me out of commission! During my forced break, I continued to eat right and lost another 10 pounds (20 total). Then came physical therapy and finally on November 10, 2011 I was released to run again and I was off! I have not stopped since!

Now, I don't have scales at home because the Diva broke them so I go to a local car dealership, who held a weight loss challenge that I participated in! I go in every couple of weeks just to make sure I am still on track to meet my goal by June 2012. I am currently 175 pounds!! This makes a total of 42 pounds gone! Only 20 pounds more and I will hit my goal!!

I continue to eat well and run but have recently joined our local YMCA and started taking some classes. I take a class called 30-30-30 which is 30 minutes each if step aerobics, strength training and Yoga. It challenges me twice a week. In February I will add a second class, most likely a spinning class. I have signed up for another challenge to keep me pushing myself forward in this process. I love a good challenge! Prizes help the motivation too!

So, as you can see, no gimmicks here! Just plenty of healthy food and lots of hard, sweat inducing work! New year, new me! This is a lifestyle change for the better. What are you doing for yourself in 2012?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Save on Prescriptions with Walgreens

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Walgreens and Express Script have been unable to to come to an agreement to keep Walgreens as an Express Script provider, so what does that mean for customers?  Many customers are having to switch pharmacies or drive farther just to fill their prescriptions!  Do you fall into this category?  To see if you are impacted check the back of your insurance card to see if Express Scripts is listed on the back.

So what is Walgreens doing to help?  Walgreens Prescription Savings Club is one way that Walgreens is trying to assist it's customers.  During January an individual can sign up for $5 or a family can register for $10 which will guarantee savings on over 8000 name brand and generic prescriptions.    The annual fees are normally $20 for an individual or $35 for a family membership.  There are more than 400 generic medications available with a 90 day supply for less than $1 a week!

So who is Express Script?  They are a middle man between the insurance company and the pharmacy and they are making more money in these situations than the service provider themselves.  In a nutshell, they make money while Walgreens and the customer foot the bill.  You can show your support for Walgreens and stay updated by following them on Walgreens on Twitter and Walgreens on Facebook

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