Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Best is Yet to Come

::The two most important days of your life are the day you are born, and the reason you find out why::

Hello Everyone-

Happy Saturday to you!! I hope that you are all doing well. I wanted to thank you for your support and encouragement. It means a lot to me that you read my blog, and take an interest in my passion.

I only have five school days left with my second graders, and I am very sad that my time in this school and in this classroom is coming to an end. I have learned so much, not just as an educator, but about myself as well.
Before you read on with my current realization, I want all of my fitness family and friends to know that I am by no means bashing their dreams. I am not taking away what you have achieved in this industry, but I have simply learned from it…and know that God has a different plan for me.

The past (almost) 3 years of my life have been wrapped around the inaccurate idea of what “healthy” “beautiful” and “success” are. I had the fire inside me that earning my IFBB pro card was the most important part of being the best version of me. I made incredible sacrifices, and put my body in more danger than I thought at the time. I was constantly trying to make changes to meet the criteria of others. “Sara, your legs are too big. Your upper body is too small. You aren’t lean enough. You aren’t pretty enough. You didn’t work hard enough. You have no symmetry…and the list goes on…” Those are the words I heard every time I looked in the mirror, every time I was in the gym, every time I opened up the refrigerator. I pushed loved ones away, and was in my own, lonely little world trying to change myself to meet the needs of others.
Looking at that now…I think to myself…are you kidding me? Since when do I care about what others think about me?

There is more to life than being “stage ready”. It it NOT healthy to do 3 hours of cardio a day, plus lifting, and only eat 500 calories.  I am going to be completely honest; I have no desire to compete on stage any time soon anymore. My priorities have changed, and my outlook. I want to love my body, and accept myself for who I am right now. Just because it does not meet the criteria of the NPC, does not determine my self worth or value.

Progress. Progress was a term that I was driven by in fitness…to the point where it made me sick. Every day I was so concerned on the progress I was making in my body and self image. Am I lean enough? Can you see my abs enough? Are my legs getting smaller? What kind of attitude is that? Definitely not one that I want to live by anymore.

I am not going to stop working out, or stop eating clean, because it is my lifestyle, but there is a new kind of progress I am concerned about. I care about the progress of whether or not Johnny is meeting benchmark and meeting his reading level. I care about the progress of whether or not Susie can subtract from one hundred. I care about the progress of my level of teaching and ability to meet the needs of the diverse learners in my classroom.

I truly know my purpose in life, and that is to make a difference in the lives of my students, and to inspire others with my passion for helping others.

Take it or leave it....but this is me...and I am not changing for anyone.


<3 SJ xo

Saturday, March 9, 2013

::With Brave Wings She Flies::

Hello Everyone!

I apologize for not posting anything in a while, but my life has been extremely busy. I began my long term assignment, teaching 2nd grade right before Christmas. I have put in countless hours 7 days/week for the past 13 weeks to ensure these students  are given the tools they need to be successful. I only have two more weeks to go.

This opportunity has been completely life changing for me. I always learn from my classroom experiences, not only growing as an educator, but as an individual as well. It amazes me also how many techniques and ideas I adapt from when I worked with Mrs. S last year. She is with me in my heart every day as I am teaching.

The group of students I had the pleasure of getting to know are amazing to say the least. Each one of them shines bright with talent, and beams with positivity. I know that all 30 of them are going to do great things, and I am so honored to have been a part of their life.

I have made some great connections not only with the students, but with the parents and staff in the building too. I developed lasting friendships with some incredible teachers.

Mrs. R and Ms. L

Mrs. R- You are an incredible teacher, mom, and friend. I am so thankful we both had the opportunity to sub in second grade at the same time. We are a great team, and I truly hope we have a chance to work together in the future. Never forget that you truly make a difference every day.

Mrs. VV- I am so thankful I had the guidance from an outstanding teacher like yourself. I could not have done this without you. I truly appreciate all of the help and support you have given me. I hope we have the opportunity to work together in the future. Thank you for being a wonderful friend!!!!!!!

Ms. VB- Or maybe I should have said Ms. Beastmode :) You have been an incredible mentor, and literacy coach to me. I have grown so much thanks to your guidance and support. I am looking forward to learning more from you so I can continue your practices in summer school. Thank you for sharing your passion for fitness and health with me!

I know that my journey has been different, and I was not given a job right out of college, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I am also a believer that if you work hard, it will eventually pay off. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to spend a year subbing, because if I would not have done this, I would not have had the chance to meet this special group of students, and the amazing staff in the building.

Next week, I have two administrators coming into my classroom to observe me. I am really excited to be given this opportunity to show other principals what I was born to do. Please say a prayer for me that it goes well. I am not going to stress or worry, because the result is in God's hands. He already has a plan for me, and whatever is suppose to happen, will.


I have not skipped a beat in the gym, working out 6-7 days a week, even with my intense schedule. I am really proud of myself, and the gains I have made. I have been really working hard at gaining size in my upper body (to meet the symmetry of my incredibly large quads). My favorite area that I have progressed in is my back. For the first time, I know what it feels like to have a back pump. and to feel the blood pumping into my lats. I can see a lot of size in that area.  Training leads into a question I am sure many of you continue to have... "What show you are you doing next..."

I love competing. I love working towards a goal, and then demolishing it. I love the entire part of prep....but that is just that. Every season I work incredibly hard to reach a goal and then when it is over, I feel broken and empty. Unless I do consecutive shows, there is always this terrible feeling of failure at the end. I have come a long way as a competitor, and I feel that after my last experience, I realized that the most important person to beat, is yourself. The individual progress you completely up to YOU.

When I started my long term, I told myself that my #1 priority would be working towards my career as an educator, and that is exactly what I have done. Along the way, I have provided not only my students, but also staff in the building what it looks like to be healthy. The more I think about my future, I am starting to head in that direction.

Getting to the point of being on stage, is an incredible feeling, but does it define me as a person? Absolutely not. In fact, I really do not like when I am defined in that aspect. I don't want my image to be driven from the blonde girl from the gym that goes on stage in a bikini. I want my image to be driven from my passion for teaching and making a difference.

The point I am trying to make is, I really want to be happy with myself. I don't want to HAVE to be dieting for a show to feel confident or have more self worth. I want to be satisfied with myself as a strong, independent, healthy woman. This is something that I find a lot of women that compete struggle with.

If I am not prepping for a show does that mean I am slacking in the gym? No!
Does it mean I am at home eating pizza? No!
Does it mean that I am not spending hours in the kitchen, prepping my meal? No!
Does it mean that I gave up? Absolutely NOT!

Right now, I am just working on being the best version of me possible...and I am not going to lose that fire or determination. I know great things are up ahead just over the mountain I am currently climbing, and in time, God will reveal where my journey is going next.

Thank you for all of the support<3
Have a GREAT weekend....MAKE IT COUNT!!!

<3 SJ