growth, health, life


July 25, 2015

Life is full of change. Sometimes its big changes, sometimes its small. But it all amounts to something really important: YOUR LIFE. This month, in the midst of summer vacations and whatever else may be going on, we are committing to DO SOMETHING every day to make our lives more like we want them to be. More healthy. More authentic. More what you imagine when you dream. What will you do today to change your life?

This is something I need in my life. But I know I am not alone. And I want, more than anything, to help others out of the ruts in which they may find themselves. So, I’m asking if I can join with you on your journey, and you on mine?

Starting August 1, The DO SOMETHING Project is going LIVE! We already have a group forming over on Facebook, so all you have to do is hit me up below in the comments or on FB and I will add you! We are committing, together, to DO SOMETHING every day that gets us closer to our goals. It can be small steps. In fact, I encourage you to make them small steps. Lots of small steps = one giant leap toward the life you desire.

“What’s simple to do is also simple not to do. The magic is not in the complexity of the task; the magic is in the doing of simple things repeatedly and long enough to ignite the miracle of the Compound Effect. So, beware of neglecting the simple things that make the big things in your life possible. The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not.”
– DARREN HARDY, The Compound Effect

So here is a little of my story. This is WAY scarier than posting about some of the hard stuff I’ve been through. Because I’m on the other side of that stuff. But this journey is still very much in it’s infancy, and I’ve taken more steps backwards than forward. That hardly seems fair to say when I look at all of the steps forward I’ve taken in the last two years… heck, the last 13 years. But, I was SPRINTING forward, and then… I got de-railed. By myself.

I discovered Shakeology and Beachbody right before the holidays in 2013. I had been following my friend Becka on her journey and I couldn’t not join along. We had both had some tough health issues and I could SO RELATE to her story. Our bodies were different in a lot of ways, but our stories were so similar. I was watching her come alive again and I knew how desperately I was seeking to find life. So, I did it. And, HOLY CRAP everything changed. I was able to drop several more medicines out of my regimen, and ALL of the other supplements I was taking (at one point I was on 30 pills a day between medications and supplements). I got in the best shape of my life, and FAST. It was almost enough to make me upset because I trained so hard for so many years as a competitive gymnast and I struggled SO much with me weight and my ability to build muscle (sidenote: I was eating all the wrong things back then.) That experience gave me the confidence I needed to know that I could do what I was doing: move overseas. I was leaving behind my team of docs that had supported me and treated me since I was 15 years old. I was going into so many unknowns, but the biggest thing I wanted to do, other than find myself and be true to my being, was to prove to myself I could still do hard things.

And I’m doing hard things. I’m learning a new language at the age of 33 (try it. I dare you.). I got a visa and then renewed it (you have no idea how hard that is!). I have been over a year with only a couple of doctor’s appointments when I’ve visited home, aside from my newly-found acupuncturist here in Paris. I’m designing again, working with French clients, and have built more websites in the last few months than ever. Hardest of it all: I was finally willing to do what I needed to do to get rid of the toxicity that had been literally keeping me ill for 7 years. Change is hard. Really hard. And really scary.

But through all of that, I totally let myself get de-railed, for much longer than I would have liked, with my fitness journey. As a competitive gymnast turned chonically-ill patient, getting “back in my body” and feeling strong was so redeeming. So encouraging. So invigorating. It gave me confidence in every other area of my life. This isn’t about being skinny. It’s about being and feeling healthy in your own skin. Being in the kind of shape that allows you to do amazing things like climb monuments or hike trails. To be able to ADVENTURE.

I’m getting back on the wagon. And this time, I’m doing everything in my power to set myself up for SUCCESS. I am reading my personal development books (in English and French). I reconnected with my success partner. I am exercising as much as I can when I’m in the city. Now it’s time to get back to my favorite kind of exercise: the 30-minutes a day in my undies in the comfort of my own home! 😉 You guys, it doesn’t get any easier than that and it WORKS! (kicks self in the butt for stopping)

But more than working out, I want my life to matter. I want to breathe my own significance and spread it as far as I can. I have been searching for the way I could make my life count for so many years. I’m passionate about so many things. If I was a kid preparing to go to college, maybe I’d become a lawyer so I could fight human trafficking alongside the likes of IJM. But, I have lived through a lot. I have learned a lot. And I’ve always been convinced it was for a reason. To prepare me for the next phase. That it would be redeemed in some amazing way. So here is my chance to use my story, my journey, to make a difference.

as an expat, life, travel

365 Jours

July 25, 2015

It was an impressive day—a day overflowing with emotions, expectations, and dreams. Still, nothing was guaranteed. As we say, “go big or go home,” except I had just left my home. I put (almost) all my eggs in one basket called “Paris.” Would it be a renaissance or disaster? Despite all the unknown, I knew that Paris would be more like home than my own. With two suitcases, my cat, few French words and a heart full of courage, I boarded the plane and embarked toward my new life.

The word “risk” is not enough. But is it really a risk when you follow your heart to your true nature, your true self? Honestly, I think the biggest risk is not to act when you know you have found your way.

I gave up a lot to follow my found path. On the other hand, had I stayed in Florida, had I continued my daily life, I would have given up much more. And I would have lost my chance, maybe my once-in-a-lifetime chance, to remind ME.

It had been a long time since I had been healthy enough to work. On a normal week, I had three to five appointments doctor, and I left the States with no provisions or health team in place except the air of Hugo’s Paris: “Respirer Paris, cela conserve l’âme.” (To breathe Paris, this preserves the soul.) A year before I had tasted the hope of life, this conservation of the soul, and I had to chase after it. The race that followed was difficult and winding, albeit clear. There is absolutely nothing simple about deciding to become an immigrant crossing the Atlantic.


Today, after a complete turn around the sun, I think back to last 365 days. Were they as difficult as I had imagined? Yes. Were they as wonderful as I had imagined? Yes, they were even more.

Last year, I wanted to learn the language, find me, see more of the world, and press restart, all while proving to myself that I could do hard things. It had been many years since I felt I could do hard things, or even things, because of these illnesses. If I was going to start over, I had to know I still had in me the girl that was strong, courageous and capable—the girl I felt I had lost many years ago. But what the year had in store for me was so much more than the chance to push restart and find “Mélissa” (the French version of Melissa). In a short 365 days, I created a life that makes my former feel the more foreign. Every day still has it’s challenges, but I try to see them as lessons—always searching for the nugget of gold or the silver lining. One thing is for sure: it has been an adventure and the next year undoubtedly has more defining adventure in store. I can’t wait.