Friday, January 8, 2016

National T.V. In A Bikini?

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Coincidence?  Fate?  I don't much believe in coincidence.  Could it be fate. Maybe.  All I know is a few days after deciding I would be focusing on "soul matters" as I laid out my New Year's goals this year, I was once again contacted by the t.v. news magazine, Inside Edition.
The first time they reached out to me was in May of 2014.  It was right after my book "Healthy Family, Happy Life" came out, just before Mother's Day, less than two weeks before my daughter's baby was due. While scouring the internet for subjects, some producer discovered a photo of my daughter, myself, and my mom, and decided we were the perfect ones to fly to New York City for an appearance on their show.  The focus of that show was Mother's Day,  featuring three generations of health.  My book was on health, and I guess they were impressed that we all looked attractive and to be in good health. They also read that my mom is still an avid tennis player and that I exercise on a regular basis.  My daughter is a fitness instructor.  I'm always excited to get message of "Healthy Family, Happy Life" across to a national audience so it was disappointing to have to turn them down (the first time) because my grandson was due any day so obviously my daughter, Christina was grounded.
 Fast-forward three days ago, a week or so after deciding I wanted to focus on soul matters.   The same Inside Edition producer contacted me to say they were doing a segment on healthy, fit grandmothers and their daughters.  At first I was "all over it" so I agreed to talk to Christina and get back to the producer the next day.  Oh wait!  They said, "we want you both to appear on camera in a bikini!"
 As I went to bed that night I was filled with anxiety.  I thought and prayed about why.  Many episodes of my life flashed through my mind:  all I've learned about body image, health emanating from the inside-out, and the lies we tell ourselves about the importance of looks.  The best way for me to explain the rest of what happened is to share my emails to her so I'm copying and pasting them here: 
"Hi ___,
If this piece the producers are working on is about grandmas and health what would the purpose be of showing us in bathing suits?  Health is so much more than physical looks and I don't see myself as promoting only the beauty aspects of such.  To be healthy one needs to love who they are: body, mind, and soul and there is so much that goes into teaching our daughters and grand daughters just that.  Our lives are filled with images of celebrities and people we are taught to emulate and look up to and yet many of the ones we put on a pedestal are not healthy in mind and soul.  You know the saying, "beauty is only skin deep."  I believe that (edit: it is deeper) and as a daughter of a professional model and a model myself when I was younger it is a hard emotional barrier for even me to break-through.  It's what I was taught: the importance of being pretty, being a homecoming princess, a pageant winner, a good-looking person.  The main focus was on all of that and I've spent years and hard work on myself to break through.  I feel I'd be going backwards and giving the wrong message to young people if I just showed-up in a bathing suit and talked about how my body is okay at (nearly) 60.  I have lots more thoughts and I'd love to pursue this if you want to.  I am interested in promoting the right message about total health: body, mind, soul.  
Sincerely, Donna"

Well, I didn't get the response I wanted but she did say we could wear whatever we wanted and they would do a B-roll shot (t.v. jargon for bankroll, as in is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot)  My next email was similar after I literally broke down in tears when I told my husband how much I disdain the idea of me or of any woman being portrayed as just a pretty face (or body).  Do you ever feel like people aren't interested in the real you?

Here's what I wrote next:
 "I'm not trying to be difficult but I'm passionate about the message of health and fitness and disseminating it the right way. 
I don't want to pose in a bathing suit.  This is not the message I want to promote.  I have no problem talking on camera about why not.  I think the message that fitness is about bikinis is not healthy although I'm happy that I can still wear one!  
 Most women feel like they are not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, etc. There is a myriad of other misconceptions concerning health and happiness.  I think that in and of itself is a strong message. I'm not your average 60 yr old and I never want people to think I'm the norm.  I don't mind wearing stylish leggings or anything else. What if the interviewer asks why I chose not to wear a bikini ?  What about highlighting a grandma (or two) who will wear one and one who won't?  Again, the interview is on health and fitness.  Nutrition for the body, mind, soul.   I really want to do this but I don't think wearing a bathing suit on camera is good for my message or for anyone. 
Sincerely,  Donna"
Needless to say, I'm not doing the segment.  "They have plenty of Grandmas who really want to appear in a bikini." (of course they do) 
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I relished the idea of gaining new clients;  I love helping people with their health issues, which would also help to ease my financial woes.  And of course the increase in my book sales would have been great.  But I said, "no."
 Call it integrity, standing up for what I believe, a tap on the shoulder by God, years of research writing and learning; whatever.  I know I made the right decision.  I also know that distributing and encouraging the message of real health is an uphill battle, but I rarely take my athletic shoes off so I'm ready for the climb!  
Do you ever feel like people aren't interested in the real you?  I'd love to read your thoughts.

Contact me via email at

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Heartfelt Things in 2016

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."   Proverbs 4:23

 This year I need to focus on "soul matters."  I've had some "stuff" come up from the past and I know I need some work.  For the next month or so I will be incorporating some of my previous (revised) posts on goal-setting as I also try to work out how to sort out my personal new year's goals. At the same time I will hopefully allow my challenging or painful experiences from the past heal and propel me to a better version of me.  I've done this "work" before but there's another layer needs peeling away so bare with me as I share with you. I believe that matters of the heart and soul are the most important ones.  Many people focus on the physical aspects of health when in reality ever bit of health emanates from the soul.  Everything about us hinges on how well we are spiritually and emotionally. 
It's January 6th today and technically it's the last day of Christmas.  If you've left your decorations up it's okay!  Today is known as epiphany or "Three Kings Day."  Most of us celebrate Christmas only on December 25th and then we can’t wait to take down the tree and box-up all the great things that go along with it. This year I flew out on December 30th and since I knew I wouldn't be home until later in January I went ahead and took everything down early.  I really feel cheated because I enjoy looking at my kids and grandkids' stockings, as they increase in number each year.  I love the sparkling lights that I leave on until late every night, the manger scene, special candles, and all the nutcrackers who stand guard around my living room.  
 I think there is a lot to be said for relishing and hanging on to the enjoyable things in life.  After all most of us run at full-speed most of the time and that’s just not good for any of us! Soul Matters means paying attention and knowing when we are "out of whack."
This year I’m going to give you eight goals to strive for which aim to encourage your health and wellness in 2016 and beyond.   I know I want to lead a vigorous and fulfilling life emotionally, physically, and spiritually and I'm willing to do the work to get me there.  My topics over-lap with some of the things I cover in my newest book "Healthy Family Happy Life" but I hope you'll find a few new take-aways as there is always so much more to learn about leading a healthy and a happy life!  
Here’s a list of what I’ll be writing on over the next several weeks.  Hopefully these simple things will help you feel more blessed, thankful, and productive.  A personal goal of mine is to help you nurture and build an awesome environment for personal growth and well-being as you focus on how to:
1    Be curious-new studies show why asking questions or learning something new is good for you.
2    Be generous-how giving back promotes long-life and a sense of purpose.
3    Be grateful-learn to concentrate on what all you do have.  Being aware of things around you.
4   -Be healthy-helpful tips for being all you can be in body, mind, and spirit.
5    Be present-when you are with a person be with them.  Also... "digital detox."
6    Be intentional-how to schedule and make time for those you love and the things you want to do.
7    Be you-authenticity is the way to go, even when it's difficult to fit-in to popular culture.
8    Breathe-discover ways to decrease your stress levels with proper breath.   
What are you hoping to achieve in 2016?  I’d love to hear more about what you're up to so please keep in touch with your comments and your ideas.     * If you are interested in my book you can contact me here and for a suggested donation of $10 plus shipping I will sign one and send it to you.

To reach me you can write to me at: