My back is aching
My belts too tight
My hips are shaking from left to right
Say mmm, mmgowhaw
Gotta get some soul power!

That’s a cheer I did back in high school in 1983.  Yep, I was a cheerleader among many other things. I also played soccer, softball, ran track, studied hard during the week, partied hard on Fridays, helped clean house on Saturdays, and rested and visited with family on Sundays.  It was a good life recipe that kept things in balance.

Things were pretty simple compared to the way things are these days.  The words ‘stressed out’ were not used like a badge of honor, and if you would have said “Internet” to me I probably would have thought you were talking about the inside part of the soccer goal, cause there was no such thing as the World Wide Web.  


The big “cool” distractions at that time were listening to music on cassette tapes that you had to rewind (which took FOREVER).  I wonder if the young ‘Generation Z’ has even experienced “rewind” in that way?

These days I easily get hooked into the fast-forward lifestyle when I’m not paying attention. And when I do get hooked in, I get stressed out, I put on weight, I become moody, and everything starts to get way out of balance – including my relationships.

It’s a major challenge to slow down and clean up the clutter, noise, and distractions in our life when the fast-forward lifestyle that surrounds us every day can appear to be so sleek and sexy. But if you’re experiencing an aching back, and your belt is too tight, along with chronic stress, and mood swings one of the best ways to reverse those symptoms is to simply S L O W  D O W N.  That's right - the slow down diet.

For the most part your body likes a slower paced lifestyle with short bursts of fast, but most of us are living a fast paced lifestyle with short bursts of slow. 

Are you stuck in Fast-Forward mode?
What can you do to slow things down in your life?


Big Change Is In The Making


If you're anything like me I've lost count. Well, here I go again. Only this time I'm heading into this new beginning with a new and improved mindset. 


This time I can see clearly how all of my previous ventures were the building blocks to this latest venture. Because without all of that previous experience I would not be able to confidently say, "Yeah, I've walked a mile in those shoes, and I feel your pain."

I took a short break from my blog and newsletter these past two months in order to gain clarity on this new beginning. And I'm currently in the middle of a business training course to gain even more clarity.

If you've been following my career at all then you know I went from full time professional artist for many years, to a full time health coach since 2010. And over the past two years I have been feeling a strong pull to somehow combine the two. 

That strong pull was influenced by what was happening in my personal life, you know, all the ugly REAL LIFE stuff that goes on behind-the-scenes. The stuff that nobody ever really talks about.

SOOOO . . .


My husband, Greg, and I have a rather large combined family (8 grown adult children and 10 grandchildren), and there is never any shortage of dramas and traumas going on every month. It's often hard to keep it all in perspective. Some days the best sides of us are tossed out the door and other days we feel extremely bonded after making it through yet another hardship. 

Back in 2010, when we were still newlyweds, one of our four teens fell into a dark place in her life that was beyond our capabilities as parents. We found ourselves knee deep in panic mode, searching for professional help by way of an all girls therapeutic boarding school. It was one of those tough love moments as parents that sent our entire family in a new direction -- a good one. 

The school did not just treat our daughter, they treated our entire family. We went through many different types of workshops, private therapy sessions, family therapy sessions, and many other challenges.

What we gained through that whole experience was far more than we ever could have imagined. We gained clarity about our own individual life journeys, greater empathy toward one another, and a deeper understanding of the skill of listening. We learned a win win approach to parenting and family life, and an acceptance that we are on an ongoing journey of new challenges that will continue to stretch us outside of our comfort zones throughout our entire life journey.

For the past 6 years Greg and I have been facilitating at workshops for other parents struggling with teens who are struggling with . . . (Fill in the blank). The workshops are hosted and led by the same school that our daughter went through and that we went through as parents. We have worked with a wide range of parents from all over the country, with various backgrounds, and ages ranging from mid 30s through 70s.  The common ground between all of us parents was our struggling teenagers. 

Greg and I are now officially empty nesters, so our roles as parents has shifted into a lower gear. And what we realized is that we have this wealth of experience that we feel called to use in some way to help other parents who are in the midst of going through what we went through. 


Over this next year we will be developing a program specifically for parents struggling with teens who are struggling with . . . (Fill in the blank). This program will include a wonderful group of trained professionals who will be leading parents through some groundbreaking online courses designed to bring peace, clarity, and structure into the family unit.

I will be going through training to become a Creative Grief Counselor, and Greg will be going through a training course on communication.

We're excited about this new venture and invite you to come along on our journey. We will be sharing some of the many struggles we faced as parents, and eventually introduce you to the team members who will be leading the various courses.

Though we will be making a lot of big changes we will still be maintaining a holistic approach to our program, because life is one great big giant pot of everything - relationships, spirituality, food, fitness, work, and so much more. 

We are in the process of developing the program and interviewing therapists, fitness experts, coaches, and other professionals who will help make our program well-rounded.

We hope you stay tuned for more updates. We're predicting that this will take a good year or so before we actually launch our program.  

Movin', Flyin', & Zippin' ...Oh My!


It All Begins with a Sudden Move

My daughter calls me around January 15th. "Mom, you should practice packing your bags for the trip, because you'll want to take as little as possible. You need to only bring the absolute essentials and leave the rest." So I took her advise.

Then on January 20th I received an email telling my husband and I that we must vacate the rental property that we are living in by February 29th, because the owner of the house is selling the house.

My initial thought was, WHAT!?!?! This is terrible timing!  I am leaving for Peru in 12 days, and I will not be back until February 17th. Oh my gosh! This is craziness. "I felt I needed to find a place before leaving for Peru, because my husband works all day, and doesn't have time to house hunt, pack, and work all day.  Eeek!

I hopped on the phone to verify the email, "Yes ma'am. You must vacate." I hung up the phone with a long pause, a deep breath, and then hopped on Facebook to announce that I needed help to find a place to move ASAP!  Three hours later I found a house that would work for us. Seriously.  I looked up and praised God for small miracles.

Ok, so this wasn't like a life or death thing. But it certainly put me into panic mode.

Before I knew it I was packing up the house, posting furniture on craigslist, and people were coming to my house to buy our stuff (an upright freezer, queen tempurpedic bed, bunk beds, two armoires, two dressers, a nightstand, treadmill, desk, and more.

Then the rain began to pour. I get a phone call from my sister-in-law. "Mom is back in the hospital." (I sat down in my office staring into space). It was time for my two brothers and I to petition for legal guardianship over our mother. 

So much emotion ran through my veins. Every song on iTunes was pulling out the tears. "What's going on?" Change is not on the horizon -- I'm standing knee deep in it.

I swear I gained about five pounds from all the sudden stress.  It was a testimony to me of how this kind of stress leads to weight gain.  

Flying Out

I'm certain I will be sleeping on the plane quite a bit on the way to Peru. 

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on why my daughter and I are taking this trip now.

One of the things I love about humans is that no matter how often life pushes us off course we have an innate desire to keep on keepin' on. After a rather difficult family trauma back in November, I am headed to Peru with my daughter, Mikhaila. It wasn't something we planned on doing, but it is most certainly what we're about to do.

You see, back before the trauma happened I had already purchased airline tickets to visit Mikhaila in Trujillo, Peru. It wasn't meant to be a touristy type trip. I was just planning to spend a little time with her, because she was going to be busy teaching English, and working as an intern for a shoe manufacturing company, while also filming a documentary of interviews with the workers. But life just threw this big nasty wrench into those plans.

We're still not sure what Mikhaila is going to do in terms of her adventure learning program -- that is still to be determined in time.

In the meantime, I still had my airline tickets to Peru, and decided that I would use them to visit a few touristy places after all -- on my own as part of a group tour with a guide. When Mikhaila found out what I decided to do, she gave it a lot of thought and then decided she wanted to join me. Her college adviser approved her to use part of her adventure learning grant to pay for her adventure back to Peru with me. So we are off an a different sort of adventure than originally expected. We plan to hike Machu Picchu, explore the Sacred Valley via quad and zipline, sleep on a floating island in Puno, and be wowed by the peaks in Arequipa.

Share in the Adventure with Us!

Find out if I actually follow through with the zip line adventure. Just the thought scares the bajeebers out of me! Mikhaila and I are going to attempt to post pictures (and maybe some mini videos) of our adventure on my Facebook Business Page.  If you want to get updates click on this link, 'Like' my page, and follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miligirlwellness

We appreciate any and all prayers for safety and an awesome adventurous time. It is my hope that much healing will continue to unfold as well.

Dance, Love, Breathe, and Live like you mean it!  Stretch Your Brave!

Love, Melanie

Is Being Too 'Adult-like' Making You Unwell?

Is Being Too 'Adult-like' Making You Unwell?

In our ‘Always-on’, ‘Always-connected’ world of Internet-based educational courses, television, social media, and ‘on-demand’ everything, it’s far too easy to spend your entire day consuming information and posting rote responses to all of the input that infiltrates your life. It’s a recipe for a bland, stagnant, sedentary life. Below I describe one way that people are changing that sort of bland health story and making it more magical.
“Balance. Balance. Balance.” Why do you constantly hear health gurus everywhere repeating that same mantra of balance? Because balance obliterates the bland! However, the reality for most is that it’s easier said than done. Fortunately, there is a magical way

Read More

Creative Healing After Trauma

Creative Healing After Trauma

Just when life appears to be humming along with a good strong rhythm that fits in beautifully with the beat of your own drum - it can suddenly sound like fingernails screeching on a dry chalkboard.  

Traumas and dramas come in cycles in our lives . . . well, at least that has been my experience.  They're pretty much inevitable, because that this the way of life. How we respond to these upheavals can either lead to an enlightening healing experience, or pile more trauma and drama into the mix and leave us feeling stuck.

Six weeks ago my 22 year old daughter, Mikhaila, experienced a trauma while she was living in Peru as part of a 10-month long independent study program. This trauma happened just 6 weeks into her adventure, and it basically felt like it flipped her world upside down. It also threw me into mama bear mode. 

Read More