© 2013 jen

Fit-tastic Update: Never Give Up On Your Dreams

Go on. I dare you to call me pretty in these photos. Maybe pretty happy. Maybe pretty hardcore. Maybe pretty funny. Maybe pretty good at making ugly faces.

But you CAN call me a dreamer and I have one thing to say on the subject, don’t give up on your dreams.

We all have something that gets us really excited, that brings us huge joy. For me I’m really realizing that the two things that make me happiest are: 1.) sharing/connecting/helping with others and 2.) music. Nothing else makes me happier than these two things.

There are lots of other things I’m capable of, but these are the things that get my motor humming like nothing else.

I forgot how much music meant to me.

I forgot that I used to sing everywhere all the time. That my nickname in my family as a baby was little bird because my baby-cooing sounds sounded like the birds I could hear outside. I forgot that used to check the acoustics of all spaces by singing loudly and then rated them and which song was best for which acoustical environment. I forgot how, when I was young and in band in middle school that I’d spend countless hours learning extra songs that were more to my personal musical taste and that I was always first chair in band. Not because I cared about who was what chair, but because I practiced a lot, because my ear could hear what the right note should be so I just needed to get my hands to master that instrument to produce that note, and this made me so happy, to produce the notes in my head with the instrument, that I wanted to practice.

I dated a guy in my late teens and 20’s who criticized my singing all the time. It wasn’t that he didn’t think I was good at singing, it was that he thought it was obnoxious that I sang everywhere all the time about everything. His constant criticism put an inner critic in my head that has only recently stopped judging me.

So I stopped singing, mostly. Then I got sicker and sicker with Celiac Disease and I could no longer hear my voice in the same way.

I forgot how much music mattered to me.



I’m feeling great! The cleanse is going well. I’m still exercising and enjoying it. I’m getting stronger everyday.

I just stepped on the scale and right now I’m 199. Up one pound since last week, but I was not really eating food then, just green smoothies, so being up at least one pound seems about right.



Please note that my arms are seriously flabby. As I lose more and more weight I find that my skin is hanging on me, which is one of the reasons I’ve switched to 8 lb weights in my exercise class. Trying to even all of these changes out, but I still feel pretty good about the me I’m becoming, flabby arms and all.

For years now, the only time I sang was when we did karaoke and in truth, before I changed my diet and exercise routine, I couldn’t really sing the way I could when I was younger. I couldn’t even enjoy it in the same way. Singing is very physical and I wasn’t up for the job for the last 20 years or so.

I’m not going to lie. Exercise is not my most favorite thing in the world (don’t tell my trainer, Kristin). I mean, I don’t mind exercise and sometimes it’s pretty fun, but it’s really strengthened me and helped me rediscover what I do love, which is music.

It’s such a good reminder that if we eat our peas (or do our exercise), we can get t0 dessert faster (a healthy mind and body for everything we want to do).

Without health it’s harder to hear your heart’s desires.

Living healthier has allowed me to hear myself in a new way. There is a direct line between my heart and my ear now and I didn’t know there wasn’t one before.

As a kid, I always wanted private music lessons. I wanted to understand the language of music fully, because I could see inside, but I didn’t totally get the entirety of music.  Alas, there was too little money and time for my mom to make my dreams a reality.

So now I give to myself in the form of ukulele lessons something I’ve wanted for most of my life. I practice all the time, just like when I was a kid. Not to be good in class, not for any other reason than it makes me abundantly happy to sing and strum on that little ukulele- all I have to do is make my hands produce the sound in my head, just like when I was a kid. 

Here’s the first song that I learned in my ukulele class, Will You Go Lassie Go. It’s an old Scottish song that I tried to sing in what I think of as a Gaelic style so it’s a pretty traditional sound. I imagined myself channeling hundred’s of years of Scottish singers and this is what that sounds like to me:

Hope you enjoyed that, because I most certainly did. Now what about you?

Making music makes me so happy. What makes you so happy? What did you love when you were a kid? What did you give up on? Is it time to dust off that old love and rekindle it? Are there things you didn’t get when you were young that you might still want as an adult? Can you give yourself that?





  1. Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm | #

    Jen – I absolutely adore this post! You rock.

    What makes me happy? Tiny beautiful moments, like a good cup of coffee in the morning, watching my cats run across open fields and beautiful sunrises.

    Miss you,

    • Posted January 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm | #

      Thank you, Tammy! Thanks for sharing what makes you happy and I’m so glad you are living what makes you happy! You rock too and I totally miss you! xo

  2. Posted January 13, 2013 at 5:42 am | #

    Ok, dreamer! You’re a dreamer, nah nah nah nah nah nah!

    There, I said it, and you said it’s ok, so no touch backs.

    And you ARE pretty…amazing, suave, driven, loud, and beautiful all over.

    • Posted January 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm | #

      Some people say, I’m a dreamer . . . but I’m not the only one. Thank you, Dedrick! xo

  3. Posted January 15, 2013 at 10:18 am | #

    Love this post – why do we push away who we are and fight it instead of running toward it full steam ahead? Why do we think it’s better to silence who we are? Gee, us girls are bad at that, aren’t we? And we let other people get inside our head too much.

    That’s why my ‘mid life major re-assessment’ meant I finally went after my big, wild, crazy dream after 13 years of dreaming. If it’s been there for 13 years, calling you, maybe you should listen. If it fills you up to overflowing, if you can’t think of anything else and if you are willing to get up at 4am to chase after it – then that is what you are meant to do.

    So glad to hear you are feeling fighting fit and loving your ukelele playing.

    ‘Don’t die with the music still inside you.’

    • Posted January 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm | #

      Hi Coral,
      Thanks so much! Yes, I think us ladies tend to negate our needs. I’ve been considering this for a week now. I almost think that for me singing was just to vulnerable a thing for me to do and take seriously. I couldn’t believe in myself in that way yet. It’s like singing and playing my uke make me so happy that it’s pretty transformative- emotionally for me. I think it’s taken me years to allow myself to engage in something that moves and inspires me on this level. I think it was too scary for me when I was younger.

      It feels like when I was little the music just came out naturally, but as I got older, sicker, judgier I couldn’t make it happen anymore. It’s taken me all this time to get “healthy” enough in mind and body to go there again. I also feel like I appreciate music more now that I’ve had some space from it.

      Glad you’re following your dreams too!

  4. Jenny Wells
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:40 am | #

    I love it Jen! Good for you for losing that inner critic. I love to sing too and my husband laughs because I usually have a “song of the day” that is stuck in my head and sung everywhere often to the point of annoyance if its an obnoxious song like “Pour some sugar on Me”. Go Lassie Go has always been a favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm | #

      Yay! Glad you liked and that you knew the song. I think I’d heard it before, but I just learned it in my uke class. I remember that you like to sing, we both used to with the kids, no wonder we were always game for a song, two singers running a kids camp! Thanks for listening! – Jen

  5. Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:34 am | #

    Hi Jen. i found you through Tammy Strobel’s links and I am so pleased. Your song is so beautiful. Keep singing and playing !

    • Posted January 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm | #

      Thank you, Lindy! I will keep it up! Thanks for your comment.

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