How much is ‘as much as I can’?

IMG_0918 Julianne & Tom 1971
It really does just seem like yesterday that I was attending high school and dealing with all the ‘drama’ that went on then. Quickly I transitioned into marriage, having children, college, church and career. In a brief snap…I am now 63 years old and it amazes me how much I’ve seen, everything that I have experienced, and how quickly it has flown!

My dear sweet mother Julia Tanner, told me many times that the older she got, the faster time went and I am experiencing that now as well! I’m not remorseful, I have no regrets. I am simply amazed that in a few years I will be the old woman in a nursing home, waiting to die. I do not fear death as I know Jesus as my personal Father God and trust His word to be true….so I’m good there! SO what is your dilemma you ask?

I have no dilemma. I only want to enjoy as much as I can, be as healthy as I can, share life with others as much as I can, be honest as much as I can, share Christ with others as much as I can, experience as much as I can, and make a difference as much as I can. Sooooo, I guess the question is: How much is ‘as much as I can’?

Well, it is everything I got! All of me! Here is is clincher though: I cannot give all of myself unless I am taking care of myself, am healthy, watch my food intake, volume and calories…..because if I rob my own self of my health; I’ll have nothing much to give! I’ve said this many times, but I’ll say it again: God lovingly has given us the tools to be smart (brain) and take care of ourselves. Because of selfishness and pride, we like to over indulge and abuse the very body God gave us, and we only have one body!

So I have made the decision to take care of my body, mind and soul for the rest of my life. I am chosing to put ‘life’ first, and self second. The pleasure life has for us is directly related to how we can receive it and to receive it we must be disciplined. Those who take and take, die hard. Those who give and give, live well.

So as I go into my 64th year, I am reminded that yes indeed, these ARE the golden years and I want my treasure to be refined and shiney just like gold! No matter where you are in your life….don’t rob yourself of a great life. How much is, “as much as I can”? It is as much as you are willing to give…..so decide NOW to to define ‘as much as I can’ and then just start doing it. Give….and live well!


Miserable and Didn’t Even Realize It

I know this title sounds odd to you, but I can only address this from my own personal experiences.

The fact is:  I don’t realize just how physically miserable I have been UNTIL I begin to clean up my diet and excercise routinely.  Let me explain by telling you about my past 10 months.IMG_2803

I competed in the Ms Senior Florida Pageanct in March of 2014 (and won!) so I focused on losing that last 10 pounds and getting into better shape. I got to my goal and continued working on myself through the month of June.  I felt the best I had in a long time and I was focused, sharp, alert, energetic and active.

Then came the ‘move’. We sold our home and moved and I totally lost focus. Now, I have done this off and on over the years and through various seasons, so you would think that I would LEARN, but I haven’t seemed to (yet)!

With the move into our new garden home, and since we bought a foreclosure, there was a lot of work to be done. So, along with our real jobs, we worked hard on getting the house ready. I began to be lazy and ate a little more volume, skipped workouts and began to not be as careful. Now, mind you, it wasn’t intentional, but I allowed a change to happen – and I allowed myself to be in denial that I was getting back to old habits that made me 100 pounds overweight in the first place 10 years ago.

IMG_2890Then, we headed out on a two week, 2800 mile motorcycle trip to Niagara Falls and I threw all caution to the wind and, although I didn’t gorge, I did eat out 3 times a day and did not exercise once. (unless you count getting off and on the bike 30 times a day!).

So, knowing I was competing in the Ms Senior America in late October, I knew I had to get my act together. But, I kept putting it off. Back home, and back at work, I was just dragging myself through the day – not being very effective, disciplined or focused. Well, when I realized I had 3 weeks before the pageant I finally grabbed myself by the shoulders and said, “Self. You can’t do this to yourself. Get back on track!’

I started with cutting out Splenda. I had cut sodas from my diet 2 years ago, so this was a big next step for me. Then I began a 7 day fast. (I don’t recommend this for everyone, but it worked for me).

I won’t bore you with the details, but here are 10 things I have realized about myself when I’m disciplined with my diet and exercise program.

productive1.) My head is much clearer.
2.) I am a lot more focused and get twice the work done.
3.) I feel better about myself.
4.) I am more sharp.
5.) My attitude is better.
6.) I am more disciplined – not just in exercise, but in my daily walk with the Lord.
7.) I am more interested in others.
8.) I am more willing to take instruction.
9.) I am more determined.
10.) I am more visionary.

I realize there are a lot of I’s. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about me all the time. However, I had to fix this and it started with ‘me’.

So, after reading that list, I realized that all the things I listed were the mirror opposites of how I was feeling back in August/September. Interesting. I realized I was actually Miserable and Didn’t Even Realize It – or admit it!

Are you Miserable?
Hello-my-name-is-MiserableWould you even know it? Would you like to experience newness and throw the miserable person out the window – and discover the new, refreshed person? I could preach a sermon here on what I believe the Abundant Life is, and how God orchestrates that for us through our admission that we need Him – but I won’t go into that here. (You can read my other blogs that address that!)

My reason for this blog is to admit publicly that I struggle with this and to challenge myself to learn this once and for all!  And in doing this for myself, maybe you can embrace this in your own life.

As I headed off to Atlantic City to compete in the Ms Senior America, I was energized in that I knew I had control over this.  God has given me the tools, and the brain, to do what I need to do to take care of myself so I can be a more effective ‘missionary’ for Him.

I thank God I took back control before I gained much weight. (15 pounds is a killer though and I refuse to allow that to control my life – and it can!) I was almost back in my gowns. I was re-energized and ready to face America with a big smile on my face because, after so many failures, I may actually be learning something!

Take it from me. It is not part of the plan for an Abundant Life when we are physically miserable.

We Are Not Invisible!

Cleaning out things!

Cleaning out things!

Becoming a ‘senior citizen’ has been quite an interesting transition in my life. Turning 60 two years ago was really not a big deal for me; but watching how the general population reacts and responds to ‘seniors’ has been a big deal! I have noticed over the past 10 years that seniors slowly become ‘invisible’ and less valued in our society. I don’t think this is done on purpose. I think we seniors just ‘adjust’ to it and ‘allow it’. The grandma in her rocking chair looks quite a bit different these days!

Ms Senior FloridaBeing a contestant in Ms Senior Florida and, to my delight and surprise, being crowned Ms Senior Florida has given me a platform so to speak – to reach out to women to encourage them that ‘they aren’t dead yet, so don’t act like it! These incredible women I got to work with and got to know were the exception to the rule, and they were not allowing society to ignore them.

To become visible, these women began to interact with others, they were confident in their value and experience, their beauty and their expertise. What sets them apart from the seniors who retreat and allow themselves to become invisible? The biggest thing I saw, and realized, was they were willing to step way out of their box. They allow themselves to experience a new season in their life, recreating themselves and being willing to feel uncomfortable for a short time while they transitioned into a renewed, revitalized and refreshed ‘young’ woman!

20140329_212322I was so encouraged to watch this unfold (and I thought I was there to encourage them)! This very thing is what made them so beautiful, so graceful and so attractive! Singing when they never had in public, speaking to a huge audience, walking across a large stage flooded with lighting, wearing bling that they’ve never worn before, putting on false eyelashes, walking in high heels, and even wearing a bra for the first time (really!). It was an experience I will never forget because it showed me what senior women can do to change things! They were not allowing society to lose them from sight. They were stepping up to become visible again, and more importantly, to make a real difference!

As I head out to the 2014 Mrs Senior America contest, my heart and soul is flooded with all of these thoughts, and I am reminded of our opportunity to do this now on a national level! Forty two contestants will come together to put a stamp on America. And, guess what? We senior ladies are just beginning – and we are beginning together!

invisible womanWe refuse to become invisible! This does not mean we will be loud, obstinate, overly aggressive or in your face. What it does mean is we will step up, step out, and tell the world that we are still important. We are confident in our value and experience. We are beautiful because we are wonderfully made from The Creator, and He has a plan for our lives – and we are living it!!!!

Don’t think this stage is going to be full of old foggies. Oh no! These ladies are going to rock it, and I am priviliged to be a small part of that, representing Florida Senior Women!

News flash people: We are not invisible. We are women of elegance and we want to recruit more of you to realize your potential and join us as we change America and the world!



Why Are You In Crisis?

Julianne stressed

Are you facing a crisis? In the middle of a crisis? Anticipating a crisis? Worrying about a crisis?

Did you know your body, soul and spirit are all tied together; what you do to one affects the other two. We know a relationship with the Lord and prayer will get us through, but do we realize how important it is when to also give our body rest and to eat well? Otherwise we tend to blow things out of proportion!

Well, I know what you are thinking. “Really? Once we are in a crisis, it is too late!” Not really. I have found out several things over the past few years. Eating well (I’ll explain that in a little bit) and resting well are the foundation of DEALING well.

#1, Lets talk about eating well. A friend tells me all the time how she eats nutritionally well, healthy, and stays away from ‘processed’ foods. What she doesn’t admit is the overload of carbs, the high calorie content and the sheer volume of food she eats. She has duped herself into believing that eating from all the food groups, and eating until she is full (of so called healthy food), is eating well. Truly, it depends on the definition of well. A lot of fat people eat ‘well’. All I am saying is, take a step back and re-evaluate what you are really eating. If you are trying to lose weight, a reduction of calories is mandatory – period. I’m not a nutritionist, but I’ve lost 100 pounds and I know exactly what it takes.

#2, Lets discuss resting well. Our food intake is directly related to our sleep patterns. If we overload on carbs, we get sleepy, sleep too long, are susceptible to depression, etc. Some of us stay up late (and eat), and (as a result) also don’t sleep well. We worry. We worry we are fat. We worry how people will act toward us. We worry about everything. The worry keeps us awake. Unfortunately, sleep deprived people make poor decisions.

In 1 Kings 19:5-6, Elijah had run for his life and was resting under a shade (broom) tree when the angel of the Lord touched him and told him to get up, and eat. At that point he was offered the bare basics. Bread and water. The Bible refers to the bread as ‘a cake baked on coals’. (I love that!) So Elijah ate and drank, and then he lay down again (to rest). This happened again. And the angel of the Lord told him to eat and rest because the journey ‘is too great for you’. This is a reminder for me to eat well (not indulge, just bare basics) and for me to set aside a time of rest when in a crisis.

Do you know that we need to be in the very best condition possible so that we can put feet on our passions from the message we’ve learned, so that we can deliver it to others!

You want to survive a crisis? Prepare right now! Take care of your body, and be careful with what you put into it and what you do to it. This includes what you eat, how you eat and when you eat – and the amount of rest you get as well.

I can’t give you a magic pill to make your challenges go away – only YOU can address your own issues. Don’t be afraid to really look at your eating and sleep patterns. They will tell the truth.


Ladies: It’s Time To Live Life Well!

There was that one day that I took a really hard, long look in the mirror and decided that I had to change things.



I didn’t like the way I looked.  I didn’t like the way I acted.  I didn’t like that I had lost my quick wit, my sharpness; I simply just felt dull.
At that time I didn’t realize it was my body’s reaction to ‘carb overload’; being lethargic and actually being in denial.  As I realized that I had to do something drastic to get my old self back….something I had never done before.  It wasn’t going to take a diet, or a program, or a class, or a diet pill….it was going to take renewal, discipline, creativity, and a willingness to never get like this again.  Big changes were ahead.

I remember journaling and now as I go back and read the notes I had written, I have to smile.  For in the depth of despair, fear and uncertainty, I found peace in knowing I had a lot of control over this issue.  God was allowing me to see that.  I was assured that He had given me all the tools I needed to live life well.   All I had to do was just ‘do it’……with ‘no excuse’.

Experiencing cancer in 1999 was trying enough; but fighting obesity all my life was the scare that I needed to change.  Obesity was something that wasn’t necessary and was hindering me from reaching excellence.   My excess weight got in the way of my relationships, my career, my health and my service to God.  If you’d asked me before this ‘awakening’; I would have told you that God loves heavy people and that I was doing ‘just fine’ thankyouverymuch!  That was a lie to myself. Well yes, God does love me fat or skinny…but the lie?  I wasn’t ‘just fine’!

mom copyThe journey is a long story in itself, but the outcome from the goals I set, the promises I made and the truths I lived….well that is the proof that yes, we can re-invent ourselves, we can be successful in changing our lives and we can be fulfilled in a way that is beyond our comprehension when our weight is not in our way.

I learned that people don’t look at you when you are fat.  Not really.  We are not heard as well, and many times we are not respected or valued as highly as we could be.  This is wrong and it shouldn’t be like this….but unfortunately it is pretty much the norm.

Ladies….it isn’t about how you look as much as how you feel, how you perform, how you think about yourself, how you stand tall, how you serve others, how you excel, how you wear your clothes, what you spend, where you eat, how you think, what you believe and where you are going.  If you will make the decision today to do something about what you can, and let go of what you can’t change….you will be on the road to success.

I encourage you to find your future with exercise and diet that you CAN LIVE WITH FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

In the MAX gym in Vero Beach with husband/trainer Tom Talley

In the MAX gym in Vero Beach with husband/trainer Tom Talley

If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.  Be creative.  Be definitive.  Be strong.  Remember you did not arrive at your current weight overnight, so this won’t be a quick process.  But it will be a fantastic process….you will get your mind back; it will be clearer, you will get your wit back, life will be more fun.  You will get your body back, clothes will fit better.  You will get your hair back, your complexion back, even your face will look different.  I’m not kidding.  God made our bodies to work perfectly, yet we have abused our bodies for years and whine that they don’t work well, they are falling apart, and breaking down.  Well if we would care for our bodies, put the right things in to fuel ourselves, and not abuse our bodies….we’d have a much better chance at living longer, healthier, happier and we’ll get a lot more respect on the way.

So remember: you DO have control.  You can change things.  No excuse.  None.