Monday, December 14, 2015

God's Placement

Near the Beach in St. Augustine, FL
By Laurie Epps

Lately, I've felt convicted to tell my story. I've gone through a lot, and I realize that it was for a reason. God can make even the things that seem awful, as pure as the driven snow. At the risk of ruining my own reputation, I'm going to include my imperfections, and yet, God still can use me. Our God is a God of love, forgiveness, and will love you no matter what you've done.

"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. ~Isaiah 1:18

The Long Walkways Leading to the Beach

Monday, December 7, 2015

My Story, The Timeline Version

By Laurie Epps

If you’re new to my blog, you may wonder why I’m writing it, or what my platform is. Well, I’m not here to sell you anything, or to ask you to sell anything. I’m here as a messenger of God. I’m fully human. I’m flawed, and imperfect. I sin. I love. But I have a very important message to send the world, and I’m using my own blog to do it. I hope this blog will encourage and inspire you.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Return of Motivational Mondays

By Laurie Epps

Sorry about the lapse in posts. Life has a way of happening, but I'm back. With new posts, new ideas, and new inspirations. Beginning in December, be prepared for new content, material, and inspiring stories.

I really want to get to know all of you and connect in new ways. While I know that things may seem bleak right now, but there's always a new beginning and a new chance to improve your situation tomorrow.

As Thomas Fuller, the 17th Century English Churchman and historian once said, 

“It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.”

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Tale of Two Valentines

Progress in the Kitchen the Next Day
By Laurie Epps

I want to give you an update of my kitchen. It looks better, and smells better. Now I can see my reflection in my sink. Slowly, it's getting there. I still have a way to go, but I can hardly wait for my kids to go back to school. I've got big plans to purge their stuff. We love them, but don't they make you crazy holding onto everything like it's treasure?

Well, today ladies, we're going to talk about things that we just don't need. Not just physical things we hold onto, but those feelings of inadequacy and betrayal that weigh us down. Sometimes, it can be tangible too. That physical item around the house that you just can't seem to get rid of. For me, this is where the emotional work is.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Motivational Mondays

By Laurie Epps

As I'm seeing columns like this diminishing lately, I've decided to share my journey. My ex husband abandoned us three years ago, and I've definitely got a clutter problem. Twenty years of clutter, and a major move across the country ten years ago is all around me. I still have his diabetic medication samples, his clothes, his CDs, and all the Valentines he's ever given me. 

"Don't let your house become a mausoleum of grief."
--Elizabeth Gilbert

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Leave of Absence from Workout Wednesdays

My Beautiful Ellen's High School Graduation 
By Laurie Epps

To my dearest readers,

After much deliberation, I've decided to take off the month of August from this column to spend some much needed time with my family. It's a joyful time for us. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


By Laurie Epps

I'm just recovering from the stomach flu, so I'm sorry that I was unable to get this column up in time. It's also stalled my workouts for a few days, but I'll be back next week and we'll begin to talk about nutrition. I know it's the next frontier. I also have guest bloggers blogging about nutrition this Fall. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My 5K Workout Plan, Part II

By Laurie Epps

Some of you have asked me for an update, so by request, here it is. I've plateaued weight-wise. I've not lost an ounce in 5 weeks. But I've kept at it, and I still make it to the gym 4-5 days a week. I know to change it, I've got to change something that I'm currently doing.

Many people assume that if you fight with weight, that you overeat. In my case, this couldn't be farther from the truth. I do something even worse.... I only eat once a day. It's true. Doing this only tells your body that you're starving, so your fat cells will hold onto every calorie. I've read about this concept for years in diet books ranging from Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell to Skinny Bitch, I know this to be true. Yet, using the American excuse, "I'm too busy," I still do it. I also suffer with thyroid disease and starvation only extrapolates my symptoms.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My 5K Workout Plan, Part I

Pictured with my 2 youngest daughters on the Fourth
By Laurie Epps

The most common question I've received is: How do you know what to do? For me, I've got quite the past with fitness. Based on what I already know, it's second nature for me. However, if you've never been much for exercise, this can be quite arduous.

I knew I'd reached a point where I need to begin to push myself, so I don't quit. But I also have the rivals of two ideals: do I want to lose weight, or do I want to prepare for my 5K? I've decided to do a hodgepodge of both, creating my own, unique, workout plan.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Workouts Are Contagious

My daughter Ellen & I at the gym
By Laurie Epps

Working out is contagious. I'm sure it is. Now that I'm going to the gym, and I've lost nearly 10 pounds, my girls don't want to be shown up by their mom. It's true. My eldest daughter Melanie has joined a gym in CA, and usually sends me a hiking picture on the weekends of her hikes. My middle daughter Ellen goes to the gym with me on occasion. Mainly, Ellen tries to make it to either Yoga or Zumba (we're still trying to get to Zumba). However, I've yet to include my youngest Chloe, except on this last hike. 

Getting fit should be a family affair. However, I'm learning the frustration of trying to get my six year old to try veggies or salmon. Also, it's a challenge to introduce fitness to a young child, and it's hard to get cooperation out of a teenager. For all the moms out there, you need to be doing this for you. It's not selfish. Consider it maintenance. You can't take care of everybody else, if you're health is declining to a point where you can't take care of yourself.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getting Back to Nature

Some Woodland Framed Roads Near Lake Hartwell, SC
By Laurie Epps

So, I'm all jazzed about the upcoming 5K this fall. Being a blogger myself, I started reading blogs about training for a 5K, and even looked at medical sites like the Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins to see how they weighed into it.

Slowly, some real patterns started emerging. The 5K 101 consensus seemed to be to workout 4-5 days a week with walking nearly every day, and an extra long walk on Saturdays. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Importance of Fitness Goals

Just Before My Yoga Class
By Laurie Epps

My weight loss has plateaued. But my overall fitness has improved. I've tried a new yoga class that meets twice a week. I'm really starting to recognize folks at the gym and really enjoy myself. I always feel better after a trip to the gym.

I believe from my research, that yoga really does a body good. This is not only true because of the relaxation and meditation component, but also because it gives you overall awareness of your body. What many people aren't aware of is that there are 14 Types of Yoga. Most gym's, like mine, offer Hatha Yoga which is very fluid and is meant to burn calories. When you're new to working out, it might be hard to keep up, but slowly you'll notice improvements.
Just Before My Yoga Class

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kick-Starting Your Diet

Intro by Laurie Epps
My new fitness routine is going pretty well, although, all good workouts have the support of an equally good diet. What we eat is not just fuel, but it can be the difference between feeling good during your workout, or feeling sluggish or just not too good during your workout. If your goal is to lose weight, then it's essential that your food intake goes hand in hand with your fitness regime. If you're a beginner, that's ok. I started with working out due to the ease for me, since diets seem especially daunting. If you're the opposite, and choose to start with your diet, that's ok. The import thing is that you start the journey to better health. 
Please welcome Cathy Baker, my friend and fellow writer who's going to talk to us today about her first days on her diet. I hope you'll give her the same attention that you'd offer up to me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Me & Bike #2

By Laurie Epps

At a Birthday Party on May 22, 2015
My second week, I did extremely well. I went to the gym 5 times that week. I wasn't really following a specific outline of a workout yet. I was just trying to do half an hour of cardio, and then five machines in thirty minutes. I alternated upper body with lower body exercises. 

By that Monday, I'd lost another two pounds, and then another pound. So now, I'm up to seven pounds of weight loss! I couldn't be more delighted. I'm heading in the right direction, won't you join me?

Today, I saw on Facebook that my cousin Kay has lost 90 pounds! Wow! I'm so proud of her. I'm begging her to write a blog post for me, but she's in the throws of moving. I think she'd be a great inspiration for all of us. Kudos, Kay!
Me on Bike #2

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Real Kick-off Week

May 17, 2015: At My Great Godsons Dedication
By Laurie Epps

I'm finally doing it! I'm making it to the gym almost every day. The first week, I went 5 days that week. My efforts are rewarding me with immediate weight loss. I'm not going to bust 300 pounds, and I couldn't be more delighted. Much easier than I thought it would be, I'm making new friends, and I'm feeling much better about myself. 

Already, I've noticed that I walk a little taller when I enter a room, and it looks like my unwanted tummy is dropping. If you're in that dark place that I was in, you might be intimidated by the gym, or going it alone.... don't be. Your friends and like minded people are at the gym.

I know that the gym may not be feasible or palatable for a lot of folks, so today, I'm going to talk about the best reasons to strive to get in shape.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Return of Workout Wednesdays

Frozen Ice Berries In My Yard
By Laurie Epps

I'm so sorry that I've not been active with this blog recently. I was sick with bronchitis for over 10 weeks. Towards the end of being sick, the southeast was pummeled with snow storms, ice storms, and record breaking low temperatures.

We had a rough winter down here, and while I know that Northerners would laugh at our tracings of snow, it caused schools, government offices, and businesses to close their doors. To make matters worse, at one point, we lost all electricity for about three days.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My 4 Year Anniversary

My Professional Mentor, Edie Melson
By Laurie Epps

I can't believe that it was four years ago today that I started my first blog. I was inspired by my beloved mentor, Edie Melson to have at least the perfect trifecta: a blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Today, I'd like to do a remembrance of the last four years, and how far I've come not only as a writer, but as a person as well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


By Laurie Epps

I don't really know what I had, but I was truly sick for over 3 1/2 weeks. I didn't start to feel a little better until Monday. I apologize for not posting last week. I was simply too ill. But, today I'm back to post a little progress in spite of everything.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Rough Start

By Laurie Epps

Aldous Huxley once said, "Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too."

So I'm not quite three weeks into my fitness challenge, and it's not starting off as I planned it in my head. Still, I'm trying to remain optimistic, and realize that I'm just experiencing a setback. But I made a promise to my readers, so regardless of any shame, I'm going to post my progress as is.
Week 1: January 12-18, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Column: Workout Wednesdays

Pictured at my friend Faye's Wedding in 1988
By Laurie Epps

I wasn't always heavy. I didn't start out this way. Most of the people in my family aren't heavy either. But this is my story. I know I'm not the only woman out there that has fought this battle. This column is meant to be encouragement for the people that struggle with some of the issues in regards to weight loss.

The picture at the right, most people would consider me to be in my best shape. I ran marathons, did martial arts, participated in triathlons, and practiced ballet. I've danced with both the Atlanta Ballet, and the San Diego Ballet. But I was also malnourished and very sick in this picture. I had anorexia. I weighed in at a whopping 112 pounds, and it was waif like on my 6'0" tall frame. Yet, I looked in the mirror and I saw a fatso. I couldn't exercise enough, and I couldn't eat too little.
A Year after having my second baby in 1997

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Year, New Columns

By Laurie Epps

Hello my dears. Happy New Year! Since it's a new year, and I'm making some basic changes to my blog. I'm changing my focus, and writing about things that are more relevant for me now. After talking with many friends, I realize the economy's still bad, many of us are facing real problems with our health, and that includes depression. So instead of just talking about writing, I'm hoping to expand my horizons to include health, nutrition, and all sorts of wellness. This will include spiritual health, nutrition, fitness, emotional support, and life planning. We're all in this together, and I hope this redirection will not only encourage writers, but also all sorts of people. This isn't a new years resolution or anything, it's something much more. But I've learned my lesson, we're going to start slowly with a column every Wednesday about my fitness journey. By March, I hope to add my writing column back in, and hopefully, some divorce support by the summer.

Till next time.


The Swan House in Atlanta

By Laurie Bower Epps Many don't know that I'm really from Atlanta. Somehow, as I've gotten older, it just seems to be natura...