All posts by Courtney


After posting my last post on Facebook I received numerous messages asking me about my fitness routine. I even had some ask about my skincare routine so I thought I would include all of the information here. First of all, my skin is not perfect and it definitely has it’s challenges. I do love skincare products but tend to be brand loyal so I stick with my Clinique and Neutrogena since I’ve worked for both companies. My Grandmother aged so gracefully and used Clinique her whole life. I love that the line was designed by dermatologists! I just received my first microdermabrasion treatment and boy, did I not know what I was missing out on. I have used the Rodan and Fields micro treatment and loved it. My first professional micro treatment was AMAZING and such a nice treat!

As far as health and fitness are concerned, I have always valued and honored health and fitness, but just wasn’t great about staying consistent in recent years. I gave up meat, other than seafood, a few years ago after getting inspired by some of the cardiologists that I used to call on who did it to inspire their patients. Mimi Kirk is someone I follow on social media. She is an organic, vegan food enthusiast and the author of “Live Raw”. She’s very inspirational to follow. Giving up meat was a personal choice for me mainly because I was watching my Dad go through a stem cell transplant due to cancer second time around. ‘Everything in moderation’, right? Except for brownies – I love them! I made them for my daughter when she got sick last week and ate several. Chocolate is my weakness! We all have one – I hope.

When it comes to working out – consistency was definitely key for me, but everyone is different. I’ve always loved yoga and long walks to help de-stress. I LOVE being outside and have come to accept that I just have to switch it up. I would go through my different phases. Pilates reformer classes at Pilates Fitness Club, is my favorite right now! It’s one of the most challenging fitness activities I have done. It definitely kicks my butt. Soreness is my new norm

So basically, I mix up my 4-5 days/week of routines between Pilates reformer classes, Bodyflow, Spin and Zone 4 at Onelife Fitness. I have to switch it up or I get bored. Then there’s Henry, my sweet pup. My all-time favorite activity is taking him on long walks outside during warmer weather. Nothing beats the great outdoors! Walks are soothing for my mind. I am flattered by people asking, but It’s important to do what works best for you! We are all in different life phases. Honor where you are and ‘do you’.


I am also trying to take more time for myself these days, I work full-time so on busy days I really need to get better at taking a ‘time-out’, even if for only 5-10 minutes to focus on breathing or to listen to a meditation piece. #goals #thestruggleisreal

Heart Health

” Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Pro 4:23

It’s heart health month and I attended a talk on the advances in cardiology today on my day off. My grandfather died from an aortic aneurysm and I used to call on cardiologists so I’ve been a little more cautious about heart disease and have taken precautions to help prevent it myself. I cut out meat a few years ago because some of my cardiologists were doing it for their patients, and my father had been through a stem cell transplant. Thank God for medicine and technology.

Who better to hear heart health facts from than Dr. Deepak Talreja and his father, Dr. Roshan Talreja.

There are certainly some interesting facts I learned today about heart disease and cardiovascualr events I’d like to share. Did you know that 1 out of 3 females, and 1 out of 2 males, will die from a cardiovascular event in their lifetime? Here are some other interesting facts:

  • Cardiomyocytes make up the heart.
  • 100,000 neurons (thinking cells) in one heart.
  • The heart beats about 70x/min
  • Every 33 seconds someone experiences a heart attack.
  • 77 million people have high blood pressure.
  • The heart is a brain – it feels.
  • The heart is the center of existence.
  • The heart cells start beating around day 25 during development.

Did you know that two people can be holding hands and taking two different tests, and EEG (brain waves) and the EKG (heart waves) and the heart waves will show up on the EEG test, but not the opposite.

The heart talks to the brain with every heartbeat.

God is love

” Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
(1 John 4:8 and 4:16b)

The power of God’s love amazes me. Daily, I witness sick patients in the waiting rooms, some fighting for their lives. I interact with medical staff that cares for them – thank you for what you do! I experience this incredible journey called Motherhood. Right now I am raising a teenager and boy does she get frustrated with me. It would definitely be easy to get frustrated back and sometimes I do, but I also choose to understand why she does it. It’s because she knows my unconditional love for her. She recognizes that discipline is love. She is God’s greatest gift and I can’t believe that God loaned her to me to raise – terrifying that I am trusted with this life! She will grow up and be my greatest contribution to society. I will never forget the day she was born and those eyes stared into mine. The miracle of life amazes me. She amazes me.

How do I know God is real?

As I continuously reflect on my life, I think about when he has revealed himself to me. It is either through others, nature or through my daughter when I feel his presence the greatest.

There is nothing like a Mother’s love! I am definitely not perfect and not a perfect mother, or sister, or daughter, or friend. I actually feel like an awful friend to so many lately. Please be kind to one another because we really don’t know what others are going through. I am extremely grateful to so many people who have helped me through difficult times, especially last year. I have been growing so much lately, especially in my relationship with God. It is He who gives me strength. I am truly blessed!

There are defining moments in our lives that change us and force us to grow and it is during that time that we make the choice to not give up and continue moving forward with strength. We don’t all have to agree in order to love and respect each other. I saw a community come together stronger than ever recently due to a tragedy. It was beautiful the way they chose to stand united and love – just love – each other and the family.

Defining Moments:

My Father, my rock. He fought cancer twice and even endured a stem cell transplant from Duke Medical Center. I witnessed him in his ‘place’. It wasn’t until much later that he could talk about this place. All I remember is his strength and I knew I had to let him be. It was in that place that he was with God. It’s important to have our place, our quiet moments to connect with Him. I believe all things are possible when we turn to Him. Cancer sucks! Our family, just like many others, lived that. We watched my Dad fight for his life through chemo treatments that made him feel like his body was on fire, made him blow up like the marshmallow man and make him so delirious he didn’t know where he was. I remember vividly watching him beg the nurse to find a vein and ‘make it work’ when the chemo burned his arm so badly that he couldn’t receive treatment in that location any longer. He was begging to live. Thank God for medicine and technology. If the monoclonal antibody he received didn’t come out two years prior, he probably wouldn’t be here. The same class of drugs I represent. Thank you, Dad, for fighting and for always keeping us close to God. I love listening to him preach the word.

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

My Dad receiving his ‘new life’ at Duke.

My Grandmother, oh how I loved her. She was so sad after losing my Grandfather. They had been married for over fifty years. She was never sick and never admitted to a hospital until after she was diagnosed with cancer three years after losing Papa. I argued with her over receiving chemo because we had just been through it with Dad. The cancer had already spread to her lungs and hospice had been called in. She just wanted to be with Papa. She was the strongest woman I knew, and fiercely independent. She owned her own salon and taught at VOTEC in Roanoke. She traveled with me alone all the time. I respect that since it wasn’t the norm for the times.

Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, 1997

I couldn’t watch her suffer, she had taken a turn for the worse while I checked in at the hotel and took Ellie for a swim. We had spent hours at the hospital before then. My sister called me back to the hospital and Granny was having trouble breathing. The minister was on his way. I was panicked and determined that she would not suffer so I went to the chapel and kneeled on the Bible. That’s all I could do and I remember having a serious heart to heart with God. I begged him to take her quickly. I returned to her room and within the next hour my sister and I were kissing her on her face and fighting over who her favorite grandchild was, giggling, and then we heard her take her last breath. I mean, to have your grandchildren fighting over you that way, just adoring you – what better way? I was rejoicing that she was with Papa. She was so beautiful. Of course, we were all upset, but there was this incredible peace that came over me and our family.

It was this past year that her peace lily started blooming again. It had only bloomed maybe once or twice since her funeral. I have kept this plant alive ever since. That lily gave me multiple blooms while I was struggling and at one of the lowest points of my life. That was her. That was God. She is with me every day!

We all have our stories and I love hearing others’ stories. It is when we open ourselves up to one another that we can truly start to appreciate God’s true power by the way he presents himself in our journey. Embrace the journey because we all have something to share with one another. God is so good!

I love you, Mom!


Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Life is a beautiful journey and some chapters keep you in tears. We all wake up daily knowing we will have to make decisions throughout our day that will affect our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with forever. Sometimes we look back and realize we didn’t always make the best choices. We have to let it go. Forgiveness is one of the hardest life lessons I have had to learn, but the most freeing.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” – Anonymous

We need to ask ourselves, “What do I want in life”? Do I want to live a life of imprisonment or do I want to embrace the future and move forward wholeheartedly? This does not mean people can’t be held accountable for their actions. What it means is that the forgiving heart can heal. It can be whole and open to love again. When bitterness and hatred reside then there isn’t space for love, acceptance. and happiness.

Nobody is perfect and I know I’m not. I also know that there is only one that has the power to judge and that’s God.

Forgiveness is the only path to real freedom.

Saying Goodbye to October Sky

“There’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” – Winston Churchill

I listened to a podcast on perseverance recently and how perseverance feeds hope and hope feeds perseverance – cyclic.

  • Hope feels
  • Faith sees
  • Love never fails

This has been a very tough week for my girl. We will be saying goodbye to October Sky. You see she’s been training this baby for the last three years and I can’t tell you just how proud of her I am. Her tenacity is unlike any other. My girl does not give up! Her perseverance reminds me of my Dad when he was fighting cancer. He loves nothing more than his family and family is everything.

October Sky is a part of our family, but she will be going to a loving home and Ellie will still be able to visit her as much as she wants. I believe it’s a tough lesson in life, but one that will make her stronger.

Sometimes we don’t understand why we go through the life experiences that we do, but I truly believe that the tough roads can lead to beautiful destinations. One day she and I will be able to share our roads, all the curves and bumps. We will laugh and cry and she will better understand the why. We all have our own paths that we take and we may not understand each others’. If there’s one thing we can all do to make the world a better place right now, it is to be kind – You never know the battles other people are facing. But be bold and do not fear.

Fear of others allows them to lead us. For many years I feared real life monsters, monsters that will have no place in my story anymore. For when we trust in God – fully trust – then the devil will flee. It’s time to write a new book.

Personal Growth

God is so good! I’ve been taking a lot of time for myself to self reflect and focus on personal growth lately, especially in my relationship with Him, myself and my daughter – the greatest gift HE ever gave me.

I woke up early yesterday morning in the Outer Banks, while visiting my mom, and eagerly woke my daughter so we could watch the sunrise together. It warmed my heart when she got excited to go with me when I expecting her teenage self to tell me to leave her alone, and that it was too early. I was so excited! Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of my Dad picking me and my siblings up from my mom’s and taking us across the street to the bay to watch the sunrise.

Sunrise with my girl #myheart!

I’ve been setting personal goals for the year and really setting stronger boundaries as far as my personal time is concerned… God, family, and health. Of course, a little girlfriend time is important too. A new decade falls upon me this week and I am embracing it. I can not believe I am turning 40 – bring it!

“Life really does begin at forty. Until then you are just doing your research!” – Anonymous


I’ve been taking a lot of time for myself lately to grow as I am sure many folks do when they are going through a divorce. I’m posting a TED talk that I came across because it is really good. Having each others’ backs as a couple is the absolute most important thing you can do to support one other, at least that’s the advice in the talk that really resonated with me.

“At the end of the day, all you really need is someone who loves you and always has your back”. – Anonymous


“Own your life, write your own story and live your own legacy.” – Maria Shriver

Live your legacy. To me that means owning your story – your truth. This takes courage and requires one to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is something that I thought I understood and something I thought I lived. For me vulnerability takes practice. I do believe when we get really good at being vulnerable we become whole because it is then that we accept our truth, which can be the hardest thing to do!

Blogging has allowed me to work through this process. Ambitious – yes, driven – hell yes, exhausted from trying to please everyone – you have no idea! There is one very important life lesson I have learned through my divorce and that is I matter most.

  • To me
  • To my significant other (when there is one)
  • To my family
  • To my daughter
  • To my colleagues
  • To my friends

God comes first, of course, but unless you put yourself first – truly embrace putting your emotional, physical and mental health first – you are no good to anyone. I lost that in my marriage. What I went through was unacceptable – yes. However, to allow others to treat me so poorly, I lost myself first.

Divorce was an ugly word to me. It is a word that I never wanted to say, was embarrassed to say. Why? Call me old fashioned, but I believe in staying together forever, like my grandparents. Were they truly happy? Rumor has it that my grandfather skipped town because of a fling with a woman in the church. My grandmother – what a gracious woman. I know I have to let go of this idea of perfection. Perfect doesn’t exist and that’s ok. “Your flaws are perfect for the person meant to love you” – Anonymous

As far as my grandparents’ rumor – will we ever know? Does it matter? #scandalous #rumorsharm It doesn’t change my love for them or the love they showered me with.

There sure is a lot of pressure to be perfect and I truly believe many young folks struggle with this today. The greatest gift we can give the younger generation is allowing them to embrace their mess. To accept imperfection. I had so many kids come into my classroom with anxiety. You see my classroom was a safe place. I’d let them go into my greenhouse and sit in the sunshine and just breathe. Why? Because I faced anxiety. I faced it from trying to be perfect and from staying in an unhealthy marriage.

Look at what we are faced with today. Go on social media and look at the perfect pictures, the perfect families. Look at the perfect bodies. Society is trying to do a better job with this… plus size models – beautiful. This is just my opinion, but we need to set the precedence with young people these days to “Embrace your mess, LOVE your mess!”

Live, love and be flawed. That is truth and truth is beautiful.

“Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” – Brene Brown

Good Old Days

Growing up I spent most of my summers in Roanoke, VA with my grandparents. Papa was a Southern Baptist Minister and Granny, well, she taught high school cosmetology. I like to claim my independence from her. She was an independent woman before her time. She also owned her own beauty salon so she was a business owner. My sister and I did much of our traveling with her. She loved exploring new places with us. We would also travel to Florida to visit my Aunt Estelle. Talk about a sassy lady… she had my Uncle Keith driver her everywhere because she didn’t want to learn how to drive. I laugh about it now. He was a WWII Purple Heart Recipient. He was paralyzed on the beaches of Normandy. Yes, he still drove her around – everywhere. He did it happily. What a gentleman!

My Grandfather ended up buying a local service station and worked so hard. Some of my best memories are of my sister and I playing school for hours. Granny would take us to Kroger to pick out movies and grab out mint chocolate cake. Then we’d relax and watch movies for hours while getting a little chocolate high. Another favorite memory was helping my Papa with his woodwork. He’d build things out of wood for hours and I’d paint them. He’d also enter his work in the Roanoke Art Show. My sister and I love going to the art show.

My Mama, sister and I all met in Roanoke this past summer for a funeral. We walked the market, ate great food and laughed so hard together. Boy do we all miss Granny and Papa.

Their love story still brings tears to my eyes. I’d laugh so hard listening to my grandmother tell the story. My grandfather chased her around the skating rink for hours. He was determined to make her like him. You see she had a boyfriend. Papa called him long arms. I swear to the day we lost him, he would still get a little jealous of that boyfriend. It was the most adorable story and you could feel the love when they told it. Finally, Papa won her over and they were married for fifty years. She never had to go to the hospital aside from giving birth until she got sick after Papa passed. Within three years we lost her too. Their story really belongs in a book.

“The greatest act of rebellion today is chivalry and being a gentleman.” – Anonymous