Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light



Fitness Friday

Several weeks ago I bumped into an old friend at a quaint bookstore in downtown McMinnville. It was a most joyous reunion! No matter how much time passes it feels as though we’ve never parted. Then when we talk, it feels like time stands still even though hours have passed!

I mentioned something about my weightloss journey when she looked at me with great love and tears filled her eyes. She said something to the effect of, “Dar, I admire you so much. You just keep going. You don’t give up.” I don’t remember exactly what else was said and I’d hate to embellish the story.

Yesterday I wrote about excuses. I tell myself that I don’t have time or that nothing ever changes. I’m still fat. My last “before” picture is the worst of all because I squeezed myself into a tank top that’s too small to wear. I want to know what it feels like when I can fit in appropriately.

Today it was really hard to get up and exercise. I thought of all the other things I could be doing. I thought, “Well, it matters more what I eat than how I move my body.” That’s true, but I was using it as an excuse.

So, I mustered up the willpower and got it done! It was a simply 5 minute quick warm up and a couple of videos that were less than 10 minutes each.

10 minute abs
10 minute butt and thigh workout

That’s it! In less than 25 minutes I did a great workout! Neither of those required any special equipment and were low impact. I couldn’t always keep up, but that’s alright! Next time I’ll work on improving on that.

At the beginning of summer I asked someone, “Do you have goals for the summer?” She laughingly replied, “Get in shape!” When I asked more about her plan she didn’t really have a one. I could tell she wasn’t ready to continue that conversation so I let it go. I get it, I’ve been there. We don’t believe we’ll do it so why even try. It’s a dirty lie, people. We can do it when we fully choose to do it!

Lennox and I recently started a 90 day challenge. He’s much better at getting in his protein and exercising every day. I often hear him say, “I’m winning this thing.” I believe him. I have affirmations I want to say, but they haven’t been made into spoken or written word. This fitness battle is won and lost in our head.

How do you go about reaching your goals?
Do you have someone to back you up, encourage you, be your accountability partner?
What are you doing every day to create the life you want?




Life is FULL of challenges. If it weren’t, we’d be continually bored and boring! Well, because we don’t want to risk being a boring sort of people Lennox and I are challenging one another in a fitness challenge.

Welcome to the first installment of our very first joint 90 day challenge video series!

(pardon the freeze frame, i tried SEVERAL times to change it)

Day 2: Rough Start

I’m starting this blog at 10pm. 2 hours before day 3 officially begins. Part of my day was spent sitting in front of my computer at my friend’s house trying to figure out what to write. Part of me regrets not taking the easy road. Another part of me whispers, “dig a little deeper”. The problem with this series is that it’s going to hurt. It’s going to cost me something. 

I wonder if what I write will matter to anyone else. Then my next thought is that it shouldn’t matter. It’s an act of obedience and trust. Yet, do I trust the One I call Savior to rid me of this giant? 

I have a weight issue. Actually, my weight isn’t the issue. The problem is the food that goes into my mouth. You know what? That’s not the problem either. It’s something deeper, I can’t quite pinpoint. 

I have long known that my weight battle is the main thing I need to conquer right now. “Right now” has turned into years. I’m not foolish enough to believe that once I reach my goal fitness level that it’ll be smooth sailing. That’s not how it works in God’s Kingdom. I know that it IS holding me back from some beautiful experiences. 

So then why is that cup of hot chocolate or that Costco muffin so important? Why can’t I resist a pan of brownies? Why am I allowing those things to stand in the way of the life I really want?

Somewhere along the way I started believing that I am not worth it. I do not deserve to enjoy my life or experience great things. I’ve bought into the lie that fat people are dumb and lazy. As I wrote that a memory came to mind. I can hear my dad angrily yelling, “You’re just like your mom!” When he said it in anger he meant that I was like my biological mom. I don’t know what he meant by that, but I remember what I heard. 

She was a drug addicted prostitute when I was born and for a few years after. I don’t know how long she lived that lifestyle. She smelled bad, was loud, lazy, ate a lot, and weighed hundreds of pounds at the time of her death. I think it was 675 pounds. She was also a victim thinker, nothing was her fault, she never admitted to being the reason I was removed from her care.  Mind you, she had many good qualities, too. I just wasn’t familiar with them when I was a kid. Basically, I heard that I was good for nothing. 

[My dad loved me very much and I’m positive his heart would break if he knew the burden his words created.]

Maybe that’s where I start, I address that lie I’ve held onto for so long. 

What lie have you been believing about yourself? What are you doing to change that? 

New Beginnings!

 “Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush. Here we go round the mulberry bush early in the morning.”

That’s what it’s been like for me. I’ve been circling that same damn thing over and over again. (Pardon the language, please.) My song would say, “Here we go round the weight loss bush, the weight loss bush, the weight loss bush. Here we go round failing again, just like every time.”

I’ve written countless posts about weight loss, fitness, working out, and the spiritual aspect of it, too. I’ve embarked on this journey so many times, I can’t even count them. Some of the times I’ve been public about it, other times I’ve been secretive because I was afraid of failing in front of the entire universe. Years ago I lost 47 lbs in a biggest loser contest, but gained 35 of those back over the following years. Talk about embarrassing. Each time that happened a great big heap of shame was added to that.

I’m done with that cycle. I’m 80 days from turning 40. I absolutely do not want the second half of my life to be spent the same way as the first half. How boring! Moreover, I want my kids to stop going around in the same cycle with me. Gorgeous landscapes are being created especially for their eyes. I’m gonna do everything in my power to put them on the path to those!

On July 14, 2014 I began a new journey. Again. Oh wait, I guess you can’t start a new thing again…it can’t be new if you’ve been there before. Let me rephrase that.

I’ve embarked on a brand new journey.

One that I’ve never been on. It’s uncharted territory. I’m already seeing new landscapes here. I can feel that this is different. The temptations that plagued me in the past are no longer temptations. In fact, everything about this feels so much easier than ever.

Why is it different this time around? 

Well, I don’t rightly know. I reckon it’s because I’m different. My friend says it’s because I’m finally on my side. I was divided before so I couldn’t go anywhere. There is a shift in my thinking. I’m not sure I can even explain it. It’s not like I have this gritty determination. It’s more like a calm confidence.

Would you join me on my journey? Would you like to support and watch me or would you like to begin your own journey? We can travel together. I would very much like that. I’m passionate about life now. We are not meant to travel alone in this world. We did not come here to just survive! Let’s really LIVE together. Call, text, email, comment, message me!

There are several ways you can join me.

  1. Subscribe to this blog. I’ll be posting updates throughout the week.
  2. Facebook 
  3. Twitter 
  4. Instagram 
  5. Pinterest – Though I haven’t integrated that into my journey yet.
  6. YouTube 

I posted a video a couple of days ago as an introduction to the challenge and to give my one week update. If you haven’t already, please take a couple of minutes to see that first video. Video updates will be posted weekly. Don’t miss out.

Darlene’s Intro Video to the 90 Challenge!

Go out there and be awesome. Be clothed in Strength & Grace

Isabody Challenge

Well, it’s now publicly official. On Wednesday, July 17, 2013 I entered the IsaBody Challenge. Okay, I’ll be totally honest here. I’ve joined it before. Three times to be exact. My friends took my measurements and took my “before” pictures. I even sent a video of the very beginning to a couple of my friends last fall.

I wasn’t ready then or any of the other times I started. I struggled a lot and was encouraged to record those times. I think I did, but I didn’t do anything with the footage. I’m going to start doing that again, though. I now understand that it isn’t just about me, but it’s about others like me who want something different and are discouraged. That discouragement doesn’t last forever, unless you let it.

So, what’s different this time around? Why have I decided to go public?

  • I know that that I’m beautiful no matter my size.
  • This isn’t a matter of my perception of my worthiness.
  • I’m not doing it because I think it’s expected of me or because I’m afraid of disappointing someone.
  • Going public helps keep me accountable.
  • I like following people’s journeys, I thought you might like it as well.
  • I’m not afraid and I’m not ashamed.
  • 2013 is MY year, it has been amazing so far – why not make it the best ever?
  • I have some friends that are so amazing and have been a huge support to me over the past year: David, Erica, Danae, Lennox, and Chani. They have seen me lose and gain. They’ve listened to me complain. They’ve joined in my successes and been part of my gorging (just the ladies, that is). The point is that they’ve all been right here with me. Now that I get their love and devotion to me I feel so much more empowered.
  • I love challenges.

There are more reasons why I’m going for it, too. Did you visit the page? I could win money and prizes, including an all expense paid cruise for me AND a guest. (I wonder who my guest will be?!? You guys can all duke that out!)

So, each month I will do pictures and measurements and post those here. I want to be more honest about the journey. I’m super proud of doing that hike last week. I love that I’m strong and determined. This is actually bigger than just the weight loss, but I’m not ready to put that into words yet.

July 17, 2013
July 17, 2013



Weight – 238
Bust – 43.5
Chest – 39
Waist – 43.5
Abdomen – 58
Right Thigh 30.25

Goal is to lose about 2 lbs a week and exercise 5 times a week. Erica and I haven’t been super consistent about exercising. I’ve been using shakes from a company called Isagenix. There are shake days and cleanse days, I’m not going to get into that much in this post. I have all my cleanse days planned out. If I don’t plan them, I won’t do them.

I started a 90 day blitz last Monday. It’s a time to focus. Last week felt like a week to get centered. I have been documenting what I’m doing to move myself toward my goals, both financially and in fitness. I have goals listed for each week in my little 90 day blitz binder. (Yes, I  have a binder because it’s pretty and I like being organized.) Guess what day the first blitz ends? October 12. Guess what that means? That’s my 39th birthday AND some friends and I will be participating in the Color Vibe run in Salem, Oregon. It’s only a 5K and looks like so much fun. What a great way to celebrate!!! So far I have yeses from Erica, Nidia, Katie, Lennox, Rachel, and Aaron. Will you join the team, too?

Crazy Brave or Bravily Crazy

In my last post I posed a question of whether I was Brave or Crazy. I don’t think the 2 have to be mutually exclusive, though.

My brain is mush today. There are a few things I want to say about the hike, though.

  • I’m glad I did it.
  • I was very determined on the way to the falls.
  • My friends Kyle and Erica stuck with me even when I was at a snail’s pace. I felt well cared for and confident that no harm would come to me.
  • My friend Sarah had messaged me the day before the hike. Her words kept playing in my head. Thank you, my friend.
  • This is the hardest thing I had ever done, up to that point.
  • My joints in my feet and ankles still hurt.
  • The next morning I woke up thinking of overnight hikes, then quickly shook those thoughts out of my head.
  • I learned some things about myself that I can’t quite put into words yet.
  • Lennox. What can I say? I was starting to have a breakdown toward the end. Kyle and Erica only left me when they knew Lennox was going to stick with me. I saw the look on Erica’s face. I’m not sure what my face looked like. He stuck with me. Right by my side in those moments that I was going to fall apart.
  • Chani. She wasn’t there, but I texted her all day even though I didn’t have service. I kept her updated. I even had Lennox take a “last moments” video in case I died. I laughed through it.
  • I have good people in my life that stick to me and encourage me right in the moment when I need them.

Here are some pictures. They’re from my iPhone and it was hard to see the screen so some aren’t as good as I had hoped.

I'm trying to look taller here! This is before the hike began.
I’m trying to look taller here! This is before the hike began.

IMG_2622 IMG_2624 IMG_2628 IMG_2630 IMG_2632 IMG_2633 IMG_2646

Finally made it to Tunnel Falls
Finally made it to Tunnel Falls


The photo above Lennox and I doesn’t even begin to represent what I was trying to capture. We decided to take a “short cut”. It was AWESOME and difficult, but so FUN!!!! It was pretty steep and I kept sliding back. Kyle, however, is pretty much like a gazelle. He got up it so gracefully and wasn’t even out of breath!

I don’t think I’m up for  a long hike within the next week, but I will tell you that something did change for me that I will share right now. No more excuses. I don’t want to hear them from you, my kids, or even myself. That’s a post for another day.



I am focused. Multi-tasking is overrated. Yes, I just said that. I used to think I did that very well and in some areas I do. I also know I’m great at procrastination and will often use another task to put off something I should be doing. I am not giving up multi-tasking, of course. What I have been becoming is more focused.

I have finally come to the to realize that I can’t do everything. No, not just realize, I actually believe it and don’t bother to strive for it. For years there was something in me that would say, “A good mom does (fill in the blank)”  or “Maybe I am not good enough at (fill in the blank)”. Perhaps both of those statements are even true, but just because I don’t do something doesn’t mean I’m not a good mom and I don’t have to be good enough at everything.

There are a few things I am focusing on (or trying to focus on), these are not in any particular order:

  • building my business
  • becoming financially fit – budgeting (and sticking to it), saving, tithing, paying down debt, building my business
  • becoming physically fit – exercising, Isagenix shakes, really difficult weekend hikes with friends where I want to cry and throw a fit, eating well.
  • Managing my family and household. Even in doing that I have to choose what things to let go of and which ones to press through.
  • Maintaining relationships around me. Not all of them, but the ones that are important to me.
  • Finishing up a photography project and not taking on any new ones.
  • Relationship with God. Trusting. Praying. Hearing. Reading.

Boy, that’s a lot to focus on, isn’t it? It’s also my life. In all of those areas I have or am in the process of streamlining or cutting out some things and adding in the things that will propel me toward my goals. I like this feeling of being focused. Monday I was not. I was blessed, but certainly not focused. Yesterday I was more focused, but feeling anxious about the upcoming hike and I let that steal some joy from me. Fortunately, I caught it quickly before much damage was done.

So, here’s to a day of being focused on whatever it is I am doing at that moment and not trying to solve everything at once.

Where is your focus today?

Flab 2 Fab

Hey hey hey! Like my title? Cheesy? Yup. Extra cheesy, I’m sure, but that’s the kind of gal I am. I like to be cheesy. I do crazy things like set goals that I never reach and start projects I don’t finish.

Hopefully this time it’ll be a tad different. I say that everytime. I’d go back through my blogs to link them here, but that would just be embarrassing.

A week or so ago I wrote about going back to Crossfit and possibly running a half marathon. Well, today I registered for the Hippie Chick half marathon. I forked over the money, so it’s pretty much written in stone.

Last week we did some before pictures. We did it on the day that I made my PR in deadlifts. It was awesome. Today I beat my PR in the push press. Also, and now here’s the big deal, I finally did a box jump. It’s a peewee box jump. It’s only about 12 inches and it took me about 10 minutes to actually do one. Lennox heard all about it from Chris and from the  look on his face it seems that it was amusing. I’d be interested to hear Chris’ version of it. I think I said, “OK” about a zillion times before I actually did it. I couldn’t do it last week so I did little step ups while the young girl next to me did way bigger box jumps. I’m not even sure how high, but I am pretty sure that I can’t move all these pounds that high unless my life was in danger.

I’m not sure what I’m thinking when I’m stepping out here once again to say things like I’m gonna lose weight, be healthy and fit, and be wonderful. I do want to do those things and I think I can. I know it’s hard and I know it’s way more than just doing all the right moves and eating all the right foods. It goes way deeper than that, it goes down to my deepest emotions and makes me question things that I’d rather leave alone.

So, I pray that God reveals to me what needs to be revealed and that He heals all my broken places.

For your amusement here are some photos from the other day.

My trainer, Chris Sarnowki, and me

My barbell after my 5th set. What’s that? Oh yeah, I’m awesome. Haha!

‘Nuff said

 I have a digital scale at home that sometimes I obsess over. This one isn’t too far off from mine.
Looking forward to the numbers declining.

Day 17 – Avoidance

There are things I don’t like to talk about. Maybe because they are deep truths about me. One of them is about my weight. That’s what this blog is about.

I’ve struggled with my weight issues for a very long time. I’ve written about them before. Last fall I wrote about crossfit with my friends in Mac. I’ve written a bit when I was training for the half marathon. I think back in 2006 I even wrote about the Biggest Loser challenge I took part in. I worked really hard, lost a lot of weight, and felt better about myself for awhile.

I lose weight, then I gain it back. I do this over and over. In my darkest hour my heart finds solace in food. My friends watch in what I can only assume is amazement and disappointment. I have tried, in the past, to be honest about the struggle.

Nowadays, I’ve pretty much given up struggling. I wonder, does it really matter? Why bother? Oh yes, I do have the kids and don’t want to leave them motherless. Then there’s the, “If I lost weight and was fit I could serve Jesus better. I’d be better prepared for whatever He calls me to.” There’s also the desire to be beautiful to man. I know, shallow and lame, but there it is.


Here I am, once again, embarking on this journey. I’ll be doing Crossfit again, but this time it’ll be with a guy from my church here in Sheridan. I’ll be training 4x a week starting on Thursday.

I’ll hate it then I’ll love it. I’ll hate it because I’ll be the absolute fattest one in the class. This is not new to me. The only place I wasn’t the fattest was in the Biggest Loser challenge. I’ll be in a room with thin girls, younger than me, who will never know the land of fat. I’ll have to deal with that darn plantar fasciitis in my foot again. I’ll need to wear a brace at night that makes my foot go numb, but I’ll be able to walk almost pain free if I wear it. I hurt my back somehow a couple of weeks ago and I can barely put on my left shoe in the mornings. I’ll have to sleep with a hot pad. I’ll love it when I feel myself getting stronger; when I think it’s actually working.

But here’s the thing. I can’t see it. I can’t see that final goal of a thin and beautiful me. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I know there’s MUCH more to it than the outward look of it all, but it’s hard to sit here and say I’m doing it again. I’m tempted to take before and afer pics, but I usually end up with lots of befores and no afters.

So, here I am saying that once again I am somewhat willing to let the Lord work in me concerning this. I will try not to obsess and I’ll try not to be in distress. I will probably cry, but hopefully not in front of the trainer or the other people in the class!

And now, I must really go to bed. I keep falling asleep at the computer.

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