The Eye of the Storm!

RFF Lady BugI had a baaaad week last week.   No, I mean it.   So much so, that I couldn’t sleep on top of all that I was feeling and going through.  “You look so tired.  Are you ok?”  was  a common question last week.  The problem was, I was tired and worn out and frazzled.  How do I get to my own personal daily “High 5” and talk to others about being in this zone when all this other “stuff” is going on?

It is such a legitimate question!   The truth is I need weeks like last week to remind myself that this life thing can be very difficult and being Healthy and Fit in all 5 areas isn’t easy to do.  Some of us are facing pressures that are way beyond “normal”.  We have disappointments, frustrations, deadlines, and pressures that bring us way over the top.  On top of that some of us are dealing with other people in our lives that seem to take their disappointments, frustrations, deadlines and pressures out on us and we have to deal with their tongue lashings as well-like we needed that!  I mean, don’t we deal with it enough in our own heads?  Now, someone else is spitting hurtful words our way too?  Sigh… 

I have to remember that through it all, all I know is the first place that I must personally go is inward.  Let me explain.  God gave me a vision when I was dealing with my divorce.  Here’s how it went.

I was near a lake sitting near a big tree holding my knees.  The winds were crazy!  Wipping and blowing in every direction.  Dirt and leaves were being picked up and carried within it, hitting me every which place.  I could barely see because I needed to squint so hard.  I didn’t know where to go or what to do and I was scared.  As I looked out on the water, I saw someone coming closer.  I stood to get a better look because after all, who walks on water and especially in tornado type winds?? What was interesting was my long hair was being tossed and thrown around while his was calm and in place.   I was being pummeled by the debris  while nothing was touching him.  He came closer and smiled at me.  When he reached out for my hand and took it, I just kept looking into his eyes.  They were peaceful and comforting.  As soon as we held hands, my hair stopped blowing.  I was no longer being hit by specks of stuff.  All was calm but only right where we were at; only within the two of us.  The waves were still going and the trees were still bending, but all was still between the two of us.  He said to me to keep my eyes firmly fixed on him and I would be just fine.  Those eyes…They were kindness, beautiful, warm, strong.  Like a fathers tender loving kiss on my forehead  or a big brothers caring hug.  I didn’t need to impress.  I didn’t need to worry.  I just needed to focus my attention straight into those eyes, and he would help me through this storm.

What was and continues to be amazing for me with that story is God doesn’t promise to get rid of the storm.  I had to go through it.  I don’t know why sometimes we have to go through some of the awful things we have to go through, but I know there’s a purpose.  It’s not to die.  It’s not to complain.  It’s not to shrivel up and become a nobody who’s all used up.  Nope.  It’s always about learning some lessons so that we can help someone else go through it later.    There are moments in each persons day that God reveals himself to us.  What’s difficult is that we get so distracted by our “wind, waves, and debris” that we lose sight of  “those eyes”.

Yesterday, I was checking in on twitter and Facebook through my phone and I was still asking how I could share still achieving our High 5 in the midst of being exhausted when a small beautiful lady bug swooped down and landed right on my white phone.  It stopped me immediately.  I smiled and admired it for a bit, letting it crawl around.  I love ladybugs!  They always make me smile.  They are so tiny and fragile and yet so tough!  I love the scene in A Bug’s Life when Frances gets hit on by a couple of bugs and he gets angry saying “oh just ’cause I’m a ladybug you automatically think I’m a girl?”  the bugs freak out “Gee’s she’s a guy!”  Ha!  At any rate, I love ladybugs.  What I found interesting is that God reached down and lifted my chin to see His face once again by a small little creature landing on my phone.  I was able to look into His eyes once again and find the calm.  I connected with Him and was reminded that even the ladybug is taken care of by His greatness, how much more will I be taken care of?  I was able to stop my mind racing and my heart running on empty and “Be still”-filling my heart again with gratitude and love.  My tanks were now filled up and I could go for another day because I had my stillness with Him looking into His eyes.  It didn’t have to take long.  I just had to refocus.  He is good and He does care.

These moments are all around us within everything we come into contact with.  We just need to turn our attention and see them.  When they come into view, we need to stop, if only for a moment, and Be still giving credit where it’s due-to God Himself and say “Thanks.”  He’s in the BIG things-yes!  But He’s in all the small things as well.  Today, I woke up knowing what to  write about.  As I came to the computer, A friend of mine took a picture of a FLA sunrise over the beach and shared it on facebook…I breathed it all in.  It’s beauty and grace-another day has been given and I am blessed to be able to enjoy it as I see fit.  I smiled.  “Thank you God for being such a great artist and painting such beauty, in Florida: sunrise over the beach, in Hawaii: waves over volcanic rocks, in Northern MI:  Fall leaves being kissed by sunshine!  Where ever you are physically, mentally, emotionally, take the time to be still and see into His eyes the beauty, grace, and peace that he is so willing and desiring to give to you!

Breath deeply….sigh.  Now isn’t that better??  Go get your day and make the most of it!

~Pamela “Red Fox” Smith

Red Fox Fitness Pamela DeVrou Smith
Red Fox Fitness Pamela DeVrou Smith

Organic? Fresh? Heirloom? What?



How true is this!?!? When I first lost my weight (yes 75lbs!) I was quite confused as to what was and wasn’t healthy! No wonder we want a diet or a pill to make it all go away!

Good news start with going as fresh as possible and avoid prepackaged foods. Put as much color variety as possible in each meal! And when using oils keep it to Olive Oil or Sesame Oil. Keep it as local as possible and enjoy! One of my favorite magazines for recipes is from Clean Eating! They make it simple and tasty!


Take Me Back Home Again! YUM!!

Ok, I’ve been asked to talk about what it is that I eat.  I am not perfect in this area and I am still learning.  It seems that there is so much confusion about what is “healthy’ and what isn’t.  I’ve seen people get outright obsessed with what goes in their mouths and get very vocal about what others eat that they forget to actually enjoy life and being with others!

I grew up in a household where the reason food became important was to have friends over and enjoy their company!  I never knew my mother or our neighbors or my Grandma’s to have someone over and not offer them something (usually along with a cup of coffee!).  The point was to slow down and have a conversation not necessarily eating!  People where the focus.  My one Grandma was a farmer and they grew their own food from last years seeds.  Now, that’s called “Heirloom” (who knew that plants had become mostly Hybrid and they can’t reproduce themselves within their own seeds!!).   Grandma baked constantly and always had a special treat if we helped out or were good!  I remember going straight to the garden and pulling out a “snack” to munch on while my Grandfather talked to us under the huge willow tree.  Impromptu picnics under that same willow were the natural order of the day in the hot summer sun. Ice cold well water and lemonade became our favorite drinks.  My Mother, Aunts and Grandma would all bring something out and our family would enjoy the evening telling stories, laughing and learning what was right and wrong in the world.  I didn’t know just how blessed I was!

This gathering and enjoying and sharing is a lost art form-but food still brings me straight back to the shade of the Weeping Willow tree and snapping fresh green beans from Grandma’s garden.  Consequently, food for me needs to be fresh, colorful, free of chemicals and processing.  It’s best when it’s from a garden in the back yard or a farm just down the road!   I grew up surrounded by the Great Lakes of Michigan and a 1000 lakes in between.  My family-especially the boys, would all go fishing every chance they got and so I had to learn to like fish (this took me quite a while!).

At some point, I will get into some great details about eating.  For now, Keep it fresh!  That means local, farm, just picked (this could mean quickly frozen afterward! 🙂 ).  I need to say as well that the meat we do eat needs to be fresh as well.  I can’t tell you the difference it makes to have beef that is grazed in a field vs grain fed or free range chickens vs grains!  The beef, milk and eggs have so much more flavor and nutrients!  Oddly enough, animals know what they need!  And we are better off for it!

With that, here’s what we ate last night:

  • Tuna fish salad sandwiches w/ red onion & Olive Oil mayo on 12 grain bread
  • Baked acorn squash
  • Lightly steamed mixed veggies (Purple & White Cauliflower, Broccoli, carrots)
The best part is I live in Northern Michigan (“Up North” to the Michiganders)  and I went to one of my favorite Farmers Markets; Gallaghers on M-72 just outside of Traverse City.  The young girl working there told me that her Grandma Started this market.  I already knew that because my Grandma knew her Grandma and I grew up supporting that farm-because that’s just what you do!  It is one of the best and they have fresh produced, baked goods and farm fresh/home-made ice cream!  We had the best time  picking out our produce, going through the corn & hay mazes, petting the sheep and looking at the lazy pig!  The place was packed (I’m so glad to see!) as it was a beautiful fall sunny day in Northern MI!  Take a look!

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What the heck is a Burpee Challenge??

Red Fox Burpee's 5

About two weeks ago an awesome fitness friend of mine, ShariFitness from ATL  put a challenge out there about doing this 100 Burpees in 100 days.  I was already on a pretty intense training program and declined until I saw so many of my friends doing it.  Of course, many of them have been already involved with the infamous “Burpee” and new full well the Love-Hate that it can bring.  Burpees are also called squat thrusts.  What ever you call them, they work!  Here’s how to do them:

  • Start in a standing position.
  • Go down into a squat with your hands on the floor
  • kick your legs and feet back ending up in a push up position
  • Jump back into a squat position
  • Jump up into the air with your hands doing a clap above your head

That’s Count 1!

*It’s important to remember to jump straight up, opening your body fully.   Also, To do these in as quick of a progression as possible, but you need to listing to your own body.  The point is to get healthy not hurt!  If you need to alter this program in any way, starting out a little slower, then make a careful note and progress from there.  You are in charge of your own workout!

Now, from what I understand, the challenge originally was put out there as doing progressive Burpees.  So, Day 1, you do 1 Burpee, Day 2 = 2 Burpees and so on.  Now of course my fitness buddies that I’ve met through BCx turned this into each day starting with day 1 you do 100 Burpees.  I’m trying to get my push ups better and added in 100 push ups on the side (I can’t do them with in my Burpee quite yet!).  Someone else added in 100 sledge hammers as well!

I decided to do them because after watching my friends do them, I realized they really didn’t take up very much time; 7-20min depending how familiar you are with these Bad Boys!  A Burpee is an AWESOME way to get someone going in fitness.  they really DO work!  Your heart goes way up, your muscle definitely feel it, and they improve muscle tone very quickly while burning fat! What more could you ask for, right?

Well, I must warn you, The burpee club is a special one!  The first time I was introduced to them,it was in the middle of an already intense training program and I almost threw up!  I thought they were from the Devil himself!  I couldn’t breath!  I was sweating everywhere!  The only reason I kept doing them was because I signed up for the work out and had to check in with the crew!  I couldn’t let them down and say I wimped out!  So, I finished in a very slow time frame.  What I found out though was, they were exactly what I needed.  After doing them in a work out routine on a 6-day-a-week basis for 4 weeks,  I became “good” at them.  Meaning, I could do them without throwing up!   With the challenge, I find that Brupees alone aren’t quite so bad.  They give me some energy afterward and I’m all warmed up.  I can do them anywhere and wearing almost anything-not a skirt of course or heels, but they are a great way to work out a little without ever leaving my “spot” where ever that is!

Which brings me back to the challenge.  This challenge-100 day/100 days is a great way to get moving and to do it anywhere!  Some of the best I’ve heard is during a lunch break or afternoon break at work.  Co-workers even egg each other on to get them done while on the job!  They only take about 10min on average and give quite the boost of energy!  Rather then going for that sugary sweet “snack” that is only going to harm you quite frankly, go do some Burpees instead!  You’ll feel better, have more energy and at least you’ll have a start to getting on a program!  After doing them for about a week, you’ll start to feel stronger.  You may never fall in love  with these (or maybe you will), but you will love the results!

I don’t have it yet, but I will be putting a video on here and my youtube channel so stay tuned!

To see how Burpees inhance an already great work out, take a look at my Training Work Out article.

A Point of View

The Son comes in and through and around!God reaches across the vastness of eternity to divinely stoop down & desires an intimate, loving, unconditional relationship with us.  He chooses to want us whether we ever return that love to Him or not.  As we spew and vomit our putrid selfishness all over His glory, He stays by our side…just loving us.  As we hang onto our hurts and shortcomings using them as excuses to stew in our lives…He patiently waits-understanding our pain.  He doesn’t show this to the world, He doesn’t expose what we do or where we are at…He just loves us; patiently desiring for us to turn our hearts to look in His direction even if for only a single moment.  He longs to lavish His love-perfect as it is, He longs to pour it out all over and in and through us.  In doing so, He stands us up to realize when we look in His direction for our strength, we can truly do anything!  It’s uncomfortable at best to step out with such awesome power running through us.  Knowing it’s really not of ourselves, but with each step, each breath, each ability is powered from Complete Power.  With this greatness comes a responsibility.  We are never able to be completely touched by such wonderfulness and keep it to ourselves.  It becomes our desire for all to taste the completeness and the healing that’s necessary for our finite spirits.  When we allow God Himself to touch all that is within us, we are able to tap into His perfect peace and completeness.  Full acceptance right where we are at-no matter how dark of a space it is.  We touch eternity through The One who always was, always is, and always will be.  The cure for all that ails us, is this Love that reaches through the space, through the time, through all the darkness and places it’s arms of Grace around us.  This Love carries us through it all, expecting nothing in return.  Why?  Why would such perfectness ever want anything to do with me and all that I’ve messed up, with all that I’ve hurt, with all my brokenness?  Why?  Because He wants to.  I can do nothing to earn it.  I can do nothing to lose it.  But we must ask for it.  When we do, He reaches through all to let you and I know…


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