When Receiving is Better than Giving

Today I read a devotion from Cross Walk entitled When Receiving is Better than Giving.  This quickly got my attention because I had always been taught that it was better to give than to receive.  So I started reading.

… the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:28 NIV

matthew-20-28As I was reading the first line of this devotion…treadmills are not for the faint of heart, I started remembering when I had a gym membership almost three years ago.

I would step into the gym and hope that no one noticed the fat girl who just walked through the doors.  As if she belonged there, seriously?  No way.  She looks like the heaviest thing she had lifted all day was a dozen twinkies.

I would not change in the locker room, I came from my house in the gym shorts I planned on getting sweaty in and then driving the 30 minutes home….gross!  There was NO way I was going to change with all of the those super toned women.  Umm no!

I timidly stepped on the treadmill.  I didn’t dare try to use any of the other fancy equipment, I had no idea what they were for or how to turn them on AND there was NO way I was going to ask.

I would walk and walk and walk.  Yup, no running for this gal.  I would walk for an hour but nothing changed, not the way I felt about myself, not the way I looked, nothing except I was now beyond tired and still had to go home and feed the kids.

Every day I lived my life remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

I volunteered whenever I could wherever I could.  The word no never came from my mouth.  I lived in a house full of chaos.  I lived a life where I was completely exhausted and run down.  I was always sick.  I started snapping at the people that I had volunteered to help.  Not that any of this was their fault.  I would complain about helping others to my husband which led to fights at home because he wasn’t supposedly on my side.

I got to the point where I gave up trying to help anyone.  I gave up on my walk with Him.  I always felt like I was a failure and I felt miserable inside.  Why couldn’t I find the peace that others found when they served Him?  I just wanted to please Him.

I had lost sight of a few things. And one of those is that when it came to my relationship with Jesus, it was definitely better to receive than it was to give.  I was at a point in my faith where I needed to stop trying to please Him and just get close to Him. The devotion today reminded me that I should remember Mary and Martha, and the Samaritan woman.

One thing that struck me today was this:

Jesus delights in giving to us.  It’s why He came.  He didn’t come for us to serve Him.  He came to give His all for us.  And when we receive from His never-ending supply, then we have fuel to give to others.

Possibly the reason why I felt like a failure before was because I was so busy being busy “serving” the Lord that I forgot to take a moment to just be with Him.  To pray to Him. To listen to that small voice.  I was so busy that I didn’t stop to just enjoy being a child of God and to strengthen my faith. Because of this I turned from Him a long time ago.  I have just recently started my walk with Jesus again.

Take this time to just sit quietly and talk to God.  I know I have a hard time doing this because I get lost at what I should say to Him, how I should say it.  But then I remember something that I had told my daughter a long time ago…place your head in His lap and talk to Him like He is your best friend because He is.  He doesn’t care how you come to Him.

So today, pull up the empty chair to the table and ask Jesus to sit for a visit.  Have your cup of tea and tell Him all about your day.  If anyone in this world wants to hear about it, He does.

Sending strength, hope and love.



The Dreaded B Word…Budget!

Since my surgery on December 20th, I have been stressed about money. Ugh. That dreaded B word keeps popping into my head. BUDGET!
It’s hard to budget when you have zero money come in, I mean who wants to even think about it right? But it is something that needs to be donewoman-opening-empty-pink-wallet_web, at least for me.
Did you know that 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck? Ever since I can remember that is how I have lived, for the most part.
I really would like to get to a point in my life where I can have more than 200.00 in my savings.
I want to get to that point that if I want to go visit my daughter in Kansas I can.
I want to get to that point where I don’t have to completely stress when I am out of work because of an illness or surgery.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the bills are coming but there is money to cover it?
But how? I am going to start doing the baby steps that Dave Ramsey talks about. It’s time to take control of my money.
Budget before the month begins.

I need to start with my income.  This is the total take home pay (after taxes) for me and my husband.  This is images-1both of our full time jobs, including any extra money that I make from being a Beachbody coach.  (If you have social security, disability or any freelance jobs make sure to include that as well.)

Next it is time to list all of our expenses. I need to make sure to include all of my regular monthly bills…mortagage, electricity, phone, gas, Beachbody coaching fees, food etc.  Don’t forget the irregular bills too.  For me this would include Beachbody on Demand, insurances, etc.   Anything that is due for the next month.

AFTER everything that I need to pay for is accounted for then I get to consider if there will be any money left over for the fun stuff like going out to eat or to the movies.images

 Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, it just means you need to check your priorities and other goals first!
Budget to Zero

Now it is time to subtract my expenses from my income.  My income minus my expenses should equal zero, this is called a zero based budget.  I am telling my money where it should go, I get to be in charge. 🙂 By giving every dollar a name, you’re ensuring that every dollar is accounted for and working hard.


Track EVERY transaction

Now that a basic budget has been created for the month, it’s time to make sure I stick to it.  As I go about my daily errands I am going to make sure to track EVERY transaction, even if it is for a stick of gum.  NO matter how tiny it is, I am going to write it down.  I have a little pocket notebook that I am going to use just for this purpose.

The whole idea behind this is that if I have to take the time to track the transaction it is going to make me stop and think about what I am spending my money on.  Is it part of my budget?  Is it really something that I need to buy at this point?

Piggybank and calculator

Remember that no two months are the same, so no two budgets will be the same either.  It’s definitely ok to look back at last month’s budget but make sure to make adjustments for any new expenses or even a lack of income for the month.

This is your budget.  Make sure to plan your budget early, zero it out and track your spending.

Check back for my next post about the Baby Steps.  A budget without a plan or a map won’t help you accomplish your money goals or help you get out of debt. That is where the Baby Steps are going to help.

Sending strength, hope and love.






Beachbody On Demand – For Those Who Want It All

If you looked at my music collection today, you would see anything from 80s rock, pop, country to classical.  Yes, I like all types. That’s what makes MY world move.

I am like that with other things too.  I like all kinds of books, I like all kinds of movies.  I am very eclectic in my tastes.  Don’t believe me?  Check out my house, or the clothes I wear.

It all depends on the mood that I am in.
Well, I am no different in my workouts. Some days I need Chalene to tell me that I’m not tired and to keep moving. Then there are days when Autumn telling me that I can do anything for a minute is exactly what I need to hear.  Believe it or not, some times I need a corny joke from Tony to get me moving.

Can you relate?

That is why I am so excited about Beachbody On Demand.  Not sure what that is?  What about netflix?  I’m sure you have heard of that. Well On Demand is like that!  You get unlimited access to stream some of Beachbody’s popular workouts. And…ALL of the program guides, nutrition guides and calendars are included.  How great is that?

I have done workouts from Country Heat, 21 Day Fix, Core De Force, P90X3, PiYo, Brazil Butt Lift and then I even tried Tai Cheng.  For someone like me, who likes a variety, this is an awesome solution.

I NEVER have to worry about buying another program that collects dust on my bookshelf.

I NEVER have to worry about finding the dvd and hoping that it isn’t too scratched.

I NEVER have to worry about starting that workout and realizing that I just can’t stand the trainer’s voice.

On Demand was MADE for people just like ME!  And the great thing is right now Beachbody has the Annual All Access which gives you access to  EVERY Beachbody program, the FIXATE cooking show and ANY programs that are released in the next year.  This offer isn’t going to last, and I will be making sure to take advantage of it , what about you?aabodbanner

If you have any questions or would like to know more, send me a message.  Let’s talk about how we can make some major changes in our lives in 2017!

Sending strength, hope and love.


21 Day Fix Baked Banana Almond Oatmeal

21 Day Fix Baked Banana Almond Oatmeal

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

I love just about any recipe with oatmeal and this one is delicious. It is great for a cold winter morning and we have definitely had quite a few of those lately. This recipe is great to make in a large batch on a Sunday afternoon, refrigerate and then either bake at 425 for 10 minutes when your ready to eat or pop them in the microwave. Quick and easy. I love the convenience of it!

21 Day Fix Optional: You can use 1 tsp of honey as a natural sweetener when on the 21 Day Fix. Honey is NOT allowed on the 21 Day Fix Extreme.


1/3 cup Cooked Steel Cut Oats (cooked) YELLOW
1/2 medium Banana (sliced) PURPLE
2 tbsps Almond Slices BLUE
Cinnamon (optional)
Maple Syrup or Honey (optional)


  1. Cook steel cut oats per directions. I typically make a large batch on the weekends and cook for about 20-25 minutes on the stove top.
  2. If you are eating it immediately, you can top it with banana slices, almond slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon (to your liking) and a little drizzle of natural sweetener (maple syrup or honey is best).
  3. Bake in your oven at 425 for 5 minutes or until caramelized and slightly crisp.

Let me know what you think of this recipe.  Sending strength, hope and love. ❤


Beachbody on Demand Annual Access New Year’s Deal

How interested would you be if I told you that you could have ALL of the Beachbody programs ever made and any that will be released in the next year?
Beachbody on Demand is the Netflix of fitness. And this is the GREATEST DEAL IN FITNESS!!!!
You can access the workouts on your laptop, kindle, phone and some other amazing devices! NEVER worry about scratched or missing DVDs, you have instant access.
I am talking about the programs that have helped me lose weight, tone up and learn about healthy eating. Programs that I have used from the comfort of my own home. NEVER having to drive in a snow storm to the gym. Work out when YOU want to, ANY TIME ANY WHERE!!
You can even download workouts to your device to workout when you don’t have internet access.
Workouts like 21 Day Fix, Country Heat, Turbofire, PiYo, Insanity, Core de Force…500+ workouts (and counting)…YOU GET ALL OF THEM!!
Plus you get access to the cooking show FIXATE.
Sounds good right? This is ONLY available for a LIMITED TIME to help you make your New Years Resolutions your reality!
And when you sign up you get me for your coach and instant access to my accountability groups!! ❤
Interested? Comment below or email me at darlenecaronfitness@gmail.com  and I’ll help you get started! 🙂

Surgical Blessings

On December 20th, my fitness journey came to a halt.  I had surgery for carpal tunnel and ulna nerve damage in my right wrist and elbow.  For the past week I have been eating everything in sight and not working out.  Needless to say I have gained some of my weight back. I was completely surprised to find that it was only 1.4 lbs.

Now I am out of work for at least two weeks, it is looking like it might be a little longer than that.  The blessing in disguise about this surgery is that it happened at the same time handthat my son was coming home for his HBL (holiday base leave).  You see, my son is training to be a combat medic in the Army.  So his first job when he came home was to check out his mom’s stitches and wrap me up 🙂

I had joined Autumn Calabrese’s Fit Journey group, and I was a little15726933_10206550557517627_7601913480125868028_n depressed that I was not able to finish strong.  I had completed two weeks of the 21 Day Fix, but because of the surgery I was not able to finish the last week.
Now, they are starting Chisel and I was very worried about doing that program with them.  I mean, I know that there is a lot of weight lifting with Chisel and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do any of that.  I mean, I am having a hard time lifting an empty coffee cup, there is absolutely no strength in my hand.  What to do?

I talked with some other coaches and we decided hand-6that I would change the order of the programs so that I would be able to still get a work out in.  Sitting on my couch for this last week has completely driven me nuts.  I never thought that I would miss working out but I do!

I have decided that I will do Country Heat now instead of Chisel.  I got out my happy planner today and scheduled all of my workouts.  Now I am working on my meal plans.

I have had so much interest in Country Heat that I have created an accountability group …Dance It Out.  If you would like more info about this group and how you can join then click the link below. 🙂

Dance It Out, Country Heat Accountability Grouphand-5

Yesterday was day 1 for me and it was so nice just to move. Believe me when I say that I modified like crazy, but I still got my sweat on and felt great for most of the workout.  About three quarters of the way through the workout, my hand went numb.  Just a sign to me that I was still overdoing it.  I am not giving up though, I am going to keep pushing play.  I will just have to make sure I don’t over do it with that arm.  No excuses!  I am going to complete this 30 day program and earn my free shirt.

Are you ready to turn your New Years resolutions into real life results?  If so, contact me, I would love to cheer you on. ❤

Sending strength hope and love.



Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season

The holiday season can be such a stressful time and money can become very tight.  Holiday meals, gifts, holiday travel, and of course you also have the little things that you do for yourself.  Let’s take the stress out of it this year.  Here are some tips to help you save some img_5292money and give some freedom to your budget.

Beachbody vs a Gym Membership

You can save a few extra dollars each month by ditching your gym membership that you probably don’t have time to use anyhow.  Invest in a Beachbody program that you can tone up with from the comfort of your own home.  Not only are you saving money from not having a gym membership but you are also saving on gas and possibly a baby sitter to boot.  Beachbody has a lot of great programs from yoga to cardio to strength training to dancing.  Something for everyone.  Now I’m sure you can figure out something to use that extra money on.  🙂

Drink Shakeology

Shakeology can help get your body back into shapeimg_0382 and helps with your budget in the long run.  You get a healthy superfood packed shake that costs an average of $4.00 per day,
which is cheaper than just about any meal or that special drink you can get from Starbucks or Dunkin. Saving a few dollars each day may not seem like a lot but it quickly adds up.  Keep a piggy bank and put your savings into each day.  I was able to pay for an excursion or two on my last cruise with my savings.

Meal Planning to the Rescue

With all of the get togethers, events, decorating, baking and shopping that needs to be done during the holidays time is precious. Planning your meals in advance can be cost effective and allows you to be more efficient with your time.  Programs like the 21 Day Fix, gives you an guide to plan each meal of your day and creates a healthy nutritional balance while helping you to save money by not buying extra food that you won’t need each week.  This year, try to think ahead about what you are putting into your body and you will see the difference both financially and nutritionally.


My planner is my best friend!  I keep track of everything  in it.  My appointments, my work schedule, special dates, plus my health and fitness journey.  I keep track of my program results, my meal plan and I schedule all of my workouts.  My planner definitely makes me happy! ❤

I am getting ready to begin a new adventure in January. If your looking for motivation, support, tips and fun with other like minded women, but your not entirely sure where to start –then just fill out your contact info or send me an email at darlenecaronfitness@gmail.com and I’ll get you an invite into the group!  January is our time to shine.  Are you ready?