Monthly Archives: December 2015


For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

I am the girl of NO EXCUSES. I push. Hard. I don’t give up and I stand up every time I fall down and I expect that of others. So injury and pain are usually just something I’d push through. I got my rotator cuff looked at today and in addition to that injury I’ve torn a muscle in my bicep. Because for the past few weeks I’ve continued to workout. When I shouldn’t. Because you know….NO EXCUSES.  Im supposed to start Hammer & Chisel on January 4th. And lead a bunch of people doing it. Its an intense weight lifting program. So this morning I was told that MAY or MAY NOT happen depending on the healing my arm does over the next 12 days. And I can’t workout. At all! Not even dancing. So I had a little cry because this is NOT what I do. It’s just a little pain. It aint cancer. It aint Brain Rot.
So I got kind of mad at my body for having an autoimmune disorder that causes joint pain and other crap. And for getting old. And failing me. And then I stopped. And thought about this past year. This body worked out A LOT! A SHIT TON. It lifted weights and danced and hiked and did a billion planks and push ups and sit-ups and some yoga positions I could never do 10 years ago. And this body hauled my ass up Pikes Peak. And thats a lot. A lot I asked of it. A lot she delivered. And so my body has not failed me. Far from it. It has carried me through an emotional year full of ups, downs, generosity, pain, trikes, ataxia, disappointments, achievements and all of the other beautiful stuff. So thank you to her. For working so hard. And it is time now to rest. Something I never do. Something that goes against all I stand for. REST. Because I can only expect so much from her and she’s gone above and beyond. What a beautiful year. What amazing things lie ahead. My body isn’t whispering in pain its screaming. So I will listen. And I will rest. Until 2016…peace, health and love……and REST.

My Journey to the Dark Side…How I Fell Into the Rabbit Hole of Positivity

By the time you get to be 43 there has been some shit. Shitty things that have happened in your life. Deaths, losses, injuries, disappointments. Plenty. And you can become jaded. You can. It’s easy to do. And I was for a very long time. But age, or time, or events have taught me that its not REALLY about what happens to you. Its how you react to what happens to you. How you deal. How you heal. How you cope. How you DECIDE to move forward or stand still. And God Damnit it is really hard to DECIDE to be positive and happy. Very hard. And believe me- it IS a decision I make each and every day.
Ever since I was a teenager I have been very cynical, negative, and a glass is half empty kind of girl. Always. I never expected much from people, was prepared for disappointment, rolled my eyes a lot, never expected good things to happen and kind of poo-poo-ed anyone around me’s idea that big wonderful things might, can and DO happen. I was negative. I was. Im not sure why. Genetics. Fear of failure. Fear of getting hurt. Friends who’d hurt me. Who knows. All of that. But I was negative. And with Dad’s accident, Patrick’s diagnosis and Maddie dealing with chronic illness Im pretty sure I could have slid pretty far down the slide of sadness. I know I could’ve. It would’ve honestly been easier.
It’s funny. I guess people think you get over the loss of someone or it gets easier. My Dad died in a motorcycle accident 9 years ago. At the age of 53. FIFITY-THREE. Thats very young. And nine years later the pain is less intense. The stabbing is gone. But I think of him every single day. I miss him more. And I hate that it takes me a second to remember his face. I hate that more than anything. It’s funny. The funniest things can get me. A song that comes on, a Harley driving by and that un-mistakable engine sound, opening the spare closet to see his old t-shirts, a motion or sound I make that is EXACTLY like him. Funny. Im happy for those things. I DECIDE to embrace those things.
Patrick’s symptoms began in May 2012. I remember sitting in a small room soon after with him hooked up to this barbaric machine that sent stabbing pulses through needles they’d put all into his muscles. They were testing him for ALS. I was 39. And so scared. Whatever those results were, in those next minutes, would determine the fate of the next few years. For me. For our kids. For him. He did not and does not have ALS. And the diagnosis of Ataxia would come MONTHS and MONTHS later. But the decision to move to Colorado came quickly. In that sterile green hospital chair I was sitting in. Clutching my purse so tight I thought I might break the contents. It was taking all the might I could muster to hold back tears. I was shaking and terrified. And I KNEW. I KNEW.  Things had to change. No matter the outcome of the test. SO I DECIDED to change them. I knew I was packing up our shit and getting to Colorado come Hell or High Water (or fire) with no family at all and no one to help- I just knew- its what had to happen.
I had, for all intents and purposes, always depended on someone. I went through High School and College with a boyfriend. I had a Dad I knew I could ALWAYS rely on. I had a husband who took care of most things and made me feel secure. Patrick even delivered my eulogy for me at my Dad’s funeral because I just couldn’t. But in that chair. In that minute. I decided it was time to grow the fuck up at 39 years old. So I did. And so began the slow transformation from Negative Nellie to Positive Polly.
It took the past few years but its been steady. Part of it was definitely a decision to change the way I viewed life. But some of it was the people I CHOSE to surround myself with. With all the bullshit stuff in my life that I could NOT control I knew that I COULD control the people I chose to surround me. And that made all the difference. Giving myself a purpose in my leap into Beachbody Coaching was HUGE. A company full of very positive, supportive people who support your crazy goals. It’s so very important to put people in your life that don’t just SUPPORT you and your dreams but PUSH you to them. And my insides began to change and I have learned that it’s all about how I deal. Every day. How I wake up and DECIDE. People still hurt me. I forgive. I move on. I hope to God it doesn’t keep me from loving, trusting or letting others close to me. I refuse to let the behavior of others change my spirit. There are disappointments in business and fitness goals- I learn from them and push on. Failure is not a bad thing. It’s not. Its a reminder that Im human and I need to work harder.
And although I still crack the occasional sarcastic joke, roll my eyes and maybe doubt that some people will come through for me….I know that the girl who had a glass half empty now has a ton of glasses. And it’s up to me to fill them. Constantly. And I like that. I like me. And damn it’s so much better this way.

There’s No “I” in TEAM, but there is one in LIFE

When you get married and buy the house with the picket fence and get the dog and have the 2.5 kids you have it all. You do. Its how its supposed to be, right? I got lucky. Amazing husband, two crazy awesome kids and a great place to live. I watch how other people parent. How patient they are and how they make their children such a huge priority. I do as well. My kids, my family…they are my life. I would kill for them. Die for them. And I am a Wife and Mom. Proudly. Happily. It is my greatest role in life. The best two things I’ve ever done are those two kids. And after MANY pregnancy losses I am acutely aware of how lucky & blessed I am to be called Mom. It’s my favorite name. Do you sense a “but” coming?
I’ve often thought of a bride when she walks down the aisle. Such a symbolic gesture of Father “giving daughter away” to her husband. My Dad did. He cried. I cried. I was born Jennifer Renee Ellis. When I went to legally change my name after I got married I changed it to Jennifer Ellis Nugent. It says that on my social security card. A name may only be symbolic to some. But when I BECAME Jennifer Nugent I did not let go of Jennifer Ellis. When I became a Mom I did not lose my dreams. For me. My desires and visions and the things I wanted for myself. When you become a family your dreams broaden. I dream for 4. I dream for my kids to have a beautiful happy future and for Patrick to race again and for us to all be ok. I’ll beat some doors down, pick, fight, claw and never stop working for those dreams to come true for them. But I still dream for me. And I wont feel guilty about that. I wont.
I think there’s this layer of foggy guilt that lies across a mother. For when she does things for herself it is selfish. It is not for her family. I work with women who feel too guilty to workout, get fit, take time for themselves. They can’t seem to justify 30 minutes a day just for them if it takes time away from their kids or husband. And I know its harder for Moms/parents of smaller kids. But part of my “job”, my calling…is to let people know its ok to dream for YOU. And be unapologetic about it. My Mom and Dad were very much in love. They vacationed together and separately. My Dad took trips with his buddies (usually on a Harley through the mountains). And my Mom took girls weekends trips with her friends (usually to a spa or retreat of some sort). I grew up watching this. And it was my normal. And it worked. They took time together, many trips, many nights out for “dates”. But they also took time for themselves. When you marry at 18 like they did its pretty important, difficult, and awesome to continue to hold on to YOU. That part of you that was YOU before there was anyone else.
This whole Beachbody Coaching thing has been a DREAM. Along with that dream comes trips I earn, work trips, meetings, fun stuff. Stuff I have to leave town for. Stuff I have to leave my kids for. So I miss some things. Once in awhile. I’ve missed a couple of soccer games and a few cheer performances. And I was sad about it but…..I am a good Mom. I am completely and beautifully and crazily bad at this parenting thing MOST of the time but I know Im a good Mom. Because I have GOOD kids. And those kids watch me chase MY dreams. Watch me do this thing for ME! Its mine. And I hope Im showing them that its ok to always chase your dreams. And I mean that in the very most selfish of ways. I thank my family for understanding and standing behind my dreams. Because I never stopped being that girl- Jennifer Ellis- that had big dreams. How beautiful that I get to chase them now. Relentlessly and unapologetically. Dream a little. Dream a LOT. Dream big and never EVER lose YOU!IMG_9185