Dena Raptis and FIT Enterprises partner with Lucy!

I am so excited to be chosen as a Lucy pro and partner. I love their clothing. It’s well made, stylish, supportive an comfortable. Stay tuned for the next FIT event complete with a LUCY showcase.

http://www.lucy.com/holiday-lookbook.html

 

When? Now.

We are human. We struggle and fall. And if we’re lucky? We get back up and begin again.
hospital-bed_2072858bI have endured some very traumatic things in the last year and a half. My very good friend and colleague with whom I began working with on a series of DRUMS ALIVE events, died tragically last April 2014. My mother almost died last December- a very close call, but thankfully she pulled through. Another dear friend died very unexpectedly in March of this year, and my pop passed over to the other side in June. Tragedy. Sadness. I am still riding the grief train. We are never fully prepared for death are we? Couple this with additional stress of running my own business, going through extensive physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff and painful frozen shoulder, the challenges of being a single, divorced mom to an extremely busy young lady, managing a diagnosis of MS, and helping care for my mom who is 83 and in poor health… all of this can easily transition into a recipe for making bad decisions. We all have stress. It’s a part of life, right? But we all know, it’s how we choose to deal with stress, that counts the most. Many of you reading this may use stressful situations as an excuse to throw caution to the wind where making good choices are concerned. I am also guilty of this. Whether it be over eating, drinking too much alcohol, hanging with the wrong folks, or putting yourself in situations that you otherwise wouldn’t normally do, it is all the same: poor choices. There are consequences, both good and bad, that we must face as a result of our behavior. Do good, see and experience good things happening. Do bad, and watch out!
no-stressWhen my pop died, it was pretty much the icing on the cake for me; I threw up my hands and said, “Eff it!” Since I am pretty private about my personal life, no one but a handful of my very close friends knew that I was seeing someone who broke up with me, via text message, *on my birthday* – fully knowing that my pop was just put into hospice a few days before, and didn’t have much time left. Nice. (Side note: Who does that? Texting acronym: Ikr?) Clearly a very hurtful and insensitive thing, to say the least. It’s okay. While it was hurtful, they actually did me a huge favor, and looking back on it now, I am grateful that I didn’t invest even more time there, but I digress. Life will teach us much if we pay attention. So, with everything happening, I used all of this as my excuse to start eating poorly. Drinking my calories in the way of fattening lattes’ and wine. Starbucks. Have you investigated how many calories of fat , carbs, and sugar are in those expensive drinks? A little red wine is healthy but those additional calories -which are all from sugar, and turn directly to fat if taken in too much- are definitely not good for our waistline. I was no longer working out- outside of teaching my classes, I was not getting enough rest; yet I still continued to push myself to keep up with all that I needed to accomplish. As a result of my choices, I was exhausted, not as effective in my work, cranky and irritable, and I put on an extra 10-15 lbs of body fat. Too much extra weight on anyone is just plain unhealthy, and I was feeling it. It was a wake up call. I share because some of you out there may have experienced this, or are currently experiencing something similar. Real talk.
spirtual-transformation2I prayed that God would grant me peace and restore me back to the path of health and wellness again. I started to make time for me; to meditate, to pray, and to reflect on what is really important to me. I started practicing gratitude, and making self care a priority again. I am generally a very positive person, and mindful of making good choices for my health and well being, so this is actually a familiar place; a place where I knew I needed to return. So, with all that said, I decided to jump on board the transformation train. I chose to enter into a body transformation challenge. With the holidays approaching, in my mind, there is no better time. I am on a structured detox and cleanse. I am a trainer of course and will be training on my own, but also have additional trainer assistance for accountability. I have established healthy eating again, and have already taken off a little weight since I started. This is not just about looking better. It’s about a physical, spiritual, psychological, and nutritional transformation. This is about making lifestyle changes. I prayed for change, and I am now answering the call. It goes through the end of February, and I will keep those interested parties apprised of my progress. If you are interested to know what I am doing, send me a private message. Will it be difficult? Yes. But, is it worth it? Yes. Definitely yes, because I am worth it, and I am ready.
10294338_10152928908008164_5560716395439517069_nWhat about you? Are you ready? What will it take for you to make the decision to not be held captive by life’s stressful situations, and your poor choices? When will you take yourself out of harms way and be all that you were intended to be? It is a choice. We all have great opportunity to make a change if we so desire. All we need to do is pay attention.
doorway_to_heaven
So I asked myself this question, and now I will ask you: When? To which I hope you will reply: Now. Let us not forget that we were all given unique gifts by our Creator and we are all capable of greatness. Believe it. Scripture says: Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened. I knocked and the door has been opened. I made a choice to walk through. I’m still walking, one foot in front of the other. One breath at a time. What will you choose?
When? Now.

 

 

 

 

 

IN DEATH THERE IS MUCH LIFE

 

I hope you all had an amazing summer. If you are in the greater Detroit area,  you must agree we have been blessed with some of the most incredible weather. Just beautiful! Many of you know that I am a musician first and foremost, and have been, long before I ever became a FIT pro. Music is my sanctuary and I have been known to have the best and most eclectic play lists in all of my fitness classes and events. I also play piano, write music, sing, and play percussion. I was selected as a Master Instructor Trainer for DRUMS ALIVE and love combining GREAT music and drumming.  I hope to have you local people in a class or event, and stay tuned for some great DRUMS ALIVE events coming soon!

On a personal note,  I lost my father after a lengthy illness in June, and admittedly have felt like a wayfaring stranger these last few months. My pop was also a musician, composer, choir conductor, educator, mentor, humanitarian, and helper to many. He was in hospice prior to his transition. Hospice was an incredible journey and a bittersweet ending to his life on earth. We played music for him in hospice and even witnessed his last spiritual surge of energy as he conducted choir from his hospice bed, and gave an impromptu choral workshop.  Crazy! But it really happened exactly like this. After we thought he was close to leaving us at any moment, he pepped back up and took command like a pro. I will never forget it. I was there and saw the whole thing. He composed a lot of beautiful music for the Greek Orthodox Church.  He was an outstanding musician and teacher. He didn’t just teach us the music and notes. When we sang under his direction, we became the music. Every phrase, every nuance, every retard, every crescendo, and diminuendo. We felt it all. I felt the presence of God most when I sang under my pop’s direction. Priceless! For over 70 years, he gave tirelessly to his church, friends and family. ( He first became the choir director when he was a mere 15 years old) I owe most of my musical savvy and passion for helping others to him. Axios! It means worthy in Greek, and that he was. Wow! It was, and still is very sureal looking back on it.  Losing a loved one is never easy, is it? In death, there is much life. We cannot help but want to continue- not just to live and survive- but to thrive. I believe that is how it should be.  The tune in this blog is Wayfaring Stranger by the late Eva Cassidy. She is amazing and wails on this tune. I think it’s appropriate for what I’m feeling as I write these words.

This blog post is dedicated to him, and also to promote the organization that I volunteer for every year. This year will be the 4th annual Belinda Sue Fund Zoo Walk for Ovarian Cancer. I will be warming up the crowd prior to the walk, and doing a great cool down and post walk stretch. I hope you can join us. We will have a lot of great vendors, great music and fun for the entire family. If you cannot join us, please consider making a tax deductible contribution.  The information is all in the link below.

So, this one is for you pop. I love and miss you tons. Thank you for giving us the gift of music and teaching us what is important.  It is about love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. It is not about material possessions. It is about human connections.  It is about nurturing and cultivating those relationships along our journey. It is about helping others.  It is about honesty and integrity. It is about doing the right thing and standing up for what you believe in, no matter how difficult. It is about giving. For to give is to receive.  Your legacy lives on, far and wide in all those whose lives you touched. We thank you, and shall never forget.  I feel your love and spirit every day. I think at the end, my pop may have also felt like a wayfaring stranger. He was a man of great faith. Rest easy pop. You are free. Until we meet again…

And this is also for Belinda Sue, and the memory of my cousin’s wife, Seneca Moschouris, who lost her life to ovarian cancer at the young age of 37.  May your memories be eternal and you all continue to rest in paradise. <3

 

Annual Belinda Sue Fund Zoo Walk 9/27/15