Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Gym Adventures: Heather and Friends

This isn't the post I had planned today. I was going to write about the people who make up their own class because, really, they are hysterical and the reason I don't, as Mike says I should, set up on the front row. Then I can't people watch. Also, I have some kind of martial arts etiquette block and I can't stand on the same row as the teacher.

Anyway, the last time we got together with the gym crew, I sat looking around in wonderment at the group of people we've become friends with. I mean, these guys have cheered me on with my physical recovery. They were one of our main sources of support during our brief moment in Grant's life. And really, it's not that amazing that we found friends at the gym. After all, I've collected my motley group of family and friends from various martial arts classes! Stephan is like a dad (or big brother now that he's dating, ha), Penny is my sister more than blood could ever make sisters (and she's married to one of our old instructors from back in Kenpo!), and recently I have acquired a "little" brother in the very tall Matt. So, it's not weird that we found friendship in a gym. It's weird because Mike started it all.

Sometime in 2011, Mike announced he was going to start visiting group fitness classes. I don't know how he ended up in Amy and Melissa's classes but he loved them and convinced me to go although I have to admit...I don't care for most group fitness classes for reasons I won't bore you with. But I enjoyed myself quite a bit and joined in as soon as I was healthy enough.

I don't know when we became friends outside the gym. One day Mike said that we were invited to a party and he wanted to go. Mike's gotten better about being social (my friends could probably tell funny stories about that evolution) but I really don't remember the last time he initiated going to an event. So we went and we joined them a few more times and then they came to our New Year's brunch and then they were cheering for us when we thought Grant was coming home and crying with us when he didn't. Even the equally stranger-averse Autumn loooooves the kids in the group, especially Amy's daughter, to whom I just loaned my favorite book.

Information and Links:
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Commercial Appeal (fixed broken link)

Somewhere in there, we got to know Heather. Every single word that means outgoing, gregarious, friendly? That's Heather. I got to watch part of her journey and the last time we had dinner I was telling her that she should blog or at LEAST do a guest post here. She lost over 150 pounds, you guys. Diet, exercise, sheer determination and energy. Heather also taught in a rough part of town. Coincidentally? The part of town where I grew up. We talked a lot about parents, the trials of the inner city, and how to inspire kids who have little to aspire to. She was the kind of teacher who saved me, helped me believe I could be more than a drug addict's daughter. I always knew I'd get out. Those teachers gave me the tools.

Heather's daughter and Autumn have some of the same, um, quirks. We had a good time talking about how we have to go with the flow and laugh when we don't get it, whatever it might be at the time. And we agreed that it's not about coddling. It's about giving them coping mechanisms. I joked about how I have been teaching Mike coping mechanisms and that's how we came to be sitting at a table with people who were strangers just over a year ago.

I want to get to know Heather better. I want to sit in the circle of her energy because that's what I think of when I think of Heather. Energy, enthusiasm, love, passion. If anyone has ANY tips, if any one has seen anything, no matter how small, please call or contact anyone I've linked. Below, there's a video with information. Above, you'll find her missing poster and links to information, articles, and things you can link and relink to spread the word. If you are a believer, pray. Pray for her. For her kids. For her estranged husband. For her cousin who has suddenly found herself the (hopefully temporary) mother of two children. And pray for her friends.

Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee


  1. Love you and Mike, Sharaze! Thankful God brought us together!

  2. Ha, when Heather gets back she is going to get you for saying she lost 170 pounds. That would make her weigh about -20 I would guess. According to her fb post she lost 70lbs but I can't imagine she had even that much to lose. :)

    1. Whoops! How about I change that...

    2. Okay, I ended up checking around and I'm waiting on someone else to confirm but Heather did lose over 100 pounds! I knew it was something crazy because I was totally shocked. I think that the 70 pounds she mentioned on the GAC page was in like a year. The number I mentioned is in total. Either way, amazing feat and a testimony to her determination! I hope she does come over and whack me if I am wrong!!

  3. I don't know Heather, but I have been following this story because I live very close to her and am close in age and apparently we have some mutual acquaintances. thanks for posting this info

    1. I'm glad you are keeping up with her. For some reason just knowing people are concerned helps. I will probably do another post tomorrow although there's almost no new information. :(