Don’t you just love to get gifts?

Whether they are big or small, they come as expressions of love and caring, in conjunction with celebrations like birthdays and Christmas, or for no reason at all. (That’s a special serendipity!) Sometimes the gift is a bouquet of flowers—and flowers come dressed for all seasons—mums are the flowers of fall, and, oh, aren’t they beautiful right now, like bursts of multi-color fun just waiting to go home with you and brighten your doorstep or table.

Most gifts are wrapped in fancy paper, topped with bows of various colors, or placed in a gift bag. One of the most special gifts I have ever received was a group of personalized gift-coupons, written on the back of pieces of brightly colored Christmas wrapping paper and stapled into a little booklet of memories that I treasure to this day. On each page, written in a child’s precious handwriting, were gifts that touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Promises of hugs, kisses, and cuddling while watching a movie got top marks in the “love” category. A close second were gifts of service—items like “taking out the trash without being asked,” reading a book to my little brother, and “one free bathroom cleaning” (I like that one!) This is a gift I will cherish forever, and it is a constant reminder that a BIG life is a life of loving, giving and serving others.

The gift in this message is similar to that little coupon booklet. It is also a written gift, a booklet full of treasures. It is a gift of encouragement and wisdom for your journey. In fact that is what it is called.

Click on the cover below to read the devotional online:

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Included in this devotional you will find theme messages to look for in the music you exercise to in Body & Soul classes, verses from Scripture that will lift your heart, words of encouragement, and references to resource books that you can check out for more information–all packed into bite-sized nuggets of information.

Traditionally, Body & Soul students have received this in booklet form when arriving at class each session, but now with our new website we can easily offer this gift to you whether you are attending class this session or not.

Check it out. It is a gift for you. Enjoy!


Jeannie Blocher is President and Founder of Body & Soul Fitness.

UntitledJust like Disney’s Cinderella, we want to succeed in this world and perhaps live a life worth remembering. Whether or not we end up living the fairytale or having any of this life documented on DVD like a Disney princess, I think we all might agree that our choices help (or hinder) the direction in which we travel through this world.

For Cinderella, her life changed when her perfectly fitted shoe identified her as “the one” and propelled her into the arms of her Prince Charming where she lived happily ever after. For me, part of a fairytale life includes fitness, balance, and long-term wellness, and therefore I’m searching for my perfectly fitted shoe as well! And if your fairytale includes striving toward an active lifestyle, I ask you to consider: can the right shoe change your life? If the answer is yes (and I believe it is when it comes to fitness) then shopping for shoes is an important task that deserves our full attention.

Try these 5 shoe-shopping tips on for size:
1. Visit a specialty store for the most knowledgeable guidance in your search.
2. Buy shoes that are specific for your sport – no multitasking!
3. Shop later in the day (because even a princess’ feet swell during her daily chores) and take your socks and orthotics with you.
4. No break-in period! Shoes should feel snug and comfortable from the start – with wiggle-room for your toes.
5. Know your foot type: NEUTRAL, PRONATOR, SUPINATOR

Foot chart

Alright folks, whether you are choosing shoes for your Body & Soul fitness class, your personal workout at the gym, or your power walk with the dog, make sure you do your homework and get the right shoe for YOU. Because Cinderella could be on to something and the right shoe just might change your life! And since shoes are not meant for multitasking, you may find your collection to be fit for a princess…

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Have you ever had a flat tire? What were your first thoughts when it happened? Frustration? Inconvenience? Worry about what it would cost to get it fixed?  Well, let me tell you what went through my mind when it happened to us last fall.

 My husband and I were traveling though Scotland by car on a much anticipated trip, just the two of us. My brave-hearted Roy, was willing to drive on the left side of the road; I was the navigator and prayer warrior as we made our way along small winding roads, visiting historic castles and magnificent churches scattered throughout the beautiful countryside. You get the picture.

 Our adventure started when we picked up our rental car and they asked if we wanted “tire insurance.” Never having heard of this before, and knowing we were in uncharted territory for us, Roy wisely discerned that this was a good idea, and the $200 turned out to be money well spent!

Our plan was to drive around the entire country of Scotland;  it is smaller than the state of Indiana, so we thought that was doable. We wanted to see “everything” so we launched out on our adventure!  We started in the capital, Edinburgh, then we wound our way through the lowlands, seeing many things including Stirling Castle with its statues of William Wallace (not the one that looked like Mel Gibson—that one, interestingly enough, “disappeared”) and Robert the Bruce. Then on to the Highlands and the Isle of Skye where there were beautiful waterfalls, “fairy pools” and lots and lots and lots of sheep. Some of the area is very undeveloped, with no civilization for miles and miles, so it was a lot of driving, but that was fine with us. I will email a sheep photo from  Scotland  if you want to insert it here.

That’s when it happened. In the middle of nowhere, on a “one way” road where you actually have to pull over to let cars pass from the other direction, we hit a hidden pothole on the edge of the road and bam—not one flat tire, but two– both tires on the left side of our car were toast, so to speak.  It was very clear that God was telling us to slow down! (one of our Body & Soul fall session themes.)

Yep. Our ways are not God’s ways—Isaiah 55: 8,9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God clearly wanted to slow us down in our pursuit of seeing “everything” and guide us to focus on him.

The first lesson was in trust—we waited and trusted–and a very nice Scottish gentlemen pulled over and helped us. Another wonderful Scottish gentleman loaded our car onto his tow truck and drove us to Inverness.  The trust came in again as he drove quite “briskly” on the winding roads, telling us wonderful stories of his life in Scotland.  Honestly,  it felt a little like Mr. Toad’s wild ride—in the dark!  It’s a good thing I had his stories to keep my mind busy!  As we continued to talk, (it was a long way,) Roy turned the conversation to spiritual things and we got to share our “God-story”—something we never would have had the opportunity to do if were following our busy “tourist plan.”  Our driver listened intently, asked and answered questions, and I think we left him with a lot to think about.  It left us with lots to think about, too.

When all was said and done, we had a wonderful time walking around Inverness for a day while our car tires were being fixed, and our perspective changed to enjoying the trip in a whole new and much bigger way. I can actually say “thank goodness we were slowed down!”  Because this happened, we were able to live life BIGGER, and experience the joys and beauty of our trip even more than before.

Living life BIG does not mean living life fast, as the first song in the session says, “Do Life Big” by Jamie Grace.  “I gotta slow down, stop for a second and look around. I gotta take time to hear that little voice inside, saying I came to give you life, so spread your wings and fly. Now go and show no fear. You are enough to change the atmosphere-so go and do life BIG!” 

When life gets frustrating as something “surprises” your day and slows you down, how do you respond?  I encourage you to trust!  God’s ways are bigger and better than ours.  He’s got a plan—and sometimes it takes slowing down to see it clearly!


By Jeannie Blocher

Jeannie is the President and Founder of Body & Soul Fitness. She loves to teach, dance write and walk on the beach!