Pain Gives Us Strength.

November 14, 2013

November 13, 2013

My world is so silent.

Besides the sounds of my playful sons, the car radio, the gym’s music and the noise my key strokes make, I don’t hear much. My husband has been away at Team Rubicon’s Headquarters in LA and will most likely leave abroad to assist in the relief efforts in the Philippines. It’s a small sacrifice not having him around – a calling I’ve been accustomed to since he also left after the hurricanes in New Jersey, the floods in Chicago and the tornados in Oklahoma. When I met him I knew he was a formerly decorated Marine whose life changed after he became injured with a traumatic brain injury while working as a private security contractor in Iraq. I knew he was talented in operations and leadership. I knew he sought responsibility and was service-oriented. I knew he had a passion to help people.

And while we spent the first years together raising a family and building a life, I knew eventually his nature will call him to serve again.

After all, it is often said that to whom much is given, much is expected. It is in our service…to our children, our community and our world – where we discover our light and meet our purpose.  While we may think we have little, we still have so much more than the person who has the least. Through service you take concentration off of yourself and in-turn stop monotonous thoughts of past actions or future events that make you feel depressed, frustrated or anxious.

I know this process intimately as a daughter who watched her mom suffer from health issues and as a woman who underwent a painful eating disorder. While there was much resentment, anger, guilt and shame in these events, I only began healing when I started to transform that pain into a purpose. I began to believe all things happened for a reason and that restoration lay in my ability to utilize pain and personal experience to service, help, guide and assist others who were on similar paths.

What causes us pain gives us strength.

Like the last reps of a bicep curl or the final sprint to the end of your finish line…it was that moment, that push, that pain – that created the most mental, physical and spiritual strength. As in life, being a working mother, raising multiple children, balancing life and ambitions – are challenging endeavors that make us stronger in the end.

So now I’m sitting in silence.

Sometimes silence is painful. It is in this solitude when I miss my husband, when I wish I didn’t watch the news or receive ground reports of what’s really going on in the Philippines.  Sometimes it’s easier to talk about the latest cars, the tastiest restaurants or whatever menial posts flood my Facebook timeline.

I’m not that person.

I don’t fear what I can’t control. I fear what I can – which is me and my ability to bring to consciousness what is important. While pain isn’t something we seek, it is a necessary emotion required for you to become uncomfortable with where you are. In order to grow, you must be challenged.  So while the devastation our humanity faces makes one uncomfortable, it is in that pain when you begin an internal wave to promote change. God Bless you and God Bless the Philippines.

Right now there is no Red Cross. No Gov’t help. No water or food for the past 5 days. Imagine sleeping in the rain next to your lifeless child. That’s what’s going on in the Philippines right now. If you can sacrifice your Starbucks tomorrow – or perhaps your takeout lunch, please donate to Team Rubicon. $25 dollars is over 1000 pesos. Your donation large or small means the world to people who literally have NOTHING.

Typical morning. I usually can’t work when the kids are awake. They always fight for lap space!
These moments get harder when my husband’s away as I am still working from home.
My best times to get things done is when they youngest naps (and the boys are in their playroom) or after they go to bed
(which means I am working until midnight).

philippines typhoon
Satellite images of  before and afters of Typhoon Haiyan’s impact

I don’t see my husband much – so I stole this tagged image of him during a Team Rubicon meeting

So thankful for my children and the ability to buy food. We take so much of our life for granted.


  • Reply Ieda November 14, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Hi Maria,

    Keep strong.
    My prayer is with u (and family of the rescue team) and Philipines.

    • Reply Yedda Mea November 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      RIGHT!! thanks for your husband and his team. They are blessed!! unsung heroes..! cheer up!! more things to be happy with! such a strong woman..<3

      • Reply bill cornell December 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm


  • Reply Aigul November 14, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Hi Maria! You’re a great woman and I really admire you! Your posts always encourage and motivate me. Thank you for all your insipiring words, thoughts,,,,,they really help me not to give up and keep moving to my goals. Please keep writing all this posts. Wish you and your wonderful family all the bests!
    hello from Kazakhstan 🙂

  • Reply Angie R November 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    My heart is touched, tears rolling down my face… Thank You for all your posts, MK. They all inspire me a lot. God bless you.

  • Reply meg henderson November 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Maria: You have been an inspiration to me ever since I started following you a few short months ago. Your fitness advice has helped me move forward in leaps and bounds with my own health and fitness and the more I read and learn about you and your life the more I admire you as a wife mother and individual person. You and your family all have hearts of gold and I wish you much more success and happiness in your lives. And most of all, thank you 🙂

  • Reply Sheena November 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    God bless you and your family, Maria. I’m also based abroad and watching the news lately has been really heartbreaking for me, specially whenever I see families with kids or orphaned kids because of the typhoon. As a mom, these things are enough for me to get teary eyed or even cry.

  • Reply Susan Otradovsky November 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Just another reminder to seriously count your blessings and definitely be thankful for what you have. I’ve already donated to two different causes and hope the Filipinos get the help they need super fast. I can’t watch videos or see any more pictures about the Philippines because I’ll start to cry. I have family in Abuyog and not Tacloban, but when I see the despair those people have, it breaks your heart. All the children that were swept away, last image I saw was a father who must’ve held his three children tightly…only to be found all passed but together under some rubble. People who have survived the typhoon may now die of starvation. What I don’t understand is that news reporters from all over the world are able to get to Tacloban, however the Philippine government is unable to so quickly. I just hope that the news reporters were able to hand out some food and water while they were there. The situation is very dire.

    • Reply ithoughtweweregettingbetterwtf? December 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      what about 9/11?

  • Reply Neen Dolar November 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I am truly inspired by this message. Seeing the devastation Typhoon Haiyan caused truly made me realize just how lucky I am to have what I have, even though it’s not much. The Philippines have had many other natural disasters, however, for some reason, this one resonates with me. I have a child of my own and I cannot imagine how the victims must feel at this point it time…having to survive without their spouses, or their children…or some not even having any idea where their families are or if they survived. I really appreciate people like your husband who’s made it their life duty to serve and help those who are in need. Thank you for this heartfelt message and may God bless us all.

    • Reply ithoughtweweregettingbetterwtf? December 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Yeah but what about what is happening in this Country? How about the fact that Maria markets overweight white women with her mommy fascism and uses us for her advantage? What about the fact that more jobs and employers now are brainwashed “you don’t look like me you are disadvantaged” lets bring ALL THE people into the United States and take advantage ike the Mexicans TRY and I vote TRY to do. It’s all horseshit and Maria and her personality and vanity suck! she can’t even return a damn e-mail.

  • Reply KC Bob November 16, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    So much great stuff in here Maria. Here are a few of my favorites:

    While we may think we have little, we still have so much more than the person who has the least.

    What causes us pain gives us strength.

    I fear what I can – which is me and my ability to bring to consciousness what is important.

    In order to grow, you must be challenged.

  • Reply RoadDog November 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    So Maria….why is it that skinny, healthy, rich/wealthy, folks like yourself that have never been obese, and probably never will be, think you have to go on these self ego stroking campaigns, in the name of, “I’m so passionate about ‘my’ quest to rid the nation of obesity? Seriously? Who are you and who do you think you are, and ultimately, who do you want to be? You obviously don’t know, so you’ve picked an issue that you can spew at ‘fat’ people and make them feel even more inferior about being overweight. Who are YOU?! Think about it, Jane Fonda, Jill Michaels, Suzanne Summers, Jenny Craig. You’ve all gotten richer off the fat of those you prey on. Here’s an idea, just so you get an inkling of an idea, you yourself , over the next 3 years gain 120 lbs, and then lose it, or try. Then go on your fitness tirades because you’ll know what it is really like to do ‘the’ fight…..until then, get a real life, your so pretentious…..

    • Reply Mom November 29, 2013 at 7:47 am

      Dear RoadDog,

      Your post is downright mean! It is obvious that you have never read her previous posts. She is very passionate about helping people get fit and healthy. I am an overweight mom and I found her message very powerful and inspiring. I want to change my lifestyle for my children. You really owe Maria and apology.

  • Reply laura November 30, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I think your picture of whats your excuse is pushing it. You make yourself sound great with certain things you say but then you post a picture like that??? Have you really grown from your pain??? I believe others can grow without be challenged and in pain. We are all different and learn and react differently. Phrase your words and thoughts better, it could be offending to others. Its amazing how some people just don’t think and think they know it all.

    • Reply Tallaney November 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Take care of yourself Laura. And be happy.

  • Reply jENNIFER December 2, 2013 at 4:09 am

    Maria’s world equates only to what SHE perceives as happiness. The REAL truth SHE obviously hates secure fat women because WE DON’T WANT TO LOOK LIKE YOU HONEY! i AM HAPPY WITH ME ! so go ahead delete my comment as you’ve done with every other. I am the reverse side because don’t think your vanity can help your ego anymore!

  • Reply Joanie loves Chachi December 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm yet I have to listen to Maria and her ego talk about the Phillapines and mAke me feel like crap when I DO THE BEST I CAN AND LOOK DOWN UPON because she spoke her mind. Take care of the little baby and his ignorant mom and dad since your on a campaign to stupid the US mentality towards handeling stress by glorifying your Vanity. Seriously get Help Maria!

  • Reply Andrea December 5, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Maria you are doing a good thing! All these negative people are just jealous of you! And because of them we all are paying such a high cost for health care!

    • Reply dreadedannie December 5, 2013 at 2:44 am


  • Reply anndrea December 5, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Maria you are doing a good thing! All these negative people are just jealous of you ! And because of them we all are paying such a high health care cost!

    • Reply dreadedannie December 5, 2013 at 2:53 am

      umm we all work and I am in my 40’s and have worked on a steady basis since I would say ummmmmm lets see 2008. Even then tried and tried tried to find something more than 3 months. Everytime oh qualifications are good but you don’t know anybody. That’s what the workforce is men get the double standards to “feed” their families. Women what do we get competitive bitch pools. Didn’t like the way I am then can’t do nothing for you. But dont ever sum a group or person as not pulling her weight in the workforce and saying you have to pay for my healthcare when all I go to is the frickin medicaid to talk about t he stupidity in the United States. I OWE YOU NOTHING.

  • Reply Erin December 7, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Pain might give you strength, but it doesn’t give “us” strength. As a chronic pain sufferer and semi-disabled person, I think you are ableist narcissist. Screw you.

    • Reply Curious December 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      I am curious as to what gives YOU the right to treat anyone with disrespect – i dont recall reading anything about you in her post – GET OVER YOURSELF.

  • Reply Michelle January 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm


    Persecution is expected, and suffering for righteousness sake is of great reward! Your family is beautiful!!! I pray that you continue to fight the good fight of faith and keep up the good work. I too, desire to live a longer and healthier life, so thank you for the encouragement!


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