Tag Archives: kindness

My Best Friend: Psychic Bonds

When you can’t rely on language to have a connection, a psychic bond is the answer.  It is a heart and head connection requiring no audible noise.  Claddagh in the early days was a bit of an escape artist, but she always seemed to have a reason to go where ever it was that she would end up.

In 2008 in the hours leading up to the 48 Hour Film Festival debut, Claddagh disappeared out of my friends yard.   His dog stayed within the fence, and Claddagh was no where to be found.  Knowing that I had a bunch of shit to do in a short period of time, looking for my dog was last on the list.  As I washed up in the shower, in my mind I said “Claddagh, if you don’t get back here in the next five minutes, don’t bother coming home.  You are stressing me out right now.”

A few seconds later my friend hollered through the bathroom door that he found her.  After finishing up, I came out and asked him where she had been and he says “You’re never going to believe it… She was just over at this guys house down the block.  He said that he saw her at the fence and she took one look at him, jumped the fence and ran over to him and just started loving on him.  He told me that he had just lost his mother and his dog in the last 24 hours, and it was like she came over to console him.  He volunteered to watch her while we go to the film festival.”

WOW!  I was floored.  My dog had sensed this man’s deep despair, and she broke the rules in order to go give him some much needed affection.  I couldn’t be mad anymore.  I was proud of her, and I hoped that she looked both ways before crossing the street.  They neighbor watched her for a few hours without incident, and I was able to enjoy the film festival without stressing about my dog.

Claddagh had two run in’s with getting put into Doggy Jail.  The first time was probably around 2010.  Some friends invited me to go to Breitenbush hot springs with them; but Breintenbush is a dog free zone.   I asked another friend to watch Claddagh for the day, as we would be leaving early morning and wouldn’t be back until later in the evening.

It ended up that the person who was going to watch her, flaked out; and I wasn’t sure what we could do with her.  I wasn’t familiar with the roommate that would be home, and I knew that their backyard fence was low enough for Claddagh to escape.   I told the group, “I can’t go.”  And they assured me that Claddagh would be fine.  Despite having a feeling of uncertainty, I was cajoled into going on the trip.

We got up to Breitenbush and spent several hours hanging out in the hot pools.  Sometime around 3 pm, two of us decided to take a hike in the lush forest surrounding the area.  While hiking I made the observation out loud, that it seemed wrong of us to be hiking in such a beautiful place without our dogs.  Right around that time I felt a panic set in, and I just wanted to get home.

I think it was probably 10:30 or so in the evening when we returned to Corvallis.  Sure enough when we get to my friends house, Claddagh is nowhere to be found.  Two friends head out on foot, and I drive around hoping she is still in the neighborhood.   No luck.   The roommate that was home said he let her out around 3pm when he left for work.  So she was left unattended in a backyard with a fence low enough to scale.

Here is where things lay over into the psychic world.  These friends lived very close to the only park in Corvallis where it is a dog free zone.  Claddagh had jumped the fence and went straight over to that park and was picked up by animal control and taken to the shelter.  The following day was a holiday and the shelter was closed, I couldn’t be with out her for another night so I knocked on the employee door because I knew there must be someone there to feed them.

I could hear Claddagh barking from outside the building as I walked around looking for the employee entrance.  A kindly little old lady answered the door, and I told her that I could hear my dog crying and that I really wanted to get her back today.   The lady led me back, and she could tell that my dog was who I said she was.   She told me “You are a good doggy parent, I’m just going to let you take her home today.”   She waived the fee, and sent Claddagh home.

I told Claddagh “if it is a no dog zone, you might want to avoid hanging out near there.”   She seemed a bit shaken with her time in lock up.

A few months later Claddagh would escape again, but differently.  I had plans for us to go to the Corvallis farmers market, and before we got down there I stopped into a convenience store, in the time it took me to purchase a cold coffee and a pack of cigarettes, she had jumped out of the back window.  Now, mybad, because I didn’t notice she wasn’t back there until I got to the farmers market… and low and behold, an empty back seat.

I got back into the car, and drove back to Philomath where the C-Store is.  I start walking the blocks, calling for Claddagh.  I see some kids on skateboards and I ask if they have seen a friendly, red and black dog wandering around.   They say ‘yes’ and I ask them to show me which direction she went.  They lead me toward a boarding house where we had a friend who was living there, so I definitely felt like they had seen my dog.

Now, Philomath is about eleven miles from the farm we were living at in Wren.  I spent an hour looking for Claddagh and then I had to get on with my day, so again, silently in my head I called out to her and said ” I don’t know where you are or what you are doing, but you better not be anywhere near the highway.  I have shit I have to do today, you are stressing me out.”

It was a long day, and I by the time I got home, I had been gone for about twelve hours.

As I pulled into the driveway, there was Claddagh, cowering, but happy to see me.  After talking to her I got the sense that she followed the rail road tracks home.  She had walked that entire way back to the farm.  Needless to say, I was quite impressed with her fortitude and sense of direction.  I am sure she followed the smell of the sheep all the way home.

Last month would signify Claddagh’s last foray into Doggy Jail.  So far as I can tell, she was out in the front yard, unattended, which is very unusual.  She had her collar off, which was normal.  And someone thought she was lost so they took her in for the night.  When I came out and realized she was gone, I went into full panic mode.   It was pretty late at night so I walked the streets with a flash light calling her name.   No luck, so I laid a sleeping bag under the tree in the front yard, and slept there until the sun came up, hoping she would smell me and wander back home.

No such luck. The shelter opened at 11am,  and though it was my intention to be there before they opened, I got lost while trying to find the building.  I arrived at about a quarter after 11, to find my dad waiting in line to see if she had been dropped off.  Sure enough, someone had dropped her off, right at a 11.  If I would have been there early I could have saved myself the $55.00 they charged me for keeping her all of 24 minutes.  She got a couple of shots out of it.

This time when I went back to identify her, she looked on top of the world.  She had gone on her own adventure and she was high on it. I couldn’t be mad at her, it just stirred the part of me that didn’t know what I was going to do when she was actually gone for good.

See, even that event last month seems like a psychic precursor to what was going to follow on the night of Aug. 25, 2018.   I was given all these tests over the years to prepare me for the inevitability of losing her.   All I can do is be grateful that she was so gentle with these lessons and tests.

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Fit Body Boot Camp- Week 11- Meet Trainer Amber Lemberger

If you want to meet a woman who gets right down to business, look no further than Fit Body Boot Camp Trainer, Amber Lemberger. We met up at the gym on a lazy Sunday afternoon to discuss her roles at boot camp, and give her clients a view of her journey.

Amber has a sense of poise about her. She is friendly and professional; dressed in shorts and a white running jacket. Hanging from her ears were some of the most sparktacular earrings I have ever seen. They matched nicely with her beautiful wedding ring.

Amber looks like a fitness instructor but not just any fitness instructor; a Classy Fitness Instructor. Her whole aesthetic appears carefree and yet, intentionally manicured. I imagine her at her primary employment at a dentists office… face half covered in a mask…wearing scrubs or lab coats all day. I imagine her wearing this during the interview about fitness, and the juxtaposition of it makes chuckle on the inside.

Let me introduce to you, Amber Lemberger; part time American Fitness Association Certified Fitness Trainer, Certified Dental Assist, 2011 Warrior Classic Body Building Competition 4th Place Winner, and Aspiring Mother.

STATS INITIAL WEIGH IN OCT. 2013 / MARCH 2015

AGE: 31

HEIGHT: 5’3″

WEIGHT: 120LBS/ 111LBS

ARM: 10.25″ / 9.25″

CHEST: 33.25 ” / 32″

WAIST: 25.5″ / 24.5″

HIPS: 34.5″ /32.25″

THIGH: 22″ / 19.75″

BODY FAT: 20% / 15.2%

FAVORITE EXERCISE: SQUATS & ANYTHING WITH LEGS

This interview basically starts before it begins. Amber is excited to talk, and has read my previous interviews, so we jump right in and I hit the record button.

ME: So I am basically doing these articles to allow people to get a good idea of what’s going on here (at FBBC), to make it less intimidating.

AMBER: One of the biggest things I think , is that people think we are perfect. That we have had no problems or that everything has come easy to us, and, I am like “no”… it’s definitely far from that.  I think that is the most important thing for people to see. We all struggle, we all came from somewhere. ”

Amber was born and raised in Independence, Iowa; and was involved in basketball, volleyball, and tennis through out high school. She takes a minute to reflect, “Basketball was by far my favorite.”

Amber quit sports when she attended Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as she pursued education in Dental Assistance.

AMBER: I worked out here and there when I had time when I was at college, and then I graduated college and moved here (Cheyenne) in 2005. I occasionally worked out when I wanted to, nothing super intense or crazy. I didn’t eat the greatest, I still ate out and all that good stuff.”

In 2011, Amber was working at Smart Sports, another fitness center in Cheyenne. A few of her comrades were encouraging her to compete in a fitness competition. She decided to jump on board and change her lifestyle, in order to see how well it would go.

August of 2011, Amber enters the Warrior Classic after just 16 weeks of training involving a super intense eating and exercise regime. She lost approximately one pound a week with the help of a personal trainer and placed 4th in her category. Still in the competitive mood and under peer pressure, a year later, Amber returned to the 2012 Warrior Classic and received 9th in her class.

August 2011 Warrior Classic 4th place Winner, Amber Lemberger.
August 2011 Warrior Classic 4th place Winner, Amber Lemberger.
Amber in 2012, 9th place in her division at the Warrior Classic.
Amber in 2012, 9th place in her division at the Warrior Classic.

AMBER: No sweets, no bread, no fruit. Basic meat and vegetables and complex carbs; the entire time. I also Carb Cycled the entire time. Then I was on very low, restricted carbs the last two weeks. Toward the end you cut water. I took fourth, it was exciting. It’s very intimidating getting on that stage for the first time. I was so nervous that I was shaking…but I had just busted my ass for 16 weeks, so I am just gonna get up there and strut my stuff… I am gonna give it all I got!

After I competed,  is where I struggled; it’s tough. You have seen what your body can do, but you also have to be able to have a maintainable body. A figure body is not maintainable, it’s not healthy. At that point it’s not maintainable unless you want to be a raging bitch every day for the rest of your life.

(Amber chuckles, knowing full well what she is talking about.)

You are literally restricting yourself of everything, you get one cheat meal a week. A MEAL. That’s it. I had sweet potato pancakes every Sunday as my cheat meal, and they were fantastic! The last five weeks I didn’t get a cheat meal at all. (She pauses) It’s hard, you really have to accept your body the way it is and be okay with that. That was really hard for me. I struggled for a long time.

ME: It must be hard to put yourself in that position; to be judged by people and to purposefully put yourself in the situation where you are being compared to the person next to you.

AMBER : It’s hard because so and so up there may not be natural, using steroids or other things. Now, I personally, can not do those things to myself, that’s not something I wanted to do; so I had to be okay getting on stage next to somebody knowing that they aren’t natural. You have to know down in your heart, “You know what, this is me, and I look damn good for training for 16 weeks even if I don’t get first place.”

It’s definitely hard, and they (the judges) are really critical of you. They told me “You need to trim down your legs.” I was on the stair mill 50 minutes a day for WEEKS, and they still told me I had to lean them down, more. I was just like Ugh (exasperated sigh).

ME: It must be hard to be judged like that after pushing your body as far as it would go, and have to  them tell you “Eh it’s still not good enough.”

AMBER: Yeah, for sure. One of the things that was hardest for me is I just don’t have a big upper body. So that effected my points, too. The experience alone, and saying that I have done it was…. I just was totally down with that. All of it. The tan, having your suit glued to your butt. It’s something you will never know, unless you do it. I mean standing nude in a cold tent, being sprayed with three coats of tan. You have to bend over, and spread your legs. At that point you’re just like “who cares, I trained way too long to not be here and sticking my butt in your face.”

The whole experience, gives you a high for the whole day. You can do anything on the day of a show, because you know “I’m almost done.”

It’s been a ride since 2011. A lot of ups and downs.

June 2011, before competing in the Warrior Classic.
June 2011, before competing in the Warrior Classic.

Amber moved right in to talking about Fit Body Boot Camp.

amber4

AMBER: I knew owner Sara (Goossen) from competition and in September 2013, I thought, “I am going to give Boot Camp a go.” I wanted something different. I don’t want to spend two hours in the gym, a day. I don’t have time for it.

I came in and I heard Sara was looking for a trainer and I love helping people. I am a dental assistant during the day and it’s a very helpful profession. It’s very gratifying. You get to see so many good things throughout the day, you also see some pretty bad things but you get to make people feel good about themselves. And that’s what I love. So I met with Sara, and she said “You know, I never would have thought that this was something you would have wanted to do.” So I started coming in, and working with her a bit and then I started training. And I love it! I love helping people. I love being here.

My training style is a little different. When I am in here, I am serious. When I work out I have bitch face. When I am here, I am focused on working out and getting people where they need to be. I mean, there is laughter and joking, but it’s more “We are here to get this done.” I am here to push you, and if that means sometimes it’s tough love, then it’s tough love, ya know? I love seeing people succeed. I love seeing people do something that they couldn’t do before.

I try to put the heavier weights in peoples hands, I love pushing people to the extreme because that is what they want, and they are so much happier when they surprise themselves.

The best compliment is when some tells me that I helped push them. We all need to be pushed, even me. We have to push each other. There are days when I just want to shut off the alarm and not show up, and I have to push myself.

I was lifting alone at 4:30 in the morning, and then Amanda McDaniel started lifting with me, and it made all the difference. Having some one show up that early, it’s like “Hey, I am accountable to you.”

I am very motivated, I don’t need anyone else to motivate me to get here; but when I am working out, it’s good to have that push or to have some one next to me. Like, “oh she is faster than me.”

ME: It seems that is one of the things that makes Boot Camp so successful, it includes everything you need to jump in there and get things done. It takes care of the awkwardness.

AMBER: Oh yeah! Everyone here is so helpful. And it doesn’t ever feel like Bobby Jo is better than everyone else. If some one is struggling, you show them or help them. If you’re new, I don’t think anyone has ever felt secluded. We are all, always trying to help them jump in; which can be hard for a trainer because we are always watching the time and keeping track of the sets that you have done. You are trying to watch form, and help the new people learn what they are doing. Sometimes it’s difficult; there is just so much going on at once. Sometimes people may not understand how much we have going on in our minds in one 30 minute training session.

ME: Not to mention watching 20 people, making sure they don’t injure themselves.

AMBER: Yeah, you can’t always see everyone. Sometimes people think they can hide that they are nauseas or light headed, and they hide it pretty well until they can’t. And I am like “you have been feeling like this for the last 10 minutes? Why didn’t you say something?” But sometimes they are afraid to say anything, but that’s the hard part, knowing if they are “okay”. Is their form okay? (As a Trainer) You want to give your attention to everyone but sometimes it’s hard.

What is nice, is that people that have been here for a while will jump in and be like “Hey this is how you do this.” And that is really helpful.

I have regulars in my class, and it’s nice because I get to know them and build lasting friendships. Knowing that they can confide in you and that you can share your own stories with them is great. Like I said before, sometimes people don’t think that you struggle as a trainer. But they do, they have. I can attest to that on a daily basis. I mean, I have had body issues my whole life. It’s nice to be able to share that with clients because they think that it’s just them; but no, I’ve been there.

ME: It’s great that these friendships are built on encouragement instead of falsehoods or just blowing smoke up each other’s ass.

AMBER: It is nice. It is nice to know that people can come to us. I like that. These are true friendships. I had a girl message me today, and I message her every morning to come work out, because she has a hard time getting up. So at 3:45 every morning I send her a text, “Hey Boot Camp Today!” Anyway, she texted me and said, “sorry to bother you on a Sunday.” And you know, it doesn’t bother me. I want them to know that they can call me on Sunday, it isn’t a big deal and I want to be able to help whenever I can.

It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is; we all need some one to confide in, and that is what friends are for.

ME: What strides do you feel you have made through boot camp?

AMBER: I think it has made me accept myself more. A. Because I find I am happier with myself, I have gotten better results with the way I feel I look better than I did when I was just doing my own thing with the lifting and cardio. I am probably the happiest with myself that I have ever been just because I feel stronger. I feel like I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in; cardio wise and everything. Boot camp has definitely made me feel better about myself. I think it’s all the encouragement and the fact that you GET RESULTS with what you are doing. 90% of it is diet. If you watch what you are eating and come to class every day, you are going to get results in less than an hour a day.

It’s made me realize more isn’t always better. Killing yourself in the gym isn’t always better. To even go and do 20 minutes on a stationary machine… I just can’t do it any more. I just don’t want to do it. It’s like the most dreaded 20 minutes of my life!

ME:  What do you feel, on your fitness journey, that your biggest struggle has been?

AMBER: Self Image for sure. I am the most critical of myself. I preach to people, like, “Don’t weight yourself.” “Don’t stress about the numbers.” But I am probably one of the worst critics in the past of weighing myself entirely too much. I would pick myself apart on a day to day basis, especially after competing.

ME: So it never manifest, for you, as an eating disorder?

AMBER: I have never “not eaten” or thrown up. I would say I had body dysmorphia, and a self image issue but it never been to a point of not eating or throwing up. I have to eat every two hours, I feel like I could kill someone… so if I am not eating every couple of hours then I am not doing okay.

Amber 2015, looking great and well balanced.
Amber 2015, looking great and well balanced.
Check out the curves and definition in her back!
Check out the curves and definition in her back!

ME: Do you feel like Boot Camp has been beneficial to your relationship?

AMBER: Yes, I do! It’s made me feel better about myself. My husband is very supportive of everything I do and he is very loving . He always tells me he loves me and that I am beautiful, but he said it’s hard on him when I am hard on myself. He would say “My wife is wonderful, my wife is beautiful…but she is saying other”. It was really hard on him. But now I am happier with how I look and that makes it easier on him. He would be giving me these compliments and I would be “uh-huh, sure, okay.” In one ear and out the other. When you start feeling better about yourself it makes life so much easier.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have days just like every body else. We all have our days where we just don’t feel like ourselves.

Boot Camp looks good on Amber, wouldn't you say?
Boot Camp looks good on Amber, wouldn’t you say?

Amber and I chatted a bit longer off the record, and I can honestly say that she is an amazing and resilient spirit. Her positivity toward helping others is quite inspiring and I wish her the best with her future endeavors, namely, of the baby making variety.

Having a compatible trainer can help make or break your physical fitness routine. At Fit Body Boot Camp, the trainers are all very personable and passionate about helping others succeed at their fitness goals and living a life style of health. Each of them is willing to assist where ever necessary in order to lead by example.

Client’s aren’t just clients….this is fitness family.

Come check it out, and be inspired, no matter your fitness level!