Mean Moms, Child Idolatry and the Only Way Out


Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.

Alice Walker



“Mom, she doesn’t like me.” she says in a manner beyond her years.

I try to brush it off, give her words of encouragement, but know there is probably a grain of truth in the middle. With a child who is both sensitive and extremely intelligent, I have witnessed more than my share of minor (and not so minor) injustices. I was sadly disappointed in what I closely observed as a mom willing to volunteer in an extracurricular activity group.  I recognized then that there are some who step up, not because they love children, but because they love their own children. Other children are tolerated, unless they are useful in some way to the parent’s agenda for the child. If your child fits the mold, expectation and standard they set, great. Otherwise…the labels are slapped on, and the adults who could be part of the solution by their position become part of a more complicated and complex problem.


The Walking Wounded: On Leprosy and Checking Your Attitude Toward Mental Health

photo credit: chamko rani via photopin cc

photo credit: chamko rani via photopin cc


 ” When I taught in public schools I frequently developed opinions about why “challenging children” behaved poorly. More often than not I blamed their parents. I held the self-righteous  notion that I worked hard to raise happy, well- rounded children and that if other parents took their responsibilities seriously and parented effectively, their children would be fine. Boy was I getting mine, living  with a mentally ill teen, spending lots of time in the psychiatrist’s waiting room, and thoroughly researching the topic chipped away at my arrogance and ignorance.

I began to change.”  ~Kate McLaughlin


Penny For Your Thoughts: Interview with Penny Price McIntosh – Inspiring Women Series

Penny is also featured in this months issue of Oxygen magazine!

As a former competitive bodybuilder I admired the physique and athletic prowess of athlete Penny Price McIntosh. I believed she had some of the same convictions about competition I had and she inspired me greatly back in that day. She maintained and showed her feminine muscularity with grace, class and dignity while competing in the early days of the Ms Olympia Bodybuilding Competition – considered the top echelon of contests for physique. I considered myself a fan and would search for articles and anything I could on my favorite fitness champion. She inspired me to stay fit while pregnant, as I saw a great article with her training through her pregnancy and she also impressed and challenged me with her honesty in an interview about her past dealing with the pain of sexual abuse. Recently I was pleasantly surprised to find out she is still active and fabulously fit at 50. Here I journey Beneath The Surface with the Fitness Model, Former IFBB Pro, Wife, Mother, Current Health Coach and Personal Trainer: Please welcome the fabulously fit, Penny Price McIntosh!

First of all Penny, how old were you when you began to exercise with weights? 19
Who encouraged you try competitive bodybuilding or what compelled you? I was brought into a gym by my boyfriend and he taught me a few moves to keep me busy.  The gym owner saw a bicep appear and thought that I should compete in the “Ms Springfield” in 1980, a show he was hosting.  I was scared out of my mind! I am a true introvert and standing on a stage in a bikini was the last thing I thought I could ever do. I kept winning despite my fear, and decided this may be something I could be good at.
How many bodybuilding competitions and Olympias have you competed in? I don’t really remember exactly.  Around 15 competitions.  I was in 2 Ms. Olympia’s (Radio City Music Hall in new York City!), and the first Ms Olympia fitness in ’96…that was my last show.

What do you think of the current direction of Women’s Bodybuilding? I rarely look at the magazines anymore but when I do it is shocking.  I can appreciate the mass and quality of the female bodybuilder, but it isn’t natural.  It is amusing to see how far they have gone but I personally feel sorry for them.  The women get caught up in the drugs and the pressure to get bigger and more ripped, but they apparently have lost perspective of what the world view is of feminine.  Maybe they just don’t care what anyone else thinks.  That’s fine.  It is their body.

What do you consider to be the take home lesson (s), if any from your journey in competitive bodybuilding? Do things that scare you.  That is how you grow.  Take chances, step out of your comfort zone. Take risks and follow through.  
Who inspires you most? Not one person in particular…but stories of humans that have a vision and are not deterred by obstacles what everyone thinks.  The brave people that fight for their own truth.
Who has had the most significant influence on your life and/or your perspectives about life? Authors Leo Buscaglia, Ayn Rand, Brian Weiss, plus my big sister and my husband.
I once read in an article that you had been a victim of sexual abuse/molestation, can you tell me more about this and how it has impacted your past and present choices?
Wow. Well, I was a victim.  Of not just one, and not just males.  I must have had “easy target” on my forehead.  I am not sure how to answer this.  I don’t like to blame my mistakes on anyone but myself so I have a hard time knowing if my past bad choices were just being vulnerable and young or if they were a result of  being manipulated by molesters.  That being said, I would like to think I would have made better choices and been smarter about who I chose to have relationships with if the abuse hadn’t happened.  Presently I am paying it forward…in a positive way.  I have four children and I know that they know what to do if they are approached by a molester…they know to say “no”.  I know the chances of it happening to my children are slim.  I also do everything I can to help abused children.  I support Children’s Home Society and also The Children’s Advocacy Center.
How did you find freedom from the past pain of the experience? I read lots of books. I wrote down the experience and shared it with my family. I analyzed my reactions/feelings and thought deeply about the source of some of my negative emotions.  Knowing where feelings originate is the first step to healing.
If you could give a piece of advice to someone who feels imprisoned by their past what would it be?  Let it go. Don’t let it define your life. Fight for your freedom from the monster…don’t let it win.  Keep searching for the beautiful person you are and don’t let a bad experience make you feel ugly…fight for your life.
Could you give me your thoughts about exercise and it’s connection to mental health ( form a professional and/or personal perspective)?
Personally, I am a different person after I exercise.  I have never, in 30+ years, left an exercise session in a worse mood than what I walked in with.  It is a drug.  There is no doubt that the “drug” is why so many people get attached to their trainers.  They associate them with the endorphin rush they get after exercise.  I have noticed the more intense the workout is, the better I feel. One of my favorite books on this subject is Spark.
You are married with children! Can you tell me those sweet details? I am smiling now.  As mothers know, there is no beginning or end when it comes to kids.  They are such a part of who I am.  I learn more about myself from them than they do from me. I have noticed people who don’t have kids are a little less patient, a little less understanding, and a lot more self centered. My husband is my rock. He is a Real Estate Developer and Commercial Broker and really HOT! Lol-He is 10 years younger than me and we have been together for 18 years!  I feel very fortunate to have him in my life.
Penny’s wonderful family includes: Husband Harry, Dakota 20,
 Lady 14, Dylan Rose 12, Harry III 10.

Where did you grow up and where do you currently make your home?  I grew up in Northeast Missouri and now live in Maryville, TN
Can you share any tips for balancing fitness, career and family? Take your aggressions out in the gym,  really listen to your kids, use lots of sticky notes…I have found them to be useful in keeping my eye on the target.
How do you stay motivated to exercise on a daily basis?  I know it makes me feel better when it is over.  If I don’t feel like doing my hike/bike/workout then I just lie to myself, “I will just take it real easy today”.  98% of the time I end up hitting it really hard once I am warmed up.
Your favorite ways to stay fit these days?  Interval cardio, hiking, weight training.
What’s the biggest difference you notice as you try to stay in shape at 50 as compared to 20 or 30?  I have to watch my thoughts. I remember when I was 25 I told myself to remember how sore and achy exercise made me and to never blame those aches on getting “Old”, to really watch my thoughts about aging.  Too many people blame aging for the negative physical attributes when it is really just an excuse to not exercise and eat right.  In reality, if they exercised and ate right they wouldn’t feel old!   I have lost some softness/fullness.  I still workout as hard as I ever did but my skin is thinner and less elastic.  I really notice  what I eat affects my appearance, and how I feel, more than ever before.  My face can age 10 years if I eat sodium and junk food.  It is amazing the impact nutrition has on your skin.
Your best motivating pitch for the sedentary person/couch potato? 
It is simple but it may not always be easy.  It is not an all or none thing…Just do your best %80 of the time and you can cheat %20 percent of the time.  Two things that are easy that will be all you ever need to do is:
1) Nutritionally, count your carbs (keep them under 100grams/day)  
2) Physically, find one thing you enjoy and do it most days (walking, biking, weight training…) if you enjoy it you will do it.
Of course there is a lot more to it, but if this is all you can drag yourself to do you will lose weight and get healthier.
If you had to pick one word to describe who you are, what would it be? 

Do you have a spiritual belief?
I consider myself an extremely spiritual person. But “religion” is purely “speculation”.  Religion is like sports.  There are hundreds of types with different rules, stories, and expectations.  But when you strip all the varieties down to the core they have a few common threads.  With religion I like to believe in the common threads.  Love, Charity, Forgiveness, Peace etc. To say your religion is the only way, is not very spiritual.  One thing I do firmly believe is that when you die you will know the truth. There are certain things we simply will not understand until we die.  That is why I don’t fear death.  We are here to learn and to be the best that we can be. 

What is next  for Penny Price? I had a big year last year…this one will be enjoying the fruits of my labor.
Where can we find you?, 
facebook, twitter, and I love getting texts at 865-740-4182
Thanks for thinking of me and expending your energy on this interview!

Thank you Penny for taking time out of schedule to answer my questions and thanks for continuing to be one very Inspiring  Woman! 

Here is Penny 20 years ago around the time she was motivating me!

Who’s The Fairest One of All?

Choosing the fairest Christian Devotional
of all can be challenging! 
Magic Mirror, on the wall…
who is the fairest one of all?
Is it Oswald,  Sarah, or Spurgeon pray tell,
You know a New Year is coming as well.
So show me,
lead me,
oh, Mirror I ask-
Show me in your looking glass.
As you can see I have watched one too many Disney Princess movies. Yes, sometimes that Disney stuff just pops right out of my little mind when I sit down to write. Those classics just seem to stay with you. Ah-ha, like a good devotional book. A while back I was going to write a post dedicated to why I am not a big fan of Christian devotional books, due to the fact that sometimes I see people rely on them exclusively and neglect deeper Bible study. However, I realize that God is gracious. He knows his own and is able to make his truth known to those who desire and seek Him with the right heart and attitude. 
And without faith it is impossible to please God, 
because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists 
and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 
Hebrews 11:6 

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; 
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11

I do believe a good devotional can be a great supplement to Bible reading and is especially good for tight schedules and keeping a steady pace with the Lord, on a day to day basis. Like fitness, a little bit on a regular basis, is better than a whole bunch sporadically. Finding a devotional book to help meet you where you are at, during the season of life you’re in is crucial. Like a good pair of shoes, a good devotional will stand the test of time. It will be comfortable and support you where you need it. It will carry you and sometimes you might even carry it! I carry my current favorite Jesus Calling by Sarah Young in my purse. I actually have it on Kindle and also in a small, handy, leatherette book. One of the most important aspects about using a devotional that can be overlooked, is the actual act of searching the scriptures that the devotional reading is based upon. Sometimes the scripture is listed, often it is not. The point I want to make is, if you are supplementing your Bible Study with devotional reading without actually reading scripture, it is a weak supplement for you. Supplement by definition is something that is done as an accompaniment, not a replacement for the something itself. I think Christians are ill prepared for the battlefield called life when they do not get in the Word, and rely instead on the words of men (or women) to feed them. 

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
 Matthew 24:35

You see it’s His words that do not pass away, not Pastor So and So’s. Not mine, not yours and not anyone else’s. Yes there is great wisdom in the words that are spirit led and shared but we are to be sustained by God’s Word because there is life for Believers in them. That is what we need to eat to be satisfied, sustained and spiritually strong. 

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, 
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; 
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

There are many good devotionals that are available through the mail as well as online. When I was a new believer I remember receiving devotionals on my computer which were such an encouragement to me. At the time I had an office in a large gym, and trained clients early in the morning. As soon as I could get to that computer I was grateful to have a morning break with God with “God’s Minute”. These were good for my day, as they included the scripture within the content of the devotion itself. 

When my daughter was about 4 years old and right on until about third grade, we used a wonderful devotional magazine called Keys For Kids, through CBH ministries. We received it through the mail but it is also available online. I really loved it and at one point my sweet girl wrote a letter to them and sure enough, we received one of the sweetest letters back, a first grader and her mom could ever have hoped for! If you have little ones, and want a great devotional, I highly recommend them. 

Two more devotional magazines I like are Our Daily Bread and  Charles Stanley’s In Touch Magazine.
Proverbs 31 Ministries is an excellent resource for women.

I think the key to remember here is that we don’t want to be in the habit of skimming along the surface when God has riches and sustenance for us beneath the surface! Oh, and this leads me to a wise word given to me by a sweet Christian Sister when I was a new mom. She told me to put Bibles out and have them open – anywhere I might find myself with the baby, so that, while caring and nurturing my needy one I would also receive nourishment and strength for those long days and nights during that season of my life! Those were good words, friend! Thank you Karen F. ! 

Where there’s a will – there’s a way. And God will meet you there. 

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God. 
John 1:1

 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. 
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, 
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

Is there a favorite devotional you like? Is there a devotional you are planning to use for the New Year? 

I will be sharing a list of my favorite Devotionals on a separate post, later in the week in case you are interested in one for the New Year or just enjoy lists!

Linking Up with Courtney below:

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