Archive for the ‘Journey’ Category

Let the nagging begin.

January 8, 2009

Remember when Tabby asked us last week to help her stay on track with the blogging?  She said:

I am going to make a committment to check-in every day either about my weight loss or something else equally interesting from now until then. If I don’t check in, will one of a billion of you email me and nag me? You can send emails to for the nagging.

Well, I do believe it’s going on about FOUR days since we last heard from Ms. Chapman. I think it is our civic duty to nag remind her of her commitment.

If you didn’t catch her email address the first time, here it is again:


And please…feel free to be creative in your emails.  The use of hyperbole is strongly recommended.  For example:

Hi Tabby!

I had a really bad nightmare last night.  In this nightmare, I kept visiting GBD for 4 days hoping to read something from you, only to be coldly slapped in the face with Kathy’s sarcasm.  But when I woke up, I realized this nightmare was a reality. Please save us Tabby.  I need my beauty sleep.

Or how about a poem?

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Colorless tears,
Tabs, where are you?

Do me a favor though?  Let’s keep this, ahh, “suggestion” between you and me.  Tabby is very powerful.  She might hurt me. 😉

Weight Check In…

December 29, 2008

Hello Lovely Ladycakes (and the men who are still reading this blog)!

Yes, I know its been sooooo long since you’ve heard from me about my weight journey. I’m back! I had taken quite the break from my weight journey, justifying it because I was eating out a lot, saying “but its so so hard to eat healthy!” Its so funny how often I try to trick myself. I also realized that there’s times when I eat healthy just to avoid getting “a talkin’ to” from my friends who are trying to hold me accountable. So I’d eat the steam veggies and avocado rice cakes when in their presence (or not) and it just didn’t feel good to do it for those reasons. Now, I’m eating totally on my own, for my own reasons, with no one to please and it feels so much more like myself and my own journey, you know?

Anyway! Despite the trickery… I am still down at 210 lbs and plan to loose 20 pounds by February 8th. So! I am going to make a committment to check-in every day either about my weight loss or something else equally interesting from now until then. If I don’t check in, will one of a billion of you email me and nag me? You can send emails to for the nagging. I may not answer you but it could be the push to get me to stick to my word that I need… you know… 5 to 100 emails every day that I miss posting? 😀

I got a membership at Planet Fitness: The No Judgement Zone. w00t! I want to be going to the gym at least three times a week. This should be fun! I missed posting! I will post new pics of me when I’m down at 208 pounds.



From Desperation to Inspiration- A Personal Reflection

November 18, 2008

Desperate Brooke (2 years ago): Working at a restaurant in San Francisco finishing up college and living with a boyfriend that drained her that she really wasn’t very fond of in the first place.  She is pictured here after she cut all her hair off in a desperate attempt to change her identity.  Clearly, that didn’t go over so well!

Inspired Brooke (today): Living in Thailand working for 2 incredible organizations that empower people to change the world for the better by giving people opportunities that they never had before. She also has found herself in a happy and supportive relationship that proves to her that there really are great men out there.  She is pictured below with Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dr. Muhammad Yunus… in Bali!

My HERO! Dr. Muhammad Yunus

If you would have asked me 2 years ago where I thought I’d be or what I thought I’d be doing today, I would have NEVER imagined that I would be here.  Through what turned out to be an extremely fortunate series of events, even though it didn’t appear to be that way at the time!

It all began in mid-2006.  I was fast approaching the end of my undergraduate career, and I was feeling overwhelmed with the state of the world.  I was an International Relations major with a focus in Latin American studies and had been learning about how it seemed that everything had gone wrong in Latin America.  In what was the span of my lifetime, there had been corruption, violence, intolerance, genocide and torture and the situation didn’t appear to be getting any better.

Then, one sunny mid-May afternoon, my life would be forever changed. We had a guest speaker in my Latin American Foreign Policy class.  He was a torture survivor from El Salvador and he had come to America to speak to us about his experiences.  At this time, I was also a double major in Spanish, so as he told his story, I could understand directly what he was saying, without the filter of a translator, and it was one of the most intense experiences of my life. Not only did this man look and sound similar to my own father, he also was kidnapped on my exact birth date.  Needless to say, I felt a deep connection to this man and his experience.

After he left, I sat frozen in my seat not knowing what to do with myself.  I was so deeply emotionally shaken by his story that I didn’t know how to move forward.   What if this had happened to me? What if this had happened to my father? How can stories like this still be continuing today!? Torture is no joke.

Not long after this, the semester ended and I decided to take a semester off of school. Sure, I was 1 semester away from graduating but I became painfully aware that this particular area of IR just wasn’t for me.  I thought, “If I am this emotional over guest speakers, how could I possibly be effective in this field? How would I be able to live a happy life when I personally felt so attached to these types of experiences?” I needed time to figure out what gave me strength. I knew what seemed to weaken me and make me feel helpless and overwhelmed, and while I knew that I wanted to be part of “the greater good”, I didn’t have the slightest idea about how I was going to contribute to it.

Lucky for me, I had an opportunity of a lifetime to help out with a small start-up non-profit based in San Francisco.  Through my Nana, I learned that my grandfather’s cousin’s grandson (so this makes second cousin twice removed.. maybe?) was helping to build a website that had “something to do with international relations and the internet” my Nana had told me.  She said, “It sounds like it’d be right up your alley. You should contact him.” I wrote an email to this newfound “cousin” of mine and learned that they were just started what would turn out to be Kiva– the world’s first online microlending platform that lets you connect directly with an entrepreneur in the developing world and loan them as little as $25 to start or grow their small businesses. A few days later I met with the handful of people that were starting and I became more involved.

From the moment I stepping into Kiva’s humble looking office I knew it.  I knew that I had found my inspiration.  I was in a room full of young, creative, motivated, energetic and intelligent people that were all working towards making the world better. They wanted to be the change they wanted to see in the world.  And from this mixture, Kiva was born.  I just happened to be in the right place in the right time- both physically and mentally.

Me and Matt from Kiva watching a Cambodian Silk weaver

As I continued to work with Kiva doing whatever they needed me to do, I found myself still struggling.  I was working with Kiva on a volunteer basis and was still earning my money from hostessing at a restaurant.  The incestuousness of the restaurant got the best of me and before I knew it I had been living the chef-turned-boyfriend in our apartment for about 4 months.  Things went bad really quickly and I found myself extremely unhappy with my restaurant job and my relationship.  I knew I needed to make a real change.  I knew that a better life was possible. I needed to make a move.

So I ended the relationship, quit my job and bought a 1-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand! Talk about a bold move!  Before I knew it, it was bye-bye San Francisco and helloooooo Bangkok!

Not too long after my move I decided to look for a job in the social business sector.  Social business is essentially a business that does something to make the world better. Not just selling a product, but actually doing something with the primary goal being to help 1) a marginalized group of society (often poor or uneducated or physically disadvantaged people), 2) the environment (helping to do things such as restoration, recycling or having little to no “carbon footprint”) and 3) make enough money to stay in business and ideally to expand.  So basically, it’s a business with a triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

Through some research and emails I got a job as a “Regional Coordinator” at amazing organization doing incredible work here in Asia.  The organization is called ChangeFusion, and they believe that any young person with innovative ideas, commitment and vision for social change should have a chance to emerge as a force to create a lasting impact by helping to solve global challenges. ChangeFusion is currently working with 23 ventures in the South and East Asia region, ranging from fair trade crafts venture in India to a social outsourcing venture in the Philippines.

Pretty exciting stuff if you ask me!

Now, I’m trying to think of how I can blend my passion for Kiva with my new found excitement with the profit making social business sector….

Now I\'m trying to figure out my next move...

If you get anything from my story, please let it be confirmation that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE once you take good hard look at yourself, take a chance, make a change and follow your passion!

Idea-ology 101

November 16, 2008

Ideology. What a funny word. What does it even mean? Do you ever hear it and feel a bit puzzled? Do you ever use it and feel a bit puzzled? Have you never heard it before? Feeling puzzled?

Good, me too.

The last week has been an interesting theme for me in regards to my choices and purpose with regards to the kind of person that I want to be. Due to a specific proposition passed in California this election day, I have decided to take some time to think about what I stand for and the kind of person I want to be in this world and the values that I want to uphold, and what it might mean for me to uphold myself and my values. What could I lose to uphold them at any given cost?

I recently asked an amazing friend of mine the following question (paraphrased because I’m not that good at remembering speech verbatim): “In light of the recent popular-vote decisions regarding minorities made in government, what is the best method in effecting change in the world for minority groups?”  I was looking for something along the lines of “Rally! Of course!” or “Don’t Rally! Sit peacefully like Gandhi.” or “Get everyone on your side.” Or “don’t support the system at all.” or some action that I could do that would somehow move the world around me.

You want to know his answer? “You must think about your ideology. You must be mindful of what you want to uphold. You must fully explore your values and know how it might effect the world before it can effect the world.” How interesting of a thought… I think this response goes along the lines of something that Gandhi might have said with regards to change in “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” How can one be the change if one has no firm concept of what that change is? How do you get this concept? What drives you to create and define these concepts of change that you must be to effect the world?

I was just thinking in terms of rallies and protests, what does it take to be the kind of person to march down a street with signs and chants, peacefully stating their disenchantment. What must you know about yourself and what you believe to take up that sign and march? Furthermor, what kind of person does it take to do this peacefully, compassionately, and non-blaming… and how different would this effect change as opposed to doing it more forcefully and disgrunted? Is there a difference in the potential effect?

I was just thinking about this because I heard, recently, of a movement of people who choose to do it more creatively and peacefully and include crafts and arts in the area that they stood, vigilant, singing. Do you think that this type of protest would or could be any differently moving than a more disenfranchised protest may be? Are there greater benefits for one over the other?

All of these questions are questions that I have been asking myself over and over this week. What is the greatest way to effect change in the world? To effect change in yourself, I think, is the only way to effect change in the world. At least that’s the realization that I’m working through right now. What do you guys think?

A drum rolls somewhere

November 1, 2008

YAY!!! I got this message from Kendra this morning:

Little Marcus Terry Voth joined the world on Halloween. 8lbs 1oz…

Kendra is doing fine! Full of joy and in awe of the child birth process that women go through. More to post from one of us with lovely photos and maybe a more personal story from Kendra herself. Hang tight, through the weekend at least.

Weight Blog: Honesty

October 5, 2008


So, the other day I was thinking “What is wrong with me? Why am I eating this cookie!?”

The cookie? It was so so delicious.

But that’s not the point. The cookie will probably always be delicious. But that’s not why I was eating it. And why I was eating it isn’t really what I was going to talk about, but rather why I want to lose weight.

I think its important to reflect on occasionally because reasons change. Originally, I wanted to do this because I felt unhealthy. I wanted to feel healthier. As time wore on, I think my reasoning changed into “I wanna look hot,” but I wasn’t fully honest to myself about it… so I think the lack of inner honesty with regards to why I was trying to lose weight allowed me to … stop trying.

Now that I realized that I wasn’t being honest with myself, I can focus on the task at hand, figuring out how to get back on track! Mostly I’ve just decided to just DO IT. Get back to my previous routine, and then go from there. So, day two back on my previous routine and I’m back to my weight that I “ended” at (220 lbs) and on my way back down again. w00t!

So, photos will hopefully get back up soon, perhaps next week? In other news, my hip is still very injured. Thanks to the lovely skahahoo, I’ve got some exercises and things to try to strengthen it up, but I do need to go see a doctor… soon. Once that gets back on track I can start up an exercise routine!

Until next week!

ETA: Rainbow Chocolate Chips!

News day Tuesday: Yummmm Fooodddd

September 23, 2008

So, skahahoo sent in a link to a really interesting article that caught my attention… being the one who’s experiencing weight loss (or lack thereof at times *innocent whistle*).

First of all, go read this article, then come back.

K, now that you’ve read the article…

One of the most common things I hear from my friends (some of you post on here) about their own health journey is that its hard to stay away from the foods that you like. Its almost like some people seem to feel as if the only way to lose weight is to deprive yourself of the foods you love…


What if there’s thousands of other foods you LOOOOVE but you’ve never really stopped to experience it? The article above is interesting because it points out this same concept of deprivation over enjoyment. When I first started my journey I think one of the things that made my massive amount of weight loss so successful was the fact that I didn’t feel as if I was depriving myself. I was opening my world up to a brand new world of yummy (really yummy, in fact) recipes and foods that I’d never allowed myself to enjoy before. I mean, who KNEW asparagus was so freaking yummy? Especially when grilled in olive oil and some spice? MMMMMMMMmmm.

There’s so many fantastically delicious recipes out there that are green-based (meaning veggie) without all the bad fats and stuff… I realized that I shouldn’t even really need to focus on the amount of fats that are in something if I’m staying green, you know? Calories are a great way to gauge things if you really really need measurement BUT I found that by sticking to the green stuff or stuff with a thick outer layer I’m usually doin’ great!

That’s my two cents on the NY Times two cents. Now lets see how many cents we can accumulate in the comments! (okay, yeah… that was kinda lame)

Journey Update: Stop at the Inn

September 21, 2008

*Crickets chirp*

*another round of chirping*

Um… hi guys! So! Its been a while since I updated you all on my journey. The journey turned more into an extended stop at the inn on the outskirts of town with lots of meat and mead. So, the update is that there is no changes in my weight lately because I haven’t attempted to loose it. I went back to a hybrid of my old eating style and my new eating style (which really means Subway Wraps for lunch and Romano’s Macorni Grill for dinner). I don’t really know why, at this point, I made that choice with the exception that I’ve been away from home on an extended trip and I could pretty much “get away” with eating whatever I wanted. That and I injured my hip recently so I haven’t been able to get in any physical activity.

Do you guys ever experience that? What do you typically do to get over that hump?



August 24, 2008

So I didn’t weight myself today, I’ve been busy and was happier doing what I’m doing right now than to stop and weigh in. But I learned something interesting about myself. I was talking with a friend and mentor the other day about a totally unrelated concept. When I was little my mom used to tell me that I was book smart, but would never be street smart. This really effected the way I choose to live my life from then on out. One of the effects of that was that I decided that I had to then trade off any sort of activity that I deemed as “street smart” in order to protect my “book smart” trait, because its all that I had anyway. The result of this was that I became studious, learned, and knowledge-laden but refrained from doing any sort of physical activity or “doing” activity. The result of not doing any “doing” activity was not really getting any sort of knowledge or skill within those activities. So, when I am going to start doing those types activities, I feel a lot of fear because I’ve either never done them before or don’t believe that I SHOULD be doing them, because I’m “book smart.”

How does that relate to my weight? Well… you decide!

Health Journey: Pants!

August 15, 2008

Wow, my results this week were far greater than I even thought they were going to be! I set my goal small on purpose because I wasn’t sure what my days would look like this week and if I’d be able make healthy choices with food. I was able to, however, and have done really well with my weight loss!

This is getting so exciting! I just bought a pair of pants (and yes, we’re forgoing having Kristin measure them because we were never intending to send a message about her weight being superior…. we just thought it was a funny picture) and the pants are already too loose on me! My belt, which I bought about two months ago, is suddenly at the 4th belt hole thingy! It’s really a great feeling for me to see all of these amazing results. I feel much more comfortable in my body and I’m feeling really proud of myself for making the food related decisions that I do.

Now, if I could JUST start exercising more regularly without any additional incentive… how do I go about making that a high priority for myself?

Anyway! Here’s my Journal Log of Weight Loss now that I’m at 215 pounds.