Monday, July 17, 2017

You're never going to believe this weight loss miracle

Wow.....what a year, is all I can say.  A lot of it was really, really bad, and a lot of it was so amazing that I can't stop smiling.  The people in my life right now, the blessings that they have been, the opportunities that have presented themselves to me, and the work I have been doing have a way of cancelling out every bad day.  Most days I am so happy that I feel like I might explode into a million butterflies and glitter.

Still, they haven't come without a cost.

Last year, my body started wigging out.  When I say wigging out, I mean, I was pretty sure I was going to die.  After about a million tests and specialists, there it was.  The big "C".  I had cancer.  There is nothing like facing the possible end of your life to make you rethink everything.  After going through a terrifying process that lead up to surgery and a healing process with every complication you can think of, I made it to the other side cancer free.

Listen to your body.  Don't miss any of the tests you're supposed to get done.  Learn about the signs and symptoms of cancer.  Act right away when something isn't right, even if you feel like you might be overreacting.  Only you know your body's baseline.

I'm also going through a divorce, which complicates life even more.

Part of reclaiming myself was also a long look at my health.  Like, a loooooong look.  I didn't buy into a special me that's silly.  High fat, low carb, no this, no that....I am not that girl.  At the end of the day, I want to be able to eat what I want without sacrificing...well, what I want.  I didn't buy into a weight loss product, or workout program, or all of the things people are always pitching that are supposed to work miracles.

That's expensive, and not what I'm into.

No.  Guys, it's really not that complicated, yet when people ask me how I'm doing it and I answer them, I end up with confused big anime eyed blinking stares.  It's like suddenly I started speaking a dead language that no one understands and they are frozen in time just waiting me to start speaking english again.

I started listening to my body and moving more.  That's it.  Weight loss is an easy equation.  Every calorie you put in has to be burned and then some.  That means moving your body.

Don't get me wrong, I don't count calories, I'm just aware of averages.  I have ADHD, and on the days I tried to remember to count calories, 25 things distracted me from actually doing it.

I also did not go on some crazy mission to the gym every day (believe it or not, I don't have a gym membership), but I started filling my time with movement.  While everyone is leaning on the counter talking about their day, I was doing squat sets, calf raises, or tossing a medicine ball in the air and catching it.  Nothing too crazy to start with, just some.  Matter of fact, I started by doing sets of 25.  I started walking.  I started dancing.  The more I moved my body, the more it wanted to move.  I do 7 mile hikes now and got my squats up to 6 sets of 100, and I feel stronger than I ever have.

If I want
a beer, I have
a beer
I also started listening to what it wanted and making choices based on that.  Hey, if I want a cheeseburger, I eat a cheeseburger.  If I want a beer, I have a beer.  The question is, does my body want a cheeseburger?  Most of the time it doesn't.  Over time, my taste actually changed.  I used to chug a blended sugar filled coffee every single day.  Now, the thought of one makes me want to barf, and the last time I had one, I got about four drinks in before I nearly did just that.  I don't really want sugar filled crazy garbage anymore.  I have become more in tune with what my body wants, and most of the time it wants street tacos, and guess what?  I have them.  Yesterday I went to the Portland Highland Games and had a banger (crazy hot dog thing with mushrooms and onions) and fries and beer.  Do I feel sad about it?  Heck no!!

So, let's break it down again.  Move less, eat better.  Know what?  When you eat better, you get to eat more.  I'm not kidding you.  If I eat a light breakfast and a salad for lunch, I can have a big bowl of pasta with cheese on it for dinner and not be sad and mad.

On the left, me 4 months ago.  On
the right, me now,
Where am I in this process?  I started this journey 6 months ago (after the healing process from my surgery allowed) and I'm down 51.5 lbs.  I have been dreading showing these photos to the world, because I was always the person who never let my size be clear in my photos, but I know it has to be done.

Let's recap: Cancer free, more than 50 lbs down in 6 months, and I don't feel like I've given up anything.  I have gotten a little more aggressive with body movement since, but that will happen once you start listening to your body.  I've also been incredibly blessed to have built an amazing support system filled with people I can't imagine my life without.

It's amazing what the universe provides if you just ask.  I'm not
On the left, me 5 months ago, on the right, me 2 days ago.
kidding, I literally asked the universe and it almost immediately answered.  You should try it.

Life hasn't been without its complications, and I am still always nervous when I have an oncology appointment ahead of me, but the blessings in my life right now are far too many to count.

Listen to your body.  Eat less, move more.  Know what you want and what you will and will not allow in your life, and make it happen.  Trust me, life is too short to be unhappy, unhealthy, and not strive for your best possible self.

Thanks for stopping by!  It means a lot to me!
XOXO-The Stun Gun Girl

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Dear Monster, you have no power over me

Dear Monster,

When I was a child, I was terrified of you.  My skin would erupt with the feeling of a million little bugs running for their lives when I heard your footsteps slinking down the hall.  You forced me to disappear within myself while you found pleasure in my flesh, and every time, a little more of my being would fracture.  Because of you, I could never fully be comfortable in my own skin as a child.  Instead, I was always worried about who would find my dark secret and use it to destroy me.  I was never an equal, and the joys of childhood were lost in the game of hide and seek.

As I grew older, my warped and twisted reality grew into a gnarled old tree in the depth of a dark swamp.  Boundaries didn’t exist.  I let more evil in than just you, and because of it I was forced to do worse things than you could ever imagine…or maybe you could.  I was the beast you created, the heir to the tarnished and cracked throne of a long bloodline of evil.  I believed I was worthless.  I believed my only existence was to be a tool used by anyone who needed to drive a nail further into a heart that once beat with love.  There was no light in my life because of you.

Even when God brought light into my life, it was fleeting, only giving me glimpse of what could be if only I wasn’t me.  It wasn’t until someone noticed that I was drowning and stretched out their hand that I could finally breathe.  I felt like I was free because I was away from you, but the nightmares still haunted the dark places in my mind.  I tried to overcome, but every time I hit a wall built of fear, constructed by me made from pieces of you. 

As I entered adulthood and began to have children of my own, I found myself in a string of abusive situations.  No matter how hard I tried to rise above my station in life my dark secret always drug me back down, pulling me into the murky depths of the abyss.  I was unworthy of love, of good, and of happiness.  Everything was hard because of you.  Everything. 

Then something happened.  One day after the last time I was abused I hid.  I hid in a cocoon of something I saw as safety, but it was really just another version of control, causing me to lose the last little bits of myself.

Then, when I found myself alone, God was the only one left standing by like a sentinel in a hurricane.  Through Him, I was shown the beauty of grace and that my scars were only a reminder of who I once was, not who I was becoming.  He brought people into my life to show me my full strength.  I lit a torch and burned that bruised and broken girl to the ground and everything you ever did to her.  I became a phoenix rising from the ashes of the brokenness and terror that you filled me with.  The warrior who stands before you today is writing not to tell you that you are forgiven because of rationalizing why you did what you did, but that you are forgiven because I refuse to let your filth fill my pores for one more moment.  Your sad pathetic life is a reminder of the bed you have made and are chained to for eternity, while I am free. 

That torch I used to set my prison ablaze, I now carry to help other survivors burn theirs to the ground too.  In the end, we will all be phoneixes taking to the air, no longer held by the bondage of monsters like you, and when our fire fills the skies, there will be no place left for you to hide.

I am not afraid of you.  I see you, and you are dead to me.

As sincerely as I can possibly be,

Sunshine O’Connor

Monday, February 6, 2017

Anonymous takes on the Dark Web and shuts down child pornography sites

Anonymous is a hacktivist organization that sends shivers down the spines of top executives and government officials all over the world.  Known for attacking service providers and institutions that violate human rights, it’s no wonder they set their sights on Dark Web, the underbelly of the internet where the worst atrocities are committed. 

According to, Anonymous has taken down the Freedom Hosting II servers that affect more than 10,000 websites.  Freedom Hosting II is one of the largest hosting services on the Dark Web and hosts about 20% of all underground websites. 

Is that all?  No.  They also have stolen the identities of more than 380,000 users, who received this message the last time they logged on:

 “Hello, Freedom Hosting II, you have been hacked.  We are disappointed.  This is an excerpt of your page, ‘We have a zero tolerance policy to child pornography.’ But what we found while searching through your server is more than 50% child porn…Moreover you host many scam sites, some of which are evidently run by yourself to cover hosting expenses.  All your files have been copied and your database has been dumped. (74GB of files and 2.3GB of database).  Up to January 31st, you were hosting 10613 sites.  Private keys are included in the dump.  We are Anonymous.  We do not forgive.  We do not forget.  You should have expected us.  Thanks for your patience, you don’t have to buy data ;) we made a torrent of the database dump.  Here is another torrent with all system files (excluding data).  You may still donate BTC to …….. and support us.  If you need to get in contact with us, our email is ……  We repeatedly get asked how we get into the system.  It was surprisingly easy.  Here is how we did it……”
The databases were stolen, and the websites being hosted by the service were defaced.  Small amounts of this data has begun to leak onto the main web.  Anonymous posted a message that said all the data had been copied and dumped online.  74GB of files and 2.3GB of database were dumped into plain text emails that included private keys-in other words, usernames and hashed passwords.

Anonymous has vowed to always fight child pornography.  They will not stop.  If you are involved in any form of child exploitation, it’s just a matter of time before your information is scooped up by them and dumped for all the world to see.  They are coming for you.  You should be expecting them.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The road so far.....from the ashes

Today while I was in a tear filled message conference with someone very, very close to me, I was reminded once again to turn around and look at the road I've travelled.  I know it's there, I talk about it a lot, but sometimes you need to really take a moment and look at it.

Not everyone in the world has lived the life I've lived.  I know that.  The first time I told my story, I knew that, and it's what made it so hard to let those words tumble over trembling lips to first a few people, then a few dozen, then a few hundred, and on and on.  I was never comfortable in my skin when I began to tell my story because it felt like I was lifting up the clean carpet in my home to reveal a silage pit hidden beneath filled with rot and putrid horror.

Now that I am comfortable telling my story, I sometimes forget the raw emotion that comes along with it.  I'm not numb, don't get me wrong.  I still feel it every day, but I'm not afraid.  Telling my story has birthed more survivors from the bondage of their victim chains than I even can begin to fathom.  No, now I tell my story from the stance of a warrior on a crusade.

I consider myself a Phoenix.  I lived one life before.  The dark and empty life of a victim suffocated of hope, peace, or freedom, just waiting for it to be over.  Everything I saw from those eyes was hurt, fear, and ugliness.  I lived in that ugliness for so long that even after I was free of it, I was still hunted and hurt again.  It was all I knew because it started before I had memories.  From the dark corners of my bedroom to the dark corners of the streets, everywhere I went was filled with dark corners, and in all of those corners was another more horrific monster.  I was led with promises of safety into some of the worst experiences you can imagine, and barely survived.  It was in those last moments when I was told where my body would lie rotting and never found that something happened.  I can't explain it other than God was not letting me die on that day.  As I rushed back into the world of the living, I embraced it with everything I had, burned that old life down, and was reborn.

I was reborn a survivor.  Since that day 11 years ago, I have only glanced back in the rear view mirror with my foot on the pedal as I continued on my journey, afraid that if I slowed down, the monsters would catch up.  It took me a few more years to open up about my life, and when I did, it was as if Niagra Falls washed over me.  Every time I told it, my armor got stronger.  Every time someone approached me, and in that tiniest voice said, "Thank you.  You just told my story" my fire burned brighter.  Every tear soaked meeting and impossible moment pushed me beyond my Phoenix birth.

They led me to write a series of books for Damsel in Defense called SAFE (Sharing Awareness for Family Empowerment) Hearts where I can go right to the source and help break cycles before they even continue.  Together with Damsel in Defense, we have the opportunity to empower an entire generation to shine light in the dark corners of the world.

They have led me to work with amazing organizations such as OAASIS (Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service) where I can come together with other warriors to create change in how the world views not only child sex abuse, but the soil in which it takes root and begins to grow.

They have led me to the involvement in the RAINN (Rape and Incest National Network) Speakers Bureau where I have had the opportunity to speak and be published.

They have led me to put my story into words in a book that will be done this year so that others who have visited the dark places I have been can find solace in the fact that they are not alone, that we are better together, and that there is light in their futures.

In the next few weeks, I am meeting with program managers and founders of organizations I would never have dreamed that I would be sitting down and having coffee with.

With all that said, still, these words stopped me in my tracks tonight:

"And as if you need any more qualifying around the word survivor, now you have cancer survivor in there as well.  You are more than a Phoenix."

I never thought that there was more than being a Phoenix, but after some time spent in deep contemplation, the act of being reborn was the moment I became a Phoenix.  The moment when my light shone bright and I refused to have darkness around me ever again.  Now I carry that torch into my fight.  I am a warrior of light, a defender of the helpless, and a freaking force of nature.  I am a catagory 5 hurricane and I'm just getting started.  The more I set free from the bondage of shame, the , the more we grow in strength.  I am a Colonel building an army, but not of darkness, of light.  Together we are a supernova.

This is the road I've traveled.  Sex abuse, sexual assault, abduction, domestic violence, child exploitation...those are all in the rearview mirror on that road.  Sometimes you have to stop, get out of the car, and take note of the road so far.  Ahead of me is darkness.  So much darkness.  I have no idea where this road leads, but I'm not afraid of it anymore.  I will battle whatever comes to free them all.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Yes, Trump is our new president. Now let's get to work.

Today is huge.  It may be one of the most controversial inauguration days in history.  I am watching with open eyes as people run around and smash property that doesn't belong to them, cry out in support or against President Trump, and outside of all that, I am aware of the work that is being done during this intense busy time.

Mindy Lin, Co-Founder of Damsel in Defense and Betty Jo, a strong willed firecracker of a woman who is no stranger to going before congress, are in Washington D.C. right now.  They are in the thick of the most historical moment we have seen in a very long time, and may not see for a long time to come.  They are not there to rub in the presidency, protest, or break other people's property.


They are there because in this country, where we should have the right to protect ourselves no matter where we go, there are still so many states where self defense tools are illegal.  This weekend, they will be rubbing elbows with top leaders at the Commander and Chief Ball and meeting with congressmen to discuss women's safety everywhere.

They are there during a very volatile and dangerous time because they know that the work must start now.

While the rest of you are watching protests unfold and spouting your political opinions all over social media, some of us are there because the correct way to be heard is to take steps to get in front of the right people and be heard.  The correct way to be part of the change you want to see is to pull up your undies, roll up your sleeves, and get to work.

Go ahead.  Trash the city.  Break all of the stuff.  Fight, light things on fire, whatever it is that you people who don't get it are going to do.  Nothing but hate, anger, carnage, injury, and loss of life will happen, and frankly, you will look like an idiot.  No work will be accomplished.  No change will take place.  No one's point of view will be affected.  YOU WILL ACCOMPLISH NOTHING.

While you're doing that, our brave ladies and their husbands will be working for real change and getting things done the way they should be getting done.

That is how you create change.

That is what you should be teaching your children.

That is what you should be known for.

Oh yes, I am watching, but not for the same reasons you might be.  I am watching for two girls to ignite change that will stick by being strong, brave leaders instead of weak angry followers.

That's my two cents on this weekend.  Stay safe out there.



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The story of the starfish

People often ask me what my fascination with starfish is about.  I would like to share it with you.  This is a story of hope and survival and sparking change in the world adapted from the original, The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.  He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work.  Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach lettered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy tossing starfish into the water one by one.

"Good morning," the man said to the boy, "may I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean.  The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can't return to the sea themselves.  When the sun gets high in the sky, they will die unless I throw then back into the water."

The old man replied, "But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach.  I'm afraid you won't really be able to make much of a difference.  Why does it matter?"

The boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it as far as he could into the ocean, then turned to the man and said, "It matters to that one."

All of the work that I do, whether it's in my preschool classroom, at a Damsel in Defense event, when I'm speaking, or in my writing, there is one hope, that somewhere out there, it matters to someone.

When I tell my story, it's not to get my own praise.  It's to unlock someone from the bondage of slavery and shame.  I speak life and write intention without dreams of fame and fortune.  What I do is hard, and it's uncomfortable, and there is often tears involved, and though it sometimes seems when I look at statistics, or I'm faced with a room filled with survivors, that there is no end, but if I don't do what I can to create a pathway out of darkness for those around me, they can never begin.

If you're feeling the struggle of your life, if you're feeling the pull of indifference, if you are feeling like the battle is too hard to continue, if you are wondering why it matters, it's time to stop, turn around, and look at the lives you've touched.

If you're a direct sales leader, and you're feeling like giving up, turn around and look at the team you've built and ask if it matters to them.

If you're a parent and you are wondering why you should even bother doing the hard stuff because it doesn't feel like it matters, I promise, it does.

If you're a spouse ready to throw your hands in the air because you don't feel loved and appreciated, the change has to start with you in order for it to matter.

Giving up and sitting in your own putrid comfort zone is not an option if you want to grow.  Retreating into the darkness is not an option if you want the work in your life to matter, and if you don't think it matters, it does.  It matters to someone.

Keep throwing those starfish in the ocean.  It's hard, it's exhausting, but it's amazing.

Trust me, you're gonna love it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Team Time-Getting ready to build your team in 2017

One of the biggest struggles people in direct sales face is team building.  One of the biggest road blocks in building your team is perception.  It's not only the perception that a direct sales company is a "real" job, but it's your own perception that you aren't qualified to lead because you don't yet believe in your business.
In order to effectively recruit, you have to shift that perception.  

In this photo, I am surrounded by incredibly successful women.
I had this realization a while back when I decided to join a networking group.  I got dressed in my business best and slunk into the back corner of the meeting because I did't feel like I deserved to be there.  These were women who had created products that were in every store from Walmart to Costco, women who owned realty groups, successful coffee chains, salons, and marketing firms.  I didn't feel like I fit in because I was just a mom trying to grow a Damsel in Defense business.

I am the owner of a direct sales business with more than
30 hard working girls who are constantly growing, and they
believe in me.
When I was evaluating why my business was at a stand still, it was painfully obvious.  I didn't believe I was an expert in my field.  I believed that everyone looked down on my business and saw me as another mlm scam.  

Well guess what?  I am the owner of a direct sales business, which is not the same as an mlm.  I have a team of more than 30 hard working girls who are constantly growing, and they believe in me.  The moment I realized my value, I started projecting myself as a successful business owner, and things began to change.  People began to shift their perception of what I did, but it first took me shifting mine.  Now, I can waltz into a networking meeting and know that I have just as much worth as the women there.  They start to see the value in my business and take the time to connect me with people in their networks to do business with, and my business begins to grow.

For me, 2017 is going to be the year of shifting perception.  I will be doing a series of challenges on Tuesdays to help others break out of the mindset that direct selling isn't a "real" job.  No matter what your company is, join me in claiming your place as the CEO of your business and power building the company of your dreams. The first challenge will be  January 3rd, 2017.

If you have no idea what a direct sales company is, but you're looking for a way to work from home, in your own hours, and make a great living, contact me at or go to my website and let's talk about it!

Are you ready?