By Monta Cooper

Mom buns unite!

Like many of you during this time of year, I have been thinking a lot about what word or phrase I want to focus on for 2022. I’ve heard many really good and tempting ideas, like partner, diligence, love, gratitude, etc. But as I was contemplating what I want 2022 to feel like this year, my thoughts landed on celebrate. And my mind could not let go of that word.

This last year has been really hard. Even harder for me than 2020. And to be honest, nothing particularly awful happened to me personally. My family and I have been shockingly healthy during this worldwide pandemic. We are living in our dream home as of October 2020. I have a calling at church that I love (doing music with the kids). I am surrounded by beautiful mountains and amazing people here in Mapleton. My husband is wonderful and has a good job. I have amazing kids. Life is good….I should be happy.

That feeling of overwhelm eventually led to shutting down.

But something was just off. It may have started with feeling overwhelmed…overwhelmed with the myriad of projects and responsibilities in our new house, homeschooling my boys everyday, running Strong Moms daily, and just feeling needed by 4 other people all the time. That feeling of overwhelm eventually led to shutting down. I just shut down. During a pandemic that’s easier to do I guess. There’s less going on, less friends to hang out with, less opportunities to go out, etc. I discovered K-dramas, rediscovered late-night snacking, and as a result gained 20+ pounds. Anyway, I guess looking back you could say I got depressed and detached. Maybe some of you can relate.

Towards the end of the year I rediscovered something else….my love of music and fitness. For a while those hobbies had remained dormant and that was probably a huge contributing factor to my shut down. But I discovered some music that really struck a chord with me (pun intended) and it helped me get back on track, i.e. get re-engaged with my own life. That music not only helped me WANT to start moving, but it helped me KEEP myself moving. By the end of the year I had lost most of the weight I had gained in the previous year. But I want more! I want to keep going!

All of this is to say, that this year is going to be different! I want to celebrate the amazing gifts God has given me – namely my body, my mind, my health, my family. No, my body is not in perfect shape, but I’m not going to get it there by sitting on the couch. No I’m not the perfect mom, but my kids need a happy mother who enjoys spending time with them. Yes, I get into my own head sometimes and worry needlessly, but I can focus on what I can control and find joy in the daily moments of my life.

I think of the word celebrate in tandem with gratitude. I want to move my body because I’m so incredibly grateful that I can

I think of the word celebrate in tandem with gratitude. I want to move my body because I’m so incredibly grateful that I can, not because I need to burn X amount of calories and lose X amount of weight. Those are great benefits, but not the primary reason. Anyone who has ever been sick or pregnant (or sick AND pregnant) knows what a true blessing it is to be healthy. The best benefits of exercise for me are endorphins. I feel so much happier in my body and my soul when I move my body regularly….especially listening to good music.


When I first started attending fitness classes about 10 years ago, I remember attending a Zumba event and seeing a woman in a wheelchair. She was rocking out! She was following the instructor and moving those arms with such a huge smile on her face. It was infectious. I wonder if she knew how much she was impacting those around her. I will never forget that.

Last year a close friend was diagnosed with cancer. Another close friend is still currently confined to her bead to prevent her baby from being born early, and has been there for months. Countless friends and aquaintances have contracted Covid or other illnesses. And what it all reinforces to me is, LET’S NOT WAIT! LET’S CELEBRATE LIFE TODAY! We don’t know what tomorrow will bring and we should acknowledge and show gratitude for the blessings we have TODAY.

No matter where you’re at right now in your life, not matter what your mental or physical health is like you can do SOMETHING. You can do something today, right now, to celebrate this life God has given you and find joy in this moment. You can move your body as a sign to your Father in Heaven that you are aware of and grateful for your body and your life.


I want to celebrate my life. I want to get up in the morning with a happy heart because I’m looking forward to my life. I don’t want to approach my day feeling like it’s monotonous and tiring, with a hesitancy to even open my eyes in the morning. For me, including music and fitness in my daily life helps change that mentality completely. Want to join me?

In 2022 I will be re-certifying to teach fitness classes. I personally discovered a love for fitness classes back in 2011, just after my 1st baby was born. I wanted to lose weight, get in shape and have fun doing it, but I honestly was quite shy and didn’t want to exercise in front of other people. So I found an instructor I liked who had fitness videos online (thank you Desree Bennett) and I did Zumba following her videos from the comfort of my home. So it’s important to me to offer that for others as I make my way back into the fitness world. If you’d like to exercise with me from home follow along on my Youtube Channel!

And if not, find something you love, something that makes you want to get up and move and CELEBRATE the life you’ve been given! Whatever it is, search for it and when you find it don’t let it go! Don’t wait until tomorrow when you can celebrate today! I’m cheering for you!

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