Strong Girl: Anna

Meet Anna. Anna Almquist.

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Only a few people will understand what I’m about to say, but Anna is my oatmeal friend. That’s right, oatmeal.

Mile markers in my college journey are bowls of oatmeal with my dear friend, whom I met days before I took my first class at IU. When we  met, this tall girl with big, bright eyes, I had no idea that we would bond it so many ways. That we would hurt together, heal together, cry together, laugh together. Few friends ever see that side, because it means being raw and real, but this beautiful girl is capable of that, which is a definition of strength in itself.

Our oatmeal moments hold memories of those trials and triumphs. From a midnight bowl during our first Colorado exploration -a weekend devoted to friendship and health amongst three of us girls- to Friday morning breakfasts our senior year, even if it meant skipping a class so that we could eat and talk and pray – each spoonful was worth it.

She has grown so much since I first met her, a group of us young 18-year-olds in a boat on Lake Lemon. She is diving into a career where she helps people learn to respect and love their bodies, she is opening her arms to the Love of our Abba Father and on top of all that, she is getting ready to marry her best friend!

But her words hold the power. Meet Anna, one Strong Girl moving in big ways.

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How does the word “movement” fit into your life, especially any changes that have happened over the last few months?

Movement has played a huge role in my life especially as it has officially become apart of my workday in the past six months.  I have obtained my certification from the American Council on Exercise as a certified personal trainer and graduated from Indiana’s School of Public Health as a Health and Fitness Specialist. I have been lucky enough to not only find something that ignites my work day, but also allows me to support myself financially.

I currently work with clients in home as well as a boutique personal training studio in downtown Bloomington. As a former Division I athlete, I have loved being able to focus on the acute benefits of exercise with my clients in a fun, non-intimidating, and challenging environment.  Movement is fun and can be the healer of the mind, body, and soul if we find the right keys to unlock it. I am honored to have those keys to help people along their own journey of health.

What are you currently doing and what brought you there?

I am building my client base in Bloomington, Indiana, and growing professionally with certifications and lots of reading.  Initially, getting my degree and rowing for Indiana University brought me to Bloomington, but I ended up falling in love with the town and also my husband to be! We have decided to start our lives together here and are so excited to be apart of this community.  What I am currently doing day in and day out is prescribing exercise programs and planning our wedding—I feel very lucky.

What is one goal you have this year?

With my marriage coming up in October, my goal is to build the strongest foundation for my relationship with my fiancé in the coming months. I have been awakened to the importance of Christ in a relationship if it will last, and Chris and I are striving to have our engagement and thus marriage built around Him.

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Currently, who/what do you draw inspiration from? When you wake up in the morning, what pops into your head and gets you saying, “Today is my day!”?

Each morning when I wake up my dog is immediately on her feet, wagging her tail, and looking at me square in the eyes, ready to begin the day.  I say a quick prayer and thank God for letting me begin another day. It is hard to not feel excited about the day when you have this start.

What is one thing you know to be true? What is your statement of faith that drives you to keep doing what you’re doing?

I know that it is necessary to eliminate people or things from my life that do not lift me higher. In recent years, I’ve found that I first need to protect my heart in order to follow out my earthly purpose of serving those around me.

With my faith, I believe that God has a plan for me in every aspect of my life. I read this recently and it has really resonated with me:

Until God opens the next door, Praise Him in the hallway.

I am learning to pray when things are good and when things are bad, pray for the strength to be patient, make the right decisions, and have faith in the path I am on.

What is something new that brings Joy to your life?

Since it’s been warmer, I’ve recently been able to find a really great friend that is homeless, who usually disappears during the winter months.  I look for him whenever I am downtown, and when I finally see him and see he’s okay, I love to sit down, buy us coffee, and listen to his latest song or whatever is on his heart.  Having the opportunity to connect with him and his friends brings me a lot of joy—he is a really great friend to me.

Also, oven-roasted Brussels sprouts bring me a lot of joy.  They are so delicious.

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Anna, thank you for sharing your heart with us! You are such a wonderful young woman, letting love flood into your heart and pouring it so graciously back out to others. Your journey is full of JOY!

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