Beautiful Strength: Renae Steller Bogner

If someone would have told me the path my life would take, I never would have believed them. I was born and raised in Oregon. After I got married, I moved to Seattle where my husband finished school.  We started our family and lived in the Seattle area for 16 years.  

Our oldest daughter, Cassidy, was born with many challenges related to a rare syndrome called CHARGE syndrome, which affects her heart, kidneys, hearing, vision, and more. I really could write a book about her, she has had many operations including two open heart surgeries. Today, her kidneys are not doing well and we are starting conversations about a kidney transplant. She has endured so much, yet she embraces life with a smile and amazing determination. I have a strong faith in God and I see what a miracle she is every time I look at her!

Shortly after Cassidy was born, I quit work so I could care for her full time. We now have three children and I am still a “stay-at-home-mom”. I’ve always tried to lead an active life. I was a cheerleader in high school, and I’ve always worked out. But, I never really enjoyed working out. Honestly, my workouts were kind of boring.  But, I did it because I knew I should.

Three years ago my friend Carol introduced me to kettlebell training.  We started meeting regularly with a few other women. The work outs were so much fun. At first, I didn’t realize how much she was teaching me. She inspired me to look at fitness differently.  I was getting stronger, and loving the progress I was making.

As a mom, there were times that I felt guilty about working out, if it meant “dragging” my kids to the gym, or taking the time away from other responsibilities. I think most moms can relate. I have changed the way I think about that.  Instead, I look at it as an opportunity for my children to see me living a healthy lifestyle. I heard a statistic once that a huge majority of kids don’t think their parents exercise because they don’t ever see them do it. Maybe they are doing it when they are at school, but the kid’s view is that their parents do not work out. I don’t want that to be my kids, I want them to know that fitness is very important.

Two years ago my husband and I started considering a move to Albuquerque for a job opportunity. I thought it was crazy if he thought I would move from Seattle to New Mexico! There was no way I was going to leave all of our doctors, therapists, friends, and especially family. In the end, we decided to make the move. Funny how life takes you where you never thought you would go.  (Take my advice, and never say “never”!)

Leaving my new found workout friends was also going to be hard, I thought I was losing it forever and would go back to hating to work out. When I broke the news to my kettlebell group that I was moving to Albuquerque, Carol told me about FIREBELLZ and that I needed to check it out. I couldn’t believe she had a connection down here!

When I moved to Albuquerque, it was very difficult for me and I felt very alone. In the beginning I was mostly focused on getting my kids settled, and didn’t have an outlet for myself. I finally found the time to stop by FIREBELLZ and I started attending the classes almost immediately. Wow! What a difference it made to find a great group of people in a great gym where everyone is accepting and encouraging to one another. It was the highlight of my day, and the only thing I really enjoyed doing, being so new in town. It’s still the highlight of my day. I have continued to further my fitness goals and I am stronger now than ever before.  I love being part of the FIREBELLZ community!