Frances Marine Davis- A Healthy Path
By Nicole Thurston
Focus, determination, and an openness to bold transitions, 38 year old Frances Marine Davis found herself on her own “Camino” that led her to Macon, Georgia. Born in Miami to Cuban immigrants fleeing communism, Frances currently serves as University Counsel in the Office of the President at Middle Georgia State University, as well as a health coach and yoga instructor for Valor Wellness.
“Ultimately I dream of opening a studio space in the Vineville neighborhood, where I can offer yoga, fitness and nutrition support, and writing workshops at a price the average Macon resident can afford.” Though she does not plan to give up her day job, her lifestyle coaching will become a labor of love for the middle Georgia community. After a significant weight loss and soul enriching journey in Northern Spain where she hiked 120 miles in 10 days alone on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (Way of James,) Frances found her path which ultimately led her on a path to wellness.
During law school, Frances yo-yo dieted her way to 270 pounds on her 5’3 frame. After much research, she decided to give gastric bypass surgery a try, and it helped her head toward her ultimate goal of achieving a healthier lifestyle. “I never looked to surgery as a magic bullet, just a necessary detour from a dangerous road. For me, it worked – but I still have to be mindful about my choices every day.” According to Frances, a major part of her wellness plan includes giving back and coaching others.
Her journey to law and wellness took a few twists and turns. As a toddler, her family moved to Puerto Rico, where they remained for several years. Having lived in a Spanish speaking territory and with Cuban parents, she did not learn to speak English until she was 8 years old. Her family did return to Miami, and according to her, they sacrificed greatly so that she and her brother could have a strong education. “I get my intellectual curiosity from my dad, who is a voracious reader. He always reminded me that you can lose many things, (wealth, friends, possessions, even your country,) but what you know, no one can take from you.”
Frances would go on to study at FIU in Miami and Florida State. She transferred to the Catholic University in Washington, DC to study law. She ended up spending her first year studying abroad in Krakow, Poland. “I very much want to be in a position to help a post-Castro Cuba. I loved learning about a post – communist transition from people who actually lived through it.”
Frances later met her husband on a cruise in the Caribbean. As if fate would have it, she would soon discover someone to spend the rest of her life with that had so much in common with her. That same man was living in Macon, Georgia. “We both graduated from law school the same year, we both spoke Spanish fluently, we had both lived in Miami, we both had a strong faith in God, and the list goes on and on.” Later, she would expand her job search to Georgia. September 23rd of last year, they tied the knot at their lake house on Tobesofkee.
Frances spends her spare time with her husband and stepchild, as well as two grandchildren. She and her husband are currently attending Beth Yeshua International, where they enjoy attending Shabbat services and learning about Jesus and the Jewish faith. She is also in Leadership Macon Class of 2015. “I love learning about the place where we will raise our family, as I meet people who are committed to making a positive difference here.” She also serves on the Board of Directors for Communities in Schools of Central Georgia. “I believe all children deserve a quality education, and every member of the community has a vested interest in making that happen.”
11 Things you Didn’t Know about Frances
1. I get the hiccups when I’m cold (my mom says this has been the case since I was an infant) and never acclimated to snowy winters (though I lived north of the Mason Dixon for half my adult life–DC and Philly for 6 years apiece)
2. I listen to Christian music in my car (and sing at the top of my lungs), and often include worship music in my yoga playlists
3. When I’m tired, I think in Spanish even if I’m speaking in English (don’t go as far as calling a blue shirt a shirt blue–camisa azul–but the sentence structure does sound a bit like a literal Google translation)
4. I am ridiculously competitive at board games (probably why I don’t gamble–that might get dangerous!)
5. I was a musical theater major for a semester, then a philosophy major, then went all “law school cliche” (ended up earning my BA in interdisciplinary social science)
6. I wrote the senior class poem in high school, and most recently wrote a poem I’m proud of the first time my husband sent me flowers (for my 36th birthday back in November 2012)
7. I gave the first media tour of death row in Florida (as a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections during the 1999-2000 special legislative session that led to the switch, no pun intended, from the electric chair to lethal injection in the Sunshine State)–although I don’t believe in the death penalty (in my view, an imperfect system should not dole out the perfect punishment)
8. I purse my lips when I’m cooking (just like my mom) and scowl when I’m concentrating (just like my dad)
9. I learned to swim before I fully learned to walk (one of my earliest memories is of my aunt teaching me how to float)
10. I rode in rodeos in Puerto Rico (barrel racing) as a 5 and 6 year old
11. My favorite thing about my marriage is that my husband is the first person with whom I actually ENJOY laughing at myself