Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Week 2 Day 2 of Doing the Impossible

When I woke up this morning, I had no idea what the day would hold, but it felt like a normal day, however when you sign up to do the impossible, who can define normal.   I got the kids to school and on the way home from taking my youngest noticed a boy running.  I have seen him on several occasions, I don't know if it is his age, his focus, his determination, but I thought he inspires me.  I thought about posting on Facebook to his parents something about this, but never did.

Anyway, I got myself to kickboxing class, all normal.  However, after my class I had to drive to get my allergy shot, despite my music blasting and my mouth singing, memories and thoughts began flooding my mind.  I was not surprised, this week two years ago was a difficult time for me....I just kept singing and let the wind from my sunroof and window rush in. 

I arrived at my appointment and found myself waiting an abnormally long time.  With time my mind continued to wander, not just on memories of two years ago, but on today, on the last few months, on the last few weeks, and on the future.  My spirit quickly became heavy, I was ready to get that shot over and envelope myself in music and wind again.  When I finally got back in my swagger wagon, I did turn up the music and open the sunroof, I did sing, but I kept fighting this heaviness.  I made up my mind to spend time in prayer when I got home.  In that time I felt a whole lot like Jacob, who wrestled with G-d. (see Genesis 32).  I cried. I questioned. I confessed.  I asked for wisdom, peace, and discernment.

I felt better after my time, but not normal.  I was looking forward to my second workout of the day and our evening routine and activities. 

Yesterday, a new friend sent me a song.  She said she was listening to it and the Lord said it was for us.  It was an amazing song, so amazing I downloaded it and the whole album, and the entire album is amazing.  It is what I have been belting out all day.  The artist is Rita Springer, the album is titled Battles.  (Get it!!  You will not be disappointed).

I decided to listen to this album while I was doing my 5 rounds of 4 minute walking/1 minute running. My husband and youngest daughter were joining me on the track, my oldest was having soccer practice and there were several other kids there as well. 

Round one wasn't bad, but each round after got hard.  My knees felt unstable, reminding me of the instability in my life.  I just kept listening to the music and during a walk brought up our group's memory verse for this week. But, I began to feel frustrated.  There was so much noise around me and in my own head.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to be alone.  During this panic feeling state, my husband asked me a question that made me feel more anxious.  During the next walk time, I got on Facebook and posted to my new group of friends: 'Ya'll I am on a 4 minute walk part as I type and it's hard today...super hard, physically due to spiritual and emotional stuff..."

And I kept going.  I was acutely aware of every discomfort...something in my shoe, my laces not tied tight enough, nor tied the same, the thirst in my throat...and then the last song that played by Rita Springer, on the last long 1 minute run pierced my ears and my soul.  

"Our God Is With Us" (featuring Nicole Binion)

Where there is conflict, sometimes we retreat
Where there is struggle, we may fail to see
Our G-d is with us, our G-d is with us, he will never leave

When found in the ashes, we still have a chance
Where there is mourning, don't forget to dance
Cause our G-d is with us, our G-d is with us, He will never leave
Our G-d is with us, our G-d is with us, He will never leave

He does no forsake us, hate us or make us walk alone
He is always right there, stays where He can see the storm
We just have to hold on, stay strong, know He has our best in mind
Our G-d is with us, our G-d is with us

Where there are shadows, He becomes the light
If we go into battle, He will win the fight
Cause our G-d is with us, our G-d is with us, He will never leave
Our G-d is with us, our G-d is with us, He will never leave

He is for us, no one can stop what He's doing
He is with us, and we will see all the He promised
He is for us, no can stop what He's doing
He is with us, we will see all the He promised
He is for us, no one can stop what He's doing
He is with us, and we will see all the He promised

He does no forsake us, hate us or make us walk alone
He is always right there, stays where He can see the storm
We just have to hold on, stay strong, know He has our best in mind
Our G-d is with us, our G-d is with us

These words wrapped me up and held me while I ran the longest minute ever.  I still wanted to burst into tears at the end of that run, but this time it was because when I am feeling heavy, when I am feeling alone, when I am feeling hurt, when I am feeling exhausted, when I am anxious, when I am challenged, when I am in tears, when I am in conflict, when I am in struggle, and when there is too much noise.....My  G-d is with me.  


As I was leaving the track to walk home, I saw that same boy from this morning, and was able to tell him myself that seeing him run inspires me and that I was training for a half.  

Yes, my G-d is with me.  

Courage

Doing The Impossible



Monday, May 1, 2017

Doing The Impossible


I have been challenged by Abby Rike Rockenbaugh with rockthis.org to do the impossible.  She first asked our Facebook group to pray that G-d would start preparing us to do the impossible on April 3 and to be open to where He leads. I was clueless as to what the challenge would be, but loved the part about doing the impossible.  It takes courage to do the impossible, with courage being my one word for the year I knew I had to be open.

On April 6, after a long work day I listened to the recording of the live announcement telling what the challenge would be. The challenge, the impossible, is to run a half marathon and if able participate in her state.

Yep, this felt impossible.  But courage is my one word.  I kept praying. 

On April 10th I commented with these words "Abby Rike Rockenbaugh I was excited to hear about your challenge and then I listened, in fact I listened to the recording Thursday night.  And I freaked a little! Okay a lot!  I thought about the 5ks I have ran and even blogged about on my blog!  I thought about I am already working out and I don't have time to walk!  I thought I can't run (two knee surgeries). I thought I don't like to fly, actually I am fearful of it..and could I get away for a weekend??  Then I think oh how fun this could be!!  You said impossible...girl you were spot on!"

When I watched the announcement video I heard several things that tugged at my heart, so I decided to watch it again and take notes.  Abby spoke of a study that she was doing and in that study it fascinated her how much Jesus walked.  This pulled at spirit.

During this same time my pastor, Trey Graham, has been doing a teaching series titled "A Walk Through The Holy Land"(you can listen here).  He has taken us to various places in Israel, making me see the bible in a whole new way.  He has made it come to life by teaching me about the geography, where stories took place, the history, and where Jesus walked. The visuals he has used have brought it to life.  G-d had already began a stirring in me regarding Israel and Jewish people after Rabbi Dov Lipman spoke at our church in February, but with this teaching it went deeper. (Again, I hate to fly, but would love to have the opportunity to visit the Holy Land and walk where Jesus walked.)

Abby's words about Jesus walking and Trey's teaching, showing me where He walked continued to pull at my heart.  Abby said this challenge was about finding Jesus on the journey, so much of His ministry was on the journey, and basically she reminded me that so much life happens on the journey, not just at point A and point B.
 
Maybe G-d wants to teach me something through this challenge. 

I was hesitant to be open to this, because my initial reaction is, but I can't run...but after prayer and conviction, I continued to think about what I can do.  I can walk...like Jesus walked. It may not be in the Holy Land, but it is where He has me.  And maybe, just maybe the running will be possible again.

Then Abby did another live video, reminding us that this impossible challenge is not about legalism,   it's about today, and it's about the journey, and how it parallels our Christian walk.   It's not a sprint.   I was reminded to take it one day at a time and that G-d provides new today's.  

Recently, I had someone pray for me and in that prayer she prayed about doing the impossible, not knowing any of the above story, but it was another push for me embrace the challenge.  Asthma, knee surgeries, doubts, struggles, and all. 

I am in!  I am doing the impossible!!!  I am training for a half marathon. 

I look forward to what G-d is going to teach me on this journey.  I already workout 5 days/week and plan on continuing with those workouts and I will add 3-4 days of training for this half.  Will I run it, I don't know...right now that seems impossible.  Will I fly to another state and participate with this group of people or find one close to me...I don't know yet. But, what I do know is that I will commit to the training, commit to the bible study, walk with Jesus, and see what happens.

The training began today.   

My journey with weight loss, my walk with Christ, and this training all take endurance, perseverance, inward reflection, changing my thoughts, changing my patterns, changing my actions, and commitment.  They take not living by my feelings, but living through the power and truth of Christ and they take courage.  Who knew when I picked that word for 2017 that I would be doing the impossible.

Courage.

Doing the Impossible.

All Things Through Christ.


 
 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Time With My Daughter

I am a list maker. I am a woman of routine. I am OCD. I am passionate. I am emotional. I am a clean freak.

These are parts of me that come out in my parenting. I often react, instead of respond. I easily get overwhelmed by the to-do list.  I am constantly looking and thinking ahead.....what needs to be done and how much needs to be done.....so much so, I often find myself missing the now.

I admit that at times this makes me miss the relationships with those around me.

There have been many times that I have spent time with my girls with expectations of grandeur, for it only to end in me over reacting and us all stressed.  

I am on complete trial and error as a mom, especially with my oldest.  I have never raised an almost teenager.   I am learning.  Lately,  I am on the side of error more and more. I have given consequences and reacted in ways that may not have been the best choice. And I confess, I am much worse with my oldest daughter, than I am my younger daughter. Maybe it's because we are similar? Maybe it's because we are different? Maybe it's because I get a little more time with my youngest? Maybe it's the ages?
I recently listened to a speaker talk about discipleship and I had the thought; Do we disciple our children as much as we encourage them in sports?  This was a gut punch. Tears streamed down my face at this conviction. But how? We are so busy. My list, her list, everyone's list is mile long. How do we fit it all in? And how do we do it?

We continued to do life and we had another evening of frustration and ended up discussing at church with our pastor's wife a few instances...I can't even recall everything she said...but what I took away was the word relationship and I was convicted that maybe, just maybe I expect too much of her. 

Maybe, just maybe what I see as building responsibility, is a place where she needs me to give her guidance.  If I am overwhelmed by my list as an almost 40 year old woman, I am sure she is as an almost 13 year old girl.  Do I expect her to just take care of it or do I guide her through the multiple demands of  mundane daily living? 

We get so wrapped in the places we have to be and the things that we have to do that we are missing the relationships involved in those places and those things.  We must build and grow relationships in the mundane.  And when we can, grow those relationships outside of the mundane. We have to have relationship, to have discipleship.

How do we build relationship and disciple in the midst of the to-do's and routine of life? 

Honestly, I don't know exactly.  But, I recently had a chance to grow my relationship with my oldest.

My girls and I were planning to do something fun during spring break one day. I was thrilled to spend time them and change my expectations of grandeur, to just being present with them and trying not let a to-do list consume my thoughts.  But, during our week the Lord provided an opportunity for me to spend time with my oldest.  A chance to grow our relationship outside of the mundane. 
We spent the day together and it filled my soul.  She helped fix my hair, we had lunch, we listened to her choice of music, we drove go-karts, played laser tag, played putt-putt, and ended the day with a trip to a jewelry store.

When we arrived at our destination, I paid for 3 hours of all you can do activities, but immediately found myself saying, "Now, we will not stay the whole time.  I have to work tomorrow and have things to do to get ready for that and I have to work out early."  Uggggghhhh the to-do list is always rearing it's head!!

We ended up staying the whole time.  I didn't want it to end.  I laughed so hard as she recklessly drove me around the go-kart course.  We took a ton of selfies. We made a ton of memories, including  losing my phone on the track. We named our golf balls....Steve was hers and mine was Pete.  I found myself present in the moment; not missing the now. When we were playing putt-putt, my OCDness wanted to play by the rules, but she just wanted to play.  She reminded me that sometimes you have to forget the rules and play according to the rhythm of those around you.

It was beautiful.

How do we build relationship and disciple in the midst of the to-do's and routine of life?  

I didn't figure it out in a day, but I know spending time with my daughter was a beautiful start. 

We take a time out.  We spend time together.  We let go of control.  We talk.  We  laugh.  We sing.  We open the sunroof.  We pray.  We play.  We forget the rules sometimes.  We forget the to-do's. We listen.  We love.

We can do these things in the mundane and outside of the mundane and I think that maybe, just maybe that is where we begin building relationship and disciple in the midst of the to-do's and routine of life!

Friday, February 24, 2017

I Heard A Story

I should be working out or sleeping, but I am drinking my coffee and writing.  When my alarm rang out this morning to tell me to get out of bed and get to the gym, I reset it for another hour. My mind would not rest last night so my sleep was practically nothing and I have to work today, when you work with kids you need sleep.  I laid there attempting to get that extra hour, but my thoughts again begin to dwell on the things that kept me from going to sleep last night. I have written before words help me process, so instead of exercising or sleeping, I decided to wake up drink coffee and process my thoughts that are robbing me of sleep and a good calorie burn. I may not get to finish processing my thoughts through my words this morning, but I had to start.

I heard an incredible story last night that captivated my heart. The story teller was Rabbi Dov Lipman.  He shared about his life as a former member of Knesset, the Israeli parliament, and how he got there.  He told us about moments of  his life that G-d connected together,  he helped me understand about the promises of G-d and the Jewish people, and how I as a Christian can support Israel.

The story was educational, funny, well spoken, and passionate, but what pulled at my spirit was the
incredible story of obedience that this man and his wife had.  The faith and obedience it took these parents to move their family outside of their comfort zone, just about took my breath away. 

 I have listened to many speakers, read many books, many blogs that left me inspired, moved, and wishing I could have coffee and conversation with the speaker or author and this speaker is now at the top of that list.  I would love to have this speaker and my pastor at a table for a few hours.

His words, his story left me in tears.  It reminded me how alive and active the Bible is.  It reminded me how we can have differing beliefs and still greatly impact each others life.  

I kept thinking I wanted to learn more and hear more, this guy should write a book, and he has, it is titled   "An 'American' MK"   I have only read a few chapters and his story telling is just as good in the written word as it is in the spoken. 

This man shared his story, that is in fact G-d's story and it left me with a few thoughts:
What would happen if we really looked at the dots of our lives G-d is connecting?  What would we see?  How would we live differently, knowing that He is connecting those dots?

I also thought about the obedience this man demonstrated and all the thoughts and ideas G-d has given me.....what if I acted and obeyed on those?  Not that I have never obeyed, but there are things I brushed aside, thinking there is not a need or I can't.  There have been stirrings in my spirit to do something and I did not have the boldness or courage to act, to obey.

Courage is my one word this year.....I wonder what would G-d would do if I truly had the courage to allow Him to connect the dots in my life?  A dot to dot picture is beautiful when the dots are all connected! What could be if I acted in obedience and faith?  Maybe I would not be courageous doing it, but if I had the courage to act despite my fear, despite my I can't, G-d would connect another amazing story.



What would happen if we truly allowed G-d to connect those dots in our lives? What would you do if you took a step of courage?  What would you do if you got out of your comfort zone?  What would be your story?




Sunday, January 1, 2017

My update for My One Word for 2016


I wanted to update you on my word for 2016; transform.

I posted an update in July of 2016 about my one word, in that post I stated; "I began the year with a desire to transform some clutter, my writing, our finances, my health, and to continue to transform to be more like Jesus.

The clutter is still there.  (So glad I still have 5 months to go!!) 
Update:  Can anyone ever live completely clutter free?  I did tackle a few spots, it's not as good as I would like, but there was a lot that I did got done. 

I have taken small steps toward working on my writing and will continue to do so.
Update: I did take more small steps.  I took a few lessons from Compel Training, I made a few tools to help me organize my thoughts and ideas, and even came up with ideas...but the actual writing did not happen as much as I would have liked.

We have made some changes in our finances and will continue.
Update:  We are continuing to make changes and will continue.

I am continuing to transform to be more like Jesus.
Update: I am continuing to transform.  I did complete a year long reading plan, it was not reading through the bible in a year, but reading certain parts that point to Jesus.  It was really neat!

As for my health, I shared back in July that I began coaching with Precision Nutrition.
Update: I am still coaching with Precision Nutrition.  My year with them ends in July.  I have transformed some physically, but the majority of this transformation at this halfway point has been trying things and learning things...figuring out what works for me.   One thing that sticks out about what I have learned is that I can eat and not log my food.  I have been logging my food in some form or fashion for, forever!! I mean like years and years.  I have taken short breaks from it, but for the most part I have logged.  I made the choice to experiment and see what would happen if I didn't.  It wasn't terrible, ya'll!!!!  Yes, it was hard to lose my logging streak, but it was worth trying.  I felt like logging food made me focus so much more on it and less on my body's cues and I was right. It has been amazing and I can't wait to see what the next 6 months with this coaching has in store.  Here is a recent picture, the first is back in 2011, the second is July of 2016, and the third is today.  I am still transforming and will continue, just with a new word and new focus for 2017.











And that is a wrap for my One Word for 2016.

 




                                                            

 

My One Word for 2017

One word, one year.

I am blown away that I am picking my 4th word. Each year's word holds a special place in my heart. Spending time and focusing on a word makes the year end so very bittersweet.  Leaving one word almost feels like a breakup, but praying and picking a new word is exciting, new, and fresh. I never seem to know my word until day 1 of the New Year.   I think about it, pray about it, but it is not always confirmed until the right time. 

I played around with several words over the last weeks.  I looked back at what has been going on in my life and looked forward to what I would like to happen.  I prayed about what the Lord might have me focus on for one year, but I could not be content with the words I had been thinking.

Words such as surrender, finish, take, and complete have been rolling around in my head, but today as I stood in church, singing, a new word rolled in or more of an idea of the word. (Ya'll we haven't been to this church in months, due to visiting somewhere else.  G-d knew I needed this song and the message today!)  The worship team begin playing the music, it was a new song to them and the congregation, but  I recognized the song immediately, I had belted it out in my minivan on numerous occasions, the title "No Longer Slaves", the lyrics;
 
You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
'Til all my fears are gone

 I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mother's womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I've been born again
Into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

 I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We've been liberated
From our bondage
We're the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God...

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
You drowned my fears in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am a child of God

Yes, I am
I am a child of God
I am a child of God
Yes, I am
I am a child of God
Full of faith
Yes, I am a child of God
I am a child of God

 I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
 
 
(I recommend purchasing this song, all versions, as soon as your done reading this!)
 
I have been struggling with some fear, some anxiety.  This song wrapped my soul in comfort, I am no longer a slave to fear.  I looked up antonyms to fear and that is how I received my word. 
 

Courage

I need courage to write.  I need courage to parent. I need courage to be a child of God. I need courage to say no. I need courage to say yes.  I need courage to finish my year of coaching. I need courage to keep fighting for my weight loss/health journey. I need courage, because sometimes the fear gets to me.  I need courage, because anxiety is heavy.  I need courage because asthma and allergies make it hard to breath. I need courage for friendships. I need courage for family.  I need courage to tackle life ya'll!!
 
 

I am no longer a slave to fear.

I am a child of God.

 

One word.

One year.

Courage.

 


Monday, July 18, 2016

Transform Update





My one word this year is transform. I wrote about this word, making a choice to begin Weight Watchers, and a yoga program back in January.

I began the year with a desire to transform some clutter, my writing, our finances, my health, and to continue to transform to be more like Jesus.

The clutter is still there.  (So glad I still have 5 months to go!!)

I have taken small steps toward working on my writing and will continue to do so.

We have made some changes in our finances and will continue.

I am continuing to transform to be more like Jesus.

As for my health, that is the main focus of this post.

As firmly as I made the choice to begin Weight Watchers and the yoga program.  I have made the choice to quit both. Very soon after starting the yoga program I realized I did not enjoy it.  I want more stretching and less isometric movements. And as for Weight Watchers, I have nothing negative to say about it, but nothing works if you don't work it......and I didn't work it well. 

I have shared that I am an emotional eater. Food is my drug of choice.  I have shared struggles with health and eating. I have confessed that at times I binge eat.  I have on several occasions in the last few months. I recently took pictures of one particular binge, but deleted them days later....too embarrassed by what they showed.  I don't recall exactly why I binged on this particular day, I am sure I was feeling tired, tired of being tired, and tired of being sick.  I have dealt with one thing after another with my physical health since 2012.  This time was chronic issues with sinus, allergies, and asthma that were keeping from just about everything.  It is hard for me to not be all or nothing when it comes to eating well and working out.  Back to the binge, on this day I drove to the store and purchased 2 kinds of chips, 3 boxes of something sweet, a coke, and made a pb&j. (I did not eat everything and I covered what was left in the trash....that is an issue ya'll)  As I ate I watched a show about people weighing over 600 pounds.  
 
 Gari Meacham author of Truly Fed says, "This may seem extreme, but when we're deep in the throes of a binge, purge, or starvation cycle, common sense is lost, and we robotically cling to the bizarre behavior we hate. It's as though we lay the food on an altar-or countertop or table- and worship the momentary taste or the way it make us feel."

As I watched this show and lost my common sense I heard a woman's story that I could identify with.  She reminded me of myself.  Gari Meacham writes, "something in the past has pushed us toward our unhealthy relationships with food." 

I listened to their stories as I stuffed my frustrations with food a new light went off about my journey.

I need more help, more accountability, more Jesus, and  more self trust.

I need less excuses and less inconsistency.

When I tried out for Extreme Weight Loss I had to get introspective about my issues with food, in fact I made so much progress.

But, as health and emotional challenges came I did not know how to juggle it all. 

I have ended up gaining all the weight back. The first picture is in 2011, the second is yesterday 7-17-16.  There is a 4.5lb difference. I weigh more now than I did in 2011.  The heaviest I have ever been. 



















 From a numbers perspective I am starting over, but from an emotional, mental, and spiritual perspective I have gained so much since trying out for the show in 2013 that with a little more introspection, a lot more accountability, and more prayer I know I will  transform my health in the last 5 months of this year and over the next year.

Realizing I need more help I have begun attending counseling sessions to help process food issues and as of today I start a year long coaching program with Precision Nutrition.  I can't wait to see where I am next July 18th. 

I began a page on social media after trying out for Extreme Weight Loss to hold myself accountable and meet others on this journey to health.  I have found that when I don't post much, I am not exercising as much or eating as well.  I also found myself feeling a little self-conscious about posting selfies, food, workouts ect....because this journey is not all about me!  It is the transforming work of Christ in me that keeps me fighting on this journey, but I also know that through the sharing of stories we can help each other. 

Whatever you addiction, issues, or struggle Jesus can bring healing.  

Transform.

One Word.

One Year. 

All Things Through Christ.