Friday, December 12, 2014

Santa and Jesus

How does Santa fit down the chimney?  What if he can't fit down the chimney?  What if the elf loses its magic? Did the angel leave us a note?  (please click here for details on this angel)

The many questions of Christmas.

The day I found out Santa was not real broke my heart. I remember finding the teeth the tooth fairy never was also the moment I found out about the Easter bunny.  I don't remember how old I was, but I recall crying on the floor in my parents room, my childhood crumbling around me.

I loved Santa.  I loved Christmas.  I loved the magic and spirit of it all.  I have so many wonderful memories surrounding this season.  Even after I got up off that floor it was my favorite time of year.  My mom said, as long you believe in Santa he will still come, thus the game continued.

Fast-forward to my adulthood and my family.  My husband and I discussed rather we wanted to play the game, it was a hard choice.  I didn't want my kids to have broken hearts.  I didn't want my kids feeling lied to. I didn't want my kids to think that Jesus was a game.  Yet,  I didn't want them to miss out on the fun of all things Santa.  I really do love the game!

So, we play. 

My oldest child always enjoyed Santa, but has never been as passionate and demonstrative in her belief as my youngest.  My oldest child now knows the truth and handled it pretty well, but I see myself in my youngest and worry about the heartbreak that could occur in just a few short years. 

And now, now we have this stinking elf to deal with too and a Christmas Angel.  While it is fun to watch as they hunt for these every morning, it is more possible heartbreak to endure. 

However, as I was having lunch with a friend and we discussed the game it dawned on me how I can relate the games of Christmas with the truth of Jesus. 

My child has so much wonder on her face as she finds the newest hiding place of our elf and our angel every morning.  She questions the mysteries of Santa.  There are many unknowns in her about how it works, so much wonder, so much mystery, and yet there is so much belief. 

On the day when she finds out the truth of Christmas that is how I will show her the truth of  Christ.  I want to her to understand that in Christ we will wonder why and how, in Christ there will be mysteries, but just like she believed in Santa, the elf, the angel despite her wonder and questions, that that is how she is to believe in Christ.

And as her heartbreaks I will trust that the greatest gift of Christmas will pick up the pieces and increase her faith in him.

In the words of Bethel Music from their song titled "Wonder":

May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feeling like He isn't coming through

Sometimes you hold on to something unknowingly.

I recently became pretty fed up with dealing with my teeth and my health.  I am tried of feeling like I am not moving forward on my journey to weight loss and I am tired of not feeling good.  It is an obstacle in my quest to chase what matters....and I have never been great at jumping hurdles.  I usually trip and fall on them.

This time has been no different in the fact that I have tripped and fallen numerous times, but its been distinct in that I keep getting up and it has been set apart, because of how God has used it to speak to me. 

Recently, I sat listening to Beth Moore and realized my frustration also lies in feeling like God just isn't coming through.  This isn't the first time I have felt this way, but it was the first time I became fully aware and honest of this obstacle in my relationship with God.  I have been unknowingly holding on to this for years...and this has been a break down in my belief, my faith, my journey to chase what matters.  This realization brought tears to my eyes.  There was a person in my past that often never came through for me, I thought I had dealt with my issues from this, but obliviously there was more to deal with. 

I texted a friend and asked for prayer in regards to this.  About 8 months ago we had a conversation about my belief or lack there of....I often use the verse from Mark 9:24 "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

I have continued to process this, asking God over and over, what do I do with this, how do I move forward?

I ended up sharing with my husband my struggle and he prayed for me.
 I posted on social media this week something I wrote in my bible study margin:

Conversations with God are like conversations with people, it takes time to get to the depth of a subject, but once there the words/lessons are unforgettable.

This is what I know is true:  HE SPEAKS!!! 

11-9-14  As we walked into the church sanctuary on this day, we were handed cups and bread for the Lord's Supper. We worshiped, we took the juice and the bread and the words that fell on my heart, brought tears to my eyes and joy to my soul....."I have already came through for you!"

While I have know this most of life, I haven't known it, like I did this particular morning.  He doesn't have to do anything, He already did!!!!!

Am I living like He has come through for me??

Then the message was spoken.  It was about discontentment and comparison. Yep, I often act discontent. I have grumbled about the trial of my journey.  I have complained about my teeth.  I have complained about my house.  I have griped about my spouse, my kids.

I took many notes on this day and remember the pastor saying we often say if and when...when my kids get older, if I get this job....ect.....for me I have been feeling discontent, I was saying if I felt better, if I was moving forward along the journey (aka losing weight), then I would be happier...but God, God already came through. He sent His son for us. It's not a matter of when or if, He already did...and that should make us content!!!

11-10-14  I opened my Children of the Day study by Beth Moore and dived in only to get splashed in the face with my own words.  She writes "As spiritual people, we tend to tie our hopelessness to our belief that God has somehow let us down or refused to come through."  My jaw feel open. Those were my words, my feelings.

Belief is tied to hopelessness- what are you believing? 

I love that God speaks.

I want to listen!!! 

Beth Moore goes on to say "God is your help.  He is your strength. This whole thing is not dependent on you..." She continues with "In His hands, we find solace. In His heart, we find rest.  In His time, we find meaning. In His eyes, we are blessed. In His strength, we're made mighty.  In His light, morning breaks. In His Word, He has promised. In His coming, sleepers wake.

I don't know what you are holding onto knowingly or unknowingly, but please know He has already come through!!  

This doesn't mean that my journey or yours will be easy, but it gives us freedom to

Chase What Matters!!


Friday, October 31, 2014

What's gonna grow??

Since I started my journey I have learned many things about myself, one being that I am stronger physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually than I give myself credit for. (and of course this comes from Christ!!)

On Wednesday I had to have yet another root canal.  I am going on almost 9 months since my dental stuff started.  The stress and impact on my journey has been huge, but I am hanging in and continuing to chase what matters. 

This root canal was fairly simple, but I did have to see a specialist for it.  I planned on going to crossfit before my appointment, but decided I needed a rest day physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I spent the morning with a few of my favorite things and posted this pic on social media.

I carry a cross that I normally hold for things like this in my purse, but on this day I added my koosh ball to hold as well.  I was a little nervous and anxious, but it felt normal...after all, after 9 months I am just over all things dental. I turned up the song "You Make Me Brave" by Bethel Music and Amanda Cook, allowing the words to wash over me.  I also posted about this on social media with this pic, and I stated "I am believing I am gonna have a dental break till I am old and need dentures."

I arrived at the office and still felt nervous, but it was not an abnormal nervous. After I was numb, the assistant pulled off my temporary crown, and I felt so relieved it did not hurt. (This tooth has been hypersensitive since we began the process of changing my bridge.)  Then it was time to isolate the tooth, the assistant began the process and she asked me if I was hot, I said no, but that I needed to sit up.....I was on the verge of an anxiety attack and felt like I might pass out.  I clung tighter to my cross and my koosh ball, tears welled up in my eyes, and I asked to go to the bathroom.  I prayed, I mentally refocused, and repeated the song title over and over..."You Make Me Brave".  I went back to the chair and we began again. During the time in the chair there were 2 other times I became so overwhelmed with anxiety....but I repeated praying, the song title, and refocused.

It amazed and reminded me that through prayer and refocusing God can and will help me transform my mind. What power He gives!!  So many times my mind and thoughts are negative....that can have power too. It's not that I am a negative person, but I tend to worry and think anxious thoughts.

I am currently doing a bible study by Beth Moore called The Children of the Day.  In today's study I concluded that focused emotions can grow and grow.  Beth Moore states "Perhaps you also compared 1 Samuel 18:29 and Philippians 1:14 and noted that fear has an overwhelming tendency to increase even more but, praise God, so has courage.....Ask yourself this question as I do the same: knowing the propensity of things to grow, which way do I want to go?"

In that dental chair I could have easily gave into the fear wanting to grow, but through Christ, through prayer, through transforming my mind, I didn't!!   

It's hard to trust and focus during trials, but if we don't that allows the negative space to grow and take hold.

We can't control the situation, but we can control what grows...Fear or courage.  Strength or weakness. Our waist lines or our health. Our love or hatred.  Bitterness or forgiveness.

All things through Christ!!!

Chase What Matters.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I have lost my marbles!!!

I am so sad to type these words, but I have in fact lost my marbles.  I have been floating around in the river of denial about this for a very, very long time.

If you look up the word denial I am certain you will find a picture of me.  I have refused to admit the truth.  I have not been facing reality.

Its time to quite floating down the river of denial.

Admitting the truth to yourself and others is hard, but it is in admitting it that you find freedom and the chains of bondage are unlocked

Thus, I have lost my marbles.

I had to move some of my pounds lost marbles back to the pounds to go.  I have not wanted to admit this to myself. I have played with some extra pounds since all of my physical struggles (knee surgery, oral surgery, bridge being replaced), but its time to face the reality that I have actually gained them. (it's not a large amount, but a gain is a gain)
I have lost some of my resolve and motivation for my journey.  I am still working out, but my nutrition has not been the best.  I have good days, good moments, bad days, bad moments.  This past week not only did I lose these marbles but, I also lost my marbles, feeling like I was going a little crazy. I had a break down.  My poor husband was not sure what to do or say. I felt like I did at the beginning of my journey.  The day I went to the casting call, while I was happy, I was miserable and I wanted to change.  When I weighed my heaviest, while my life was good, I felt sick, insecure, I hated what I looked like and how I felt. I was lost.  The last few months these feelings have come back, I have slipped back into some old habits, and the mirror of how God has been transforming me has been fogged.  Feelings of depression have invaded places of my soul, making my journey to chase what matters seem out of reach.
The night after my break down I was able to have a grown up conversation with my husband and we both concluded I need Jesus and crossfit on my journey.   While I have enjoyed attending chisel and zumba classes the last month, and I know I was obedient when I took the summer off of crossfit, it is time I get back to what works.
Jesus and Crossfit work!!!
Crossfit works like an antidepressant for me.  It does something for me emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually that keeps me on track.  It makes me better.  It helps keep me on track in my journey.  It helps me chase what matters.
The journey is not about perfection, but about moving forward.  I am stepping out of denial and losing my marbles so I can. I can not move forward till I face where I need to move from.
All things through Christ.  
Chase What Matters.  


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Own It and Power Up.

I made a poster last night while watching Extreme Weight Loss. I have not been able to move a marble showing I have lost weight in a long time (many reasons for this),  but I am still pressing onward, getting strong, and getting fit...physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.  I may not always see it on the scale, but I can see it in pictures, in my behavior, in my choices, and this journey to transform is about total transformation...not just the scale.
So, I wanted to revisit my why and find inspiration to keep moving forward. Instead of specific goals, I went with words. Words that mean something on my journey.  I have lots of goals, but its some of these words and phrases that will help me get there and are my why.   The words we say, read, think, and believe are powerful. They can uplift or tear down.
"The tongue can bring death or life;..." Proverbs 18:21 
 I could have put so many more words and phrases on here, but this is what I went with:

I can't pick out any one word or phrase on here that are my favorites, but as I write there are 2 that stand out today. 
1. Own It.
I have to own the good, the bad, and the ugly. No one forces me to eat. No one forces me to workout.  No one forces me to spend time or not with Jesus.  I have to own my journey, my choices, my actions, my behaviors.
2. Power Up.
I have to power up with food choices and working out, but more importantly I have to power up with Jesus. He is the power behind my journey, my parenting, my marriage, my life.
What inspires you?  What is your why? 
Whatever you are discouraged by keep chasing.  Keep pressing onward. Own it and power up! 
Chase What Matters.  All things through Christ. 

Deep Sea Fishing

In July I wrote a post titled Fear and the outcome and I promised an update on deep sea fishing.

When we were discussing our trip I called Pelican Adventures,  the business that would take us on this deep sea fishing adventure.  I needed to ask questions and hear answers myself...What is the boat like?  Is it safe for my kids? (I really didn't want them going overboard!!)  Are there life jackets?  Will I feel the waves?  What about being sea sick?  Will I see land or only water all around me?  Will I feel the waves?  How long will we be on the boat?  Is it like riding an airplane, if you go out early you feel less turbulence, so if we go out early will we feel less waves? 

You get the idea. 

The lady who spoke with me was kind and patient, sweetly answering my questions and addressing my concerns. She gave me the name of this website so we could check the estimated height of the waves a few days in advance and suggested we book our fishing trip on a day that said 1-2ft. When we were looking at this site in Florida, I doubted I was reading it correctly, so I called them. A young man answered and I gave him an ear full of my concerns and the added concern of news reports about flesh eating bacteria. (which after much researching this is a naturally occurring bacteria in warm, salt water, if you do not eat oysters, you have  no open wounds while surfing the waters, shower, and pray for Jesus to calm your fears you will be fine!) He was very nice and patient and helped me decide what day would be a good for someone like me to go out.

The customer service at this place rocked!!!! 

I wasn't as nervous as I expected on the day we were going out to sea.   I am thankful that I didn't let fear win, nor did my daughter!!! We had a blast, and no one went overboard.  However, my oldest daughter did have a bad case of sea sickness on the way out, but with peppermint oil,  peppermints, rest, and staring at the horizon she was able to feel better and I got a little queasy on the way back....but it was worth it!! 

The water was beautiful!
Our captain.  I also learned that bananas are not allowed on boats!
Apparently in the boating world they are bad luck.  I didn't get a pic
 of our deck hand, but those boys worked so hard helping everyone fish!

I loved watching this flag!

Fishing with these rods was much harder
than I expected.  The weight on the line
made it pretty heavy!

They call this the emerald coast. It was amazing to see so much down in the water, it was so clear! It was beautiful!

Satan wants you to be paralyzed by fear, but when you move past the fear there is beauty, freedom,  memories, and fun to be had.
What are you letting fear keep you from? Are you going to choose to hold the hand of Jesus or drown??
Chase what matters.  All things through Christ.
"When I am afraid, I will trust in You." (Psalms 56:3 HCSB)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 2013 - July 2014

Every Tuesday I can usually be found watching the newest episode of Extreme Weight Loss.  I did not get to watch last night's till this morning. If you have read my blog or seen my Facebook posts then you know I tried out for this show...this season that I am currently captivated by. As I watched the amazing transformation on the last 2 episodes my emotions were stirred, not because I didn't make it, like I felt on the first episode, but just the whole of it. Watching someone move from a place of defeat to a place of victory is emotional!!  Seeing glimpses of this in my life since I tried out is emotional.  I know that I will continue my chase.  I will continue to move from a place of defeat to a place of victory.  (Not, that there weren't a few moments that I wished I had Chris and Heidi Powell for 365 days.....but God has put some amazing people in my life for this journey and continues to do so!)

As I watched the amazing women and their husbands transform the last 2 weeks, I realized why I have loved Crossfit so much of the last year: 

Last July when I walked into my first Crossfit class strangers believed in me. I learned many lessons.
During a class surrounded by people you don't know or maybe you do, you are pushed, supported, and believed in....and that carries over to many aspects of life.

Crossfit has taken me from places of defeat to places of victory many times.

I began to feel confident enough to wear a tank top out in public.
This picture shows the transformation from July of 2013 to November of 2013.
(I am a few pounds more than this pic now, due from gaining some after my surgery in December and hitting a very long plateau that I am still in, but still down 51# total.

I went from being scared to do a handstand on the wall to holding myself up briefly in a free handstand. Even a few seconds are powerful!!

I had  an amazing date for my 3rd 5k.  I could not do this without the support of my husband.

I did my first box jump this year! 

My journey is far from over...I have so far to go...but have come so far.  I will continue to chase transformation!  I planned on going back to crossfit after T25/summer, but my budget will not allow full time right now, however I am thrilled to have a found a box that will allow me to do a drop rate...check out Crossfit Reinvent.  I am also excited to be apart of Fit & Fierce  nutritional coaching and to participate in classes at Rhythms & Fitness.  (I did a high intensity and a hip hop class last night....and WOW, my lungs were on fire and I am sore today!!)

I did use a gym, friends, family, and 2 wonderful trainers early on in my journey as well, that helped me in many ways.  I am a fan of group fitness in general, rather it is crossfit, zumba, spin, running 5ks, ect....surrounding yourself with others tends to make you push harder. Find what you love, find what works for you, and just chase it!!!

All things through Christ!!
Transformation through exercise, nutrition, and the cross!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fear and the outcome

Going through the journey since trying out for Extreme Weight Loss, I have written more than I have in years. helps me process feelings, thoughts, circumstances, lessons, keeps me accountable, keeps me real, and it is a way I can seek and hear Jesus. (I also really like to type...I love the sound of the keyboard and keeping my fingers on the right keys! I know...I am a dork!)  I wish I could do it more, but sometimes I am wordless and often I just don't have time. Its hard wanting to write and not knowing what to say, but when the Lord impresses it upon your soul to write something, you can't help but want to get 'er done.

This post is like that!

I could easily be an emotional mess.
There I said it...out loud.(And yes, often times I am)
I am talking 24/7 I could let emotions and thoughts get the best of me.
I struggle with fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, depression, and loneliness.

That is why over the years I turned to food. In my letter to Chris Powell, I said “God created me a little on the sensitive side with a flare of drama queen, these emotions were handled with food and still are to this day. As much as I showed emotions I covered them up inside, calorie after calorie. I could never figure out how to allow Christ to fill the space that I allowed food to stuff.”

Since I started my journey, I have significantly decreased my abuse of food!! There have been moments, plenty of moments, but I am feeling more than eating....more than I ever have.  It's scary and real. I am still learning how to allow Christ to fill the space!!

So many thoughts, feelings, and emotions creep into my spirit and I have to choose, yes I choose not to use food to push them away, and I have to face them.....really face them.   THIS. IS. HARD.

Then I have to figure out what to do them.  THIS. IS. HARDER.

Emotions have always made me feel like I am drowning.  In a previous post, I said "There are days when I feel like I am drowning...and on those days I want to swim with sugar instead of holding the hand of Jesus."  When one is chasing what matters, including their health, one can not swim with sugar.   In my quest to chase Jesus I am learning to allow Him to feel the spaces and hold His hand, but I easily loose focus and began feeling suffocated and stressed.

Just like I am choosing not to use food, I have to choose not to let emotions take over.

Recently, my husband told me he wants to go deep sea fishing. When he first mentioned this adventure I was not really moved, but when I realized how serious he was, I was struck by fear . He has always wanted to do this.  This time we have more than enough planning could happen.  At the dinner table discussing this, even my oldest child showed fear when it was mentioned. (And that was without her knowing how I felt!!)

She got this fear thing from me. On one hand I am thankful it will help keep her safe, yet on the other hand it will keep her from amazing experiences.  I know what a spiritual, emotional, and mental battle fear is....along with many other emotions.

As far back as I remember I can recall fear being a struggle, but it was after I was married it begin to physically affect me...I had my first panic attack, it was a result of a medication interaction, but it was still a panic attack. I can recall feeling like my heart popped, my chest felt heavy.  I wanted to rush to the ER.  I called my mom, a nurse, and a person who easily brings me comfort.  We both knew my heart had in fact not popped.  For weeks after this night I felt like icy hot had been rubbed on the inside of chest.  I could not sleep and when I tried I would tuck my bible under my pillow. I was paralyzed by fear!

Around this time my OCD personality reared it's head in ways it never had.  I began checking...checking locks, checking the stove, checking lights, checking medicine, checking my jewelry...over and over again I would check things, making sure everything was in its place and things were off.  This kept me at times from just living in the moment and increased my eating.

My husband would have so much fun with my OCD.   I would have completed my nightly inspecting, crawl into my cozy, warm bed, get comfortable and he would say, "did you check your ring?".  I would lay there only for a minute, attempting to control the urge to get up and check yet again, before the pressure was too much and I would need to check once more. We have had good laughs over this memory and a sweet apology.

Fear is at the root of anxiety and OCD.  Fear has kept me from adventures, from weight loss, from doing what God has called me.  It has hindered my parenting and my role as a wife.  It has stolen joy from my moments and rest from my nights.

But, I realize too that feelings are a gift.  I love that I am a little dramatic.  I love that I am passionate. I also know that Satan wants to use that against me...he wants me to be taken over by feelings, tempted by thoughts, and paralyzed by fear.

Jesus made me fearfully and wonderfully.  He created me a little on the sensitive side with a flare of drama queen.  But, Jesus did not give me a spirit of fear.  The outcome of fear is not living. Not enjoying the fullness of life God gave us.

I want to live!  I want to chase what matters.  And I want my children to as well! 

Do I face my fear of deep sea fishing?  Do I allow the thoughts of what could happen to drown me?  Do I allow fear to win?  Do I allow fear to keep me from chasing my journey to health, my journey to chase what matters, to chase Jesus and the hearts of those I love? 

What are you letting fear keep you from? Are you going to choose to hold the hand of Jesus or drown??

Chase what matters.  All things through Christ.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in You." (Psalms 56:3 HCSB)

Look for updates about deep sea fishing in August. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Recognizing God

I am working on a new post, in the meantime here is a poem I wrote many years ago:

I recognized God today
He was in the colors of the morning sum
I recognized God today
He touched my hair with the wind
I recognized God today
He was in the smell of the rain
I recognized God today
He was in my daughter's laughter as she swung
I recognized God today
He was in the voice of my husband saying I love you
I recognized God today
He was in a picture of you
I recognized God today
Did you?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

2014 Graduates, you did it!!

Back in 2007 I had the honor of performing a monologue my friend and I wrote and speaking briefly to a group of young graduates.

In honor of so many I know graduating this year I wanted to share the words I spoke:

You've done it.  You are graduating from high school in just a few days.  I remember from my high school days those last few days of are so excited, talking about what your doing for graduation, what your doing for summer, what college your going too, and maybe signing a few year books. In all your plans that you are making, are you including God?  Proverbs 16:3 says "Commit to you the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."  The footnotes in my bible read: "Still others commit a task fully to the Lord, but put forth no effort themselves, and then wonder why they do not succeed.  We must maintain a delicate balance: trusting God as if everything depended on Him, while working as if everything depends on us."  As you close your senior year, have committed your future to the Lord?  Are you willing to put forth some effort?    Moms, grandmothers, friends, have you committed your loved one to the Lord?  Proverbs 16:9 says "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Always remember the Lord is in control. Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Graduates of 2007 (and now today Graduates of 2014) you have a hope and a future.

When I graduated from high school most people wrote something like are awesome, don't ever change in yearbooks and notes.  Does that sound familiar?  Are you writing that?  Shortly, after I graduated, I heard someone say that we should not write that.  I agree today.  If you have written those words though remember there is no condemnation in Christ!!  Change means to become transformed.  Romans 12:2 states "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will."  We are called to be changed.  Ecclesiastes 8:1 "Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance." Wisdom comes from God and spending time with Him.  When we spend time with the Creator, He changes us.  2 Corinthians 3:18 says "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."  God is transforming us daily. We must allow Him.  Graduates of '07, and today, keep on changing!.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Season Premier of Extreme Weight Loss Season 4

I just finished watching the season premier of Extreme Weight Loss Season 4.

Such mixed emotions...this is the season I tried out for.

I wrote a letter to Chris Powell.

Yet, despite not making it, I have looked forward to this show coming on. I have wondered if anyone I attended the casting with made it??   It is always motivational and inspiring.  I am thrilled for these people!!  Honestly, I am!!!

But, I do feel a little sad for myself!  I feel so far from where I want to be.  I had hopes of being at my goal at this point...but obstacles have been in my way.  Its during these trials I would  love for Chris Powell to say to me "when you can't believe in yourself let me believe in you."  My journey is so much more than physical weight loss.  I am desperately chasing transformation.  Transformation of my mind, body, and spirit.....and sometimes, sometimes it feels so darn lonely!   I have had many people in my life the last year believe in me, but I am currently at an intersection of  doubt and stuck!!  I would really love for someone to push me and invest in me like they do on the show until I reach my goal.

The flip side of this pity party coin is gratitude.  I am so thankful that Jesus used this show as a catalyst for change in my life. I am thankful for what He has accomplished through me. I am thankful for what He has taught me.  I am thankful for what I have experienced and who I have met.  And now, now that I have tasted that change...I want more.

As I sit here struggling with words to express what I am feeling and wishing the scale would begin to descend again, I also know that Jesus believes in me.  He invests in me.  He is calling me.  I know He has not brought me this far to leave me.  I know He has a plan.  I know He wants me to just keep chasing.

Keep chasing what matters.  Keep chasing what He is calling you to.  
He invests in you and believes in you...even at the intersection of  unbelief and stuck. 
All things through Christ.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Happy Anniversary

Monday is our wedding anniversary.  We will celebrate 13 years.   

8 years ago I wrote in a journal about what we did on our 5th anniversary. (I have a few writings from 06 and 05 that I attempted to make devotional like)

So today to celebrate our marriage and to participate in Throwback Thursday I will post it (pretty much as is, but be advised: I have a note beside it that says rough draft and I did say attempted to make devotional like!) 

On May 26, 2006 I went on my first true hike.  My husband and I went to Middle Fork Lake in Red River, NM.  I was very excited, but a little apprehensive, I was not sure what to expect. I don't think anyone could have prepared me.  The area was beautiful, the sounds were calming, but the hike was exhausting.  Every climb got more difficult and I grew more short of breath.  The air thinned as the mountain tops grew closer. The ground was loose, flies buzzed around us...we were roughin it.  Right before the last leg, I felt like I could not go anymore, David encouraged me and we moved on.  I am glad I did not quit.  The sight of the lake and landscape was worth it.  God blessed my journey with the view of the lake. Our journey with Him is similar.  The climb is difficulty, but God quenches us with Living Water.

Thank you David for encouraging me then and for encouraging me now on my journey. God blessed me on that hike and He has and  will bless this journey.  I know I will be glad I did not quit.  Happy Anniversary!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Family's Camping Tale

In April my family went camping.   I looked so forward to this weekend, it held promises of quality time and memories. In my quest to chase, chase what matters I was filled with anticipation of time with my family.

My husband did the planning, most of the shopping, and a lot of the packing...because he usually does the planning for trips, but also because I re-injured my knee and was barely able to walk.  He had taken the day off to finish things. We planned on leaving soon after I got home from work and the kids came home from school. We don't usually leave when we plan and this time was not exception. My husband kept saying "Come on we need to leave so we can set up the tent before dark."

We drove into the state park camping area about 7 PM Thursday evening. As we drove into the area,  there was a big sign with the name of the state was the perfect picture opportunity...I could capture a memory forever. My husband reluctantly allowed the photo op, but said "hurry, I want to set up the tent before dark."  Once we entered the park, we had to drive around looking for the perfect camping spot.  Driving around we noticed most people had RVs and we even wondered if tent camping was acceptable.  While driving around, my husband grew concerned, because he wanted to set up the tent before dark. We finally picked our spot.  We were all anxious to set-up, start a fire, roast hot dogs, and have s'mores. During the unloading of the truck my sweet husband surprised me with a potty tent.  (This surprise goes back to a previous camping trip, but that, that is another story and will not be told on this blog.)  It was such a sweet surprise, I almost felt bad for picking a site close to the camp bathrooms. However, it was very hard to use with a knee injury.

Quickly, we realized our expectations about our evening would not be met. We had another surprise during the unpacking of the truck.  The brand new, got it for Christmas in 2012, only used once in our backyard tent was still in our attic and we were stuck with a canopy.  (The canopy and tent look similar packed away).

In my attempt to not have a panic attack and lighten the mood, I said "Hey, remember that time we went camping and you forgot the tent?"  We do this often when things happen. One of my husband's favorites is, "Do you remember the time you backed into the garage door?"   Yes, yes I do.  At some point these messes will give us something to laugh about.

My husband built a fire, lit a lantern, and drove to the nearest town to purchase a tent (an hour away...that is 1 hour there and back, plus time to purchase new tent....that is approximately 2.5 hours).  The girls and I would hang out by the fire ...however, the fire.... it died.   I tried to keep it going, but I am no fire starter.  My mom assisted via face time with the fire, my oldest daughter demo'd mad skills in lighting a match ( I could not light the match), but yet that fire would not roar.

Where's the fire?
Knowing how bad my man felt for this packing mishap, I tried to stay positive....for his sake, the kids, and for the promise of quality time and memories.  Boy, was this gonna be a memory!!  ( this staying positive thing was hard!!)

With no fire to sit around I decided we could unpack the camp, even with my bum knee.  I looked around the covered picnic area only to see HUGE spiders in all four corners.  These were so big, I was a little fearful. I also imagined waking up to words written in the spider's big as they were these spiders had reminded of Charlotte from Charlotte's Web.  I confess the frustration of the situation was building much faster than the camp or fire.

We decided just to sit in our chairs until my husband got back.
Longest. Wait. Ever.
The girls and I talked about lessons we could learn from this.  Talked about supporting David even though we all were frustrated, tired, and hungry.We talked about choosing to have good attitudes even when things don't go as expected.

When David came back, he got the fire going again (the wood was wet that's why it was not lighting), set up our new tent, and  began to organize the camp site.  Everyone's stress level was roaring louder than the fire and the june bugs were everywhere!  It was was not the evening of quality time and memories I had expected.

We got settled and went to bed in our brand new tent.  After a good nights rest and coffee by the fire the next morning the situation seemed much funnier.

We did have a great Saturday.  I knew this trip held some promise of quality time and memories.   We hung out together and we each spent one on one time with our kids.  During our camping weekend my girls thought  mommy's limp was the funniest thing ever, they called it the "mommy dance".  They like to show me this dance often.  They demonstrate their best mommy like limp and say "oooowwww".... always much more dramatic than I ever did it. And we were all mesmerized by the deer we saw Friday evening....which we would have been unaware of had my husband not gone to buy a new tent....he drove by them on the way out to purchase it.

They loved seeing all the deer. 

Saturday we packed up and headed home...after the girls participated in an Easter egg hunt the state park provided.  This day was a little stressful as well,  there is something about that tween age, a mom with a bum knee, a tired 6 year old, and a dad that did most of the work that spells trouble. Fuses ran short, instructions weren't followed, and parents got impatient.

Despite not having a tent and some stress, I do believe this camping trip was a success. We did have quality time, we did chase what matters, we made memories.  These messes, these molehills (that feel like mountains)....they are what memories are made of.

I hope to make many more memories and messes with this crew of mine.

The new tent.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Slowing Down

Summer is just around the corner. I can almost smell the sunscreen and sweaty kids. 

 I.  Am.  Ready.  Bring on summer!!! 

I will be ready for school to start too, just as much as I am for summer.  But for now summer is on my mind. 

I am that girl who loves each season of stuff as it comes, but is so ready for the next one to begin as the current season winds down. 

I thrive on routine, but love a break from it.

So, until my kids start fighting and repeatedly saying they are bored there is a lot of summerin' to do. 

Summer is for:
  • Sleeping late
  • Staying up late
  • Catching fire flies
  • Popsicles on the porch swing
  • Swimming, lots of swimming
  • Vacations
  • Cuddling
  • Saying yes, more than I say no
  • Daydreaming
  • Sun tea
  • Back porch sitting
  • Imaginations
  • Friends
  • Slowing down
  • Reading
  • Crafts 
You get the picture.

Its hard to do summer like this, when you always have to be somewhere.  

So.....I am taking a crossfit break.

I have imagined the blog post I would write celebrating my 1 year anniversary of being a crossfiter in July.  The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength I have gained is priceless.  The people I have met are inspiring.

However, that post is not going to happen.

I have been wrestling with this for quite sometime.  In my quest to chase (it's my one word for the year), God is calling me to not be so busy.  I just realized this week that includes crossfit. Honestly, I briefly thought maybe I just needed to go back to a gym for a season, but after fighting this through that is not the answer.

I need to be obedient and not be so busy.

I said in my letter to Chris Powell, God made me a little on the sensitive side with a flare of drama queen....this leads me to easily STRESS OUT!!  When the calendar it too full, I tend to get overwhelmed...and this...this is what my kids are learning.  I will pass down enough of my craziness to my kids. They don't need me to pass down lessons on how to stress out.

But, I still need to workout.

My coach at Kodiak Crossfit did say I could drop in on occasion, but for my crossfit break I decided to take on the challenge of doing Focus T25.  I plan on starting Monday 5-12-14, along with a couple of friends!

I am a little nervous about this change in exercise,  but I am thrilled to see what God does through my summer!

And I pray that He will help me be more intentional and really consider what I say yes to and no both this summer and when school starts again.  May the lessons I learn slowing down for the summer, carry over into the next season.

  All things through Christ!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Weight Loss For Warriors Challenge

Ever since December I have felt unstable in my transformation journey.  I let the storms of life shake me...and at times allowed old habits to take over. 

I have not quit chasing it, but I have felt so much uncertainty.  Honestly, I  have let some of the challenges I have faced be excuses as well.  I have thrown myself a pity party or two....okay maybe more, but who's counting??

Yesterday, as I listened to the pastor at church I received some certainty....confirming the challenge I will be starting today...more on that in a few.

The pastor said something about adjustment, and I realized:

Sometimes our bodies need an adjustment, so we visit a chiropractor...but sometimes our spirits need an adjustment and we need to go to the cross.

That is how I felt this morning.  Jesus was adjusting me.  Although adjustments can be uncomfortable the after effects are worth it.  This morning Jesus used verses I have heard and read to tenderly adjust me on my journey.

The message at church came from Matthew 16:24-28.  In verse 24 is says "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

I know He has called me to be healthy.  Part of  following Him means taking care of the body He gives breath to.  To be healthy I must deny myself things to allow Him to transform me. I have to lay down certain foods.  I have to give myself boundaries.  When I clutter myself with food, I have a hard time hearing and seeing Jesus.  My comfort should be in Christ and not food. 

As we read verse 26 "...or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?", the questions asked were....what's the exchange?  What do I want to pursue?  I thought,  am I willing to exchange the transformation and journey Jesus has blessed me with thus far for the false comfort of answer is no.  No, I am not!  I want to be obedient.  I want to follow Him.

"What do I have to lay down to follow Christ?" the pastor asked. For me there are a few things I need to lay down, but as I chase this year, I have to lay down relying on food in the midst of a storm.  I am so much like Peter when Jesus called him out of the boat. (see Matthew 14:22-33)  I have glanced away from Jesus after stepping out of the boat and I have begun to sink.  But yesterday, Jesus grabbed my hand.  He has not brought me this far to let me drown!

I posted on my facebook page a while back "I don't want to become "skinny" to show what I can do. I want to be healthy to show how God can transform from the inside out!!!! Be courageous enough to let Him make me different. Over come fear of what I can't do and allow Him to show me what I can!!!"  - Shelly

This is still true.  I know Christ is in the business of transformation.  I know I can do all things through Him. I know Jesus is worth getting out of the boat for.  As I chase what matters this year, I know He is worth chasing.  I know He wants me to chase health. I know He wants me to take up my cross and follow Him.

So today, I am getting back on track and I am participating in  weight loss for warriors.  A challenge set up to help people in their quest for health, but also to help our nation's heroes and their families. 

Many of my family members and friends have served, some still are.  I appreciate the sacrifice they have made and are making. 

I am honored to be apart of signing up for a challenge that will help me on my journey, but that will help raise money for 31Heroes and The Travis Manion Foundation.

If you would like to help me reach my goal of $350 please donate here.  Thank you so much! 

What do you have to lay down to follow Christ? What are you going to chase in 2014?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

One Year Ago

Today marks one year ago that I attended a casting call for Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, now know as Extreme Weight Loss.

I was so nervous!!! I had just a few minutes to charm them and tell part of my story.  There were so many people with amazing stories...wanting and ready to change their lives.  I would never have wanted to pick who made it! If we were picked for a 2nd interview then we would receive a phone call later that day.  I never got the call and was a little disappointed. You can read more about this day here.
However, a few days later I ended up getting a call back....and had to drive to OK for a 2nd interview. My friends helped make it possible, taking care of my kids, and going with me.  Here is more on that story.

April 2013
December 2013
 After the adventure to OK, I had some homework to do.  I made videos, wrote a letter to Chris Powell, and other stuff.  It taught me a lot and gave me motivation!
I did not make it to the next round, but I was determined to do it at home.  I set a goal of a year, just like they do on the show. 
This past year has been an amazing journey. I have been blessed to work with some great trainers.  I have figured out I LOVE the challenge of crossfit. I have learned more about letting Jesus give me strength.....all things through Christ!!! I have learned that I am capable of more than I even realize.  I have learned to push myself!

I have also learned that obstacles are just part of the journey.  I have had my knee scoped, pneumonia, and major dental stuff since December.  These obstacles have set me back, but Jesus has used them to teach me to chase what matters and not to quit when there are storms.
Needless to say, I have not met my goal, and with the obstacles....I did gain a few pounds, but I am still down a total of 57lbs from my heaviest.  (I was down 66lbs).  But, I am still on the journey and its a good place to be!! 

Down 66lbs
This was 4-12-14
Down 57lbs

I am thankful that Jesus is in the business of transformation. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends. I am thankful for all of the people who have been apart of this journey...there are so many!!!  I am thankful that I am learning to chase what matters.

All things through Christ!!






Monday, April 7, 2014

Chase, Not Just A Childhood Game "-My Messy Beautiful"

What do you remember playing growing up?

The street I grew up on filled quickly with screaming kids after Saturday morning cartoons.  We pretended to be super friends, we played dolls, raced cars, jumped rope, and we played chase.  Running, tagging, yelling, laughing, and at times even fighting.

I grew up around a baseball field.  Many times those of us who were not playing ball, played chase.  We chased each other and we chased every ball hit out of the field....if we got the ball, we could turn it in for a free snow cone. We even played chased on skates at the rink on Friday nights.  

It seems we were always chasing something.  I don't think much has changed. Chase is not just a childhood game. It's been my life.  I have chased, diets, emotions, to-do lists, status, control, negative thoughts, a clean house, and sometimes being something I wasn't.

The game of chase has left me drained...physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

It's exhausting!!!

I am learning to play chase differently. 

My one word this year is chase.

I want to chase what matters.

I am learning to chase Jesus through love and through obedience. In the past I chased Him more out of my circumstance. I am learning to chase Jesus, because He matters.

I am learning to chase health and transformation. In the past it was about the quick fix and the next best diet plan. I am learning to chase health and transformation, because I matter.

I am learning to chase relationships. In the past it's been about a to-do list and my routine. I am learning to chase relationships, because people matter.

I have been changing how I chase Jesus and health for a while.  The journey He is taking me on is transforming me inside out. I am learning that I am capable of so much more. I am learning that I can't do His will if I am bound by fat and the struggles that brings. I  have learned that there is redemption in running. I have learned that I can survive crossfit. I am learning that I can share my stories. I am learning that as I write I find healing and lessons. I am learning to trust. Trust, when there is no weight loss. Trust, when the circumstances around me are hard. I am learning to never give up. I am learning all things through Christ. I am learning that bumps along the journey don't have to take me off the journey. I can still chase what matters.

But, its just been since about October that I have been figuring out how to change the game in relationships....especially with my kids.

I have been parenting by routine and a check list for 10 years. I have been parenting by volunteering for things that make me more busy. I thought it would be a good way to spend time together, but it appears to take me further away. I confess I have even been parenting behind my phone.

The conviction of needing to chase my kids differently has come through many ways. One way is words written at Hands Free Mama. Over and over again I would read her posts and wonder how she became a fly on the walls of my home.  She taught me these words, "Stop! Only love today."    

I was doing a bible study titled Chase by Jennie Allen on the last snow ice day (yep, where I live it's usually ice, not snow that shuts down our schools and roads) we had, I was convicted again.  I frequently chase a to-do list and not the people behind the list. On this cold day, I chose my kids instead of my list. That list was a mile long. My house was still is. I confess it was hard, but the blessings of time with my children was better than a clean floor.

I tell my kids no, more often than I tell them yes. On a typical day after school, I become almost robotic. Backpack cleaned out, chores done, homework finished, and repeatedly tell them to hurry....we keep checking off the list.....and I have to remind myself, its about the hearts of those I love and not completing the list. 

Have you been playing the game of chase? What are you chasing?  Are you tired of chasing it? 

Changing the way I's easier said than done. There are days when I feel like I am drowning....and on those days I want to swim with sugar instead of holding the hand of Jesus. I want to check off my to-do list, stay in the comfort of routine instead of saying yes to my child or something not on the list.

But, I promise we can be game changers. Like me, you can learn new ways to play. Whatever you have chased or you are currently chasing, the game is not over. You can do it differently. We can do it differently. 

Know you are worth chasing a different thing.  Know the hearts of those you love are worth putting aside the list.  Know that Jesus has a plan and purpose for you.  Know all things through Christ.

Tag, You're It!!!
You were meant to chase what matters.

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beauty is in the eyes of God

Beauty is in the eyes of God.
Isn't she lovely, declares the Lord!
See the sparkle in her eyes.
Isn't she lovely, declares the Lord!
I have heard her cries and her laughter.

Beauty is in the eyes of God.
Isn't she lovely, declares the Lord!
Fearfully and wonderfully made.
Isn't she lovely, declares the Lord!
I know the number of hairs on her head.

Beauty is in the eyes of God.
Isn't she lovely, declares the Lord.
Beauty from ashes.
Isn't she lovely declares the Lord!
I will hold her in my righteous right hand.
                                                               ~Shelly W. Jones