Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Health Goals: thankful!

13 days till the new year! I want to do a wrap up on my goals for the year. I wrote a 2014 Goals Update in May where I took a further step and added some Action Steps for my Health Goals. Today I’m being painfully honest about the results and extremely thankful to God for the opportunities I had in 2014. While these are Health and Fitness related, I also set goals in other categories. Here are my updates:

Houston Mile 22: my friends show up when I need them the most!
1 • Rebuild my running base in order to be always ready to run a half-marathon DONE. I was blessed to stick with my running group off season and it was awesome!
Sweet Victory! I finished the Chicago Marathon thanks to God!
2 • Sign up for at least one marathon this year – DONE. Thanks to God for the gift of running the Chicago Marathon! It was a dream I had for many years. I’m so grateful for that experience. 

3 • Arrive at a normal BMI - NOT DONE. I pretty much maintained my weight this year.  
No major weight loss but I'm not who I used to be!

4 • Break my PR for both a half marathon and a marathon - NOT DONE YET. I have never ran a half-marathon and I did not PR in Chicago but with God’s help I will in Houston.  
Running with my husband was amazing. So thankful for Zeke!

5 • Inspire and motivate people who want to run I HOPE SO. My husband is now a runner training for his first half-marathon. One of my friends told me I inspired him to run a marathon. I pray that my journey brings glory to God and motivation to people.

One of my personal goals was to be 'present' when talking to people. The pursuit of this goal made me a better friend and listener this year. I also set to write more qualitative pieces for the blog this cutting down in the amount of posts I put out. This goal helped me to be a more efficient writer. I wanted to read the whole Bible this year and I did not accomplish this goal. I hope to be able to do it in 2015 tough. I am happy with the amount of Bible study that happened this year. I also set Parenting and Financial goals and thanks to God I saw a lot of learning in both of these areas. 

I like the accountability of writing down my goals. I like the stats that say that people who write their goals are more likely to accomplish them. I also enjoy the fact that if I set out to reach nothing I'll hit it every time. 

I thank God for a year of growth and learning. I pray for the courage to set more goals for 2015 that will glorify God and bless others. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

14 Lessons learned in 2014

1 • Don’t forget what you learned last year – sounds obvious but this really helped me have a better 2014. The tough lessons I learned about friendships allowed me to have way more stability in that area. I was also able to actually apply myself to the friendships that God has given me as a gift. 
2 • You can’t Guilt me into Volunteering - New areas of interesting bring about more volunteering opportunities. I learned to ask myself 5 questions before I agree to add anything else to my already busy schedule. If my family doesn’t benefit from it, I can’t do it. Oh, and guilt never comes from God so that doesn’t work on me.
3 • Pray until you See the Change – I heard that prayer changes things but my experience is that prayer changes me. I learned to pray until I see the change. The Bible encourages me to be transformed by the renewing of my mind and that my friends, might take years. This year I saw a lot of answers to prayers I’ve been praying for years in my life and in thelife of my husband.  
4 • I don’t need Balance, I have Priorities – Finding balance never worked for me. I have learned that having priorities is what makes sense in my life. My priorities at this time are God, Zeke and our children. Everything else I need to do must benefit my priorities. I don’t take on more responsibilities at church or at the kids’ school if my relationship with God, Zeke and our children suffer. I only have 24 hours per day and everything I do need to benefit my relationship with God, Zeke and our children. Each season requires adjustments but my priorities are firmly established.  
5 • Don’t be Surprised when Dreams come True – I blogged extensively about running marathons this year. What you may not know is how surprised I was when I crossed the line at the Chicago Marathon. I immediately felt as if God was saying ‘don’t be surprised.’ I planted that seed on purpose. I nurtured it over 9 years. I went as far as adding this goal to my bio so other people would say it. Don’t be surprised by the fruit when you planted the tree and nurtured for the seed.
6 • I’m my Father’s Daughter – I experienced a new level of God’s love this year. As I was faced with different difficulties, I was assured that I’m His daughter and He takes care of me. It might sound simple to some but for me, it was quite the anchor lesson for the year.
7 • God answers Prayers - the amount of healings, deliverances and provisions that I saw God do was nothing but answers to prayers. My faith increased because of the faithfulnessof God. He is who He says He is and to me, He’s wonderful.
8 • Have the Mind of a Servant – this is one of the biggest lessons of the year. The funny thing is that when I think I got it, God offers me yet another level of serving I need to learn. I wrote about serving as a mother but I experienced the same challenge in other areas of my life. I can say life improved as I went to church with the mind of a servant as well as in the other organizations I serve. I thank God for teaching me to have the same mind as Christ who is my best and greatest example of a true Servant.
9 • Living without Fear requires Faith – God has challenged us to face kindergarten without fear.  It requires a lot of faith to get past the first days and all the days that follow. I am thankful to God that as I have the Bible as my guide, I learn that perfect love casts out fear. I have made the choice (over and over again) not to shrink in fear but to embrace the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. Thank God for His Word!
10 • We make time for who’s important to us – I’ve been part of this conversation (directly and indirectly) a million times: “how you’ve been girl?” “You know, Busy!” One thing is for sure, you make time for who is important to you. There is nothing wrong with having priorities, for mine are deeply established in God and family. The thing I learned about potential friends is that the people who wanted to be in relationship with me made time to see me face to face. I appreciate the people who thought I was important enough to bypass the busy talk and to give me their precious gift of time.
11 • Recognizing Jealousy opens the door to Repentance – this was the year I asked myself if I was truly happy for people. When something great happened to my friends, was I really happy for them? It took guts to answer the question and ask God for help. This was often an issue when my friends got a blessing while I was still in line, waiting and praying for a long time. I learned to rejoice with those who rejoice from a pure heart. Again, it took guts to admit jealousy and to repent. God is faithful to forgive and restore to me a heart of joy that can love people where they are.
12 • The best in things in life can’t be bought on cyber Monday – or any day of the week. I’m a social media person so I have a presence in most platforms. The ads triple at the end of the year! I realized that as I look deep inside, the things I really need and want cannot be sold. Love, peace, true friendship and healing are things that really come from a gracious God who has given us freely of Himself. 
13 • You can’t have the Results without the Process – I believe this saying because I have been in different processes throughout my life. Graduating from school was a process that resulted in degrees. Losing weight is another process that resulted in a healthier person. The medals I currently hold are results of a training process. I believe that as I embrace the pain and drudgery of the process the results become even sweeter.
14 • Love People where They are – this year I realized that while people might not be open to my advice, they are always open to my love. I learned to attentively listen to their heart and to love them where they are. The question that most people answer without being asked is “what do you think I should do?” The need that all human beings have is to be loved with Agape love, which is the Love God has towards us.

There were other lessons but these are the ones I can think of right now. I wonder what are the lessons you learned in 2014. Here's what happens when we truly learn a Life Lesson: we actually pay attention the the lesson; We stop doing things our way; We take notes so we'll remember; We practice what we learned. May 2015 be a better year because we will practice what we learned.
13 Lessons learned in 2013

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Houston Marathon Training Week 8

1,500 miles is my total mileage for 2014 and counting! 914 of those are running mileage. I can see how challenging it'd be to cover 2,014 miles but not impossible!  I am 32 days away from Marathon day. I have two more super long training runs til we begin to tapper. If you are a local person you probably have seen these signs in Chevron gas stations in the area. I asked the manager for the sign and he said he'd let me borrow it for a few days. Too bad I didn't live in that area! 
I tried my best to prepare for my long run and it paid off. Opposed to last year, the weather was very warm. I also took my running coach's advice and practiced more will power when it came to Christmas treats. The route was a bit hilly and we finished it in 3:16 which is a 10 minute improvement from last year! Here's my photo. Notice the salt in my skin: it was hot out there!
Any day I can run is a blessing. Finishing 18 miles is awesome!

 Later on that day I went to pick up my bib for the Houston's 12K of Christmas race. Check out the cute t-shirt you receive with your packet: 
We took this photo at an event called "Walk to Bethlehem." The story of Christ really comes alive and we all love it! 
I told you I was going to give you an update on the trainer. We decided to wait til January to start. Now that I'm building my mileage, it's wise not to add too much extra strain in my body. I'll be glad to change things up after the marathon. The plan is to keep training and preparing to rock that 42 K in a few weeks. 

P.S.: There is still time to join me and run the super fun Houston’s 12K of Christmas this Saturday, December 20. They also have a 6K course if you want a little less mileage. Let's get rid of all our extra Holiday calories and support a great charity. I can't wait to have fun and enjoy this new experience!

Previously in this Series:
Houston Marathon 2015 Week 7
Houston Marathon 2015 Week 6
• Houston Marathon 2015 Week 5
Houston Marathon 2015 Week 4
• Houston Marathon 2015 Week 3
 Houston Marathon 2015 Week 2

• Houston Marathon 2015 Week 1
• Chicago Marathon 2014
• Houston Marathon 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Open Book of 2015

I wish I could tell you my family history. I grow increasingly embarrassed as our last name is recognized (for other brilliant, distant and famous family members we may never meet). After all, we’ve all watched African American lives where the illustrious get to trace their history to the shores of their Mother Land. Other than the occasional question, no one is interested in helping me find out exactly what my family tree looks like – no, not for free.

Last week, years of frustration came to an end when a Godly thought came to me. The thought, which brought me a lot peace, was one of simply realizing that absolutely nothing could be done about my past. The only thing God has given me is today for the past belongs to Him.

I found a lot of peace from the uneasiness I carried for years. This does not mean that I won’t accept Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr’s family history ambush if it ever happens. It does mean that I will stop looking at the unknown past and I will start looking to the great things God has prepared for me.

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

It takes bravery to stop being bothered about what happened in the past. No matter how sweet or harsh, the only thing that can be done is to accept it and to move on.
When it comes to Goals and Dreams for 2014, I am a believer that the book is about to be closed and we need to look ahead towards 2015.
I accept the fact that 2014 wasn’t perfect. I agree with the fact that through the ups and downs God was there teaching me incredible lessons. What I can’t afford to do is to look at 2014 with great regret. This act of regression takes away the strength needed to move toward dominating an unscripted 2015.

There’s an open book ahead of you and I and it’s called 2015. I want to challenge you to ask God to help you close the book of regret so that you can totally focus on the new thing He is doing.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Seven

Today I want to talk about the best FREE gift I received in 2014. No suspense here, the best gift is TIME. We are all allotted with the same amount and we can never get it back. I want to tell you about the 7 best things I did when my awesome family and friends gave me the gift of Time.

1 • Time for Christian Counseling – I had two life changing losses at the end of 2013 so in the beginning of 2014 my friends kept my kids so I could get Christian Counseling. That one hour in the counselor’s office helped me to grieve in a Christ-like manner. I also worked on other challenges I had so I am thankful for those precious hours.
2 • Time for Coffee – many friends and mentors gave me their precious time to meet face-to-face for coffee and conversation. I am more enriched, refreshed and encouraged for it. I pray that God also blessed them for taking their precious time and investing it in me. I often took my kids with me so I’m sure it was quite entertaining!
3 •  Time to Clean Uninterrupted – I never really prayed about this on purpose but I often had the ‘it sure would be nice’ thought. One friend kept the kids for a few hours so I could cleaned uninterrupted and I also had time to spend with my favorite person in the whole universe.
4 • Time to Date Zeke – many friends helped us by keeping our kids so we could go out and date. Time with Zeke is always enriching to me as a person but also to our marriage. I appreciate the friends who took great care of our kids so we could reconnect as a couple.
5 • Time for Marriage Counseling – it took much courage at first but I got used to admitting to my friends that I am not perfect and I was going to marriage counseling. I could have hidden the fact of where I was going but I don’t like to lie. I appreciate the friends who took the time to keep our kids so we could go marriage counseling. With the help of God we made great strides into a more mature marriage relationship. I pray that God will richly bless my dear friends for always being there to help in a non-judgmental way. The time we put into leaving shame behind and facing the fact that we needed help allowed us to move past our difficulties.
6 • Time to Run – my husband is the main person who helps me with this. The time I get to go running is extremely important to me, I really treasure it. Running helps me in many areas of my life: I stay away from the risk of developing lifestyle diseases, I use the joints God gave me in a positive way, I get amazing ideas, I get to hear my favorite Podcasts, I get to run with my friends, I get to race with my husband and the list goes on. I appreciate all the wonderful friends and family who help me with this. It truly takes a village giving selfishlessly of their time.
7 • Time to Rest – one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the past 7 years is "you can’t put rest in a pill, you just have to do it." You can’t hibernate then go crazy tired for a season. You have to practice self-control and rest. I appreciate my husband giving me time to rest. This season of motherhood is so exhausting. Only Zeke sees the extent of what I do on a daily basis. Any time I get some time to rest is amazing for everyone. I appreciate him for doing this for me on a regular basis.

• What are some of the best free gifts you received in 2014?