Thursday, July 2, 2015

How I deal with Frustration: the Avenue of Hope

I want to tell you about the solution I found to deal with frustration in a healthy and creative way. I created a file called "1 Idea per Day." Here is how it works: every day, I try to come up with a new idea. I can be whatever: a topic for a book, a business idea, a solution for a common problem, etc. The goal is to deal with frustration with creativity. The higher the idea, the better. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to leave your mind and make it to paper (or the digital file).
Instead of drowning in dread, I put my imagination and creativity to work on demand and I fill that file with new ideas. It has been a great exercise of encouragement. I still get frustrated a lot but I have found hope when I exercise my creativity instead of my frustration. 

I know that being upset about different things is part of life, but what you do after that first reaction is totally on you. By taking this step you are creating yet another avenue of hope by filling this "1 new idea per day" file with brilliant inventions. 

Your creative mind will not be taken away from you my friend. It's up to you to put it to good use. I want to encourage those who feel like they are at the end of the road. The ideas you write down just might be light you're looking for.

Let me know if this works for you my friend.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chevron Houston Marathon 2016 Training Week 1

First run of the year!
New beginnings are the best. Last Saturday I started my third season with Fort Bend Fit. I thank God for Fort Bend Fit, they have helped me achieve my goal of running marathons injury-free. We begin training 29 weeks prior to the Chevron Houston Marathon. Our group can truly help people build their running base in order to achieve such a big goal. They also include other distances in the mix. Many people train for 5K, 10K, half marathon and everything else under and above that. For example, there is an ultra marathon happening in our neck of the wood in December and I know a couple of our members always participate.

New beginnings also mean that I get to take an honest look in the previous marathons and I get to make a decision on my training strategy. I have consulted with my doctor (which is very important to everyone) as well as my running coaches and I feel confident in my approach to this new season of training. Here’s what I’m planning:
A few of our running buddies and our coach (in yellow).
We've made some great friends at Fort Bend Fit.

  • Lose the extra weight - running with less weight will greatly impact my performance and health. So far I’m doing great. You can read my 100 days of Food Journaling series for updates. I will also tell you that I believe in fueling my body well for running and life, so trust me, I’m choosing the best nutrients to do the job and I can see that the extra weight will continue to go away (forever).
  • Fuel differently - I have trusted energy gels to fuel my first 3 marathons and I’ve done well with them. This year I will attempt to fuel my long runs with real food. While you will not see me running with a sweet potato and peanut butter, I am planning on trying real foods that contain the same amount of calories and nutrients. I know several people in the running group who eat real food during long runs. I’ll be asking a lot of questions. And please stop me if you see me running with a picnic basket. Haha!
  • Run at least 2 races prior to the big day - we have a warm-up series prior to the marathon and I am planning on running at least 2 of the 3 races. I hope that they will be both fun and educational. Fun because I never take myself too seriously and educational because I will be able to see how my training changes are going.
  • Speedy Cross Training  - I always cross train but I have never included speed training in the mix. Partly because most people do it in the evening, which do not work for me, and partly because I honestly do not know what to do. I talked to a friend and my plan is to get started asap and just get in the habit of doing that. I am not expecting to win any prizes for this but I am expecting to see improvements in my own pace.
There are more things but these are my major goals for now. I am counting on God’s help to get me through this epic year. This year my husband will run his second half marathon and first Aramco Houston Half Marathon. He is fundraising for Bel Inizio, which is a charity that helps disadvantaged women develop self-confidence and life skills through fitness and nutrition. The Houston Marathon is on our wedding anniversary, which will make it for an even more epic event for us! Should we wear matching outfits? Just kidding. Well, we might.

I hope you are having a great day. Happy July to you!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tools of the Food Journaling Trade

I received a great question about journaling from a friend on Facebook, but first, here is my 21 day update photo: 
I can see the change finally showing up! I will not lie, I was discouraged at times but I kept pressing on. Visible changes encourage us but great lessons happen when we decide to persist and follow thru with our plan. I guess I'll stick with this 100 Days of Food Journaling plan! 

My friend asked me if I had suggestions on electronic ways to journal while going through a food and exercise wellness journey. I have 3 suggestions for digital journaling that may work for you: 

• Day One App - this app has a nice design and it is easy to use. It also allows you to add a multimedia sphere to your journaling such as photos. This is my least used app but I do have it on my phone just in case I need somewhere to write. 

• Evernote - I use Evernote to take notes at Merry Ministries. I also use it to write blog posts. I have book ideas there as well as other things. Evernote is also known as a productivity app so you can totally make it work for journaling while on your health journey. 

• Google Docs - I am currently using Google Docs to document my 100 Days of Food Journaling. I like the versatility and I love the fact that I can use both the web and app version. I use this app daily to journal and write other things. I totally approve it!

One thing you need to be mindful is that you need to have access to your digital journal at all times so be sure that any option you choose has an offline version (I know Evernote does). 

The question I pondered on during these last 10 days was "How different will my life be at day 100 and what can I do today to propel that difference?" I believe that by day 100 I will be feeling much better physically. I will also have a well established habit of making the best choices for my health. I can keep journaling, drinking all the water I need for the day, resting and exercising accordingly in order to make that happen. Change will come because I am preparing to succeed. I just need to persist. 

A last note on my change: I'm dropping pounds off slowly for many reasons. I am happy to be losing weight at this rate rather than quickly. I've experienced quick weight loss before and the problem is that those fleeting pounds came back with a vengeance. This time I want to establish and keep the habits that will propel me forward to greater and lasting wellness. 

I hope today's post was helpful to you. Join me at my Hope Health Support Group on Facebook if you would like to have a group of friends in the journey to encourage you. Also leave me a comment with any questions about my process. I'd love to answer your questions!

Previously in this series:
Day 1
Day 11

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Seven

The summer is in full swing and if you are looking for ideas of what to do, I have a couple of things we’ve been doing (or will do).

1 • Vacation Bible School (VBS) - most churches are offering VBS this summer. It is the highlight of our summer to be honest. I love the way kids learn the Gospel during that week and I appreciate all the lessons God teach me as I volunteer.  
2 • Pinterest Projects - If like me, your boards are overflowing with stuff, try to get some of them done during the summer. The projects with photo or video tutorials are confidence boosters for sure.
3 • Library Reading Challenge - I love the Public Library and their reading challenges for children and adults. Even if you don’t take the challenge, it’s worth making a trip over to get some new books and resources. I’d also ask the librarians for suggestions of books that will help the kids to excel in reading.
4 • Splash Pads - playing in the water is plain fun and we won’t be doing a lot of it in the fall and winter. Splash Pads are part of summer, as long as the kids enjoy them.
5 • Family Friendly Races - a lot of 5K races take place during the summer. These races often offer some type of kid friendly race, which is a great way to introduce kids to the sport. A lot of them also give the kids a medal. If you don’t want to do the race thing, take your kid to the park and go for a fun run.
6 • Teach Something - You have a talent that no one else has. Teach that to your kids. Whether you speak a foreign language or practice an art, teach something to your kids. The important thing is to spend time together empowering your kids to succeed. My goal is to improve my kid’s Portuguese this summer and get them running more often.
7 • Boredom - boredom is good because that’s when creativity starts. Don’t be afraid of turning off every screen and letting the kids figure out life by themselves. After they complain for a little while they will get over it and find something creative to do. I love the moment they become creative and think for themselves, just as God intended.

I pray you have an amazing summer! Another way of getting some fun into the summer is creating or joining a Summer Camp Coop. Have a fun and creative week!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Cute Dress

The dress looked cute. Not too conservative, not too contemporary. It was going to be the right one for my first job interview in 10 years. I was going to choose some happy, colorful summer pants and a black shirt but I thought I needed to look extra professional. After Facetiming with my husband I made the final decision on the cute dress. To make matters better, it was $10 cheaper than the sale price.

I took the dress home and my almost kindergartner thought it was a night gown. One of the old school ones that Mama Walton wore right before she said “Good night John Boy!” I told her it was a great observation, but that was my new, cute dress. I hung the dress in my closet, relieved that I was closer to getting done with that job interview.

The following morning I drank two cups of dark roast coffee with almond milk. There was no time for breakfast. I didn’t want a heavy meal to be seen under that cute interview dress. My idea of an outfit worked: low shows, the necklace I got for under $2 at the Goodwill and bracelets that different friends gave me. I felt as if I was carrying a little piece of each friend with me as I accessorized my cute dress. Off we went. It took me a whole Podcast to get there and I was feeling excited. I proceeded to get out of the parking garage just to find out I was lost. I got back in my car after asking for directions and found the right place.

It felt good to be there. Almost as if I belonged. I proceeded to find the reception area. I saw a lot of different people there waiting to be helped. The whole place was under construction and there was  an impecunious vibe about it. I know hopelessness when I see it and I pray that feeling changed once those sweet people got to the other side of that waiting room.

I made it to the receptionist who tried to find the person with whom I had the appointment. I was told to wait. After a few minutes she passed by the reception area with an opulent air about herself. She gave me the feeble hand shake, the one you give when you’re really not trying to touch someone. She looked at me up and down with a demeaning look. She glanced at the cute dress but she could not belittle me: I’m allergic to pretentiousness, mostly due to my acceptance in the Beloved.

She proceeded to explain I made an error, all with a defensive tone. I joyfully reminded her of the unanswered email and phone call from the day before. She paused, a dry apology followed. I received it with the joy of the Lord. I was looking her in the eyes and I had appreciation. She told me they had moved on to other candidates. Before she breathed again, I said “that’s what I came here to hear, thank you for your time and have a blessed day.”
I didn’t feel my cute dress on the way home. That feeling of newness and expectation stayed in that waiting room, with those people without hope. All I could feel was my heart beating underneath the cute dress and my vision opening up like never before.

I got back to my senses when a friend led me to pray and thank God for answering prayers. All I could do was agree and say Amen. I hung my dress backwards in my bathroom and I put on my t-shirt and comfortable pants. The dress still looks cute and the woman who owns it is a little bit stronger after accepting that a big No is God’s way of telling her the greater Yes He has in mind is the best way to go.