Friday, October 24, 2014

TV Show Challenge Update 4

6 out of 16 hours of the challenge completed! A delayed flight has a lot to do with this but whatever it takes right? Because I’m big in countdowns, let’s list some more numbers: 
• 35 Days until Thanksgiving;
• 62 Days until Christmas;
 • 69 Days until 2015!

When I look at my goals for the year, I often think, “what was I thinking?” This challenge has encouraged me to work on some of them anyway. I believe that I have plenty time and press on towards my goals. I believe you can’t manage what you won’t measure, so these 16 hours represent action. Measuring your efforts guarantee progress towards success. 

Let’s talk TV! We have Netflix and I just got into Gilmore Girls. I usually watch it when I’m doing my hair or folding clothes. The 16 hours represent two shows that I actually would make time to watch this Fall but I am super late watching both of them. We often sit in front of the TV on Thursdays and although I live tweet about a particular show I am not faithful to it at all. The 16 hours represent shows that I watch without tweeting because I really need to pay attention to. 

Regardless of your TV viewing habits, we all need to pay attention to the goals we set for the year. Even if we can’t reach them all, we can make significant advance towards reaching them. This TV Show Challenge is proof that time will pass anyway, so we might as well make the effort to reach those dreams and goals in our heart. Have a great weekend my friend! 

TV Show Challenge Rules: 
1. Count the hours you will spend in front of the TV watching your favorite Fall TV Show;
2. Apply those hours on your goals for 2014.
3. Come back and let me know how your TV Show Challenge is going!

Previously in this Series:
• Update 2

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Weight Loss: Start where you are

The last time I gave you a weight loss update was 10 lbs ago, a year ago. Here is where I am. 
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Start where you are.
 My plan is to practice what I preach. I have started my food journal, but I am doing it all digital this time. Paper works but for some reason I haven't been able to swing it. I also find that seeing my goals and rewards as I log in my food intake really helps me to stay focused.
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My new digital food journal
Every time I got started on my weight loss journey I had to learn the valuable lesson of "you have to start where you are." I had to stop looking at the rearview mirror in order to move forward. Just so I feel better, I must tell you that in the past year I've been able to kinda keep the weight loss but by the time marathon rolled around I was back at my same marathon weight. Ok, now I am officially done looking in the past and I move forward. Many might think that there's nothing wrong with my weight and they are entitled to their opinion. My reason to keep going is to finish what I started. My goal is to have a normal BMI and therefore avoid a lot of the diseases I can prevent through lifestyle changes. Another side effect: less weight in my joints which will allow me to run easier. After starting where you are, it's very important to know your "why." I have been in this long enough that I know that my reasons need to take these 7 steps to ensure success. 
As far as updates on my journey, I will do them here on the blog once a month. There are a million  weight loss challenges out there and I dare not start yet another one - you know I'm already doing my own TV Show Challenge. I think that once a month is plenty time for you to see my progress and hopefully be inspired to start where you are. 
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A new look from this week. The wrap is a gift from Malawi.
The body you have brought you to where you are. Don't compare yourself with others, not even with your past self. The way you see yourself needs to line up with the way God sees you. He loves you and His thoughts about you are so wonderful it makes Him sing! Start where you are my friend. Know your "why" and take small steps. Thanks for joining me in this journey! 
I don't have a question for you but I'd be glad to take any questions from you. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A non-weird Guide to Biblical Meditation

Meditation is God’s original idea. Christians are encouraged to meditate from the Old to the New Testament. Today I want to share a few thoughts on meditating and I hope you grab some ideas on how to incorporate this spiritual discipline in your daily routine. 
Meditation is simpler than you think!

If you delight in something, you meditate on it 

I remember when a great looking piano player named Zeke Listenbee came into my life. I really "delighted" in him when I heard him singing at a gospel choir concert in Oxford, Mississippi. I liked everything about him: his looks, his personality, his voice. I think the deal was sealed for me when I heard him sing. I immediately started to think about him constantly. Whether I was with him or not, it didn't matter. I was meditating on Zeke. 

Each interaction I had with Zeke gave me more material for meditation. I remember that after the concert we became closer friends so we would talk often. After those conversations I tried to remember every word he said to me. I really treasured (and still do) everything about him. If you know how to fall in love, you know how to meditate. Now that we are married, I still find myself meditating on Zeke. I wonder how his day is going. I think about funny things he said and how that made me laugh. The quality times we spend together fill my love tank while leave me longing for more. If you know how to love, you know how to meditate. 

In the same way, when we delight in our Lord Jesus, we meditate on Him. We think about the words He said as we read them in the Bible. We long to hear from Him during our times in His presence and that gives us even more material for meditation. 

Joyce Meyer said that "if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate." I can't agree more! The outcome of both habits can be measured in results. The results of worrying are very negative and that's why JESUS continually tells us not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34). 

The Bible lists many benefits of mediating in the Word of God. Here are two of them:

Constant Nourishment • “He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalms 1:2, 3 NKJV

The first Psalm calls a person who meditates in the Word of God so blessed that they should be envied. Mediation brings constant nourishment as a tree planted by an ever-flowing river. It brings health for this tree's leaves do not wither. It also says that whatever he does shall prosper. The word of God really has the power to change the course of our lives. 

Success • “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:7-8 NKJV

If you delight in something, it will not depart from your mouth. I am surrounded by people who delight in running and we (I do it too) can find any situation to share our love of running. I used the same approach when I started dating Zeke. I would try to find any occasion to talk about him with someone. My love for him was something I could not keep to myself. I delight in him, I meditate and I share that which I meditate upon. Going back to God and Joshua, the Scriptures say that for then, and only then you will find success and prosperity as well as they courage you need to go where God is sending you. 

As I study this subject of meditation, I'm finding interesting that Biblical Meditation is not about being weird, looking odd and trying to achieve some mental high. Based in these passages I find it to be quite the foundational habit. It causes me to fall in love with my God and it leads me to the knowledge of the Holy One. It leads me to wisdom, prosperity and success. The more I meditate on God, the more material I receive to meditate on. I think that the way to meditate on God is by falling in love with Him. It is by being open and honest and saying "God I want to know you and love you more. Help me to mediate in your word." 

 Let's be a little bit more practical. I think that the simple way to start is to spend time with God and actually think about what you read when you are done with your devotional time. If you are having problems doing devotionals, I would talk to a friend who seems successful in this area and tell them exactly what's going on and ask for help. You'll be amazed at how much you can learn from your friends. I have learned a lot not only by watching people but asking how in the world they meet with God and how He speaks with them. I find that my mentors and friends have been incredibly open, which has encouraged me in my journey. I also hear the coolest stories that way. 

I pray that you are encouraged to give Biblical Meditation a try. If you fell out of the habit, jump in it again and God will help you to fall in love wit Him again as you apply the spiritual discipline of meditation.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Calorie Swap in 3 Simple Ways

Weight management is all about healthy and smart substitutions. If like me you are trying to improve your health by shedding extra weight, you might enjoy these 3 simple substitutions that easily replace a big number of calories in your daily allotment.
I love good coffee and I can't deny

I enjoy a lot of cream in my coffee. I know that if I want to my calories to count, I need to watch my cream intake. I learned to use Almond milk instead of cream and I learned that this particular brand displays their calorie count for me to see and 30 calories for 1 cup sounds really good. I usually use half of that with my first cup of coffee and go from there. Compare that with 1 teaspoon of my favorite creamer which has 35 calories for 1 Tablespoon. Almond milk will give me less calories and more cream.

I learned that making Homemade Vegetable Soup does two things: I get a mouth full of nutrients and I get satisfied. I'm not a sandwich for lunch person but I think that in the nutrition arena, vegetable soup would win most battles. I've used it in many seasons of life and it always, always helps me to stay healthy. I take the simple approach of making a big batch with a mix of fresh and frozen veggies. I season it to taste (usually not a lot of salt) and I enjoy it for a long time. 

I often plan dinner ahead of time. No matter what we are having, my strategy is to practice portion control. When dinning out, I follow the advice my doctor gave me: Salad is your main course, and everything else is a side dish. I like the idea of getting filled with veggies and enjoying the other foods in moderation. 

I hope these 3 tips have given you an idea on how to swap calories in simple ways. What are some calorie swaps that have worked for you?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Seven

  1. Recovery • Last Sunday around this time I was well into the Chicago Marathon, which means I am now recovering from it. Ice bath and movement plus rest are working wonders. It also means that I experiencing a mix of Cloud 9 and sadness. Like giving birth, recovering from a marathon can bring some mixed feelings. One thing is for sure, God blessed me to accomplish a big thing and for that I am thankful.
  2. Alone • There was no one to hug me when I finished the marathon. I had to fly home in order to get a hug from my husband and kids. I went to Chicago by myself and I don't think I will be doing that again. It was an interesting experience and I can relate to people who accomplish something big and don't have friends or family to celebrate with them right then and there. I thought about the many international students who graduated from my school and whose families were far away. I will be intentional about being that hug at the finish line for someone who needs it.
  3. Reality • I hit the floor running once I got back from the marathon. My husband’s help has made it possible for me to get back to reality. I'm blessed to be married to Zeke, he's a great husband and father. Reality is sweeter and more joyful with him. Oh! He won the choice award at our church's Missions Banquet bake off! He made his famous "pumpkin surprise" cupcakes. I'm so proud of him!
  4. Faith • Coming back to reality is interesting because when I'm recovering from a marathon I am forced to answer the question "who am i without racing?" My time with God and Bible reading are fundamental because I am reminded of who I really am in Christ. I find that my faith in the Lord Jesus helps me not to develop amnesia in these kinds of seasons. I am God's child and that's who I am with or without racing. I will reflect more about "identity" in future blog posts.
  5. Projects • Now that I am in between marathons I have time to revisit my current projects. I want to do more writing as well as reach some of the goals I set in the beginning of the year. It is true that I need a mountain to climb. It's actually exciting to work towards goals.

  6. Kids • We are 39 days away from Thanksgiving and 66 days til Christmas. The school year is no longer new but we are steadily adapting to our new normal. Weekends are the most fun because we don't have strict schedules and playing is non-stop. This weekend we enjoyed the park and writing with chalk in the side walk. It is still quite hot in our area and we needed quite a bit of mosquito spray but we had fun.
  7. Meds • I'm getting some extra help with my rest because I'm taking antibiotics. Thank God for the advances in medicine, those things kick in super quick! Thank God for extra time to rest because the Houston Marathon is in 90 days. I have learned that fresh legs are better than perfect training schedule.

This week I learned that when real life kicks in, God is my foundation, my family is the lovely place I belong and I can't put rest in a pill so I just have to do it. Have an amazing week dear friend!