Thursday, October 17, 2019

Podcast Introduction

Here is my first podcast!
I hope you Listen, subscribe and share!

God's Resources

I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’m reading the Bible in a Year. I’m listening to audio books. I’m reading with the kids. I’m also reading two other hard copy books. I enjoy reading and I decided to make room for it in my life. 

I remember going through a difficult problem a while ago. Instead of complaining about it, throwing a fit and posting a rant on the Internet, I challenged myself to read (or listen to) 25 books. So far, I’ve surpassed this number. 

Giving myself to reading allowed my mind to focus on learning something good instead of complaining. It is tempting to allow my humanity to take over. 

I am really good at being a human. I can throw a pity party like no other. The problem is that no one will attend. The problem is also that I have to do all the clean up after the party. Yuck. 

I know that in my humanity, I also have a spirit. I know that no matter how I feel, I need to follow the truth. Not my truth but God’s. I choose to go with His unfailing truth. 

I wish I could tell you that all my problems could be fixed with spiritual discipline alone. Sometimes, God leads us to do other things. 

One time, I was feeling super sick. While the church prayed for me, I went to the doctor. She told me either I fix my health habits or I’d die young. Well, you just discovered why I get up early to run. Through God’s providence, I found healing and restoration in the medical practice, medicine and a major lifestyle change. 

At the same time, I'm the person who has been supernaturally healed. More than once. I also have family members who have been healed supernaturally. God is able to do both. It is up to me to believe, listen and obey. 

During that time, I became a self-proclaimed expert in stress management. I studied the causes, natural solutions and I can say that I manage stress better than before. It started with prayer. God led me to His Word, His wisdom and His wonderful resources. 

His word brings incredible refreshment to my life. I love Bible study not because I want to be the ‘know it all Bible student’ but because of the refreshment my soul feels. 

God’s wisdom leads me to things such as a doctor’s office. I make and keep my appointments. I pray that God will give them wisdom to solve my problems. I do what they tell me to do. One time, my doctor told me to stop at the farmer’s market on the way home, buy some greens and drink more water. I followed her advice and felt much better. God’s wisdom has led me to set up counselor appointments so I can work out my problems. Going to the Christian counselor is one of the best things I’ve done with my time. 

God’s resources are the best. I count exercise as one. Movement does wonders for the body and the mind. I count ideas as resources from God. A few years ago I was having a challenging time with a few relationships in my life. I’d pray, exercise, read the Bible… Yet the problems continued. One day, God gave me a simple idea I started applying every time I saw that particular person. It was life changing. The burden I felt lifted and I felt empowered to face that situation. God gives us resources because He cares and He is good.   

I will always seek God first when I have problems. I will also apply myself to read and study the Bible. I will lean on His wisdom and look for His resources. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MWLISS: holiday goals

Most people press pause on their goals during the holiday. We're not most people. We are eager to reach our goals for the year, so we are going to keep going.
The Holiday season can be a major barrier to the goals you set for yourself in January. My health goal is to arrive at a healthy BMI. The season presents itself with all types of rich foods and alack of activity.
While being kind to yourself and not sacrificing the joy of the season is important, we can't hijack the goals we set for ourselves.

Over the years, I’ve practiced different these three different approaches:
Forget about it: treat yo self non-stop and gain weight
Think about it: maintain the weight loss you had thus far.
Be fierce: lose weight during the holidays.
The last two options are the best ones in my opinion.

Forget about it - Family holiday gatherings were not easy. I knew I was stepping into a stressful situation. Thanksgiving was also my favorite season of the year. I decided to eat my feelings. A year later, I calculated how many calories I ingested during that meal. Three thousand. I can confidently tell you that those calories did not solve my problems. The “forget about it” approach did not work because it did not improve my health and it did not solve the root of my relationship issues. The solution was education. I was taking a nutrition class a year later, and the teacher encouraged us to calculate how many calories we were putting on our plate. The truth can help you more than it can hurt you. Seeing that number was the catalyst for change.

Think about it - The subject of weight is almost inevitable in a family situation. That year, I lost a significant amount of weight. Everyone noticed and asked me what I did. I was at a good weight, my lowest in a long time, and I wanted to maintain it. Weight maintenance during the holidays means that I need to practice self-control. It means that I can’t overeat. It also means that my focus needs to be on finding ways to move and find peace in the midst of chaos. The solution was being okay with the amount of nutrition my body needed to thrive each day. Peace was a great ally in this situation.

Be fierce - This is the most difficult approach of the three. Losing weight during the holiday season feels like swimming against a strong current. My mental game was strong that year. It was resolved: I was losing weight. I counted all my Weight Watchers points. I called a local gym and got a free pass in order to exercise. I attended a local Weight Watchers meeting. The scale did not disappoint: I lost weight! It is not easy to lose weight in the holiday season but I can tell you that it is possible. The solution was to plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.

This holiday season we are going to focus on what’s important. God, family and health. I hope you choose the right approach for yourself. You can reach your goals. It just takes thought and preparation.

WW start weight: 175 lbs
Current: 153 lbs
First Goal: 150 lbs
Second Goal: 146 lbs
Third Goal: 136 lbs

Previously in this Series:
• First week of WW
WW Speak
• Premeditated Portion Control 
• Weights and Measures
• Time
• Carbs & WW
• Proof of Weight Loss
• Why I started
• Fear
• Daily Choices

Monday, October 14, 2019

Practicing our Purpose: Fall Traditions

Thanksgiving season in 2013
We woke up early on move-in day. We had been familiar with our new house for exactly 15 hours (8 of which were dedicated to sleeping in a hotel).
When the movers came in, my job was to get the kids to help with the items we had in our cars. My job was also to keep them out of the way so my husband and the movers could work uninterrupted.

Arriving at a new community colors every aspect of your life, fall traditions included. Traditions are things we repeat year after year. This Fall, I realized that our family cares about things that are eternal. Eternal things are not seasonal but we manage to work them in our Fall Traditions.

I came back with the kids after a productive time running errands. I noticed the kitchen table was where it was supposed to be. I proceeded to focus on what is really important to us: connecting around the dinner table.

I found the Fall decor. I also bought the scented candles we light once a year. As a Christian family, we live in a world that is celebrating Fall but we go through every season with eternity in mind.

The goal of the Fall decor, the trip to the pumpkin patch and the warm soup in the slow cooker is to connect us as a Christina family. I see each moment as an opportunity to think about the eternal, long-term picture. I want the kids to remember how much we love them and how much God loves them. I want them to know God. I want them to know how to grab a hold of Him for themselves. I also want them to know and love God’s word.

Here are a few practical ways we practice our purpose during the Fall:

We enjoy warmer and heavier foods during this season. While we put some effort into the cooking part, the goal is to connect as a family around the dinner table. We’ve been waiting for a long time to have chili so we had it last night with cornbread and all the fixings.
We teach what the Bible has to say about thanksgiving. Years ago, I decided I can’t wait until Thanksgiving week to both model and teach on the subject. We start early because it is a priority for daily living.
We teach Christmas hymns. Some timeless, theologically sound Christmas hymns have been written. We teach those lyrics ahead of time. We use YouTube as a resource, where you can find kid-friendly lyric videos. We love all hymns and we teach them to the kids. I find that we enjoy the Christmas season more if we know the lyrics of the hymns we hear in different concerts and presentations.
We celebrate family. We have always lived far away from family. The Fall is when we get together with a lot of our extended family. My husband’s birthday is also in the Fall. We focus on celebrating him well. This is another principle we teach. We want the kids to know and practice the value of celebrating others well. It takes a heart attitude. It also takes planning and practice.
We have a few Thanksgiving-themed books we read each year. Reading is something we encourage on a daily basis. I believe that books awaken and enhance the imagination in a Godly way.
We do decorate for the Fall. We try to do it early and I save my decor from year to year. I started decorating when one of my kids asked about it. She was a little toddler and I thought, why not make the house festive for the Fall? I don’t go all out but it is decorated enough that we know there is something special about this season.

For other practical ways to practice your purpose during this season, reach Sally Clarkson’s "The Lifegiving Home."

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Seven

1 - Lately, I have been introducing myself to a lot of people. This act makes me summarize who I am. I basically tell people my name along with a catchy want to remember it. I also tell them where I came from and what brought me to where I am. Other questions may or may not follow. Introducing myself also gives me a chance to meet other people. I ask them where they are from and what keeps them here. Meeting new people is fascinating.
2 - God gave me an incredible blessing this week. I gave details in my newsletter - sign up on the blog if you haven’t! I am grateful to God’s character. He is good and He loves us.
3 - A new friend asked me how I was doing. I described one hundred things I was doing. She said, “when it gets quiet, call me.” Those six words reminded me of the inevitable: a new normal is coming. Right now, I’m positive I can make the best of it. I can structure my life in wise ways. I can be all God called me to be this season. I’m thankful I have several people to call during quiet times.
4 - Yesterday I ran my first long run with the new running group. It was so hard but so good for me. Improving as a runner takes a lot of time and commitment. It takes stepping out of my comfort zone. That long run taught me that in long-distance, nothing is given, everything is earned. It also gave me hope that my goal is within reach.
5 - Our kids are resilient, courageous and joyful. They are teaching me a lot these past two weeks. During this transition, I told myself several times “this is how I need to be towards my Heavenly Father.” Oh for grace to trust Him more!
6 - There are 75 days until Christmas. Now it is time to decide what type of holiday season you want. I’m also a believer in not overbooking myself and doing things that do not matter. Establishing boundaries now will guarantee and peaceful and enjoyable holiday season.
7 - I am focusing on my goals for the year. There are 20 weeks and 6 days until the end of the year. Much can be accomplished if we decide to be proactive about our actions. We can close this year with a win y’all! Let’s dig deep.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

When Change Comes

"The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance." 
Psalm 16:6 (NKJV)

We moved to Texas 8 summers ago from the cool mountains of Western North Carolina. The humidity we encountered was breathtaking. Eventually, we adapted.

Life seems to be the same way. Change happens, it takes our breath away and we adapt. If we can get to adaptation, we win.

East Texas has been breathtaking but in a peculiar way.

The beauty of people's hearts;

The beauty of nature;

Oh, the hills I have bee running also have been breathtaking.

God has brought us to a good place and we are thankful.

You may not be going through a major hometown move but maybe you feel there's change coming your way.

Remember that when change takes your breath away, you can choose to adapt to it.

You can choose to focus on beauty.

The more you see the good, the easier it will be to see God.

He has a good plan and a good place for you.

Let's greet this day with thankfulness.

God is good and He will always be.