Saturday, June 15, 2019

Life Changing Information


People have different reactions when they see a mother and all their children in the story. On Saturday, I was told:

"I will tell you something that will change your life."

"You have my attention," I told the older gentleman.

He proceeded to tell me about me about a great sports program for kids. He told me if the kids liked and stuck with it, advancement in the sport could mean college scholarships.

I'm all for scholarships, I never thought about them coming through sports as a possibility for us.

I thanked the gentleman and proceeded to check out.

His initial words stayed with me. How many times does anyone tells you "I will tell you something that will change your life?"

I know marketers do it all the time because they want your money. How many times, someone wholeheartedly tells you "I will tell you something that will change your life" and means it?

I want to propose that you and I can say those words because we do have something that can change someone else's life.

I was in desperate need for childcare once a week for my three kids. I asked a few church friends for help and they basically told me forget about it, no one will help you with that.

One day, after I had a hearty Mexican meal with a non-Christian friend, I told her about my search. She thought about my request for a little while and suggested a place 3 doors down from where we were sitting.

She had information that changed my life and she passed it on. She could have sat on it. She could have ignored my plea for help or like my Christian friend, should could have said "forget about it."

I choose to believe that God in His infinite mercy, can use us to pass on information that can change someone's life.

Life changing information can be big like the chance of winning a scholarship or small such as my friend's tip for a childcare provider.

Life changing information only comes from generous, open hearts. I don't know negative, self-absorbed people to share life-changing information often.

Generosity and an open heart is a must.

I don't know if my kids will play the sport that was suggested to me. I don't know if they will love it and decide to pursue it with all their hearts. What I do know is that there are generous people out there who are selfless and generous enough to notice someone like me.

I want to be like that. I want to notice the other. I don't want to do it just so I can brag about it. I don't want to do it to score charity points. I want to share life changing information because it is the very heart of God.

He is in the business of transforming our lives. I want to be just like Him.

Reflect and Respond:
• Do I have a tendency to sit on life-changing information?
• What is the real reason I don't share life-changing information with others?
• Do I listen to what people say and what they do not say?
• Do I look for Godly guidance in being generous with the  life-changing information entrusted to me?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Change can be positive

The first major change in my life happened when I moved from my beloved Brazil to the U.S. 21 years ago.

College life was a change I welcomed gladly. Things were nothing but predictable in the course of those years. Each summer I was in a different State. By the time graduate school started, I moved cities and started over. 

I was engaged to Zeke when I moved and started my first job. We got married 6 months later and  changed came again. Zeke and I learned a lot of what it means to be one. We continue to learn as we continue to embrace change. 

Motherhood has been a great catalyst for change. To put it simply, when you think you have something down, things change. Naps, schedules, kids' stages... everything changes all the time, except for the love we give.

My friendships during my motherhood years also changed. I mistook lifetime friendships for seasonal friendships. I was dismissed like a person who doesn't want to do jury duty.

I held on to some of those friendships longer than I should have. After a certain club or activity (or church membership) was finished, so was the friendship. I was often the only person with illusions of lifelong connection and mutual respect. Why can't I learn my lesson?

Change is a constant. Why can't I constantly learn from all of these experiences? Or, why can't I learn faster?

Today, I reminded myself that change can be a positive thing. I can let go of the illusion of lifelong friendships. I can let go of what was so I can enjoy where I am.

Change can be positive if I embrace it that way.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My weight loss in 60 seconds: Why I started

Knowing my "why" has given me endurance for my health race. I wrote about it almost two years ago when I restarted WW:

"I joined Weight Watchers recently and I am looking forward to going after my goal of having a normal BMI. I know my "Why." I found out I had to quickly spit it out this morning as I was speaking to my doctor about my health goals. I told her my reason to lose weight is to lower the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and ensure that longevity with quality of life. She told me was happy about me taking care of myself.
This is my second time with Weight Watchers." 
November of 2017  

What I didn't know then was that this journey would take longer than one year. 
I didn't know I was going to have to leave the program and keep going on my own. 
I didn't know I was going to come back three months later ready to succeed and start what I finished. 

This past week I was out of town. I was determined to succeed. Often, I exercise out of town. This time, I decided rest was best. 
I also decided to keep up with my WW tracking. I packed healthy food for the road. I made the intentional choice to track everything I ate. 

Every day was a learning experience, all with the hope of reaching my health goal. 

I haven't changed my "why." I want a normal BMI. I want to lower my risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and other preventable diseases. Quality of life is what I'm after and this is the year to achieve it. 

While I don't reach my goal, I enjoy where I am on the way to where I am going. God has been so good to give me a second chance at living a healthy life. 

The journey is full of ups and downs. I know that I am determined to keep learning. Good health is the ultimate treat. 

Last week we were out of town. I tracked everything. I didn't eat a lot of treats and it worked for me. I didn't exercise so I was super focused on making sure the food part was on point. This week we are back in town and loving it. We have both a birthday and Father's Day this weekend. My goal is to track everything. I also want to remember my short-term Goal.

Thank you for joining me in this journey! 

Stats:
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

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Top 10 Mom Hacks



Road trips:

Pack your food - I pack all our snacks as well as a light meal. I also pack all the supplies I need for the trip. I've taken a box of diapers on a trip just so I didn't have to buy it when I got to my destination. When kids are not hungry they are happier. When I'm not hangry, everyone is happier :)

Potty at Cracker Barrel - you will find clean bathrooms with great changing tables. The kids and I take a break from the road by sitting in the rocking chairs and playing their giant checkers game.

Daily life: 

Simplify transitions - when all my kids were tiny, I noticed that the TV was making our transitions difficult. They would be watching it and it would be time to go somewhere. It was challenging to get their attention from the TV to our next activity. I decided to simplify our transition by turning off the TV. Obviously, the kids still watch TV. It was smart to simplify our transitions instead of being frustrated with their natural tendency to linger.

5-minute pick up - I used to be extremely frustrated with toy mess until we started implementing the 5-minute pick up. We work together for 5 minutes. I set my cell phone timer so it feels like a game. The kids love it thus far and everything is back in order quickly.

Food 

Find your staples - and love them hard! My staples are rice and black beans. I also make banana bread muffins often. Finding my staples has simplified life quite a bit. I can cook large batches and freeze my staples for busy nights (like last night). I can also come up with multiple uses for them.

Do what works for you - there will always be an internet celebrity trying to sell you the latest and greatest food gadget, item, you name it. It is important to do what works for you. Fads come and go. Your own family will determine what works for you. Follow their lead and save yourself some major frustration.

Reading

Go to the Public Library - I tell my kids that readers are leaders and leaders are readers. We've been visiting the public library since the kids were toddlers. I enjoy their programs, the summer reading challenge and the variety of resources available for families.

Read out loud - a few years ago, I was convinced of the benefits of reading out loud to kids who can read for themselves. Reading out load allows us to bond around a storyline. It gives us topics to talk about as well as inside jokes. It is fun when the kids bring up the books when we're out and about doing other things. I'm a fan of reading. I also know everyone is busy. I might spend between 5-15 minutes reading out loud on a regular basis. It is worth every precious minute. I allow the kids to be kids (wiggly, playing with other things) when I'm reading to them. The older ones are now stopping and listening attentively. I also have one who crochets while she listens. Whatever it takes, we're reading together.

Faith 

No secret agents needed - my faith in Christ is very important. So important that I don't allow myself to be a "secret agent for Jesus." I live my faith out loud during the week (cause Sunday is the easiest day to be a Christian). I make sure the kids see me reading the Bible, praying, etc. I actively look for opportunities to encourage them to seek God for themselves. You bet I already told them what my end goal with all of this is. I want them to know God, to walk with Him and to teach their next generations about Jesus.

Bible study - I'm not a fan of going through studies with my kids. I teach the Bible using the Bible itself. Everyone holds the Bible and we take turns reading and studying. I'm not trying to make them scholars or "super kid Christians." My goal is for them to know and love the God of the Bible. I tell them the best way to know the God of the Bible is to read His book. We are very organic in our study. The kids tell me what they're interested in and we focus on that. Sometimes it is a topic, sometimes a book. I don't make them memorize Scripture simply because that's not the way I was taught the Bible as a child. Memorization came as a result of my exposure to the words of truth. Until this day, I'm not the best with "addresses."As it turns out, in the marketplace, I'm not quizzed on my Bible knowledge. What matters outside of the church is the life I live. Studying the Bible with kids is organic. It is interesting and it is a normal part of life. So normal, one of my kids volunteered to take their Bible on a family trip. I pray they will love God and His word always. 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Reading 25 books in one Year


I have a busy schedule. Yet, I wanted to dedicate more time for reading. How in the world can I stop everything I do to read? Audio books! I decided to adhere to Zig Ziglar's advice and attend automobile university. At one point it was bus university!

I listen to audiobooks during my commute. Listening to books gives me much needed encouragement through the knowledge I gain. My goal is to read (or listen to) 25 books this year. I am working on number 19 right now. Here are a few highlights: 


Boundaries - I tried to read this book in paper form (the book is still sitting my bookshelf as I type!) but I couldn't do it. I find out that audio is the best way to get through books I find difficult to read. I loved this book. It helped me be certain of changes I need to make. Because of my health goal for the year, I am actively working on internal boundaries. 


Raising Giant Killers - I'm a fan of the Johnson family. I have listened to their preaching for years and I could really tell they are dedicated to their family. This book gave me a deeper dive into their theory. I was encouraged to be very intentional about my Christian parenting.


Rising Above a Toxic Workplace - One thing most people don’t teach you in college (or grad school) is that toxic people are everywhere, even in the workplace. Dr. Gary Chapman came to an event at our church and spoke about his book so I thought, I should read it. I gained a lot of knowledge, tools and compassion. I’ll read it again. I recommend this book to anyone who knows someone in a toxic workplace or who is going through this issue themselves. There is hope. Things can and will be better. I know this from first-hand experience.


Love and Respect - I read this 13 years ago and I will read it again. This book is very insightful. I didn't realize how much training I need in respect. I felt empowered to be the best wife I can be. I also felt I have a lot of work to do in this area.

Rooted - This book was a balm to my weary soul. I won't go into details of my longing but I will tell you that I understood how God can develop us in different seasons.


Poverty, Riches and Wealth - I listen to Kris Vallotton's podcasts so this book was a great way to understand his message in a deeper way. I enjoyed this book very much. If you don't know who he is, you might enjoy listening to his podcasts. He's not a money guy, he actually speaks about a wide range of topics. They all lead the listener to freedom through Jesus Christ.


The Tech-Wise Family - this is one of the most important books for parents. I highly recommend it to all my friends who are struggling with the balance of technology and living unplugged. I am going to read this book again this summer so I can fine-tune my current technology policy. Andy speaks as a parent. His daughter writes the intro to do the book which was very impressive to me. The book makes a great case for his theory. It is encouraging to read about a family who succeeded in this area.


Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes -this was not an audio book but I loved it. I am fascinated with the world of the Bible. I am guilty of forgetting that the setting of the stories I love was Middle Eastern. This book really explains the culture behind the stories we love to read. I think you will love Jesus and his earthly background more after you read this one. If you teach the Bible to anyone inside or outside of your house, this is a must read.


Race Everything - Bart proves he is indeed the Mayor of Running with this fantastic book. I learned a lot. {The only way of being a good runner is to run.} 🏃🏾‍♀️#Yassomyheart!

Little Fires Everywhere - I read Celeste Ng’s first book and I listened to this one. She’s a good writer and I appreciate how she envelopes her Asian American reality in her writing. This is a rarity for me. It is almost impossible to find me reading fiction.

God, where are you? - I read a lot of books by John and Lisa Bevere. This one is full of wisdom for my current situation. I needed the reminder that the wilderness can be a transformative place.

The Power of Habit - I tried to read this book a few years ago. Listening to it works better for me. I truly enjoyed this book and I applied what I learned in my own life. I am dedicated to make good habits because I want to become a better person. If you are decided to change an area of your life (nutrition, fitness, work habits...), read this book first.

168 hours: you have more time than you think - If you want to engage in better time management, this is the book for you. It is so well written that I couldn't wait to get on the bus to listen to this book. I was a little sad when it was over. The writer is very real and skillful in giving you many options on how to make the most out of such a finite gift.

The magic of Tiny business - I enjoyed this book because the author gave me a first-hand testimonial of what it means to run a tiny business. I enjoyed the details on how she makes it work for her.

Simply Tuesday - I've been listening to Emily P. Freeman's podcast for a while. I never thought I'd read her books (because, time) but once I decided to listen to them, she was naturally included in my list. Emily narrates her own book and she dives deep into what it means to live today to the max. It is a book as lovely as she is.

"Goals," "Master Successful Habits," and "Master your Goals" - I save all Zig Ziglar books and resources for when I need major encouragement. Apparently, I needed it quite a bit and I'm glad these audio books got me through the pit. These books are not meant to make me feel good. They challenge me to get a different perspective, raise my faith and get to work.


Creating Community - I learned quite a bit from this book. I'm very curious about the structure of different organizations. I'm also interested in how they connect people effectively. If you lead a group, you will enjoy the ideas taught in this book.


Communicating for a Change - I am a communicator who is always looking forward to improving my skill. I've heard of this book for years so I was thrilled to finally listen to it. I enjoy Andy's way of communicating because it is so effective. I will use the things I learned in this book this Fall while leading my running group.

• What are your reading goals for the year? What is a book I need to add to my list?