Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Seven

1 • We had a major storm in our area. Many are still recovering from Harvey. Many are still traumatized. Major (and minor) storms remind me of what is really important. This time around, I was reminded that I choose how to react to storms. My hope is that my faith will be evident, no matter what.

2 • Our house went on the market this week. Moving is not convenient so I am focusing on the stuff I like. I like clean environments. I like when everyone works hard to accomplish a visible task (keeping the house clean and uncluttered). This has been dreamy!

3 • We made pancakes this week. I won't bake again until we move, so pancakes will be our way of putting extra love in our bellies. I enjoy making easy vegan pancakes. They are fluffy and so good. Thanks to my friend Lea for the inspiration and to Pinterest for the recipe.

4 • The storm (and the fact that I had to take my braids down after 6 weeks) gave me a little down time. I watched quite a fair amount of PBS shows. I love Rick Steves and Frontline. I also had a chance to watch the Downton Abbey movie. I watched this entire season in order, since season 1. It was nice to see those characters again. I hope another great show like Downton comes PBS again.

5 • My first transition from home to home was so difficult. I felt so bad. A wise mentor told me that seeing my nest come apart is never easy. She is so right. She also assured me that this too shall pass. I appreciate her wisdom. I called her when this transition started. I told her I just wanted to hear her voice. Her words of wisdom come from the word of God. God is always solid and I appreciate people who point me to Him.

6 • I'm sure my perspective will change, but for now, I'm trying not to overthink friendships during this transition. It's been said "when people show you who they are, believe them." My problem is that I have an ideal image of who people should be for me. This week, I told myself not to over think relationships (especially friendships) and focus on the positive. This strategy helped because my very first TX friend and I saw each other in the grocery store's parking lot. It was nice to be myself and not have to hide all these mixed feelings. Friendship is more precious than gold.

7 • I'm a believer in being good to others. Apparently, not everyone thinks the same way. I have learned that when people constantly show their worst behavior, I don't have to be a participant in their circus. I can be pleasant and professional. I do not have to remain in the present of someone who displays and practices bad behavior on purpose.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Marathon Training: Week 9-12

The first my family had a major move, I was dreaming of running my first marathon. I would accomplish that dream a few years later, thanks to the support of my beloved running group.

As I get closer to marathon number 6 (I know, it's hard to believe I crossed that many finish lines), I am in the middle of a major move.

Moving is not easy, yet, I can say thanks to it, I am quite the self-elected expert on transitions. As the main expert on my own life, I know that I need to connect in order to thrive.

Let's be honest, I could train by myself, but I choose not to. Enter the local running club. The greatest solution to my training challenge!

I'm not sure if you were a reader back then, but I have found running clubs in other places. Here I am running in Memphis and in North Mississippi.

I also wrote a helpful post called "5 tips for running on vacation" where I teach you how to safely run with or without people.

I decided to connect with the runners in Longview sooner than later. I attempted to run with them a month ago, but I had a bad night of sleep. Last weekend, I was in town so I joined them for a run. I was scheduled to run 7 miles but their club had an 8-mile loop. I took on the challenge and showed up a little before call time.

I was warmly welcomed. I made sure I connected with them online before actually showing up so they would know I was coming. The run was challenging but the camaraderie I felt made the miles feel easy.

Friends, East Texas is hilly. There are no hills around our current neck of the woods so, I just took on those suckers and kept going. Yep, I used my usual tactics. I usually make fun of something and I'm overly positive. I also told myself, "I eat hills like candy" although I don't like either. Anyway, I enjoyed the run because I basically took a tour of the town with the best tour guides ever. I really got a better understanding of the culture and I am so thankful for the hospitality I received.

What happens to my beloved local running club? I'll be back for a few runs. I will continue to encourage and cheer on as I need the very same thing from my friends.

Running has been a life-saver during this process. I find that having a goal for the season gives me an outlet. I can focus on my running goals instead of being completely overwhelmed with change.

So far, I'm hitting my time goals pretty well. My nutrition and hydration goals are also going well. The greatest challenge I currently face is cross-training. My gym membership ran out, which means I'm 100% responsible for training on my own. I have a workout plan and the willingness to do that. As soon as I sign up for another gym, I will be lifting weights again and strengthening my lower body with the help of the machines.

Oh, I will also need to find a sports massage place in the new hometown. So many new things. One day at a time, right? For now, I will enjoy running with my beloved running club.

My goal is to enjoy the run and the people. I will try not to think about how much I'll miss them because when I think of sad things during a run I hyperventilate - ain't nobody got time for that! I will think about our funny moments and how much I will enjoy seeing everyone on marathon morning.

Change is inevitable and what we do with it makes us resilient.

More on this series:
• Weeks 1-3
Weeks 4-8

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

MWLISS: this is easy

We are moving homes and hometowns! I decided a long time ago, the move would not influence my weight loss journey. Have I succeeded thus far? I'm going to say yes. How?

I have been working on managing stress without the need to overeat. I'm using a mix of things to make this work.

1. Tracking my food on the WW App. I know that if I track, I lose weight. Sometimes, I haven't been able to track that's when I go to my plan B.

2. Track the best I can. Some days, I tracked two meals. I tracked one meal for fewer days. The goal was to stay in control so that my energy level would stay up. If this does not work, I go to plan C.

3. Think before you eat. I have to say this has been the secret weapon. When I think before I eat, I realize that food might not be the answer. Rest might be needed. Exercise might be needed. Thinking before I eat has made me really successful during this transition.

I've been giving a lot of thought about why I don't just coast and let go of my health goals during this transition. I heard someone say an interesting quote that summarizes what I feel. The quote says, "It's easier to succeed than to fail."

I know what failing feels like. I enjoy succeeding way better. It is easier to succeed than to fail.

In order to guarantee that my nutrition is great during this transition, I am making sure to get plenty veggies, fish and I bought a great protein shake. I add beet powder, green powder, banana, strawberries and almond milk to it. It is not my favorite way to live but for now, it is better than eating inferior foods. I have been blessed to keep up with my running routine. Running has helped me manage stress and stay sharp.

Next time, I will write about managing hunger during this transition. Thank you for reading!

WW start weight: 175 lbs
Current: 154 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

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Moving to a new Community

The Houston area has been our home for the past 8 years. We had our third child here. We bought a home. We found our passion for distance running here. We planted roots. We reaped lemons, tangerines, pomelo, pomegranates, figs, and other fruits.

We were fruitful in more ways than one. There will always be a special place for the friends we made here. There's so much to love about our community. The people we met will always be my favorite thing about the Houston area.

Yes, we are moving to a new community. So, where in the world are you going? I'm including the world because with us, you really never know!

We are moving to Longview, Texas! 

We are excited about joining a great church there as well as the community. Of course I already knew someone who lives in Longview! These days, I know people everywhere (thanks internet!). I appreciate our family and friends who encouraged us and prayed with us during this transition. We have known God long enough to be sure that where He leads, He provides. What God originates, He orchestrates.

Join me as I journey through this move! I will be writing periodically about transitioning to a new community and the adaptation phase we go through. Thanks for praying for us and for reading!

More posts in this series:

Moving to Texas in 2011
Hope during transition
Making Friends and Singing (video)
How my roots grew deeper
Unintentional Church Hopper
Transition and the dorm room
Transitioning from stay-at-home mom to working mom

Sunday Seven

1. Self-care matters. Last summer I took a deep course on self-care. I incorporated it into my everyday schedule. This week, I practiced quite a bit of self-care. I know that caring for myself is a great idea and it pays off.

2. Marriage matters. It takes a lot of intention. I am a believer that my marriage has a 100% chance to succeed if I do it God's way. Marriage matters and it is worth all the investment.

3. Courage matters. I've had to step out of my comfort zone and do some new things. I recognized that it feels uncomfortable. I also recognized that courage matters. Doing it afraid and facing new situations with all the grit God has given me matters.

4. Friendship matters. My friends have been so kind to me. I have a few folks who make time for me. They listen to me. They make room in their schedule, on a regular day, to communicate with me face-to-face. Those relationships matter and I am incredibly blessed to have them.

5. Self-assurance matters. I define it as "knowing what are the gifts and talents God has given me and being able to verbalize them so the other person knows how I can help them." I had to practice this quite a bit lately. It is always interesting to explain yourself to others. They can read insecurity as well as the opposite. Self-assurance guarantees that the need of the person can be met. You can be the solution to their problem.

6. Listening matters. I stepped out of my own head the other day and I listened to a stranger tell me about his late father. My daughter and I could have said, "we're too busy for chitchat." We decided to listen. We thanked the gentleman for sharing that story and we told him he was blessed to have such an honorable man as a father. Listening matters. We felt that we honored the person and the person who was. Listening is a great way to empathize with the pain that someway will turn into joy.

7. Methods matter. Instead of being overwhelmed about a personal project I have, I decided to be methodical about it. It's a pretty big project and it does require help. Still, my organization method has helped me conquer every little task in my long to-do list. Methods matter. They work if I decide to use them.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

My Morning Routine

I love mornings.
They represent new beginnings.
As a teenager, I would wake up and think, "I have a new chance to succeed." My habits made those chances worth pursuing.
As a wife and mother, I am productive in the morning.
I accomplish a lot in the early hours. My morning routine is not about a list of things I do but specific habits that lead to success.

Instead of thinking of routine as a series of robotic activities, I think of the habits that propel me towards a happier day. Here they are:

Habit 1 • Phone Downtime. The digital age has given us quite a bit of control of our uncontrolled urge to check our phones all the time. A great solution to this problem is to utilize the "downtime" setting of my iPhone. This setting locks almost all my Apps from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. The only things not clocked are my Bible App and my camera. The act of not checking my phone when I wake up helps me to be more purposeful, peaceful and productive.

Habit 2 • Rest. The fuel to the best morning routines is resting well the night A good morning requires a restful night. Rest is the most underutilized productivity tool. After a night of rest, I feel refreshed and ready to be productive.

Habit 3 • Prepare. It's been said that "by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail." I prepare everything I need the night before. I set aside my running clothes, shoes and I make sure the coffee maker is ready to go. I also pack any lunches the kids need the night before. Preparation makes my morning routine easier. I can simply sit with my Bible and coffee knowing that everything I need to do later is already ready to go.

Habit 4 • Focus. Distraction is the chief thief of productivity. I've had days when I wake up early and I waste precious minutes by browsing the internet mindlessly. Focusing on my actual routine is very important. When I wake up, I get dressed, I wash my face, brush my teeth and I get the coffee maker started. I get on my knees and pray for a while. Then I read my Bible. After that, it's time to go for a run. I only have a set amount of time to do all of that, so focusing on starting and finishing each activity on time is very important. Decide what you want to do and focus on each activity.

Please know that these suggestions might not work for you. I also need to tell you that I'm very much a work in progress. Every now and then I need to recalibrate and do these very things anew.

Other tips:

• Keep your phone out of reach. Put it in a room adjacent to yours. You will sleep better, and if you need to hear the alarm, you'll get up to turn it off. I always remind myself that I am not an E.R. doctor on call. I can live without my phone if need be. Remember, technology is a great servant but a terrible master.

• Plan for Downtime - When my phone is about to shut down, it gives me a 5-minute warning. It is a mental reminder that I need to go to bed. My phone is not part of my bedtime routine, so I need a plan for my own downtime. Will I read a book? Will I join my husband and watch a show? Will I prep for the next morning? Planning ahead is a great way to succeed.

I would love to hear about some ways you keep your morning routine popping.