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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Impact

My life is pretty much an open book. I try to be genuine and authentic at all times. The down side to this is that I am told (by my husband in particular) that I overshare at times. Working on that! Anywhoo, I share my life, my feelings, and my experiences with people because I know that I am inspired and energized by others who do this with/for me.


My hope is that my experiences and views may encourage someone else, which brings me to something I have heard at every turn lately.


In a sermon the other day, we were asked, "do you influence others positively?". On my long run this morning, I listened to a podcast by Beth Moore on how we use our time, gifts, and talents. It certainly made me think, "Am I effectively using my gifts, talents, and time to impact others?" I came to the conclusion that I could me more effective if I were more focused. Will be working on that too!


The fact is that, we really arent on the earth for very long. You've heard it before" make each day count". But my question is this: What is your impact? Imagine if you were to really sharpen your gifts and talents, and use them to positively impact the lives of others. That is exactly what God has called us to do!


How will you impact others?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

In the name of Progress

I have recently changed up my workouts because I became stagnant and no longer saw progress. So, although three early morning spin classes and a few runs each week were great, I decided to change things up a bit. I am now following a half marathon training program in order to get me ready to race in the fall, as well as beginning a serious hot-n-heavy weight program. (hot-n-heavy for me, at least.)

To be honest with you, all this change is uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable physically for obvious reasons, but also mentally. I battle thoughts, like "am I really ready for this?", or "I don't think I can do this today." On my first speed work day with my running group, none of us expected it to be so hard, and I think we all were a little unsettled with the change in routine.

I'm sure you've heard the saying that goes something like, "if you do what what you've always done, you're gonna get what you've always gotten". In terms of your physical body, you won't continue to grow and get stronger by doing what has become easy and comfortable for your body.

This is true in our everyday lives as well. We must raise the bar every now and then- spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. We won't grow by holding onto the same old behaviors and attitudes- gossiping, bad attitudes, negativity, worry, fear, or whatever it is holding us back.

Both physically and mentally, changing it up is not easy, but it will be worth it. Every challenge will make you stronger! And, after you've done the hard, uphill part, take a moment and rest at the top. This bible tells us to "be still [rest] and know that I am God." Everything that I have read tells me that it is in the rest period that you gain the most physical strength. And, I know from experience that the same is true of our spiritual lives. So, in the name of progress, raise the bar, switch it up, and then REST.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am off to enjoy my day of rest!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fear not!

So, here's a big revelation: I'm sick of being fearful! Honestly, most people who know me would say I am generally not a fearful person. I don't even have fear at times when I probably should (I have been scuba diving with sharks, don't blink an eye on turbulent plane rides, and I don't fear burglars or creepy men. I guess I just feel I could totally take 'em down.) But, I do have some fears that run deep.

I deeply fear heights. I decided once, while in Mexico, that I would face that ridiculous fear and go parasailing. (Mostly because everyone in my party was doing it, and I didn't want to look like a big sissy!) So, the sketchy Mexican man who "no speaka no english", but knew exactly how to count my 50 American bucks in english, hooked me up to the harness. As I was lifted off of the sand and began to rise over the ocean, I started to panic. My throat got dry, and I couldn't scream. Trust me, I tried. I held on to those ropes so tight that my hands were blistered and my entire upper body felt like the first (and LAST) time I tried to conquer P90X. And, if you've been parasailing, you know that holding onto the harness ropes does absolutely no good. Holding on for dear life won't keep you from plummeting to your death and being eaten by sharks. But, I don't have to explain that it wasn't exactly a logical moment for me.

Did the whole experience help me to conquer my fear? Uh, nope. Now, I just break out in hives when I remember the whole thing.

I have other fears too. I fear something happening to me, and my children growing up without a mom. This is almost definitely because this was my childhood experience. It left such a painful scar, that I can't even count the number of times I have prayed for this to never ever happen to my children.

I also fear losing mobility...having my muscles deteriorate, and being unable to control my body. This fear is founded in my doctor's reports of what could be in my future. This has kept me from doing certain things like, exploring the possibility of botox to ward off the deep crevices creeping up around my eyes, and becoming a totally hot and way too muscular body builder...or just light weight training...

BUT, I am now on a mission to eradicate fear in my life, specifically regarding my physical condition. I can't find one scripture that says, "live in fear, and let it keepest thou from accomplishing things in life." In fact, the Bible's message is contrary to that.

SO, I am trying new things. New workouts have stretched and strengthened muscles that were once weak and stiff due to Muscular Dystrophy. I don't plan to completely throw caution to the wind, but I do plan to start a serious weight training program and get totally ripped...or, just a bit more toned... I know that what happens within my body and my life is not completely within my control, but I know that the way in which I choose to live IS. And, no matter what happens in my life that is outside of my control, I know that the bible says in Proverbs that my steps are established by God.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mom Runs

"Laundry, grocery store...don't forget cupcake mix…make the cupcakes…and an appointment with the doctor..." This is the list that typically goes through my mind during the first mile of my morning runs. I go through my to-do list, decide the order in which I will get everything done, and formulate a plan. Then, my mind can be cleared for thinking...about absolutely nothing except for my breathing, the song on my ipod, or the beautiful spring morning before me.

It's no wonder running is growing so popular amongst my mommy friends. It gives us time and space to just be, without being needed or beckoned to play another round of Candyland (although I do love the way it makes my kids so happy for me to sit down on the floor and let it all hang out with them.) But, running time is different. It allows time to focus on nothing, so that we can later focus on everything. It burns off nervous or tense energy, so that we can be more present in the tasks of the day.

Those morning runs are so renewing, and last just long enough to be reminded of every precious and wonderful thing that awaits us when we walk in the door at home and hear, "Mom, come wipe me!" There's no place like home.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My fake ID

I am over 21. I promise. But, for years, I carried around a fake I.D., until I decided to throw it out. I don't mean a government issued ID. I mean a mental one. (We all know that fake ID cards are highly illegal, and I do not break the law. Aside from the occasional speeding ticket...and not using the crosswalk...and the rolling-stop at a stop sign... but speeding up for a yellow light is totally legal, right?)

I'm not perfect! And, I'm usually in a hurry. But, back to my point.


But those whose hope is in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles.

They will run and not grow weary.

They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31


I would recite this verse to myself during almost every workout in the beginning. It was only a year and a half ago that I began the Couch to 5k plan, running just one minute and walking for one minute. It was hard. I wanted to give up. I often got frustrated with myself for my lack of physical endurance. But, ultimately I was more frustrated with my overweight, unhealthy body. So, I kept at it. I refused to call myself a big girl, jiggling through her walk/run while gasping for air... no matter how accurate the description.


I realized that my Identity was not defined by my past failures or lack. I was not defined by past emotional eating binges, my lack of self-restraint or self-discipline. I was defined by God himself, and he said in Ephesians 2:10 that I am His handiwork. That's all I needed to know. I was ready to trade in my old fake ID that said "unhealthy and unwilling to change" for my real one that said, "God's Handiwork".


A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that I had just completed a great run with great friends, and a FB friend commented that she wished she had my willpower. My response? "You do. The Lord is my strength"


No matter what our past choices, we are all capable of making wiser, healthier choices from this day forward as long as we just believe we are who God says we are. If we choose not to, we can't. We won't. We're weak, and we're unable.







Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fit-n-friendly

This weekend, I took the kids on their first "big kid" bike ride in our neighborhood. They have both finally mastered riding their "big girl training wheel bikes", so I thought we'd give it a shot. They hopped on their princess bikes, I hopped on my mountain bike, and we were off, pink sparkly streamers waving in the breeze.


To my utter surprise, they did great! I made sure to go very slowly, and both girls peddled their little legs until they couldn't peddle anymore. I kept telling them how great they were doing and how proud I was of their hard work getting up the hills, and how fun it would be to coast down the hill. With each encouraging comment from me, their faces lit up, and I would watch their eyes as they focused intently on the task at hand- getting to the top of those hills.


By the end of the one mile ride, they were pleasantly tired and proud of themselves for making it all the way. On the way inside, they both shouted, "let's do that again after we rest!" It was apparent they were reveling in the sense of accomplishment they felt. They had stepped up to this new challenge and it felt great! "Daddy, we just did a long bike ride, and we didn't even have to stop!", they yelled as we opened the front door. I promised another ride after dinner if they were up to it.


Later that evening, as I cleaned up the dinner dishes, I was reminded of my promise (though I was a little tired and sort of secretly hoped they had forgotten). We climbed on our bikes again, and ventured out on another ride, this time stopping to play at the neighborhood park on the way home.


Something great happened on this ride, though. As we went up the first hill, Kaley looked over at her little sister peddling with all her might, and said, "Good job, Addie, you got this!" Addie replied, "you too, sissy. You're almost to the top!" It was so facsinating to see them shouting words of encouragement at each hill! I beamed with pride to see them helping each other along. It was priceless!


I've had this same experience myself. There have been several times that I have been near the end of a race and completely exhausted, when I spotted my brother or a friend doubling back to meet me and run it in with me. As they step in beside me, I match my footsteps to theirs, and we sprint to the finish line. I know that without them, I would not be able to muster the energy to do so. I am so thankful for my precious running and fitness friends, who keep me going! Just like my little girls, we encourage each other when it all seems uphill, and celebrate one another's accomplishments. I couldn't do it without them.


I encourage you to find a fitness friend of your own. The bible says that, "as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17) Find someone to keep you accountable and sharpen you this week. Then, be prepared to do some sharpening too. Fitness friends are priceless!



My brother and me before our first half marathon ever! January, 2010


October, 2010- Oyster Urban Race, Austin, TX



Team "Feets for Teets", Susan G. Komen Race, 2010





5K for MDA, June, 2010




Houston Half Marathon, January, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gettin' real

From my eliptical machine at the gym this morning, I watched an older gentleman wheel his oxygen tank into the cardio room. I wondered if maybe he had gotten lost, and was looking for the "silver sneekers" or "seniors stretching" class. So, expecting to see him stop in the middle of the room and look bewildered, I followed him with my eyes, ready to get off my machine to help him in his confusion. But, I watched as he climbed onto a treadmill and began his workout. It was a slow walk at first, and then he picked up the pace. Now, this was something I had never seen before. What amazing ambition! Here he was, oxygen tubes attached to his face, lugging around a scuba-sized tank that pushed air into his nostrils, but he climbed up there and worked out just like the fit, lean soccer mom to his right.

It's a wonderfully moving sight to behold- people who refuse to be limited by their physical "limitations". I have taken yoga classes with extremely overweight people who could barely see their toes, much less touch them. I have run beside people with Cerebral Palsy and Parkinson's disease. (ahem, by "beside", I mean they ran right past me.) It may be the popular opinion that these physically "challenged" people have no business in the gym, in yoga class, or running a road race. This kind of thing should be left to the "real" athletes, right?

In my opinion, these ARE the real athletes. Despite all the reasons why not, they think to themselves, "yeah, why the heck not?" And, then they go for it. It takes little courage to think of yourself as an athlete when you look in the mirror and see a muscular, lean mean athletic machine. It takes much more to look in the mirror and see reminders of your weaknesses staring back at you and still know you ARE strong.