Monday, November 26, 2012

Update - 60 Days Later

Update time!

60 Days ago I posted that I hadn't had coffee in 3 days.  I was excited to be alive.  Fast forward, still no coffee and I feel wonderful. 

I completed the 24 day challenge feeling awesome.  I have so much more energy, my emotions are more under control and I am focused.  For the past 2 weeks I have been using an energy focused vitamin pack instead of just the general wellness pack and that has improved things even more.  I am down 2% body fat and the weight is ticking off.   I am fitting in clothes I haven't fit into (comfortably) for ages and I just feel more confident. 

I smile more and believe I am generally a happier person to be around.  I have noticed that my family and my co-workers are appreciating these changes in focus.  At home, our house is becoming more orderly, we are having fun family game nights and I don't feel so guilty when I take a minute to relax.  At work I have been selected to apply for a leadership program for credit union leaders across the State of Indiana and am finding myself more involved in the strategic and visionary conversations I have been working to be involved in for a while.

I believe that I am noticing these changes because of 3 primary changes that have taken place in my life over the last 90 days:
1. Nuvita - This is my workplace wellness program.  Seeing others that I work with strive for a healthy lifestyle was just the jump start I needed to get back on track.  We have a wellness website with awesome articles and a way to track cardio for the next 9 months to keep us focused on this journey.  I am thankful for these basic tools.
2. Advocare - Truly an amazing product.  Both Jeremy and I are seeing amazing results, not just in our waistline, but in our relationship.  We workout together (and are seeing the kids want to work out with us more - they both added workout stuff to their Christmas lists this year :)) and food choices are much better when we are both working to eat healthier.  We like the products so much that we have become distributors in order to be able to share these awesome benefits with our friends and family so if anyone is interested in trying these amazing products, let me know.
3. Daily Devotional - This is not intentionally last, it is actually the first thing I do every morning.  I didn't realize how much this daily habit had become a part of my life until I missed a few days over Thanksgiving.  I was praying and talking to God, but I missed out on the "educational" experience God provides through daily study.  Jeremy gave the sermon at church yesterday and one of the take aways was connecting daily with God.  When I was thinking about daily study this morning, I realized that in the Lord's Prayer we ask for our daily bread.  God gave manna to His people daily...only what they needed.  We must seeking the living water and bread of life daily in order to sustain and fill our spirit.  It is only when we are filled that Christ may use us to fill others.

Anyway...good stuff going on...praise be to God.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Advocare 24 Day Challenge - Days 1-3

As you know, I have started a track to a healthy life with Nuvita a few months back and now I am working through the 24 Day Challenge with Advocare.  My husband just finished the first part of the challenge, the cleanse phase, and lost 9lbs.

Now I am on day 3.  I haven't had coffee in 3 days...I am alive!

I am not planning to cover all of the details of everything I eat/take during this time, but I will say that it is pretty basic nutritional stuff. 

The Cleanse focuses on detoxifying your body so that it can absorb and efficiently use the vitamins and minerals in our multivitamins and in the healthy foods we eat.  The only real restrictions in this phase are no dairy, wheat, alcohol and fried foods (duh!).  The phase promotes eating and I am enjoying all of the fruits and veggies that I am having daily plus the nuts and craisins that I have in the afternoon. 

I have started working out daily.  My schedule isn't too complicated.  I have a book "The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises" that I bought a few years back and used when working out with some  co-workers at my former job.  It has pictures of all different kinds of exercises and variations to make them harder or easier based on your fitness level.  The real value, for me at least, is in the back of the book where there are planned workouts using the exercises identified in the book.  There are around 20 different schedules (anywhere from 3 - 12 weeks) and most exercises don't require any gym equipment.  I use a small pair of dumbells and an exercise mat for what I am doing now.  So on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I am doing the first set of 15 Minute Workout (there are 8 sets total, you do one for a few weeks and then switch to another, and then another...keeps your body fresh :).  On Tuesday and Thursday I am doing Treadmill work with a friend from work.  Some interval hills and some interval jogging, whatever keeps my heart rate up (for Nuvita I have to log a certain number of minutes in my target heart zone each week for credit).  I will choose a rest day of either Saturday or Sunday depending on our weekend scheudle and then the other day I will do some cross-training, bike riding, exercise video, something like that.

I am having fun with this, it is not taking over my life, I feel happy and accomplished.  Most importantly, I am taking care of the body that God gave to me.

More later once the 2nd part of the cleanse phase is done.  Cleanse is 3 parts (Days 1-3, days 4-7, days 8-10) followed by a 14 day Max Phase. 

A

Monday, September 17, 2012

It is time...

If you have seen The Lion King, you will get this, if not...well go watch it (even if you don't have kids or if they are grown...it is a great show!).

Simba has been through a tough road realizing who he is supposed to be and denying it time after time.  When he finally overcomes his enemies and dedicates himself to repairing the damage to his kingdom, wise old Rafiki says "It is time..."

Time for what?  How does this story make sense in my life? 

I have toyed around back and forth for quite some time on why I need to incorporate exercise and healthy eating in my life.  For the most part I do ok...I maintain and do just enough not ot have to buy bigger clothes or feel like a huge blob at the end of the day, but that is not enough.

For one, God gave me this body to do great things and doing "just enough" isn't going to cut it.  Secondly, when I am working to stay in shape and consistently eat healthy I just feel better.  I have more energy, better relationships with people because my attitude is better, I sleep better, my "drive" is more in tune if you know what I mean :)...

This summer, my company announced that it would sponsor employees who wanted to participate in a 12 week challenge with Nuvita, a company dedicated to wellness in the workplace.  The challenge started 5 weeks ago and it has been life changing.  Simple changes with big time results.  Not it my waistline (yet), or on the scale (yet), but I have more energy, my attitude is better, I want to work out, I even find myself laughing and letting go more.  The biggest impacts of this change involve drinking 64 oz of water each day, eating 5 small meals (consistent metabolic triggering) instead of 3 larger meals and working out in my cardio zone for a targeted amount of time each week.  In short, the program gives me goals...which I crave.  I think as humans we all crave goals, even if we don't say it out loud most of the time.

Anyway, I love this program.  Last week my husband came home with supplies for a 24 day challenge with Advocare.  He and I have been talking about this program for a while and he decided to give it a try.  Well, looking through the materials and the process for the 24 day challenge, I also decided I would give it a try.  He is contacting his rep today and so I should be getting all of my materials and starting the challenge later this week.  The concept fits nicely into the Nuvita program, but provides lift in the appropriate vitamin/mineral/amino acid levels to promot weight loss, something I haven't seen with Nuvita.  Nuvita's focus is wellness, I need to lose a few and trim up.  A couple of fears that I have is that my dietary habits will change and I'll have to start thinking even more about what I am shopping for at the grocery and be more conscious about going out to eat.  Also, the Advocare plan looks to replace coffee with a drink called Spark...exciting, but scary for a coffee drinker like myself.

So, "IT IS TIME" for me to take charge of my body and take care of it as it is the only one I have.  I am in this for life.  I am ready to "Roar" like Simba and watch my kingdom flourish.  As I do my part to protect and nourish what God has provided for me physically, God will be my strength spiritually.

Wish me luck!  I am hoping to blog the Advocare 24 Day Challenge if I remember to do it...:)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Change is good...

The last two weeks have been a scheduling chaos.  With school ending, Memorial Day weekend and Jeremy being out of town, let's just say that my eating routine has gone a little haywire.  What perplexes me is that for the past two weigh-ins I have lost 1lb each week.

When I first started Weight Watchers, one of the articles that was recommended talked about changing up what you eat every so often.  It talked about how your body gets used to digesting the same foods at the same time of the day so a "dietary confusion" of sorts can help your body kick start metabolism and move off a plateau.  I didn't feel like I was reaching a plateau, but I definitely added some "dietary confusion" into my daily eating. 

They say the same for exercise, that "muscle confusion" can help kick start your body into shape more effectively as using different muscles, or even the same muscles in a different way helps to enhance the results of exercise.  This is the cornerstone for several of the 60-90 day programs like Insanity, P90X, Body Revolution.

Change is good...It is good for me!

I get so stuck in the need for a routine that I sometimes forget to intentionally flow with the change things and try to force the routine.  This leads to stress which leads me right into a depressive mindset that has me heading off to hide somewhere and pout.  I have realized over this past several weeks' journey with Weight Watchers, that I have achieved the most success when I am not so tied to a routine.  I still have go to heathly foods, but don't schedule out when I am going to eat what.

Going with the flow of daily life allows me to also go with the flow to add in healthy eating and exercise into that daily life flow...I don't stress if 4pm on Tuesday has come and gone and I am not in the gym, I know that I am going to make time for it soon.  And I do.  I don't stress if I have splurged for dinner and the hubby and kids want me to meet them out for a frozen yogurt treat to celebrate the end of school, I know that I will make good choices the next coming days to balance it out.  And I do. 

Living this way keeps stress at bay.  It is when I start looking toward tomorrow and reviewing yesterday that stress creeps back.  Living in the daily flow does not allow for this.  I have to continue to train myself in this way, but it sure is worth it when I can feel positive growth and contentment in relationships with others. 

Change is good...It is inevitable...God will be with me every minute...that makes me happy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Habits...

So, I am in week 8 of Weight Watchers.  I am loving the discipline that I have developed toward food. I am eating so many more fresh fruits and vegetables.  I have a pretty standard point value pattern throughout the day and have made some go to low point snacks when I "need" food. 

I have been working to plan more of my family's dinners and trying some new recipies.  The kids have not complained once about any of the new foods.  They are usually not too picky, but when food looks different than something that they have seen before, they usually clam up.  This is slowly going away as they accept that they usually enjoy whatever I put on their plate and I won't intentionally give them something to eat that I don't think they will like.  They are even learning that if there is a part of the meal that they don't like (for example, mushrooms in the pasta) they just put them to the side and enjoy the rest.

All this to say is that I think that I am well on my way to forming a good foundational habit for healthy eating.  Sure we have Dairy Queen, Chicago's Pizza and Mc Donalds on occasion, but it isn't the go to any more and I find myself making different choices (and not feeling deprived) while I am there.  Life is good...

Now for exercise habits...I have totally fallen off the wagon.  I was doing so good at getting up at 5am to work out and really enjoying some of that time alone; however in the past two months I have traveled twice for work and that change in routine wreaked havoc on my exercise habits.  Next week is the last week of school for Jeremy and I am looking forward to developing the 5am habit again, getting into work a bit earlier and enjoying my summer evenings with a neighborhood bike ride or walk with my family. 

I am losing weight so something is going right :)  Currently I am down around 9 lbs from January and about 6 lbs down from starting WW 8 weeks ago.  I have about 12 lbs left to my initial goal so more work ahead.  The good thing is I am enjoying it, it doesn't feel like a chore...it is a true life change.  Exactly what I was hoping for.

I will probably stay with WW Online until I am at my goal weight and maintaining for a bit.  I know it is a cost, but I need this habit to stick this time and this is working for me so I am going to stay the course and keep plugging ahead to be sure...

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Progress...

A few weeks back I took the plunge and started Weight Watchers again.   I have tried this a couple of times successfully in the past and it was time to take the bull by the horns again to get back on track. 

The first time I did weight watchers, I was about the weight I am now and I wanted to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  I did well with this and then about a year later I got pregnant with my second. 

The second time I did weight watchers, I had more to lose.  I lost 25lbs and felt great.  I was on a roll at my previous job and working out was a part of a regular habit of life so I maintained well. 

In the Fall of 2010, I changed jobs...that wrecked any exercise and eating habit that I had formed.  My location changes, I was trying to make new friends and impress those at my new job.  I lost track!

At first I gained only about 5 lbs and I thought, I can live with this.  I'll get back those 5lbs when I get a bit more settled.  Then I sprained my ankle and 10lbs later, my clothes aren't fitting quite like they used to and there are some clothes I just plain can't wear...

I have lost 2 lbs since starting WW this time and that includes an entire 7 days of travel and conference food (I have another conference in May and I will be packing my own food!)....

Progress is that I am staying on track...
Progress is that I am excited about this...
Progress is that I love the fresh veggies and fruits I have incorporated into my daily meals...
Progress is that I am excited to work out as a part of building that habit up again...
Progress is that this time instead of 25lbs away from my goal weight I am only 15...

It is all a lifestyle change for me and re-building habits I have lost...

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Perspective

I am reading a book right now that I would highly recommend by Andy Andrews.  It is called "The Noticer"...I just finished his book "The Travelers Gift" a week or so ago and would highly recommend it too. 

The premise of The Noticer is Perspective.  There are many lessons to glean from the book, but the overall theme is that no matter what the situation, if you take a minute and look at the situation with perspective, your attitude is bound to change. 

This got me to thinking that not all perspective is good.  We must seek God to give us the perspective He wants for us, not the perspective we want for ourselves.  We all want an outcome, we all need God's outcome.  Sometimes my perspective doesn't line up, but I get the outcome I want...well, what I think I want anyway.  I was reminded of this when listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast this morning on my drive in.  It was her podcast from Tuesday of this week (I am a bit behind :))...

Joyce reminded me of the story of the Israelites as they traversed the wilderness...in the beginning God gave them manna every day and then their perspective changed.  Instead of wanting what they needed and what God was giving them, they set their minds on wanting something else.  (Numbers 11).  All through the wilderness (an 11 day trip that took so much longer) they complained and rebuked God.  I just wonder if they had kept a Godly perspective if they would have reached the Promised Land in the 11 days...

I guess all I am saying is that I am going to try to take a minute and pray for perspective.  I know that sometimes it won't always lead to exactly what I think I want, but, if I follow God's perspective, it will always lead me to what I need!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Give me words to speak...

Today I had a big presentation for work scheduled for about 2pm.  The time was an estimate as I was part of the agenda for a weekly 3 hr meeting of our Senior Leadership team.  I wasn't really stressed about the presentation, but I knew I needed the right words and content for the message to be received as it needed to be. 

Coming into the meeting I knew that a couple of people were not going to be there that I felt should hear the presentation and that I was 4th out of 5 agenda items.  I knew that whenever my turn came, that there would have been 3 major discussions prior to mine and so short, sweet and impactful were words in my mind.

I shot out a quick prayer request to a prayer group I am in on Facebook and quickly felt the relief from prayers being said.  Just knowing that others were asking God to bless me with the right words was soothing to my nerves.  The meeting began at noon and at 1pm, my boss popped in to my workstation and said that they were still discussing the first item and it would be a while.  I went about doing things to fill the time (got that email inbox down to just 1 item :)...something I had wanted to do for a few weeks).  I waited and waited and then at 3:15 she came back and said that they had just finished discussing the first item and that I would be on the docket for next week...

My mind went immediately went to the prayers that had been said for this presentation.  I was comforted by this thought...God gave me no words.  I feel that He directed this result so that the right words AND the right audience could be there next week.  It is not about me and my words, it is about God and His Plan...even with something so minor in the big scheme of things as a simple presentation.

Thanks be to God for His blessing on my life today...

May you see the blessings He has bestowed upon you as well...

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Monday, March 26, 2012

New Workout Plan

I like to switch things up every 30 days or so.  I had a challenge that I started with Walk Away The Pounds in February and merged into March.  I have been dabbling around for a couple of weeks now with Yoga and other things to keep exercise a part of my schedule, but, for me, having a calendar is a must!  I just don't stay on track without one.

Last week a friend of mine of Facebook posted a link to a beginner running program from Women's Health Magazine.  I really never saw myself running again, but like my previous post, I should learn to "never say never"...

The workout is a 6 week plan that moves from walking with short 1 min intervals of running to running 30 min straight.  There are 2 things that I really like about this program.  First, it incorporates 2 days of strength training with exercises I can do right at home.  Second, it only works up to 30 min of running. 

One of the mistakes I think I made before when I was running was to think that I always had to be training for a half-marathon.  Thinking back, I think that that mindset led to a burnout for me as I just really don't enjoy running at those longer distances.  This could be a result of several things.  I really think the strength training will help as I did not have that incorporated into my plan last time and I think it led to some painful legs due to imbalanced muscles.  Perhaps with better conditioned muscles, I will enjoy the longer distances better after some time.

For now, thougth, I am happy to settle at 30 min...possibly move to their next plan that would take me from 30 to 60 min of running.  I am just happy to stay with this program for now.  It is 6 days a week (4 running/walking, 2 strength training) with a rest day on Saturday. 

I did workout 1 this morning and feel great.  Wow it felt wierd to run those 3 one-minute segments...

I am excited about this new plan!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Never say "never"

A few years ago, we got a treadmill...I said I only wanted to use it for walking...I would "never" be a runner..2 half marathons and several 5ks later...

Last summer, I said, I am hanging up my running shoes, I have this leg pain and I am going to just be a walker again,  I "never" want to run another race, just focus on walking...yesterday I downloaded a new workout schedule to get to 30 min running over the next 6 weeks (starting this on Monday)

Since my Sophomore year in college when I said I would "never" be able to tolerate teaching other peoples' children, I have maintained that I wouldn't...until yesterday when I put my name in the pot to start teaching in Children's Ministry at our Church...

After thinking about this for a while I discovered, that if I just put it out there that I will "never" do something and God really wants me to do it, I will eventually do it.  I think that saying Never is a throwdown  to God in a way...gives him a challenge...maybe not every Never, but those where he sees an opportunity to change you for the better...yes, He will go there :)

So I guess I will probably say "never" again...but I know that deep down, I don't hold all of the power and if it is Gods will...well, all bets are off...

:)

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting out of bed...

This morning, getting out of bed was a bit rough...not so much physically, but mentally.  I woke up and convinced myself that I just needed to stay under the covers all day...

I had to really work to determine what would motivate me in getting out of bed (after all, I did have 2 kids to get up, dressed and to school on time...)

Here is a glimpse of the converstation I had with myself:

Maybe I will get up and get the kids ready and take them to school and then come back home and sleep the day away...I could use a mental health day...

No, I am doing this Leslie Sansone challenge, I have to at least get up and do the 2 miles I had planned...or, I could do the 2 miles after I take the kids to school and come back and sleep some more...

No, I am going to just get up and do the 2 miles now...all dressed, maybe I could just wear this all day and lounge around the house, no workout needed, I think I have a sore throat anyway....Kelli has had a runny nose, maybe I am getting what she has....

NO!  Get your butt downstairs and do the 2 miles...you have to go to work because you are getting a Laptop today, there is a new co-worker starting today and you have several meetings with people who have a booked schedule anyway...maybe I'll take Friday off...

Let me just explain that after getting out of bed and getting the workout done...I am at work and feel great...my perspective is better (hey, wasn't the traffic great today)...I am excited to do the tasks I had planned for today (after blogging of course :))...

Not letting my lazy mind overpower what God had planned for me today...Success!

Here is to a great week!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent

I have never really "given up" anything for Lent before.  Last year, I tried to do this 40 Bags in 40 Days thing and I did really well for about a week and then...well, off the path I went :)

Earlier this year I saw a post on Facebook from a friend who was going to do a 40 Days of Water project during the Lenten season.  Essentially participants would drink nothing but water each day of lent except Sundays when they could have whatever they wanted to drink.  I seriously thought about participating in this...a lot...I told people I was thinking about doing it...I contemplated how my body would react based on the fact that I really drink so little water each day and not having caffeine has potential side-affects on my family and friends :).  I really thought about it...my son even reminded me this past weekend about it asking when I was only going to be allowed to drink water. 

I thought about it, but decided, no. I am not going to participate and here is why.  Giving something up/changing a habit for Lent has always been known to me as something that helps remind us of the sacrifice of  Jesus' Death and Resurrection on the cross.  The goal of this initiative was different.  It was to remind us of others who don't have clean drinking water.  Now, don't get me wrong, an initiative to bring awareness of the grave need for clean drinking water all around the world is a greatly worthy cause in my opinion.  I just don't want to confuse it with Lent. 

Being that today is Ash Wednesday and I haven't decided on anything to give up/change for Lent, I will probably just do what I have done for the past several years and enjoy the Lenten season and the reminders of what Jesus did for me on the cross.  I will attend the services associated with the season and reflect and re-commit myself to living a life that pleases Him.  I will work to "do everything I do to the glory of God" and "do unto others as I would have them do unto me"...

The walk of Faith is different for everyone...this is how God and I walk together.  Your experience may be different and I respect that. 

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Charity Knitting - Knit-A-Square

Several years back I bought a Knifty Knitter Loom Set and some yarn to make a hat.  I can't remember exactly if I bought the loom to do charity work or I just wanted some sort of craft to do and the needles looked like a little more work than I wanted to do at the time.  I do knit with needles now and I have to say that it is much easier than it looks once you get the hang of it.  I even knit one of those blue and white scarves for the Super Bowl this year with needles. 

Anyway, back to the topic...As I started enjoying knitting these hats, I became addicted to buying sale yarn...any yarn on clearance at Walmart magically made it into my bag...no project in mind...no idea if I even had enough yarn of one color or type to do anything with...I just loved buying the stuff.  I started buying books of patterns for loom knitting and knitting with sticks.  I made some crafts as gifts..made a whole bunch of hats :), a few dishcloths and then wondered what I could do for charity with all of the yarn I have accumulated.   

I have searched around and even subscribed to a blog about Knitting For Charity which was hugely inspiring and through a pattern of links from that site and other free pattern sites, I encountered Knit-A-Square (KAS). (Knit A Square on Facebook, Knit A Square Web Site)...

Basically, I can use all of my yarn to make 8" squares of knitting.  I can play around with different stitches and even make patterns into the square of fun pictures of animals or make stripes, whatever, as long as it is an 8" square made with the gauge and yarns they recommend.  Bonus that most, if not all, of the yarn I own is on their list..

KAS will take the squares that I send them and combine them with other squares sent by other knitters and make blankets for AIDS orphans in South Africa...how cool is that.  There are also patterns for a quickly knit warm sweater or knit stuffed animals for these little people that I can tackle if I need a break from squares or want to try something different. 

I haven't sent any squares/projects in yet, but I am excited to get started on this and to put some purpose behind my mission to knit for charity...

Anyone else knit?  Do you knit for charity?

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Soft Skills

Do you have that soft touch...you know, the one where when people come to you to talk you are open arms and accepting?  In some circumstances, I hold my own well with this, but in most circumstances I don't.  I am a natural born problem solver.  My attention immediately goes to "fixer" and not "feather-pillow"...

I have received several reviews over the years asking me to work on my skills in this area.  Essentially, the thought is that being a softer, listening, patient person will make the other party feel better and want to help me.  I have been told that this will help others feel a need to support the work I am trying to accomplish with them.  I will look more like a team player, etc...

At home and with family, I am softer than at work, but not all that great at it.  I want to be a good listener.  I don't cry for the most part unless I am fed up with trying to be able to have a compassionate heart and it just isn't happening.  I want my family to know that I care, but I just don't show it in conventional ways. 

I am not saying that I don't want to or have to work on these skills.  I do, everyday!  Sometimes it is just plain exhausting though.  Sometimes I get frustrated that I don't naturally gravitate towards this softer side.  I feel like not being able to connect emotionally with others at this level somehow diminshes their acceptance of me and that I am not a good enough person (friend, wife, co-worker, daughter, sister, leader...). 

The problem is two-fold (from what my analytical mind is telling me).  First, I have to want it bad enough to make the changes.  This means, for me, that I have to see the value of changing.  It sounds cold to say, but maybe I am not changing because I don't want it bad enough.  I might just be okay with one or two cry outs each month with frustration because a close emotional connection with too many people doesn't exist.  Second, I have to figure out what I need to change.  I frankly just don't know what specifically I need to do to make this happen.

I am asking God for help on this and I ask you all to pray for God to show me the way in this.  Generally, I am happy with life.  I am happy with my existing relationships.  I want to go the step further...I want it to work...Like parenting, there is no guidebook on how to gain soft skills.  There is no guidebook on changing the natural response.  It takes dedication and discipline.  So for now, I review each opportunity to connect with people and try a little more each time...if it is God's will, it will happen, but perhaps, just maybe, God made me this way for a reason...and whatever the case, I am willing to live with that.

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(Liz, I don't have the whole "Pour Your Heart Out" image and link stuff, but if I did, this definitely would qualify, don't you think?  :)  )

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Round 2

I am back and ready for round two of my 30 Day Workout Schedules...I have started a workout calendar of Leslie Sansones Walk Away the Pounds and I am loving it.  What surprises me is that the workouts feel different to me this time around.  I have done most all the DVD's I have at least once before this month, but it feels like muscles that I toned doing the TransFIRMation series in January are hard at work this month too!  It is exciting to be able to kick higher and to be able to use more hand weights.  I can feel my muscles burning.  I love it!

I will admit that I did not start the month exactly on task.  I did the 1st day and then decided to take the weekend off.  I was feeling...blech...and exercise would have probably helped, but...well, the excuses set in for a couple of days "got so busy doing something else, I didn't have time", "I forgot", "my legs are still sore and tired from my 5hr walking stint at the NFL Experience (it was awesome, by the way!)"...it was only 3 days off and I am so glad I pulled myself out of bed yesterday and got back on the program. 

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Celebration

I am celebrating today! 

At the end of December, Jeremy took the kids on a trip out of state and I was working from home.  I knew I wanted to have a more dedicated focus to fitness in 2012 so I decided to dust off the old "TransFIRMation" DVD's from The FIRM.  There are 4 DVD's and adjustable weights that come with the set (1lb to 8lb each).  (note:  these were purchased between kids as I tried to "get my body back"...I think I did one workout and shelved the whole thing :), needless to say, there was much dust...)  Anyway, they also came with a booklet that described each of the DVD's in the set and also a handy calendar (you must know that I LOVE CALENDARS to tell me what to do every day).  The calendar was a 30 day that gave the appropriate workouts to do 5 days a week and called for 2 days of rest. 

I was bored after finishing my work for the day and so I gave the first DVD a shot.  I loved it.  It was a 25 min sculpting DVD (the workouts range from 25-55 min).  I looked back at the calendar and told myself I would do the whole month.  It helped to know that as soon as Jeremy was back, he would be starting Insanity.  That gave me some motivation knowing that I wouldn't be the only one to get up at 5am to do a workout.  :)

So today - a month later - I am celebrating!  I finished the last workout on the calendar and realized that I finished something.  I did have two days during the month that I got off track simply because I wasn't home, but instead of just skipping them, I found myself repeating the whole week to stay on track.  This is really major for me. 

So major in fact that I have printed off the Leslie Sansone Walk At Home calendar for February and I am ready for the challenge....29 Days...sure I CAN do it.  I plan to reward myself by purchasing a DVD pack of WATP from Walmart that I saw the other day.  And maybe I will get a pedicure :)

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Perfect

I was thinking about this word this morning.  I realize that I have a hesitation in starting (and finishing) things because I am afraid of the response of others and that I won't feel that they are perfect.  What is perfect?

The idea that dawned on me was that since I am not perfect, I can't define perfection.  God is the only one who can do this.  He showed us many examples of perfect through His Son, Jesus, but I know that, because of original sin, I am only perfected when I meet my Creator in the death of my earthly body.

That doesn't mean we don't try, but I have to stop hesitating doing/finishing things because of "my" definition of perfect.  God has put me here for a purpose.  Sometimes I will make mistakes.  Most of the time things won't be perfect.  The joy is that God is always there for me. 

One thing that our pastor eluded to this weekend in his sermon was the concept that we must not work to invite God into our plans, but we must ask God to invite us to be a part of His plans.  This was profound for me.  God is perfect, His will is the right/perfect choice 100% of the time.  When I look to Him to seek His Will, that is just about as close to perfect as I will ever get...

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Working from Home

I am so thankful to be given the opportunity to work from home with my current job.  I have standardized on working from home every Friday unless there is a major meeting in the office.  In my old job, I could work from home, but there wasn't the flexibility that I have where I am now.  I get so much more done at home.  I am able to work on things without interruptions from others.  I also have the ability to throw the occasional load of laundry in or put something in the crock pot for dinner at the right time :)  One of the biggest bonuses to working from home occasionally is not having to battle traffic into downtown.  It saves me 90 mins of commute time each day that I work from home.  I save on gas and it is better for the environment.  I am so blessed to have this opportunity. 

Another side benefit is that when I am in the office, I am making the most of my face-to-face connections.  People don't seem to mind that I am working from home occasionally.  I frequently am involved in conference calls from home and am immediately available via email or instant message.  Since email/instant message is the most frequent form of communication amongst the people I work with, that works out great!

Working from home does take discipline though...it is important that I lay out a list of objectives for the day in order to stay on track.  If not, I find myself wandering around the house doing a craft or watching the latest episode of whatever I am watching on Netflix.  I build in breaks that help keep me focused when I am working on an item on my list.  I can tell myself to work for say 50 min and then I get at 10 min break...

It also works because, unless it is a school holiday or one of the kids is sick, I have the house to myself and it is quiet.  :)   In case you are wondering, if I had my choice, I would work from home 4 days a week and go in one day for meetings, but the world doesn't revolve around me, so I'll take that 1 (and occassionally 2) days a week and be happy with that!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reverse Culture Shock

It has been going on since I returned from my mission trip to Guatemala in October of last year.  I just can't seem to find the same passion for work that I had before I went on the trip.  There are a lot of things that really just don't matter as much in the grand scheme of things anymore.  Someone recently told me this was more clearly defined as Reverse Culture Shock.  It makes sense.  I spent so much time preparing myself for how I would feel in a new culture for the 1 week I traveled to Guatemala.  I wanted to be open to the experience, God allowed that.  However; I didn't spend any time leading up to the trip or even during the trip trying to anticipate what it would be like to come back to a world where not much had changed.

Sounds sad and depressing...right?

Wrong.  As a matter of fact, I am happier than I ever have been.  Burdens have been lifted that I didn't even know existed in the first place.  I have been able to devote more time to living in the moment.  I would like to think that I anticipate less and enjoy every minute a little bit more.  I have made progress on cleaning my house, dedicating time to crafting and exercise and spending more time with my husband and kids (not in that order :)) and each minute counts for so much more than it used to.  I do enjoy my job, but it has been put in a different priority...the means to an end, not the end itself.  (another whole post in itself)

Sure it is stressful at times when I look ahead (or back) and realize what is coming (or what I missed), but I just try really hard to look to God with joy and thanksgiving for the opportunities that I have.  It all comes down to perspective.  I could choose the cynical perspective and see everything as "out of place" in my daily life, or I can choose to accept that as long as I continue to pray to God to show me his will and respond to his urgings I will be amazed at the blessings that come.

My main struggle is that I try to "fit in"...My wallpaper on my desktop at work has a saying "Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don't have to do what everyone else is doing."  I love this.  Most of my frets are about trying to figure out what everyone else is doing so that I can fit in, so that I can feel like I have made a contribution, so I feel like my idea isn't dumb...I need to keep reading my desktop and remembering that I am only 1 part of the Body of Christ.  As I heard from Joyce Meyer this morning, (paraphrased)...some of us are made to be noses and some of us are made to be armpits...we all belong to the body, but sometimes we shouldn't get to close...we serve different purposes and need to rely on each other from time to time and it is critical that we work as one body.

I do slip up, I am not perfect, I do say things that I don't mean, I do take things out of context, I do fret about things out of my control, but I am a child of God and in Him I am made whole.  Through Him, I will be shown His Will for my life...God grant me the courage to hear the call and live it.

Thanks be to God!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Review - Invasion (by Jon Lewis)

Comic books come to life and earthly secrets are revealed in this fiction selection from Jon Lewis

I really enjoyed this book.  I am a big fan of Twilight and The Hunger Games so a fiction book about a teenage boy adventuring into an experience involving non-human characters appeals to me.  I read this book in the span of less than a week.  I couldn't put it down.  It wasn't too deep, but it covered all the bases of a good wholesome adventure. 

Even though it was published by Thomas Nelson, it wasn't a "churchy" book.  Sure there were themes in the book where you understood that the characters involved were Christian, but it wasn't a major theme.  I think that this book would be enjoyed by a teen/young adult audience as well as the adult audience that likes this genre of writing. 

The characters were developed well and the writer's descriptive words gave me the sense that I could picture the major players and scenes in my head so I felt like I was following right along with the book.  I love it when an author balances descriptiveness with content as to allow the reader some imaginative license but gives good enough details that not too much thinking is involved.  Jon Lewis did just this in Invasion. 

I am looking forward to reading the next installation of this series which came out this month.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm Thrilled on Thursday - 01/19/2012

Yes, I guess the Daily Word themes will have to stop someday, but they are too fun to do so I will keep being a dork and putting words together with the day of the week...:)
  • I am Thrilled today because I won 2 tickets to the NFL Experience downtown Indy next Friday the 3rd...
  • I am Thrilled because I will be avoiding 90 min of traffic tomorrow by working from home
  • ok...no more...
  • In all seriousness, I am so happy that we had a good turn out at the small groups open house last night at my church.  I am looking forward to great things to come this year in coordinating this ministry area :)
  • It is odd that 90% of the "things we have as major initiatives in 2012" are things on MY plate...pressure, no way, I will take the challenge...God is on my side!
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wow God Wednesday - 01/18/2012

  • Last night, like Jacob, I wrestled with God...I tried to give him something and "he wouldn't take it"... I know that he will take what I am not capable of handling according to His Will so apparently his "not taking it away" meant that I needed to do some more processing...Processing for me means prayer and sleep...I get sleepy when life gets blechy...
  • Upon awaking, I knew what I had to do.  I have done the things that God has shown me to do and I have been blessed by response after response to my prayer...my heart is light, I know He is with me and is pleased with me.
  • The biggest lesson that I have learned from this is that sometimes doing God's Will will result in blechy feelings (we are only humans after all), but with fervent prayer and dedication to hearing God's Will for the next steps (only in His timing might I remind you...frustrating to my human mind :)) blessings will pour out abundantly.
  • God is so much bigger than anything I could ever have imagined and He continues to prove himself bigger and bigger each and every moment I live and breathe on His Earth.
Blessings to you today!  May you hear God's Words and Will for your life and I pray for your courage to live It!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Monday...la la...la la la la... 01/16/2012

  • Feeling good about my exercise and eating...downloade My Fitness Pal last week and have lost .5 lbs.  I only set it to lose 1lb per week so it is working!  My first week isn't done until Wednesday, but my weigh in is on Sunday.  Good stuff! 
  • Working on developing more discipline and self control.  I have asked God to help me prioritize the things I need to do so that I am not doing busywork and am doing His Will.  A hard job that I can't do alone, but only through the grace and love and power of Jesus Christ working through me, the goal will be accomplished.
  • Watched the pictures of the cruse liner that crashed and capsized off the coast of Italy and realized that it was the same size as the liner that my family and I took to Alaska a couple of years back.  Wow. 
  • I also watched a video on MSN today...get the tissues...it is awesome:

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Words - 01/11/2012

  • The Firm...Hard Core Fusion...Kicked my behind!! 
  • Downloaded My Fitness Pal...wow, really puts what I eat into perspective
  • Trying to manage things minute by minute today...crazy how things are going at work.  Good stuff and year is kicking off right, but man, it is busy!
  • Still haven't figured out what to knit yet.  Thought I had it and then I realized that a goal I set this year was to use the craft stuff that I have and not buy anything new until the yarn surplus that is taking over my craft room is gone!  Thus, still thinking...
  • Looking forward to not having to deal with traffic Friday when I work at home...it is getting crazier and crazier and when the weather gets worse...watch out!
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits - 01/10/2012

  • Caved in and downloaded Angry Birds last night on my phone...I feel like the last one to the show, but I am totally addicted.  Austin and I had fun going through the initial levels last night...Balance Ashli Balance...it's all about balance...(keep telling myself that as I reach for the phone again...:))
  • I am listening to someone tell another co-worker about an email that came out today with a crazy deadline...I am smiling (and sad for this person at the same time) because right before Christmas I advised the person doing the complaining that I had a feeling that it was coming...maybe she will start listening to me :)
  • I did a new FIRM workout this morning.  Crazy moves...it was fun, but it is going to take me a time or two..like the others did...before I am in a groove with it....so glad I re-discovered these workouts...they are right up my alley...
  • We got new carpet at my office, it looks awesome, and because we had to shift the cubicles around to get it put in, our area changed a bit so my cube is now a lot more private and bigger :)  BONUS!
  • I love listening to Joyce Meyer Devotionals every day on my Daily Bible App on my phone.  I listen on my way to work...good stuff... a great way to start the day!
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Musings - 01/09/2012

  • Back to work today...haven't been in the office since 12/23.  They replaced carpet so I worked from home for a few days and then took a week vacation :)  The carpet looks great and they even re-worked my space so that I have more privacy at my workstation. 
  • I have been doing The Firm TransFIRMation workouts for about 10 days now...I love them.  I am starting to notice changes in my body...no pounds lost yet, but I am sure that if I would have measured to begin with, I would notice a decrease in inches...Good stuff!
  • I have stew beef, green beans and ro-tel tomatoes in the crock-pot for dinner tonight...served with rice...yummy!
  • I am trying to find a new project to knit.  I want to knit something big like a sweater this time...
  • I am excited for an upcoming women's retreat I am part of a planning team for at church...should be a great time.  The planning team is a great group of women to work with.
  • I am also looking forward to leading small group ministries at our church this year...a lot of ideas I want to implement.  I keep reminding myself to take it one step at a time...but move in faith and not be paralyzed in fear :)
  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get):  Keep things in perspective...choose a perspective of faith and not fear! 
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