The journey...

Life is in the journey, not the destination, so do what you can and take it one day at a time. Go slow, do it right, and make your changes permanent — then help out others who are where you were.

~Jillian Michaels

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Monday, December 27, 2010

I can READ!

Yep, that's right!  I.CAN.READ.

Let's backtrack though...

I have been a bit M.I.A. here on my blogspot lately as it's hard to blog about "weight loss" and healthy living when you're, well, not losing weight or living healthy!  I know, I know, "The road isn't always easy and we learn so much through the struggles and successes and a 'setback' isn't failure." I've preached it with the best of them, but I was set in such a whirlwind that finding that wholeness my blog encourages (body, mind & spirit) - it's been TOUGH!

A few months ago I began attending a new Church and I was quite apprehensive at first.  My apprehensions are partially self-induced by my own poor decisions in life as of recent and some of the apprehensions come from undeniable wounds that were caused by others, but needless to say - they are there.  SO, stability in a Church home seemed lacking, stability in my living situation was turned upside down and stability in my physical home, this body, FLEW out the window with the rest of it.  It's safe for you to make the obvious assumption that spiritual stability in my walk with Christ has absolutely been tested and tried as well.  WOW, can I say it's been a year and I'm shouting BRING IT ON 2011, I don't hesitate in bidding farewell to 2010.

Now, onto the "I.CAN.READ" portion of this post...

My lack of blogging isn't an indication that I've given up completely on healthy living or rejected what I've spent so much time sharing and encouraging others about.  Instead of so much writing though, I've been READING.  For me, this is HUGE.  My entire life I've despised reading of all kinds but have absolutely LOVED writing.  For someone who writes as much as I do, you'd think that reading would go hand-in-hand, but nope, I've always felt like I have ADHD when it comes to required reading.  My mind wanders off in a thousand different directions OTHER than processing the words on the page.

Not so much the case anymore.  I'm so thankful that some friends have given and/or encouraged some very meaningful books and resources into my hands that are helping me tremendously through some emotional, mental, physical and social issues.  I'm thankful for HIGHLIGHTERS too. :)

First off, the Pastor of the new Church I've been attending has been presenting the word in a way that without even consciously thinking about it, causes me to hunger and crave more of the word and God's truth once I've left the building.  I find myself throughout the week, just jumping in and READing more and digging deeper.  He's been on a series called "I Love Fruit" coming out of John 15 on abiding in Christ.  These messages are absolutely transforming my thought process and although I can't say I've mastered the "art of abiding," my walk with God is changing from one of performance and standards to one of joyful, expectant relationship and communion with Him.  I'm incredibly thankful for this new Church body that I keep jokingly saying that I'm "97% sure I will start calling home."  Again, I'm still working on laying down apprehensions, but that's another story.

A LOT of my Bible READing lately has come from a translation that I used to have a closed heart towards: The Message.  I still love my NKJV, ESV and AMP, but I've been gleaning from the way The Message delivers the word of God.  It is challenging me.  Encouraging me.  Correcting me and instructing me.  I find the first thing I do most mornings now is pick-up my cell phone and open my Bible app rather than facebook, text messages or emails.  I want the first thing I READ and set my thoughts on in the morning to be the WORD.

The second book I'm READing was given to me as a gift by a dear friend is called A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever by Marianne Williamson. This book is not a "Christian" book per se as it moreso touches spirituality in general regardless of your religious background, but the Biblical principals that are presented in this book become obvious as a Christian reader.  I've found myself highlighting, underlining and writing scripture references in the margins of this book as well as relating it directly to my temptations and struggles with sin as well as weight loss.  So far, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK.  I've found it touching areas of my thoughts and emotions that have brought tears streaming down my face, but a release in my heart that I didn't even know I needed.  A couple exerpts from the book:

"Awareness is the first step in healing. Part of the benefit of pain is to get our attention, to help us make the connection between when we suffer and why, so we can make choices that are a lot more fun and healthful."

"...I may be able to pressure you into changing your diet, but sooner or later (usually sooner), some part of you will rebel. (Remember, "Don't eat the apple" didn't work, and that was God talking....)


And willpower is just another way of saying you're forcing yourself to do something, and pressuring yourself to do something is not sustainable. Again, what's sustainable are love, joy, pleasure, and freedom."


"On your own you might have changed your conscious thinking, but you alone cannot change your subconscious. And unless your subconsious mind is enrolled in your weight-loss efforts, it will find a way to reconstitute the excess weight regardless of what you do."

"When we forgive others, it doesn't excuse their actions; it frees us from our own stress and suffering."

The books that find themselves making friends with my hands don't end there though, I happen to be multi-tasking in my READing adventures and I recently picked up a book that I could not ignore any longer called Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend.  Everywhere I turn nowadays, I hear someone speaking about the importance of boundaries in our lives and relationships.  One of my best friends has been encouraging me to download some podcasts by Joyce Meyer's on boundaries as well as reading various resources that teach on how to establish those boundaries.  A support group I've been attending frequently stresses the importance of setting boundaries in friendships and a coffee date a couple weeks ago was the icing on the cake that made me surrender to this obvious coaxing that I believe to be Gods inspiring.  In the midst of a deep conversation, my friend said to me, "I feel like I need to tell you something about Boundaries...." then he proceeded to talk about the importance of setting and knowing my personal boundaries in life.  That sealed it, I went onto Amazon.com and bought the boundaries book and received it today.  Just in the first couple chapters of READing, I already see the necessity to learn these lessons and apply them to my life.  An exerpt from the inside cover of the Boundaries book:


"Are you in control of your life? Do people take advantage of you? Do you have trouble saying no? Christians often focus so much on being loving and giving that they forget their own limits and limitations....Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.
Believe it or not, the books I "coincidentally" happen to be READing all at the same time have been a recipe for releasing some deeply rooted issues in my life.  Going from not reading much at all to READing these particular books in conjunction is serving a purpose in my life for this particular season I'm in.  I'd think it'd be confusing keeping up with them all, but they are all fitting together beautifully.  I'm thankful to have these books fall in my hands and I'm excited to stay in the word to align these new thoughts an ideas with God's truth (and/or dismiss it if it doesn't align) and apply it to my life for effective and lasting CHANGE.

Since we are talking about READING, I'm excited for the book that is next on my list, Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore.  This is a book that has caught my eye but not much of my attention numerous times over the years.  I remember purchasing this book for a friend through a incredibly rough time in both of our lives and hearing about how it really helped her through it.  I have another friend who was recently given this book and read its pages and has began applying even it's painful truths to her life and is seeing gradual change.  I went ahead and took the step of purchasing the book last week, I'm excited to READ through it as I continue to allow God to free me from some deep, dark pits I've dug in my life.


Well, I'm sure I just gave YOU a fair share of READING with this blog, but if you've made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read and I'm going to ask that you PRAY for me.  I've been dealing with some struggles that have proved much more difficult that "working out" or "eating right" for me.  I've been acknowledging them for what they are am actively dealing with them.  Some days are easier to surrender all over to God and others I find myself picking it all back up in an attempt to manage it in my own hands.  I appreciate your love, support and prayers!

Thank you!

Verse(s) of the Day:

Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Congrats Crozier!!!

CONGRATS TO COURTNEY (& Marci) CROZIER
for making Biggest Loser Couples: Season 11!!!

Me, Courtney Crozier and her best friend Courtney Romano in Chicago 2009

At the young age of 22 and originally starting over 400 pounds, Ms. Courtney Crozier is going to rock your living room come January on NBC's "The Biggest Loser."  She's proudly lost over 120 pounds at home after being inspired by the hit reality TV show and is now setting out to drop the rest of her weight in front of America...or the portion of America who hasn't been fortunate enough to meet this amazing lady yet!

It's going to be an interesting, exciting and inspiring story to watch as we get a glimpse into the life of a girl who's Dad runs a Dairy Queen that she's employed at full-time and her Mom has ran a health club for 27 years.  Both Mother and Daughter will be featured on Season 11 Couples as a team.

I'd crossed paths with Crozier through the wonderful world we know as Facebook and the awesome networking experience it provides for others traveling this road of extreme weight loss and healthier living.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to have met Crozier (her Mom, Dad & best friend) once in person on a trip to Chicago when she set-up an interview opportunity for a good friend of mine, also trying for a new weight loss television show (to be aired soon).

The one thing I took note of (and most everyone who has ever interacted with her), is the fact that she's got a heart of gold and seriously strives to help as many people as cross her path.  She absolutely believes in living life to the fullest and that doesn't mean at the expense of others, it means encouraging and helping others along the way.  Shes one of the most encouraging people you could come across and it's not superficial, she's real!  She's fun. She's honest. She's gorgeous. She's smart. She's strong. She knows what she wants AND, she doesn't give up on her dreams!

When I picked up my phone last night and took a glimpse at facebook, I read a few statuses prompting readers to check her out on the finale of Season 10.  I ran to my living room and turned on the TV just in time to catch the short clip of her sneak preview for next season!  HOW EXCITING!  I thought to myself, "She did it!"  This girl set out to prove on her own that she could do it and knew in her heart that with or without the show she was out to gain her life back.  With that being said, it didn't erase the dream she's had deep in her heart to be on the show and work her butt off (literally) while inspiring America (...and she didn't want to be on just any show, but specifically The Biggest Loser).  What I love about that is, unlike so many others who feel like they NEED the show in order to have a chance to live, she found it in herself that should could do it with or without, but she wasn't going to give up on a desire though.

Have you ever had a dream that you refuse to give up on?  I was so filled with joy when I saw her face on my TV screen last night because it encouraged me to not give up on my dreams.  Who says it's impossible?  She refused to give up on a dream and that dream came true.  Can I just say, I'm thankful that someone as extrodinary as her would receive her hearts desire because she has absolutely "Paid it Forward" and poured herself out into the lives and hearts of so many other people and now I feel she's having it poured back into her.  She's got such a charming and charismatic personality that you will never forget...I haven't!

GOD BLESS AND MUCH LOVE TO YA CROZIER!!!


Watch the Season Premiere on January 4, 2011

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Size Matters

This post will be short & sweet...

SIZE MATTERS

Some of the most rewarding discoveries in losing weight aren't even found on the scale...

...we get so focused on "WEIGHT LOSS" that we forget that FAT LOSS, PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE and INCHES LOST are a much more significant (& appropriate) means of measurement.

Some of my FAVORITE testimonies to hear:

"I had to go to the mall and have them take out a link in my watch!"

"I'm down another hole on my belt."


"My ring doesn't fit anymore, it just slides right off."


"I had a hard time walking before and NOW I can JOG!!!"


PEFORMANCE

"I haven't lost that much weight, but I'm down 3% in BODY FAT!"


What are some of YOUR discoveries found OFF of the scale?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A beautiful day in the midst of December...

Lord, you bring a beautiful day in the midst of December,
Making a break in this winter to let the sun shine.


Removing memories of the blistery chill,
Replaced with a gentle breeze that I claim as mine.


To step outside to a spring-like day,
In exchange for the bitterness of cold.


Bringing a smile to this battered face,
Removing pains and scars of old.


I’m not quite sure how you do it,
Turning into day this night.


But fortunate for me you do it,
What was hopeless is filled with light.


Outside there’s so much dying,
And trees are left so bare.


Yet you’ve come and changed a day for me,
Somehow, you really care.


Lord, you bring a beautiful day in the midst of December,
Making a break in the winter to let the sun shine.


Removing memories of the blistery chill,
Replaced with a gentle breeze that I claim as mine.

Friday, November 26, 2010

CHECK IN: "Lock in the Weigh in"

HAPPY (day after) THANKSGIVING!!!


I hope you all had a GREAT Thanksgiving and continue to enjoy your holiday season. I just wanted to send a quick email to touch base with everyone concerning this “Lock in the Weigh in” challenge…


HOW ARE YA?

We’ve got ONE holiday out of the way but that’s just the beginning of this “Holiday Season.” How’d you hold up for Thanksgiving? Are you doing a good job at holding yourself accountable to maintain or LOSE weight as you tackle the potlucks, family gatherings, Church socials and various outings with friends?


I encourage you to CHECK IN with your scale today and see how you’re holding up with your goal this holiday season. I’m here to tell you, I haven’t been doing too hot. Remember, January 1st in closer than you think and for many of us this is just the beginning of the family food feasts to come. Whether you are UP or down on the scale today, don’t slump into a deep depression if the results aren’t where you’d ideally intend them to be. Take note of what you’ve done up until this point and make modifications as necessary.


Regardless of where you stand TODAY on a scale, I hope you are taking time to love yourself and be THANKFUL. Never take for granted your family, your friends and those in your life who you deeply love. Don’t miss opportunities to tell people how much you care and remember that nothing is as personal as QUALITY TIME spent interacting with others where you are PHYSICALLY present and engaging in their lives. It’s so easy today (especially in my generation), to rely on social media and other forms of informal communication to stay in touch with the people in our lives but it seems like the more impersonal connections we have with world the less connected we become. I encourage YOU to schedule a game night with your family, have a girls (guys) night ‘out’ or ‘in,’ meet up with some old friends for dinner and a movie or do something IN PERSON that is socially engaging sometime SOON. I’m not just talking about with the person or people you see every day either, call up someone who you care about but may not have seen for awhile.


JUST THINK ABOUT IT THIS WAY – IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH (and theirs too)!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Women of Faith Conference 2010



This was my first Women of Faith conference and I was blessed with the opportunity to go when a customer of mine offered me FREE tickets to join.  I loved the concerts performed by Mary Mary and Natalie Grant.  The first night, Mary Mary had everyone up on their feet dancing, jumping and shouting for joy!  I had the opportunity to get a picture with them after Friday night, however, it's not sending from my phone or else I'd add it.  The second day I went and sat the majority of the day alone and it was a beautiful time to just really focus on God and soak in what I was hearing without being distracted and feeling obligated to interact with people around me.  Natalie Grant performed and left me in tears when she walked off the last stage for her portion of the WOF tour because she's expecting a new baby in a matter of weeks.  I was glad that Kansas City made her list of performances because I'm incredibly moved by her music.

I really connected with ALL of the speakers, but I connected most with Kim Cash Tate and Sheila Walsh's message.

Kim is an author and she talked about how she loves writing (and so do I) and how she has the opportunity to become best friends with the characters in her stories.  She gets to take them to beauty from ashes.  She gets to plan out the plot from beginning to end and has the privilege of redeeming her characters.  She talked about how she became so used to writing the life story for her characters that she attempted to write her own life story.  She had everything planned out and how it would work and soon realized that if God is the author of her life, she can't have the pen too.  That spoke to me because I personally love writing too and the best way I know how to make sense of my life and what runs through my mind is by writing.  I'm not guilty of trying to write my own story to "success," however, I have repeatedly attempted to write my own way out of the "pits" I've made in my life.

The second speaker I related to was Sheila Walsh. Sheila had spoke about a time when she was admitted into a mental ward and made the statement that "Sometimes God will take you to a prison just to set you free." That single statement penetrated my heart and I applied it directly to the past year of my life. Lately I've had to come face-to-face with some deeply rooted issues from my past (and present) that I've tried suppressing for years. Although I haven't been in a literal prison, by my free will, God allowed me to walk through nearly 12 months of my own spiritual prison.


Sheila talked about meeting a missionary and a Pastor while she was in the mental facility. The Pastor was burdened by attempting to live two lives, one in public and one in private. The missionary had been molested when she was younger and felt the guilt and shame of that violation and felt she had to make it up to God by doing missions, although she absolutely hated it. Even though it was Sheila sharing "her" story, I related to both the pastor living a double-life and the missionary trying to please God in ways that were ultimately contrary to His perfect will for her.


I'm at a place where I feel like I'm relearning everything that I've ever known "in Christ."  What are my convictions and what convictions have I been told I'm supposed to have?  With what I listen to, what I watch, what I drink, who I communicate with and how I communicate with them.  Where I go and who I go there with.  "Fellowship" vs. "friendship" and if there is a difference between the two.  When it says "friendship with the world is enmity towards God," does that mean that I should not allow myself to befriend someone who is not a believer and "in the world" because I'm hating God by doing so or does it mean that I shouldn't partner in doing the DEEDS of this world and it's system?  I've got so distracted by trying to uphold my own religious standards (or that of those around me) that I was choking out the pure JOY there should be in living my life for Him.

My "mission" had become such a chore (going to Church, trying to read the Bible, trying to pray, avoiding ungodly people, trying to live a good life) and my "works" were moreso to appease my own guilty conscience.  The sporatic happiness I had in my life, I masked as joy. There is a vast difference between happiness and true joy.  My "happiness" was primarily found in making other people happy (even over God) but I felt guilty behind closed doors because of the deep secrets in my heart, in my life and in my mind.


A few days ago I just felt to look up the verse that says, "It's for freedom that Christ has set you free, stand firm, then, and don't let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  I had actually just parked my car when I decided to look that up and so I did a word search on my smartphone.  I've never read too much from the Message translation, but for whatever reason I looked it up in the Message and the whole chapter of Galatians 5 hit home hard!


Galatians 5


" 1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.



2-3I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ's hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law. 4-6I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love."
I highlighted two portions in red because I never INTENDED to live by my own religious plans and projects, I simply tried to live the way I'd been taught I was supposed to live in Christ.  Then it goes further to say that we expectantly "wait" for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit.  WOW!  Right now I am literally at a place where God is helping me out of one of the deepest pits I've ever dug in my life due to my own choices to sin, but in the midst of it I'm more satisfied in Him than I've ever been since "coming to know Him."  I hate that I'd have to fall so terribly in order to have my eyes opened to how my blindness came far before I consciously made the choice to blatently sin.  I've spent YEARS expectantly waiting for that place of "satisfaction" in Him and trying to do more because obviously I either wasn't doing enough or my heart was just too screwed up to be changed.  I'm learning that it's likely my own "religiousness," my own means of trying to make myself righteous when only HE can make me righteous and my own "rule-keeping" LAW that has kept me from experiencing His fullness of joy. 
In my "rule-keeping system," I pulled away from family, rejected GOOD friends because of "low" standards, disassociated from anything and anyone that may have caused me to look like the world because I worked hard to "avoid the appearance of evil."   I never even realized that I was hearing that verse out of context, I just accepted it the way it was presented to me.  Just before this verse it talks about warning unruly, comforting fainthearted, upholding weak and being patient with ALL.  Even in my working to "avoid" this appearance and association though, I was still considered rebellious for the few I did choose to keep in my life (friends who edified me and encouraged me but didn't fit the mold).   Now the Bible does talk in other places about disassociating with believers who willfully choose a lifestyle of sin (not wanting to reject it), but I was quick to lump them with the Christian who truly was walking out their salvation with fear and trembling but may have had a slightly different view than me or was currently struggling with sin more than me.  Where is the faith expressed by LOVE in that?

I have exhausted so much time and energy trying to abide by the "rules" that I wasn't living a life of freedom at all.  I was bound. My Christian walk wasn't received as a blessing, it was the burden that kept me chained down rather than setting me free.  Kinda like chaining a pit bull to a pole when he wants to be loose, I felt so overwhelmed by the "rules" of living a life for Him that the times that I broke away from that legalistic chain, I ran full speed to sin.


I've always heard that freedom in Christ isn't a license to sin and so I've quoted it a thousand times, but I never have understood just what "freedom in Christ" really means though.  I'm at a place right now where I'm opening my heart to learn who the "FREE woman" whom Christ has redeemed is.  I'm learning that "losing my life so that I may find it," and "dying to myself daily," is about being liberated from the old person who has to wrestle daily with a set of "rules."  We hear it all the time - but I guess I never believed it.


When I begin pouring my heart out on Him, loving Him and spending time getting to KNOW Him for myself, I don't need rules, I'll LOVE living a life that pleases Him. I wont need a list of "don't do's," because I wont be doing them, my hearts desires will gradually become more and more like His. I'm not there yet - but I'm starting to see a different picture than the one that was always painted in my mind before. Don't get me wrong, I understand that "rules" are important, Jesus said that He didn't come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Mt 5:17), but the reason he takes the commandments further is because we can disregard the "rules" in our hearts without ever physically participating in the sin.  Just because I've got my big religious list telling me not to listen to secular music, go to the movie theatres or watch certain movies, be friends with that person because we all know they sinned or drink that thing doesn't mean that my heart is pure before God.

My list of "can't do's" isn't going to draw anyone to the knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ and cause their hearts to open to the power of His saving grace! My list is what makes me the person so many searching people in the world do NOT want to be. They are HUNGRY to have a void filled in their hearts, but not if that void is getting what I have - a set of rules. If you are already bound, where is the freedom in that?

FREEDOM in Christ isn't bondage to rules.


FREEDOM in Christ is a heart issue.


FREEDOM in Christ takes away the "I can't do this" and replaces them with the "I don't desire to's."

For months I've gone through a vicious cycle of setting rules only to break them, sometimes just as quickly as I'd set them. I was in a prison of guilt, shame, depression, fear and failure, all in direct result of my sin and not knowing how to just "do what is right." As if my sin weren't great enough, add to that the fact that I was unable to keep my own new "rule." I felt even more inadequate. Hypocrital. Weak-minded. Worthless. Rejected. Lost. Confused. Hurting. I hurt more every time that I tried and failed because I tried and failed in my flesh. I knew all of the things that I was NOT supposed to do, so when I did them I felt like there was something wrong with me. (Romans7)


"Why are all the other Christians able to follow the rules, but I can't break this cycle?"


I saw my faith as a "rule-keeping system" that if I happened to disobey, I'd have to start all over at "Point A" so in turn I've spent a good deal of time dropping out of the race just to go back to the starting line. I've had more fear of being kicked out of God's family and God's Church than I had a Holy fear and reverence for His grace and mercy. I've spent the majority of my Christian walk fighting the thought that something just didn't take for me, something went wrong in my conversion. I never realized that I was bound more to the you have to do "this, this and this" to please Him and don't even think about doing "that, that and definitely not that!" I didn't find that place of "FREEDOM," I felt more bound than before I knew Him. At least then I wasn't falling under condemnation every other day. God's KINDNESS leads us to repentence, but I had a skewed viewpoint that resembled a student writing sentences on a chalkboard repeatitively in order to get the lesson ingrained in his mind. That viewpoint leaned more towards strict discipline than deep compassion. Although I know God most certainly causes us to tremble in fear and shows times of wrath and terror due to our sin, there are also times of Him drawing us out into the desert to "allure" us like He did Gomer in the book of Hosea. He causes the things we've found ourselves depending on to FAIL us in order for us to see that He (our first love) is the only one who will never leave us or forsake us. God really does work in mysterious ways, but I'm thankful that He knows how to call a wayward heart home (and not every heart will respond to the same call).


I'm breaking free from my well-trained religious rule-keeping system and am beginning to LOVE letting go and living for Him.  I'm learning how to LOVE others and how to love myself.  I learned how to deny myself, but I didn't learn much about loving myself.  He's giving me His grace and peace in the midst of it all. It's scary to really have faith for Him to work in me rather than just "say" I believe and have faith. I'm now making the choice to walk in the light and keep myself accountable to God and the godly counsel of others. I feel like I'm becoming a whole new "me" all over again, but He does make ALL things new and I'd made an incredible mess of what I was becoming.


Well, that's the summary of my gleaning from the Women of Faith conference. I'm sure I could go through my notes and share more, but this was what really hit home the most for me. It was a TREMENDOUS blessing to be able to go this year and I hope I'm able to attend again next year.


I'm living and learning how to LOVE life!

HAVE A BLESSED DAY! :')

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fight for Air Climb 2010

 

I'M ALIVE!!!

On Saturday I completed the Fight for Air Climb to benefit the American Lung Association.  This was a climb of 34 stories to the top of the Town Pavillion in downtown KCMO.  The Town Pavillion is makes up part of our cities skyline as it's the 2nd largest sky scraper downtown.

Town Pavillion - 34 story climb
Some co-workers rallied with me for this last-minute event and we formed team Breathe Right.  We raised $625 for the ALA which was $125 OVER our team goal.  I'm thankful for everyone who was willing and able to donate funds for the fight against lung disease.

Team Breathe Right (minus Kristi) BEFORE the climb!
 I was excited that I completed the race in 9:58:8.  From start to finish it took me less than 10 minutes, but those 10 minutes felt like they'd NEVER end in that stairwell.  To give some perspective, one of our team participants completed the KC Waddell & Reed half-marathon last month and she said that this event hurt worse than her half!


This was my 3rd official race and by far the MOST painful thing I've ever done (all workouts and races included).  My Last Chance Workout for the KC Fit Magazine Challenge was mild in comparision to this short "sprint" event.  This felt like someone lit a match inside of me and set my lungs on fire.
After Fight for Air Climb
Kristi finished 1st for our team and 9th in her age group, she was FLYING!  She had to take a step outside when she was done to get some fresh air into her lungs.  Just making it to the top of this event was an accomplishment though considering you felt like you were dying not even half-way through the race.


There were firefighters and swat team participants who ran the stairs in full gear and I most certainly take my hat off to them and what they do to save lives.  I won’t forget hearing the echo of deep breathing in the stairwell and then a loud crash of something hitting the cement ground when I was about half-way through the race.  I had to make my way up another 3-4 floors before I realized it was the axe of one of the firemen.  He was leaning up against the wall with his oxygen tank on struggling for air while still cheering on the rest of us, “Great work ladies, keep it up!  You’re doing awesome!”  I almost cried!

My friend Brian was there in full-gear with the Overland Park Fire Department and he completed it 9:54:8.  I contemplated dropping my 16 oz water bottle due to the inconvenience of carrying "extra weight" and he finished with and extra 50+ pounds in gear.  OUCH!  I have to say that I'm incredibly proud of him and all of the men and women who came out to represent their departments in full gear.  Can you imagine what type of training it requires to run through houses, climb ladders and run up stairwells to save the lives of civilian's stuck in a fire?  More than that, to CARRY someone out of a fire when you are already carrying around all of that gear as it is?

THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE OFFICERS and SWAT TEAM MEMBERS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO TO SERVE AND PROTECT US!!!

Brian & I after the Fight for Air Climb

Verse of the Day:

Psalm 119:143

"Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fight for Air Climb 2010


Fight for Air Climb


This Saturday (November 13, 2010), I will be completing the Fight for Air Climb in order to raise funds for the American Lung Association.  I'm excited and thankful that I was able to rally a team and I'm now the captain for team, "Breathe Right."

As for me personally...

I am doing so because I am able. I can breathe freely, and I climb for those who are not as lucky.



I haven't fought lung disease, but I DO know the importance of our lungs. As some of you may know, I’ve lost nearly 160 pounds over the past 1 1/2 years and I’m still fighting to lose 40 more in order to reach my goal. I used to fight for air just by walking to my car at lunch or climbing the stairs at home.  For me, I had a battle to breathe because of my own poor choices but there are some who battle to breathe with no choice.




This event will be a milestone on my journey to remember where I've come from compared to where I am TODAY!  When I started my journey, I had a love/hate relationship with a machine called the "Stair Master."  I literally had to "Fight for Air" just to make it through 5 minutes.  Saturday, I'll "Fight for Air" as I push for 34 STORIES worth of stairs.  This is going to be exciting folks!
So far I’ve done an official 1 mile race and a 5k race, but this will add a certain "twist" that your more traditional races don't offer. For me, this will be another celebration that I will never forget on my journey to losing 200 pounds and why not shoot for a personal accomplishment that will help other people?


Every dollar I raise helps the American Lung Association work towards the prevention, control and cure of lung diseases, such as asthma, lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, influenza and pneumonia.


If you are interested in sponsoring me OR my team, please click here.

God Bless!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nov 1st: "LOCK IN the WEIGH-IN"


November 1st - January 1st
 "LOCK IN the WEIGH-IN"

MINE: 185.4 lbs


The concept of "Lock in the Weigh-in" came from Carolyn Jost, a woman who I met through Round 3 of the KC Fitness Magazine Challenge.  As a way of keeping herself accountable throughout the holiday season, she hops on the scale on November 1st and has a goal of being that weight OR LESS by January 1st (after facing all the holidays).  I thought this was BRILLIANT when she shared it with our group.  So although I wish this were an original idea of mine, I have to applaud Carolyn for the inspiration of the "Lock in the Weigh-in" Challenge.

Within the networking world of healthy living and weight-loss, we share tips and tricks we've learned in our own lives that may be beneficial to others.  I especially love the suggestions during the tempting "holiday season."


WHY?

Because this is the time of year where all the comfort foods, favorite sweet treats and once-a-year family recipes start hitting the dinner tables to be enjoyed and it's hard to not simply lose control.  Grasping and adhering to the concept of moderation becomes TOUGH during the holiday festivities, even for those who have a fair amount of self-control.  We have to learn to control our temptations in everyday living (which is much easier said than done), so avoiding social activities all together may not be the best game plan, however, for most some sort of game plan is necessary when it's not realistic to remove yourself from temptation.

I challenge YOU to "Lock in the Weigh-in."  TODAY, make a note of your November 1st weight and set out to maintain and/or LOSE weight by January 1st.  I don't want you to be fooled by my statement to "maintain," because I hope to have successfully burned fat and lost weight come the beginning of the year rather than waiting for it to be my "resolution."  For some however, losing weight isn't necessary, but maintaining your weight through the holiday season is the challenge!

What are holidays?  They are DAYS, not months!  Don't lose yourself (and your health) because of a series of "days" we celebrate over the span of TWO MONTHS.

I encourage you, "LOCK IN the WEIGH-IN" and hold yourself accountable.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Fall


Hope everyone is enjoying FALL!

What are YOU doing to prepare for the fast approaching holiday season?

Fail to plan, plan to fail...

Don't let the SNEAK up on you. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Detox Deception...

If you've roamed through the health food/supplement section at your local supercenter or GNC, you've probably noticed the ever increasing line of detox products on the shelves.  Every health "guru" has their face plastered on a product and every brand of supplements offers their own "version" which is undoubtedly, FAR BETTER THAN REST....right?

They have claims of being ALL NATURAL, lose up to 10 pounds in one week, lose inches, eliminate belly bloat, shed excess water weight, breaks plateaus and remove toxins from the body.  Ultimately, all of these claims are a deception, but typically true!

So why a deception?

I'm not going to completely knock the concept of supplemental detoxes, I think it depends on HOW and WHY they are being taken?  Is it undoubtedly to flush your body of unwanted toxins that are roaming around in our bodies?  Is it because it acts as a colon cleanse which some doctors actually recommend 1-2x a year?  If it IS for the purpose of colon cleanse, are you using a product that will replace the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract or is it getting rid of the good with the "bad"?

So, why am I even talking about a DETOX?

I purchased and started a 14-day detox cleanse 1 1/2 weeks ago.  Although the concept of flushing toxins from your body is worth the thought, I was buying the seller's pitch: "LOSE WEIGHT QUICK!!!"  I feel like I've wasted an entire MONTH in this funk of putting the pieces of my life back together and what is the first thing to go when everything else is seemingly a mess - HEALTH!  I waltzed right into my friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart and spent just under $20 to purchase (photo ID now required) this lovely acai berry ALL NATURAL detox cleanse.  Like I said, I don't completely disagree with detoxes or cleanses (although I prefer the clean eating method of detox which can also be called the Daniel Fast).  Either way, when you are doing a cleanse to purge your body of impurities, you shouldn't be craming it FULL of toxins at the same time - in either instance you should be eating a semi-clean diet.  WHAT DID I DO?  I've spent the past 1 1/2 weeks binging on fatty fast foods (morning, noon and night) yet religiously taking my "daily detox pill" before bed.  Definitely not a good example and I would NOT recommend you try this at home.

So, what happened?


I call it the "lie detector"

In most instances, when you take "shortcuts" in life you either miss out on so many experiences or you sell yourself short and it ends up costing yourself more in the long run.  I managed to just "slip" underneath my prior weigh-in weight for my 8-month weight loss challenge thanks to this lovely "detox" pill, I lost an entire 0.6 pounds!!!  That actually meant I shed nearly 8 pounds in a week to fall under my previously recorded number - BUT - sometimes it's what's happening on the inside the matters most!  Once we step off the scale they have us hold this "lie-detector test" machine in our hands that measures body-fat.  I went UP an entire % in body fat!  Yes, I dropped nearly 8 pounds with the assistance of this detox and most certainly lost some water, even felt the inch difference in some clothes, I'm assuming some toxins were removed with my supplement induced bathroom routine (although those toxins were replaced by Taco Bell & McDonalds), but all of those seemingly GREAT results were quickly overshadowed by the truth - weight loss does NOT mean FAT LOSS (for a good blog entry titled "Weight Loss," not importantclick here).

This was yet another one of the hard truth lessons I've learned on this road and I have to repeat to myself what I've told numerous people in challenges I've hosted, "The number on the scale is just a point of reference, not a mirrored reflection of your efforts."  It's funny, because I've always said that to encourage people when the scale didn't seem to be moving, but it can be used in reverse, the scale may "appear" to be moving but is your body really changing for the better on the inside?  THAT is what matters!  FAT LOSS not "weight loss."

I'm living, learning and trying to love life along the way...
IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT THE SCALE

Verse of the Day:

**As for the verse, in relation to the blog post, it's about what's happening on the INSIDE.  God searches our hearts and regardless of how much it "appears" that we love Him by our actions, He knows the true intents of our hearts.

1 Chronicles 28:9


“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Think Positively

"Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.  Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.  Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!

-Christian D. Larson

From a card I bought in Georgia...

Verse of the Day:

Colossians 3:2 (NIV)


"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Emotional Failing

Which direction do YOU choose?
 It's easy to blog about the journey when things are right on track but it's a lot harder to lay it bare when you're struggling.  Over the past 1 1/2 years I've written a few entries such as "Self Evaluation," "A Blog on Failing" and "Forgive Yourself" that were about set-backs.

This past week literally felt like HELL to me and it's easy to find yourself attempting to drown out your sorrows with bad habits.  When everything seems out of your control, it's also interesting to see how we react over the few things in life that we are still able to control.  I jogged my best 3 mile time last week, all of a sudden the usual lack of breath didn't even bother me, something about that jog freed me from the stress surrounding me and helped me gather my thoughts and emotions.  I made my bed every day, sounds silly, but every morning I woke up and made my bed before leaving the house which is not a usual occurrence in the life of "Mesha."  It wasn't until the end of the week that I realized it was one area in my life I was able to organize and by doing that simple task it made me feel accomplished and a little less like a failure.

Emotional Eating
I felt like I had learned enough on this road to where I was beginning to react to negative circumstances with positive response - which I did for the majority of the week, until the weekend hit and it all went out the window.  One 'old friend' that rejoined me this past week was FOOD (and LOTS of it).  Sonic, Peach Wave, Wendy's, Burger King, Chick-fil-a, Taco Bueno, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's, chocolate cake, Back Yard Burgers and Mi Ranchito ALL found their way onto my menu this past WEEKEND. Not even the week - the majority of it was on the WEEKEND! From Friday night until yesterday, I ate more fatty fast food than I've probably had in this past YEAR!  From Thursday until today I gained 7.2 lbs and have been in such an emotional whirlwind that I don't even know myself.


I feel like I watched the last 9 years of my life vanquish over night with the events of this past week and needless to say - it hurt!  The Bible says, "Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," I've learned that to be true in CHRIST, not so much with people though.  Even through the heartbreak, I'm thankful for the events of this past week and know in my heart what I am doing and although others may look at me from the outside in with cold hearts - all that matters is how God looks into the depths of MY heart.  For those who may think contrary, unfortunately they didn't know, love or respect me enough in the first place.  The reality of my situation is that my scars may be a bit uglier than the ones others bare, but Christ is still the healer of them all.

NEW Chapter of my life...
 I am embracing the consequences of my own actions, but that doesn't make it sting any less.  I've been digging into the story of King David a lot (the good, the bad and the ugly) and I'm finding HOPE. I've been clinging more to God's word and His truth than I ever have before and crying out in prayer because even in my lonliness and pain, I am comforted by the reminder that He is the only one who never leaves and never forsakes us.  Even when nearly everyone else you've grown to love and respect decides to throw you out as "no good," ONE still remains - JESUS.

It wasn't something I wanted, but it happens with any good book...I've turned THIS page in my life and I'm onto a NEW CHAPTER.

VERSE OF THE DAY:

One of my friends said to me today, "If you fall seven times, make sure you get up eight." It reminded me of the verse I chose for today...

Proverbs 24:16 (NLT)

"The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.
But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked."

I'm choosing not to let what felt like a DISASTER this past week to overthrow me...I'M GETTING UP!

Ali shared a devotional with me today that Mandi sent her and it really encouraged me in the midst of everything.  It reminded me of the only one who not only wont, but CAN'T fail me.  It reminded me not to be angry, bitter or upset no matter how right or wrong I think things are handled or a picture is portrayed.

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

We all have family and friends who have made promises to us; to help us; to stay with us; to love us; to give us something; or to stand up for us. We believed them because they ‘gave us their word.’ When someone gives you their word, you should be able to trust them. But because we are people, living in these fleshly bodies and living in the world, we sometimes make promises that we can’t keep; sometimes we ‘give our word’ and our promise falls through. But thank God that He is not like us; He is not limited in what He can do.
 
God gave us His Word, that He would help us; that He would never leave nor forsake us. The Lord gave us His Word that He would protect us and keep us; supply our needs; and comfort us when we hurt. When you begin to doubt that help is coming, you must remind yourself that God gave you His Word and “God is not a man, that He should lie. He is not human, that He should change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?” Number 23:19 NIV


As you face this day and face tomorrow; as trials and tribulations, tests and troubles try to come your way, remind yourself that God gave you His Word that ‘you are more than a conqueror.’ As you are tempted to sin against God, and wonder if you are strong enough to say no, remind yourself that God gave you His Word that ‘you can do all things through Christ which strengthens you.’ The Lord gave you His Word that if you come to Him, He would give you rest; He gave you His Word that if you keep your mind stayed on Him, He would give you perfect peace. He gave you His Word that if you acknowledge Him in all your ways, He would direct your paths. He gave you His Word!!