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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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Decision Making Questionnaire

I read this "Decision Making Questionnaire" the other day that isn't really written for "food addiction," but when I saw it I thought of how relative it is for anyone with an addictive personality, including food addiction. I've not actually written out answers to this questionnaire (yet), but over the past couple days I've found myself mentally going through the questions before making food choices and/or going to particular restaurants. It's been INCREDIBLY helpful because lately it has seemed near impossible for me to not stop at a drive-thru when driving anywhere. CRAP food has become my 'main squeeze' and it's most definity made it impossible to SQUEEZE into any of my jeans. :( I've gone so far backwards on my journey that it's sickening and I'm thankful that I'm conscious and choosing to look at the reality now to get back on track, but it's hard!

I encourage you, check out the questionnaire below and see if you could apply it to your own life (with ANY addiction), I highlighted the question that challenged me MOST in light of my food addiction, WOW!....

When deciding if you should engage in a particular activity, below are some questions to answer. Be brutally honest as you answer them. Use another sheet of paper to write down your answers. This questionnaire is especially helpful as you develop your boundaries and your definition of sobriety. You may want to provide this checklist to your sponsor so she can ask you these questions as needed.

1. Look at that behavior in light of all your other addictive/destructive behaviors. Is this particular activity similar to those behaviors? How is it similar? How is it different?

2. List all the reasons you think this particular activity is a healthy choice.

3. Will doing this particular activity propel you forward in your sobriety or take you backwards?

4. Will doing this particular activity propel you forward in your relationship with God or take you backwards?

5. If you did this particular activity every day for the next month what would be the result?

a. On your sobriety?
b. On your relationship with God?
c. On your relationship with others?
d. On how you feel about yourself?
e. On your weight loss journey (health, weight, physical ability)? (I added this question)

6. Are you creating a list in your mind of all the reasons it is okay for you to engage in this particular activity? Why do you think you are doing that?

7. Are you feeling any anxiety/guilt/shame as you think about doing this particular activity? Why do you think that is?

8. Would those who know you and your struggles consider this particular activity a healthy or unhealthy choice? Why do you think that is?

9. Are you willing to pray sincerely about this particular activity in order to listen to what God is saying and to obey what you hear?

10. Are you willing to present the situation honestly to your sponsor [or someone who knows your struggle] in order to gain their feedback?

11. Once you have made your decision, elaborate on why you choose to do or not do this particular activity.

I hope someone finds this questionnaire useful as I have, it's challenged me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's better to "fail"

Let's start with a math 'outlook' equation:

Finishing Dead Last > Not Finishing > Not Starting at All

Warrior Dash KC - July 30, 2011
Sometimes it's REALLY easy to lose perspective and not see the reality in tough workouts, races and challenges.

This weekend, several friends and I completed an AWESOME obstacle course 5k, better known as Warrior Dash! A 5k can be tough enough, now add about 10 obstacles in the middle of it and there you have what we just tackled. I'm talking CRAZY steep hills, tires, hay, balancing wood beams, climbing, cargo nets, river running, fire, mud, mud and more mud!

I was with a diverse group of people from all different levels of athletic ability. For several, this was their first race EVER (crazy choice huh!). Others were runners, several were walkers and some don't really work out at all. We all had ONE common goal though, to finish!

Well, all of us finished except for one who had to be escorted off due to an injury. Personally, I call that a "Badge of Honor." I've had a couple conversations with her since and she seems to be a bit discouraged and frustrated with herself for not being able to finish. That breaks my heart FOR her, because her disappointment is stealing the joy that can be found in the fact that she even started the race!

Ya know, I found myself slightly frustrated in the fact that I may have technically "finished," but I was foolish for attempting it with a heel injury, almost no training and therefore I walked 3/4 of the course, skipped 1 1/2 obstacles and took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete this beast! That's not an official time that you exactly find yourself "proud" of or excited to share. I'm thankful for AWESOME friends who trudged through this 'muddy mayhem' with me though, because they continuously reminded me of how awesome it was that I was even out there doing it and that I at least did 1/2 of the obstacle that I backed out of (the other obstacle I would've more than likely got injured further if I attempted it).

Point being...instead of my friend dwelling on "not finishing," or me bumming over "not finishing well," we need a new perspective. I could say I failed since I skipped some of the obstacles, but sometimes strength is knowing your limits too. Both of us are WARRIORS for even starting, that says we believed in ourselves! The fact that I wasn't willing to give up and was determined to finish is MIND over MATTER (and believe me, after slipping & falling about 5 times on the course and being in SEVERE PAIN, I wanted to take a seat on the side of the road and pass out in the piping hot sun). Not everything in life is about how well you finish, but the fact that you even started!

All of this reminded me of something my girl Jillian Michael's says, "If you aren't failing, you aren't trying hard enough." In this misunderstood world of exercise, FAILING at something that you made the effort to TRY can be success!!! Stop the comparisions. Forget the haters. Who cares about the skeptics who say if you can't do "this" in "this," that you're not good long as YOU pushed to your personal best, then you've won! Not everyone can "win" the race, but life is much more than coming in first place.

If you've ever started a race and seemingly "failed," whether that be because you were injured and had to quit, you were escorted off because of time or you finished with what you consider to be a "bad time," in my opinion YOU are strong because you went out and did it!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

OFF TOPIC: Masculinity at the foot of the cross

"Following Jesus doesn't always  feel natural to me...but isn't that the point?"

I read one of the BEST most REAL blog posts on Rachel Held Evans blog about what the Church has deemed as "masculinity" and how it's a contrary image than what we've seen in the Bible. Although I haven't read through all of her blog and don't know enough about her to know if I stand for all she represents and writes about, I really did love this post!

Masculinity and identity as a man is VERY much needed in our society today as well as in the Church, however, what is masculinity really? Is it big muscles, ability to hold your own in a fight and not crying? Absolutely NOT! So why is it so hard for men to acknowledge being in love with a MAN - JESUS! Why is it so hard for men to display their emotions through tears and most soft-hearted, compassionate, emotionally sensitive and fair tempered men are considered "sissy's" or oftentimes much worse terms?

I say give me the soft-hearted, emotionally inclined, compassionate, gentle man in LOVE with Jesus over the buff hunk who shows no sign of pain or weakness any day! Just my thoughts!

Blogpost from Rachel Held Evans:

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – I Corinthians 1:18

The disciples never liked the idea of the cross.

Peter, a former zealot, especially hated the suggestion that Jesus would suffer at the hands of the Roman Empire and the Jewish religious leaders Peter so detested.

When Jesus predicted his impending suffering, Peter rebuked him, saying “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Jesus responded by telling his disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Still convinced that Jesus would lead some kind of political uprising, the disciples argued amongst themselves about who would reign beside him when he became king. Time and again Jesus reminded the disciples that his kingdom belonged not to the powerful or the violent, but to the gentle, the peacemakers, and the least of these.

But Peter fought against this idea until the bitter end.

When Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, Peter took a sword and began fighting Jesus’ enemies, even cutting a guy’s ear off. But Jesus stopped Peter, and in a truly subversive act, healed his assailant instead. It was at this moment that Matthew reveals “all the disciples left Him and fled,” leaving Jesus to face his execution alone.

They were frightened and embarrassed.

Jesus showed no sign of fighting back, no sign of returning violence for violence, no sign of “acting like a man.”

Peter famously denied even knowing him.

In fact, Scripture reveals that it was the women who rallied around Jesus during his crucifixion, and consequently it would be women who would first witness his resurrection. Because of their faithfulness, they were the first bearers of the good news.

As the Apostle Paul would later write, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” The cross is counter-intuitive for all people, but it can be especially hard to carry for men whose instincts and culture reinforce the old way of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Traits like gentleness, peacemaking, self-control, and non-violence are considered by our culture to be feminine qualities, not masculine ones, and so it should come as no surprise that the life and message of Jesus can be a turn off to men who consider such a lifestyle foolish.

As we have seen this week, there is even a push among some Christian groups to make the Church more attractive to men by celebrating violence and purging from the church any qualities or people that might be deemed “effeminate.”

But as Jesus tried to explain to his disciples, the cross is not about indulging oneself, but about denying oneself. Rather than conforming Christ to our notions of masculinity, we must conform our notions of masculinity to Christ.

And after the resurrection, the disciples did just that.

According to tradition, Peter would be crucified upside down.

Stephen was stoned.

Paul was imprisoned.

And Phillip not only welcomed the effeminate Ethiopian eunuch into the Church but also baptized him and sent him out to share the gospel with other people.

As Dan has often said to me, “Following Jesus doesn’t always feel natural to me…but isn’t that the point?”

We all have our thorns in the flesh that make us embarrassed by the cross. We all have times when we want so badly to introduce other people to Jesus that we try to downplay the radical nature of his teachings. I am as guilty of this as anyone else, and the fact that I hate to lose an argument makes me identify with Peter more than I care to admit.

But Jesus never promised that following him would be easy. He only promised that it would be worth it.

We are not charged with changing the gospel; we are changed with changing ourselves.

So what’s your thorn in the flesh? What instincts and desires do you struggle to let go of in order to take of your cross and follow Jesus?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Why I Do This..."

This blog could have easily taken on a different title, the other being "My Temple."

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
On Memorial Day, I'm thankful that I was able to go with my Church to Joplin, MO to help in the tornado relief efforts. It was a very humbling experience that gave confirmation and a bit of perspective once again as to "Why I Do This?"

I don't do this to be a size 2.

I don't do this to gain interest from guys.

I don't do this to look better than other girls.

I don't do this for attention or recognition.

I DO THIS to honor God with EVERY area of my life and that includes honoring Him with this temple.

We can't be careless about how we care for our physical body and yes, our body IS the temple of the Holy Spirit, BUT, I don't believe for a second that we care for our bodies so that God has some "fit body" to dwell in, a size 2 to call home. No, for me, it's ministry. God dwells in cancer-ridden "shells" that are quickly fading the same as He does the marathon runner with less than 5% bodyfat. I don't believe that His main concern is so much in how "equipped" or "perfect" a body is, but rather in how we use it. For me, it's about the ability to GO for him and do things that I was otherwise inhibited to do.

On our car ride home, after a long day of HARD, demanding work, we all talked about our experience and got to know each other on a deeper level in our fellowship and conversations. I'm still fairly new at my Church and haven't established those intimate relationships that I had prior at my Church of 9+ years. When I got to sharing a bit on my reflections from Joplin, I couldn't help but get emotional upon realizing that "THIS" is why I'm determined to fight this fight of faith PHYSICALLY as well as spiritually. "THIS" is why I'm working to transform this temple into one that is fit and active. "THIS" is why I believe God wants to be Lord over every area of our lives, including our physical bodies. In that moment it hit me, two years ago, this was an area of "ministry" that I wouldn't have been able to perform as I did while I was in Joplin. That is an area of ministry I was physically limited in although it was completely in my control to strip away those limitations. I wouldn't have been able to lift my weight to climb in and out of a semi-truck countless times. I wouldn't have been able to walk the length of that 18-wheeler for 7+ hours like we did, carrying heavy loads back and forth without easily tiring and needing several breaks. This is all one missional opportunity that I would've likely missed or sat on the side-lines, very limited in how I was able to help and serve.

I held back tears as I shared my passion for this lifestyle God has called me to and remembered that it's not all about "me." To say I've been struggling lately is an understatement. I've had my eyes focused on "me" lately and that self-centeredness has led to nothing but discontent and seemingly unevitable failure. I lost sight of the TOP reason of "Why I Do This," but Memorial Day was a beautiful picture as to "Why!"
I'm in the truck, lifting 24 packs of bottled waters

I do this to actively serve and glorify JESUS, my King!


"...1 teach, 2 teach, 3 teach, 4 teach, 5 teach, 6 teach, 7 teach more, this is what we've been commissioned, it's the reason why I write, so that you could hear the truth, not so you can say I’m tight whoa..."

"This is a lifestyle...I don’t do this for the money, I don’t do this for fame, I don’t do this so the industry can know my name, I do this and host to glorify Yeshua the King, if you’re feelin’ me you know you should be doin’ the same let’s go…"

I'm not doing this just for "ME"

Friday, June 3, 2011


Acts 20:35

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

Thanks to everyone who has helped in some way either with my recent trip to Joplin with my Church and/or assisting through other organizations and ministries.

I’m thankful that we were able to go and offer HOPE to hurting people who I’m confident God can and will heal over time. I’m thankful that not just my Church, but the entire Kansas City community pulled together to help our efforts. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the community. Two news stations covered the effort which increased awareness. A local rental van company donated a cargo truck to us and mentioned to our pastor as they picked it up that numerous Churches in the area have called with requests and they just can’t do it and my Pastor mentioned, “You do know that we are a Church right?” But for whatever reason, they donated the truck to be sent, that is so amazing! Over $4500 was donated in cash contributions in addition to a LARGE moving truck and one cargo van full of baby products, water, hygiene products, flashlights, food, dog food, toys, etc. I know this trip was a HUGE blessing to those who will benefit as well as all who were able to give and help if even in a small way.
I’m so thankful that I was able to go along on this trip to Joplin on Memorial Day along with over 30 others. Ths trip made and impact and left an impression on our hearts and I know that it helped the people affected by the devastation in Joplin. The best way I can sum up our trip is “successful.” We went to serve and serve is what we did.

When we got there, you have to register and they send you where they see fit. We first unloaded our two truckloads at Ignite Church which is overseeing a lot of the relief efforts along with Convoy of Hope. The Church has completely destroyed their parking lot and removed everything that made them your typical “local Church,” in order to actively work and serve the community and I loved seeing that. What used to be a Sunday school room is now filled floor to ceiling with diapers. The entire back of the Church has become a storage area full of toilet paper, paper towels and dog food. What was a sanctuary is now a food pantry and they’ve driven huge metal stakes in the parking lot (literally ruining it, it’ll have to be redone when this concludes), in order to set up tents where they’re serving free meals, providing needed items to families and medical assistance. That really, really said a lot to me.

After unloading the items we brought, (and me getting a tetanus shot that I later found out I didn’t really need – I only add this because if you know me well, you know that I am TERRIFIED of needles…but I did it J), we were sent offsite in a neighboring city where we unloaded, sorted and reloaded 3 semis jam packed with stuff…I never realized how large a semi was until walking the length of one, inside the truck, repetitively, for hours with loads of items in my arms.

By the end of the day, we were all tired and exhausted but everyone responded in almost the same way, “I’m tired, but in a good way.” The dread is taken out of work when you know you are SERVING with a purpose, it becomes hard work that is well worth it. Our 1 day trip is nothing compared to what will be required over the next months to even years to rebuild and help those in Joplin, Mo. We worked non-stop for nearly 7 hours sorting donated items and organizing things and that’s 7 of who knows how many more.

It was easy to just consider it a normal work/serve day and forget what we were really there doing and whom we were actually helping until we drove through the devastation site before leaving. The best I can describe it is unreal! After spending all day in an area completely unaffected, it was easy to think that things just aren’t as bad as they were portrayed on the news until we drove through to witness the most unreal thing I’ve ever seen. In the car I was in, we all said almost simultaneously, “OH MY GOODNESS!” Then there was just a hush! It just seems unreal to grasp and really wrap your mind around.

Can you imagine, we live in the Midwest, tornado alley, where we are used to hearing tornado sirens regularly throughout this season. I was telling a friend that we’ve grown so used to it that it almost feels like the boy crying wolf. We hear sirens and don’t pay it much attention and honestly, as a Kansan, most of our initial responses are to either 1. Go outside to look, or 2. Get in the car to find the severe weather. We don’t take these things nearly as seriously as they are. So imagine them doing like most of us are used to doing, going to their basements half-heartedly and not really expecting much to come from it. In a matter of minutes, lives are lost, livelihoods are forever changed and nothing is the same. These people crawled up from their basements, through rubble, to find nothing left but destruction and likely images that will forever be embedded in their minds. Horrific sights. I cannot imagine.

Keep the people of Joplin and those who’ve lost loved ones in Joplin in your hearts. If you are able, I encourage you to help however you see fit. Easily, this could’ve been or could be us.

Loading a truck with donated items at Church

Unloading items in an assembly line at Ignite Church in Joplin

Our group from Lifepointe Church that went to Joplin, MO for tornado recovery work - Memorial Day 2011
Just one image of the devastation caused by the deadly Ef-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo on May 22, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Back to the Basics

I stepped on the scale today and saw a number staring at me that I NEVER wanted to see again, not even if I were pregnant....
Weigh-in on May 18, 2011

As you can imagine, that was hard truth! The lowest weight recorded for me on this journey is 179...climbing back to 215.4 is depressing! Humiliating! Degrading! Demotivating! DISCOURAGING! (and just about anything else that starts with a negative connotation and ends in "")!

I was talking to my dear friend Val on chat about my weight gain and how hard it is to see that number again, I love what she said to me:

Valerie: so don't get back on the scale today! start at this very moment doing all the things you know you need to do to never see that number again. you know what to do. do it.
"So don't get back on the scale today!" There isn't anything EXTRA-ordinary about that statement, however, it really hit home with how "matter-of-fact" and immediate she said it. Without giving it a second thought she basically said, "Well, stop wallowing over it and DO SOMETHING!" Blunt. Honest. Truth! I'm so thankful for Val, she's a straight shooter and doesn't tickle my ears and pat my back, she ruffles feathers and says what needs to be said when it needs to be said! She most definitely is loving, compassionate and understanding as well, but not at the cost of catering to my pity party.

There is no excuse or reason for my weight gain, the simple truth is I started back into old habits of instant gratification which is lack of self-control! I fell back into the habit of never denying myself anything, "If I want something, I'm going to get it NOW!"

I used to go through this deep, drawn out thought process behind every set-back and weight gain, "Why did I gain weight?" "What's going on emotionally?" "What triggered this set-back?" I was always looking to pinpoint the "cause" that led to the "effect." Although I realize the importance of discovering what's behind our weight (emotionally, spiritually, physically, pshycologically), I'm also seeing the deception in how exaggerated it's become. Every time I gain, someone else on this journey gains or I'm trying to pep talk someone through their gain, it's like we look for this "one thing" to blame. Not that it justifies it, but it somehow puts a sense of "purpose" in the gain when we find something or someone to "blame" for this set-back. I'm gaining because of...XYZ! It's bogus!

We can either let our circumstances control us or we can control our circumstances. Some things really are out of our control: job loss, family trouble, economy, illness. But that's where the Serenity Prayer says it beautifully:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Want to know the difference? I cannot change the fact that a family member is dealing with medical issues or that some people who were once close to us are only in our lives for a season. You cannot change the fact that a loved one just passed away or your husband lost his job. But you can take COURAGE and continue making wise choices for healthy change in your own life rather than slumping into a pit of despair. You CAN change your eating habits, you CAN change your fitness level.

Val and I continued our conversation after the scale comment and we discussed some things that I believe are pretty relevant and noteworthy:

Valerie: i think at some point in our journeys we all got a little bored and wanted to make it more exciting and bigger than it was, so we started doing things like...ahem training for marathons and trying to do cheetah flips (whatever that is) in order to gain more "respect" and in order to be more inspirational to others...aka to get more of an ego boost. maybe i am over generalizing, but i think that's exactly where i started falling apart. i just knocked myself down and started back on the bottom rung where requirements are lower (i.e. you don't have to run 20 miles to be working hard) and started counting calories.
me: "go back and do what you did in the beginning"

Valerie: point is, sometimes greatness is achieved in the most meager of actions. we lost sight of that--at least i did. i quit celebrating the small victories.

me: i agree i totally agree

Valerie: i quit celebrating my new body and my new life and i got lost in the grandeur of it all and lost my way
One conversation I've had a lot lately surrounds the concept of "go back and do what you did in the beginning." In the book of Revelation (Ch. 2), there is a letter written to the Church of Ephesus where they are acknowledged for all these wonderful things they are now doing, "vs 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perserverance." but then they are rebuked because in doing all that, they lost sight of their "first love." They are admonished with the statement, "vs 4-5 Yet I hold this against you: You have foresaken the love you had at first. Repent and do the things you did at first."

I feel the same rebuke on my journey. REPENT! Or more appropriately, "STOP and CHANGE! Do what you did at first." The name of this blog is "Potter's Clay." I set down this road with a goal of glorifying God with my physical health as well as allowing him to mold me inside and out. In addition, I set out to start taking care of myself and loving "me" because how can I love others if I can't even love and care for myself? Third, I simply did what I knew to lose weight and was successful as well as loved doing it. Nothing extravagent. I was mindful of my eating habits and ate in moderation. I began living an active life and exercising, nothing extreme. I ENJOYED every day of the journey, good and bad. I loved learning more of who I am, how God sees me and saw others in a new loving and compassionate way as well. Of course, I never liked to see a gain on the scale, but I didn't let that stop me from living and learning and I just kept going. There weren't any of these binge periods followed by extreme food monitoring and insane workouts to offset the damage done. I've learned that when I go to the extreme it's great for awhile, but it's inevitably followed with EXTREME backtracking.

There isn't anything wrong with goals, I've loved goal setting along the way, but I lost sight of taking joy in the small things. My celebrations used to be over fitting in restaurant booths or keeping up with friends at the mall without losing my breath. I love going out with girlfriends now and actually "feeling" like a lady in cute clothes rather than men's XXL T-Shirts. My eyes would well with tears over the simpliest things and the small victories were enough to continually encourage me to keep moving. Now I've lost sight of the little everyday things my friends used to take for granted and I've found myself guilty of the same. Instead of remembering that I couldn't shop at a normal store before or fit on rides at the amusement park, I find myself constantly needing to run this race or 'compete' against that persons journey. It reminds me of a blog I wrote a few months back called "Robotic Weight Loss." It's this never ending road of pushing to the extreme, but forgetting the basics.

I’m learning, this isn’t a walk in the park anymore, making a LIFESTYLE out of this is tough. When you battle weight issues (whether addictions, disorders, self-esteem, medical conditions), it’s exactly that – a battle. I don’t know that the battle ever just “ends” one day when you’ve reached your pre-determined goal. Every day you have to make a conscious decision to continue supporting that healthy life and some days you’ll win and other days you’ll not play your “A” game, but a set-back does NOT have to be a failure!

One thing I'm starting to grasp though is the fact that I cannot forget where I've come from and when in doubt, GO BACK TO THE BASICS!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RACE DAY: "Bib Number"

Bib Number for my FIRST 10k!!!

"The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it." -Francois Voltaire
I'm beginning to acquire a bit of an addiction for these roadraces. There is something about the atmosphere of an OFFICIAL, CHIP-TIMED, MARKED OUT race course that gets the adrenaline pumping and drives runners to play their A-game! There is something about waking up at an ungodly time in the morning to fuel with water, bread and peanut butter (which I don't like) as well as stretching for the BIG EVENT that makes that early start worthwhile. I can't describe the feeling of putting on compression pants that at one time you thought you'd never be caught DEAD in, followed by lacing up a good pair of running shoes (I'm not talking about a cheap pair from Payless Shoesource either! No, you pay a pretty penny for this high class form of transportation that is powered by none other than YOU). It's normally a bit chilly, but that doesn't seem to effect you much as nerves are running high which I'm sure increases the blood flow. Everyone is stretching, some are running BEFORE the run (not me) in order to warm up, others are removing layers to strip down to what resembles a babies shorts (that's about how long they are) and little tanks.

I encourage you, if you haven't yet, sign-up for a ROADRACE.

If you are like me, you go to "packet pickup" a day or two prior to the race as you don't need anything else to distract you from your mental preparation on race day. I mean, what if the line is too long and you can't make it to the start line? What if their fingers begin to scan the page, looking intently for your name, but it's no where to be found because there was some glitch in the system and your registration didn't transfer properly? That is the LAST thing you want to happen at the very LAST minute.

In this packet that you've picked up there are typically solicitations for various other upcoming races in the area, you know, these people are pushers and all knowing that most race runners quickly become addicted to this "roadrace high." There are two things that matter most in this packet though:

1. Your timing chip (to be laced to your shoe to track your official start/finish time)


The second one is what I'm going to talk a bit about. Ah, the BIB NUMBER. Call me crazy, but one of the most exciting parts about the entire experience for me is this "BIB NUMBER" (apart from actually FINISHING the race). Why? I love securely fastening my BIB NUMBER to the front of my shirt on race day because of it's symbolism. This "number" is what sets me apart from those who are just in the crowd cheering, and those who RUN. This "number" silently SHOUTS that I'm no longer a spectator; I'm not on the sidelines watching everyone else live their lives while I stand going no where. This "number" labels me as someone who is IN the race, running, BELIEVING in myself and my ability.

Attaching this number floods my mind with so many thoughts and emotions. It reminds me not only of my physical run, but my fight of faith with scriptures like: "I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me." and "Greater is HE that is in me than he that is in the world," the one who tried to steal my life through obesity and how the GOD who lives in me is strengthening me to FIGHT against that work in my life. I remember when I struggled to walk to my car in the parking lot at work and how I used to hate if I had to park further than the first 3 rows at the grocery store because of how far it was from the entrance. I am now a participant IN an official race and I'm perservering. I might not be the fastest runner out there, and by no means do I think I'll be winning an award any day soon, but what means the most to me is:


Now they are giving a 10-minute warning, alerting you that it's time to begin making your way to the starting line to wait for the gun to sound.




You learn a lot through running. You have to be disciplined, self-controlled, you have to listen to your body and fuel properly. So much of that directly correllates with this awesome journey of FAITH. As believers, we are called to be self-controlled and alert in our actions, disciplined in our lives, listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit living in us and we are nourished through reading the word of God, time in prayer and worship. You endure through hardship and pain, things that we all face in life. You keep fighting the good fight of faith through trials and temptations. I'm reminded of this especially during the points of a race where you are so tired that you just want to quit. You are tempted to just stop in the middle of the road and bend over with your hands on your knees to surrender to this uncomfortable and at times painful exhaustion. But through it all, you just keep running!

I still can say without hesitation that I am NOT a fan of running, nope, I'm not one of those girls who claims to love it. But ya know, what I do love is what I learn about life on these runs. Some hard truths, some mental battles, but ALL of them become worth it when I've RUN my race and FINISHED the course marked out for me!

You might think I'm crazy, but I bet some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. For me, it all starts with the "BIB NUMBER."

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Hebrews 12:1-3

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us RUN with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You were a flower...GREAT GRANDMA!

On Friday, March 25th my Great Grandma passed away peacefully and with family in a hospice home. I'm thankful and Praise God that she knew and had a relationship with Jesus and the peace and comfort that came from having that confidence. I'm thankful to have had a Great Grandma in my life and to have enjoyed that relationship for the 25 years of my life. Great Grandma was 89 and she was ready. One thing that fills my heart with JOY and I will always remember is how the last day she was fully coherent, my Gma said she spent about an hour just talking to God, praying and singing old songs as though He was right there in the room with her. She would tell Him how she was ready and ask Him to help her with the pain and she just didn't want to leave behind her babies, she wanted to know that her children and grandchildren would be taken care of and be alright. I don't really even shed tears over the fact that Great Grandma is gone, because I know she is well now - sin and death are defeated! But I well up with emotion thinking that in the final days of her life, her one remaining concern and anxious thought would be that of a mother for her family. WOW! She had 11 children and I can't even count how many Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren and even some Great Great's that she had, but it just blesses my heart to know that in that state of life, her thought wasn't on fading away, it was that we would be okay. :') The experience of being there with her the final 2 weeks of her life, back and forth from visiting hospice, God used it to teach me so much about life. I understood more of how these bodies we live in really are just temporary homes, we move on though. I understand more of how in this fallen world, we are forced to give so much of our attention to things that never satisfy yet are necessary for life on this earth (like food, water, shelter, clothing, etc), but at the end of life you start thinking in the eternal and those things mean less and less to you and being in the presence of the Lord means more and more. I understood more about death being defeated because in this flesh we daily are at war, but that war is no more when we finish this race of life. In the word it says our life is like a vapor and literally, my Great Grandma lived 89 years, but at the end of life, I'm sure 89 years seems like a blink. She was born, she lived, then she died...all like that. We all do. There are so many things in this world that jock for our attention and some of which we just have to tend to while living "this life," but there is a life to come - PRAISE GOD! The funeral services were beautiful for Great Grandma and I was thankful for the boldness in witness my cousin, Great Uncle and Great Grandma's pastor had in preaching the truth to our family at the funeral. It was GOOD! I think about a flower and how a flower's pollen blows and takes root and produces other beautiful flowers like itself and I started thinking about my Great Grandma like a flower. She loved Jesus. Going to the funeral I could look around and see these precious and sporatic flowers scattered within my family that are growing and blooming to love and serve the Lord. AMAZING! It blessed my heart so much and I was filled with even more hope at the thought that it's not it, there are more flowers in the works, just waiting to bloom and turn their faces to Jesus!

John 12:24

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pivotal Choices

Small choices makes BIG impacts!
Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's the "small" choices that we make which don't seem that drastic at the time that end up having a tremendous impact down the road?  These are pivotal moments that set us in motion down a path which holds the potential to change our entire lives!

I think every single one of us encounters several "pivotal moments" where we have to make a choice that literally molds a part of who we are (whether for the good or bad).

This past weekend I had an epiphany that really had me digging deep. It's funny how something simple can usher you into a thought process that blows your mind. So let me set the stage that led to this "epiphany" if you will.  I was cleaning out some old papers in my car on Sunday morning when I came across a referral note from my doctor dated 12/16/08.  It had a business card attached to it for a local weight loss surgeon.  The referal note read, "Pt has BMI 58 will be unable to reach healthy BMI in next year."

Finding this note in my car was like striking gold!  I remember when this note was written. This note was written after one of the FEW times I ever reached out and openly sought counsel on the condition of my weight and I really felt like change was impossible.  This note was written at a point in my life where I didn't believe in my own ability to lose weight so for good reason, my doctor didn't either. This note was written after years of office visits where my weight steadily increased with each check-up, but all my vitals returned "normal" so I'd convince myself that I was "OK" and would just continue on with life as I knew it: Overweight, UNhealthy, insecure and UNhappy.

The more I looked at that note, the more my heart was filled with joy as I was reminded of "who" I was and where I am today.  As you can imagine, it was hard to wipe the smile off of my face on Sunday morning.  Furthermore, I began to ponder the date: mid-December 2008. In mid-December 2008 there was nothing in me that believed in myself. Now fast-forward (but not too far).  The end of January 2009 is when I stumbled across my first episode of The Biggest Loser and got inspired! February 2, 2009, I gave God my inability and started seeking Him for His ability to help me gain my life back.  In 1 1/2 months I went from a mental state of hopelessness and disbelief to FULL of hope that I could change!  This was still only a hope for change though, not a full assurance and KNOWING that it would happen...Now, back to present tense and onto my epiphany.  Later in the day of re-disovering that doctor's note, I also found myself in the drive-thru of Taco John's for a poorly planned fast-food dinner (not thinking much about the note anymore).  As I pulled through the drive-thru, there was a severly obese man working the window.  IMMEDIATELY, I was taken back to that note and really felt a deep sense of compassion for that man.  A flood of emotions rushed over me as I realized that "he" is who I was.  The only difference between me and him is one small, uneasy and personally pivotal choice that set me in motion down a path with the potential to change my entire life...AND IT HAS!

My weight had robbed me for countless years of JOY, peace, confidence, boldness and even my identity in Christ.  That day I made a seemingly small choice that was VERY pivotal.  That day I chose a path that would take some work, but I also believed it'd lead to a better life.  I really didn't have much insight or vision of what the future would be like that day, it was really a moment of living in the "here and now" because everything else was still so unimaginable.  I had no clue where it'd take me, what it'd be like and honestly didn't even have the full-confidence that I'd really succeed, but I still took those exciting first steps.

There are so many people out there who don't even realize that it's just one, small, pivotal choice that will change the rest of their lives.  Ones who, like me, can't even imagine what their life will look like down the road, but are willing to take those exciting first steps to discovery.  WOW...

1st photo was in January 2009, less than a month before making a PIVOTAL CHOICE that is changing my life!

ICING ON THE CAKE: When I found that doctor's note on Sunday, it was right after reaching yet another "milestone" on my journey. Not even 30 minutes prior, I had just finished a 6.5 mile training run (non-stop) in preparation for my first offical 10K race!  I'M DAILY AMAZED!


Check out my FIRST blog entry on this journey here:

Check out my 411 page for my weight loss story:

Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Robotic Weight Loss

Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT)

"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct."

~ ********** ~

It's been awhile since I've written a real "post," but after reading some verses the other day, I had to share. :)

I called this post "Robotic Weight Loss" because it seems that in the community of weight loss there is a lot of comparisons made and hurt feelings when we aren't able to do the same thing someone else did:

  • "Well, she lost 8 pounds in one week, why couldn't I?"
  • "How is it that she lost 100 pounds in 8 months and it's taken me over a year now?"
  • "Those people on the TV show burned 6000 calories in one day, what am I doing wrong?"
  • "When you ran that 5k you did so well, I dont know if I can ever be a runner."
It's almost like we expect to be these little programmed robots that perform the same tasks with the same precision and speed.  If we don't, there is surely a short-circuit and we're broke - right?

It's not wrong to set goals or be inspired by the accomplishments of others, but I see a lot of negative tension that develops when people are motivated by trying to meet or beat someone ELSE'S personal record.  If we do meet/beat their record, we miss a very special part of personal accomplishment for the simple fact that at the core of our excitement - it's about what someone else did!  Are you following me?  Yes, you were able to do it too - but the unit of measurement was "Billy Jo Bob."  On the flip, when we are unable to meet or exceed that goal, oftentimes we feel as though we have failed.  "Why is it that they were able to do this and I was not?"  Discouragement sets in and people begin to dishonor themselves and discredit their OWN accomplishments. There is a good reason they call them "PR's" in the athletic world - it's because they are supposed to be PERSONAL records.

If you've read much of anything on my blog, you've probably noticed that I try to glean from scripture and revelation from God as it applies to my life as a whole - including weight loss.  For awhile I'd somewhat lost perspective, it's easy to look at the world around you and quickly paint a picture based of what "seems" most desirable and commonly accepted. "I'd love to be her size, lose x amount of weight quicker than she did, abs like hers, run faster than that chick, get a HUNK of a man at my right side by looking like her..." and the list goes on.  All of these with the common denominator of "How I compare to the next person."  Can "I" do more than they can?  What do "I" look like next to those girls? Am "I" more successful???

We've all probably heard someone say, "You shouldn't compare yourself to others," but have we really taken that statement to heart and thought about WHY comparing ourselves isn't beneficial and oftentimes tears us down more than builds us up?  One of two things often happens by comparing ourselves to others:

1.  We are discouraged because we don't "add up" to the life or accomplishment of the person we are comparing ourselves to.

2.  We boast that we are somehow "greater" than the next guy and exalt ourselves higher than we should.

When we compare ourselves to others, we subconsciously try to duplicate or improve what others have already done or have.  As long as I'm looking around to everyone else, I will NEVER be satisfied with my own work and will rob myself of certain elements of joy that come from being original. Our reflection becomes dependent on someone else. What would be the point of looking in a mirror and seeing my neighbors reflection?  I wouldn't even know what "I" look like.

Think about an original piece of art, whether it be a painting, song or creative writing. There is something special about sharing this original piece of artwork. That is a reflection of the talent God has placed in you and it's not in light of anyone else's prior work or achievements. AWESOME! Now think about someone who paints a duplicate or remixes a classic song. They may very much so still have creative talents and abilities within themselves, however, there name will always come after the original artist is recognized. This wasn't inspired in and of themselves, it isn't the "work of their hands," it's a copy of someone elses.

Now back to the verse this is all inspired from:

Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT)

"Pay careful attention to your own work, for THEN you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct."

Instead of always looking over at our neighbors results, we need to focus on what "I" am doing?  Am "I" working hard? Am "I" being the best "me" that I can be?  Like I said, this is more than just weight loss.  I'm talking in our jobs, in our relationships, in our finances in everything that God has given us to be a good steward over, are we paying careful attention to our own work and finding satisfication when it's well done?

If we don't get past this damaging mindset, there will always be "someone" else out there to compare ourselves to and we'll always be striving, yet never finding, that place of satisfaction.  If we just look at our own work, satisfaction truly DOES come from knowing what YOU have accomplished and what YOU worked hard to do. You can take pride (not sinfully) in what you've worked hard at doing and see the end result of it paying off.  AMAZING!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1 mile, 5k, stair climb...WHAT'S NEXT?

10 K

Why they feel the need to measure these popular races in a unit of measurement that isn't often used within the States is beyond me - 6.2 miles sounds hard enough, but 10k sounds TERRIFYING!  Needless to say, I set a goal to work towards that will encourage me to stay active and moving - I'm OFFICIALLY registered for the 2nd annual Rock the Parkway 10k event to be held April 2nd. SCARY!

I haven't even begun to train and weather outside is so yucky, but I'm determined to do this!  I cannot wait to push my limits once again and proudly finish my FIRST offical 10k race.  I highlighted the best feature of this race, lol, check it out:

Get ready to rock!

After an incredible inaugural event last year with more than 4,000 participants, the 2011 Rock the Parkway will once again take place along Kansas City's famed Ward Parkway, one of the most beautiful tree-lined routes in the country — and all six lanes are reserved just for you. This regal parkway features historic statues and sculptures, beautiful mansions, classic gardens, and gorgeous fountains — a long, downhill finish just might propel you to a personal best time.

Participants in all three races — the half marathon, 10K and 5K — will receive a great event shirt and the opportunity to enjoy live music and delicious food and drinks at the event plaza after the race at the Burns & McDonnell world headquarters, 9400 Ward Parkway.


Sounds fun, huh?  I'M PUMPED!  If you've never done a road race - they are addicting.  I highly encourage you to sign up for one of these events in your local area, rally some friends and family with you - go for it.  Most of these races raise funds for local charities or organizations so you are not only challenging your physical limits, but you are being generous and giving to others in the process.  Not to mention, you get to collect race day T-Shirts like trophies.  :)  I know that half the joy is picking up MY shirt and MY bib number and attaching it the day of the race.  Wearing that race number sets me apart.  It is a marked distinction saying, "I'm IN this race."  It means that I'm no longer sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else push their limits and reach their goals - I've set out to accomplish something too. I'm running, I'm winning!  I normally finish quite a bit slower than most participants, but I WON because I did it.  I didn't allow myself to be held back by fear or limitations.  I DID IT!

I wonder:  Am I running MY race that God has mapped out for me with perserverence while overcoming obstacles that try to hinder me.  Is there a marked distinction about me that says I'm IN this race, testifying of the goodness of God and not simply on the sidelines observing? Do I fight the good fight of faith with JOY?

There really is something about these races that not only challenges me physically, but mentally and SPIRITUALLY as well.  PRAISE GOD!

To find events near you, visit websites such as

Verse of Encouragement:

Acts 20:24 (NKJV)

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Workouts/Events Collage

An ACTIVE 2010

  • Round II of Workplace "Biggest Loser" Challenge
  • Celebrate 142.2 lbs lost on 1 year anniversary
  • "Walk to Work" Blogrimage
  • Start of Walking Club
  • Workplace Daily challenges
  • Mass Street Mile - 1st Roadrace
  • Run for SIDS 5k - 1st 5k Roadrace
  • Sylvester Powell's Biggest Weight Loss Challenge
  • Won 2nd place in Kansas City Fitness Magazine's "Kansas City Weight Loss Challenge: Round 3."
  • Said "Goodbye" to 200's
  • Liberty Memorial Friends of KCFM "Bootcamps" Began
  • Trip to Georgia - Completed 7 miles
  • ALA Fight for Air Climb
  • Thanksgiving Day 5k
  • Santa Run 5k
It was a year of a lot of UPS and downs and struggles with weight due to stress and some heartache, but overall, it was memorable and full of a lot of great challenges, new friends and FUN!