Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Ahead



Since today is the last day of the year, I reflect on the things I have accomplished in 2011.  This year honestly was a blur, which saddens me because we were just TOO BUSY.  But here are some of the highlights...

*The biggest accomplishment was running the half-marathon and coming in under my goal time.  A half-marathon was something I never ever thought I would do (nor did I have the desire to!).  But I did it and I'm extremely proud of that accomplishment. 

*I also became a bit more active in our church.  Nothing major, but I signed up to do check-in for the children's ministry at my church at least 1 service a month (usually twice a month).  We also increased our financial giving to our church.  My husband and I decided to start a small group in our home with some couples from our church and we meet with them twice a month. 

* My marriage is the best it's ever been.  We still have areas we need to work on, but I am absolutely amazed at how God has intervened and helped us continue to grow closer to each other!

* We bought a pop-up camper and was able to use it several times on family camping weekends. 

As this year comes to a close tonight, I am looking ahead to 2012.  I'm not really a resolution type of gal.  To me, resolutions are something most people make that they HOPE to accomplish, but quickly forget about and, most times, they make the same resolution next time Jan 1st rolls around.  So, I am making GOALS for 2012 instead of resolutions...these are things I am actively going to strive for...

1.  Reach my goal weight of 150 by June 4th.  (see previous post!)

2.  Go on at least 1 date night per month with the hubster.  (And I already have the babysitters lined up for them!)

3.  Stay on budget financially and start to build up an emergency fund.  (ideally 3 month's living expenses)

4.  Start a savings fund for a new vehicle so we can pay cash for it!

5.  Run another half-marathon and beat last year's time of 2:24:29

6.  Take a family vacation to the beach. 

7.  Be intentional about spending time together as a family.  I want to be aware of how quickly Satan can use things (even good things!) to steal our time together and keep everyone tired and short-fused.   One way we are gonig to do this is to once again limit our children to one sport per year.  So Evan is going to only play football this year instead of baseball and football.  Last year, our schedule was packed from March until October!  We want to prevent that from happening again. 

So there you have it!  Here's to a great New Year...bring on 2012!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm Scared and I'm Not Going To Lie!


Last night hubby and I were chatting.  Not sure what exactly spurred on our conversation, but we eventually ended up chatting about my workouts at the gym.  Which lead me to tell hubby (apparantly I had never told him about my "official" weight loss goal) that I wanted to reach my goal weight by June 1st.  He was surprised and pleased by my confidence in setting such a goal.  

Which leads me to my confession:  I'M SCARED.  I'm afraid that I'm not going to make it.  I'm afraid that I will have to make ANOTHER resolution to lose the weight.  See, this has been the trend for pretty much my adult life after having kids.  I set a goal, don't meet it, and try again....and fail....again...and again.  So when I heard myself telling hubby OUT LOUD about my goal, I literally had a moment of panic hit me.  June 1st?  It's almost January!  Which gives me only 6 months to do this!  I'm started to feel like I bit off more than I can chew with this goal (isn't that how I got into this mess in the first place?).  I know it's physically possible to lose the weight in the given time...I'm just not sure I have it in me, you know? 
I am doubting my capabilities.  

Today I decided to look at the 2012 calendar and figure out just how many weeks I have left to reach my goal.  Not counting the rest of this week, I have 22 weeks.  So my next question is: What is my goal weight?  I have struggled with this question for some time.  Mainly because I haven't been thin since before having kids...which was 1999.  I think I weighed 155 when I got married that year.  Soon after came the babies and here I am at 176.  It's hard to set an exact number because I think I will know it when I reach it.  I just want to look in the mirror and like what I see in my figure, muscle tone, etc...but I'm not sure what number that is on the scale.  I don't want to set a goal weight that is too low yet, I don't want to NOT have a goal weight in mind either.  So for right now I'm picking 150 lbs as my goal weight.  That is 26 lbs that I need to lose in 22 weeks.  (Deep breath in, deep breath out.)  I instantly read that and want to panic because I haven't been very successful in losing more than a pound a week and I will need to in order to reach 150 in that time frame.  While looking at the calendar, I realized that June 1st is on a Friday and since I always weigh in on Mondays, I will make my goal date end on June 4th instead.   

I know deep down inside that I CAN do this.  I have had three kids via c-section, been in a deteriorating marriage and have seen it revived again, and I have ran a half marathon...I AM STRONG.  I just need to strive to look as strong on the outside as I feel on the inside!

On the plus side, I have started working out 3 days a week at the gym, and I already think I can see/feel some changes in my body shape.  And I'm doing more ab work and weight lifting than I ever have, so I really think that will help me see results at a quicker rate.  Also those classes are 1 hr 15 mins long (sometimes 1 hr 30 mins!) and I'm working my body harder than I would if I were to just run as my workouts.  So that has got to help too.  Normally when Jenny and I run, we do about 30-45 mins of running, so I am almost doubling the time that I am exercising (and working harder!) on those three days.  For example, when I logged my workout on http://www.livestrong.com/, it calculated that I had burned 279 for the half hour I was spinning, and 842 calories for the time I was kickboxing!  That's a total of 1121 calories burned today!  I would have probably only burned 730 calories on a 45 mins run.  That is a difference of 1173 calories over 3 days!  And since it takes 3500 calories to burn off a pound of fat, I could accomplish that in 3 weeks by just going to class instead of running on those 3 days each week!

So I started this post nervous and anxious and already feeling like a failure, but I'm ending this post feeling optimistic and inspired!   



The 60 Minute Money Workout By Ellie Kay


I just finished reading The 60 Minute Money Workout by Ellie Kay and I guess I have mixed feelings about the book.  It contains a lot of great information pertaining to different topics, such as college scholarships, or giving your children allowances, however I found it to be a bit redundant.  The book is broken up chapter by topic: Travel and Fun, Retirement, etc and each chapter is pretty short and sweet, but almost too short.  It seemed as if I would just get into the chapter and then it was over and you were on to another topic.  I understand her reasoning for people needing to do a 60 Minute Money Workout each week since so many families are struggling financially and have way too much debt, however the way the chapters are set up was a bit confusing.  Each chapter contains a Plan Workout that consists of a Warm Up (Prep for your Money Workout), Strength Training (Set Financial Goals), Cardio Burn (Put Goals into Action), Heart Rate (Measure Financial Performance), and Cool Down (Reward Yourself).  Each area of the "workout" tells you specific things to do pertaining to that chapter's topic.  The rest of the chapter goes a bit more in-depth about the topic and the chapter ends with a workout tip sheet.  This book is meant to be done with your spouse so that you both can communicate openly about your finances. 

I guess I was diappointed with this book. I have read other books written by Ellie Kay and enjoyed them.   In this book, she gives some good information, but it just seemed that the book was lacking depth.  Maybe it would be a great book for someone just starting out learning about different aspects of their finances, but for me, I was expecting something more.  However, I am familiar with budgeting and saving money, so it could be that it was "old news" to me.  

If you would like to read an excerpt from this book, you may do so here:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/47257543/60-Minute-Money-Workout-by-Ellie-Kay-Chapter-1 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and and was asked to review it.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This Thing of Ours, How Faith Saved My Mafia Marriage by Cammy Franzese


This Thing of Ours, How Faith Saved My Mafia Marriage by Cammy Franzese was a great read!  In this book, Cammy tells the story of her life.  She started out as a young professional dancer who fell in love with Michael Franzese, a film producer and a member of the infamous Columbo Mob Family.   She tells of her childhood with a father who was a civil rights activist and a Christian mother who taught her stick to the choices she made with her life.  She writes of her experience as the wife of a Mobster, including spending eight years in the beginning of their marriage raising their three kids by herself. 

Cammy never knew he was involved in the mafia until after they were married, with a child, and Michael was in prison for various crimes. While he served his time behind bars, she had no choice but to rely on God to see her through.  And during Michael's second sentence in prison, he also found Christ.  Michael decided to leave the Mob, and now shares his story of redemption with churches all over the country. 

All in all this was a really good book.  The only negative aspect of this book is that the author skips around a bit chronologically with events and, in the process, divulges some information that sort of "gives away" the ending of the story.  Personally, I think those particular things would have been a bit more exciting left at the ending.  But other than that, I enjoyed reading this book and getting an inside look at the family life of someone involved with the mafia.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze.com and was asked to review it.

A Beautiful Morning Run

Since I'm not heading to the gym today, and this is Jenny's long day at work and she can't run with me, I'm on my own as far as working out goes.  I woke up and immediately decided I would go for a run.  I really do not enjoy running by myself...mainly because I'm a WIMP.  I don't push myself as hard as I would if I were running with someone.  But now that I am the proud owner of an ipod touch, it helps to keep my mind of the time, distance, and the pain while running solo. 

Today's run was particularly beautiful.  It was snowing.  This is only maybe our 2nd heavy snow of the year so it's still exciting to see that white fluff coming down.  Some friends in my Facebook running group had previsouly told me how beautiful and peaceful it is to run in the snow, so I thought I'd give it a try.  And they were right.  It was an enjoyable run.  Except for the occasional HUGE snow flake that would drop into my eyes and the fact that the snow was sticking to my jacket which made me look like a live snowman.  lol  I worried about the snow melting through my jacket sleeve into the crevices of my ipod, but it stll is functioning so my worrying was in vain. 

I ran a little over 2 miles, with some walking breaks and it felt great to be independent with my workout.  Now that I don't LOVE running with someone.  It was just nice to overcome my "inner whiner" and decide to move my body even though I'd be alone.  I can't rely on someone to always be there with me.  I've set these goals for myself and only I can make them happen (with God's help of course!).  So far this week I'm meeting my goal of working out at least 30 mins a day (I did 1 1/2 hrs yesterday and 35 mins today!), but I'm not doing so hot at tracking my calories.  That has always been my weak spot.  So today I need to get back at it...and hopefully at some point I will be able to make it a lasting habit!   

Monday, December 26, 2011

Today's Weigh In...

Well, I wasn't sure what to expect on the scale for a number of reasons...

1.  Creeping Death
2.  Only working out on Monday and Saturday last week
3.  Not having much of an appetite, so I wasn't sure if I was overeating or undereating

But when I weighed in today, the scale said 176!  Down 2 lbs from last week!  I actually got my appetite back yesterday (just in time for all the Christmas goodies) and the healthiest thing I had all day was orange juice for breakfast!  So I'm happy with my weigh in this week! 

Today I went to spin class after a week off, and it felt great!  We did lots of jumping rope and weights.  I was afraid that I would feel tired during it all from having been sick but I didn't, so I guess that means I'm officially over the Creeping Death!!!  Yay!!! 

This week I am planning to go to the gym 4 times so I hope I will see another loss on the scale next Monday!  I'm ready to start kicking my own tail during workouts and burn this butter for good.  Forever. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

No Exercise for 4 Days...



Well, since my last post, I'm vertical and I feel better...but not 100% back to normal yet.  My tummy is still a bit icky feeling and I'm having a hard time knowing when to eat and when not to.  I know this sounds weird, but I can't tell if my tummy aches are because I'm hungry, or some after-effect of Creeping Death.  So sometimes I eat and sometimes I don't...and sometimes after eating I feel better, and sometimes I don't.  So this whole eating thing is really scary to me right now.  (Eating is overrated, right?  lol)  I weighed in at 175.4, which is awesome...but I haven't worked out (as of yesterday) since my double workout on Monday and I miss it.  Was going to go on Wednesday, but when hubby heard my plan to go to class, he advised me to just "recover".  And recovery sounded way better to me than sitting on a spin bike, jumping around, and lifting weights..not to mention ab work!  And I skipped yesterday morning too because of the grum-bellies...and the fact that my middle child came down with it Thursday night.  So this morning I got up and ran with Jenny and it felt good to get back into the swing of working out.  We probably did more walking than running, but it was something!  

One advantage to getting sick this week is that I don't have much of an appetite, so I SHOULDN'T have to worry about the typical weight gain that happens around the holidays! 

Thank you all for reading about my exciting life (not)!  I hope you all having a BLESSED Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

6 lbs Lost in 2 Days?

I know a few days late on my weekly weigh-in blog, but I have several excuses  reasons.  First of all, Monday was a busy day.  I weighed in (results to follow...be patient!!), and headed out to spin class.  I had an INTENSE workout (the hardest one yet!) and then ran some errands and came back home.  Then I did some book work in the garage for hubby.  After that I headed out for a run with my running buddy, Jenny.  I noticed my tummy wasn't feeling all that great during our run...like I was running on a full stomach, but I wasn't.  I just ignored it and came back home to prepare dinner.  I ate dinner and then started feeling REALLY full and icky feeling...like I had eaten double the amount that I actually had.  So I went to bed. 
Then it happened....CREEPING DEATH.

Creeping Death is the name I give to any and all stomach bugs and flu....namely anything that makes me throw up and have various other "issues"  (I'll spare you the gruesome details).  It's the time of bug that when it hits you, you find yourself lying on the floor begging God to spare your life.  And I'm not exaggerating.  I was up all night and got maybe an hour or two of sleep.  My awesome super-hero hubby took great care of me and even gave me some time to myself during those times when I needed to preserve some dignity.  lol  He stayed up with me until he the throwing up subsided and then finally got to sleep (about 3am).  He even got up with the kids, kept them quiet (nothing speaks my love language more than that!!), and got them on the bus for me.  The only thing he overlooked was brushing Kailyn's hair...but I didn't bring it to his attention.  By 10 am yesterday morning I was feeling better (no more "issues"), but really weak and my tummy was still a bit angry feeling.  I spent the ENTIRE day on the couch or in bed.  And last night I got an awesome night's sleep.  I feel a bit more like my (ab)normal self, but still not 100%.  I decided to skip going to the gym (mainly because hubby recommended that I take today to "recover"), but rest assured I have my work cut out for me here at home....

1 Mom Doing Nothing All Day + 1 house full of 3 kids and a hubby who have to wear clothes and eat =
a total DISASTER!!!

So today will be spent playing catch up on laundry, dishes, and cleaning.  And honestly I don't mind at all because working is way better than being sick!

Alright, back to my weigh-in results.  Thank you for your patience, btw!  I weighed in on Monday morning and the scale said 178.4, which was a gain from last week (YUCK).  But I know it's due to all the holiday cookie and candy making I've been doing...and eating.  Not proud of it, but it is what it is.  It could also be from added muscle gained from my intense workouts and weight lifting I've been doing at the gym.  But my bet is that's from the cookies and candy.

But after Creeping Death came for a visit, I lost weight...along with my lunch and dinner from Monday.  I thought I'd just weigh myself for fun yesterday morning.  (After all, I worked HARD for that weight loss) 
The scale said:

172!

Holy Cow!  I thought maybe I had lost a few lbs...but not 6!  I know I'm dehydated, so most of that loss is due to that and will most likely come back on.  This morning I weighed myself to see what it said this morning and it said 171.8.  However I probably took in a total of 500 calories all day...and I'm guessing high.  So next week's weigh in will be interesting I bet!  

And I'm totally praying that no one else in my family has an encounter with Creeping Death this week!  So far everyone is feeling good.  Let's keep it that way. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Today's Depressing Weigh-In


Alright...today is Monday and that means it was time to weigh in and assess the damage, er, I mean see if I lost any weight over the past week.  I reluctantly stepped onto the scale (which I will explain the reason for my reluctance in a minute...) and it said 177.4!  YUCK.  DOUBLE YUCK!  But it is what it is...and honestly I'm not surprised.  I wasn't a very good girl last week with my eating.  However, I did work out 5 days!  Thursday night we used the kids' book-it certificates from Pizza Hut and had pizza for dinner, then Friday was date night (who wants to eat healthy while on a date?), and a family gathering that was sort of spur of the moment, so it was poorly planned on my part and didn't include any healthy options...unless you count deviled eggs as healthy.  And to top it off, it's like I lost all self-control as far as eating goes...I'm not sure what happened to me...it's like I was possessed. 

It all started with the pizza,


followed by ice cream and brownies....


then came the chips....



Ahhhh!  Stop the insanity already!  Here's the thing that I've noticed since being on this journey...it seems like even the slightest bit of junk food or overeating make my weight go up.  Look at a brownie = +1 lb.  Eat the brownie = +2 lbs.  THAT is why I was reluctant to step on the scale...because I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. But I had to face the truth and reap the consequences of my poor decisions.   

But there's good news! 

Today is a new day, full of new choices.  And for the most part I did pretty good at making decent choices and not overdoing it.  And I had a great workout that kicked my tail!  So, I'm not going to let the number on the scale get me down.  However, I'm not going to accept that number either.  I realized after my Recommitment post that I forgot to list my goal of reaching my goal weight (which is still TBA) by June 1, 2012.  So there you have it.  It's official because I just posted it for all to see.  Yikes. 

So hopefully I will have a non-depressing weigh-in post for next week!

The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton

I'm sorry to keep posting review after review, but I was overwhelmed with books for a couple of weeks, so I just buckled down and read them in order to mark it off of my to-do list!  lol  Today's review is of The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton.  The cover of the book reads, "How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief."  I wasn't sure what this meant exactly and the storyline of this book, was different than what I expected...in a good way.  The author travels to different cities participating in debates with atheists as to whether or not God exists and if Christianity (or more specifically, grace) has a profound effect on different societies.  Larry Alex Taunton knows that it does and he's seen it firsthand. 

Through his wife and sons going on a missions trip to the Ukraine a couple of years ago,  Mr. Taunton and his family decided to adopt a 10-yr-old orphaned girl name Sasha.  The entire process took a year, and when they finally made the trip to finalize the paperwork and bring Sasha home with them, they witnessed what living in a grace-less society was like.  In his book he describes in detail what he and his family endured in order to rescue their beloved Sasha from the poor conditions she lived in in Orphange #17.  Now, over a year after bringing her to their home in Alabama, she is living proof of how grace is so important to each and every one of us...and especially in society as a whole. 

I will be honest, I didn't know if I would like this book and thought I would have to trudge through it, however it really gave me some new insight into international adoptions and also into what socialist (or ex-communist) countries are like. 

*I recieved this book from Booksneeze.com and was asked to review it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas


I have another book review for you!  I received a copy of this book from Zondervan and was asked to post my review of Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas.  This was a really good book!  The main topic of this book is that our spiritual health and fitness is directly related to our physical health and fitness...they go hand-in-hand. 

In his book, Gary shares insight from his own personal experiences with losing weight, as well as stories from other people who have lost weight and now live more fulfilling lives both physically AND spiritually.  The Bible tells us that our bodies house the Holy Spirit, yet so many of us grow comfortable in our unhealthy, and often lazy, lifestyles.  If it requires work or pain, we're not interested.  Gary urges us to take that next step to wellness and endure a bit of pain and being uncomfortable because the benefits far outweigh the costs! 

One part of the book I really enjoyed reading about was Chapter 10 entitled, "Muscular Christianity".  Muscular Christianity was a movement in the late 19th century that "expressed manliness and physical fitness as high Christian ideals."  I had never heard of this movement, however so many of its principles should ring true in our lives.  We should never become obsessed with fitness, but we should adopt a lifestyle in which our bodies are in good enough shape physically and we have enough endurance to accomplish anything God asks of us.  If our bodies are housing the Holy Spirit, shouldn't we take care of them and keep them healthy and fit?  Gary writes about how this message of physical fitness is very rarely talked about in churches today.  Other sins are addressed such as adultry, murder, and greed, however gluttony and laziness are not touched.  Why?  Because the issue of obesity encompasses so many.  We would rather not hurt someone's feelings than caring about them enough to shed light in, gentleness and love, on their sins (because obesity is almost always caused by overeating and being underactive when genetics are not a factor) so they can carry out what God has called them to do.  We are allowing them to not live up to their full potential and, in many cases, even rob themselves of extra years of life due to poor health caused by obesity and inactivity. 

Gary's book is full of interesting insights and information from various authors throughout history who wrote concerning the tie between physical and spiritual wellness.  It sure has made me ponder some things and has convicted me to look at health and fitness in a new way in order to further God's kingdom!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Time to Recommit...again.

It is hard not to get frustrated.  Yet, I have no one to blame but myself.  I started Nov 30th, 2009 on my journey to get healthy and to FINALLY lose this excess weight and keep it off.  When I started, my weight was a sobering 185...the highest non-pregnancy weight I had ever had.  I read Chantel Hobb's book, Never Say Diet, and it changed the way I looked at weight loss.  She suggested moving your body for a minimum of 30 mins each day (or maybe it was only 5 times a week...can't remember), but the point was to get your body moving.  So I started walking.  And eventually started running.  By fall of 2010 I had lost 15 lbs.  Then the winter came and I slacked off with my exercising...and since it was a winter that just wouldn't let up, I didn't get back into the swing of things until around April.  I think at that point I was 175 lbs.  Long story short, I started training for a half-marathon thinking I would definately lose the extra weight through the increased weight loss.  I ran the half-marathon at 175 lbs.  Net Loss = ZERO.  Since then of course, I have been training less and cold weather is setting in again so I try to think up any excuse NOT to go out in the cold.  lol  Since the half-marathon in October, I actually saw 180 lbs on the scale.  So it's time for some self-intervention.  And the excuses have to stop.  TODAY.

So, I'm recommitting to losing this weight once and for all.  I get so discouraged thinking back over the past 2 years of this journey and think, "you know, if I had just buckled down and really watched what I ate better in addition to the intense training I was doing, the weight would be gone already."  But here I am...still at 175.4 (per this morning's weigh-in).  It's time for a change...a lasting one. 

How am I gonig to do this, you ask?  I'm not really sure.  lol  I guess I am going to just focus on making good (or even GREAT) decisions each day concerning what I eat and how much exercise I do, and hope and pray this strategy works to my advantage.  I know once I start to see the number on the scale start to decrease once again, I will begin to feel encouraged to continue on.  Until then, I just need to behave myself.  I am also going to set some short-term goals so I can experience some "mini-successes" along the way to my ultimate goal of reach my goal weight. 

One thing I started recently over the past couple of weeks was to track my calories on http://www.livestrong.com/.  I really like their website.   You tell it your weight loss goal and it will give you a calorie guideline to stick to each day.  As you eat something, you enter the calories of the food you ate and it will automatically deduct the calories from your calorie "budget".  Sounds depressing to watch that number go down, right?  There's good news though!  Each time you work out, you get to add the calories you burned back into your budget!  It's like getting a calorie bonus each day!  But...you have to do the work.  I have one problem with this whole calorie-counting thing...consistency.  I do great for a day, then slack off, then get back on track, then slack off.  So one of my goals with my recommittment is to faithfully track my calories.  One reason that it is important for me to do so is because I have no idea if the guideline they set for me is what my intake really should be.  So if I haphazardly track my cals, I'll never know if that guideline needs tweaked or not. 

Oh yeah...another cool thing about livestrong.com is that you can enter in your weight whenever you weigh in too.  You enter it in and it produces a line graph for you of your gains or losses.  If you lose, the line plummets down making it look as though your 1 lb weight loss was a 50 lb one.  On the flip side, if you gain, it will make your 1 lb gain look like a 50 lb gain on that chart.  So if I'm losing, I love LOVE that chart, but if I'm losing, I want to rip that chart to shreds  very much dislike that chart! 

So, why am I telling you all of this?  I need your help.  I need some accountiblity.  I need to know that you are keeping an eye on me.  Accountiblity is an amazing thing.  It's both encouraging and humbing.  So with your new title as "Jen's Accountiblity Partner", comes permission to yell at me strongly encourage me to stay on track and to ask me how I'm doing with my goals.  And I'm going to hold YOU accountable to do it!  lol

My hope is to keep you updated weekly on my weight, how I did with reaching my goals, and any new goals I set for myself.  So here are my current goals:

Weekly Goals:
1.  Workout for at least 30 mins each day (giving myself one day off each week)
2.  Track my calories FAITHFULLY each day
3.  Weigh in each Monday morning.

Short-Term Goals:
1.  See 170 lbs on the scale again (which means losing 5 lbs and getting back to my lowest weight over the past 2 years)
2.  Increase my workouts to 40 mins a day
3.  Set a definite goal weight.  (Although I feel like I won't truly know until I get there)

Long-Term Goals:
1. Run the Cap City Half-Marathon in May 2012 and beat this year's half-marathon time of 2:24:29
2.  Reach my goal weight...which I think right now is around 150 lbs.
3.  Actually like and want to eat fruits and veggies. lol
4.  Become more knowledgeable about how to cook those veggies so I want to eat them.  lol 

So...wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love Food & Live Well by Chantel Hobbs


I just finished up this book and I really enjoyed it.  I am a big fan of Chantel Hobbs.  I read her first book Never Say Diet over a year ago and it totally changed the way I view losing weight.  This book is no different.  I have read tons of weight loss books and hers by far is my favorite.  Her writing style is easy to read...like you are her best friend and she's merely giving you some weight loss advice.  About 10 years ago, Chantel found herself at 350 lbs and at the end of her rope.  She surrendered her battle to the Lord and He helped her to change her life one step at a time.  She has kept the weight off all this time and is now using what she has learned throughout her journey to help others.  She doesn't teach a lose-10 lbs-by-tomorrow sort of plan, but a lifestyle change through good old exercise and healthy eating.  Her book contains information about calorie counting, recipes, body types, and even exercises (with pictures!) to help you as you start your own weight loss journey.  This is a great read for anyone who is wanting to lose weight and live a healthier life.  I found it so encouraging!

In addition to teaching readers about the physical aspects of weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle, Chantel also teaches the importance of inviting God into your journey.  God created food for us to enjoy, so why should we feel guilty about enjoying our meals?  Of course, we must use reason and self-control when eating so we don't self-sabotage our efforts to lose weight.  Through this book, Chantel teaches us that we really can Love Food & Live Well!

If you would like to read Chapter 1 of Love Food & Live Well, click here!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn

I received another complimentary book from Booksneeze.com and was asked to review it!  (Did I tell you I LOVE their program??)  Anyways, the title of the book is The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn.  I got it in the mail yesterday, and finished reading it in just a few hours!  It was a great book!  At only 140 pages, it was a quick read, but well worth it! 

The story starts out with Jonathan Rush, who is the CEO of a very successful businessman from Miami, traveling to Alaska to search of some answers concerning his birth mother. His mother had given him up for adoption at the age of 4 and 31 yrs later, he still doesn't know her reasons for it. He knows nothing about his mother, not even her name, and only has a couple of memories concerning her. As an adult he has struggled with anger and bitterness, which has caused him to have three failing marriages, an addiction to painkillers, and almost his life through an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Jonathan's pastor counsels him and suggests to go to Fairbanks, Alaska to find the answers from his past.
Without giving away the end of the story, I will say that it is a happy one! It is a story about how Jesus gave us grace and offered forgiveness to us for our sins, and we, as Christ-followers, can do the same to others!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recipe: Pumpkin Rolls

My FIL & BIL came over for lunch today and I made a pumpkin roll for dessert.  I LOVE pumpkin rolls...actually I just really like the cream cheesy goodness in the middle of them, but since it's wrapped up in pumpkin cake, I eat it too.  I have made pumkin rolls each fall for the past 2 years and it's sort of a tradition now.  I usually make quite a few of them and freeze them.  They make a great dessert to take to dinner parties or to pull out of the freezer when unexpected guests stop by for a visit.  One warning though...they are addicting!  lol  This recipe is for 1 roll, however I decided to double it and make 2 rolls.  I used a 29 oz. can of pumpkin and only used about half of it, so I think I have enough pumpkin left over to make 2 more rolls!!  (YAY!)

Pumpkin Roll (found at About.com)

Yield:  1 roll

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese - softened
4 T. butter, softened
1 c. powedered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In large bowl, combine eggs and sugar, beating with a mixer until thick and light yellow in color.  Add pumpkin and lemon juice, mixing until blended.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.  Add to egg mixture mixing well.  Spread batter into greased and waxed-paper lined 10x15pan. (Jelly roll pan).  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 mins.  Remove from oven.  Cool for 15 mins.




Place cake on clean tea towel sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar, with waxed paper side up.  Cool 10 mins longer. Remove waxed paper from cake  From 10" side, roll cake up in towel.  Set aside.




While cake is cooling in towel, prepare filling.  Beat together cream cheese and butter; stir in powdered sugar and vanilla and blend until smooth.  Unroll cake. Evenly spread filling over cake. 



Roll up cake (without towel).  While I rolled up the cakes, the girls helped with clean-up (aka licking every iota of frosting off spatulas!)


Wrap in plastic wrap.  Cover and chill at least 1 hr (if you can wait that long to indulge in a piece...I couldn't)  Slice before serving. 

Keep leftover slices refrigerated.  To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap, then wrap in foil.  Let thaw on counter prior to slicing and serving.



So one pumpkin roll is now gone thanks to my family and we have one more left.  My son suggested taking it to our neighbor who is recovering from an automobile accident, which I thought was so generous of him!  I want to stock our freezer with enough to last us through the holidays, so I will be working on that over the next couple of weeks.  Don't be intimidated by them, they really are easy to make...and you will impress your friends and family for sure!

Recipe: Mexican Lasagna

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe, so I have two for you!  This Mexican Lasagna recipe is one of our favorites.  I have a confession to make:  I'm a bit of a recipe junkie!  I LOVE looking through Taste of Home magazines looking for the next great recipe.  So I copy it down. (I used to do this at MIL's house since she had a subscription for it...but now I have my own subscription and I don't have to write them down before trying them out!) Then I shove it in with all the rest of my recipes and....I forget about them.  One day a few years ago I was looking for some inspiration in the cooking department and found this recipe and decided to try it.  This one actually came from Rachel Ray...I'm thinking her cooking show, but I'm not sure.  It was love at first bite!  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we do!

Mexican Lasagna
1 lb ground beef or chicken
1/2 onion (optional), chopped
Taco sauce
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or can use kidney or pinto)
1 can corn (or can use frozen)
Shredded cheddar cheese
4 Flour tortillas, cut in half to make 8 pcs total
Cumin
Chili powder

Brown mean in skillet with onion.  Add cumin & chili powder (don't have actual measurements on this...so just sprinkle some in!) and 1 c. taco sauce.  Mix.  Once meat is browned, add black beans and corn.  This last time I made it I added a can of diced tomatoes, so feel free to add those too if you'd like!



Put 1/2 of the mat mixture in a 9x13 baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1 c. cheddar cheese.  Layer with 4 tortilla halves.  Repeat layers 1 more time.  Finish with 1/2 c cheese. 





Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins until heated through and cheese is melted.  Serve with sour cream, and any taco fixings you wish! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

I received a free copy of It Is Dangerous To Be Right When The Government Is Wrong - The Case For Personal Freedom by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano from Booksneeze.com and was asked to review it. I picked this title to review because I do not consider myself to be very knowledgable when it comes to the government. I have heard so much from older generations about how our personal freedoms are being taken away and hoped reading this book may give me some insight into why they feel this way. Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is a Senior Analyst for the Fox News Channel and Host of Freedom Watch on the Fox Business Network, however I had never heard of him nor seen him on tv prior to reading this book. One thing I learned through reading his book, is that he is VERY knowledgeable about the government and how they are trying to steal our personal freedoms one at a time, without us even realizing the extent of it.




I will be honest, I did not enjoy reading this book. Not this is doesn't contain a lot of true and helpful information, but the author's writing style just did not appeal to me at all. As I read the Introduction, I knew this would not be a very easy book to read. The book is full of useful information, but makes for very dry reading. Please do not let this review sway you into not reading this book for yourself, but be warned that if you like books that are written in a way that is easy to read, then you may want to get this one on a CD or choose a different title.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The verdict is in...well, sort of

It's been well over a month since I started my experiment with the oil-cleansing method. I am back to tell you that I failed miserably. Notice I didn't say IT failed miserably. It was totally ME that failed. I failed to test the method for a full 30 days for many reasons. Here are couple of them:

1. I couldn't seem to find the right schedule for doing the oil-cleansing method. I read that a fellow blogger only used it once a day which posed a lot of questions for me. Do I do it only at night? But my face is usually way oiler feeling in the morning...should I do it then? And what do I do after a run when I'm all sweaty and my face is in desperate need of washing? I did try it in the morning for a few days, and I tried it in the evening for a few days. I just couldn't seem to get on a schedule with it.

2. Remember the step where you heat up the washcloth with really hot water and then stick it on your face? Well...that is hard to do in the shower! If you just use water that is the same temp as your shower, it doesn't seem hot enough. The alternative is to move the shower head out of the way and turn off the cold water completely, then soak your washcloth and stick it on your face and hold it there for 1 minute without getting scalded by the water coming out of the showerhead. Then wipe the oil off and turn the cold water back on a bit so you can actually stand in the stream of water again. Then cross your fingers and hope that there is enough hot water to finish tending to the rest of your body! (This happened to me today by the way)

3. I am pretty sure I am suffering from the effects of peri-menopause a few month on and a few months off. Well after about a 6-month hiatus, it decided to return. With it, it brought mood swings and acne. So I just couldn't bring myself to put more oil onto my already icky looking oily face. Plus I was just plain hormonal and the last thing on my mind was using the oil-cleansing method. lol

So...even though I didn't last the whole 30 days using only the oil-cleansing method, I do have a couple of positive outcomes:

1. During the time I used this method, I did need any moisturizer. I actually found myself THINKING I needed it only because I am so used to using it each and every morning, but my skin did not feel dry.

2. My skin felt softer.

3. Since I have completely stopped using this method (for probably the past 3-4 weeks) my skin feels so dry and just looks drab. It seems that I can't use enough moisturizer and honestly it just feels irritated all the time...almost like I'm having a reaction to something. So today I thought I'd give the oil-cleansing method a try again to see if it would restore my skin to what it once was. I tried it, and my skin once again feels hydrated, soft, and not irritated.

So...from my short-term experience, I'd give the oil-cleansing 1 thumbs up for all the beneficial effects, and 1 thumb down only because it's such a pain in the hiney to work into my schedule! lol I need to keep reminding myself that these new products are not loaded with chemicals and ickyness, so of course it's not going to be the SAME as what I'm used to. I am going to give this method a go once more and report back my long-term conclusion!!

Have any of you tried this yet??

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Latest Experiement

I have become sort of a scientist over the past year. Mainly in the area of cooking. It started last November after Kailyn had a health scare and had severe abdominal pain off and on for a week straight. And after 2 trips to the local ER, a trip to the pediatrician and his recommendation to take her to a Children's Hospital when the pain occurred, which we did once, we never did receive a diagnosis. Ironically enough a week or two before her pain started, hubby and I had a conversation with some neighbors/friends about their diet and how they eat. It's a LOOOOOOONG story and I won't go into details about it, but after talking with them I started thinking about the foods I was eating and also serving my family. The Kailyn's pain started and, since it was located in her abdomen, I started wondering if the food she was eating might be the cause. Let's just say that that week was quite stressful and frustrating. No one could tell us why she would get 1-3 hr spurts of intense pain each day and then spend the rest of the day being her normal self. So I guess the whole experience sort of scared me into wanting to educate myself on how to eat healthier so I could in turn get my family to eat healthier. And so the journey began...



Fast forward 10 months and we have cut out all refined white sugar, and refined white flour from our diet. (With the exception of an occasional treat, bowl of cereal, etc) I now have a grain mill and grind my own wheat berries for flour and also my own natural peanut butter. I no longer use canola or vegetable oil, but use olive oil and coconut oil. And most of what I have learned has come from experimenting. Trying a recipe and deciding if it's a good fit for my family (aka..if the kids will eat it. lol) I have also taken mental notes on how my body feels after eating sugary foods vs healthy raw foods. I think I have finally mastered the art of healthy cooking! I can now make our favorite foods but in a healthy, un-processed way.

But the experimenting continues. Since I've eliminated chemicals (aka preservatives and additives) from our diet, I'm now venturing to eliminate chemicals from our personal care products. Which brings me to my newest experiment...

The Oil Cleansing Method. (Sounds so boring, don't you think? And sort of an oxymoron, too...Oil & Cleansing at the same time??)


I have become a bit addicted to reading "Green" blogs in search of new ways to replace our everyday household products. I know all of my body products are loaded with unnatural (even though it may say natural on the label) chemicals, so I'm going to start taking them out one by one. My victim of choice this month is facial cleanser. I used to use a VERY expensive brand of facial cleanser that, quite honestly, I really liked. But after reading the label, I just couldn't stand the thought of slathering it on my face anymore. So I switched to a brand that I bought the local health food store. My first impression was that is really stunk...literally. No running-through-the-meadow smell or fruitiness...just a weird smell that I wasn't familiar with. I now recognize that smell as tea tree oil...and I the smell has actually grown on me! Anyhoo...I really don't have any complaints about my current facial cleanser other than the fact that I don't fully believe it's 100% natural since I didn't make it and there are still a few ingredients on the label I'm not familiar with. But I came across the Oil Cleansing Method on a blog (many blogs actually) and thought I'd give it a try. Today.



Ready for the ingredients? Here they are...



1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) ($15.59 for a 33.8 oz bottle of organic EVOO)


2. Castor Oil ($8.99 for a 16 oz bottle)





That's it!! For normal skin, use 1 part castor oil to 1 part EVOO. For acne prone or oily skin, use 3 parts castor oil to 1 part EVOO. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to this concoction for it's antiseptic qualities. For dry skin, use 1 part castor oil to 3 parts EVOO.


I made the kind of acne-prone/oily skin, although I think I actually have combination skin. But since there isn't a recipe for that, I stuck with the acne-prone/oily. I searched through my beauty products for a bottle of chemical-laden-something and found a lotion that I didn't really care for. I dumped it out and rinsed out the bottle and Voila! I had found my new face wash bottle! (Part of my journey has also been to eliminate waste and repurpose things)


Armed with my bottle of face wash, I boldly walked to the bathroom to give it a try. I took about a nickel to quarter size amount of the wash and rubbed it all over my face. My first impression is that it wasn't as oily-goopy-messy as I thought it might be. I rubbed it in for probably 30 secs to a 1 min. (btw - I didn't wet my face prior to this...put it on your dry face) Then I wet a washcloth with hot water, wrung it out and placed it over my face. I don't really like this part of it b/c I don't like feeling like a can't breathe...although I totally could breathe...it's mind over matter. lol I did this for probably 30 sec-1 min until the washcloth no longer felt warm. Then I wiped the oil off with the washcloth and looked into the mirror to access what I saw. My face felt WONDERFUL. Honest. I felt like I had just had a spa treatment of some sort. (Not that I've ever had a spa treatment...but I totally think that's what one would feel like if I ever got one.) And my face didn't feel oily. It felt moisturized. And it felt so soft too! As of today, I am totally for using the Oil Cleansing Method!!



So here is what I found by reading on other blogs about the Oil Cleansing Method....some people found that they no longer had a need for moisturizer (except on rare occasions). And I think everyone noticed that their skin looked and felt great...almost like it was glowing! And you only have to do this once a day too! I am going to try this for a month and see if I have noticeable results. If it works I will be killing two birds with one stone...and replacing both my face wash AND my moisturizer! I'm so excited to see how this experiment turns out!! Have you ever tried this? Or are you planning to? If so, let me know how you like(d) it!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Smile!



Tonight I took my 7yr old, Kailyn, to tumbling class. Things are always so crazy on Wednesday nights b/c the kids don't usually get off the bus until 4:30 and we have to make the 40+ min drive to tumbling class in a nearby town by 5:30. So we are always rushed to make it to class on time. In the past three weeks that she's gone to class, we've made it there at exactly 5:30 3 times. Needless to say, Wednesday evenings are a bit stressful. While K tumbles, I sit in the waiting room with other waiting moms and grandmas, and it's...well...a bit awkward. I feel like the odd woman out each week. No one seems friendly or willing to make me their new acquaintance. Today I had my first conversation with a mom that consisted of my asking a question and her answering. Nothing more. As I sat there, trying to read my book but in reality couldn't focus because of the other conversations and noise going on, I couldn't help but wonder something. How do others see me? Do those moms look at me and think I must not be friendly and therefore do not try to start up a conversation with me? Do I allow Christ's love to shine through me as I sit in the waiting room each week? Probably not. If we are true Christ followers, we much allow Christ to shine through us at all times. It seems next to impossible at times, but I think it's a learned trait. The more we focus on Christ, the more we are aware of Him in our daily lives, and the more He affects each of our words, actions, and thoughts.


Here is another example of how I failed today. After the class, I went to Walmart to pick up a few groceries and, as I was leaving the parking lot and waiting to turn out onto the road. At this particular moment, K decides she's hungry NOW and wants to go to Subway NOW and proceeds to throw a 7 yr old sized tantrum over a $5 Footlong. I had tried to reason with her, but to no avail. So I raised my voice and let her know that her tantrum was unacceptable, we were going home, and then she could eat a taco for dinner. I turned around to look through the front window again and caught a glimpse of a man pulling into the Walmart entrance beside where I was. Our eyes locked and as they did I noticed he was smiling. A nice, cheerful smile. Then I realized that my face was still locked in its I'm-really-frustrated-with-the-way-my-kid-just-acted look...that is anything but cheerful. They he drove on past me before I had the chance to smile back. That got me thinking. I felt guilty about not smiling back. And embarrassed that I must have looked like a complete and total grump to him. Honestly, his authentic smile made me WANT to smile despite my current circumstance with K. One little smile. What if he was a Christian and trying to let Christ's love shine through him by smiling at me? As someone on the receiving end, it was wonderful to see that smile! And I'm already a Christian, even though I probably didn't appear to be very full of Christ's love at that moment. How powerful that smile could be to someone hurting, someone mourning the loss of a loved one, something who is about to lose their house, or someone who doesn't have a house at all? The world is full of hurt, disappointment, betrayal, and deceit...and the world needs us. YOU. ME. We hold within us through the power of the Holy Spirit the opportunity to change the world one person at a time. Through something as simple as a kind word, a thoughtful gesture...or even a smile. So keep smiling ladies...you may just make some stressed out mom's day! lol :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lots of Random Thoughts From Yours Truly

I'm sorry to report that my brain and heart are overflowing with thoughts right now. Thoughts I'd love to write about and share with you! I apologize because when I feel this way, I ramble. So that is what I imagine this post to be...a LONG RAMBLE. With that said, if you're not up to following my thought process right now, then feel free to log out and join in on the next post! I also should add that my hubby will be ecstatic ECSTATIC that he won't have to be the recipient of my randomness tonight! Sometimes when I'm in moods like this I see him look at me in utter disbelief...or maybe he's in awe of how insane complex my mind is! Anyhoo...here are some of my thoughts...





  1. Did you know that you can mess up your hip from running on uneven pavement? I will share this thought first since it's fresh on my mind...and hip. I have noticed the past 1-2 weeks that my right hip is really sore after running. Not immediately after running, but maybe a few hours, but definately by the next day. Not a muscle soreness, but sort of a pain that runs deep into my hip. This has been bothering both physically and mentally and I kept ignoring it thinking it would go away. Well, it has gotten worse. Bad enough that the past couple of days has been pretty uncomfortable and I've found myself not really wanting to walk around much. So today I called the chiro. Upon explaining the pain and the fact that I'm training for a half marathon to him, he asked if the pavement I was running on was flat. I answered no. Did you know that our state routes (and most other paved roads) are sloped from the middle to each side of the road? You incredibly intelligent readers probably already knew that but I never did until I started running on them. Don't get me wrong, it makes total sense to slope the roads...but it's wrecking havoc on my right hip. Ok, I guess it's not my hip, but actually my sacrum...the lowest part of my spine that is close to my pelvis. (Don't I sound so smart???) So anyways...the doc adjusted me in several places (when your sacrum is out your neck is too..another thing I learned today!), and sent me home with a chilled ice pack to put on my hip sacrum. It doesn't appear to be unmanageable or life-threatening, but I'm not allowed to run on sloped roads for at least this week and I have to utilize my lovely ice pack whenever I'm in pain. Hopefully I'll be back to running pain-free soon! So there you go...don't you feel enlightened? I told you I would ramble.




  2. The second thing that I want to ramble about was the sermon that Alan Root gave last weekend at my church. It was nothing short of amazing to me. Besides the fact that we got to act like kids again and sing his fun songs geared towards children, but his sermon really touched me. The whole sermon centered around the idea of restraint. I won't go into all of the details of the sermon, but he said something that really has had me thinking. The passage he read was Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I have heard this passage many many times, but I see it in a whole new light now. Alan painted such a beautiful picture in my mind of what Jesus was saying and it will stick with me forever. I have always just taken this passage to mean handing my burdens over to God and letting him carry them. And in essence that is what it is about, but Alan taught me a deeper understanding of it. A yoke is a tool used to hook two oxen together so they can plow fields, etc. He told us to imagine ourselved yoked to Jesus. allowing Him to carry most of the load. Allowing Him to lead us and guide us and teach us. He said to picture Jesus as a strong Brahma bull and us as a weakling. God wants to helps us through this life He's called us to live. He wants us to attach ourselves to Him and for us to learn from Him. I guess it got me thinking about my own personal yoke with Jesus. Am I carrying most of the weight? Am I the weakling trudging through life trying to pull way more than I can physically handle because I have too much pride to admit I can't do it alone? Am I allowing my partner Jesus to carry ANY of the load? Do I ever unhook myself from the yoke, walk away, and make Jesus do all the work Himself? Do I ever make Jesus wish He had a different partner to be yoked to? A more willing partner? A not-so-stubborn partner? This illustration has really humbled me and forced me to take a look at my spiritual life. I admit that there have been MANY times I've allowed Jesus to do all the work himself...or even find someone else to do MY work. I haven't yoked up with Jesus long enough for Him to teach me and to really truly learn from Him. Honestly, I'm saddened by my lack of faithfulness at times. I can't tell you how this has touched my life...and I pray it touches yours too.




  3. On a more fun note, my husband informed me that I am now confident. Me: "What?" Hubby: "You're different. It's like you have more confidence." And I started thinking about it, and yes, I do. Can't really explain how or why or when this all started, but my best guess is that is started when I went on my Emmaus Walk this past April. At one point during the Walk, we were asked to lay our burden. the thing that hinders us the most, at the foot of the cross and not pick it back up again. EVER. When I examined my life and the hindrances I have, the one thing that came to mind was my lack of self-confidence. And as I thought more in-depth about it, that was my ONLY hindrance. I don't say that to brag that I only have one...it's more like that ONE hindrance is so HUGE that it encompasses ALL of my life. It affects me as a friend. It affects my marriage. It affects how I am as a mother. It affects how I act as a child of God and how I handle the calling He has placed on my life. I am reading a really good book entitled, Made To Crave by Lysa Terkeurst and I read something yesterday that really summed up how I used to feel and act on those feelings. Lysa writes: Like many women, I'd struggled with a flowed perceptions of myself. My sense of identity and worth were dependent on the wrong things - my circumstances or my weight or whether I yelled at the kids that day or what other people thought of me. If I sensed I wasn't measuring up, I kicked into either withdrawal mode or fix-it mode. WIthdrawal mode made me pull back from relationships, feearing others' judgments. I built walls around my heart to keep people at a distance. Fitx-it mode made me overanalyze other people's every word and expression looking for ways to manipulate their opinions to be more pleasing toward me. Take, for example, the crazy question I asked my husband every time I felt insecure while getting ready in teh morning: "Does this make me look fat?" This question had nothign to do with my outfit. It was an attempt to get him to say something, anythign to make me feel better about myself. I could manipulate a compliment, but in the end, I still felt so empty. This is how I lived pretty much all of my adult life...feeling awful about myself and constantly looking for compliments or any hint that I was accepted by others....even from my husband! At some point...and I think that point occurred at Emmaus, I laid it down. I've tried to pick my insecurities up a few times since then, but now I see myself in a completely different light. I have adopted an I-Don't-Care-What-People-Think sort of attitude, but in a good way! I have come to realize that people will judge me whether I'm skinny, fat, beautiful, or not-so-beautiful. Whether I stay at home with my kids, or whether I have a career. How I parent, or don't parent my children. People WILL judge me no matter what...but I am not going to let it bother me or affect me. I am who God made me. Period. I am not perfect, but each day I am striving to listen to God and to become like Him. I used to look in the mirror at myself and feel completely disgusted at what I saw. Now I can look in the mirror and see a woman who changing from the inside out...who is actually...pretty. I am starting to have a runner's body (which I LOVE and have waited SOOOOOOO very long for!) and I am content with who I am. In fact I have embraced who I am wholeheartedly. I am no longer my own worst enemy...Me, Myself, and I are now the best of friends! lol And apparantly hubby has noticed it and finds me all the more attractive because of it!


Well, I think my rambling has come to an end. I'm speechless...literally....I can't think of anything else to write. And that doesn't happen very often! So I guess now would be a great time to put this post to an end. Until next time my friends!! :)











Monday, July 25, 2011

My Big Secret...ok, not really

Did I keep you waiting long enough? I had every intention of letting you in on the not-so-secretive-secret later that day, but here I am over a month later. I hope you didn't die from anxiety or curiousity!

Anyways...here it is:

I AM RUNNING A HALF-MARATHON IN OCTOBER!!! Yes, I'm stupid. And yes, it is WAY out of my comfort zone...or at least it was when I decided to run it about 11 weeks ago. The 13.1 mile finishline is slowly coming into view now that I'm midway through my training. I know I can do it...but do I want to go through this pain and all this training in order to accomplish it? Not really. I'd much rather sleep in on the morning I have to run...or realx with my family on Sunday evenings when I need to do my LONG (and I do mean LONG) run. But I've committed to run this race, so I'm going to persevere. This week I will be reigstering for the race, so it will be official...I'm way too cheap to pay $60 for an entrance fee and not show up! lol Besides, I get a free shirt out of the deal! I do love freebies! lol

All this running makes me think of the following verse from the Bible:

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore since we surrounded by such a 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 our 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 you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I can relate to this passage so much right now! Each race has a "cloud of witnesses" watching me to make sure I am running the race and crossing the finishline. And most times they are cheering me on, encouraging me to keep running. Just like our spiritual "run", a physical run is hard work. And it can often be painful. I have found just the past two weeks that when I stop to take a short breather for a minute or two, it is actually more painful than if I had just kept running. (See any parallels to our spiritual run?) Sometimes we trip and fall (luckily I haven't had the pleasure of eating pavement however I know it happens). Sometimes I come across roadblocks, angry dogs, or the stench of roadkill, but I have learned to adapt and keep running. (or yell "NO!!!!!" at the angry dogs and stare them down...lol) Through all of this, the pain, frustration, exhaustion that I experience while running is nothing compared to what our Lord Jesus endured on the cross. And it is His strength that keeps me going...persevering until I see the finishline for myself!

I have so much more that I want to write about, but it is time to take the girls to VBS and savor a whole 1.5 hrs to myself! I will write more soon...I promise!!! lol

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Helloooo summer!

Remember me? I'm the author of this blog. I know, I know, it's been a long time. Since I last posted in spring and it's now summer, I'm wondering if I should maybe just do a quarterly post until I can handle posting more frequently than that? lol I have one good reason for my ongoing hiatus: BASEBALL. It has consumed our lives the past couple of months. We've had 16 regular season games and have already played 1 tourny game...and with each game comes the frantic uniform washing, the I-can't-find-my-baseball-sock game once the uniform has been washed, trying to get dinner finished and all family members fed before walking out the door, then remembering to fill up water bottles with Gatorade and fill the cooler with snacks so we don't spend an arm and a leg (or two!) buying snacks at the concession stand, and also having to remember to bring coats if it will be cool at that game, or sunscreen if it will be hot, and folding chairs if there are no bleachers where we are, or a blanket if there are bleachers. I am so over baseball season and ready to just ENJOY SUMMER. But the tourny must go on. And currently my son's team is 4th in the county which means we may be playing games for the next two weeks. I'm just tired I guess...I feel like I need to hibernate a few days in order to feel refreshed. Maybe if I'd just remember to take my vitamins on a consistent basis I'd feel better...who knows. lol

I do have a pretty cool goal that I have set for myself for this year, but unfortunately I don't have the time to post it all right now. I'm heading out on a run in a few mins and will try to remember to post when I get back providing mass chaos hasn't occurred once the kiddos are up. But I will give you a hint: it has to do with running. Happy Guessing until next time! :)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Blog Post of 2011!

I'm not sure I'm cut out to be a blogger. I often think to myself that I should post about something particular that has happened in my life, but then life gets in the way and I forget..and it never gets posted. I struggle with consistency in my life BIG TIME. And it is sooooooo frustrating! I start out exercising and then I get bored with it and quit for a week. I decide to count calories and do so for breakfast and my midmorning snack, but then forget for the rest of the day. Consistency is just not something that comes naturally to me. I guess I'm what you could call a "fly by night" (or the seat of my pants) sort of gal. I like spontenaity and variety! Lately God has been convicting me of some things in the area of consistency. One of the areas is in my finances. I have always had a budget, but could never figure out how to follow it. Even at the beginning of this year I was determined to have a buget into place and follow it to the T. Even if it is boring. Well, I good for about a week and then it fell by the wayside and I eventually forgot about it. Just recently I decided to recommit to a budget. I even went so far as to track our expenses from the previous month...and was so shocked to find that I had spent $586 on food! And I had budgeted $300 for the month! I had even shopped for good deals and clipped coupons! I was really embarrassed and convicted to get our finances in order once and for all. I researched different software, made numerous spreadsheets, and even asked a frugal friend how she stuck to her budget, trying to find something that I could stick with long-term. I also prayed that God would reveal a plan (His plan) to me. And He did. So as of last week I started using the envelope system for some of our buget accounts like food, clothing, gifts, etc. and it's working! I don't feel overwhelmed about it, but excited because I know that we are being good stewards of what God has given to us, and that we are actively working towards our financial goals. It's amazing that I will spend 3 months struggling with setting up a budget and asking advice from friends and all I needed to do was ask for advice from my Heavenly Father and voila! I have a plan. When will I learn? lol So in order to stick with my grocery budget of $300/month, I am still clipping coupons. But this time I make sure I'm choosing great deals and I'm constantly on the lookout for rock bottom prices. And since I'm working with cash instead of using my debit card, I have to be cost-conscious and make decisions more wisely. For example, I have about 10 deodorants in my stockpile right now...so I will not run out for at least another year...or two! However if I find deodorant for FREE (like I will tomorrow at Walmart) with a coupon, then I will buy it. But if it's costs money, then I won't because that money could be used for something that we need more. With that being said, I plan to start posting my deals on here so that you can also benefit from my findings! I also want to start posting recipes that I find that are quick and easy, but also healthy and uses items that I find for a great price! So stay tuned...this may just make a blogger out of me after all! :)