We throw off the lie of perfection and cling to our identity in God as we strive to be whole, healthy, and fit. Our goal is wholeness, not perfection.

Archive for July, 2014

A Message for Fit Moms

I’m reading You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth (read it and stop by here every Monday to join the conversation) and this paragraph stopped me in my tracks. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, because a friend of mine was feeling defeated by a workout she has been doing.

Making progress in life is hard work. When we insist on moving forward as quickly as possible, we can wear ourselves out in a hurry. Sometimes when God makes us wait, it’s one of the most merciful things he can do. It doesn’t inherently mean we’ve done something wrong. In fact, it can indicate just the opposite – that we’re right between some really big things God has for our lives, and we need to rest up.

I shared the paragraph with her and let her know that I can totally relate to wanting to be better/stronger/smaller/more fit/smarter/more experienced/whatever right NOW. It can be difficult, disheartening even, to not make progress at the pace I would prefer. But then God slows me down and I’m able to be grateful for the progress I’ve already made. I can easily forget that I just had babies, because they’re growing so fast. Not to mention what carrying them for 37 weeks did to my body. Our bodies are amazing for enduring what they did to carry and birth children. We (and I’m totally speaking to myself here) need to be patient and loving as we ask our bodies, often force them, to do things that will make them stronger in the long run but hurt right now.

As difficult as it can be, I sometimes like to have to talk to myself as though I’m talking to my 7 year old.  He is every bit the perfectionist that I am, which can lead to frustration and heartache on his part.  And lots of nevers.  Like “I’ll never be good at” this or that.  When these words come out of his mouth I call him over to me, pet and cup his face with my hand, look him straight in the eyes and tell him – “Yet.  You’re not good at it, yet.”

So to my fellow fit moms (moms working on their fitness) I say – be grateful for the ability to do what you can.  Try not to focus on what you used to do or what you can’t do, yet. I’ve found amazing women to walk alongside on my journey – via Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter – a tribe if you will.  When the lie of perfectionism hisses, we speak truth over one another.  Do you have a tribe of truth speaking, encouraging accountability partners?

To the Christian Teacher in a Public School

An uplifting and encouraging call for teachers to live out our faith.

My Story, My Song

How many times have you heard the term (or one similar) “They’ve taken God out of public schools!”? I’ve heard it many, many times but so far it has failed to worry me.

Don’t get me wrong, it saddens me that a teacher can actually get fired if he or she offends someone by praying aloud or teaching scripture in a public school. It sickens me that some school systems (not mine) have taken the phrase “under God” out of their daily Pledge of Allegiance. It frustrates and sometimes angers me that other religions seem to be tolerated so quickly, yet Christianity simply will not be tolerated in some public school systems. It makes me want to cry out “What are we doing?”

But when I get completely worked up over laws and rights, I feel the gentle push of the Holy Spirit saying this to me: “When was the last…

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You’re Already Amazing Monday – Chapter 1

Disclosure: It’s Tuesday.  As a mom of three boys, my day doesn’t always go as planned.  At 10:30 last night I had a decision to make: Type up my “You’re Already Amazing” Chapter 1 response or work out.  Since I had to take off several days from my exercise program due to injury, I decided to go with the latter.


Let me just say that I love Holley Gerth’s writing style.  I really do feel like we’re just hanging out over some coffee – or in my case, smoothies.  It turns out the secret she told us in the Introduction has a second part to it – the explanation.  We don’t have to be more, do more, or have more, because we’re amazing.  What follows this revelation has to be my favorite part of this chapter, an awesome declaration:

“You’re enough.  You’re beautiful.  You’re wanted.  You’re chosen.  You’re called.  You’ve got what it takes…not just to survive but to change the world.”

As soon as I read those words I started coming up with imaginative ways to carry them with me.  Too many words for a tattoo, even if I dropped all the “You’re”s.  Besides, I’m allergic.  Then I thought about using that program that takes words and overlays them in different shades of the same color and making a shirt.  Although I may still do that, that isn’t very permanent.  And before I could seriously consider having jewelry made with the words, I climbed  out of the ADD rabbit hole to finish reading the chapter.

Gerth goes on to explain the difference between being an “It Girl” and an “Is Girl”.  An “It Girl” is defined by the world’s ever changing values and fads, while an “Is Girl” has her identity grounded in who God created and called her to be.  I’ve tried being an “It Girl” with little success.  Even when I met some standard of fitness or beauty, there was always a higher degree to strive for.  It was exhausting.  And don’t get me started on the “It Girl” version of motherhood.  Talk about exhausting.  Thanks Pinterest.  Thanks a lot.

As an “Is Girl” I just have to be me, right where I am in life, exactly as I am.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an easy calling.  Daily I have to battle doubt and insecurities.  But it’s not nearly as taxing as striving to be an “It Girl”.  Why?  Because to be an “Is Girl” requires me to draw on the strength and power God gives me, not my own.  Again, this isn’t always easy.  The world tells women, especially moms, that we can do it all and have it all, if we just _____ (you fill in the blank).  It’s tempting to operate in my own strength and tell God “I’ve got this”.  Although I still do this, I don’t try to go it alone for such long stretches of time anymore.  I get exhausted much quicker now.  I’m not sure if it’s wisdom or just aging.

Gerth closes the chapter by sharing that we are never too broken to be used by God.  She relays the story of a friend’s tragic loss, and how God told her that it’s through our brokenness that He shines to those around us.  Through our brokenness we can bless others.  I’m not a fan of being broken, but it’s awesome when I can connect with another woman, believer or not, over shared brokenness and assure her that God is working in the situation.


Have you already read the book, or are you reading along with us?  What word do you most need to hear and believe in the “You’re _____” statements?  Is there a particular trend or fad right now that you feel pressured to keep up with?

You’re Already Amazing Monday: Intro

In her introduction to You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be, Holley Gerth invites me to pull up a chair so she can share a secret with me.  It is a secret so profound, that when I read it, I exhale deeply and my whole body relaxes.  “You don’t have to be more, do more, have more.”

YAA Intro

My whole life I’ve struggled to feel like I’m enough – Smart enough.  Articulate enough.  Funny enough.  Sweet enough.  Attractive enough.  Strong enough.  Brown enough.  Bilingual enough.  Ethnic enough.  Enough for you to accept me into your circle.  Enough for me to feel like I belong.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced a great deal of freedom in these areas.  But every now and then a small voice will hiss, asking me, “Are you sure you’re ______ enough?”

Just when that doubt starts creeping in, Holley speaks encouraging, empowering truth over me – “You’re a daughter of God, a holy princess, a woman created with strengths you’ve yet to fully grasp and a story that’s still being written by the divine Author himself.”  Whoa.  I believe I am a daughter of God.  So much so that it’s the first thing I write in any “about me” space of social media.  And I know my story is still being written because, well, I’m still here.  But a holy princess?  The mom of three boys who is ecstatic to get a shower before supper?  The wife who does her best but can’t seem to keep both the kitchen table and counters clean at the same time?  I have strengths I have yet to fully grasp?  I’m praying they include time management, staying organized, and budgeting.

But here’s where Holley had me hooked, eager to read more – “And if you really take hold of who you are and what you’re called to do, there will be no stopping you.  That’s because there’s no stopping him in you – and he’s got bigger plans for your life than you’ve even imagined.”  This quote ignites a fire in me because I know this season of my life is boot camp – preparing me for God’s next assignment for me, for what I’m called to do.  But there’s a lot of fear involved in knowing that this season will end.  There’s safety sticking around boot camp and not having to go into battle.  But the second sentence of the quote has me wanting to suit up and fight because it’s my life verse: With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20 NCV)

Whether you’ve read the book before or not, I hope that you’ll join me every Monday to recap each chapter and share what it means in real life to embrace who we are and trusting God to mold us into who He created us to be.

Quick PiYo Home Workout Review: Week 1

Why a quick review you ask?  Because I spent THREE days writing out a thoughtful review of week one and subsequently lost it.  I’m not feelin’ a whole lot of love for WordPress right now.  ***Update: WP angels helped me find my drafts through their Live Chat feature*** But I digress…

Alignment: The Fundamentals (42 minute workout time) focuses on proper form.  I almost skipped it since I am a PiYo Live (formerly known as PiYo Strength) instructor.  Glad I didn’t skip it though, because there were moves I haven’t seen yet and therefore needed to learn and others I needed to practice.  If you’re new to Pilates, Yoga, recovering from an injury (or in my case, pregnancy) I recommend you do Alignment for a few days before moving on to the actual workouts.

Define: Lower Body (21 minute workout time) focuses on the lower body but incorporates enough upper body strengthening that you’ll be wondering why your arms hurt if it’s a lower body workout.  There are LOTS of lunges in this workout, but my thighs are already tightening up, so I guess I should be happy about that.  My core is in desperate need of strengthening, so I have a love hate relationship with the Warrior Three pose in this workout.  Here’s a clean pic I found:

Warrior Three

I am not yet able to bring my leg up that high, but Chalene Johnson keeps reminding us throughout the workouts that PiYo is all about improving.  Which is awesome because on Tuesday I needed to use a chair to balance but by Friday I was able to do it sans chair.

Define: Upper Body (19 minute workout time) incorporates a ridiculous number of tricep push-ups.  I never thought I’d be so happy to do ab work as I was the first time I did this workout, because it’s the only relief we’re given between all the push-ups.  This workout does not have a warm-up, so I used the warm-up in the Lower Body workout and switched back over to Upper Body.  The challenging move in this workout is the Kick Through.  I’m able to do it when we’re just putting weight on the outside hip, but not when the leg kicks through and out.  Chalene makes it look easy:

PiYo Kick Through

Sweat (37 minute workout time) is aptly named.  It is flows like a PiYo Live class, except it does not include a cool down with static stretching.  I felt fairly confident going into this workout, after having completed the Define sections.  I figured that if there was only one challenging move in each of those workouts then I’d be good to go.  Wrong.  This workout brought its own challenges – THREE of them.  The Lower Body section of this workout incorporates a lot of balancing moves.  The most challenging for me being the Runner’s Balance.  It looks like this, but you’re hinged forward, balancing on the support leg in more of a squat and the foot of the raised leg is pushes back.

Runners Balance

The next challenging move were the sumo squats.  My ligaments and joints don’t play well together since having the twins, so I had to continuously adjust my stance in order to put as little pressure as possible on my right knee.  I modified a lot when it came to the sumo squat section, especially the burpees.  I skipped them entirely and chose instead to modify with Michele Park.  I plan on writing Michele a love letter soon, because her modifications have gotten me through this first week of PiYo.

The last, and most difficult, move for me is complicated to explain and I can’t find a picture of it anywhere.  So, I’ll do my best to describe it and then update this post at a later time with a picture of me attempting it.  Here’s the sequence of the move: Plank –> Right knee to right elbow –> Extend right leg straight out.


Tips for the PiYo Home Workout – Week 1

1) Take a PiYo Live class if you can OR…

2) Find a Fit Club that is going to showcase a PiYo workout from the DVD set

3) Modify, modify, modify

4) Challenge yourself when you’re ready

5) Remember that Define: Upper Body does NOT have a warm-up so use the one from Lower Body


Disclosure: I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach.  What’s that mean?  I’m a Beachbody customer who likes some of the programs enough to share my experience with other people.  By doing so I help them on their journey to better health.  And occasionally I get a “Thank you” check from Beachbody for doing it.

 

Already Amazing

Sometime this evening, I will be leading a workout routine, along with some wonderful women I met a couple of weeks ago, through REFIT Revolution, in North Carolina.  We worked on choreography and recorded several routines.  The one they helped me tweak is the routine we will be presenting tonight.  Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the original recording, so I recorded it again yesterday.

Now, I consider myself a fairly tech savvy person.  Not a tech geek, mind you, but I know my way around the internets (if you don’t get that reference you really need to check out Jon Acuff).  Well, apparently I don’t know my way around the privacy settings of Facebook.  I tried to share the video clip directly to the Facebook group we’re all in together, but it wasn’t an option from my phone.  Not wanting everyone to see it, I selected “Only Me” and then shared it to the group, forgetting that no one would be able to see it.

So I changed it to “Friends” and removed it from my timeline.  I didn’t delete it from my timeline, because I wasn’t sure if it would get deleted from our group.  I woke up this morning to notifications of likes and encouraging comments.  About the video clip.  That no one else was supposed to see.  I was mortified.  But then one comment hit me like a 2 x 4 – “Oh. My. God. You. Are. Amazing!!”  It was from my friend, and fellow twin mama (her boys were born the day after mine), Jennifer.

The thing is, I didn’t feel amazing.  At all.  Not when I was doing the routine – I was thinking about how frumpy I looked and that I probably should have worn workout clothes.  Not when I was done with the routine – I was out of breath and longing for the endurance I had before I got pregnant.

As a fitness instructor, I show the utmost respect, concern, care, and encouragement for people who are getting in shape.  I constantly remind them to do what they can and extend themselves some grace.  But until I read Jennifer’s comment, I hadn’t realized how I wasn’t offering myself the same respect, concern, care, encouragement, or grace.

My body is not the same.  Period.  It may never get back to the way it was.  I have to remind myself of that and be okay with it.  I want to strive for better fitness, and better health, but in a manner that does not belittle what my body has already achieved.  I need to celebrate my progress – daily.  I am going to focus on what I can accomplish, rather than what I was able to accomplish in the past.  Comparison is dangerous.  Especially when we compare ourselves to a former version of ourselves.  

Comparison v Grace

Jennifer’s comment and everything it stirred up in me reminded me that I’m exactly where God wants me to be.  At this particular time on my journey to wholeness, I am reading You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth.  That’s why when Jennifer told me I was “Amazing” it felt like a nod and a wink from God.  I would love for you to join me in reading this awesome book about grace and finding freedom in believing we are who God says we are.  Today is the last day to enter the giveaway.   

On My Heart

Airplane landing

Our seven year old son flew out of Charlotte by himself yesterday.  I don’t know how I feel about it.  I am overwhelmed with a slew of emotions when I think about him flying across the country and spending two weeks with my parents (one week per set of parents) – alone.

I wasn’t worried about the flying part of the trip.  He’s been traveling to California since he was nine months old and has flown at least a dozen times round trip since then.  I know that he’s mature enough to fly solo – he knows how to behave on an airplane.  I guess it comes down to me being a little freaked out that I have a seven year old who is mature enough to fly solo.  In all of twenty seconds my thoughts race from flying solo to him going to middle school, high school, and then leaving home for college.

During our nighttime prayer and cuddle time I cried as I prayed for traveling mercies for his flights and his time in California.  He comforted me as best he could when I told him that he’s growing up too fast.  “I’ll still love you when I’m older,” he said.  “I know, but it will be different when you’re big and out of the house,” I replied.  “That’s like eleven or twelve years away, Mommy.  And I’ll come visit you every day.”  I cried harder, because I knew he meant it.  Just like I meant it when I told my dad I would always hang out with him, no matter how old I was.

I don’t have any poignant ending to this post.  I just wanted to share what’s on my heart.  I’m not familiar with the readers of this blog, yet.  I don’t know who’s in the audience.  But if you can relate or have any  words of wisdom to share, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Diet Update

The last time I posted I confessed that although I exercise regularly, my diet isn’t too stellar.  I said that I was going to check in twice a week – for some accountability – and share how my eating habits have, or haven’t, improved.  Uhm, so why didn’t anyone stop me and remind me that the 4th of July weekend was just around the corner?  Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, soda (a rarity for me), coleslaw, and the cookie part of two Oreos.  That’s what I ate on the 4th.  Not too impressive.  But I’m not striving for perfection.  More along the lines of 80/20 clean eating – 80% clean 20% not.

I can do 100%.  I’ve done it twice before.  21 days each time.  The first was a Daniel Fast in 2010, and the Ultimate Reset last spring.  So I know it can be done.  The problem is I tend to be a little obsessive and compulsive when it comes to, well, anything.  I know that food is fuel and it shouldn’t be used as a reward or punishment (head knowledge), but it can easily become either if I choose to let it take over my thought life.  For me it’s all about balance.  After almost a year of not “too stellar” I’m ready to get back on the balance beam.


 Here’s my plan:

1) Incorporate More God Food

Eat More FOOD

2) Eat Less Man Food

I’m not a fan of bad language, but I love this acronym. 

Eat Less CRAP

3) Prep Veggies and Fruit

I’m not sure if I’m a Gen X or Gen Y gal, but I definitely know I’m a member of the Microwave Generation.  You know, a slave to convenience.  Ugh, that sounded horrible and stung with conviction.  If I have to wash and cut anything when I’m hungry the likelihood of me doing it is zero.  But if I put in the time before hunger hits, then I don’t think twice about grabbing a handful of veggies or fruit.

4) Track Water Intake

I hate to admit that as a nursing mother of twins I have not been tracking my water intake.  I’m not quite ready to jump back into tracking my food, so if you know of an app for specifically tracking water, I’d love to hear about it.

5) Go to Bed BEFORE 11

This one may seem unrelated to nutrition, but it’s not.  Adequate sleep helps to curb your appetite – especially where unhealthy cravings are concerned.  People have less willpower when they’re tired.  Period.  It becomes even more of an issue if you’re working out.  Your body needs time to repair itself.  Honestly, going to bed before midnight has been particularly difficult for me. Once all of my boys are asleep I work on my many hustles.  If you are not familiar with Jon Acuff, please click HERE.


 That’s it.  I figured this would be more beneficial to use as a check-in system than a rundown of what I ate over a three day period.

The Tipping Point

Domino Effect

You know that uncomfortable space between stagnation and change?  That’s where I’m living right now.  I’m living in the space cohabitated (spell check says I made up yet another word – score!) by head knowledge and a lack of action.  I am not writing this out of shame or guilt, but rather out of a desire for a transparency that will create community.  My prayer is that this post will be the catalyst I need to thrust me back into living more healthfully.

Yesterday I submitted, or resubmitted rather (gotta love technology), a guest blog post about getting and staying active.  I was very comfortable writing the post, as I have been active for almost two months now.  Activity, movement, and fitness come naturally to me. What would have made me uncomfortable?  Writing about nutrition.  Why?  Here’s a big clue: I just finished eating natural peanut butter out of the jar along with mini-allergen free chocolate chips.  The fact that it was natural peanut butter has to count for something, right?

But seriously…While I was pregnant with the boys, I didn’t just gain a lot of weight.  I picked up poor eating habits I had put down years ago.  When the boys  were conceived, my diet was the healthiest it had ever been.  I was eating clean and mostly gluten free.  Then came the exhaustion and ravenous hunger.  A dangerous combination for a former junk food junkie.

Now, 3 months after the birth of my twins, I am still making poor eating choices.  The first poor choice is that I’m not eating enough calories.  Nursing twins requires what seems to be a ton of calories.  The second is a natural consequence of the first – satisfying the craving for high caloric foods with low quality foods.  But I know that with some preparation I can easily meet my caloric needs, stave off cravings (can you say salty and crunchy?), and eat quality food.

So what’s holding me back?  A lack of want to.  Plain and simple.  Which is crazy, because I really want to eat better.  The problem is I’m not putting in the work to back up that sentiment. Ugh.  I don’t need to read another book on nutrition.  I don’t need any more head knowledge.  It’s the putting it into action are where I’m falling short.  I was just telling someone the other day “Either you want to do something or you don’t.  If you don’t, you can find a million reasons to not follow through.  If you do, you simply do it.”  I hate it when I say something before realizing it really applies to me.

I don’t know about you, but I need motivation and accountability.  I’m really good at motivating others and holding them accountable, but sometimes find it hard to connect with others who hold me accountable.  So here I am at the tipping point, between stagnation and change, humbly asking you to hold me accountable. I’ll check in twice a week – daily is unrealistic for me and once a week isn’t often enough – and rate the quality of my diet.  What is it that you need to tackle on your journey to living a healthier, more balanced life?  Feel free to reply in the comment section or come over to Facebook .

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