Saturday, May 24, 2014

That girl in the mirror

This post has been a long time coming.  I think I can speak for most women when I say that our body image is a pretty big deal. Such a big deal that it can lead us to starve ourselves to drop a few pounds, workout twice a day, count calories, take diet pills....all things I have done at some point in my life. I am happy to say that I am now so much healthier mentally, spiritually and physically and don't go to extremes to lose weight but that pesky body image still rears it's ugly head at times.

I came home to my parents house this weekend and found this lovely treasure in a box in my old closet:

Yes, you are reading that right...the brand is "One Tuff Babe". :)

So many things about this picture crack me up but it also got me thinking. First, isn't it interesting that we will move heaven and earth to make sure we have the latest and greatest styles and wardrobes only to pull those pieces out later and say " what was I thinking?!"  It really reminds me of the verse in Ecclesiastes 4:4 that says "Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless-like chasing the wind".  Am I saying we all need to quit buying clothes and not dress nice?  No, I am just saying we might stop every now and then and examine our hearts to make sure we aren't worshipping the clothes more than God.

The second thing about this picture that I noticed is the passing thought I had of "I have no make-up on and my hair is not I share it?"  I tell you this to be transparent.  Why?  Because I think as women we are way too hard on ourselves and if we aren't careful can worship our appearance more than we worship our King.  I want to start a new trend that instead of trying to strive to be like the girl who has every hair in place, 0% body fat, a golden tan and more we strive to be like the woman who has all the fruits of the spirit pouring out of her.  Being physically attractive is not wrong I just want to make sure my heart is in the right place before I allow myself to pursue that. When our heart is in the right place with God everything else falls into place. I know personally this is true because the closer I get to The Lord the easier it is to take care of my body and my physical appearance gets in alignment with my spiritual appearance.

Just a few days I was talking with a friend about this and a statement her husband had made to her was "when will enough be enough?" in reference to how she feels about the way her body looks.  I think this is a question we should all ask ourselves. 

When is enough, enough?  Ask God to help you embrace who you are and what he created you to look like. As you do he will bring peace that only he can bring. As you give this area of your life to him he will bring spiritual and physical changes that only he can bring.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

From busy to blessed

I am so busy.  These 4 words tend to be the first thing out of my mouth these days.  I am noticing it's not just me but everyone I meet or talk with.  There was a time when people used to use the phrase "so, how's the weather?" when there was some time to fill but now it seems we compare our schedules to see who is running the fastest.  I don't know about you but I am done.  

I have known we are too busy for some time now but recently I have noticed myself more irritable than usual.  As I asked The Lord what is going on in my spirit he lead me to take a look at our calendar.  As I opened it I realized there aren't many days where we don't have something going on and even worse my "to do" list just keeps growing.  In fact, that "to do" list is the first thing that gets my attention each morning if I'm not careful.  

It looked a little like this:

As I looked at how busy our life is something deep within rose up, it was a righteous anger, that said this is not the best God has for us.  God didn't create us so we can run on a treadmill and get nowhere fast. He created us for relationship with Him and others.  The greatest commandment was to the love The Lord our God then to love our neighbor as ourselves.  To sum it up, love God and love people.  Now don't get me wrong, much of what our family does is just that but somehow things creep on the schedule that God never asked us to do or be a part of.  

I wish I could give everyone a clear answer on what it looks like for you and your family to not be ruled by this god called "busy" but the real answer is you need to hear God for yourself.  Only God knows what he wants you to say "yes or no" to and no person can ever give you that answer.  You must seek God for yourself.  

For me, a few things he put on my heart to do are: delete my Facebook app on my phone(no I'm not abandoning Facebook all together but having it on my phone pulls me in too easily and makes me feel "busy" all day long. Stop "worrying" about when I will get my exercise in(sounds silly but I tend to make that the focal point of my day if I'm not careful). Stop trying to keep up with everything for my kids. They will not only survive not getting to attend every party and function but will also be better for it. Implement new chore systems that will help my kids be a part of our household chores rather than me carrying the whole load.  Again, builds character in them:)

These are just a few that come to mind but I know that as I continue to yield to The Lord in this area more and more freedom will come.  I am not done working, dreaming, moving forward in life...I am just on a quest to eliminate any distractions that may seem small but rob me and my family of our joy.

One more plea I have is for us all to extend grace to each other. If someone can't make it to a party, play date, family get together and so on be understanding.  We all have to fight together to not let our schedules run our families and friendships and I think if we all kept that in mind everyone would feel a huge load lifted and be able to fully live life again.  

I leave you with a funny yet true image of what it looks like to balance all our plates. Ask God which plates he never intended for you to balance.

Will you join me in changing your "busy" to "blessed"?  

"And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." Ecclesiastes 4:4

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fit Friday: 20 Minute Interval Challenge

As I mentioned in my first blog post I have been a group fitness instructor for almost 7 years now.  I have my Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology but really got into exercise after I had my first baby and had 40 lbs. to lose!  If you are a mom you know the struggles with finding time to exercise and have it actually be effective in under an hour.  One of my favorite workouts that always helped me shed weight like crazy after having babies was working out in intervals.  I prefer a 3-2 interval where you do 3 minutes of strength training followed by 2 minutes of intense cardio.  The science behind this is that you burn more calories as you let your heart rate drop during the strength and then bring it back up during the cardio.  You also use your immediate energy stores(glucose) during the strength portion so when you do the cardio you have to burn fat for energy(yeah!)

I have to admit I have been hesitant to post pictures and/or videos of myself exercising because I am not a "buff mom rocking a six pack" but I am a mom who cares about taking care of herself and is very physically and mentally strong.  So I am letting go of my insecurities and sharing this workout I did today with you in hopes that it will inspire someone who may be at a loss for fitting fitness into their busy schedule.  Please forgive the "selfies" and not so great photographer was at school :)

I love to use different equipment to workout because it just keeps things interesting and fun but you can do all of the following exercises without equipment.  These are just examples of exercises but of course you can mix and match anything you want.  I like to do an upper interval then a lower.  You can do it in as little as 20-40 minutes depending on how many intervals you want to do.

Note: I split the time of the strength moves in two(so 1.5 minutes each move if there are 2 moves. Or 1 min each if 3 moves). For the cardio moves I choose 2 moves, do them 30 sec each then repeat.

ROUND ONE:  SQUAT SERIES(3 min strength)
Stability ball wall squat with overhead press (I did double arm press but couldn't here for the picture) 

Sumo squat with upright row(double arm)

CARDIO: Rotational jump squat (jump and land in opposite direction)
Mountain climbers(not pictured)

MOVE 1: Tricep kickbacks in lunge(30 sec each arm)
MOVE 2: Tricep dips on stability ball(1 minute)
MOVE 3: Tricep extensions(30 sec each arm)

CARDIO Move 1: Jacks with band around ankles(your outer thighs will hate me!)
Move 2: High knees with band
Optional move 3: Mountain climbers with plates
STRENGTH Move 1: Lunge on bench with overhead press or bicep curl
Move 2: Runners lunge on bench. Bring back foot in and out with weight in heel of front foot

CARDIO Move 1: Squat thrust with ball between legs(bonus inner thigh work!) and plates under feet(start position upper R, end position upper L)
Move 2: Oblique twist with ball btwn legs and plates under feet(both hands will be on bench)

STRENGTH Move 1: Pushups on bench(one hand on one hand off. 30 sec each side)
Move 2: Reverse lunge on bench (1 min each leg)
CARDIO Move 1: Quick feet on bench(not pictured)
Move 2: Squat jumps(not pictured)

These are just some examples of how to put together a challenging interval. I also did a back, bicep and another lunge round. Switch things up, get creative and have fun with it!  Let me know how you like it...doing 3 minutes of one body part can make you pretty sore if you go heavy enough!

"Those who hope in The Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Power of a Praying Wife: 30 Day Challenge

I have always loved to pray.  Even as a little girl I remember just being in constant communication with God.  It's just part of who I am.  I really don't know how anyone gets through one day without talking to God about everything. Yes, I am that person who might look a little crazy as you pull up next to me at a stoplight and see know one else in the car yet I am talking away like my best friend is in the seat next to me.  It's because my best friend is in the car and his name is Jesus. I'm not trying to sound super spiritual about that it's just all I know and I am so thankful for it because with him as my sidekick I always have so much peace.

A little over two years ago my husband and I were really struggling in many areas of our lives. We had bought a business that was struggling we saw very little of each other because my husband would work all day then come home and take over kid duties so I could go up to the business and work on books and bills, we were in a tiny house with 3 kids basically sleeping on top of each other, medical bills from my miscarriage, husband had a chronic get the picture.  I am not telling you all this to say we had it so rough because in hindsight we really didn't have it that bad but sometimes when you are walking through circumstances in life it's easy to think you are the only one going through this and you become bitter of others who aren't.  By the way, that is a lie.  Everyone is facing a battle of some kind.  Some may be bigger than others but still everyone has seasons in life where they are fighting for their marriage and family.

On one of those nights when I felt so hopeless as I worked late into the night at the clinic I cried out to God knowing deep down that this was not his best for us.  He had opened so many doors to buy this business yet things were not lining up with what his word said about us.  His word said he had plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans for hope and a future(Jer.29:11).  But as I looked at our circumstances I could not see this prospering or fact I just felt hopeless.  So I began do what I know best...pray.  As I prayed over my husband the Lord gave me a vision of a sea of men marching forward in battle.  They were strong and fearless. As they marched I saw this ray of light surrounding them like a shield. The Lord showed me as we pray for our husbands this is the shield that is surrounding them as they go into battle. He also showed me this battle isn't just their daily battle(which is a big part of it) but it's also the army of men God is rising up to take back ownership of God's world and people.

In that same moment of praying the Lord showed me this wasn't just for me and he asked me to rally some girls to pray with me. I have been a boot camp instructor for several years so to me it only makes sense to do things as a challenge because people love to rise to a challenge. So he put on my heart a 30 day challenge and I happened to have the Power of a Praying Wife book sitting next to me and as I opened it up noticed it had 30 chapters in it...a topic for each day.

As I tend to do, I argued with God. I said out loud "God, you know I am a mom of 3 young kids(2 toddlers and a baby) AND we are running this in the world am I supposed to find time to start a prayer group?!"  And just like that he showed me to put it on Facebook because I could do it late at night or early in the morning when my kids were sleeping.  So I got right on Facebook, started the group and invited 10 friends to join me.  In my small mind I was excited at the thought of 10 women praying together!  But God had other plans.  Two days later over 400 women asked to join the group.  And now two years later we have over 2,000 women in the group.  This just confirmed to me that the Lord is stirring multiple women's hearts over this same subject and I get so excited as I think of all the men who are rising up and walking in God's calling on their life.

Since the challenge has been going on for so long we no longer follow the book just because we felt we wanted to it to be Holy Spirit inspired so it doesn't become dry and dull.  Over the last two years several different ladies have contributed to writing the daily posts.  I have been amazed at the testimonies that have poured in about marriages being saved, husbands gaining freedom and even single ladies praying over their future spouse!

Last summer Pastor Mallory Bassham asked us to do a Power of a Praying Wife class at church and it was amazing!  The hunger in women to fight for their marriage and husbands is just incredible.  We will be doing the class again this summer and my prayer is that the women who come have something ignited in them that spreads like a forest fire and that the number of women praying just continues to multiply.  If you are in the DFW area this summer please come join us on Tuesday mornings at Gateway Church as we come together and lift our husbands and marriages up!

I leave you with this final thought:  What has God put on your heart that you have been scared to step out in faith and do?  I never would have dreamed that something so small in my mind would make such an impact. God is not a man and his ways are higher than ours.  Trust him today and take a step of faith, you just may be someone else's answer to a prayer. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Zeke's 3rd Birthday!

My son, Ezekiel "Zeke", was born on my 27th birthday.  I had a very rough miscarriage before we got pregnant with Zeke. When I had the miscarriage I went through stages of hurt, disappointment and sorrow until one day God woke me up and told me to share those feelings with him. As I poured out my heart to him I asked him to redeem what had been stolen from us.  Shortly after that I got pregnant with Zeke and even though we didn't find out the sex of the baby I just knew in my heart it was going to be a boy.  His due date was at the end of April but I went 10 days past due because of being a VBAC(more to come on my vbacs in a later blog).  My first and only son was born on my birthday.  He truly is the greatest birthday gift I have ever received.

For his 3rd birthday we did a fun backyard splash party theme.  We had so many friends and family come and the kids loved the water guns!

 Slip-n-slide and water gun fun!

Big sister Ellie with the birthday boy
Big sister Livvy
Trampoline fun!
The whole crew!
Goody bags with bubbles and water guns as favors!
The birthday boy
Birthday buddies

I have to admit that this party had several different themes going.  My sister Sarah created the most adorable birthday invitations with a splish splash theme.  I even took time to pin tons of cute water party ideas on Pinterest.  Want to know how many of my pins I have done out of 1000?  Probably 5.  Not even kidding.  So I threw caution to the wind, took Zeke to the store, held my breath as he picked out totally not matching the "theme" plates, goody bags and cupcakes.  So in all we had 4 themes going...Cars cupcakes, Trucks plates, summer theme favors and Spider man balloons. I decided I would rather have my sanity then kill myself making every little thing of the party match.  I have much respect for all you moms out there who have the gift of throwing a party and making it all come together under one theme but that is one gift that this mamma just doesn't possess...and I have learned to be okay with that ;)

So here you have it, the non-water themed food table:

One more pic of my sweet birthday boy opening his gifts:

God is SO good! :)

What has God redeemed in your life or do you need to ask him to redeem today?  He loves to redeem all areas of our lives...just ask him!

Monday, May 5, 2014

My Fearless Leader

As I mentioned in this post I haven't always been a bold person. In fact, I have lived the majority of my 30 years very timid, afraid and my shell! 

I turned 30 this last weekend and my friends and family threw me a surprise party(more to come on that later).  At this party several of my friends and family told me how much I inspire them because I don't hesitate to move when God tells me to...I just do it.  After the party I was talking with my husband about that and we couldn't help but smile because when we first got married I was everything opposite of just doing...I was literally paralyzed by my fear and insecurities.  So I asked God to show me where the change began and he showed me different people and things he placed in my life to pull me out of my shell with the most influential person being my fearless husband.

Before my husband, Matt, became a chiropractor he was a personal trainer.  I remember him telling his clients(and me) that if you don't feel like exercising just come anyway and get on the treadmill and walk for 5 minutes.  He told us that if you didn't feel like exercising after walking for 5 minutes then you can go home.  But do you think anyone ever quit after the 5 minutes?  No.  In fact, every single person thanked him for inspiring them to just move and the rest of their day was better for it.

Matt used that same principle with me over the years and just kept encouraging me to give it a try because he knew that all it took was me moving an inch to eventually be running in a full sprint. 

Even though we looked like this on our wedding day:
I still felt like this same little girl from the 6th grade on the inside:

But after years of allowing God to use people like my husband(and so many others) to pull me out of my shell I am not that same shy, timid girl I once labeled myself people look to me to be pulled out their shell both physically with group exercise and spiritually in their everyday life. I can tell you that this girl who was snorkeling in Maui just a month ago is now bold on the inside and the outside:

You may not have a fearless leader in your life but just know that God wants to be your fearless leader.  My challenge for you today:  just do something. Even if it's walking on the treadmill for 5 minutes or talking to someone in the check-out line that you feel the Lord asking you to bless.  Those baby steps will take you from where you are now to exactly where God wants you to be. 

Friday, May 2, 2014


I teach group fitness classes and my favorite format I teach is called GRIT. It is only 30 minutes because it is intense. In our training we are taught to do a group huddle before class starts and explain WHY this works, WHAT they can expect and HOW to keep going when they want to quit.  To wrap it all up I remind them that if all else fails…JUST MOVE(even if that means marching place).

·    I've learned from teaching GRIT that it is just as important to "group huddle" with God. Here are some things I've learned:
1.  STOP and LISTEN to GOD before you move. Just like my class runs better when we group huddle we must group huddle with God.
2. Ask God WHY, WHAT & HOW

1.  HOW will the enemy rip you off?
The enemies number one plan of defeat against us moving is getting us to get so caught up in our weaknesses and fears that we are literally paralyzed. 
2.  HOW do we keep moving?
If you are a believer you have the LION of Judah living on the inside just waiting for the day that we will release Him. Have you ever noticed the lions at the zoo?  They pace back and forth just staring at you and you know they are thinking "if I ever get out of here you are mine!"  I feel like that's how the holy spirit feels inside of us...the enemy knows when we release the holy spirit he is dead.  

 Every single time we step outside of our comfort zone and stop letting our insecurities hold us back we release the lion.  Over time of doing this that Lion(the Holy spirit) will be the first thing released instead of our insecurities.

Today I want to challenge you to just start moving.  God doesn’t call us to do anything he hasn't already equipped us to what is keeping you from moving today?