No Greater Joy

No Greater Joy

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Halfway Check-in

So I've been following this journey with Farrell's for 5 weeks now. In that time I've only missed two days due to parent teacher conferences. Otherwise I've been faithfully attending class 6 days a week. Today we reported for a progress report, and I'm sure someone is dying to know how my body is taking this beating. In five weeks I've lost five pounds. I wasn't overly impressed with that after all the hard work, but even better is that I've lost two inches off my hips, two inches off my waist, half an inch from my chest, and in addition I was able to do more push ups and sit ups than I did in the beginning. This was an incredible feeling, but after all those measures we still had to run a mile. Now understand that running is not near and dear to my heart. I have not so fond memories of high school when I was on the tennis team and our coach made us run up and down the stadium stairs. I even tried cross country. For one day. I never went back. On top of it all, I have terrible pain in my right lower leg and ankle which is looking fore like a cankle (you know, the leg and ankle merge together with no differentiation). I wasn't sure I could run. I remembered hearing people say the first week that their running greatly improved after Farrell's so I was dying to know. Thankful I had wrapped my ankls! I had to know. The first day at Farrell's I ran a mile in 15.56 minutes. Yep, toddlers could pass me. Today I ran, WITHOUT ANY WALKING, after 5 weeks of kickboxing and resistance training, in...are you ready...12.16 minutes!! Truly the epic moment of my day! So there you have it, and I still have 5 more weeks! Farrell's is an awesome experience with encouraging people as well as making new friends. There are two ladies I've hooked up with regularly in class, Meagan and Jeni. I'm the old lady compared to these gals, but they help me look forward to each day.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

First Week Accomplishments

Just checking in on this fitness journey. Today I finished the first week of this 10 week fitness challenge. I've had several people ask me what I'm doing. Here's a link to check it out:

Out of the six days I enjoyed the three days of kickboxing most. After a hard day of work Friday, I was ready to punch the stuffing out of the bag. The other three days were doing exercises with resistance bands and even a medicine ball. I don't know where the term "medicine ball" came from, but after using it this morning I felt like I might need some medicine to help my body! The bands are interesting. I mostly used the lowest resistance, yellow bands. A couple of exercises were easier for me so I used green bands, and one I was able to use red! The first night I used the bands I wasn't sure whether the noises were coming from my body or the bands. Apparently my joints weren't too sure about the extra work I was asking from them. The first night with the bands I kept imagining what would happen if one of those bands snapped when I was pulling it. Thankfully I managed to get out unharmed.

Eating hasn't been terrible. I've been eating more meals a day, smaller meals, and watching my carbs and protein. I haven't had sweet tea or Coke all week. I've been trying to embrace the water bottle as my new best buddy. However, Sunday is my free day so I'm prepared to get a gallon of sweet tea going by lunch! Supper time is the hardest, but I've decided I don't want this to be a fad diet of some kind so for now I will still eat what I prepare for our family, but in smaller portions and making easier substitutions where I can. School is the easiest part because what I take to school is all I have to eat.

Monday begins week 2! I know I'll miss two days of workout sessions due to parent-teacher conferences, but I'm feeling good and only hurt in a few places after my first week. I look forward to what next week brings! I am so thankful for my friends, family, and co-workers that have been encouraging me. That's what will get me through it!

Monday, October 10, 2016

A New Journey

It has literally been years since I've visited or posted on this old blogger, but it's time to figure it out again as I look to share a new journey in my life.

In August I attended a character education conference thanks to a scholarship and opportunity given to me by my principal. The conference was great, but what was unexpected was a prize drawing that I hope will be a healthy change in my life. I won a 10 week certificate for Extreme Body-shaping. So I thought I should journal about my experience, and maybe someone would be entertained, but hopefully encouraged through this experience.

2 days ago I reported for baseline stuff. It started pretty okay by seeing how many sit-ups and push-ups I could do in a minute. The best thing about the experience was seeing all kinds of people there! It wasn't a room full of thin girls and muscular men. Now I have done the Planet Fitness thing before and that was fine, but I had no real direction. Also in August, I began running with my hubby to train doing Couch to 5K. Y'all need to understand that running is not my thing. Really. With every step I take I can feel every pound of my body shift to places it's never been before. I do still hope to do a 5K. Maybe one of those cool ones where I get to experience some actual color (those color runs look fun) since the only coloring I know on my skin is that of freckles when the sun finds me. I digress...back to Saturday...the worst part wasn't the mile fun, but the before pictures we all had to do. Even in my best of appearances, like the ones when I was 18, I was conservative so being asked to strip down to reveal the parts of me that I work hard to hide was scary. Maybe that's why I went later that day to the salon to get my hair chopped and colored, so no one would recognize me if they saw the picture. Just kidding, but something to think about. :)

Forward to today where I attended the very first class. It wasn't as bad as I thought, actually. The classes are 6 days a week, 45 minutes per day. I was lucky enough to be paired with a "fit member" which is a person that has experienced this before and is a bit of an expert compared to people like me. Her name is Cindy, and she was a great partner. It was kickboxing tonight. It did feel pretty cool to put on those boxing gloves. I enjoyed hitting and kicking the bag, but son of a biscuit eater, the planks!! I All I can say is that I feel pretty good now, but tomorrow hasn't come yet. It may even take a few days, but I know it will come.

I'll take any encouragement and advice that anyone has. I did eat 5 meals today and even avoided the cake that was in front of me at lunch today! That was perhaps a bigger success than anything else I accomplished today. I hope to post frequently as I seek to be a better me. By the way, GEM told me my face was as red as my hair when I got home tonight.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Finding God in People

As it is after midnight I'm here because I can't sleep. My mind won't shut off. It's now Sunday morning. That puts me on the verge of a panic attack.

I blogged way back in July about some of my struggles with church. I wish I could say it has been better. We started a new church journey about 15 months ago. This church has a wonderful pastor, wonderful leadership, but that's about as far as I can get. I've tried being part by joining things, volunteering, and going to events. I'm still an outsider. Everyone is nice. No one knows my name that didn't before we began attending. I can't say I've learned very many either.

When will 'church people' wake up? I listen to the people in Sunday school show their Bible knowledge. I hear the church telling us who to pray for and how to serve. Everything looks great when you're observing as a newcomer. My heart hurts because I wonder if it's me. I know there aren't many my age with kids that match my kids' ages. Why does that matter?

I keep telling God my hurt, and I know there must be something else out there that's better. It's like being rejected from family.

....Lacking sleep and emotions are running high, but even though I told my husband I would go to church I don't know if I can handle it. I'm going to pray myself to sleep and hopefully feel better when I wake. I will hold to God's promises that are better than anything man can offer.

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
~Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Church: A Love/Hate Relationship

I must begin by saying that what I write is my own opinion. You may agree, you may not, but this is from my own observations and experiences.

I literally grew up in the church, was saved at an early age, and have always held strong to my faith regardless of my circumstances. Church has always been part of my life...actively, not out of obligation or duty, but because I wanted to. I've spent countless years in church, teaching Sunday schools, leading VBS, women's ministry, Bible studies, attending summer camp from the age of 8 until I turned 19, and I even attended Bible college where I earned a degree in Biblical studies. This is to say that God has always been very important to me.

So what is the problem?

The older I get, and the more involved I have become with church I realize why some don't regularly attend and why some have left the church. Most of what is concerning the church right now is the people leaving during their college and young adult days. Research has been done that suggests we've lost these people back in their elementary years. Many churches are very good at planning events and having great entertainment to draw people in, adding programs to fit every stage of life, etc., but what about people that have always been in church and just suddenly stop? I'm in my late 30's and I often wish I would just stay in bed on Sunday morning. How did I get to this point? I can tell you it didn't happen overnight or because of one event, person, or church.

1. Priorities.
When I was growing up in the deep South most people attended church. It was like an expected behavior. My children don't get that experience. Instead their friends (even from church) have sports, sleep-overs, parties, and other things going on instead. It seems more and more that when their is a conflict with church on Sunday morning, church loses. I'm not saying you're less of a Christian for not attending church, but what is the message we teach our children when we can't say no to outside opportunities but can always say no to church?

2. Involvement.
Have you ever counted the number of people in your church that lead and plan activities and compared them to the total number of regular attenders in your church? Unfortunately I've seen where it's the same few people that make up the majority of the work that is carried out in a church. If I had to guess, I would say this applies to the majority of churches rather than the minority. As a parent it is frustrating when no one wants to help with children's ministries. One doesn't have to be a parent to work with children. If we only rely on parents to run children's activities, then I may as well stay home and do children's activities at home. Parents need a break, too. There are many needs in a church from helping its people to painting its walls. It doesn't require that you be gifted in an area to serve. You do it to serve God. It's time to step away from self-centered thinking in our churches.

3. Leadership.
Does your congregation show respect for its leadership? Do you encourage those that work so hard to lead and care for such a diverse group of people? When you don't like something do you bring it to the leader or take it to Facebook? Do you pray for your leadership? On the other side leaders must be in touch with their church body, too and show genuine care and concern for the needs of the people. When leaders don't listen to the people under their care or don't show interest in them, they leave, or worse, they mistakenly correlate the leadership's failures to failure from God. Do your leaders know about the lives of the flock? Do they notice when people visit or when people stop showing up?
Is your church mentoring and training its leadership? I applaud the churches that follow biblical guidelines for appointing leaders and that purposely train their leaders. In most jobs continued training is required to stay fresh, up to date, and knowledgeable about the job. Our leaders need the same in addition to encouragement from the church.

4. Busyness.
This is the one I notice the most. I often notice that we have become so busy with our own lives that we have no time to invest in the lives of others. Usually I'm the person that tries to make people feel welcome. I greet the new people and over the years our family has hosted numerous people in our home for a meal or offered help to people when needed. I've spent years in a church where I served as much as I could and yet felt I couldn't depend on many people to notice if I was there or not. I think the most hurtful thing was to see a church that was my family, that I invested in for years, make no effort to contact me when I missed a month of church. You'll understand my offense when the church embarked upon a season of change which included contacting those that had left (as they told the congregation) yet no one called us, nor did anyone call some of the others I knew that left. I'm sure it was all with good intention, but apparently something came up that pushed this aside. Don't assume I harbor anger against this church. I actually have a lot of great memories and friends from there. My kids are also still involved in groups there. As we have found a new church we have found some of our needs met that weren't met previously, however people are busy everywhere. I don't know that anyone would notice our absence where we are now, and like most other places I've been, no one asks much about us or tries to get to know us. It's just a sad reality that probably causes the most harm to the church.

5. Music.
For years I've heard all the protests over music. Music has become a dividing and deciding point for many people when it comes to church. It sounds like nothing more than sibling rivalry over hymns vs. praise music. Obviously one is more godly than the other, right? Well, the arguments over the type of music, volume, hand raising, and instruments has replaced the argument of King James vs. NIV! I love both types of music, but I don't understand why we think God wants one more than the other. It is about Him, right? Somewhere we've lost that. In reality the arguing over music is part of a bigger problem in the church, the problem of unity. Is it so hard to get along? Is it so hard to find a compromise? Must we alienate people by their choice of song? Do you look at the heart of the song leader or the songs he chooses? When you don't like the music do you throw up a wall that prevents you from worshiping? If so, that's a problem of your own heart, and how you react becomes a problem in the church.

I know there are many other things that could be added to this list. I titled this a love/hate relationship because I love the church and what it is suppose to stand for. I hate that it can make me feel so unwanted and can turn people away from who God really is. There's always room for improvement. Let us be aware of the people sitting in the pews around us on Sunday morning and find ways to invest in them and not just for a couple of minutes on a Sunday morning. Otherwise people like me will give in to that desire to stay in bed on Sunday morning where it's much more comfortable.

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.