Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fit Tip Friday - What I Eat

One of the questions I always get asked in regards to my weight loss (38.6 pounds so far!) is about what I eat.  So, I thought I'd share a typical day's food with you!  Here's what I eat almost every weekday during the school year:

 Breakfast (6:45am):  Green Monster.  Every. Day.  I miss it terribly now if I don't have it.  Weird, right? 

Mid-morning snack (10:00am)- typically a LaraBar and a piece of fruit, or maybe a homemade granola bar, sometimes I do some cheese and fruit too. 

Lunch (12:40) - baby carrots, 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt w/ berries (frozen unless they're on sale) and a little Stevia, and a cup of soup (I usually make a batch of a bean or grain based soup on the weekends)

Dinner - lean protein (most of the time this is fish, because my grocery store makes convenient frozen, single servings of wild caught fish and it thaws quickly), a grain, and a green vegetable  (you can read more about my dinner ideas here and here!)

That's a typical weekday for me.  There's usually a piece of candy from my classroom stash after lunch, and always a square or 2 of dark chocolate after dinner, too.  It ends up being about 1500 calories a day usually. Like I've said before though, I don't count calories.  I know the approximate calorie counts of my typical meals, and I don't stress if I go out to eat or grab a breakfast sandwich at Starbucks one day.  Everything in moderation!!

(speaking of - remember back in March when I posted about the seasonal treats I was allowing myself?  Well, I never did have that Cadbury Egg.  Yep - for the first time in my life I went through an entire Easter season without eating a Cadbury Egg.  And I didn't miss it one bit.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

You'll need 10 minutes and tissues...

The past 2 years, I've had the privilege of being involved in a women's ministry called "Girlfriend Getaway".  I blogged about it way back here in 2010.

The 2011-2012 theme was "Enough is Enough", with the 3 sessions titled "Enough is enough - Satan!",  "In Christ, I am enough." and "HE is Always Enough."

During each session, Cindy (our speaker) shared a video testimony.  The first session's video testimony came from yours truly.  This past weekend was our last conference, so I wanted to share my video with you.  It's in front of the green screen because I don't have the fancy edited copy, it's about 30 pounds ago, and I definitely do the ugly cry in the middle of it - but I'm sharing it anyway!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Fit Tip Friday - Dress the Part

I wore this shirt to the gym this week.  I haven't worn this shirt in years, and even then I maybe only wore it once or twice.  The thing is, I don't feel like I'm an "athlete".  Athletes are people who play sports like basketball and baseball and run marathons.  I don't do those things.  However, as I'm getting stronger, I'm realizing that it doesn't take a sport to make an athlete.  

I do workouts that involve things like burpees, push-ups, box jumps, squats, lunges, sit ups, bear crawls, twists, bends, holds, and all kinds of things that require strength and endurance.  Athletic stuff?  Umm - yes.

I guess this is sort of a cheesy "believe in yourself" kind of blog.  But really - you have to believe in yourself if you're ever going to reach whatever goal it is you're working towards.  If you show up at the gym in a cruddy old t-shirt and baggy sweatpants, you're probably going to have a cruddy work out.  If you wear a shirt that says "athlete" on it, however, you're going to be reminded - every time you look in the mirror - to keep pushing.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Running Against the Wind - Last Part!

Check out part 1, part 2, and part 3!

Jason's comparison of the Holy Spirit to breath made me think. But, the way Jason compared the Holy Spirit to wind is what really hit me.  This is where my “aha” moment came from.  When comparing the Holy Spirit to wind, he told a story about how one day he was running on the beach.  You know when you run on the beach there's that one direction where you're just running into the wind?  It feels like you're running as hard as you can and you're expending all of your energy. But then you turn around - and when you run back the wind is behind you, and even though you’re still running and you still have a long way to go - it feels so much easier when the wind is at your back.  

I keep coming back to this idea of I don't want to date...I don't want to go through the hassle and the wondering if they’ll call and is there anyone to date and all of that that comes with dating.

Jason’s sermon and this wind comparison popped into my head and there was my “aha”.  Jess - you are running into the wind. If you don't want to date and you keep coming back to that then just stop trying to date and trust Me. I know it's hard, I know you feel like I’ve forgotten about you but I haven't - just wait because I have something.  Just wait.

Of course I really wish I could end this with a magical moment of “and then the next day I fell in love and we all lived happily ever after” - but that’s just not the way it goes outside of fairy tales!  

I guess the bottom line is, I finally feel really and truly ready - not just to date again, but to really love again.  I’m starting to notice the emptiness of this house, living here alone.  I’ve gone from feeling alone and content, to lonely.  I don’t see that as a bad thing though.  I see it as God moving me from this place of encampment to a place of journey.  I sense God has something right around the corner, I don’t know what it is yet or how far away that corner is, but for the first time in a long while, I feel ready to set out on a journey again.  


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Running Against the Wind - Part 3

Read part 1 and part 2!

I found myself praying "God, I don't want to do this.  I don't want to be the girl sitting at home hoping the phone rings.  I don't want to wonder how the date will go, or if he'll call, or have to go through this dating thing.  This is not me!" and all of the sudden I just heard it - "then stop trying to date and just trust Me."

I remember once going to a conference where the speaker spoke about dating.  He said dating is like this race we're all running, with marriage being the goal.  His advice when running this race was this:  just run the race God has for you.  Don't try to run ahead and catch up with someone...don't stop running and wait for the person who is way behind.  Run the race God has for you, and eventually you'll look to your left or your right and there will be someone running right alongside you, at the same pace, and in the same direction.

That's what made my relationship with Isaac easy.  We were both just running our race, and one day - we were running right next to each other.  That's what I want again.  

Going back to Jason’s sermon on the Holy Spirit.  He shared the word pneuma - which is the Greek word used in the New Testament for Holy Spirit.  When translated, pneuma  means "air in motion, breath, or wind".  Jason talked about how the Holy Spirit can be breath or wind.

When comparing it to breath, he said how breath is something that is just always happening for us.  We don’t know how many breaths we’ve taken in the last 5 minutes, because it is just happening even when we aren’t aware of it.  So, even when I’m feeling that God is somehow being silent in my life, the truth is - the Holy Spirit is still working.  It’s always there, even when I don’t realize it.  

{stay tuned for Part 4 tomorrow!}
sharing this with Women Living Well today!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Running Against the Wind - Part 2

Missed Part 1?  Read it here!

In reading You're Already Amazing, Holley Gerth pointed out exactly where I felt like I was in my spiritual journey - encamped.  Holley talks about how, like the Israelites, we're all journeying towards some kind of "Promised Land" - that could be the marriage you've wanted, the baby you've prayed for, the job you've been hunting for, etc.  Along our journeys, we will encounter various stages like they did.  We might be enslaved, encamped, on the journey, or in our Promised Land.

When I read her description of encampment, it was like reading my own feelings and my own spirit in those words.  It's exactly how I was feeling.  Encampment - a place where we wait, rest, heal, seek peace, and wait some more.  

You can probably guess what my personal "promised land" currently is - a 2nd marriage.  A 2nd chance at love, a family, all of that.  I've been praying for that for that for almost 2 years now.  But God has had me encamped in this place of waiting all that time.  

In that time, I've gone through many, many stages of wanting to date, not wanting to date, feeling lonely, being content...the list goes on and on.  I've tried the online dating thing, I've given up on the online dating thing, I've gone back to the online dating thing.  Needless to say - it's been a frustrating 2 years as I keep trying to move away from this encampment, and God keeps pulling me back.

So, a few weeks ago, I went on a date.  It was a good date, he was funny, nice, loved the Lord, and was taller than me (all major requirements!).  There was just 1 thing that was wrong:  he's the pastor of a small, denominational, older church in our area, and I attend a large, non-denominational, young church.  And he was sold on his church, and I am sold on mine.  Now, of course this is not a major issue on a first date - I know!  But, I knew that if things continued down a positive path, at some point - this church thing was going to be a big issue.  I just pushed that aside though, and hoped for a 2nd date.  But, alas, it didn't happen.

I am almost hesitant to admit this, but I was CRUSHED.  It wasn't him specifically that I was upset about, it was just the fact that I so desperately want to be married again and this was just a disappointment.  It made me miss Isaac, and it made me miss how easy our relationship was.  Yes, even with the presence of terminal cancer, our relationship was easy.  

So, one night, in the midst of a pity party I was throwing myself and I had an "aha" moment.  

{come back tomorrow for Part 3}


Monday, April 9, 2012

Running Against the Wind - Part 1

I haven't written much on here in the way of "deep" postings in awhile.  To be honest, the past month or so has been filled with a strange mix of emotions for me.  When I sat down to start writing out what God has been doing in my heart lately, it turned out to be a REALLY long post.  So, this week, I’ll be sharing a series of 4 posts on what God’s been revealing to me lately.  I’ve been wanting to write it all out for awhile now, but I just hadn’t worked it all out in my head yet.  

My church recently completed a series called “Story”.  There was a message that one of our pastors, Jason Mitchell, gave a few weeks ago that has been circling around in my brain ever since I heard it.  A lot of what God’s been teaching me comes from this series and this one particular message.  It was about the Holy Spirit, but it started off with a brief reminder of what the whole series had been about.  This is what Jason said at the beginning of his message:  

“God is writing a grand script.  We’ve been referring to God’s plans as the ‘upper story’,  but if God has an ‘upper story’, that God is up to something in this world, then the reality is that most of us live in our own ‘lower stories’.  Our ‘lower stories’ are our individual lives.  They’re the circumstances, the pains, the joys, the triumphs - what makes up our day-to-day lives.  There tends to be a gap between our own ‘lower stories’ and how we see if fit into a larger story that God might be writing.  It’s very easy to get so narrowly focused on our own lower stories, that we tend to forget that perhaps God is up to something - that God is writing a story, even through the circumstances that we might be facing, that God is doing something good - that God can be trusted in it all.”

This hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’ve been really narrowly focused on the “lower story” of my life lately.  For awhile now I've felt God has been really, really silent in my life.  Not in a bad way, necessarily, but I just haven't felt much movement or heard much from Him.  

{tune in tomorrow for Part 2}

Friday, April 6, 2012

Brown Sugar Coffee Bacon

I made something for brunch this morning that was definitely "blog worthy" - brown sugar coffee bacon.  Yes, that's right - bacon and coffee and brown sugar in a wonderful combination of deliciousness!!

Coffee & Brown Sugar Bacon

1/2-1 lb. bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp brewed coffee
1 tbsp coffee grounds

1.  Heat the oven to 375.  Place a wire rack on a parchment lined baking sheet, place bacon on top.

2.  Sprinkle bacon with ground coffee.

3.  Mix brewed coffee and brown sugar in a small bowl.

4.  Spread half of the brown sugar/coffee glaze over bacon using a brush.

5.  Place bacon in the oven for 15 minutes.

6.  Spread the remaining glaze over the bacon.  Bake for 10-15 more minutes.

7.  Serve and enjoy!

This bacon is more of a "candied bacon", so it pairs well with something savory like scrambled eggs.  I think it would be sweetness overload with pancakes!

Sharing this at Beauty and Bedlam.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fit Tip Friday

Today's tip is simple: measure.

I don't count calories. At least, not every day. I just can't. It makes me crazy. Choosing to NOT count calories (or points or carbs) is the biggest difference with this weight loss and any previous attempts.

That being said, I do try to be conscious of about how many calories I eat at each meal. I try to chunk my day into about 3 500 calorie segments - am, midday, and pm. I eat similar meals most days (green smoothie for breakfast, fruit/granola bar for snack, soup/yogurt/carrots for lunch, fish/whole grain/veggies for dinner) so I know about how many calories I eat at each meal without having to count them every day.

With this strategy, comes the necessity of measuring. I might not count the calories of the brown rice I eat at dinner, but I do measure the portion. Keeping portions in check is key. This is what has gotten me into trouble in the past!

I use a food scale, a set of fun measuring bowls from Pier 1, and measuring spoons. I usually keep then out somewhere on the counter or close by so they are easy to access and use!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tasty Tuesday Fail!

Sunday night my pal Michelle came over for dinner. I planned an entire meal on the grill of "foods you don't normally think about grilling" - including lasagna, lettuce, and apple pie.

And then I looked outside and saw the black sky!!!

So we ate this:

I guess the grill menu of recipes will have to wait!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reset Button

Does anyone else ever have those weeks when you wish you could push a reset button and start the week over?
Yes, this was one of those weeks.

I was away last weekend visiting my mom and dad in Florida.  It was great to get away, spend time on the beach, and see both of them.  But, when you leave straight from work Thursday and don't get back home until 10pm on Sunday, it doesn't leave much time to get organized for the week ahead.

This left me with a week of buying school lunches, wishing I could wear things that were in the laundry, a sink full of dishes, and not a lot of sleep.  

Combine this with some things happening in my personal life and a person (ok, me) might end up in total meltdown mode.

Thankfully, the weekend gave me the chance to get myself together again.  While I can't go back and reset last week, I certainly can go into this week more prepared.  My laundry is all caught up, the sink is empty, my lesson plans are written, my lunches are packed, and my outfits are picked out.  Hooray!

It doesn't hurt that I only have 3 teaching days this week, either!

(and - I have blogs ready to post this week, including a Tasty Tuesday recipe, something God spoke to my heart for Wednesday, and a Fit Tip for Friday, so check back!)