Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Plan B Workout

My original plan for today's workout was to head to a local park for a mix of running and strength training. And then it stormed off and on all day.

I thought about just skipping, but I'd already taken my 2 rest days for the week. Plus I'm training for an actual race/obstacle challenge and I need all the training I can get! (this reminds me that I should post more about the race - will do)

So I turned my living room into a gym and got my sweat on!  Here's the plan I did!  (YouTube video links included if you're not sure what one of these is!)

Equipment: dumbells (mine were 10 lbs), a step or some stairs, a stopwatch

Do 30-45 seconds of each exercise with 30-15 seconds of rest in between. After one round, rest 1-2 minutes. Repeat at least twice for a total of three rounds.

1. Reverse Burpee (I hate these. But they work)

2. Step-ups (alternating)

3. Push ups

4. Alternating one-legged crunch (like the video, but without the med ball)

5.  Tricep Dips (least favorite exercise of all time)

6.  Box jumps (I do not jump as high as this guy!)

7.  Bicep Curl to overhead press

8.  Split Squats

9.  Reverse crunch (optional:  add a twist - these are so so good!!)

10.  Jump Squats (these are KILLER - but I kinda love them)

So when the gym is closed...and the rain is pouring...lace up your shoes, crank up the tunes, and get your sweat on!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Have you seen this book?  It mildly intrigued me, and I had it on my mental "to look at maybe reading someday" list. 

Then I went to the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit, which was simulcast at my church.  Craig Groeschel, the author of Soul Detox, was the last speaker on the first day of the Summit.  He was an outstanding speaker, and it bumped his book up to the top of my "must read" list.  (It also helped that it was on sale for $3.99 on Kindle.)

Coincidentally, I had been prepping and planning to start a 3 day juice cleanse two days after the Summit.  I started thinking this would be the perfect opportunity to start Soul Detox.  I turned my 3 day juice cleanse into a 3 day spiritual kind of cleanse too. 

I deleted Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest off of my phone.  I didn't watch TV.  I even changed my running playlist from the usual Justin Bieber/Top 40 music to a list of upbeat worship favorites.  I needed/wanted to eliminate as many "worldly" distractions as I could and move my focus towards God.   "Everything that we allow into our minds, hearts, and lives - everything that we spend our time and money on - has an impact on how we grow, or don't grow, spiritually." (Groeschel)

The goal of my cleanse was to find some quiet.  In a summer filled with traveling and busy life, I needed to pause before school started and give my mind some space.  As Craig Groeschel says in his book, "We want to move forward spiritually but feel like we're running against the wind.  We want more - we know there's more - but we just can't seem to find it."

Here are the things I took away from my 3 day journey.

1.  I was SO TIRED of juice after 2 days.  I have a juicer and prepped my own, and by day 3 I was literally gagging on the juice - even the good tasting ones.

2.  I had ZERO sweet cravings after the cleanse.  None.  And I have a serious sweet tooth.

3.  I had SO MANY God cravings after the cleanse.  Every day since, and it's been a week, I have just yearned for quiet time.  I've spent so much more time just sitting in my favorite chair listening to quiet music and reading. 

4.  I didn't miss the media.  Okay, except Pinterest - I missed that.  But I didn't even put Facebook back on my phone, and I don't miss it.   I go on the mobile site about once or twice a day now instead of checking it whenver I'm bored. I found that once I made up my mind to stop checking it - I came to the conclusion that (bluntly) I just didn't really care all that much about every life update.  Who knew?!?

5.  I ran my fastest mile time the first run with my worship playlist.  And I haven't gone back to my Bieber tunes yet.

I'm turning the world off
Embracing the silence
Walking away from all the voices
That are screaming in my ear.
I've been too caught up
I've been so stressed out
And all of the noise replaced the whisper
That used to be so clear.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


This is just a quick post to give you 2 random updates! :-)

First - I got a small haircut.  Okay, 10 inches gone - not so small.  This is my 3rd "Locks of Love" donation and I love it!  My stylist calls me a "no muss no fuss kind of gal" when it comes to my hair, and she's right!  I'm not interested in spending a lot of time on my hair, which is why I let it grow so long - because I never remember to call for an appointment to get it cut! 

Second - here's a few health journey progress pics!
This is my June 2011 on the left, and August 2012 on the right!

These two are from the beginning of June 2012 on the left, and end of August 2012 on the right.

I'm now down a total of about 45 pounds!

Monday, August 20, 2012

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Well, it's here.  Today is the first day back to school for teachers!  Yikes!  So, I thought it'd be a good day to share with you a traditional back-to-school writing:  "What I Did on My Summer Vacation"!

The summer started off great!  My 2 college roommates came for a visit and some wine tasting.  Some friends and I went to see Jeremy Camp at Witness Festival - for free!  I also made 2 trips to the beach (Ocean City, MD!) with different friends - and got some delicious Maryland crabs!

Next up was a super fun trip to Walt Disney World with my pal Bethany!  We had a great time riding rides, enjoying treats, taking ridiculous pictures, and laughing!

My final summer trip was my first to the West Coast!  I visited my traveling parents in Seattle for a few days!  It was so much fun, and I love spending time with them.  My dad writes awesome blogs so you can check out more about our Seattle food tour, Theo Chocolate tour, and hike up Mt. Ranier at their blog!

Not a bad way to spend a summer!

Thursday, August 9, 2012



We've all been there.  I venture to say it's one of the worst feelings in the world.

I recently experienced a disappointment that, while in the grand scheme of life is not that big of deal, at that moment it felt like a smack in the face.  It's what I imagine this moment felt like for McKayla Maroney.

Ok, so my disappointment wasn't exactly Olympics scale - I might be being a tad dramatic with that comparison.

But still.  Imagine how this girl must've felt.  Years and years of INTENSE in the media of how the gold was her's...the best scores in almost every competion - and then, she goes out there and the next thing she knows she has landed smack on her butt.  In front of millions of people....there was McKayla Maroney - "the best vaulter in the world" - flat on her rear. 

I loved watching the look on her face when she walked off the floor.  There was very little emotion happening.  She didn't cry or scream or anything.  She simply stared.  It was like in her mind she was replaying the vault over and over and could not believe what had just happened.

My disappointing news came via a text message - one that I stared at and kept reading and rereading hoping maybe I'd read it incorrectly.  Like I said, it really isn't a big deal.  It's not life altering or all that important.  But it was just really unexpected.  (And yes, it was love life related.  And yes, that's all I'm saying)

Disappointments happen in life.  It's how we choose to deal with them that defines us.  McKayla Maroney could've stormed off the floor.  When she was interviewed, she could've told reporters that everyone knew she's really the best one and deserved a gold.  But she didn't - she said "I didn't deserve to win gold if I landed on my butt." 

In my own current diasppointment, it'd be easy for me to say "I've been praying fervently for this for months.  I've prayed specifically that God would close the door over and over for months.  God just answered a specific prayer I'd had in a positive way, to turn the next day and give me this?" 

But that's not how it works.  Just because I prayed about it for months doesn't mean I deserve it.

I don't really have a magic way to stop feeling disappointed, because I'm still in that place.  But, I do know that there's a lot in this life to be thankful friends who console you with ice cream and the promise that God works all things out for good.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Life has no "esc" button.

I had this blog in my head that I was thinking about and planning to write a few days ago. Then, on my flight to Seattle last week, I listened to the podcast of the sermon I missed while in Disney. And darn if Jason Mitchell didn't speak to the very topic I'd been thinking about.  Do you ever hear a sermon and think the pastor must be talking directly to you?  This was one of those times.

My original topic was this thought lately in regards to my love life: online dating is like my own biblical Hagar. That sounds weird, I know. Let me explain.

In the book of Genesis (chapter 12), God promises Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. But, over 10 years later, Abraham (then Abram) and his wife Sarah (then Sarai) are still childless. So this is what they do: "So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal." (Genesis 16:2 NLT)

This is not a good decision. Hagar ends up giving birth to Ishmael and to make a long story short: it didn't work out the way Abraham planned and it wasn't a good idea.

Does it make more sense now? Online dating is my Hagar. It's me taking matters into my own hands when I get tired of waiting around for what I know God has planned for me. It never works out the way I plan and it is always a bad idea.

In his message, Jason referred to "exile" - that place in your life where you don't want to be. For me, being single is exile. And being a widow...well, if there's something worse than exile, that is what being a widow is for me. It sucks. It's lonely. I'm sometimes unhappy.

We all have an exile - a job that you hate, a marriage that is crumbling, kids that are driving you nuts, the childless wait for an adoption to go through, death or sickness, loss, pain - it's all exile. It's all stuff we don't want to deal with or go through.

Here's something Jason said about exile that hit my right in the heart: "In the middle of exile will we choose to try to escape it or will we choose to engage the moment were in and see what god might have to teach us in it. Whenever we face situations that we do not want to be facing, that is always the option placed in front of us."

Most of the time, I have chosen the learning option. But sometimes, when I'm at home by myself watching yet another Lifetime movie - I choose escape. I start surfing online dating sites. And this always...ALWAYS ends with me sighing and saying something like "I hate online dating!!!!" (I say this to my cats, they are good listeners!)

But Jason made another point about exile that hit me even harder than the first. See, I know that God often allows trials in our lives so we can learn from them. I get that. Most days, I believe that with no problem. But Jason said this: "As long as [we are] convinced that any day now [it will magically work out exactly like we want we] will never learn faithfulness to God in the actual moment [we are] facing."

He said this in reference to a passage in Jeremiah, so I edited it slightly to fit my situation. The point he is making is: sometimes we get so caught up in the thoughts about the future, and the "happy ending" that it makes it impossible to be faithful to God in the now. That's deep, huh?

See, for me, I thought that day dreaming about the future, the perfect next husband, the family, all of that, was harmless. But maybe it isn't. Maybe, by allowing myself to drift into that day dream, I'm missing out on an opportunity for God to do something awesome in my now.

See, it's possible to find peace and joy even within exile circumstances.  Jason said: "Peace is not the absence of difficulty in our life. Peace is not the absence of pain. When Jesus talks about peace, peace is the assurance that God is indeed with us in the pain. Peace is - in the exile, God is there."

Listen to Jason's full message here.