Why do we work?

Our pastor has been preaching on work for the past couple weeks and it made me really think about the work I do and its purpose.

These days, it seems like TONS of people want to get something for doing nothing. They feel they should not have to work to get certain things but that everyone should be given those things equally.  I was taught something different from a very early age.

My parents always worked. They started a business when they were very young (when my mom was pregnant with me). By the time I was old enough to count money, I would stand on a chair and count money from the register with my Daddy. At 12, I started earning a paycheck and made $4.50 an hour. It wasn’t much. But it was my money- that I earned. For cleaning the parking lot, taking out the trash, filing invoices, cleaning the bathroom.

By the time I was a senior in high school, I was working an average of 35 hours a week (full time in the summers). Did I feel like my parents were forcing me to work and punishing me for something? NO! I liked to be able to make money to go to the movies, to buy clothes I wanted that were outside of the “back-to-school, Christmas, and birthday” quota that my parents bought. And by the time I was 14, I bought my first car.  A beautiful 1976 Camaro Convertible.  I bought it. Not my parents. They co-signed for it, paid for the insurance, but I made every payment on that car and every car I have had since then. My dad worked hard for 2 years to re-build it and I was proud of the investment I had put into MY first car.

Working for my parents, I learned the value of hard work, making money to provide for yourself, learning how to work with other people and customers. I learned how to be efficient and multi-task. I have told prospective employers in multiple job interviews that working for Timmy’s Grocery made me who I am. I still believe that today. And yes- there is a right way and a wrong way to roll a hotdog! 🙂

So I continued working- at Cracker Barrell, Applebee’s, the Yellow Jacket, and the R-MC Bookstore in College and on Lonestar, the School of Law and School of Education during my three years in law school. One thing that remained the same throughout all of those different jobs is that even if I didn’t want to do the work, was tired, needed to study, I did every task to the best of my ability, asked questions to learn how to do it better, and tried to help my co-workers in anyway possible.

After law school I started my own law firm and was building it to a very successful- but small- firm practicing family and criminal law in my home town. I often felt very blessed to be able to help children in my community, to protect them and be an advocate for them. But it was definitely a hard job seeing the types of abuse and neglect that I saw during that time.

After getting married and moving I closed down my practice and worked for a small firm, again handling family and criminal law.  During that that, I was not happy. I did not like the work I was doing. I left law practice and entered the insurance industry where I was able to use many of the skills and the education from my legal career to help me succeed.  Some of those skills I learned when I was in school working for my parents followed me as well- efficiency, multi-tasking, and helped me to find a balance in my job.

And that began a process of about 3 years of wondering whether I should or should not be practicing law. In the meantime, we had our son Macon. My husband has a very stressful job and I was trying to find something that wasn’t as demanding for myself- but in the legal field. I prayed to God asking him to help me find a legal job but just not in family or criminal law, where I didn’t have to work 60-70 hours a week but where I could make good money. (I wanted to have my cake and eat it too!).

I often felt like a failure for going to law school, becoming a licensed attorney and “giving it up.” I wondered what people would think about me for “wasting” that education and all that money.  I went on interviews. I was offered a job with a very well known Richmond law firm. But every time, something just didn’t feel right and I turned it down. I even looked for jobs in other industries- it was like I was trying to find greener grass. I decided I just needed to be happy with where I was. I knew if God wanted me to go somewhere else, He would show me. Or at least, that’s what I kept telling myself. But when I was up for promotions at work and wasn’t selected, I reverted back to wondering if that was God telling me to try for a legal career again.

On the way home from work one day I was in a really great mood. I do not remember why I felt that way, but I do remember smiling, looking up at the beautiful sunshine, heading to pick up my son from school and realizing that I was EXACTLY where God wanted me to be.  It was like God spoke out loud and said to me, “Misty, you make good money, you never work more than 40 hours a week, you have excellent benefits, you have a decent amount of flexibility, and you get to be Macon’s mom.”

I finally realized that it did not really matter what I did for a living if I was living my life for God.

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I have recently blogged about the “Armor of God” bible study by Priscilla Shirer about Paul’s teaching in Ephesians about the deceitful enemy, how he attacks us where we are weakest and most likely to crumble. That is exactly what happened to me. I believe his lies that I was a failure, not smart enough, that people would think less of me and so on that I forgot to look at all the blessings I had now even though I wasn’t practicing law. There are so many attorneys who have to work the craziest hours to make ends meet and had difficulty but I found a profession that I actually liked, learned something new everyday AND most of all, was able to be home with my son every evening and the weekends.  And isn’t raising him the most important work I am doing anyway?

In the sermon series I mentioned before, our pastor pointed out that God created man for work. God had already created the heavens and earth, the sky and sea, all the plants and animals, THEN he created man to have dominion over it and work the land and animals. When we do our work for God’s glory, no matter what it is, then it is sacred.

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So lately I have been trying to focus on going to work each day to earn a living to help provide for my family and our son’s future. To be a good steward of the intelligence and education that God blessed me with and with the money that we make as a family. To do the best I can in all of the work I do and be respectful of those I work with and for showing my integrity everyday. And being open and honest about my faith and love for Jesus whenever I have the opportunity.

And when I get home, I get to be a wife, a mother, a friend, and most importantly a child of God living for God’s purpose and mission, not my own.

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21 Day Fix

If you have been following along with my blog and my posts on Facebook, then you know I have been doing the 21 Day Fix since January (4th to be exact).

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I’m sure you have seen the infomercials, recipes and tips on Pinterest, and posts on Facebook but have no idea what it really entails.  So I am going to provide you with a review based on my experience so far.

21 Day Fix was created by Autumn Calabrese, celebrity trainer, bikini competitor and mom. In her cookbook, “Fixate” that she wrote to accompany the 21 Day Fix, she talks about how she managed to keep the “freshman 15” off while she was in college because she was danging non-stop. But after an injury and getting married, she started to gain weight. Then she got pregnant and knew it was going to be hard to get the weight off.  So she finally took control of the situation and looked at what she was eating throughout the pregnancy. After a C-section, she was able to lose all of the baby weight in 12 weeks and another 5 pounds more and has maintained that weight since then.Fixate_GSE_526x526_1_Book photo

I signed up for the 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack (basically a month’s supply of Shakeology PLUS the 21 Day Fix for a discounted bundled price).  The 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack consists of:

  1. Seven 30 minute total body workouts which you are recommended to complete in the following order:

Mondays- “Total Body Cardio Fix. Keep your heart rate up and your  metabolism revved high long after the workout is over.”  I really love this workout, it is hard, but it really works your entire body and the 30 minutes is up before you know it. You have 4 rounds, each round has 2 exercises with 2 sets each, including surrenders, frog crunches, cross-countries, weighted jogs and more.

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Tuesdays- Upper Fix. “Targeted resistance training helps shape your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs.” You might think that an upper body workout is not going to give you a good sweaty workout.  BUT this one does! It has 2 rounds, each round as 5 exercises with 2 sets each.  I started off using 5 pound weights for my light and 8 pounds for my heavy and could only do the modified pushups. But this week I graduated to 10 pounds for my heavy (will try 8 for some of the lights but that is still a little hard) and can now do some of my pushups without modifiers!). Get ready for bent-over rows, pushups, forearm planks, circle crunches and more.

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Wednesdays- Lower Fix. “Firm and tone your entire lower body while you blast fat and burn calories.”  I sweat more during this workout than most of the others!  There are 4 rounds, each round has 2 exercises with 2 sets each. Get ready for some 10 second holds that will leave your legs burning and shaking. As Autumn says, “Shake now so you won’t shake later!” And there is a bonus extra round of one exercise that will have your buns on fire! Squats with leg lifts, sumo squats, split squats, side lunges, and curtsy lunges, oh my! Oh- and a “fire hydrant” bonus move!

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Thursdays- Pilates Fix. “Strengthen your core, elongate your muscles, and firm your hips and thighs.” This is one of the active recovery days that incorporates breathing, stretching, and core strengthening. By day 4 of my first round of the fix, I was so sore I thought I didn’t need to do this little pilates video.  But I did it anyway.  It was HARD! But the next morning, I woke up and could move so much better than the day before and could tell I definitely needed that ACTIVE recovery.

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Fridays- Cardio Fix. “Get your heart pumping and your body moving as you melt away the pounds.” I kind of hate this one. But I love it too. It is 4 rounds, 2 exercises each round with 2 sets each, plus a bonus round. It includes the dreaded burpees….”Not always fun, but they’ll get you to your goals.”

Saturdays- Dirty 30. “4 rounds of fat-burning exercises help carve out a leaner, stronger physique.” (This is considered a bonus workout, but is part of the package at this time.) I actually LOVE this one- full of side lunges, renegade rows, sumo row, tricep kickback (and more).

Sundays- Yoga Fix. “Improve your balance, flexibility, and strength as you help relax your muscles.” This is another active recovery day and is the perfect ending after a very intense week! This is not a vinyasa or “cardio” intense workout but more of an active stretch and really works out all the kinks you have worked up over the week.

Bonus- Ab Fix- a 10 minute workout targeting your core.

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*Total Body Cardio, Upper Fix, Lower Fix and Dirty 30 all require dumbbells or resistance bands. You will also want some type of yoga mat for some of the floor exercises. There is typically a 15-30 second break between each set.

*All of the workouts include multiple modifications for the different exercises. USE them when you need them, decrease or get rid of your weights as needed. But if it feels too easy, then it probably is and you should give it a try with weights, heavier weights, or without modifiers. “It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger!”

2. The 21 Day Fix Eating Plan

This is a simple Eating Plan that shows you how to learn portion control eating delicious healthy foods. You do not have to weigh, measure or count calories. If it fits in the container, you eat it!

There are 7 color coded containers 1 Green- veggies, 1 Red- lean proteins, 1- Purple- Fruits, 1- Blue- healthy fats, 2- Orange- Dressings/nuts, 1- Yellow- Carbs. And you use your own teaspoon.  First, you figure out what your calorie bracket is. That tells you how many containers of each color you get. Second, you determine what goes in the containers.

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3. Extras

You will also get a 3 Day Quick Fix (Get beach-ready in 72 hours!); 24/7 online support; and your results are guaranteed- OR your money back.

4. Shakeology

Shakeology for me has been the KEY!  It is dense superfood nutrition that is equivalent to eating 6 salads.  A lot of people think it is a proven shake. Yes- it has protein, BUT it is just so much more.  “There are 13 vitamins that are considered essential for proper body function. Shakeology has them all!”  Some people just add water to the scoop of shakeology and shake it up. I LOVE to add water, ice, and some frozen fruit and fix myself a little dessert shake for BREAKFAST- everyday!

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My Results

After my first round, I lost 5.3 pounds! But my biggest changes were NoT not he scale. I lost a total of 11.75 inches, began sleeping better, having more energy throughout the day, reduced cravings, and better digestion.  My second round included some Valentine’s and Birthday treats so I only lost another 1.2 pounds. BUT, I lost another 3 1/4 inches! I’m now down to the size I was when I got married! (Some of the smallest ones are a little too tight still- but that is more from the left over baby belly that I am still working on).

I am currently working through round 3 and am so amazed at the continued progress and transformation I am seeing. Like today…

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This was in the break room when I went to fill up my giant 24 oz cup of water. I thought about getting just ONE little piece of chocolate candy. Then I decided I would get ONE little starburst.  But then I decided- NO, you came in here to get water to go to the gym and kick some butt doing Lower Fix, so go do it and do not eat that candy.  AND I DIDN’T.

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2 years ago on my birthday

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Just before Christmas last year (and a few weeks before I started this journey)

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This year on my birthday.

Did you know it takes about 21 days to form a habit?  That is one of the premises behind 21 Day Fix.  I am 1/3 of the way through my third round and I have made this a lifestyle. It is not a diet for me.  There are still plenty of things to work on, goals that I want to achieve. But, I am taking them one day at time and know that I have the tools, support and motivation that I need to achieve my goals and maintain this lifestyle! I am planning to try the 21 Day Fix Extreme or Cize for my workouts next, but I LOVE knowing that I can use the meal plan, portion control and shakeology to help me achieve and maintain my goals!

I have Challenge Groups running every month to help you AND I reach our goals and be accountable for our progress.  I would LOVE to have you join me in my next Challenge.  Email me at maconsmommy@gmail.com for more information!

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Core of Support

When was the last time you did a new workout that incorporated a lot of moves targeted at your core? And after you did that workout, did you notice how hard it was to do everyday tasks for a couple of days? Like move to sit down, or move to stand up, or pick up your child.

In the “Armor of God” Bible Study, Priscilla Shirer compares our physical core support to our spiritual core support.

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We all know our physical core is those muscles in our midsection (can I hear 6 pack?!) and mid-back.  (For more information on your core, click here http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/do-you-know-what-your-core-really-is-and-what-it-does)

We can usually tell when someone has pore physical core support- they may have poor posture with slumping shoulders, are more likely to be injured when lifting heavy object or during strenuous activity and may buckle under pressure, and tire more easily and do not have the strength to press on.

But what is our spiritual core?  As I mentioned in previous posts , our spiritual core is God’s Truth.  As Priscilla points out, we can tell when someone has a weak spiritual core because they have poor posture, are injury prone and have body fatigue.

“The serpent was the shrewedest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made.  One day he asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?’ ;Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,’ the woman replied. ‘It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat.’ God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’ ‘You won’t die!’ the serpent replied to the woman. ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.’  The woman was convinced. she saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it too.” Genesis 3:1-6

God had told Adam NOT to eat from the fruit of that particular tree or he would die.  The serpent (ENEMY) basically told Eve that God was lying and she wouldn’t die if she ate the the fruit.  She was sagging in her core support, she ate the fruit, and the rest is history.

Now think about how much damage someone’s words or actions can wreak on our lives at times and those words often come from a place of anger. Priscilla notes that the enemy often uses anger to infiltrate our lives.  Ephesians 4:26-27 “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” But are the words spoken in anger they aren’t really based on truth but on the misrepresentation or misunderstanding of the facts. We then let those words and actions cripple us in many ways. It is all we can think about, we dwell on it, we go to sleep angry and wake up even angrier.

What about body fatigue? When we do not have a strong core, all of our movements are much more labored, more difficult, more draining. Exhausting. The same goes for our spiritual core. “When the core isn’t well supported, its unable to supply the level of strength you need for other body movements” But “when you’re standing firmly on the truth of God as revealed in His Word- when His truth is at the core of your existence- strength flows into every other area of your life.” (Armor of God, Priscilla Shirer)

Taking it a little further, we should look at the other purposes of the core.

Most of us remember studying ancient Greece and Rome in our high school and college history classes.  Our books may have even had a picture something like this.

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But did you ever really pay attention to all of the armor the soldiers wore to protect themselves in battle?  This was long before gun power, machinery, tanks, and all of the other war power we have now.

Two of the most important pieces of the Roman Legionary’s uniform was the belt and the breastplate. The belt (or girdle, apron- lots of terms) was used to give additional support and strength to his core and was used to hold is sword, dagger and other pieces of armor. The breast plate connected to the girdle and was used to protect his heart and other vital organs.

We still see use for these supportive belts today. Think about all those factory workers, UPS drivers, and other manual laborers such as contractors and even our soldiers and police officers, who wear a big belt to help them during the day. It is used to reduce back pain, help hold other items they need (package scanner, hammer, weapon). What about those pregnancy support belts?? I know I had to wear one when my belly got huge!IMG_2752

Thing about how important the belt truly was for the Roman Legionary (strengthening his support and helping him to carry other weapons and armor). Without the belt, the soldier would not be able to carry all of his armor and protection and would be more at risk for injury or death during battle.

Now….what about our God’s belt of truth.  Without it, we will have difficulty maintaining the other spiritual armor and be susceptible for attack by the enemy.  Priscilla is able to summarize it much more succinctly than I could ever strive for:

“Without the belt of truth, you’re left with the burdensome responsibility         of carrying the full weight of your own “breastplate”- your own “righteousness….Instead of God making you acceptable in His sight through the sacrifice of His Son, you’re responsible for somehow proving yourself spotless and perfect in His sight… God’s Word- truth- reveals that righteousness has been given to you through faith in Christ as a free gift, freeing you from living with the weight of all that sin on your shoulders.”

And when we know the truth, we can be set free! (John 8:32).

So I don’t know about you, but I want to be free! I want God’s Truth- His word and all the promises to be etched into my heart. I want to have that truth so tight around my core that it will hold me up, guide me, and protect me, allowing me to put on the other spiritual armor (Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, the Word of God, all of which are ignited with Prayer) to fight the enemy. I want to be secure and protected against the enemy, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that God has a plan for me, that He loves me, that I was made in his image. I want to be so unbelievably grounded in that truth that I can’t help but shout God’s praises and tell people about the good news of the gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ!

I’m so grateful for Priscilla Shirer and her teachings that allow me to gain a better and deeper understanding of those truths.

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. (He gave his son for me, that is the least I can do strive towards).

And while I continue strengthening my spiritual core, I will also try work on my physical core…..

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Cupcakes Anonymous

Hi, my name is Misty, and I’m a Cupcake and Cookie-aholic. There, I said it. When I was growing up, I pretty much only ate cookies for dessert. I remember I used to eat an extra roll at dinner (especially my Granny Bennie’s rolls!) for my dessert.

Then I started to like “birthday cake.” Only yellow cake with vanilla frosting.  Then something happened….I got older and my taste buds decided it was time for me to have a more developed pallet. I now love dessert.  I would definitely say my absolute favorite desserts are cupcakes and cookies. They are just the perfect little size!

One of my spiritual gifts is hospitality. Romans 12:13 “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.  If you know me, you know I love “FRIENDS.”  In the words of Monica, “I’m always the hostess.”

For me, part of being a good hostess is providing really delicious treats. Now that I am focusing more on my health and fitness, I have figured out the best way to practice balance…. Make some really delicious desserts, share with people I love, eat one or two and then take the leftovers to work!

Here are some of my most recent desserts I have made.  There are so many more but I didn’t take pictures.  So I will have to work on that for the future so I can make you drool. Then you will want to go get a really great workout in so that you can have a treat on occasion!

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Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel butter cream

Butter short-bread thumb print cookies

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Lemon cupcakes with vanilla butter cream

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Chocolate chip cookie Cake with buttercream frosting

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Spice cupcakes with cinnamon maple butter cream and gingerbread boy cookies

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Chocolate chip cupcakes with vanilla buttercream topped with a chocolate chip cookie (this is Jonathan’s favorite!)

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Lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling and strawberry swiss meringue buttercream

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Vanilla cupcakes with blueberries it he middle with vanilla buttercream.

Finding the right recipe is always an interesting process.  I have favorite go-to recipes that I use but then will modify depending on what they dessert will be used for. The daisy cupcakes were for my wonderful sister-in-law’s Bridal Luncheon.  I pick and choose little bits and pieces from recipes to make the perfect combination.

We host a life group at our home every other week.  I always try to provide desserts for the group. Although not a cupcake or cookie, some of my other favorites are chocolate chip blondies, turtle brownies, chewy cakes, lemon cookies, lemon bars.

What are you favorite desserts to prepare for a crowd? What should I try next??

God’s Perfect Timing

I mentioned how God’s timing really is perfect in a blog earlier this week. But yesterday I was really amazed by His PERFECT timing and understanding of my needs. How He gives us everything we need at exactly the right time.

Well Friday I was having a really bad morning. For whatever reason, I felt like a horrible mom. I was tired. I was grumpy. I was frustrated with Macon for waking up before I even had a chance have a second for myself, AGAIN. Then I felt selfish and awful for being short-tempered him for something that he can’t control. He is going through a growth spurt, has a cold, has some fluid in his ears, and is likely getting the dreaded second molars (and going through the terrible-twos). I got to work, and just felt defeated.  So I decided to listen to some of my favorite Christian music on Pandora and read my bible study.

As you may know, I am currently working through Priscilla Shirer’s study- “The Armor of God.”   The homework lesson is called “Strengthen Your Core” based on the Belt of Truth from Ephesians 6:14. Priscilla compares the Belt with the belt that a Roman legionary would put on before the rest of his armor to support his core so that his body would not crumple from the weight of the rest of his armor.

Truth is our core support.  “It provides the essential backing you need when you’re in the midst of a spiritual war.”  Truth is what God says about anything. I was listening to all the lies of the enemy and I needed to be reminded of the truth in God’s Word.

Priscilla then referenced Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord along. And you must love the Lord your God with all your hear, all your soul,and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

How could you implement a strategy for this in your own life this week?

IMG_2781 Note my response- Scripture memory board in home.

So Friday night I went to my cousin Amy’s house for a Pinterest party “Girls’ Night Out” for our Sunday School Class.  I had no idea beforehand what she had planned for us. She told us we were going to work on a really fun craft, that it was easy, we could customize it however we would like, then she showed us hers so that we could see what we were going to create.

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We would be making a Verse of the Week display for our home!  On the SAME day that I studied about how important God’s word- His TRUTH is our core strength. It keeps us balanced and grounded. On the same day that I made a decision to put a scripture memory board in my home.

God knew what I needed Friday when I was reading my bible study. He knew what I needed when I was enjoying an evening out. When we really take time to think about all that God does for us, that he has planned out for us, and that we really do not need to worry when we place it all in His hands, I feel I can breathe so much better.

Here are my crafty creations.  And I have placed my scripture board on the counter as you go out the door to our cars. We will see God’s word just before we leave our home. God’s truth is my core support and I want to remind myself of it every single day.

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One Day at a Time

As a child I was involved in dance and I LOVED it.  But when I was 13 I quit because I wasn’t from the same town as the other girls and they didn’t like me…Looking back now, I was bullied out of doing something I love.  I quit. And I was not raised to be a quitter.  When I was 16 I was a cheerleader. I wore a size 5 in juniors. And I thought of myself as overweight.  I did not exercise- except for practice once a week and games.

By the time I was in college, exercise was a faint memory. I did take the required PE class (for my liberal arts education). It was a step aerobics class, and I enjoyed it.  But….it was only once a week.  I went to school in a beautiful small town right along a one way road divided by a railroad track, a multimillion dollar gym and fitness center for students, and a beautiful campus. But I never took advantage of it. My senior year I took a walking class to complete my liberal arts education. But…. that was also once a week.

After three years of college and all of the omelets, french toast, burgers, fries, smoothies, candy, etc. that I could handle, little to no exercising and I had gained at least 15 pounds. THEN came the whopper.  I started law school.  Who has time to exercise in law school??? I didn’t.  I had just enough time to go to class, have friends, study, and relax. Exercise? yeah right! Don’t get me wrong, I joined the gym once, for about a week, I tried to run, but it hurt my feet too much, I did pilates, once in a blue moon. By the end of my second year in law school I had gotten to my heaviest weight.  After a friend’s wedding photos were developed and I saw how large I had gotten, I realized it was time for a change.

 

IMG_2675             High school cheerleader  to college freshman to first year law student

So I joined weight watchers. I lost 25 pounds. I learned to eat healthier. I graduated from law school. I started my own law firm. Exercise was STILL not a part of my life. I gained about 8-10 pounds back. So I joined Jenny Craig. I actually started exercising. I lost 30 pounds and finally reached what I felt was a healthy goal weight and was about the same size as I was when I graduated high school. I even became a runner, with encouragement from my (almost) husband.

I thought I had it all figured out. Whole wheat bread. More fruits. More vegetables. Lower calories, fat free, reduced sugar, more exercise…

Then I got married, started eating out more, and gained 15 pounds again. THEN I got pregnant, gained another 47 pounds while pregnant. By the time Macon was born, I was so miserably uncomfortable that I took the last week off work before my due date. I didn’t do much exercise when I was pregnant because I was just so scared that I would hurt my baby.  I had a miscarriage about 6 months before getting pregnant with Macon and I was just so scared all the time.  Looking back now, I realize that not exercising was much more dangerous to Macon than doing pregnancy safe exercises.

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Learning to balance a full time job with being a wife and mother and all the responsibilities that go along with that was a long process.  I lost a good amount of weight just from nursing. But I wasn’t healthy and my body wasn’t strong.  In January 2015, I finally started exercising again. I ran, did the elliptical, different workout videos, watched my calories and lost 10 pounds. Then I would gain 3, lose 5, gain 5, lose 2. That went on for a YEAR!

So this January I decided it was time to really make a change for the rest of my life. I joined a 21 day Fix Challenge Group. I knew it would cost some money to buy Shakeology and the exercise program. But I saw it as an investment in my health. I wanted to be healthy to live out God’s plan for my life and my mission field (primarily in raising my son).  I have lost 6.5 pound so far.  Its not a HUGE number.

BUT for me the biggest changes have been the 3.5 inches I have lost at my belly button. The 3 inches in my waist. The 3 inches above my chest. I sleep better. I ache less. I have much more energy. I do not have the cravings that I used to have. I know so much more about what I am putting in my body because I prepare 99.9% of it myself. I read the labels and understand more about what I am reading. I exercise at least 30 minutes a day, at least 6 days a week. And I love it. (Sure, the first week I was so sore it hurt to stand up, but it got better, because I got stronger!). I have had some cookies and cupcakes on special occasions, and a couple dinners out. I am still trying to lose at least 9 more pounds. But I am living life with the intention of being the healthiest me that I can be.  I became a Beach Body coach so that I would be accountable to others to continue with my health and fitness goals.

I am learning to take everything day by day. One. Day. At. A. Time!

I know that the enemy is trying to attack me and bring me down, make me revert to bad behaviors, make me decide that I don’t need to exercise, that I can have that pasta and cake and cookies everyday. But I know that when I ask God to give me the courage, support, and strength to avoid those temptations, to do everything in moderation, that He will allow me to be successful as I do everything for His Glory!

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The Light

I am currently part of a Bible Study group at my church studying Ephesians with Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God Bible Study.  This week, she was talking about how the enemy is out to get us, to deceive us and make us think we are walking in truth when we are not. But “All things become visible when they are exposed by the light” (Ephesians 5:13). God’s TRUTH is the LIGHT. We need the Armor of God to fight the devil. Strapping on the Belt of Truth allows me us to stand firm against the scenes of the devil and gives us the freedom we wouldn’t have otherwise.

While explaining that we need to take every choice we need to make to the light of God’s truth, she gave a bunch of examples how that plays out in our daily lives. Now there were many that were personal to me and made me think. But the one that was so amazing was her example of just finishing a large meal and seeing a platter of food or dessert and wanting more. She had me laughing out loud when she said “When was eating about being hungry? Isn’t it just a hobby?” Because isn’t that just so true for many of us?!! But “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

And isn’t God’s PERFECT TIMING just amazing? That while I on a journey to become a HEALTHIER me and am praying for opportunities to help others as well, that God happened to place me in a Bible study that would remind me and teach me that the devil is a master illusionist and works in complete deception. That I am reminded that the enemy knows how to attack ME personally because he knows my weaknesses and proclivities. That devil is the one who makes me think I NEED that piece of bread, or cake, or candy. The devil is the one who makes me think I’m not the right size, I’m not strong enough, good enough.

BUT when I put those thoughts up against God’s truth- That I was created in His image and although I will often falter, that with PRAYER and putting on the full armor of God, I KNOW that I will be able to CRUSH the devil.

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