Monday, December 31, 2012

On the Edge of a New Year

In a little over two hours, we will be bidding farewell to 2012.  My initial reaction when thinking back on this past year was to dwell on everything I didn't accomplish.  The book will be closing on another year, and there is still so much left incomplete and undone.

And yet, when I truly think about it, 2012 turned out to be a fabulous year.  It was a year of positive change and excitement.  A few highlights:

~ Alexandra Elise made her grand entrance into the world.
~ Bianca instantly turned into a loving Big Sister.
~ Harry became one of the area's most popular basketball coaches.  He led his team to a State Championship, and was chosen to coach one of the teams participating in the Capital Classic.
~ I was promoted at work, and simultaneously received a huge peace, instant stress relief, and a pay increase.  God is so good!
~ I was able to upgrade to an SUV.
~ I saw my muse Alanis Morissette in concert.
~ I experienced the excitement of being a Dance Mom for a few precious weeks.
~ After two years, I finally made a commitment to CCC and to MOPS.  As a result, I made so many new friends.
~ I also reunited with friends from my past.
~ We had our girls dedicated in front of our church family.  The day was even more special because Aria and Lilly were dedicated at the same time.
~ 212 helped to turn up the heat in my life.
~ I reconnected with family I hadn't seen in quite a while.
~ I was exposed to the world of green juices and smoothies and whole foods.
~ Stephanie and I started a wellness journey.
~ An old friend died and harsh reality set in regarding my greener grass.
~ But I fell even more in love with Harry because of it.

Looking forward to 2013, there is so much I want to accomplish.

~ I want to draw closer to God.  I hope to be exposed to the Word daily.  I hope to spend more quiet time with Him.  I hope to fully engage with MOPS and my small group.
~ I want to be a better wife.  I hope to give Harry the support he needs to be the best version of himself.  I hope to take better care of him and our house.
~ I want to be a better mother.  I hope to be more present when I'm home.  I hope to give more hugs and kisses.  I hope to laugh and play more.  I want to give my girls the love and attention they need to be happy and healthy.
~ I want to take care of myself physically.  I hope to exercise daily.  I hope to drink more green juice and smoothies.  I hope to eat a vegetable at every meal.  I hope to eat more locally grown and organic foods. I want to cut back (or stop) my coffee consumption.  I hope to drink more water.  I want to get a massage monthly.  I want to stretch more and sleep better.  I want my natural beauty to shine from the inside out.
~ I want to help get our family out of debt.  I hope to think before making unnecessary purchases.  I hope to cut out large expenses, like my daily $5 mocha lattes.

A lot of these goals look similar to the ones I made last year.  But this year, I am confident that I will be victorious.  I have a wonderful support system in my husband, my friends, and my family.  I have been exposed to so many new educational and inspirational resources.  And most importantly, I am raising a banner over this year.  Jehovah Nissi will be my ultimate source of strength and victory.

2013 will be my Proverbs 31 year.  I will use the Proverbs 31 Woman as a role-model and an inspiration to emulate.  In the end, I hope to be my husband's crown.  I hope my children will call me blessed.  And ultimately, I hope all of my actions are pleasing to the Lord.  By growing into a better version of myself, I hope to be able to serve Him better. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Word Filled Wednesday: Drunk and Naked

After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard.  One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent.  Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers.  Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father.  As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.
~ Genesis 9:20 - 23

Many people have heard the story of Noah.  You probably know about the Flood, the ark, and the animals coming two by two.  You've probably heard about the dove and the rainbow.

But after most of the story is over, this little piece about Noah getting drunk and naked - well, it's not the stuff of children's Sunday School!  Maybe Noah just went off the rails a bit after being cooped up with all those animals.  Or maybe the anguish of seeing all those people drowning finally caught up with him.

Whatever the case, this very strange scene reveals a couple things.  First, it shows us, as we see over and over in Scripture, that the people God uses are not perfect.  They're messed up, just like you and I.  That means that, however messed up you are, you can still serve God and be part of His unfolding story.

Noah, drunk and naked, points to a second thing: The Bible is true.  Who would fake a story about the only righteous guy alive, and then add this offbeat paragraph?  In a wonderfully strange way, Noah's embarrassing misstep shows us that the Bible is an honest book.  Yes, this is a story you can believe because it doesn't whitewash the truth, even when it's not admirable.

Excerpted from The Way New Living Translation Bible

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sick and Tired

I used to blame my pregnancy on being tired and achy all the time.  But here I am four months postpartum and I still feel tired and achy pretty much every day.  I experience fatigue, bloating, cramping, nausea, headaches, itchy skin and eyes, and joint and muscle aches on a daily basis.  Frankly, I'm tired of living like this.  I'm only in my early 30s; I should be feeling vibrant and alive, not the complete opposite.

When I brought up my concerns with my doctor a few years ago, she pretty much just said I feel so miserable because I'm overweight.  She encouraged me to exercise and eat better and sent me on my way.

Believe me - I am well aware that I am carrying extra baggage.  And I have definitely tried to lose the excess weight.  Before my wedding, I was exercising and eating right, and I only lost a total of 6 pounds in a 6-month period.  Last year, I was working out with a personal trainer and eating better, and I only lost 7 pounds in a 4-month period.  No matter how much effort I put into it, I can't seem to lose the many pounds I desperately need to shed.

At that last doctor's visit, I was really hoping that she would run some tests, like checking my thyroid or searching for any food sensitivities.  Instead she made me feel like I was nothing but a fat, tired, achy hypochondriac.  So I ignored my symptoms and went on with life.

Now that I have ventured out on my wellness journey, however, I know I can't ignore my body's cries for help anymore.  So I've decided to search for a new primary care doctor.  One who will actually listen to my concerns and help me figure out what's wrong with me.  (At least physically!  lol)  Then we can make a plan to address any issues, and I will be well on my way to a healthier version of myself. 

My initial reaction is to seek out a naturopathic doctor, but unfortunately, my health insurance only covers conventional medicine interventions.  My friend Chelle recommended I see a D.O. instead of an M.D. because their approach is more holistic.  I think I'm leaning that way, but I need to find one with good recommendations first.

No matter what, it's my goal to get a physical - with a complete blood workup - by February 1st.  I owe it to myself.  And I so desperately want to feel better.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Wishes

In celebration of 12/12/12, Jamie Ridler asked the question What 12 Wishes Will You Wish For?

Today, I wish....

1.  To know God intimately
2.  To be a stay-at-home mom
3.  To become a massage therapist
4.  To move my body freely and often
5.  To indulge in a healthy diet
6.  To live in a beach cottage
7.  To have a marriage centered on God, full of laughter and fun
8.  To be back on stage
9.  For my girls to be abundantly happy and healthy
10. For a flattering, comfortable wardrobe
11. To glow from the inside out
12. To have more children, biological and adopted

What wishes are tucked in your heart?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Me and the Mozart Myth

Upon suggestion from UM’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Facebook page, I read an article from Experience Life Magazine called “The Creative Habit.” After reading the section titled “Active Body, Creative Mind,” I immediately thought of my journey partner Steph because she is an artist. My initial thought was, “wow…with regular exercise, Steph’s creativity will go through the roof!” I shared the article with her and that was that.

…Until my car ride home. With traffic, I have about an hour commute each way, so I have a good amount of time to think. Last night, this article was on the forefront of my mind. I kept pondering the Mozart Myth and realized that it really pertained to my life. In particular, I considered this paragraph:

Sure, some people might be predisposed to certain skills and talents, but all our natural predispositions need time, practice and dedication to become real genius. As another artistic genius, the Renaissance painter Michelangelo, once said, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”

I kept thinking of my singing talent. At one point in my life, I was a really good singer. In fact, if I had tried out for American Idol in 2002, I would have had a pretty good shot at going far in the competition. (Yep – it would have totally been me and Justin there at the finale!) I definitely had a voice that could rival Kelly Clarkson’s. But also at that time, I was singing constantly. I had been singing in class and in concerts 5 days a week for eight years straight. I sang constantly in my car. I had a karaoke machine and a keyboard in my bedroom that were constantly being used. I performed in musical theater. I sang practically every Sunday at church. I was hired to sing for weddings. I did a few funerals. My mother would even scold me for singing at the dinner table. (My sister hated it when I did!) The point is: I sang. ALL. THE. TIME. I had mastered my talent.

For whatever reason, when I joined AmeriCorps in the fall of 2002, I stopped singing. Completely. And I suppose a part of me died at that time because singing was my true love, my joy, my constant companion.

Today, I have an average, so-so voice. My talent has gone extremely downhill. I really would love to sing on the Worship Team at my church, but if I’m being honest, I’m not good enough anymore.

But, alas, there is hope! That’s the beauty of the Mozart Myth! He worked extremely hard to master his compositions. He needed “time, practice and dedication to become real genius.” I know that with enough time, practice and dedication, I could be really good again.

One of my intentions for my wellness journey is to sing more. By doing so, I think I can start to come back to life again in a whole new, healthy way.

Good Day!

Well, I'm proud to say that my day is definitely off to a great start.  I did manage to get up at 4:30 this morning to get on the treadmill.  ( it was more like 4:33....I had a hard time getting out of my warm, comfy bed!)  Honestly, it would have been so lovely to get in that extra hour of sleep, but after remembering the picture by my alarm clock, I asked God to give me strength me and to help me step out of my comfort zone.  One hour later, I had walked 3.2 miles and burned 452 calories!  Woo hoo!

I think it helped that I slept in my workout clothes.  I had heard this tip in the past, but I was never fond of it.  After all, how comfortable could it to be to sleep in two bras?  It wasn't that bad, though, so I think I'll try it again tonight.  It saved me a good 5-10 minutes this morning.  (Yes, I tend to do things on the slow side.)  I think I'll also fill up my water bottle tonight and leave it in the refrigerator to save an additional step in the morning.

As I was on the treadmill, MercyMe's "So Long Self" kept repeating in my head.  It made me realize that exercising to music is probably better than doing it in silence.  (Although I have so much stuff running through my head at any given minute, so it's not really silent!)  I would just need to build a killer playlist first.  Does anyone have any suggestions of songs that get them moving?  I immediately think of "Shine" by Newsboys, "Move" by MercyMe, and "Get Back Up" by Toby Mac.

My breakfast consisted of two eggs and spinach.  My morning snack consisted of a couple of cheese cubes and an apple.  For lunch, I'm eating my chili with a side of spinach.  I'm not sure what dinner will be, as my refrigerator is a bit bare, but I'm proud of the choices I've made so far.  I just have to keep it up!

One half-day of positive choices down; a lifetme to go!! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hard Truth

One of the tools I had planned to use on my wellness journey was a food journal.  I once watched an episode of Dr. Oz where he said that people who keep a food diary lose 50% more weight than those who don't.  The theory is that we tend to underestimate the exact amount of our caloric intake each day.

I originally planned to write everything down in a physical journal.  Two problems emerged with that tactic: 1) my purse was getting weighed down by carrying yet another book and 2) I really wasn't sure how many calories were in the food I was eating.

In comes Aunt Theresa to the rescue.  She recommended that I use a tool called My Fitness Pal.  Here, I can record my daily food intake and the system records my calories for me.  I can also record my exercise.  (If only I had any activity to record!)  The best part is when you are finished recording for the day, the system gives you immediate feedback.  For instance, yesterday's feedback informed me that I would GAIN 2 pounds in 5 weeks if I continue with my same food consumption and lack of exercise.

It is kind of a wake-up call.  I guess I am one of those people who underestimated my calorie intake.  It's only 3:15 PM, and I've already consumed 76 extra calories.  I suppose I could make up for tonight's dinner by spending an hour on the treadmill.  Sadly, my reality is that when I get home from work, all I want to do is cuddle and play with my girls.  I only get to see them an average of 3 hours a day.  I really don't want to decrease that precious time to 2 hours.  Guess I'll have to try to wake up at 4:30 tomorrow morning and get in some cardio while they're still asleep.  (Wish me luck; I have a hard enough time getting up at 5:30!)

My friend Maggie shared an awesome picture on her Facebook page today.  I think I am going to print out a couple of copies and put one by my alarm clock and one on my treadmill.  Hopefully it will help me to get motivated.  It is a simple yet perfect prayer when things seem too tough.  Only with God's help will I have a true and lasting breakthrough when it comes to my health.


Monday, December 3, 2012

The First Few Days

I am sad to say that my wellness journey has not started off on the best foot. December 1st was not only our kickoff to pursuing a healthier lifestyle, but it was also my beautiful Mommy’s birthday. While I did manage to start my Saturday with a green juice, my food choices quickly went downhill from there. My weekend was full of pizza, cookies, ice cream, deep fried chicken, French fries, and hot chocolate. Not exactly healthy.

This morning wasn’t much better. I was running late and not feeling great, so instead of making a green juice, I ate a bowl of chocolate Cheerios. For lunch I am eating a homemade chili that in retrospect should have been made with more vegetables. I have a terrible headache and I just can’t wait to go home.

This isn’t the way I had hoped to be behaving or feeling once Steph and I officially crossed the starting line to wellness.

I once read a quote that said, “When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” The fact of the matter is my bad habits run deep. It is going to take a lot of energy, planning, and action to make a positive lifestyle change. I have to give my health 100%. I have to be all in. Otherwise, we are going to be having a very similar conversation a few months down the line. It’s one thing to be well-intentioned. But intention with no action leaves you stuck in exactly the same place.