Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Story of 2012

In June I attended a two day conference called The Storyline Conference in Portland.  Basically the idea is to think of your life as a story and if it were a story, what would you want that story to be?

When I wrote the recap of 2011, I found myself thinking of the story.  There were ups and downs but overall, I made progress.  So I want to tell the story of 2012.  I know that the reality will end up being different but that’s okay. 

Starting on New Year’s Day I will begin the practice of daily devotion by using the devotional we got at church.  This will center my day and give the first part of it to God.  I will make coffee and breakfast at home and do my devotion before I leave in the morning.  I will also use this as the inspiration for weekly blog posts during the year.

Each day I will also track my food and I will exercise 4-5 times per week.  As I get stronger with my running and working out I will take on new challenges.  One of the challenges will be a 10k run.  At some point in the year I will not only be able to show my progress through a fitness goal, but I will make it into onederland.  At that point I will need to update my wardrobe so I will celebrate with a trip to the United States to shop.

Throughout the year I will actively work to be an encouragement to others.  I will do this both in the areas of fitness and faith.  I will reach out through Facebook, this blog, and in person.  I will be honest about my struggles in an effort to allow others to be honest.  I will listen for God’s leading to where He wants me to help others.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011–The Year in Review

It doesn’t seem like that long since I posted my goals for 2011.  I decided to choose 11 goals that would propel me forward.  They gave me direction.  Although I have to say that most of them evolved, I am further along then I was last year.  I will make some new goals for this year.  They are already brewing in my mind.  If I review this year’s goals, I think it will help me make even better goals for this year.

1.  Run a 5K in under 40 minutes – I have continued to work on running.  I will not have run a 5K in 40 minutes.  What has happened for me this year is that I have done distances a bit further than 5K (three miles.)  My longest distance so far is about 4.5 miles.  I have found that if I try to push too hard, I end up injuring myself.

2.  Spend one afternoon (or evening) per month taking pictures – I think I spent about four afternoons taking pictures.  I loved doing it.  I find it relaxing.  I would like to get this back into my life somehow.  I am not sure how to make it work.

3.  Reduce my debt load by $8000 – a few trips this year made it difficult but I still reduced my debt load by $3800.  I’ll get there.

4.  Spend 5 minutes per day in prayer/meditation – this is an area where I can say I honestly fell down.  I have a new plan for this year.

5.  Have 6 outings per month with friends – I didn’t track this but I feel good about the amount of social activity in my life.  To a great extent this year, being able to hang out with friends has sustained me

6.  Make my front storage room into a more functional space – I actually did this!  It is amazing to be able to walk in and out of there.  I still have some work to do but it is much better

7.  Spend one hour per week studying scripture – see #4

8.  Attend Donald Miller’s  Storyline Conference in June – I did this and it still is shaping the way I think.  It will also shape my resolutions for this year

9.  Eat healthy meals 80% of the time – I tracked until March and I was doing okay.  Then things fell down.  I had some health challenges that forced me to stop working out and then I gave into some bad eating habits.  I started being more active in June again and then I joined Weight Watchers.  So if you assume that would cause me to eat 80% healthy, I was on track for about 8 months of the year.

10.  Work out 4 times per week 75% of weeks – I think I was about at 65%

11.  Post to my blog more often – technically I did post more but not as much as I had intended.  I wanted to post an average of once per week.  This post will be #17 for the year so I not as much as I wanted

There are many awesome things that happened which I hadn’t planned for.  Here are a few that come to mind:
-  I participated in the Ironman In a Month Challenge and completed it.  Thinking about it still makes me grin.
-  I travelled to Minneapolis to the Women of Faith Conference.  It was an amazing event which is still inspiring me
- I became a leader of a church small group
- I took the huge step of joining Weight Watchers online.  I didn’t think I would follow a eating plan ever again.  This plan makes sense and is something I have been able to keep up
- I made some connections with some amazing people on Facebook who have become friends to me and are a source of support and inspiration.
During the past month I have been going through a personal crisis.  What I have noticed is that, although it is hard, I am walking through it in a much healthier way than I would have before.  I asked for and received support from many of my friends.  Although I have not been very consistent through the month of December on my fitness goals, I am working to get back on track.  I am trying not to be too hard on myself.  I am NOT starting over.  A month of trial can not undo all of the above.


The 'before' picture was taken in 2009 but I am pretty sure I looked pretty much the same in December 2010.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Light in the Darkness

light in darknessI was sitting on the bus doing my bible reading plan.  The passage I read was this:
1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
      The Word was with God,
      and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
      and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
      and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
      and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1: 1-5, NLT)

I have read this dozens of times, like everyone else.  I have tried to understand the part about ‘the Word’, the Word being Jesus and how that actually works.  The thing is that I got stuck on that and didn’t read the part about how the light shines into the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.
I was awestruck.  The darkness can’t extinguish the light.  It is a truth that resonates with me.  No matter how dark I think things are, God still shines through.  There is nothing or no one that can stop that.
Then I continued reading:
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.  17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,] is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. (John 1: 6-16, NLT)
I was awestruck by a God who would come down to earth to be light in my darkness.  It was a great moment of communion with God…  on a Winnipeg Transit bus before 7am.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thinking About Mom

me and momToday is the anniversary of the day my Mom passed away.  It is sunny outside today but the ground is covered in a blanket of fresh snow – the first major snowfall of the year.  I went out for a short run this morning and now I am sitting in Starbucks with a Venti Skinny Peppermint Mocha.  I have to admit that I don’t know how to feel about the day.

Generally I spend a lot of time dreading the date.  I have been down lately and I have attributed it to what my friend refers to as body memories.  Even if I am not thinking about it, my body knows it is coming.  That said, I haven’t been dreading today.  It wasn’t the first thing I thought about when I woke up.

I do have a sense of sadness.  I am wondering what my Mom would think about me right now.  I have been making so many positive changes in my life for my health.  Those things were important to my Mom.  Would she be proud of me for being committed enough to run outside in the snow and cold weather? 

I remember the day that she passed away.  I remember my sister in law coming to my door and giving me the news.  It wasn’t sunny that day.  At least that’s how I remember it.  All I said was, “I’ll get my purse.”  It was a strange numb response that came out of a broken place.

So many things have changed for me in the sixteen years since my Mom passed away.  I have graduated from university.  I have a career, a great condo, a nice car, lots of fantastic friends, and most importantly I asked Jesus to come into my life over 11 years ago.  Besides the more recent health changes, I am no longer that young woman who lives in a numb fog.  My life is abundant.  Sometimes that abundance means that I am both sad about losing my Mom and happy about a beautiful winter day with a nice run and a trip to Starbucks for a holiday drink.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Resolutions

failureThe beginning of the November makes me feel like the year is drawing to a close.  There is lots of time left but it ends up getting taken up by Christmas parties, gatherings, and shopping.  It feels like the time to achieve my goals has already passed.  Or has it?

I hesitate to post about my resolutions.  Every one was so supportive and even inspired.  So to look at my resolutions today feels like a bit of a disappointment.  I am afraid to let people down.  I feel like I have failed.

When I read my resolutions I know I have achieved a couple of them.  I have also changed my approach on many of them.  I still have some time to work on others.

In March I started struggling with some health issues that prevented me from working out.  My food intake was nowhere near 80% healthy.  I really struggled.  By the time the summer came, I was quite weak and had gained a lot of weight.  I decided it was time to commit to a weight loss program so I joined Weight Watchers at the beginning of July.  I have also become more active, last month I completed an Ironman in a month challenge – I swam 2.4 miles, bicycled 112 miles, and ran 26.2 over the 31 days of October.

I attended the Storyline Conference in June and I can say it has propelled me to live a better story.  I also managed to clean out my storage room and I can now walk into it without stepping on anything.  My bike goes in and out easily.

Technically I have already posted more this year than I did last year.  That said, my intent was to post weekly and I haven’t been doing that.  There is still time to get back onto it.  So here I am.

Resolutions are about an intent to be better.  I can say that I am better than I was this time last year.  I have less debt, I have lost weight, I have gained energy and a lot of wisdom.  I won’t run a 5k in under 40 minutes this year but I have increased my distance and speed by quite a bit.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Legacy

There is a song by Nicole Nordeman that I have loved for years.  I have been thinking about it today:

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I went to a funeral for a man who was born nine months after me.  He was a co-worker  who I had the privilege of working with this year before he went on leave.  I had known of him but never worked with him directly.  He talked about his illness openly and his courage left so much of a mark on me that, even though I had only worked with him very briefly, I felt compelled to attend his funeral.  When I looked around at the attendees, it was clear that many of my co-workers felt the same way.

This man had a daughter who has special needs.  He also has a young son.  His battle with cancer has been several years long.  During his struggle with cancer he returned to work several times where he made a number of important contributions.  He also achieved his masters.  When his wife spoke of him at the funeral yesterday, she said she married him because she knew he would ‘make her brave.’ 

He has made me think of my own life.  What is my contribution?  What will people say about me at my funeral?  My mark is to be different for sure.  Even acknowledging that, his life makes me want to do more with my life.  I hope that’s a tribute to him.

Friday, August 26, 2011

If You Enjoy This Video...

This is a video created to promote our Dragon Boat Team.  I am putting myself out there:-)  So if you enjoy this video, please consider donating to support the Canadian Cancer Society.  You can complete your donation online by going to my personal fundraising page and clicking on Support Misty.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Narrow Door

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”  Luke 13:22-30

A few weeks ago Soul Pastor posted this scripture to his blog and asked us to comment on it.  Actually his words were ‘Thoughts?’  In the gathering that week he challenged everyone there to post a comment as homework.  My thought was: I don’t want to think about it.

That said, for the past two weeks, I have been thinking about it a lot.  I am not thinking about me.  I am thinking about my Mom.  I case you don’t know the story, I will give you the abridged version.  My Mom passed away from breast cancer when I was twenty two years old.  I was barely an adult.  That event has shaped my life in a lot of ways.  My Mom wasn’t a Christian.  In fact my Mom explicitly stated that she couldn’t believe in a God who allowed all the bad stuff she saw to happen.

I can’t really blame her.  My Mom’s life was rough.  Some of those details only came out after she passed away.  I never had the opportunity to show my Mom that Jesus really did care about the details of her life.  I know He did.  Yet my Mom died without knowing Him. 

I often wonder if I would have become a Christian if my Mom hadn’t passed away.  We were very close and very tied together emotionally.  I feel a type of survivor’s guilt.  I found everlasting life and in some ways her leaving this world enabled that for me.  Everything in me wants to reject the theology that says there is one way to heaven because it means that she won’t be there.

Here’s the problem:  I have to think about the Scripture.

When I dig into the background of the passage I realize that Jesus is speaking to believers or those that had the opportunity to go through the narrow door and didn’t.  You could say that most, at least in Western cultures, have had that opportunity.  So what is Jesus saying?  Is He saying it that the only way to get through the door is through Him?  Is it a warning for those who say a prayer and think that guarantees salvation?  I don’t know.  And maybe God is protecting me by not allowing me to have certainty.

One thing I do know from this passage is that it is a warning.  Regardless of what happened with my Mom I need to think about what it means for me to enter.  I do know that as Soul Pastor said, it is one person at a time.  So I need to focus on my relationship with Him.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Being a Woman Who Loves Technology

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7, NSV)

Sometimes I struggle with feeling truly feminine.  I do not have a lot of the things in my life that many would associate with womanhood.  I am not a mother.  I am not a wife.  I am not dating anyone.  I would like to have all of those things but it just hasn’t happened for me yet.  On the flipside, I have some characteristics that are typically associated with being male.  I am good with technology, I love video games, I work in Information Technology, I do chores on my own that my married friends leave to their husbands.

It used to be painful for me when others referred to me as a ‘techie.’  One day God redeemed that for me when someone I respect (and who I would view as being a model of femininity) said to me, “I think it is very cool that you are a woman who is a techie.”  Since then God has used several instances to show me how he is using my femininity and my ability with technology to serve His purpose.

At the beginning of June I went to the StoryLine Conference in Portland.  When of the things that stuck out for me is the impact of character on story.  He pointed out instances of helping others as being character building.  It’s not necessarily the story itself but using the things we are good at to help others is an important part of our story.  So as a woman who is good with technology I was able to help a friend get her blog going.  I think her blog is amazing and it will impact a lot of women.  So I am honoured to be a part of that story.  This summer I am continuing to work on our church’s media team.  It is a small way I can easily help out and it is a part of the larger story.

I know that as a female techie I am different from a male who is  good with technology.  My femininity makes me more approachable and I help in different ways.  So I am beginning to embrace this part of my identity…  which is cool because I really enjoy video games!

gamer girl

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Not Really Lost

You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going.  Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of you souls.  (1 Peter 2:25, The Message)

I have been pretty silent lately when it comes to this blog.  That’s because I didn’t really know what to say.  I had some health issues that made me tired all of the time and feeling like I had the flu a lot of the time.  I stopped exercising because I barely had enough energy to get through the day, never mind run.  The doctor did a bunch of tests and found that most of my results were just a little bit off.  I felt the same way spiritually.

I didn’t know what to do so I started a Bible reading plan on faith.  The passage above is one of the first ones I read.  It reminded me that, although I felt totally lost and confused, I had a Guide.  I was not alone in my struggle.  I didn’t understand what was happening but He did, and He could heal me.

I am starting to feel a lot better now.  Last week I went to Portland for the Storyline Conference (check that resolution off.)  The conference was awesome.  It left me a lot to think about.  I am at a turning point now.  I just don’t know where I am going from here.  However I this Scripture reminds me again that I am not alone.  I will figure out where I am going.

11 06 06_0713

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother’s Day Thoughts

momMother’s Day is a double edged sword for me.  I am not a mother.  I would like to be one.  I also lost my mom at a somewhat young age.  I feel like the adult me never got to know my Mom.  A friend of mine posted a link on her Facebook page that almost undid me on Friday.  This line really grabbed me:

“each milestone is a mile more in the road that we don’t walk together.'”

Even though I am sad, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the women who have taken the time to speak life into me over and over again.  I have been blessed with so many friends over the years.  Many of them a little older than me but some my age or younger.  They have had wisdom and words of encouragement.  They have modelled for me what it really means to be a woman of faith.  They honoured me as a woman and called me out.  So to all of those women I say “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Rubber Hits the Road

rubberLast weekend I gave a testimony at church.  I shared some things with hundreds of people that I had never shared publically before.  I was terrified.  I had a knot in my stomach all week.  I went through a bunch of scenarios in my head that included me having to find a new church after the old one pushed me out.  I was needy, asking for reassurance from those I trusted.  I did it anyway.

Why?  I did it because I knew God was asking me to.  I haven’t figured out what it means for others yet.  I hope that I was part of a path for some to greater wholeness.  I am not even sure what it means for me yet, except that none of my nightmare scenarios came true.  I am blessed to be part of a wonderful community of people who warmly welcomed me to the ‘stage’.

In the past couple days I have had the opportunity to hear my pastor speak.  Last night he spoke at an event our church is calling Revive.  I have to say he pretty much never teaches what I think he will.  Last night he taught that in order to find refreshment, we need to confess our sins.  That resonated with me.

This morning I heard a lot about living out our faith and how it isn’t easy doing what God calls us to do.  I experienced that last week.  In many ways I am being asked to step out in faith and to make some difficult choices.  God sent me some wonderful people to hold me up through it, but in the end I had to do it.

So here’s the thing…  I find myself in a place where there are things I want to say but I don’t know exactly how to say them.  I want to be careful not to alienate those people who are reading my blog.  That said, over the past few years, I have learned something.  In order to really have any level of an abundant life, I had to face those deepest darkest secrets.  I had to confess my sin and allow Jesus to cleanse me of it.  For if I continued to be ruled by those things, where is the hope in that?

And in order to continue to move forward I have to listen to God and go where He calls me.  I am still not sure why He called me to be so vulnerable in front of so many people but I have to have faith that it will bear fruit. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vacation

11 22 03_0172I returned from vacation last Thursday.  I was somewhat rested I guess but I found myself feeling stressed.  I have to say I haven’t been on track with workouts or food for the past couple of weeks.  I didn’t even count the number of healthy meals.  At times like this it is easy to get down on yourself and I did.  I had a difficult weekend.

I do know that I see progress in myself.  I asked for help and prayer from some friends.  I know I wouldn’t have done that before.  I would have just allowed myself to sink deeper into the hole I was digging for myself.  Sometimes I am tempted to believe that God won’t forgive me for my latest failure…  that I have exceeded the boundaries one too many times.  It is friends we need to remind us that is not the truth.  They love us unconditionally, hug us when we feel un-hug-able.

Yesterday I started my new running clinic.  I am taking the same program over again because I don’t feel ready to progress to the next one.  As soon as I arrived I knew I had made the right choice.  I have prepared some healthy food for this week.  I am slowly getting back on track.  I am working on being kind to myself… 

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Running Outside and Other Things I Am Learning About

winter run

Someone asked me last week in the comments what the coldest I have ever run in was.  I often get comments about how impressed people are that I am still running outside no matter the weather.  I used to make the same comments and I actually thought that running outside in super cold weather was dangerous.  I have learned that I was wrong.

The coldest I have run in so far is –32 Celsius.   It was –40 with the wind chill.  I haven’t had the opportunity to run in anything colder.  I haven’t set a limit for myself.  The cold doesn’t really keep me from running.  What would keep me from running outside is if the sidewalks were impassable (either too icy or covered with  a lot of snow.)  So far I haven’t had to run on those days.  I have cold weather gear and grips for my runners.

I have found that I actually enjoy the cooler weather when I am running.  I am warm but I don’t get too hot.  I realized that this winter I don’t feel as trapped.  I get outside and run no matter what.  It is freeing.  I am waiting for spring like everyone else but I don’t need it to be spring for me to go outside.

Now to the resolutions -- Last month I had a more difficult time with healthy eating and exercising.  I got my runs in but even when I had time I didn’t go back to strength training.  I learned a couple of things.  The first is that when I have a busy period, I need to prepare for a little beyond the busy period.  I had food prepared for two weeks.  I thought I would just get right back into the rhythm as soon as it was over.  I didn’t.  My worst eating week was the week AFTER things settled down.  Oh well, lesson learned.

I have worked out three times every week but I wasn’t able to get the forth time in and I only did my strength training once.  That was partially because I was tired but also because I needed to listen to my body.  I couldn’t add more to my workout yet.  I am going to try again this week.

Statistics for February:

Healthy meals – 76% (I actually had several days where I didn’t write anything down.  I assumed those were 0 healthy meals…  so maybe I hit 80 % and didn’t even know it)

Workouts – only one week with four workouts but every week with at least three

Time with friends – 6 outings

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This Week

I realized a couple of weeks ago that I was regretting entering The Biggest Loser contest at work.  At first I thought this would just help me focus on my goal.  I have found that it is counter-productive for me.  I am focusing on a number on the scale…  a goal I never set.  I know that if I strive for eating healthy and exercising I will lose weight.  It just won’t be on a timeline.  Today I am starting to understand that I need to ignore the contest or it will drive me crazy.

I have had some aches and pains that are on the edge of injury.  I am committed to continue to run.  I did a strength training workout this week as well.  I chose not to do a second strength training because I was already in pain on Thursday and I was afraid I would injure myself.  I think it was the right choice.

Yesterday I did run six  minutes walk one minute.  I have never done that before.  I think six minutes is the longest I have run and that was with an equal walking interval.  It was really hard and by the end I am sure I would have walked faster.  But I kept going.  Next week is eight minutes.  I am both terrified and excited about the prospect.

This morning my pastor made me think about how far I have come in the past few years.  I have had victory over things I never thought I would and that has allowed me to even consider tackling my health.  I am so glad I am not in that place anymore.  Sometimes remembering where we have been gives us the courage to move forward.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tired

stressI have been looking forward to this weekend for a couple of weeks now.  I knew that I would need to recuperate from this week.  After I have been in near crisis mode for two weeks it is difficult to stop my mind from spinning.  I had thought that I would get things back in order and get back to life as normal.  I am realizing today that I still need to take it slow and be kind to myself.

I have done pretty well these two weeks.  I kept up with my running.  I ate mostly healthy when I could.  I have enough meals in the freezer to keep eating healthy meals.  Today I am going to start my new strength training program.  Cleaning the apartment from top to bottom might just have to wait.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Excuses

The next two weeks are presenting a lot of challenge to my resolutions.  In other words, I am crazy busy.  I have been trying to think of when I am going to be able to get my workouts in.  I also want to remain somewhat sane over the next two weeks.  So I have come up with a plan.

I know I need to keep my running workouts up or I won’t keep up with the class.  So I need to find time to do that.  As for the strength training workouts they will be on hold for the next two weeks.  I just got a new program from my trainer this week so I am looking forward to trying them but now is not the time.  That means that I will likely only get three workouts in a week.

I also know that in order to be strong through this time I need to eat properly.  I have been storing some meals in my freezer and this weekend I am cooking some more.  I should have almost enough to get me through the two weeks.  So I will be able to keep up with that.  And I know that I set the 80% goal so I will give myself permission to enjoy what the other people around me are eating next weekend.

Everyone says they are busy.  And yes they are busy, perhaps they lead a life at the pace I will over the next two weeks all the time.  I know I need to be kind to myself or I will crash and burn.  So yes I have excuses…  but excuses are not always a bad thing.  There are valid excuses and I am making a choice to try and coast on some of my goals for the next two weeks without letting everything fall apart.

Tomorrow I am having pizza for the first time in a long time.  Oh I am looking forward to it.  I think the pizza will taste even better than it did when I was eating it all of the time.  Yum!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Unexpected

IMG_1606

This week I have been thinking about how God is always teaching us.  I never expected that my goal to run a 5k in under 40 minutes would bring me to such a place where I had to explore some of my deepest wounds.  I started sharing goals on Facebook last year which was a huge step.  I even talked about hitting a wall in my blog.  That said I have stayed away from really sharing about the struggle.

These few weeks I have found God calling me to move past that.  When I have shared that I am struggling people have been profoundly supportive.  I am bolstered by their support.  And I am happy to report that for the past two weeks at my running class I have someone to run with.

Sometimes I have felt like these goals are self-indulgent.  Now I know that I have been really living.  And God has been using these times to help me face my insecurities about not been able to keep up with the group to teach me about asking for and accepting help.  He has also taught me that people are willing to help.  There are runners that used to struggle as I do.  They tell me that once I get to about 7 minutes it gets easier.  They tell me how they had bad weeks and the next week got better. 

I also had two victories at work this week.  I think that God is showing me that the issues of the past are over and I need to look to the future.  I am nervous about the next three weeks (particularly the two weeks after this one.).  They will be very busy.  I am struggling to figure out how to fit everything in.  I have decided that it is important to keep up my three runs a week but that I may not get a forth workout in.  I am cooking as much as I can next weekend so that I will have healthy meals ready.  I am working to plan some outings with friends so that I can at least have some fun. 

So it is the last Sunday of the month.  Here are the stats:

Healthy meals: 78% (not too shabby)

Number of workouts: 20 (4/4 100% of weeks)

Friends: 9 outings (it helps when it’s your birthday)

Photography afternoons: 0 (it’s cold)

Blog posts: this is post # 5 of the year.  Considering I had 16 total last year, that’s pretty awesome.

I have decided to stop counting prayer statistics but I can say that I talked to God everyday.  I know this is something I need to work on.  I have also noticed that my other goals force me to talk to God.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Breath

God touchingWhen I run I typically listen to a Podcast that I have downloaded.  I have been downloading Podcasts from my own church that I have missed.  More often (since I don’t miss that many and there would only be one a week anyway) I listen to other pastors.  On Monday I was listening to Shane Hipps.  He is a teacher at Mars Hill Church in Michigan.  You may be more familiar with the lead Pastor from that church Rob Bell.

Shane was speaking on the concept of calling.  As I was in my last running interval he said something like this: “God wants us to do this stuff because he thinks they will be fun for us.”  He challenged the idea that if we don’t answer our calling we will anger or disappoint God.  He wants the best for us.  He thinks we will enjoy these things.  Will we always enjoy them?  Probably not.  In the learning stages and through some difficult times our calling will be just plain hard and no fun at all.  But overall, we are called to things that God knows will nourish our soul.  God knows how we are wired.

Then when I got home the teaching was still going and Shane was leading the group through a meditation exercise.  I sat down and went through the exercise with him.  He started with the typical breath in, breath out, just notice your breathing.  Then he said something I will never forget, “Remember that each breath is God breathing into you.  Each breath you take means that God has a purpose for you.”

At that point, tears streamed down my face.  I have been struggling because I made all of these commitments at the beginning of the year.  I am moving forward for sure but it has been difficult.  I feel like I am failing because I haven’t been able to consistently follow spiritual disciplines.  Yet what it comes down to is that every breath means that God has a purpose for me.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Running… Sort of

woman running in winterWell I have to admit that this week has been less than stellar in terms of resolution progress.  My food intake was only about 50% healthy.  I owe this partially to the fact that I wasn’t prepared going into the week and then my car wasn’t working properly with the cold weather here.  I did make some progress though.  I worked out four times.  I prayed most days. My Scripture reading isn’t where I want it to be.  That said I am realizing today that perhaps I can’t make all of these changes at once.  I will try again once I have a strong foundation of working out and I get back into a rhythm.

I signed up for a running clinic.  It started yesterday.  So there I was dressed in layers to run in –30 Celsius without the wind chill.  The weather itself didn’t end up that bad.  But to be honest II struggled.  I knew I ran slow but it became all the more apparent when I couldn’t keep up with the rest of the group (all beginning runners.)  The instructor came back for me a couple of times.  Still I had hoped I could keep up.  I honestly don’t want to go back.

Here’s the thing.  I have avoided running with others since I started.  I think that God is pushing me to shed the identity of the kid in the gym class who gives up.  So yes I will be behind the pack for now.  It won’t be that way forever.  I will do my practices this week and I will return next week.  I will eventually catch up.

At work we are starting a Biggest Loser Challenge on Tuesday.  Although I don’t have a specific weight loss goal I thought that this would help me work towards my goals of eating well and exercising.  The session is seventeen weeks which should give me a really good start.   

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Resolution Regret

After I posted about my resolutions I found myself coming across other things I ‘should’ have put on there:
- oh I shouldn’t be on Facebook so much
- oh I should clean out the closet in the bedroom
- oh I should have been more specific/strict about the definition of a healthy meal

And the list goes on.

All of these things are good things to do.  What I found out was that my resolutions focused me.  I was able to say, “yes but that’s not what I am working on right now.”  It seemed that none of them were more important than the things I was already working on.  And some of them might never happen or will happen naturally as a subset of what I am already doing.

I have made some progress on my resolutions.  I realized that I needed a plan and a way to measure them.  I am using a calendar I got for free to record the number of healthy meals, workouts, times I prayed, time I spent on scripture, events with friends, and photography sessions.

Working out has been going very well.  I ran outside today for the first time since the summer.  I actually enjoyed the cold weather keeping me from overheating.  I have a few logistical issues to work out but I am going to run outside as much as I can.

Food was pretty good until Friday came along.  But who cares.  Friday was my birthday and I had lunch out and a party yesterday.  Plus a friend made me cookies.  I felt so loved and valued at my party.  It was so much fun and the cake was AWESOME.  It was chocolate cake, with chocolate icing, chocolate filling, and chocolate chewy cookies crumbled on top.  What could be better?
posing in front of cakeblowing out candles for birthday

AND yesterday I registered for the Storyline Conference in Portland and booked my plane tickets on sale.  I am so excited I can hardly stand itSmile

Emergence and Whether Watching T.V. Is Okay

I remember the day I all of a sudden felt like I was ready to move.  It was December 30th.  In the days leading up to my vacation I had felt a considerable pull to watch television, play video games, have naps, read, or do anything that didn’t require energy or thought.  From about December 23rd on, I did very little.  I didn’t feel well.  I was tired.  I enjoyed my time with friends but I also felt like I needed considerable time at home.

I have typically viewed this as behaviour I want to change.  Yet knowing how I felt suddenly on December 30th I wonder if this is the way God built me.  My periods of rest involve things that others may view as ‘wasting my time’.   It wasn’t a waste of time.   I think it is what I needed.

If at that point I would have been exercising regularly, I would have kept it up.  Food is always an issue during the holidays but I think I would have had a better time of eating healthy if I had been doing that all along.  So maybe the key is not punishing myself for doing what I enjoy but creating a context for doing those things where they don’t detract from my health.