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Fighting Fear by Finding Faith and Fitness

24 Jul

“The Only Thing You Have To Fear Is Fear Itself” -Churchill

Of one thing I am certain, you will face challenges everyday.

How you respond to life’s challenges is what defines your character.

Romans 5

I’ve faced a lot of challenges in my life {who hasn’t?}, but when I compare it how blessed I’ve been, the challenges seem so abysmal, that I’m ashamed to have focused on the negative and pitied myself. It’s all a matter of perception. We can get stuck easily on what has hurt us that we let the past hinder our future, when in fact your past does not determine your future; it’s made you who you are, but it shouldn’t define you.

Don’t let your past steal from your future, instead enjoy the present. And BE present. How many of us are constantly rushing around, thinking of the next thing we have to do? No wonder so many of us struggle with anxiety. One thing that I am practicing is being PRESENT. No matter what I’m doing. Even the things I don’t always enjoy. We are not promised tomorrow. Who are we to number our days? Don’t live like a zombie, eking out your days. Live with intention everyday. Not just on the weekends. LIVE. Don’t just survive. There is always something positive to focus on, even on your hardest days.

I enjoy history, and so I thought I’d share my favorite Abraham Lincoln quotes with you. They always inspire me and help me to refocus my priorities.

abe

The first one reminds me of CrossFit, but it applies to all aspects of life. Failure in itself is not bad – it’s proof that we’re trying. I pity the person who hides themselves away, avoiding life because they’re scared to make mistakes. I make mistakes all the time, and I’m proud of it because I’m learning from them. As I tell my students,  “it’s O.K. to not know but it’s NOT O.K. not to try.”

CrossFit makes me feel like I’m going to throw up everyday…that nervous feeling…like your first time on a roller coaster, or a first date. And I. LOVE. IT. when’s the last time you’ve really challenged yourself? Tried something hard? You won’t die from being uncomfortable. I was so scared to be a teacher too. not knowing if I had what it takes. I still rely fully on God and His grace in order to be the teacher my students deserve. But I fight for it everyday. The day I stop fighting will be my last. This life is a battle. Push back the dark, because you never know who needs to see your light.

Let’s Talk Faith {I do not push my beliefs on anyone, but I speak candidly about my faith because It is a huge part of who I am.}

When you recognize that control is a fallacy, you can begin to walk in faith. I have no control over my life. I’ve given it all to God. This doesn’t mean I’m irresponsible, rather, I take each day as it comes, and each opportunity as a blessing. I am so thankful that I DON’T control my life, but rather that I live by faith. I’m sure if God let me plan my life, I’d be miserable. I’m so grateful that God is in control and not me. When I watch everything fall together, so effortlessly, I know that God is behind it, working small and large miracles that I am unaware of. Never give up. Never stop praying- You have no idea what God is working out because of your prayers..even when you can’t see it…especially when you can’t see it.

no fear

Your Turn

What or who pushes you? 

What have you avoided doing because of fear? What can you do about it?

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Rest Day

12 Jul

rest-day

 

Photo Credit HERE

Let me first just  say, I HATE REST DAY.

Maybe it’s because we live in a world full of hustle and bustle, where there are constantly a million stimuluses pumping into our brains a day.  For example, I don’t know when this happened, but my summer morning routine is usually :Pray- Devotions, check Facebook, check email, look at WordPress Stats, surf Pinterest, make a list of things todo for the day.  I think I’ve gotten pretty efficient, I can do all the above in 20 min {Devotions take longer give or take the day}. But it brings me to the Chicken or the Egg question,  Am I ADD because of this stimulus overload, or was I just born with a firecracker up my bum? I constantly have to multitask. It’s hard for me to focus on one thing at a time. But that doesn’t mean I avoid attempting to quiet my mind. It’s harder for me, but I think it’s essential for everyone to have a rest day- from everything. I intended this post to be about taking a rest day from working out, but the more I think about it, we need to rest from other things as well…

Gimme’ a Break

  • Hard Workouts {Rest days need to be active too, more below}
  • Work
  • Stress
  • Giving { You need to refill your own cup before you can fill anyone else’s}
  • Social Media

Workouts:

i-hate-rest-days

 

Photo Credit HERE

Rest days from working out are probably the hardest days for me. I feel anxious and irritable when I don’t workout, but I know my body needs a break…otherwise…it will break. I like to remember this quote on rest days, “You do not have a soul. You are a soul, you have a body” – C.S. Lewis. On rest days I try to focus on bettering myself as a person, rather than focus on working out. This is perhaps one reason I don’t like rest days. I try to quiet myself, to be more patient, and to think of others first. I should do this on a daily basis, and I try, but rest days are when I’m really intentional about it.

Active Rest: I can’t lay around. I just can’t. I feel like poo if I do. So for me a rest day is cleaning the house, walking the dogs, and maybe sitting by the lake. Restocking my fridge with Clean foods, and surfing Pinterest for Paleo recipes {or playing mad scientist in the kitchen and making my own recipes}. Usually my Rest Day is Sunday- so I start my day with Church. I love my church. It helps me to get my mind right. I learn a lot about who God is, and I get to spend community time others. It’s really like family time for me. I’ve learned the hard way that if I sleep in, lay around, eat whatever I want and am unproductive on rest days…they turn into rest DAYS, and really bad habits {Have you ever noticed that it’s really hard to start up healthy habits, but super easy to start bad ones}. Some people may not see this as a rest day, but for me it is. I also try to stay off Facebook and my blog on Sundays in order to reconnect with reality. And my walks take me into the woods. I love to be in nature and silence {I do go with my two very protective dogs…Rocky’s part Pitt, and Gracie is part wolf  german shepherd…both diluted with lab}. 

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Work:

Although I truly believe in hard work in your career, you also need at least one day where you don’t work. At. All. This is hard if you are a very motivated person with deadlines and people to please. But you will burnout if you don’t detach yourself. When I started teaching, I think I worked from 20 hour days, 7 days a week, for at least the first marking period. I was terrified with the prospect of summer…”What would I do with myself?” I thought. But it has really been a blessing to be able to take a breath. Near the end of the year I was getting a lot better with leaving work at work. Not great, but better. Ryan called me the “crazy teacher lady”, but as with anything I do, I go all or nothing. Balancing that takes more effort than letting myself be consumed. But when I was consumed, which is the perfect word for how I felt, everything suffered. My laundry…relationships, my body, and my mental health. It’s all about balance {Much easier said than done}.

Stress:

I am a naturally anxious person, so I have had my struggles with stress. In college I would have panic attacks all the time. But I’ve learned how to manage stress in the past few years. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Spend alone time with yourself {NO TECHNOLOGY. ALONE TIME!}
  • Find a quiet space in nature and try to be still. I like to pray. If I don’t have the words, I just say the Lords Prayer and try to keep still.
  • Write a list of things that are troubling me, and put them in my God Box.
  • Organize my “Junk Drawers” and listen to positive music {Josh Wilson, Jason Castro, Jamie Cullens, NewsBoys….the music of my childhood:) }
  • Play with my dogs {except they think FETCH is Keep Away}

What I DON’T do {But I use to do…}

  • Reward myself with food
  • Call a friend and vent {not a bad thing, but generally I think this can stir up more negativity}
  • Go shopping
  • Go to a Coffee shop and buy a $6 coffee

Not that all of these are bad {The first one is…you’re not a dog, don’t reward yourself with food} but I’ve learned that for me, they do not help, but perpetuate my stress.

Food:

I know a lot of people like the Body For Life program, and if it works for you, great. But for me, I can’t do cheat days. My IBS and gluten allergy means that I will suffer dearly for even one meal of poor nutrition choices. So for my Rest day with food, I like to make something new and interesting. With all the paleo and clean eating cookbooks and websites, this is pretty easy to do, and I really do enjoy shopping for fresh foods {yes, I’m that annoying girl in the produce aisle squeezing my grapefruit and avocados}.

YOUR TURN

What about you-

What’s you’re Recovery Day like?

What do you do to alleviate stress?

Snack Attack!

7 Jul

Eating Smart

clean snacks

1. Eggs: The incredible, edible, eggs. They are my go to. They have saved me numerous times from the ravenous 3:00pm wall. {Have you experienced that? when you need food NOW and will raid the pantry and eat everything and anything?!}

2. Frozen Fruit: I like frozen grapes and watermelon the best. I have a bad habit of chewing ice, so this helps me overcome that too. I buy fresh, organic fruit, wash it, and toss it in a bowl, throw it in the freezer {without a lid…it takes FOREVER to freeze if you put a lid or seal over it} I’ve even convinced my nieces {ages 4 & 5} that it’s an ice cream treat. Healthy habits start young!

3. Fresh Fruit: Grapefruit is widely known for its effect on metabolism, but it is also high in antioxidants. Read HERE about why you should eat more grapefruit. Other fruits I can’t get enough of lately are strawberries and fresh picked blueberries!

4. Greek Yogurt: Need more protein? Ditch your regular yogurt and switch to low fat Greek Yogurt. With about 20g protein a serving, and calcium for strong bones, you can’t go wrong. I like to put some PB2 and fresh fruit into mine. Again, it’s a pseudo ice cream treat…add a scoop of whey protein for a healthy on the go breakfast!

5. Protein Bites: I’m a huge fan of Quest bars. but they get pricy at about $3/bar. I use to eat one or two a day, but now I save them as treats. I make my own power bites that are vegan and gluten free. You can find the recipe HERE.

6. Protein Shakes: Quick and easy, good after a hard workout, I love protein shakes. Especially in the summer. They are so versatile, you can add nutrients in based on your own needs. I like to use 1 scoop whey protein, 1 handful spinach {I’m popeye for sure!}, 2 tbs PB2 {powdered Peanut Butter}, 1 tbs Stevia, 1 cup ice, and 8 oz water. Again, pseudo ice cream!

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7. Turkey Jerky and Avocado Slices: Yum! Just make sure that your turkey jerky is sulfate and preservative free. This snack is full of protein, omegas, and healthy fats. This is a great snack for that 3pm wall, or pre-workout {just don’t over due it…especially if you’re on your way to CrossFit! whoo..burpees might take on a new meaning…}

8. Carrots and Almonds: One of my favorite combinations. I buy the 100 cal pack natural almonds because I have a tendency to eat the whole bag if I don’t…and often times I will eat the whole bag of baby carrots. During the school year this was a go to for me, since I never really get to sit down and eat, I can just walk around on playground duty with my bag of carrots. My palms actually turned orange, and the kids call me  ‘Mrs. Rabbit’, but that’s fine by me! Much better than eating a bag of chips! It’s also good when you’re craving something crunchy. Also, it’s a superfood, full of health benefits {Maybe this is why I have 20/20 vision!}.

9. Cottage Cheese and Sliced Tomatoes: I have to give credit to Kristin Johnson for this one. I kinda forgot about cottage cheese, but this is a great side for lunch or snack on its own. I sprinkle it with pepper and sea salt.

10: Protein Pudding: This is credited to my friend Kyle Dorsch (Thanks Kyle!) You need chia seeds, whey isolate powder, and almond meal.

PROTEIN PUDDING- {from Kyle}
Ingredients:
Protein of your choice (I use either ON 100% Whey or Promasil by Rival-us). The flavor is up to you but I’m partial to my vanilla.
Almond Meal (Flour)
Chia Seeds
Steps:
1. Mix approximately 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of chia seeds with double the amount of water. (1/4:1/2 – 1/2:1). Let them soak for about 10 to 15 min or until the chia seeds form a nice “gel” like coating (you may need to stir them to get the floating seeds to soak).
2. Determine your desired amount of protein you want to intake (I use 2 scoops which equals around 53g) of your preferred protein and mix it into the chia seed mixture.
3. Mix an equal amount of almond meal into the chia seed/protein mix (1:1 ratio for protein and almond meal)
4. Stir and enjoy
A few side notes:
– Feel free to soak your seeds over night, so if you workout in the morning they are ready when you get home.
– If you feel the pudding is to “clumpy” or “thick” just add some water and/or seeds until you are happy with the consistency.

Food is Intimate

Our relationship with food is a reflection of our spiritual life. When we are out-of-wack, we tend to “medicate” with food. Think about what you do when you’re happy…do you celebrate with food? When you’re sad..comfort food? what about when you’re lonely or bored? Food is a powerful drug. Unfortunately, if food is your weakness, it’s not as if you can abstain from it like a drug addict or an alcoholic. But chemical and spiritual warfare are at hand if you’re struggling with food.

IMG_7689-made-to-crave

Here’s a book that I read that really helped me to understand the link between my diet and spiritual life. Just know that if this is you…You’re not alone. Millions of people struggle with their diet and health. I am not a doctor, but this is why I’m here .I struggled and I have found what works for me, I now live passionately and vibrantly. I want you to too! “Life is too short to spend another day at war with yourself.”

I BLOG         strength through hardship

Devotion {Don’t Get Comfortable}

6 Jul

“Don’t get Fat and Sassy”

One of my favorite football players and speakers is Kirk Cousins.

kirk cousins

{Photo Source HERE}

He played quarterback for Michigan State University, and is now playing in the NFL for the Washington Red Skins. But the reason I like Kirk is not for his talent, although he is very talented, but I respect his integrity as an athlete and as a Christian. He stands up for his beliefs and raises the bar for all athletes. He exemplifies how to respond to success in all facets of life. One saying that I particularly like from Cousins is “DON’T GET FAT AND SASSY”. He was being interviewed about a game where he didn’t play as well as he usually does. His response was that he got ‘fat and sassy’, and needed to readjust his thinking {as well as the other players on the team}. MSU was in a winning streak, and then they lost to a team that they were expected to beat. We do this too! In life, we get so comfortable in our routines and habits that sometimes we go on “auto-pilot” and don’t give the right attention or effort into what we’re doing. I realize I get “Fat and Sassy” in a lot of aspects of my life. In my relationships, I just assume things will workout with minimal effort. In my faith, I forget to put God first, and  at work I can get caught up on a successful lesson plan, and then let another one flop. When we’re successful we seem to think it will last and that we can just “coast” through. Same with eating right and working out! How often do we stick to something almost religiously, and then give ourselves a “cheat day”? Personally, I can’t do cheat days because they almost always turn into cheat weeks!

Success is like a ride on a wild bull. When you’re on top, it’s exciting, you’re in the moment and living on the adrenaline and thrill of it…but the fall can be devastating. It maims many. This is what happens when we believe that success is man made. Cousins is known for glorifying God with his success. Because of his faith, he has also been persecuted. People lay in wait for him to “screw up”. Much like Tim Tebow. In our politically correct society, it is hard for people to understand why these athletes would talk so much about their religion. Tebow made waves by writing Bible verses under his eyes, talking about Jesus, and praying publicly. People even call his prayer pose “Tebowing”.

tebow3163741--415x615  Image: University of Florida quarterback Tebow warms up before the NCAA Sugar Bowl football game in New Orleans

{Photo Source HERE }                                 {Photo Source HERE }

In our society today, we make excuses for athletes that smack talk, do drugs, or shoot themselves in the leg at a night club (Plaxico Burress), but turn a critical eye towards those who live boldly for their faith. What’s the deal?! I think it’s because it challenges people. Seeing others live out their faith so boldly and passionately can make people feel like something is missing from their own lives. This means that instead of looking in our own hearts and making sure we’re not “fat and sassy”, we criticize.Human nature is infamous for knocking others down to make ourselves feel better.

Personally, I can’t even count how many times people have said to me “Oh, you workout? Must be nice to have the time”, in attempt to make me feel guilty for putting energy into improving myself. Or “Oh you’re obsessed with CroffFit.” NO. I’m a very passionate person. I’m passionate about everything I do! Don’t try to distort my passion into something dark.

The truth is that when your passionate about something, you’re always going to find friction with people. Many people don’t realize that Jesus was controversial. The religious leaders of His time hated Him. Jesus even tells the disciples “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18. How do we deal with that? With rejection and hurtful comments? We LOVE. Even when we are slandered. Jesus kept silent and loved the Pharisees when they persecuted Him. He never told ‘white lies’ to avoid being disliked. He knew that He would be rejected by many, but that’s the beauty, that God gives us free will. We can choose Him. He doesn’t force us into a relationship with Him. His grace is always there for us. And it makes it that much of a stronger bond when we do choose Him. But Choosing Him means standing firm in the faith. It means not always being the popular one, it means being persecuted…Just like Tebow and Cousins. But our purpose isn’t to gain a following of people on earth who think we’re great. Our purpose is to live with passion, for the one who created us, and to know Him.

So I’ll end this devotion with my favorite Bible Verse:

“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:4

humble life

{Photo Credit HERE}

My Steps to Strong

30 Jun

Step 1: Keep the Faith

The one thing that has always been consistent in my life is my faith. I know with all my heart that it is God who has gone before me, and led me into circumstances that have made me who I am today…and the person I hope to become.I love this quote

“God loves me just the way I am, But He also loves me too much to leave me that way.”

Each day that I am given is a gift. Jesus said that the greatest gifts on this earth is to… “abide in faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13  God is love. I want to reflect that to everyone…even the people I DON’T always get along with….Jesus was loving to those who slandered Him, spit on Him, and eventually Crucified Him. My patience pales in comparison. Jesus is strong. And if God is for me, who can be against me? Also, Jesus wasn’t just mentally and spiritually strong, He was also physically strong. He was a carpenter, He engaged in manual labor most of His life. For decades people have shaped the image of Christ into what they want Him to be, but Jesus does not fit into a box. Read HERE for a great article on the true image of Christ.

 

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Step 2: Strengthen Your Relationships

You will fall in life. But who is there for you when you do? Are you there for them? Refocusing on who is a priority in your life is important. Some people may just be unhealthy to be around, and that’s O.K. You can love them from a far {or tolerate them from afar} but you don’t have to be best friends with everyone. Look around you, who do you love? Don’t let a day slip by without letting them know. and also…If you want a good friend, you have to be one first. Sometimes that’s hard to recognize when we get caught up in the busyness of life.

friendship

Step 3: Find What Moves You…Literally

For me, I LOVE CrossFit. It’s such an amazing sport. You challenge yourself daily.

stronger

I love setting goals. My CrossFit goals are:

1. Figure out Double Unders

2. Kipling Pullups

3. Muscle ups

4. Work on Olympic Lifting

5. Focus on Form.

One thing I’ve really noticed about CrossFit, is that you shouldn’t try to figure it out on your own.

Crossfit is not dangerous

One of the first steps to joining a CrossFit gym is taking a Fundamentals Course. You need it. Don’t skimp. CrossFit is NOT throwing weights around. It’s physics, it’s form, it’s challenging. I personally know I won’t challenge myself like this on my own.

It’s quality coaching and the atmosphere of other CrossFitters who make CrossFit amazing.

crossfit pic

Step 4: Nutrition

If you feed your body with junk, it will perform like junk.

Eat Real Food. Eat Protein, Veggies, and Fruit. Avoid processed foods.

Nutrition Goal: Embrace my inner chief.

I love quest bars, but I wanted to see if I could make my own Protein Bites. Here are my results:

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Paleo Baked Protein Bites

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Paleo No-Bake Protein Bites

Baked Paleo Protein Bites

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Dry Ingredients:

3 Scoops Iso Define Chocolate Protein Powder {any whey protein powder will work}

1/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup Powdered Peanut Butter {PB2}

1/4 Cup Flax Seeds

1/4 Cup Raw Shredded Almonds

4 packets of Organic Stevia

Wet Ingredients:

2 Eggs

2 Mashed Bananas

2tbs Organic Honey

Instructions: Mix all together in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 18-20 minutes.

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Result: 2013-06-30 13.36.57 Yum! Tastes amazing fresh out of the oven, or after refrigerating.

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{Nutrition facts added up by me and entered HERE }

NO-BAKE Protein Bites {Paleo}

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup Steal Cut Oats

1/2 C PB2 {mixed with 1/4 c water}

1/2 C Chocolate Powdered Peanut butter {mixed with 1/4 c water}

1/4 C coconut flour

1/4 C Sliced raw almonds

1 tbs Honey

8 packs Stevia

4 Scoops of Whey Protein {chocolate}

Directions: Mix it all together. {I use a spoon. yea, I know, so cultured in the arts of culinary…} Roll into balls. Put in fridge for at least 3-4 hours.

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{Nutrition Facts to come. }

So here are my “baby steps” to fitness. What about you? Do you keep track of your goals?

What are your top fitness goals?

Modestly Speaking

28 Jun

I have a bad case of Verbal Vomit …

Have you ever found yourself in mid conversation and you have that voice in the back of your mind that says,”Don’t say it, don’t you dare!” and before you know it, it has rolled off your tongue like turpentine. Not necessarily like Miranda Lambert’s White Liar, but you just can’t keep your thoughts to yourself! Sometimes this is a good thing…sometimes, not.so.much.

I’m an open book, and you never have to guess what’s on my mind. I have a bad case of verbal vomit…often known as “foot-in-the-mouthtitis”. This has gotten me into trouble more times than I can count.

example:

Me: Oh, you are just all baby!

Client: Yea, I know. I’m trying to lose it.

Situation: I thought she was pregnant still…she delivered 3 weeks prior. All of you mothers out there want to kill me now, I know. I meant for it to be a compliment. She was a really adorable pregnant girl…the kind where it looks like they just smuggled a beach ball under their shirt. Needless to say, the next 2 hours of her hair appointment was really awkward. {she did forgive me…eventually….}

Proverbs 13:3 says “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin”.

My other favorite is: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

This is a lesson I keep struggling with. I have this poster up in my classroom as soon as kids enter. I think it’s a good reminder, daily.

THINK

Holding your tongue takes a lot of self control. I realized this when I was in CrossFit class the other day…I talk too much. I like to justify “why” I can’t do something, when I need to just drop the ego, listen, and DO IT. I came across this  poster on Pinterest and wanted to share it. After my foundations course at CrossFit Lake Effect, I definitely agree with this poster!

big ego crossfit

These are my goals:

  • Think MORE, Speak LESS
  • Let my Actions SHOW…{our actions already speak louder than words, I know I need to SHOW love, not impatience, frustration, and selfishness…oh man, easier said than done!!!!}

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Food for Thought

We also need to be deliberate about what we EAT. I really like the Paleo diet. Or I like to think of it as “The Maker’s Diet”. I think that God created food, and it’s best to eat it in the ways in which He intended it to be eaten. I love fresh fruits and veggies, and I’m realizing that all my years as a reluctant cook was quite silly, because if you focus on eating food closest to its  purest form, cooking is super easy!

I made Paleo Banana Pancakes for Breakfast this Morning {flour free}

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THREE INGREDIENTS {can’t get easier than that}

1 Ripe Banana

2 Eggs

2 tbs Pure Maple Syrup (or Raw Honey)

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Mush it all up!

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Fry it up like a pancake.

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So YUM, and very filling. only about 200 cal. Great way to start the morning.

I’ll leave you with this to “Chew” on… I’ve been thinking about modesty lately too: What it means to have Humility, and high standards…to be set a apart.

humility

Be Extraordinary

25 Jun

Oxymoron

The word itself implies that one who is extraordinary would be….extra ordinary, or extremely ordinary. It’s a contradiction based on the true meaning of the word; something that is exquisite or unique.

I like to think of it this way….I’m an ordinary person, but I have a little something extra. I’m extraordinary {meanwhile you’re thinking, “You’re conceited!”}

We are all extraordinary in some way or another. You have a talent, a gift, something no one else has. You are ordinary in the fact that you are human, you will fail at things, but how you choose to respond to that failure is what makes you extraordinary. Do you get back up and keep at it, or do you fold like a deck of cards? I think this quote embodies the human condition perfectly: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure- Marianne Williamson. (Read the full POEM)

our-deepest-fear

*Photo Credit HERE 

I’m trying CrossFit at CrossFit Lake Effect  and I can’t say that I do the sport any justice at this point. It’s hard. I get nervous before each training just wondering if I can keep up or not. And you know what, sometimes I can’t. And sometimes I can’t do things (like a double under) because I psych myself out. And somethings I’m just not strong enough to do (proper push ups, pull ups, rings) But here’s the true test of my character…do I give up and say “my body just can’t do that” (like I did with the French language “my tongue just doesn’t work like that!”) or do I give it my all and get back up and try again {option B is the correct choice!} It’s all about your priorities. At this point in my life my priority is being true to myself. What’s that mean? NOT GETTING COMFORTABLE.

Don’t Get Comfortable {Devotion}

Just like in working out, our faith life needs to be uncomfortable too. Whenever we feel comfortable with something, it means we’ve gone stagnant. For example, if I can lift  35 lbs on a barbel at first, I might be sore. But the more I do it, the more use to it I become. If I don’t increase my weight, I won’t build any new muscle. I’ll be comfortable, but ineffective. My mom always said, “You gotta grow, or you gotta go.” She is so inspirational. She is 50 years and just embarking on a new career as a Real Estate Agent, she has been super successful too. She is also a Spin and Pilates instructor, as well as a successful owner of a hair salon(35 years).

She has been a spiritual leader in my life too, a living example of Proverbs 31. Whenever I would complain or call her crying, she would always say…”What did Jesus tell you about this situation?” It was not the answer I wanted. I wanted her to validate my emotional state of mind, but she was always right. If I stopped and prayed about it, I wouldn’t be nearly as upset. I find myself thinking about these sayings now when I’m upset:

Pray About It

Free Download of Saying HERE

the woes we bear

Our human nature wants us to stay “comfortable”, it wants us to be ordinary. But God tells us we are His handiwork (Ephesians 2:10) and that he created us to SHINE. Each and everyone of us has a different purpose; we have different talents, abilities, and perspectives. When we realize that, we can break the cycle of comparing ourselves to others and STOP being so hard on ourselves when we don’t feel that we “measure up”. We can also recognize that having differing opinions is a good thing (except for on this). I see things completely different than Ryan sees things, but if we saw things the same, I don’t think we’d be together.

For example: When I was in my Psych class in college, we looked at these pictures…

duck-rabbit-illusion young3

What do you see in the first one? In the second?

With this prompt (we only did one at a time) students engaged in a heated  debate when asked what this picture was….

For #1: Some said, “Duck” and some said, “Rabbit”.

#2: Some said, “The profile of a young woman.” and others said, “An old woman”.

Who was right? {someone must always be right!} The answer: BOTH

These are perspective drawings, designed to portray more than one image. Look again, tilt your head if you need to. Can you see both in each drawing?

Sometimes we are right, and so are others. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that. Especially when you’re a 3/4th grade(s) teacher and your students are right…when you tell them their wrong…then they correct you…Again, you have the choice to be prideful in this moment and make some outlandish remark/excuse, or you can get uncomfortable. I just smile and say “Silly teacher! You are so smart (billy, or suzy…)”. Give others the credit they deserve too…even if you aren’t sure, or you disagree. When you stop looking at your own knowledge for the answers, open your mind, and learn from others….that is growth.

God designed us to live in a community with one another. I am amazed everyday at the people I get to met, and the wisdom I glean from them. You truly can learn something new everyday if you simply pay attention.

you learn something

This post was a bit of a stream of consciousness, but it was from the heart. I hope you liked it and gleaned some insights yourself. I know I put the link to the Poem by Marianne Williamson above, but this poem is so beautiful, that I want to put the whole thing on here…Pay Attention, I’m trying to entice you to read it.

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Keep Shining. And when you feel your light is dim, pray, and know that God will shine through you, even at your weakest.

-Ashley

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