Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Ode to January

Good Morning! I'm glad to finally be back in the blogging world. We made it through our trip to Las Vegas and WOW, was that an adventure! We had ourselves a very good time and although it was hard to leave such lovely spring-like weather (blue sky, sunshine...not to mention mountains in the distance), it felt good to come home! As much as it was nice to be away from the normal routine and daily demands, it felt like I wasn't just on a vacation physically, but mentally and spiritually as well, and honestly, I didn't like how that felt. I should never let myself go one day, let alone a whole week, without spending time with the Lord...its too precious and necessary to take a vacation from...let that be a lesson to me! No matter how busy a vacation may be, make sure to include time with God!

I am proud to say, however, that going on vacation did not hinder me from jumping back into my daily devotions, bible study, diet, and workout routine upon our return. I have been faithful almost everyday this week to my goals of becoming more spiritually and physically fit! And looking back over the month of January, I am happy to say that I have gotten off to a great start for the year 2010! Its the small life adjustments that over time will make incredible differences! I am excited for what future months will bring.

Well, tomorrow begins a new month and I will be sure to have my scripture memory verse ready. I am realizing that it may not always be feasible for me to blog everyday or every week for that matter, so for now I'll plan on blogging on the 1st and 15th of each month and any time in between will be considered extra.

Goodbye January...Welcome February!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Scripture Memorization Verse #2

Well, I did not expect to be away from blogging for so long! Things have just been so busy - work has picked up, and it was my husband's 40th birthday last weekend complete with surprise party and all. And almost every night this week has been packed full as we're heading to Las Vegas on Monday for a week-long trip. So much to do, so little time it seems! But, it is definitely nice to be back on here and ready to work on memorizing my second verse for the year.

I will say, before I jump into my verse, that I have been very faithful to my diet and exercise plan. Even though I wasn't blogging about it, I have kept on going! I've been sticking to eating healthy, drinking lots of water, and exercising no matter what is going on! In the last two weeks, I am proud to say that I have walked 15 miles via those "Walk Away the Pounds" dvds. As of this past Monday, the scale indicated that I had lost almost a whole pound, and I've noticed that my skin looks clearer, and just in general, I feel happy and healthy through and through! This new way of life is doing wonders for me not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

So, I'd been thinking about the next verse I was going to focus on and two terms that were really coming to mind were "walking" and "faith." I blogged previously about what God has revealed to me about faith, so, I decided to go with a verse about "walking" and this one seems quite appropriate...

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." -1 John 1:7, NIV

My bible comments on this verse by noting that there are two walks of life...1) walking in darkness and 2) walking in the light. Walking in darkness is characterized by wickedness and error, while walking in light is characterized by holiness and truth. I know that sometimes I walk in both darkness and light, but the ultimate goal is to walk faithfully in the light every day of my life!

I've been struggling with a particular friendship lately; one that I want to keep and make better, but one that I'm not sure God wants me to keep and make better. Its really been an emotional rollercoaster for me because I'm not sure what to do. I've got my prayer warrior and best friend praying with me about it and I'm hoping for either a solution or a way out without any more pain and hurt. This verse inspires me because I know that if I walk in the light of God's holiness, truth, and love, that I will find the kind of friendship (fellowship) that builds one up and encourages one to stay out of the darkness. God may work a miracle in the situation I've mentioned and make this friend a part of that divine connection.

I'm also getting ready to start a new bible study through my church. Our women's group is going to be doing Beth Moore's "Esther: Its Tough Being a Woman" study and as a small group leader, I pray this verse over my members as they prepare for and enter this study on Wednesday evenings. I hope that together as a group we can find the kind of fellowship that inspires us to walk everyday in the light and that we will encourage one another to seek God for forgiveness for those times we step out of the light into the darkness. I pray we will seek Jesus at every turn and know it is Him who saves us!

Well, that about wraps this post up for the day. I may not be back on for awhile as I'll be out of town next week, but my hope is that while I'm away that I can experience walking in the light and have some blessings to share with you the next time I blog!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Simply Faith

Another successful workout tonight! Its really easy to do it if I just go right downstairs after work and put on the workout clothes. I think if I sat down upstairs, or did anything else for that matter, I wouldn't be motivated at all. The strategy I've come up should work just fine!

Well, after working out I fixed my husband and I wonderful dinner of baked lemon pepper tilapia, wild rice, and broccoli. It was delicious AND healthy! Can't go wrong there. But I was really excited to get on the computer and blog tonight. I just really wanted to take some time and reflect on God and what He is revealing to me.

I have a little book, called "TouchPoints Bible Promises," that I absolutely adore. I actually bought a copy of it for my best friend Kate before she left for college and when we reconnected after being apart through school, she told me how much the book meant to her and presented me with my very own copy. I treasure this little book of wisdom in so many ways. In just over 250 pages, this book touches on just about every subject, A-Z. I find if I need specific verses to better understand something or just need a dose of refreshment, this is the book to read.

With the new year beginning and with new goals having been set, the topic of "renewal" seemed perfect to read. A verse that came up, and one that I've pondered many times, comes from the Old Testament...

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." -Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NIV)

I love that despite all of my faults, mistakes, and weaknesses, that God still manages to extend His grace and pours out His Spirit on me. I love that after a year of ups and downs, that this new year can be better, filled with only things that He can do! It gives me hope that I can live the best life possible - one beyond my wildest imaginings!

Another verse mentioned comes from the Book of Colossians...

"You have clothed yourselves with a brand new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you." - Colossians 3:10 (NLT)

Ultimately, choosing to set new goals and seek out God's will for my life requires a great deal of faith. Faith is what is going to keep me going in the direction that will lead me to Christ in eternity. As I learn more about Christ and experience who He is and what He's capable of, my faith will dramatically increase and allow me to not have to worry about worldly matters, but to just rest in Him. Isn't that a wonderful gift? No worries, just resting in the Lord.

In thinking back to my first scripture to memorize, Ephesians 4:24, I asked this question yesterday: "Lord, what does a God-fashioned life look like for me? What does it mean?" I believe God is starting to show me what a life fashioned after Him looks like - it is simply FAITH! Faith to look to God when its the hardest thing to do, faith that He can overcome any obstacles or challenges, faith that He loves me and provides for me, faith that He really exists and that I am who He says I am...the list could go on forever. Faith is going to be what keeps me renewed in my commitment to seek after the best life possible - the God-fashioned life.

Praises to God for bringing some of the pieces together for me so I experience some of what that ideal life looks like now! Thank You, Lord, for loving me and being with me as I faithfully move forward with You in this new year. Amen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First Workout Down!

Today was a success! I came home after work and went right downstairs to do my walking work-out. I ended up doing a whole 2 miles and I felt so good not only while doing it, but afterwards. It felt really awesome to take that first step of getting started and I realized for the first time in a long time that I can do this and it can actually be quite fun! I couldn't help but smile while I was in the shower cooling down.

I have every intention of sticking to my plans for eating healthy and working out on a regular basis. As I said yesterday, I know that I can't do it alone and so today my prayers centered on God giving me His power and strength to be motivated, rather than relying on my own. I am happy to say that He answered that prayer and I have faith that He will continue to do so as long as I am willing to surrender to His will for my life - the will to be healthy and keep my body as the sacred temple it is supposed to be.

Here's to (power) walking in faith!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nobody Said It'd Be Easy

Well, the first official day of my health plan was challenging. I ate consistently throughout the day, pairing carbs with protein, drank two full bottles of water, and then....I crashed! Towards the end of the work day, I started to get a bad headache and after my last snack, I was feeling pangs of I was starving! It was totally not what I was expecting or looking forward to after all that preparation. And to make matters worse, since I wasn't feeling 100% when I got home, I decided to postpone my first night of working out until tomorrow night.

I wouldn't go so far as to say today was a total failure...I stuck to my guns with eating properly and have every intention of working out tomorrow. But I realize I need more that just my own strength to stay motivated and committed to this healthy lifestyle. I need God in every way!

My prayer is that God would extend His marvelous grace to me and that He'd carry me through this change in lifestyle. I pray that God will be in authority over my new goals and that any progress I make will be to His glory. I thank God for loving me and for being with me in my weakness. Amen.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Great Expectations

There's something incredibly sacred about God speaking to His people. With all that goes on around us, unless we're really listening and engaged with God, we'll miss what He's trying to tell us. That's why I love to spend time with God first thing in the morning - while I savor a cup of coffee in my oversized chair, before the rest of the house awakes, and prior to getting in the shower and attending to the ever-growing "to-do" list.

Today, God spoke to me. Both my daily devotional and the sermon at church spoke of how BIG our God is and the expectations we have when it comes to our relationship with Him. I was deeply touched by the messages in both as I became aware that while I have the knowledge of who God is and what He can do, I don't always expect those things of Him and it turn, rely on my own or others abilities to come through for me. This, of course, leads often to heartache, disappointment, and failure as nobody can be everything to me the way that God can.

This may seem simple and obvious, but it became clear to me that with new goals, needs to come a new attitude with renewed expectations. So, in answer to the question, "What do I expect from God this coming year?," my response is that I expect the God of miracles to work a miracle in me - to transform me into the person He desires me to be and redeem me from my past mistakes and weak expectations. Why? Because He's BIG enough to do so! Amen.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Toast to Health

Yesterday I mentioned the spiritual walk I'm embarking on over the coming year, but I didn't delve much into the goals surrounding my physical health...

2009 marked an interesting year for this topic of "physical health." I watched my grandmother battle bladder cancer, complete with chemotherapy and then ultimately complete removal of her bladder last month. She never exhibited any symptoms of cancer, but went in to a routine yearly appointment only to be forever changed by the finding of a tumor in her bladder. It was shocking! One minute, you're completely fine and normal, the next you're being told you have the dreaded C-word!

Later in the year, I went in for my routine check-up and was shocked to find out a few days later that I had high grade pre-cancerous cells, which would mean an outpatient procedure and check-ups every 3 months for a year to monitor these cells. Although my condition is quite common, it was nonetheless emotionally and mentally challenging. Fortunately, I am incredibly blessed to be married to a supportive and loving husband who has been nothing but wonderful through this entire ordeal.

These are just two examples of how my eyes have been opened to the importance of physical health and well-being. Granted, I know that someone can live a perfectly healthy lifestyle and still get sick, but I am still motivated to do whatever I can to live the healthiest and most holistic lifestyle possible. Therefore, I am taking the step towards healthier eating and weekly exercise.

I went to the grocery store yesterday and had a blast picking out the freshest foods in order to prepare small meals and snacks throughout the day. And for Christmas I was fortunate to have been given some walk-at-home dvd's that will make my exercise goals accessible and easy to do. I am really excited about the opportunity to not only get in shape for my summer up north, but to feel and look better inside and out!

Here's to health and well-being in 2010!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

A new year has officially begun, which means new goals are set and ready to be achieved over the next 12 months. My biggest goals for this year encompass ways to get spiritually and physically fit. I hope to reach new heights in my relationship with God and by June 1st, be ready for days at my favorite beach up north.

Spiritually, I've made it a goal to be in the Word, in prayer, and in fellowship everyday. Part of my commitment to this is memorizing scripture so that it becomes a part of who I am - my thoughts, speech, and behaviors. Based on a practice I learned from Beth Moore, I am going to pick scriptures that are particularly meaningful to me on the 1st and 15th of each month. As today is the beginning of my journey and the beginning of what hopefully will become a transformation of my soul, I have chosen the following verse to memorize...

"...take on an entirely new way of life - a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct..."
-Ephesians 4:24, The Message

May this verse echo the way of life I hope to embrace over the coming year and into eternity!