Friday, May 17, 2013

The First Week

Well, it's obvious that blogging every day did NOT happen this week. I think part of it had to do with too much "down time" playing Candy Crush Saga. Shh! Don't tell! I think the other part of it was just that there are simply not enough hours in a day.

It was delusional, really. I mean, for what I think I want to accomplish, I either need about 5 more hours in the day, or I need to seriously schedule, plan, and prioritize. Or how about three p's? Prepare, plan, prioritize. For some reason, the alliteration helps people remember. So what are the things I'd like to accomplish? What are the things I need to accomplish? And how can I reasonably get it all done? Bonus points for getting a nap in there too! 

Looking over my p's, I think the correct order should be 1) Prioritize; 2) Plan; 3) Prepare. If it's a priority, I will find time for it. (Note to self: Candy Crush is NOT a priority! Feeding my family a good, nutritious meal IS a priority.) So after this week, I think I've learned some things, and I will be better prepared for next week. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Back in the world of blogging?

I've started and stopped a blog so many times. Actually, I don't really ever get off the ground, but I do have some good ideas. So I'm just going to try just having an online journal as my first goal. No rhyme or reason really. Just following what's going on in my life.

So here it is. Today was my first day going back to part-time work. I really wanted to be back home with my kiddos. I know, I know. They're still in school for another few weeks. I get it. But I figured I'd use this time to get caught up with some housework that had been tossed aside for a while. For my first afternoon home, time went way too fast! I mean, I did get some stuff done, but it wasn't like I thought it would be. I think I just need to be patient with myself and allow myself some time to get back in the swing of things.

My latest undertaking is tae kwon do. I love it! James started taking it last fall in his after school program. I started taking it as part of a six month trial. Two months into it and I'm already an orange belt! My goal here is definitely to become a black belt. I'd like James to have the opportunity to become a black belt too. Cate will be joining us for the summer. I'm not sure that she'll actually continue beyond that, but at least she's giving it a shot. We just need John to join us, and we'll be a family of ninjas!

So this is it for today. I just wanted to make sure I posted something to get in the habit of posting daily. As time goes, I'll be a little more purposeful in my posting. For now I just want to have something posted.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Reshaping It All"...Really?

Ugh! It's been a busy week! I can't remember a week this hectic in a long time. Part of it is my own fault, because I let some things go. On the other hand, it was an accomplished week of tying up loose ends.

But have I reshaped anything? Oh, yeah, I did. In the wrong direction! When I'm in weight-loss mode, my body gives me some nice feedback. I'm not getting that. It's so frustrating for me, because in the more recent past, I would lose a few pounds, feel good about myself, and then gain it all right back. I do NOT want to do that again!

I'm not considering myself a failure. God doesn't see me as a failure. As it is written in Psalm 103:
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
God knows where I came from, but, more importantly, He knows where I am going. So He knows that I am weak. I can't do this on my own strength. I MUST rely on God's strength, or I am not going to succeed. With that knowledge, I did write up some verses on a piece of paper. This paper is on the wall right over my laptop.

I have a lot on my wall over my desk, but in the center of it is my list of verses. When I'm working, I can glance up and get some encouragement from God's Word. The bad thing is that I haven't done much work at my desk this week. That should change soon.

In Chapter 4 of "Reshaping It All" Candace talks about the importance of setting a goal, formulating a plan, and counting the cost of that goal. Formulating a plan needs to be more than just "cutting back." It is so important to be very specific about what we are cutting back. Candace asks three questions that help with getting specific about a goal and how to get there. I want to share my responses in hopes that putting it all out there will help me stay accountable to something for my goals.
  1. What goal do I hope to attain?
    I would like to at least get back down to the weight I was when I got married. This means that I need to lose 12 pounds to get to that goal! That's it!
  2. What do you hope to attain by reaching this goal?
    I will feel comfortable in my own skin again. I will feel attractive to my husband. I will have the energy to do what I need to do.
  3. What is the cost?
    1. Eat only when I'm hungry.
    2. Reserve sugary treats for special, SCHEDULED times.
    3. Don't eat after 7pm.
    4. Eat at least 5 servings of produce.
    5. Use smaller plates for dinner.
    6. Drink 8 cups of water daily.
    7. Exercise 4 days/week.
Hmm...I forgot one thing that needs to go under number 3: Read my Bible daily. My life falls apart when I'm not in my Bible every day. So this is really essential. Some parts of my plan may need to be tweaked as I go, but overall I think it's a good place to start. Especially when it comes to eating only when I'm hungry. I love food. I love the way it tastes. I don't want it to go to waste. Thus, I end up eating more than I really need. I don't stop when I am satisfied. However, God saved me from other things that I loved that were destructive to me. He can--and will--save me from my love of food.

Here is one of the verses that I have up on my wall:
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." --I Corinthains 10:31

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Favorite Shampoo

Well, I'm now feeling brave enough to share with the world my favorite shampoo and conditioner. Maybe you'll be surprised. Here it is:

Yup. Seriously. That's it. I'd read on some blogs about going "no 'poo" and I was intrigued by the idea. Actually, I really liked the thought of not needing to wash my hair every day. The women I'd read about said that they could go a few days without needing wash their hair. Since my mornings can get crazy, I really liked the idea of being able to get dressed in the morning without looking disgusting. At this point, I can go every other day without washing my hair. I love it.

Why would I want to do this? Or why should anyone want to do this? There are a couple of reasons. The first one has everything to do with all of the chemicals that are in shampoo and conditioner. Really all cleaning products. Personally, I am trying to avoid anything that requires a chemistry degree to understand. Plus other women have written about this very topic much better than I ever could. Here is one: She also follows the same method of washing that I do. This blog goes more specifically into some of the chemicals that are used: You could do a google search on this topic and come up with more blogs than you have time to read. I'm just giving you a couple to get you started.

The second reason has to do with cost. Even if you want to stay away from most of the nasty chemicals and use commercial hair products, you will spend an arm and a leg on those products. And with the way the economy is looking these days, who can do that? Baking soda is pretty much the same no matter what brand you get, so I usually just get the generic at less than 50 cents a box. The conditioner is apple cider vinegar, and that is pretty cheap too. Just make sure you get a larger bottle. I haven't yet figured out how far a box of baking soda will go with me, because I have a couple of other uses for it in the bathroom. Bottom line: it's cheaper and better for you.

Disclaimer time: I understand that this may not work for everyone. If you decide to try it, give it some time to work. Your hair has been stripped of oils for years. It's going to take some time for your body to get back in balance. Also, you may have to play with the amounts of baking soda and vinegar that you use. I need a little more; you may need a little less. When I first started going no 'poo, I did have to wash my hair every day. I wasn't able to go every other day right out of the gates. And now you know.

This is all you need in the bathroom. I use the blue squeeze bottles to apply the baking soda and apple cider vinegar. In one I put 1.5 tablespoons of baking soda and add enough water to equal 8 ounces. Since my hair is so short now, I've been playing with the amount of water I use. I tend to use a little less now. I put the same amount of apple cider vinegar in the other bottle and add enough water to equal 8 ounces. When you add the water, make sure it's warm enough but not too hot. You don't want to pour cold water on your head (unless you like to), and you don't want to scald yourself in the shower. Also, make sure you shake the baking soda well to dissolve it. Most blogs will tell you to use 1 tablespoon of each to start. I did that and found that a little extra worked better for my hair. Like I said, it's a learning curve, and you just have to learn what works best for you.

Oh, one more thing about mixing the baking soda and vinegar. Don't think you're going to get away with mixing the baking soda and vinegar to save time. If you've ever done a volcano project, you know why. I had tinkered with the idea at first but quickly came to my senses about it. Base and acid cancel each other out. 

Once you're in the shower and ready to go, pour the baking soda mixture onto the roots of your hair. With your fingertips, massage the baking soda in. Let it sit for a minute or two and rinse. Then pour the apple cider vinegar mixture onto the ends of your hair. Do the best you can. Let that sit for a minute or two and rinse.

And that really is it. It's pretty simple. I've been doing this for about 5 months. Maybe a little more? I've been pleased with the results. Want to join me and try? Are you already doing this or something similar? Let me know! I'd love to know I'm not the only one!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reasons to Reshape It All

I had victory last night, as I did not give in to having a snack after church! I've gotten into the bad habit of having a snack after the kids go to bed. Would I let my kids snack after dinner? More than likely not. Then why do I do it? Because I'm the mom, and I deserve it. Really? Okay. That's a bad reason. Do I really enjoy the extra pounds hanging out at my midsection? No, but they've been hanging around so long now that they feel like family.

In all seriousness, I'm finally kicking those pounds to the curb! Health-wise, last year was a bad year for me. Okay. Fine. But that doesn't mean that I have to let 2010 leak into 2011. And so far 2011 is starting out pretty well. I hit my highest weight in January, but now I'm down 15 pounds from that high weight to the lowest weight I've had in over a year!

Candace gives three reasons why diets don't work. I see myself in all three reasons. I'm undisciplined; I don't allow myself treats in moderation; and I'm not convicted about why I need to lose the weight. Today I'm going to list out the reasons why I want to lose the weight.

  1. If I expect to keep up with my kids, I need to be healthier and stronger.  
  2. I want to glorify God by taking care of the temple He has given me.
  3. Honestly, I just want to feel good about myself in a non-conceited kind of way. When I know I don't look my best, I get grumpy with my family. When I know I look good, there's an extra spring in my step. Plus I want to look good for my husband. I want him to be proud of me. I mean, he thinks I look good anyway, but I want to feel like I look good for him. 
And that is really it. I hope it doesn't seem to shallow, but these are my reasons for getting healthier. After this last episode of immobilizing pain in my back, I do not ever want to be like that again! I want to be strong and able to fulfill my duties to my family and God.

This morning was a good morning of exercise. I walked my daughter to school this morning, which is more than 1.5 miles away. Then after I got home, I mowed the lawn. I'm now done for the morning and feel more than entitled to sit for a while. James will be home soon, so I'd better relax now while I can!

Live in freedom!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chapter 1 Wrap-Up

Well, so far this week is going well. Actually, I've been doing well since Monday. Yesterday was a good day. I went with my daughter on her field trip, so I did get plenty of walking in. I only ate when I was hungry, and that meant that I didn't finish my breakfast or lunch at one time! I didn't eat after 7pm, even though I really wanted to. Because I didn't eat after 7pm, I didn't have any sweets either. For my quiet time, I reflected on some of the passages in "Reshaping It All." Here they are.

p.4--"I desire to walk [under the umbrella of grace] in fellowship with Him."
This is what God desires from us anyway. Jesus calls us his friends. When I am friends with someone, I want to spend time with that person. Spending time with God gives me the strength I need to say "yes" to those things I should and "no" to what I need to. I have the freedom to do what I should; therefore, I don't need to give in to the pull of food.

p.6--"There something oddly comforting about...the thought of food that tricks our minds into believing that it can and will fill our void."
What is it about filling my belly full of food that makes me feel comforted and fulfilled? In one sense the fullness numbs the pain of what I'm dealing with. But really that's not how we should deal with our issues. It's just a way to hide from issues. And actually, I haven't overeaten in so long, that I am a much more pleasant person after dinner. I tend to get so cranky after overfilling my belly!

p.6--"I sought moral reformation instead of a spiritual transformation."
I think this sentence really gets to the heart of why we have a hard time changing. We want to change our external behaviours first when what we should do is change our hearts. When the state of my heart changes, then I am able to make the necessary external changes. I wonder how many Christians go through life this way, getting frustrated when they fall into the same sin over and over again. Not that I'm picking on anyone, because I only just got this this year! I started praying for God to show me my heart, and he did. Over time, I saw how my heart was more like the Pharisees rather than the the heart of a genuine follower of Christ. Really what is what was was my pride keeping me from authentically bowing my knee to Jesus. Only when I am being an authentic follower will I see my life truly change.

And that's what this whole journey is about anyway. The weight loss is a bonus to be sure. I won't deny that. But the focus needs to be on Jesus and living my life for him. My food issues were gods and idols that had no right being in my life. With my eyes on Jesus I can say no to food that I don't need. I can make healthier choices, because my body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Being cranky from overeating is not conducive to living a life in step with God. I am made for more than that, and I will strive to live a life that is pleasing to my God and Saviour.

Live in freedom!

PS: I'm linked up with Courtney at Women Living Well!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Field Trip Day!

Well, I could write a book about what we did, but I'm just going to jump into the highlights. Overall, it was a good day. The first half was somewhat rushed, and I ended up stressed and with a headache. But to the beginning....

It started as an early day: I rolled out of bed a little after 5am. This wouldn't have been too bad, except that I had been awake for 2 and a half hours during the night. Cate and I made it to school on time. The students split into groups with their chaperones, we boarded the buses, and we were on our way. The kids were bouncing off the walls! They were so excited to go, but I was still able to read a little bit on the way there.

The first place we went was the Capitol building. In spite of the rallys being held there today, we got in and out fairly quickly. I was the most nervous about the Capitol, because I remember how it was when I was in school.

Okay, here is the embarrassing backstory: In fifth grade I got to go to Harrisburg with my class. We visited the Capitol building and made our way to the House of Representatives balcony. I attempted to sit in the balcony, but I was so freaked out by how high up we were that I ended up getting my own personal tour of the Capitol.

Let me just say that this trip was much better. I handled the balcony well, and I enjoyed the tour.

Next we went to the William Penn Museum, where I spent much of the time chasing after certain members of my group and obtained a headache as my prize. This museum focused on the history of Pennsylvania, and there was a lot of neat artifacts and artwork.

We moved on to the Governor's Mansion next. That was beautiful. While the Capitol had 2 ton chandeliers that were ugly, the Governor's Mansion had lead crystal chandeliers that were beautiful. The gardens were gorgeous. Our group was the first to go through, so we got some much needed down time while we waited for the other groups to go through.

Our last stop was the Whitaker Center where we saw a 3-D IMAX movie and played with some cool displays. I decided to give up on keeping my group together, so I spent the time going around and making sure that I knew where my kids were. Because the movie was in the middle of our time there, we only got to one floor and the gift shop. The kids were bummed that we couldn't do more, but we ran out of time.

The movie we saw was called "Born To Be Wild." It was about two women: one in Kenya raising orphaned elephants, and one near Indonesia raising orphaned orangutans. It was funny. The best part was watching the animals interact with their caregivers. Actually, the funniest part for me was watching the kids react to the 3-D with the countdown at the beginning. They were ducking and reaching out to the screen. Overall, I give it two thumbs up!

I had hoped that the kids would fall asleep on the way home, but no such luck. It was still a good ride home. It went fast. I'm glad to be home, but I did have a good time out there.