ImageWhen Hank and I are traveling together we try to take our dogs with us. Now these are desert dogs and are used to rocky soil, sagebrush, rattlesnakes, and jack rabbits so on these trips they discover new things like grass, water, sand, tall trees, dead possums, squirrels, and much more. 

Until last night all of their new discoveries were filled with opportunities for adventure. But last night they experienced their first PCB thunderstorm with the night skies filled with lightening and the sound of thunder roaring across our little beach house. It would seem that a storm like this would terrify these small dogs from the desert but they slept right though it all. 

I know why they were able to sleep through the storm. It’s because they knew they were safe. They knew that if there were any danger to them at all then we would have come to take them out of their kennel and put them in bed with us. They trust us completely.

Maybe we’ve been lacking trust in the one who keeps us safe during the storms. Maybe, just maybe, we can begin to believe that if there is any real danger to us then God will come and put us on his lap. And in knowing that we can sleep through the thundering and the lightening.

I’m in Ohio visiting Hannah, Austin, and my grand-baby! Gosh! There are not enough words in the world to describe how much I enjoy the precious time I get with that baby! For me,  a week is not  a long enough visit but it’s also too long to be away from Hank.

When I’m here I don’t even try to keep up with my regular workouts. But I also don’t completely skip them either. I usually try to squeeze in at least two or three very short workouts. (Now if Hank were here and it was spring, summer, or fall, we would definitely take advantage of the great trail system Columbus has to offer and I’d ride for miles and miles. But he’s not here, it’s not summer, and the very idea of riding in the snow absolutely repels me!)

What are my excuses for not working out while I’m in Ohio? Number 1: I don’t want to lose a minute with my babies! Number 2: Working out by myself is not near as fun as working out with Hank and our cross-fit group.

That’s why I’m starting the Strong to the Finish workout class for the Stronghold ladies on April 12th. When we get together to workout then we’ll not only have more fun but we’ll also reach our goals faster than we ever could alone! We’ll encourage each other. We’ll challenge each other. And we’ll celebrate with each other every time one of us reaches a goal.

Speaking of goals, have you began to think of any that you’d like to reach? (It’s important to note that we will not be using losing pounds as our goal cuz I personally think that the scales are a tool of the devil!) So, when you’re thinking about your goals think about things like losing inches or wearing a great pair of jeans, or fitness gains such as doing 20 pushups or running a 5k.

 

First, I have good news! My friend, “Susie Bee” has been moved out of intensive care and into a rehab center! AND, “Lilly Lee” is making substantial progress and is beginning to move her right side! God is TOO Good!

Now, onto other business. I begin every year in Genesis and do my best to read through the Bible. I’ve read it in various translations and with different programs. This year I thought I’d try something new and read the “Complete Jewish Bible” which was translated by David Stern. I’m really enjoying it — the names are all in Hebrew, the importance of loving the Word is emphasized, and Stern directs us to New Testament readings that correspond with the Old Testament. Normally I’d be further along than I am by now but I think taking it slow and reading the corresponding scriptures along with taking the time to look up Hebrew words that I don’t know is worth it.  So maybe this year I don’t finish the Bible but I hope to not only know more about God’s Word but to fall even deeper in love with it than ever before.

I’m in Exodus right now. God is telling “Moshe” how to build the tabernacle and how to dress “Aharon” and his sons, the priests. Usually I skim over these details. I’ve never really paid attention to the lengths of acacia wood used in the temple, the amount of gold needed to cover the Ark of the Covenant, or how the priestly garments were made. But it’s different this year. I’m beginning to think that if God was so interested in how the tabernacle was built (and later on the temple) and if He cared so much about the priestly garments that He designed them Himself then He probably cares a lot about how we take care of the bodies He designed for us.

Think about it for a moment. Peter tells us that we are a holy and royal priesthood. If we really are God’s priests in our families, workplaces, and communities wouldn’t He care about how we present ourselves? Seriously, if He was so concerned with the details of building a tabernacle, designing the priestly garments, and building a temple wouldn’t He be just that concerned about us? Isn’t it time that we began to treat our bodies like the temple Paul told us it is? We need to remind ourselves that our bodies are not just about us and what we like or don’t like, want to do or don’t to do,  where want to go, or if we want to stay right where we are. Our bodies are the very temple of the living God and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Let’s treat our bodies with the respect they deserve and in doing so honor the One who created them!

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10)

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)

The writer writes that “time and chance happen to them all.” And that truth cannot be denied. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do everything possible to prevent those things that can be prevented. You know things like heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc….

You and I cannot predict whether our lives will end as the result of a fatal accident or if a virus will enter our bodies with the intent on destroying us. Those things are left up to time and chance.

But we can take a look at our family history to determine whether or not we are at risk for those diseases that can be prevented through diet, exercise, and a good night’s sleep. We can decide to control our stress levels instead of allowing circumstances and situations to throw us into a frenzy.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because two of my friends are currently in the hospital fighting for their lives. I’m not sure that Susie Bee*  could have prevented her illness since the doctors are not even sure what caused her to wake up one morning “broke.” (Her word not mine.) She went to bed one night strong in body and will and woke up the next morning with no memory and unable to wipe her mouth with the cloth in her hand. My heart breaks for this woman who had always impressed me with her physical strength, physique, and determination to work hard to achieve the things she wanted in life.

My other  friend, Lilly Lee*, made the sad mistake of thinking that her body would always work well for her and failed to take of herself. Like Susie Bee she found herself “broke” one day and is now fighting to regain her health and strength.

Let’s take a moment and think about Paul’s writing:

 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We only have one body! There are no upgrades or trade-ins. As Christians, we were never supposed to believe that if we take care of our spirits then God will take care of the body. Sorry to say this but you can’t eat the Standard American Diet, sit on your tail all day, and live in divine health! It just can’t happen! It’s when we return to eating the way God planned in Genesis and moving our bodies like He created us to move that we will begin to glorify God in our bodies!

What is the Genesis  plan? Eating Seed bearing plants, fish,  fowl, and livestock.  Long walks.  And gardening.

Let’s you and I commit to taking care of our bodies with diet and exercise and let God take care of the time and chance stuff.

 

*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.

About a week or so ago, I decided to try a gluten-free diet. I’m not trying to lose more weight (although that’s always a plus). I’m just trying to get healthier and this seemed as if it might be the next step in my pursuit of health and fitness.  

For me, going gluten-free is proving to be that difficult as I rarely eat lots of bread and pastas anyway. The hardest part that I’m having is discovering the hidden wheat in various products like soy sauce and peanuts. 

Beyond avoiding wheat products and gluten, I’m also learning that every meal does not require a starch! I don’t need to add rice, pasta, or potatoes to everything I make. Great flavors satisfy me far more than quantity.  

ImageThat being said, I wanted to share our lunch recipe with you — it was another of Michael Symon’s Five in Five recipes and it was quick, easy, and delicious. I did make one change to it by serving it on a bed of arugula which Symon says goes well with pork. Again, it was delicious and there was no need for bread, rice, or pasta which automatically lowers the calorie count!

Onto another topic…. I’ve been doing the cross fit class at Wowies for a little more than a week now. Yesterday, we did the Filthy-Fifty (which seems fitting since everyone in the class is 50 years old) and it kicked my rear-end. But i’m working more than my body with these classes.  I’m also learning new moves which are stretching my brain! This class is good for me physically and mentally. Along with that I’ve had to do some healing to feel comfortable with the class and accepting the instruction and correction that goes with it. 

I don’t know what you’re doing physically but if it’s the same-old, same-old then maybe it’s time for you to try something new! 

God bless —- and be strong to the finish! 

Sharon

Do you remember how you felt in high school? You might have been a jock that was uncomfortable in your required foreign language class. Or you might have been like me. I was very comfortable with the academics but despised the P.E. classes. Put me in an advanced class and I knew that I would not only adapt but excel.  But please don’t ask me to run a mile around the basketball court. I was uncoordinated, out-of-shape, and felt like everyone around me knew it.

P.E. taught me that I didn’t like to work out with other people and since then I’ve never wanted to take a Zumba class, spinning class, aerobics class, or anything else that the gym offered. I’d prefer that you’d assign me a workout and then leave me ALONE!

Until today. I participated in my first crossfit class. It was horrible and wonderful. Horrible because I felt just like I did in high school and wonderful because I can’t wait to do it again because it was FUN. I wasn’t able to keep up with the others in the class. And I looked like a total dork doing burpees. But I did them and overcame a fear that has held me back for years!

And another good thing about today’s workout —– I didn’t have to wear those horrible P.E. uniforms that we wore in the 70’s!

Do you remember that old Bill Murray movie titled, “Groundhog Day?” That’s what New Year’s Day was like for me.

 In 2013, I woke up on New Year’s Day and genuinely thanked God that 2012 was over! 

And then again this year, I woke up and genuinely thanked God that 2013 was over and  I had actually  survived what seemed to be the worst two years of my adult life.

 You may be wondering what made these last two years so hard and the answer would be that a lot of changes took place in my life that I had absolutely no control over. All I could do was learn how to accept the change along with the ones making these changes and move on. 

 There were times that I was hurt, lonely, disappointed, and downright frustrated. I went through a long period of mourning unmet expectations.  I had to tap into the lessons of my past and not to let disappointment and discouragement lead to depression. 

 But you know what? I made it. Not only did I made it through these difficult changes but I came through them with that peace that passes understanding and have found myself in a happier place than I’ve been in a very long time.

You may be going through life changes or you may be trying to make changes in your diet and fitness routines. I’m here to tell you that change is difficult and often you may not feel as if you’ll survive the changes. But if you stick it out – you may come our not only happier but also healthier than you’ve been in a very long time!