Tag Archives: movement

Weigh-in Wednesday: Getting Our Groove On

Person-weighing-themselve-007Whether I’m simply a wimp or getting older, I can’t say. But the cold outside is more of a deterrent than when I began walking in 2012. As you know from last week’s post I’m seeking to let go of those pounds I found again before I find all that weight I lost.

(Isn’t maintenance a bear?)

I have to admit the fact I can still fit into my new clothes makes me a little lazy. But I know I’m on the cusp of not. There are a few I’ve avoided wearing because they don’t look so great now.

In my journey to losing over 50 pounds I learned that a more active lifestyle really is one of the most important ingredients in health and body care–but it’s February here in Colorado. Too often the sky gray instead of blue, and my nose and toes are cool to the touch even inside our home. My love of walking wanes, and while I’ve thought about joining an exercise class, scheduling a car is difficult in our family. I really need to be active at home.

This happened last week. The gloomy weather didn’t exactly help the gloomy mood clouding my attitude. After curling up in my comfy chair and journaling, I wasn’t feeling any better. (An exercise video didn’t even cross my mind.) I was out and out grumpy.

Then I felt that Voice inside.

He said, “Dance.”

Dance?

Talk about resistance. I didn’t feel like. I didn’t want to. I was sad and mopey and low on energy.

Dance?

But the Voice persisted, and I cranked a favorite worship CD.

Anyone peeking in the window would probably laugh. But my Creator did no such thing. I could feel His pleasure as I danced because He asked me to. The words and melodies of the music nourished my soul and pushed back the negativity that had cloaked me.

The clouds lifted.

I’m not a particularly good dancer, folks. Not only do I have no training, but as a child the religion of our family said dancing just might be evil, so I don’t have much practice either.

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Image found at Silvialioci

While I would love to know more about how to dance well, beneath the art form there is something even more important.

Simply giving my body over to movement, to joy, to release.

To freedom!

Dancing (whether to a symphony, rock and roll, or my worship CD) can be, in it’s deepest place, an offering to the One who created it and me.

(And the great thing about where I am right now? It burns calories and makes my body stronger, too. Dancing is not only effective, but fun! A great tool to add to our healthy body tool belt.)

So . . . how about it? Let’s crank that Ipod and get our groove on!

Until Next Time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

 

Wednesday Weigh-in ~ Eating, Exercise, Excuses, and a Plan

There’s always stuff to do. Person-weighing-themselve-007

There’s always stuff that hurts.

There’s always excuses.

I wanted to start this blog whining about how hard it’s been to focus on my body while remodeling a house, grieving deaths, and adjusting to the kids leaving home. All of those reasons for my struggle are real. Emotional eating is an easy trap to fall back into when sadness or loneliness hits. It’s hard to prioritize exercise when my home feels chaotic, and I can’t stand the mess one more day.

But the truth is life happens. I’m pretty sure I will never live an entire day without more pulling at me than I can conquer in that day, and I’m also sure that however many joyful moments a day holds, there will be something that happens that wants to pull me down, stress me out, or at least irritate me.

The truth is I am no longer at the age I can live and eat without intentionality. There are consequences. Not just on the scale, but in my body, health, and energy levels. As hard as it was to lose all that weight, if I’m not intentional I will find it again. All of it.

For the first time since 2012 I didn’t pay attention to how I ate or exercised over the holidays. And it shows. I feel myself getting into old patterns–being discouraged about the weight gain and allowing that discouragement to shut me down. Emotional eating comes really easy when I’m in that state. Getting out and walking does not. I’m also lonely more often now, and those solitary walks don’t sound quite as inviting as they did when the house was constantly noisy.

Here’s the honest truth. I need to get serious about my health again. I need prayer ’cause I know I can’t do this alone.

This week I’m taking a good first step. I’m doing a BENew cleanse. When I was losing weight and doing these consistently I noticed they helped reduce my cravings for the bad foods. (That first cleanse was a rough one for me emotionally. This one isn’t quite as bad, but I’m struggling a little.)

We’re in another car transition, which has made my schedule difficult. So step 2 for me was arranging with my kids for a schedule that allows me a car two mornings a week. My plan is to visit my chiropractor then meet with a friend who lives nearby so we can walk together.

Step 3 is I’ve also returned to doing a few light exercises every morning at home–some crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, and stretching. Nothing too intense. If I start with too much at first I know I won’t continue, so I’m beginning small and seeking to be consistent.

Where I feel the greatest resistance inside is food. I’ve continued much of the healthier eating that I learned in 2012–more fresh fruits and vegetables, making the largest portion my salad instead of the carbs. But unhealthy stuff has crept back in, too, like sometimes having a snack before bed, being mindless about portions, and being less careful with sweets.

When I lost weight I talked a lot about making changes I felt I could live with long-term. I believe I did that. The problem is I grew weary of mindfulness when it came to healthy choices and wise portions. Combined with less activity and less muscle mass, the weight began slipping back on.

And so I continue the journey. Instead of maintenance, I am seeking the courage to stand up and admit I need to lose a few pounds before it gets out of hand. Honestly, it makes me sad to own that, but pretending it isn’t there doesn’t make me any happier. And as much as I would prefer to keep this a private battle, I know accountability makes a difference. I need to lose eight to ten pounds. I need to do this now before things get out-of-control again, and it’s fifty I need to drop.

There. I said it.

If you’re on this journey with me, maybe a summary of my plan can help you, too.

  • Honesty with self – choosing to admit I must deal with this problem
  • Intentionality – Making choices with intent to stay on the road of health
  • Mindfulness – Paying attention to what (and how much!) I eat and how much I move
  • Spiritual support – Asking God to help me and others to pray for me
  • Admission – Admitting I need to lose and owning exactly how many pounds
  • Accountability – Telling someone that I need to change and have chosen to do so.
  • A plan – for me it is 1) cleanse 2) exercise 3) Portion control 4) healthier foods

Anybody with me?

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Simple Movement in a Normal Day

exercise_fitness_icon_2How about working movement into daily routine instead of waiting to do all of it at the gym or on some hard-to-keep daily schedule?

My new friend at the Ravenously Disappearing Woman says it takes 60 minutes of movement to lose weight and 30 to maintain, but that the good news is the movement doesn’t have to be all at once.

She shared these ideas to fit exercise into daily routine. She got them from her friend Elsey:

  • Walk briskly around the house while talking on the phone.(Just make sure you tell the person on the other end why you’re breathing heavily!)
  • Make several trips when putting away things. (When I distribute clean laundry , I separate my trips by clothing type and I run to each room to make my deliveries.)
  • March in place while watching TV.
  • Use hand weights or resistance bands while watching TV.
  • Do crunches or stretches while watching TV (I do crunches during commercials).
  • Walk briskly, or run, around the house during commercials. (Lot’s of TV suggestions–what was Elsey implying?)
  • March in place while sorting the mail.
  • Walk or bike to do an errand instead of driving, if you live in town.
  • Play outside with your children or pets.
  • Park a few blocks away from your destination and walk the rest of the way. (I’ve started doing this one, too.)
  • Pace the sidelines while watching your kids athletic games (I wonder if the coach will think you’re up to something?)
  • Take a few laps around the mall before and after shopping.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Stand at your desk as often as possible when working or talking on the phone.
  • Walk during your lunch break at work.

I’ve been trying to do these simple things as well as a few of my own ideas: take computer breaks to do quick 10 minute stretches or exercises; run up stairs; dance in the kitchen or living room when a good song comes on the stereo.

What ideas do you have to integrate movement into your day?

Share it!

Simple ideas to add movement to your day and burn those calories!

Back to Healthy Choices and BeNew Thinking

The holidays are over, and with their disappearance needs to come the release of an indulgent attitude!

For me, it’s back to what I know. Just because I entered 2014 at a normal weight for the first time in years doesn’t mean I can return to old habits. And like my devotional on Sunday admitted I did a little too much indulging over the holidays.

The great thing about my new lifestyle is I now realize how easy it is to nip back thinking in the bud and get back to the goal of a forever healthier, thinner me. (So initially “back” thinking was a typo, but I liked it and left it! It’s not just bad thinking that needs to go, it’s back thinking, thinking from the old days that takes me backward!)

Here’s my plan.

Step 1: Return to being mindful of how I treat my body. This is not only important while actively losing weight, this is for the REST OF MY LIFE.

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Step 2: Do a gentle, healthy cleanse to help my body stay strong and release toxins from the crud I brought into my system with holiday eating. I’m using the BeNew Gentle Detoxifying Cleanse, called BEPure. I’ve found a cleanse also helps reduce cravings for more bad food.

Step 3: Make the next better choice. As I pre-schedule this post I’m taking a break from days of long hours of writing fiction to meet a deadline. The old Paula would have devoured chocolate when the creativity waned and then munched on salty snacks while staring at the computer screen. And don’t think I wasn’t IMAG3213tempted. But instead of allowing the stress to take me into mindless eating of empty calories, I’m enjoying lunch as I write–and today, at least, I made the better choice: A healthy protein shake with mangos, blueberries, strawberries, and almond milk. Mmm. (I’m using the BeNew vanilla protein shake. With the frozen fruits blended in it’s almost like ice cream!)

Step 4: Determination to MOVE. In the house on the cold days–a few sit-ups, maybe even a workout video. Walks on the warmer days. Taking a break from the computer even if it’s just to do some stretches.

Share: What’s your healthy choices plan?

*BTW, the BeNew weight loss/nutritional products I chose for my health journey are on an amazing New Year’s Resolution special. Until the end of this month you can actually buy one month and get one month totally free! The company even paired the whole weight loss program with Body Balance, the best nutritional support available, IMHO. Follow my links, or contact me for more information. If you are a new customer and order by phone instead of on-line, you’ll get free shipping, too! I also made a video explaining how to use the products. I’ll post it after I meet my book deadline, but if you want a sneak preview it’s already on YouTube.

BeNew!

IMAG2696It’s not just about looking better, it’s about living better.

This time last year I was about half-way through my 55 pound weight loss journey using the BeNew products. Here’s what I’ve learned now that I’ve lived multiple months at a NORMAL weight instead of putting up with obesity.

There is great joy in freedom of movement. It’s not not just the big stuff like the fact that last Saturday my husband and I took off on a trail we’d never traveled, and I didn’t worry about how far we might go or whether or not I could walk it. That was fabulous, joyful, and free. But it’s the every day stuff that means even more. I can bend over and tie my shoes without effort. I can sit on the floor. Hop off the floor. Curl up in a chair or on the couch. I WANT to enjoy active pursuits instead of fearing or dreading them. This alone is worth taking the BeNew journey, even if how I looked never changed–but of course it did, and that is fantastic, too.

There is great joy in no longer hiding. I wear what I want to wear without looking for big clothes or jackets to hide me. I’m not embarrassed to be caught on camera. I’ve started making video blogs without feeling uncomfortable when I see myself. I don’t hate mirrors anymore. I can dance without feeling embarrassed about my body. I can climb in a hot tub or swimming pool without running from the towel to the water. And (hope this isn’t TMI) but I’m not hiding like I was in the marriage bed either! That may be the very best part.

There are great health rewards. Besides simply feeling better, I have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and increased ability resist whatever crud goes around. I also experience less joint pain in my hips and knees and have more strength and energy. While I attribute a lot of that to weight loss, I also focused on losing weight in a healthy way. The BENew products are health focused, not just weight focused, and I also supported my journey with what I believe is the most effective nutritional supplement on the market, Body Balance.

Shopping is fun! If you’ve ever spent hours looking for the perfect outfit to minimize the fat, imagine with me what it is like to go into a store, throw a bunch of stuff in the cart, and like ALL of it when you try it on. Seriously! Taking the BeNew journey has transformed shopping depression into delight! Last week I hit the after holiday clearance sales. I bought a pair of jeans from the JUNIOR department in the size I wore over 20 years ago. I can’t tell you how amazing that felt. I almost called my husband and best friends right there in the dressing room to shout out the news.

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With my friend, Eric Howard, who has lost over 100 pounds and counting using the BeNew products.

Confidence comes more easily. I truly believe in the inside person. I was not less of a person when I was 55 pounds heavier. The real me still worked hard, applied herself, sought to love others, and followed her dreams. But I have to admit that confidence comes easier when I’m not carrying the extra baggage of obesity. Maybe part of it is that people trust me more quickly. It’s as if climbing out of the stronghold of obesity gives me credibility in other areas.

As I lost weight on the outside I grew on the inside. Overcoming the hurdle of obesity required overcoming some interior hurdles as well. A healthy weight loss journey isn’t just about dropping pounds, it’s about dropping other stuff, like emotional baggage, bad habits, skewed mindsets. If you let it, a BeNew weight loss journey can strengthen your inner person and teach you a lot about life.

If you’re toying with the idea of taking your own BeNew journey–or have started and are wondering if it is worth it–pay close attention to all those happy words I just wrote: joy, fun, free, confident, fantastic, fabulous. Then jump in with both feet–or at least dip your big toe in the water. It won’t be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, but it will be one of the best.

PS If you’d like to hear more of my BENew story as well as about the products I use, please call 206-402-0100 at 5 p.m. MST tonight (Thursday). There is a 30 minute presentation that includes yours truly. Once you’ve called, the guest access pin is: 299215#

Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Walking it Out

spirit 4 stephen

photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

“Spiritually I feel much more weighed down by stress and problems when I’m not taking care of my body. Physically, I have less energy to serve God and more emotions to wade through when processing life.”

The above statement alone is one of the most profound discoveries of my weight loss journey. I didn’t write those words, Lysa TerKeurst did. But I so relate.

For years I prayed for joy, for the ability to overcome discouragement, for hope. I don’t see myself as having completely arrived in these areas, but I’ve found a powerful tool in discovering joy, combating discouragement, grabbing hold of hope.

It’s called taking a walk.

Eventually I usually end up talking with God, but even when it’s not a focused conversation my spirit rises up within me in worship just being outside, hearing the birds, feeling the fresh air.

There’s something about looking up into a huge tree or seeing the mountains in the distance, or gazing at the clouds or the flowers that puts me in my place, reminds me there is something bigger than I am, and HE is Good.

I grew up in church where we were often told to take care of our body because it was the temple of God. Unfortunately most of what was taught–or at least of what I heard–was the old southern “don’t smoke, drink, or chew or go with boys who do.” Once in a while I caught that I should think about what kinds of food I put into it, but I totally missed the idea of caring for my body as God’s temple by taking good care of it in the area of exercise.

I loved when Lysa wrote: “I want to . . . dedicate my exercise as a gift to Him and a gift to myself.”

Let’s join Lysa in the prayer: “Help me see the ability to exercise as a gift. I dedicate my temple to You and commit to start rebuilding it today.”

How about you? What do you do to add movement into your day? What exercise do you enjoy? Do you ever exercise just because it’s good for you even if it is not something you enjoy? If you keep doing it do you start enjoying it?

And what about schedule. How do you fit it into your busy days? If you don’t, could you add in once a week, then twice?

Joy in the Journey

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I’m pushing 50 but twinkle lights bring out the child in me. For the briefest of moments I am caught up in magic when I watch them blink out their message of hope.

To me they are joy personified, shouting out the hope that “into the darkness there came a great Light!”

Part of my goal in the shedding of extra weight is the shedding of the weight of sorrow, the too-serious Paula who can easily take up residence inside of me.

Twinkle lights bring out the play.

With the holidays upon me I’ve sought to return to my walking habits. I simply don’t want to ignore every piece of chocolate or holiday cookie. And so I need to move!

As it turns out the need for movement turned into what will be one of my favorite December memories of this year.

It was a gift of time, and it was given to me by my husband. I’d asked him to take a walk, but you know how it goes, there’s always so much work to be done. The next thing we knew it was dark.

But he went anyway when I asked, despite his weariness, despite the demands of his schedule. I don’t if he thought about how much I’d enjoy checking out neighborhood lights, but it was quickly apparent that his agenda included letting me feast on them to my heart’s content.

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He held my hand and talked to me as we tramped all over the neighborhood. If there is anything I love as much as twinkle lights, it is holding hands and good conversation with my man. I may even like it better. ;o)

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I had so much fun enjoying not only their beauty, but the playful and zany scenes created by them.

IMAG3051I can’t see dog sleds without thinking of Balto,
one of the kids’ most beloved movies when they were small.

IMAG3073Did you know Mickey and Minnie have been dating since 1928?

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Good to know Santa bathes

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And that He’s got that naughty and nice list saved on the computer.

But who knew he liked pizza?

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 You’d think he could do better than an outhouse.

As much as I enjoy the silly stuff, I love the nostalgic even more.

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All in all, it was such a lovely night.

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Jerry made sure we made the trek to this place,

which has decked out like this for at least 25 years.

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Isn’t this scene sweet?

As I walked, full, happy, and alive, it was like God whispered to me, “You like this? Wait until you see the fullness of my galaxies of stars.” And I could almost see myself as some kind of cosmic being zipping in and out of space, drinking in the mysteries of the universe. As I thought about that I gazed at an almost full moon. I didn’t even try to capture it on my phone.

It was an amazing night.

So, my friends, celebrate the holidays this year by exploring your world one sidewalk at a time. Burn a few calories. Hold hands with someone special, chat with a friend, or simply get away by yourself. Pound the pavement to enjoy the lights. It’s sure to bring you . . .

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(and better thighs.)

Epiphany # 3

IMAG2579-1You may have noticed I skipped Epiphany #2. It seems I’m not ready to write about it yet, that it is still too tender, too precious, too scary even, to share.

Someday.

On this blog.

At just the right time I will turn to July 9, 2013 in my journal and finish the thoughts I began in my first epiphanies post.

Today I can only hold tight to the promises of my Father and move on to a new conversation. It’s not that I doubt, it’s just that the future is far away. For me, at least. To Him it is like a snap of a finger.

Let’s just say that by my next entry, August 11th, I was angry again and confused, in a very different place that that joyful conversation in Breckenridge.

And the Lord was good, as usual. I knew I could say anything on my mind, and it wouldn’t freak Him out.

I started with, “Please heal me from whatever it is that is afraid and hard within me.”

You’ve been angry with me.

“Yes. And that makes me angry with myself, and yet self-accusation doesn’t make me any less angry with You.”

It never does. 

And so the two of us talked about the long haul. How I so often felt without control. How I’d given Him permission for deep change, and how that takes time.

Then He loved me. Said really sweet things to me, things that proved once again He thought better of me than I thought of myself.

Funny how when he complimented me I quit being angry with Him.

At the end of our time He showed me that I’d been begging Him for scraps when He wanted to lay an abundant table before me.

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sent me on a journey of discovery.

Epiphany #3 was a part of that discovery. Epiphany #3 shocked me.

It happened at a Life Force training. I was there mostly for Jerry because he had to work his day job. I wasn’t fully invested in this new business. I saw myself as standing on the sidelines, supporting where I could, and cheering my husband on, “Good job, honey. Go! Go!”

But that day it suddenly it became clear that this wasn’t Jerry’s journey alone, this was my journey, too. That the Lord wanted me to be a business woman. In the excitement of that moment, and for several days afterward I was thrilled! I sensed the Lord smiling, cheering me forward. I recorded what I believed to be His heart:

. . . I have given you a place to stretch and develop the skills you need for the next stage of your journey. It is not a divergent path. It is one of balance. Sometimes my directions will conflict with your desire, just as it has in raising your family. You will have to juggle congruent, concurrent paths, but they will not be divergent. Be sensitive to Me, My child. It will keep us connected and close as you pray through next steps and pay attention to My direction.

And so I rejoiced and rushed off to tackle my new life.

Unfortunately all that wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I guess I should have paid attention when He said stuff like I was given a place to stretch and that His direction would sometimes conflict with my desires.

More about that next time.

Stretching into a new place

Adaptation Not Compromise

IMAG2531Sometimes my feet know where I’m going before I’ve consciously processed my decision. This morning they headed for the brilliant red bush about a mile up the street.

Growing up in Northeastern Oklahoma meant incredible autumn foliage with a variety of colors. I’ll never forget the joy of early morning walks across Northeastern State University’s campus when the air was crisp, the leaves crackled beneath my feet, and vibrant color still clung to strong branches.

I love yellow. Honest. It’s almost my favorite color, somewhere below pink. But when I first moved to Colorado I was disappointed in autumn because I felt the season shouldn’t be ONLY yellow. IMAG2576

But my neighborhood has continued to mature over the years, bringing new color with it, and as I’m farther from my roots I suppose I’m more easily pleased. Maybe, just maybe, I’m also giving it a more fair shake this autumn, choosing to meander in the cool fall days by foot instead of whizzing past nature while looking out of a car window.

As I walked this morning I found myself conflicted. Now that I’m satisfied with my new weight I’m not sure what my walks are about. Health? Maintenance? Emotional and spiritual nurture? Joy?

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This time last year I spent hours in bed, recovering from some wonky sensations in my head after back-to-back car accidents. For a time I stepped away from most of my responsibilities, my only goal to get well. Part of my journey back to health was developing a new habit of long, meandering walks. I strolled, prayed, and didn’t care how long it took me. I was finding life again. As I healed, I began picking up the balls. I learned to fit in a shorter walk/jog to stick with my weight loss/get healthy goals when the demands of schedule increased.

But after my encounter today with the red bush and the orange leaves and the yellow canopies, my feet wouldn’t listen to my mind rattling off the to-do list. My soul engaged my gait, longing for more of this day than checking off boxes. It cried out for beauty, for quiet, for spiritual refreshment. I circled the elementary school, praying a bit for the children there, then slipped into my favorite coffee shop, not for a beverage, but for the restroom. My mind had finally caught up with the agenda my heart and feet set, and I knew the conveniences of home were still a long way off.

Another little nature trail some distance from me cried out to be explored. I wandered the path, missing the twitter of the birds that usually serenaded me on this stretch. I suppose the wind was too strong, and they chose to hunker down wait it out rather than to brave it and allow their song to be lost, carried away on the stiff breeze.IMAG2559

I tried to cut home after the trail but found myself at a cluster of three churches I prayed often for last winter, so my meanderings included prayers of blessings for them, which turned into song at my favorite of the three. I guess I don’t mind if the notes dance upon the breeze, for He hears at all times.

I still don’t have it all figured out–this juggling act of protecting the strides I’ve made in physical and emotional health, this love of the sunshine longing to wander–all while adding new balls, more commitments, more responsibility into my daily routine. Even now my schedule mocks me, telling me there was no way to conquer it.

But I must cling to what I learned in the dark of last year. That caring for myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually isn’t a waste of time; it is a necessity. If I don’t take care of myself, I’ll find myself unable to take care of my responsibilities.

IMAG2586-1I returned home today thinking the solitary rose framed by yellow leaves sprinkled upon the grass around it was a statement of summer shouting a last hurrah before giving way to autumn.

As the seasons of my life change I am forced to stretch, to adapt, to re-think. But in the midst of the struggle I don’t have to compromise on the hard-earned truths of my journey. Oh, I can’t control outside forces, like car accidents, that steal from me. But I can create margin. I can choose health. I can embrace the beauty of little moments.

How about you? Are you protecting yourself from the tyranny of the urgent?

Tweet it:

Life’s seasons change. We adapt, but we don’t compromise.

Celebrating the Memories I

author ribbonIt felt good.

This sense of being a veteran. Of belonging.

When we arrived at the ACFW national conference in Indianapolis, I turned to my writing buddy, Kathy Kovach. “I’m so glad I’m not a newbie anymore.”

My name tag boasted ribbons, labels really: author, finalist, (represented by) Books and Such Literary Agency, Colorado Coordinator.

I’ve fought for years to live outside of identity imposed by others, to just be Paula, God’s little one, dependent on Him, but I enjoyed these ribbons as recognition of years of hard work–of titles I’d already embraced, like author. I wore it with joy.

The emotions around my first writing conference were much different. I couldn’t even say the words, “I am a writer” out loud, much less be totally comfortable with a name tag that included the word “author.” I packed pretty teacups and chamomile tea to ensure my survival at that conference 10 years ago. I also carefully prepared colored note cards full of hand-written Bible verses and inspirational sayings. Basically, I was petrified and needed these little comforts from home for survival.

But here I was years later: published, teaching, and even up for an award for my story!

This post and the one tomorrow don’t answer the question I left hanging in my last blog. Honestly, the answer is simple but the journey isn’t. I suppose sharing how important this 2013 ACFW conference was to me is a part of explaining the journey before we talk about the specifics of the recent curve ball pitched my way. So just relax and enjoy the view. Nothing too deep coming your way today.

Kathy and I kicked off the conference by teaching a workshop for area coordinators and zone directors. We enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones as well as meeting with authors, editors, and agents.

A delightful surprise was a gift from my fabulous agent, Rachelle Gardner, who congratulated me on being a finalist in the Carol Awards. She did suggest the treat might not help me meet my acfw giftweight loss goals, but I assured her I’d just eat the truffles one at time instead of the whole box at once so it wouldn’t set me back. The packaging is so pretty I actually kept the empty box and displayed it on my desk at home as a memory of my first book award nomination.

On top of enjoying the truffles, I found most of the meals at the conference boasted a yummy dessert, so I delighted in the moments we slipped away to walk in downtown Indianapolis and get some exercise.

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With Kathy Kovach

The Indiana Capitol Building is beautiful.

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Of course I always have to stop and smell the flowers.

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And I’m a sucker for churches, stained glass windows, and horse drawn carriages!

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A wedding party enjoyed the open carriages as well. Notice the cute little ring bearer!

This gorgeous fountain was part of a memorial to the men who from Indiana who’d fought in various wars.

ACFW fountain

The stroll with fun, but indulging in an amazing calzone (full of calories and wonderful, hot, gooey cheese) pushed the need for further exercise, so I swam laps in the hotel pool, which is a first for me at a writer’s conference! I love it that after 10 years of sedentary conventions, I now crave physical activity. Thanks to BENew and saying good-bye to all that weight I have truly changed.

I feel my Creator’s smile in that change. Here’s an example. Right before the conference I told the Lord I’d really like to swim while I was there, but didn’t have a decent swimsuit that fit since the weight loss. (Okay, I could have worn the famous bikini top, but it just wasn’t the venue for it.) Right before I left for the conference I happened to see a one-piece suit hanging on the clearance rack at Target. I quickly slipped it on, surprised that it not only fit well, but would provide the support I needed to actually swim for exercise and not just lie on a beach.

But could I afford it while saving for the spending money at the conference?

I flipped the price tag. Surely not.

$1.47

Oh, yeah!

So thanks to God’s good gifts and a clearance rack at target, Saturday evening of the conference meant unwinding in the pool and hot tub. What a great stress relief! I slipped into bed that night, totally relaxed and able to fall asleep despite the pending excitement Sunday promised.

I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow . . .