Tag Archives: movement

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

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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 . . .

Opposition

IMAG2347I feel like weeping tears of joy as I post this blog today. I wrote it a few days ago and scheduled it ahead.

Yesterday morning I sat in my old blue recliner and told the Lord how very much I needed new shoes . . . how I couldn’t afford them, but missed walking. I reminded him that I’ve been praying about this for awhile. I was tempted to complain. Instead I simply slowed down and told Him that I was a daughter of the King, and I knew He wanted me to have good gifts.

That afternoon a friend asked me what I was doing for exercise. I admitted I’d been struggling due to the pain in my feet and my worn-out tennis shoes. Within an hour we were at a GOOD athletic shoe store. She bought me new shoes, inserts, and socks. Everything I needed and more.

Wow!

As you read my struggles below, do it with the delight of abundance, of knowing our LORD sees our struggles. Know that HE fights our battles. Stands with us when we are opposed in every good thing. That He is the Provider for all our needs.

HE cares about you and me, our struggles toward health, and even whether or not we have tennis shoes!

Here’s the post originally scheduled for today:

I’ve heard that every good thing will be opposed.

broken

A few weeks ago Jerry and I took a lovely 5 mile trek. Lots of time alone together to just talk while also doing something healthy. Glorious! (And free!)

Only I awoke the next morning with a returning case of plantar fasciitis. I’m told plantar fasciitis is often brought on by poor support in your shoes, especially if you walk or hike. I’ve been holding off replacing my walking shoes, despite the holes in the bottom and the worn away support system. Every penny has been needed elsewhere.  But my feet hurt, and the times I’ve tried to walk anyway in my old shoes only bring negative consequences.

So I’ve tried to do more pilates with my at home DVD. Wouldn’t you know it? The exercises are done with a long plastic band, and the band broke!

Sinister opposition if you ask me!

Today I’m trying to think of another healthy way to burn calories that doesn’t make my feet hurt, and I’m seeking to be especially mindful of what I eat, returning to daily BeNew meal replacement shakes to help me guard my caloric intake since I’m not burning as much off.

I didn’t come all this way to go backwards!

How about you? What things creep into your life to oppose your victories on your benew journey?

Standing against the opposition

Celebrating Good Surprises

Flying Free (Day 73)

I’m still contemplating yesterday’s question, “what’s the best part of losing the weight?” I stand by my answer that I’m a more whole spiritual being, somehow learning to connect in body, not just heart, mind, soul . . . but there’s a joy piece I didn’t mention. It connects again to movement. I am so much lighter on my feet. It had gotten to the point I didn’t have much energy. Sometimes it was work just to get up out of a chair. But now I can MOVE again. I walk. I run. I do stretches and swim. A whole new world of joyful movement has opened to me.

freedom

When I first began tasting the freedom (last November) I asked my friend to snap this picture. I feel joyful, worshipful . . . flying free.

I am unencumbered.

In the months leading up to starting BeNew, I shed a lot of emotional weight. The accidents forced me to slow down, rest, and grieve life’s disappointments. The Lord used the season of low productivity to take me to a newer understanding of grace, to shave away another layer of that perfectionistic, performance-driven mentality that almost killed my heart years ago. You can’t be legalistic about the “doing” of the Christian life when you can’t do much, when your body and emotions shut down on you. In that season of “being” more junk inside of me was shed.

And now, as I drop the pounds, it is a visible announcement of the internal work. My body is joyful, even as my heart is learning to be.

I’m flying free.                                                                                    ~January 4, 2012

Real Time Update:

Wow. It’s awesome to be reminded of how far I’ve come. The picture I chose for today was taken at the beginning of my weight loss journey. I’d just barely begun to lose weight, but I was already sensing the freedom. If you’re just starting your journey, my friend, embrace the freedom. Catch a glimpse of what is coming!

As I write today, over two months later, I’ve almost begun taking this new, unencumbered, flying free self for granted. And so today’s question is how will I maintain the freedom? Will I fight for it?

The good news is after a few weeks of being thrown off from more regular exercise, I’ve walked every day this week. My goal is to head out for another round of exercise after I finish blogging this morning.

What About You?

Are you fighting to hang onto the advances you’ve made? What small steps forward (goals) are you setting for yourself to help you see the incremental victories as you work toward the bigger ones?

Weight Loss Journey Day 48

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Photo courtesy of httpfree-extras.comimagesconfetti-1311.htm

Let the celebration begin! I can’t believe it! I stayed in calorie count though I went to a party and ate high calorie food. (I found I didn’t want very many sweets. I hear that as BeNew reshapes your nutrition this is part of the positive change, less sugar cravings! Yay!)

So much of being able to eat reasonable calorie counts and still lose weigh is about MOVEMENT. Exercise, baby! And it doesn’t have to be sweaty, pounding exercise. Just a walk. Or a swim. Or SOMETHING.

MANY people at the party commented on how much I’d lost. It’s fun to see the sparkle in Jerry’s eyes. He’s so proud of me. I felt better than I had in a long time and had a blast at the party.

This whole exercise/calories burn thing is confusing. At first I thought I burned more calories simply if I walked further, but that wasn’t always coming up true on my exercise app (I use Map My Run, but I’ve heard there’s also a Map My Walk).

Then I thought maybe it had to do with not only how far I walked, but how fast. But that wasn’t panning out either. I finally figured out that terrain also comes into play, for example, I burn more calories when I walk the route that takes me up and down smaller hills than I do when I climb up the very long hill (which is over a mile, I think) and then walk back down it. But I do burn more if I walk faster, too.            ~ December 10, 2012

Real Time Update:

I’ve done Pilates twice this week! It’s the first time in over a year. I couldn’t handle such exercise after my car accidents. I feel it in my neck and a little in my upper back, but I’m trying to give it a chance by modifying how I hold my head so as to put less strain on my neck. Just pulling out that DVD felt like a HUGE step forward in fully regaining my life.

Another huge step forward is that I actually wrote fiction this week–three whole chapters! Another first since that second accident last June.

The third huge step is returning to full responsibilities with my job as coordinator for ACFW Colorado, another ball I had to lay down after that last accident.

Now comes a new struggle with weight loss. Continuing BALANCE now that I am able to return to a full schedule with all the responsibilities I had set aside as I fought for healing and health after the car wrecks.

My head still acts up with extended time at the computer, so that helps me take breaks, but last week I still pushed too hard and didn’t keep to the goal of my (almost) daily walk. I’m determined to do better this week. I need the sunshine, the movement, the alone time with God and nature.

What About You?

Do you have a favorite exercise DVD or app? How do you find balance?

Weight Loss Journey Day 37

I’m panicked. Now that the world knows I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, can I keep it up??

Here’s what I posted to Facebook on November 29 in response to going public with my weight loss journey:

Remember when I posted that I was horribly embarrassed and asked you to pray for me about 2 months ago? I said if things worked out, I’d tell you about it someday. I had just applied as a beta tester for BeNew. I had to send in a picture purposely showing all my fat. I was horrified at the picture, embarrassed with the numbers I turned in. Sad I’d allowed myself to gain all that weight, unchecked. Afraid I couldn’t do anything to change it.

When Life Force chose me to test their weight loss program, I was thrilled and petrified all at once. It’s been five weeks now. This morning the scale said I’d lost almost 20 pounds, which is 1/3 of the way to my goal. (Yes, do the math, that’s how out of control this thing had gotten.)

I’m excited that my pants are baggy, but there are other rewards that I am just as excited about, which are unexpected. I’ve found the joy again in movement. I have the energy and DESIRE to walk, swim, ride a bike. Last week, for the first time in YEARS I was walking through my neighborhood and couldn’t resist the desire to RUN.

I’m also blown away by my children and their perceptions of this journey. My daughter is the reason you’re seeing this post. I hadn’t yet gotten the nerve to be public about my journey, but she posted to her dad’s new fb page last night about how proud she is of me. It was a beautiful, make you weep post, but (and I know this was not her goal) it was also incredibly convicting.

She said that for 21 years she’d watched me care for my heart in hard times, but never my body. And it’s true. I was a perfectly healthy size at her birth. Four babies came in 6 years and I never worked to get the baby fat off. I became a writer and never balanced all that sedentary life with exercise. I cook mostly homemade and healthy, but I never paid attention to too many sweets or getting enough fresh foods. The nutritional support of the Life Force products had actually made me crave more healthy options.

My sweet husband never once complained as I packed on the pounds. He told me I was beautiful and sexy always. But I’m blown away by how much he is enjoying the new me. We are active together now, often taking long walks just the two of us. I regret the pleasure my choices withheld from him now that I see how much he enjoys my new attitude, energy levels, and body.

I still have a long way to go, which is why I hadn’t yet admitted this publicly, until last night when Sarah told. Or maybe that isn’t really true, maybe the whole admitting of how out of control my weight had gotten was just too hard for me.

I do know I could use your prayers.  I do know the LORD gave me this gift. I had prayed for about two years that He would show me what to do about my weight. Until BeNew came along,  I didn’t have what it took to tackle the problem. But when I heard about the chance to be a beta tester, I knew I was ready and that there would be a good nutritional, wise approach to help me find my way.

Please pray with me for complete success!

Real Time Update:

3 month pictures 3

January 31, 2013 – my updated picture for the beta test group

front picture Oct. 24

Where I started back in October, 2012

Last night I saw the picture I sent to the beta group audition. I thought I would never, ever, ever show it in public. But if this blog is about encouraging others, I need to be vulnerable. And I think this picture speaks more loudly than my words. Change is possible.

I was out of shape. Not just heavy, but I had neglected movement as well as healthy portions. I was sluggish. Tired. Even found myself struggling to get out of a chair sometimes.

Freedom is returning. The nutritional support of BeNew has helped me gain energy and feel stronger even as I eat less. I have less cravings for unhealthy foods. I am exercising and enjoying the freedom of roaming the neighborhood.

My weight didn’t define me then, and being thinner doesn’t define me now. But my weight DID inhibit me and getting closer to the size I was created to be is freeing.

Friends, let’s move forward together for health! For life! For freedom to be all we were created to be–inside and out!

What About You?

How does all this hit ya?