Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Second Chances

This week in the video series Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted, Priscilla Shirer points out that God gave Jonah a second chance to do what He asked Jonah to do the first time.  She emphasizes the point that we are blessed to have a God who gives us second chances (and more).

God knows that we will fail because we live in a fallen world.  Do I have the option to obey the first time He calls me to act?  Yes, but I will freely admit that I am not the best at immediately obeying Him.  It has taken me five months to come to terms with the fact that our second little one is not the sleeper that the first one was and that I will likely be waking up with him in the middle of the night for months to come (hopefully not years).  He has called me to wake up and take care of my child with contentment, but it has taken me some time and plenty of second chances to finally take hold of that calling and do it.  While I still miss being able to sleep without interruption, I am no longer the emotional wreck that I was becoming before I accepted this challenge in my life right now.

Shirer points out that God will empower us to do what He has called us to do.  The funny element about Jonah's story is that he did not run away because he did not feel up to the task; he just did not want to do it.  I wonder how many time I use the excuse of not being equipped to complete the task to cover up the fact that I just don't want to do it. 

She also mentions that it is easy to impersonate obedience.  I will need to reflect on this idea more this week as I am sure that there are areas of my life where I think that I am acting in obedience when in reality I am going in the opposite direction.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Back Into Shape: Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred

As part of my workout plan, I use some workout videos to work on strength and toning.  One video I have been using is Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. 

The video contains three different levels and each level is just short of 30 minutes in length.  So far I have followed along with the first two levels and both levels present a challenge.  The workout is set up with a brief warmup; three circuits of strength, cardio, and abs; and a brief cool down and stretch. 

I like the format of the exercise routine.  It makes the time go by faster when I know that I will only be doing each exercise for thirty seconds to one minute.  It also makes it easier to push through any discomfort knowing that a change will come soon. 

I also appreciate that the women in the video look like they are actually there to workout.  I have been using another video where the women in the video have perfect hair styled in a way that no serious person working out would have it styled.

I have not followed the video the way one is supposed to since I am only doing strength training three days a week, but I have noticed a difference.  Each level might only be 30 minutes in length, but I work up quite a sweat. 

I recently read that to properly follow the workout plan, a person should do level one for ten days, level two for ten days, and level three for ten days.  I don't know if I want to try that because I think I would start to get bored with the video, but I might give it a try just to see what the result would be. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Shake Up

In this week's video from the Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted series, Shirer mentions that God shakes us up to show us what is really inside of us.  If we react with mercy and grace, then we are filled with the Spirit.  If we react with frustration and anger, then we are still filled with our old self.

This video series makes me think of how I have been reacting when our little one decides to change his sleep schedule once again.  This shake up has shown me that I still have quite a bit of selfishness inside of me.  The past few nights have been better, and now that I realize God is trying to show me an area of my life where I need to rely on Him more, I am hoping that I will be able to focus more on letting Him have that control so His power will shake out instead of my frustration.

One area of my life where I have seen God make a change is my reaction to other drivers.  I used to be quite guilty of road rage until a few years ago when I finally realized that most drivers are not out to irritate me and it just is not worth getting upset and potentially getting in an accident when someone does not drive the way I think they should.

How great is it to know that God continues to work in our lives?  He does not leave us as we are but He continually works to change us in order to make us more like Him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weekly Menu

I've been doing a pretty good job of sticking to our menu plan, especially for the supper meals.  Sometimes I forget to look at my plan for breakfast and lunch and I just go with whatever sounds good that day.  One of these days I hope to have the time to research some more lunch options.

This Week's Menu

  • Smoothie w/cereal
  • Toast w/natural peanut butter
  • Oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Smoothie w/banana oat muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Toast w/natural peanut butter

  • Salad x3
  • Sandwich x 2
  • Leftovers x 2

  • Roast Beef
  • Beef Enchiladas
  • Pork Chops
  • Chicken and Rice
  • Pizza
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Ham

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting Back Into Shape: Creating a Workout Plan

As I mentioned in last week's post, before I had my first child, I had just finished meeting with a personal trainer.  It was one of the best investments, and I encourage anyone who is thinking about using a personal trainer to do so.  When I met with the trainer, we primarily worked with weights to do some strength training and toning.  While I lost weight as a result of working out with the trainer, I lost even more of the all important inches. 

After the birth of our first child nearly two years ago, I continued working out at the Y, but I did not meet with a personal trainer again.  I considered doing so, but our little one sometimes had a hard time being in the Kidzone, so I hated to have a commitment just in case I needed to go and pick her up and go home.  By the time she fully adjusted to playing in the Kidzone, I was pregnant with baby number two, so I just continued to do work out on the machines to try and keep from getting completely out of shape.

Just before baby number two arrived, we dropped our Y membership.  We figured up the cost of driving to and from the Y multiple times a week, and the cost was too much for our current budget, so we decided to drop our membership and workout at home.

It took me a while to develop a workout routine here at home, and I am still in the process of working out all the details.  Now that the weather has warmed up, I have begun walking with our dog early in the morning.  As we walk, I am trying to incorporate more and more jogging so that I will hopefully be able to return to running for at least two miles at a time in the near future.  We go out early in the morning before the kids wake up and my husband has to go to work.  Right now it is still dark when we go out, which I don't care for since I cannot see if there are any stray animals of which I need to be aware.

I try to go for run/walks at least three times a week.  On the other three days, I have started using some strength training videos.  We have both a couple of Jillian Michaels' videos and a Jackie Warner video.  After just a couple of weeks of working out with the videos, I would say that they are a sufficient substitute for a personal trainer, especially since I already had some experience with some of the exercises, so using the correct form does not seem to be a problem. 

The last day of the week I don't do anything.  I figured it would be a good idea to have a day of rest from working out all together.

Now, I just need to convince baby number two to sleep through the night on a more regular basis so that waking up early in the morning to work out will not be as difficult.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Camouflaging God's Will

I have recently joined a women's Bible study at our church.  We are going through Priscilla Shirer's Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted.  I missed the first week of the lesson, but the second week already had a big impact on me and has me reexamining my life, my habits, and my commitments.

During this week's video lesson, Shirer asks us to think about what we might be doing that is camouflaging what God wants us to really be doing.  Sometimes we make ourselves busy with other work that we think is for God because we want to avoid doing what He wants us to do.

The example she gave was of a friend who was heavily involved in ministry to the homeless but who was actually supposed to be involved in women's ministry.  The friend did not want to follow where God really wanted her to be, so she tried to hide behind a different ministry.  There was certainly nothing wrong with being involved in a homeless ministry, but if the primary reason for doing so is because we want to avoid being obedient to God, then the goodness of the deed no longer matters.

This lesson has me examining my current service at church.  I am currently helping in the nursery, but I wonder if I actually need to move up and work with the older kids.  My reason for helping in the nursery initially was to help Lucy adjust to spending time in there.  She has reached a point where she does just fine, so I can no longer use that as an excuse.  I have experience teaching and experience with working in grade school ministry, so I now wonder if that is where I need to be.

I am also wondering if my part-time job with the college is preventing me from properly ministering to my family.  My pride does not want to let go of the class that I have created, but I also see the unnecessary stress the class is causing right now.   There is also the issue of the income I bring in (such as it is), but God has faithfully provided for us this far, so I cannot let that excuse stand in my way of doing what God wants me to do.

How about you?  What are your camouflages?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weekly Menu

Planning a menu ahead of time continues to be a struggle even though I know all the benefits of creating one.  I recently received an iPad as a gift and I have developed a new way to plan meals that I hope will be successful. 

Using the Errands organization app, I have created a category for meals.  I then went in and planned out fifteen days worth of supper meals.  Some of the meals are specific like "pizza" and "chili," but others are more generic like "BBQ meat" or "Italian pasta."  I decided to create some more generic categories to give myself some freedom regarding what we will actually eat that night.  For example, "BBQ meat" might be chicken, pork, or beef depending on my mood and what we have on hand. 

After I entered the fifteen meals, I set each one to repeat every fifteen days.  Of course, every Friday night is pizza night, so the meals that land on Friday's will just be skipped.

I did a similar pattern of organization for our breakfast and lunch meals, but I only have four meals on a rotation for breakfast and three meals for lunch.

This Week's Meal Plan

  • Oatmeal and fruit
  • Smoothie and muffin
  • Eggs and toast
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Oatmeal and fruit
  • Pancakes (I want to make this a Saturday tradition)
  • Eggs and toast

Lunch (I only have three items on rotation right now.  I really need some good lunch ideas)
  • Sandwich and fruit or vegetable
  • Salad
  • Leftovers
  • Sandwich
  • Salad 
  • Leftovers
  • Sandwich

  • BBQ meat (we had chicken)
  • Tacos
  • Chili
  • Honey Dijon Chicken
  • Pizza
  • Italian pasta
  • Chicken casserole

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting Back Into Shape: Finding a Weight Loss Plan

Before I had my first child, I was in the best shape I had been in my adult life.  I had been meeting with a personal trainer for the previous year, so my body was tone and fit.  I was still about 20 pounds away from my goal weight, but it was the closest to my goal weight I had ever been since I was a freshman in college.

After I had my first child, I was not as devoted to losing weight as I should have been.  I went to the gym on a regular basis to workout, but I did not really establish a way to improve my eating habits.  I knew that I wanted to try and lose the weight I had added during the pregnancy before I got pregnant again, but I figured it would be awhile before that event happened, so I took my time.

When the little one was nine-months-old, we found out we were expecting baby number 2.  I did a better job of continuing to work out during the second pregnancy and did not add as much weight as I did with baby number 1.  As is often the case, the first twenty pounds came off fairly quickly, but the last ten pounds I needed to lose to reach my pre-pregnancy weight (for baby number 2) kept sticking around.

I tried simply counting calories, and I downloaded some iPod apps to help with this process, but counting calories is a practice that I greatly disliked.  I especially disliked it when I wanted to figure out the calories for the typical meals we would eat like chili or lasagna.  Unless I used a specific recipe that included the calorie information, I usually had to guess.  Since I did not really lose much weight, I am guessing that I often did not guess correctly.

At the end of February, I decided to look into Weight Watchers once again.  I had used their program before with success.  I like that instead of calories, it asks users to keep track of points and those points are based on more than just calories.

In the past, I attend the local meetings, but with my limited schedule because of the two little ones, I decided to give their online program a try.  So far, I have been very pleased with the program.  I especially like that I can enter my recipes into their system and it will figure out the points for me.  That way, I do not have to fix separate meals for my family and myself.  I can still eat the same foods, but now I know just how much I should eat.

I also like the way the program encourages users to eat more fruits and vegetables by classifying most of those items as zero points.  I have become more diligent about eating more fresh fruits and vegetables since I have started the program.

To date, I have lost almost 13 pounds in five weeks.  I find it amusing that when I entered my weight this morning, it mentioned that I was losing weight too fast (more than 2 pounds per week); when I used to attend meetings, it always felt like the push was for people to lose as much weight as possible in a week.  I realize that the meeting was run by a person and not a computer, so the person running the meeting may not have been following company policy like she was supposed to.

I still have about thirty pounds to go before I reach my goal weight, but I only have three pounds to go before I treat myself to a pedicure!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Choosing Contentment

As I sit here with a baby sleeping on my shoulder, I am reminded of a lesson God has been driving home these last few weeks: choose to be content. There are many projects waiting to be completed, but the crying baby made himself a priority, so here I sit.

A few weeks ago I was frustrated with the little one waking up multiple times during the night (after only waking up just once or not at all in previous weeks). When I have to get up with him, I typically use that time to go over passages of scripture I have memorized.

That morning, the little one took longer than usual to settle down. As I finished going over Philippians chapter 4, God really hit me over the head with Paul's statement that he had learned to be content in all situations. God showed me that I need to choose contentment even when I have to get up in the middle of the night.

After I went over these verses, the little one settled down and went back to sleep. Since that night, I have been making a more conscience effort to choose to be content.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Regaining Balance

When we added a second dog to the family many years ago, I remember our vet telling us that the work load more than doubles.  The same appears to be true with children.  With the birth of our second child last November, life has been very crazy and is only just now beginning to return to a somewhat normal routine. 

I am still struggling with adapting to the new work load and my expectations for the little one.  He is not at all like his sister, so that has taken some getting used to: 
  • She regularly slept through the night beginning at eight weeks, he has just done so for three days in a row.  
  • She was content to play in the bouncer or exersaucer for extended periods of time, he has a time limit of about thirty minutes.  
  • She rarely wanted to cuddle, he wants to cuddle all the time.  
  • She slept on her back, he wants to sleep on his tummy.
Now that I am getting used to their differences, it is getting a little easier.  Even though I tried not to have expectations of him being like his sister, they apparently were still there underneath the surface.  We are all learning to be more flexible and to just take life each moment that comes our way. 

As we approach his five month birthday, I am realizing just how quickly time is passing by this time around and I have to force myself to stop and enjoy today.  Before I know it, both kids will be going off to school and I will be wondering where the time went.