Sit Back for the Set Back

What a busy time for me. I’m sorry about the delays between entries. This week I wanna focus on set backs. And the importance of the set backs and what we can learn from them vs. just focusing on the negatives.

The past couple of weeks have both been productive and also filled with set backs. The unpredictability, full schedule and changes have affected every aspect of my health spiritually, emotionally and physically and I am learning from and taking it all in stride.

Kevin had a concussion. We had gone out for an innocent tootle on our bikes when while going down hill Kevin’s bike collided with an exposed water pipe right in the middle of the path. The impact threw him into a fence then to the ground. Luckily after getting him all checked out at the hospital the conclusion was that he only suffered a concussion. Which was fortunate considering the force of his fall. This of course had it’s own set of rule and set backs for not only him but my life as well.

So how did we overcome it? First and foremost with God’s help and secondly together. My faith was stretched and tested as that put me from an equal partner with my husband to being a care taker especially during that first week. It meant a lot of early mornings and late nights. A lot of house work and additional duties that were normally split that fell onto me. After that first week it got easier but things were still different. I am happy to report that Kevin has made a full recovery and is functioning normally again. This set back was really positive for me in a lot of ways because it forced me to put my trust in God instead of my own plans. It was also very humbling to see how easily things can change and how fragile we are. I believe God used this circumstance to draw both Kevin and I to Him. I grew in my understanding of God, my trust in God and my patience both with God and in life. This Set back also helped me physically, it pushed me beyond my usual limits and my normal comforts. I continued to work hard, exercise regularly and pick up additional tasks that I normally wouldn’t do. And guess what I survived and although there were long tiring days it was never more than I could handle. It helped me to see that there have been times when I was tired and overwhelmed that I said I can’t, it’s not possible. Thanks to this setback I’m now able to say with God all things are possible and he will never give me more than I can handle.

Mark 10:27 says “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.””

Emotionally this was a hard time for us as well Kevin struggled with his lack of freedom and physical capabilities and I struggled with the stress of it all. What I learned from it similar to the physical aspect is that I am strong. But I more importantly learned that I often try to depend on myself and take on my problems and the problems of others. I am not quick to let things go and I let the stresses and the emotions stay with me and wear on me longer than necessary.

So overall it was a great growth and learning experience for me. I am certainly not 100% improved from it and will probably struggle in the future with how to deal with similar circumstances and not allow myself to become overwhelmed. I simply pray that God will continue to work in me and through me to give me his fruits of the spirit so that when these circumstances arise I will have  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

I am not a perfect person nowhere close but  using circumstances like this has truly been a God send . It has grown me deeper and stronger in my walk with Him and made me desire to dig deeper. I have been asking some tougher questions and been open to the answers. I’m hoping this will be instrumental in the coming weeks and months as the busy schedule does not appear to be slowing down.

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Keep on Keeping On

Phew, life has been busy. It’s kept me  on my toes and re prioritized a few things which unfortunately meant pushing my blog to the wayside temporarily. I have been keeping up with my goals though in all aspects, physically, mentally and spiritually. I even picked up a great book while in Red Deer that encourages the exact same fitness lifestyle that I’m already striving for  and that has been a huge help and resource for me.

Moving forward I think it is important for readers to be able to see not only how I’m doing my goals and struggles but also hear specifics about what I’m doing. So here it goes bear with me because  for me this will expose and reveal deeper into me, my thought processes and into my life more intimately.

Physical:

I am happy to report that this is going extremely well and I am on my way to reaching some of my physical goals although I am certainly not their yet. My goal was to be able to complete a trial triathlon at the  end of this summer as well as to improve my overall strength and fitness. Their are things I am doing and constantly changing to help get me to my goal. First from a food perspective I have gone from binge eating whenever I please because I “workout” and therefore can to moderating my food in take and spoiling myself only on occasion primarily on weekends. I have limited my carb consumption and drastically reduced my sugar consumption also. I have smoothies twice a day during the week  one for breakfast and one for lunch with small snacks throughout the day to keep me satisfied. This is creating a regular intake of calories for me and therefore keeping my blood sugar more even throughout the day. My dinners have been primarily protein and veggie based focusing on lean proteins like chicken fish and pork. On the weekends I like to indulge. This doesn’t mean I go crazy but I will allow myself to have a couple beer, have take out/ greasy food and perhaps an extra bit of dessert. All of this is with the understanding though that I am continuing to work out both during the week and on the weekends to maintain a happy balance of calorie intake to calorie out put. My workouts primarily include biking right now thanks to the beautiful weather we have been having so nearly every day I am biking a minimum of 20 KM . I also continue to play basketball and go for regular walks with my dog. All in all this ensures that my calorie input to calorie out put is either equal or I have a higher out put than input. This has given me more energy a leaner more muscular body and better overall health. Only downside I have found is that when I do indulge because my body is not used to those style foods as frequently I do tend to feel fairly ill after, which I suppose is for the best because I am less tempted to indulge at all.

Emotionally:

This is where things have been a struggle as of late. My physical health has definitely increased my over all mood and ability to cope however life has felt quite busy, hectic, stressful and downright discouraging at times and I have struggled to move forward with a positive attitude and outlook. Luckily this negative feeling is not an all the time occurrence I do still find myself at times able to relax and feeling emotionally refreshed and able to handle the stress in life as it comes up, but on occasion it does become over whelming and cumber sum and that is the part I continue to combat. There is a season for everything and I believe that this season too will pass and allow for easier happier days to come. In the meantime I am learning how to cope with the emotional turmoil. The things I have learned will and have been beneficial in all facets of life from home life to work to friendships. The first thing I learned is to stop and listen. Sometimes that can be one of the hardest things to do because we all think our opinions and our thoughts are more important and should be voiced immediately however this is not always thee case. When I have taken the time to stop and listen it helps me understand those around me better and what they are feeling and relate and respond in a  way that is more compassionate. Emotionally this helps me to feel more balanced and more full because I have taken the time to be a “good friend” and a listening ear to someone who may have needed it. I believe the next step to further help my stress levels is to one get more rest, two continue to take things on item at a time instead off taking on multiple things all at once, three be more open and talk about my feelings instead of bottling them up, and four accepting that I can not control everything.

 

Spiritually:

I feel here things have been smooth sailing no hiccups or bumps no significant changes or growth. This is not always an ideal situation as we are warned against being lukewarm and I fear that perhaps I have allowed myself to become lukewarm.

Revelation 3:16

16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

In an attempt to combat that I have taken it upon myself to be more intentional with my own faith and spiritual growth.

Step one be more intentional with my praying and time with God. Too often I get caught up in the routine prayer, a quick prayer before each meal and a thankful prayer each night before bed but I am not taking the time to listen and truly express my heart to God.

Ephesians 6:18 – 20

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Step Two as we are currently learning about in church I must put on the full armor of God this means taking up the Sword of the spirit the bible and putting the words to memory so I will be slowly learning and memorizing bible verses.

Hebrews 4:12

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Step Three becoming more involved with the church and the church body. I often have felt I don’t have time or am to shy to participate in church activities but we have recently been informed that our church would like to start a young adults drop in basketball night. How perfect is that! this means I can go and interact with people my age, Christian and non, and play the sport that I have grown to love. It also means that I will not only be able to gain friendships and interactions that will be spiritually beneficial for me but I also may be able to gain spiritually from others.

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I am ever hopeful that these changes and adjustments will continue to create a healthier, better more rounded me and allow for me to perhaps help and be actively involved in supporting more people around me.

 

Ephesians 5:15-20

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Longest Winter

The cold and snow have gotten to a lot of Canadians this year, and to myself as well. This has caused a lull in my usual energy levels and finesse and zest for life. As you have probably noticed also a lull in my writing. Well Spring is not quite here but it is time to get back at it.

My question for myself became, why did I lose motivation and how do I get back to it without adding to my workload or adding more stress. I’m still figuring it out but the best I can figure is give it all up to God he’s bigger than my stress and he can handle it.

I then discovered if I add one thing at a time I am allowing myself to be eased back into my routine and schedule without getting too overwhelmed. But with Summer coming and plans for the year needing to be made and accomplished it often snowballs ( non pun intended) and I add 2-5 things to my day all at once. But I am learning. God is giving me patience and teaching me to lean on him and rely on him.

Additionally this long winter has led to a lot of time for self reflection and thinking as I started watching more shows, reading more and less on the go.  I have now re-evaluated my life and how I am responding in most situations. My goal is and has always  been to better myself by finding things I enjoy and basing success on how I feel not on a scale. But then it occurred to me perhaps my attitude and my goals are negatively affecting those around me. Am I a good influence to those i come in contact with. SO it’s time for a shift. My goals will not change as I think it’s important to keep yourself healthy, happy, and develop your relationship with God. But I now need to also focus outwardly on the way I speak and interact with others. What can I be doing to further help and influence them. Am i being harsh, judgmental or mean without realizing. Am I engaging in gossip type behaviors that would be hurtful in nature to others. It is time to nip these things in the bud. My goal is to be a person that people admire and want to emulate, to be different and unique in a way that allows for conversations about wellness, health, and God.

so my steps are…

Step 1:

F-R-O-G Fully –  Rely – On – God

In everything and every circumstance I need to trust him that he knows what is best and will never give me more than I can handle. I also need to trust his timing for his ways are perfect. And lastly but maybe most importantly I need to grow my own faith with him. How can I begin to impact and influence others when my knowledge and relationship are sub- par

 

Step 2:

Be a Light

Step out of and away from social norms and be counter cultural in a positive way. This means walking away from, not engaging in and not starting gossip or negative talk. It means praying for and encouraging the people I interact with daily but also praying for our world and for the leaders of it that they would be wise in their decision making. It also means stepping out of my comfort zone and reaching out to those around me even when it’s not within my comfort zone. It means giving freely of my time resources, finances and life in a way that better influences and helps those around me.

 

Step 3:

Motivate

by pushing myself in all ways physically, emotionally and spiritually I can use that as motivation to engage and encourage others. Physically I can develop relationships with like minded individuals and push them to try, pursue and accomplish new things that they may not have thought they could do. Emotionally I can be that listening ear and hopefully be able to in some way provide comfort or advice for those going through a tough time. Spiritually I can pray for  friends, family and co-workers and invite people to church and other church type or religious events.

 

I pray that this new out look and these new goals outward will go well and I pray for strength and courage to do this even when its hard or out of my comfort zone.

 

Words Will Never Hurt Me

There’s that old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” A well known saying but as of late I’m not sure I believe that it’s true. Yes sticks and stones may break bones but words can hurt. Now the deeper meaning to that phrase is that the person saying them feels unthreatened and unaffected by the harsh words of another person. But what just what if we didn’t need to use the phrase at all? What if everyone worked together to be kind and only speak words of encouragement. A task far easier said than done. And very applicable for me in all aspects of my life.

This phrase and thought came to me a couple of weeks back as I experienced a number of circumstances where someone’s words or actions, although unintentionally, upset someone around them. It then made me assess myself and the way I talk and act. Is it possible that I am hurting other with my words and actions even if unintentionally. Is it possible that I am letting other people’s words and actions affect me negatively. This is what I discovered:

Physically:

I consider myself to be physically fit. Am I at my ideal or my goal no but I’m working and training to get there. I realized with reflection though that I let how others have treated me or talk to me drive my effort level. When one of the guys calls out to another guy and says “you shoot like a girl” when playing basketball, or I watch a girl lap me in the pool I have let it take me beyond just a place of motivation to a place of anger, frustration and dissatisfaction with myself and my body. It was never either persons intention to put me down or make me feel bad yet I am left feeling down about myself all the same. The same is true of my actions, if I’m a bad sport or can’t laugh at my short comings, if I over exert myself and brag about how good I’m doing I may be unintentionally be hurting those around me. So I’ve decided this week to ask for humbleness.

Luke 14:10-11

“But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes he will say to you,friend move up to a better place, then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted”

Emotionally:

Emotionally I am at a good place I feel the people I am surrounded by love me and I know they have no intention to hurt me or put me down. I worry however that I may be hurting them by the words that I say. I have often been told that I am very blunt and very black and white. Which at times is a great quality to have. It can however lead me to say things at times that are insensitive. My prayer moving forward is that my words will be guided, that I will know when to talk and when to be silent, when to make a statement and when to listen

Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

Spiritually:

This is probably where I struggle most. Coming back to my black and whiteness this is the subject where I am quickest to take offence and probably unknowingly offending others. The unfortunate part here is that my judgements and criticisms are based upon thoughts and opinions of others around me and not my own determinations and knowledge. So my need in this area is for knowledge for a better, firmer grasp of what I believe and why I believe it so that when spiritual warfare does arise (and it will) I will be ready.

Ephesians 6:11-17

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

I guess in conclusion what I am trying and wanting to say is that we are all human. We all make mistakes no body is perfect. And sometimes things people say or do around us may be hurtful but it’s how we take those words and that hurt and what we do with them that determines our happiness and our impact on others.

Work Out Hangover

Today I am experiencing a workout hangover. Apparently this is not as common as I thought because I tried googling it and it gave me advice for workouts you can do to cure an actual hangover, but that is not my ailment. The best way I can describe it though is similar to an alcohol hangover where I woke up feeling groggy, tired, headachy and extremely dehydrated almost to the point of nausea. So I asked myself why do I think this is and what can I do to combat it.

This is a little different from my topics as of late but I think it still is relevant and important to talk about and the cures I have for my workout hangover can totally be applied to a number of other areas of life including an emotional or spiritual hangover.

Let me start by explaining what I believe to be the reason for my workout hangover. I have gone from a routinely active lifestyle to a more intensive activity level over a very short period. As my body adapts to this new workout routine. I did expect to be a little sore and tired following the increased activity level. The problem I believe comes from the frequency with which I am working out. I went from a two day workout routine to a 3-4 day workout routine. With no breaks each day is in succession to the other and I am working out 1-2 hours each time. The schedule although not ideal for rest and muscle repair is what I have to work with and so I now have to develop a strategy to keep myself from getting burnt out.

 

Step 1: Hydrate

This is an important step for any athlete in any situation with any sort of work out routine. Mild dehydration can cause a lot of the symptoms I have experienced recently including headache, muscle cramps, dry mouth and increased tiredness. Water is essential for the body to function property. Leave it to long and mild dehydration can become sever and life threatening.

So what can I do in future to keep myself from being dehydrated. I believe the answer for me is to plan ahead. Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day before my workouts, then also having a bottle of water with me and ready to go when I do go exercise. Followed up by a reminder (perhaps a sticky note) prompting me to have more water post workout to refuel myself.

Lets apply this to emotional needs. Everyone has different social and emotional needs that need to be refueled and re-hydrated. For some that may look like, taking a break from chores or an activity and getting together with a friend for coffee or even just a phone call. For others it may look like taking time for yourself in a quiet room with a good book or to relax and journal. Whatever it takes to recharge yourself emotionally should be made a priority. Planning ahead is a great tool for this. For extroverts this may mean making plans with people ahead of time to ensure you get adequate time around friends and family. For introverts it may mean planning time for yourself  by taking out a good book or making a schedule to ensure you’re not over booked.

Spiritually we can be dehydrated when we are not filled with the Holy spirit. The bible says that God is the living water and we must come to him when we are thirsty.

John 7:37-39

37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given,[f] because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

 

Step 2: Rest

Rest is just  as good as activity. Proper rest allows the body to recharge, reset and prepare for the next activity and day. This has the same application for both physical and mental well being. Proper sleep is crucial. making sure you have adequate time to sleep without interruption. Functioning  on alack of sleep can cause negative side effects to the body including impaired performance, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, aches and pains.

 

It is also important in a spiritual sense. Rest in the form of sleep yes, but also resting in the peace of our heavenly father.  Psalms 4:8 states just that “In peace I will lie down and sleep,for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  The other amazing verse comes from Isaiah and it talks about our Heavenly Father and how he does not grow weary and need rest that he will take our burdens and weight. What an Amazing gift. Just thinking about that kind of love and support lessens that burdens and weariness I feel in my daily life.

Isaiah 40:28-41

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary,
 and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

 

Step 3: Nutrition

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to eat well in our day and age. Partially due to laziness yes, but also due to the way things are manufactured and the products that are made more readily available. I have found loading up on junk food or sugar like foods after a work out sustains me for a time but often leaves me hungry shortly after and lethargic. My boy is not getting the vitamins and nutrition it needs. On the other end of the spectrum we need to watch for fads and diets. Yo-yoing because a diet worked but you can’t maintain that lifestyle day to day is no good either. Or cutting out certain foods so your not getting proper fats protein and nourishment are not the answer. It’s about balance and everything in moderation. Which is why this month my husband and I have created our own little challenge we are calling “Whole Food February”. Our goal in this is to number one not eat out. less sodium and less fats that and with the convenience of eating out often leads to unhealthy dinner choices. We are also choosing at home to eat as few processed foods as possible to avoid all the preservatives and hormones that are in our food now a days. This is a goal we know is probably not sustainable for us but we are hoping makes us more conscious of how we do eat so that in the future we will continue to make healthier cleaner food choices.

For emotions we also need to watch our nutrition and what we eat.Lacking the right nutrients and vitamins can leave you tired, worn out, and irritated. We have also been filling our systems with hormones and bi-products that are messing with the bodies normal chemical make up causing more hormonal imbalances and emotional distress, which unfortunately can lead to a vicious cycle of emotional eating then getting more emotional and eating more. All of which are not good for the over all health and well being.

Nutrition like rest can also be applied to what we feed our Soul. spiritually speaking we should regularly be feeding ourselves from the word of God. Involving ourselves in what God has to say in and through the bible. We also need to look at what the bible says about our physical well being when it comes to food and nutrition. Matthew 6:25-34 says “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

 

I hope these steps help guide you through your own journey as I am hoping they will help guide me through mine. And with any luck there will be far fewer work out, emotional and spiritual hangovers in my future.

Attention to Attitude

I’d like to shift my attention this week to a topic that differs from the usual. Although still very applicable to improving myself I started thinking today about my attitude and how I treat others and the world as a whole around me. I have been diving into politics a bit this week as I try to understand, support and weigh in on political issues of the day. I realized during the process that perhaps my attitude has been misguided. I was so focused on defending Trump and his Presidency and knocking down Trudeau that I really did miss the bigger picture. It was right around this aha moment that I received and encouraging verse from my mom pertaining to this exact topic.

Proverbs 21:1-2

In the Lord’s had the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels towards all who please him. A person may think their own ways are right but the Lord weighs the heart.

This verse so adequately captures what my attitude regarding this matter should be. Do I have to agree with everything our leaders are doing and saying, no I don’t. I do however have to respect their authority in their respective positions and pray and trust that God will guide them. I have my opinions and views of what is right and how I think the leaders should and are acting but I had never considered what God may want. So with that I am shifting my focus to a better, more positive attitude that will diligently pray and support those in authority over me, both in government but also in day to day living like my colleagues, elders, friends and family.

I pray God will give me patience and perspective as I continue to learn and grow on my faith journey.

Storing Up Treasures

Matthew 6:19 -21

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

What a great verse. It relates to so much of what we do in this life and the things we put importance on. This same chapter later goes on to talk about not worrying and that if God cares for a sparrow why would he also not care for you. Both pieces of this chapter have really stuck with me these past weeks as I go about the new year stressing , worrying and putting value back on worldly things. This Chapter is a great reminder to refocus my thoughts and my energies on God. If I am actively involved in my community, sports and work, but I am not showing God’s love or word I am just a sounding gong, a noise maker that is a part of society but not creating treasure. This all seems very counter cultural mostly because it is, but isn’t that the point. God never said that life was going to be easy in fact he promised quite the opposite.

John 16:33

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

God has already taken care of things, of our sin of the corruption. Judgement is coming. It is our job in the meantime to do our best to live for him. Today that often means living counter culturally. It is a hard and frowned upon concept by the world. But I for one am up or the challenge.

My plans to live counter culturally although not extravagant will be hard and I know I will fail and fall. I pray that I will be given the strength to endure and that my example may be the seed or the influence that someone I encounter needs to start them on a journey that eventually leads to God and his wonderful Grace and mercy.

 

Here are some tangible things I am trying that you may want to consider for your daily life as well.

  1. No more gossip – so often when we are in a group of friends or in  our work place it almost feels natural to complain or vent to those around us about those people that are currently not present. But this can be very damaging to relationships and even if said not to hurt the person but simply to vent can spread like wild fire and become a story you never intended to tell one of which can hurt the person you were discussing. So I try to avoid this when at all possible and instead of letting it become a story or a rumor that spreads I have taken to a) either shutting down the conversations, or b) taking my issues to places of authority where they can no longer be misconstrued into rumors but instead be dealt with on a professional level.
  2. Dressing modestly. taking no regard for what society deems pretty or appropriate and wearing and presenting myself in a way that is modest
  3. watching my language. Everyone has those urges to say the odd bad word now and again when they are telling a joke, or they are mad or hurt but I choose to speak in a kind manner. this of course like all the things I am changing is hard and I do slip up on occasion but with God’s help I will continue to work and improve.

My hope in all of this is that people will see there is something different, something better about me and wonder what it is that makes me who and the way I am. This will then hopefully open the doors ( if I am brave enough) to begin a conversation about God and my faith.

Next week; with time to research I intend to try and tackle some of the controversy surrounding the political views of  our society. Please pray for me as I venture into this controversial topic that I would have the words and wisdom to portray my thoughts and feelings in a kind and non-controversial manner.

Reason for the Season

Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

What a wonderful story. and one we more than likely have all heard or been told at one point or another. But there is a second part to this story that may not be as “seasonal” but is equally as important.

Luke 23:26-49

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[b31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. 

For more background on this magnificent story I would encourage you to read through the entire chapter of Luke.

This passage may seem strange to reference this time of year as it is sad and harsh but it then comes with good news in the next chapter.

Luke 24:1-12

Jesus Has Risen

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

The second and third portions of scripture I have referenced here refer to what everyone knows as the Easter story. I reference these because of something I heard/learned recently from my pastor that I thought was profound and important to share with all of you.

Christmas is a wonderful magical time of year where we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior. But without the Cross His birth is meaningless. To have a Savior that came and dwelt among the people is one thing and a huge sacrifice but that in no way completes what we as Christians believe in terms of the forgiveness of sins and the ability to be forgiven by grace. if Jesus had simply been born lived a sinless life and was then taken back to heaven by the Father we would still be required to repent from our sins by making sacrifices. So without the Cross the His birth is meaningless

Without His birth the Cross is powerless. A man named Jesus did live and walk the earth historians have proved this. But if all he was is a good man or prophet then his death on the cross is powerless and cannot take the load of the sins of the world. Jesus needed to be born, fully man and fully God. So without His birth the Cross is powerless

The Cross and His birth go hand in hand. One is not enough without the other. Both must be true for Jesus to have been the Savior. God must have sent his son Jesus in human form, fully human and fully God to this earth, he must have lived a sinless and dies a sinners death on the Cross, then be raised from the dead after three days to conquer the death once and for all.

This is the reason for the season it’s not all wrapped up with nice bows and it’s not about the carols. It’s about a Savior born humbly for the sins of the world. I will celebrate gladly with friends and family this holiday season with wrapped presents, bows, lights and carols but I will always remember the reason for the season

Without the Cross His Birth is Meaningless, Without His Birth the Cross is Powerless

Year in Review

As we head into the holiday season, it is a time to reflect on the year past. Time to reflect on all that has happened, both good and bad and makes plans, goals and dreams for the future. I’m not particularly big on resolutions although I do think they have their place . But instead prefer to makes plans. tangible lifestyle changes to perhaps accomplish what would be considered a goal or resolution. i would like to now share these with you.

 

When I started this blog it was about fitness and my journey encouraging others to learn and grow ass I have but over recent months it has become something more and something I am proud of. The focus originally went physical well being, emotional well being spiritual well being. I pause d to reflect recently not only how my blog posts of chanegd but also how I’ve changed, and although I think physical and emotional well being are critical to our over all well being and confidence I now put it’s importance significantly behind the importance of spiritual well being. So next step. Lets re vamp this blog. I want to give tangible tips on how to improve every aspect of our lives but I want God to be the center and most important part of it all.

 

PLAN #1: SPIRITUAL WELL BEING

Previously I have been adamant that I should go to church and I should pray regularly which are great practices. I want to improve upon these things and take it one step further. My plan is to integrate my faith and prayers into my every day. My goal in this is to talk to God hourly. It will take a fair amount of discipline to implement but I feel it will improve my lifestyle and create a calmer more relaxed happy atmosphere for myself. To form this habit I will be leaving and setting reminders for myself throughout the day to stop and pray. Even if just for a few seconds. That constant refocus on God will not only help me to start listening for and hearing his voice and his will in my life but will also take me out of routine and cause me to look at every event every encounter as an opportunity to use him to help others and to use the gifts he has blessed me with to influence others.

Philipians 4: 6-9

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

I have always had this as my  favourite verse but now it will apply more than ever as I take each opportunity I can to thank God, release my worries and stresses to him and listen for his help and guidance. I pray that my obedience will result in a direct impact on the kingdom and that I might be able to touch even just one life around me.

 

I also know that this means challenges and adversity that I may tested or attacked spiritually. I ask that you who read this will pray for me for strength and help as I may make this lifestyle change.

 

PLAN #2: EMOTIONAL WELL BEING

Managing emotions especially as a hormonal female can be crazy difficult. For me this year it’s going to be about controlling and engaging the negative emotions in a way that’s positive and taking those positive emotions to a new level by being more open and engaging with those around me. I want to live a good life. Will I be perfect, no. But with Gods help I can make it through. My goal is to take my negative energy and channel it towards something good to allow myself to remain positive even through a hard situation. In my personal life I enjoy being physically fit so my negative emotions can be let out through kick boxing. My negative emotions at work may be harder to manage so my goal is to release those in my quiet times. not by venting and gossiping with other staff but by praying.

Philipians 4:10-14

10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[d] who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

Again from Philippians is a verse that I draw strength on. Specifically verse 13. “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” What a powerful and wonderful promise. No matter what I can do it because God will give me the strength. He will never give me more than I can handle. And although I may stumble or fall or although the road may be bumpy with this help I will make it through.

 

PLAN #3: PHYSICAL WELL BEING

The last year has been a blast as I improve my skills and my health all in one fell swoop with a number of new hobbies I have acquired. I feel these skills can be put to good use if done  in a kind sportsman like manner with God as the center getting all the glory. I wish to keep my body his temple healthy and fit to the best of my abilities. I also would like to be a great sport and a great competitor no matter what I try. My goal this year is to push my limits. I wish to compete in an entry level triathlon and possibly run a half marathon. If their is time I would also like to compete in the spartan races as they pass through town. On top of all that I will strive to improve my basketball skills. continue my bike riding both to and from work but also long distance and lastly keep up with kick boxing as an emotional and physical release. All of these activities can bring glory to God as I honor him with my attitude my gifts and my talents.

 

Matthew 25:14-30

Parable of the Three Servants

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver[a] to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![b]

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate,27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Although to some this parable can seem harsh it is to show that everything we are given no matter how big or small are gifts from God and can be used in their own way to bring him glory. I wish to do the same with my talents. Will I be the best, not by a long shot. But I will use the gifts and talents he has blessed me with to bring him honour.

So what will your new year. What plans will you make and what goals will you set to achieve these plans. For me these are more than just a passing whim these plans have been prayerfully considered and will be come a lifestyle routine. Their is no end goal because I will never be done serving and honoring my God with my words and actions

Christmas Must Be Something More

Have you heard that Taylor Swift Christmas Song? It was released in 2007. At the end of this post I’ve included the lyrics for those who have not heard it. It basically talks about what Christmas would be without all the superficial things we humans have brought to this day. I think it’s a great reminder… not that their is anything wrong with traditions and decorations and enjoying the holiday season, as long as we remember what and who were celebrating.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot this season as I  decorate my house, shop for everyone and get life together for the holiday season. Am I too being superficial in what should be a day to celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the World. So I thought I’d take some time to reflect on what Christmas means to me and I discovered something. Yes I enjoy and embrace the superficiality that is Christmas but I think with the right heart and attitude behind it that this too can be a demonstration of God and his love for us

Here’s what it means for me. Christmas is first and foremost an opportunity to celebrate and spread the news about Jesus Christ. His birth, death and resurrection and the amazing gift we have been given. Secondly it’s about love and giving freely of what we have to a world in need. I am in awe how the small things around me suddenly that I take for granted all year long suddenly come into perspective on these days.

 

 

What if ribbons and bows didn’t mean a thing
Would the song still survive without five golden rings
Would you still wanna kiss without mistletoe
What would happen if God never let it snow
What would happen if Christmas carols told a lie
Tell me what would you find

You’d see that today holds something special
Something holy, not superficial
So here’s to the birthday boy who saved our lives
It’s something we all try to ignore
And put a wreath up on your door
So here’s something you should know that is for sure
Christmas must be something more

What if angels did not pay attention to
All the things that we wished they would always do
What if happiness came in a cardboard box
Then I think there is something we all forgot
What would happen if presents all went away
Tell me what would you find

We get so caught up in all of it
Business and relationships
Hundred mile an hour lives
And it’s this time of year
And everybody’s here
It seems the last thing on your mind

John 3:16 – 21

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God