Friday, February 28, 2014

Flash: Underexposed

Hello again. I've been MIA and I didn't want Feb to come & go without making a single entry.
I've been feeling dry and empty as of late. My husband left on his first deployment to Afghanistan recently, and it's funny because I've described the way I'm feeling as "Being in the dessert".
For a while before he left we were in the dark about whether he would have to go or not, and for a second due to the events leading up to the deployment I was sure he wouldn't have to go. He was one of the new guys, he got left behind from their preparative training operation, and he was in a car accident which totaled his car that injured his thumb and wrist on his shooting hand... but as the days drew closer I had an unsettling feeling that he would in fact be leaving. Ever since then it's been like someone turned up the f stop and lowered the ISO on my lenses (eyes) making my life underexposed.
What that means to me as a Photographer is that there's little to light coming in. I've lost the desire to do the things I love doing the most. I haven't worked out, It pains me to sew... even indulging in retail therapy leaves me feeling emptier & lonelier than ever. I got a brand spanking new awesome camera & lenses. I upgraded from a Canon Rebel T3 12mp with Kit lens 18-55mm to a Canon EOS 70D 20mp with a 50mm, 18-55mm, 75-300mm and some macro wide angle lenses plus filters. If you're not into cameras it's like going from a promise ring to an engagement ring or dinner at McDonald's to Dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings lol idk I'm bad at comparisons. The point is I now have the one thing I've been dreaming of for the past year and it's just sitting in my closet. Life has lost its color and luster. I never saw it coming.

Lately I've been watching "GLEE" (Don't judge me) and I identified a lot with Rachel- loves the star light, looks at the bright side, bubbly and up beat, always wanting more and going for it, but that has changed.
Whats going on with me? Today was the first day since he left that I haven't cried (yet)... Last week we were out with a bad cold, and this week we fell victim of a nasty stomach virus. The stench of vomit still lurks around as I type. I've been handling it like "Super mom" (thanks Ash) on the exterior, but I'm falling apart inside.
I've always taken pride in being a strong and independent woman with my own goals and desires... so why does this seem so damn hard? (here come the water works) My husband and I are not  spiritually equally yoked, but regardless he is the priest of our home & I miss him so very much.I need his leadership and comfort. I haven't been reading my bible lately... I haven't missed service, and I listen to worship music everyday but I just can't open my bible. I guess I'm just afraid of what God may say...
When I first started reading the bible back in 2010 I didn't know what the heck I was reading. It seemed like a lot of names and numbers. Some kind of history or documentary... but as I kept reading and attending bible studies I kept hearing the the Bible is the breathing living word of God.

So I prayed, that God would open my eyes and my mind, that he would prepare  my heart and my ears so that I could hear from him, and soon after started to read between the lines..I can't remember where but somewhere in the bible it says that that not everyone with ears can hear and not everyone with eyes can see. He spoke in parables so only the ones who cared enough and worked to decipher the message would receive it. Sometimes I would read something I would interpret in my world and before the day was over it would come to pass. Like a foreshadowing, I could hear the direction my life would take. The bible is full of promises, great ones at that. But just as God gives, he takes away. Take Job for example.

As I type this I feel a conviction saying "we can move the hand of God in our favor, don't be afraid" so right here & right now I declare that it's time to let the light back into my life. It's time I let go & let God correct the settings of my life. I don't want to live afraid in  darkness
Every night I ask God to clear the road ahead of him and that his word be the lamp to his feet and the light to his path, because as my day ends, his day begins. I know that the only way I'll get through this time without him is with Christ, because his strength is made perfect in my weakness. It's my turn to take the dare to be loved.

If you or a loved one is serving or has served overseas, I thank you for your sacrifices from the bottom of my heart. And if you were wondering- Yes, we're all wearing red in our home today. It's REDD Friday: Remember Every Daddy Deployed. God Bless you.

Matthew 6: 22-23
  "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

The only thing sadder than being blind is to have sight but no vision. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fitness: It's more than Physical

 Before I decided to commit myself to a lifestyle change, I never really gave thought to why it is important. I mean yeah, there's benefits to working out. It means I could loose a little weight, and maybe feel a little better about myself. After all cardiovascular exercise is good for your heart, and thus for your wallet (less medical expenses in the future) But as good as that sounds, it just wasn't all that motivating...

After all I'm married & my husband loves me no matter what size I wear. I could probably just fix my depression (due to over eating & lack of self love) with some anti-depressants. If I feel fine right now- We can just deal with the future & medical issues when I get there... right????

But...Is not working out OK? Am I benefiting from settling and not trying to improve? Am I just meant to just be fine with being unhappy with my weight & the size of my jeans? And Is being too busy, or not having enough money right now (because I don't prioritize my health over Netflix, fast food & gas to drive to the store that's just 3 blocks away) an acceptable excuse for putting off self improvement?

Excuses after excuses (that seemed like reasonable reasons) kept me from making the change for a while. I stayed sick & tired of being sick & tired and it made me even more sick & tired... and then I came across this:
Instantly I felt convicted... We were made in the image of Christ, our lives were purchased at a very high price, and my body is a temple... but I sure wasn't treating it like so...
Was my lifestyle a reflection of my faith? Was I honoring God with my body and giving him glory with my habits? I got to thinking about the 7 deadly sins... (as defined in Wiki)

  • 3.1 Lust Lust is equivalent to intense desire which could involve the intense desire of sex, pleasure, money, food, fame, or power as well
Have you ever lusted after food? Have you ever watched a commercial about food and suddenly got the craving? Did you mouth water as you visualized the flavors in your mouth, and the satisfaction in your tummy? A common term on the web these days to describe a succulent meal  is "Food Porn" . Food has become an idol to some of us. I'm not immune to this! I often battle between starting my day with Shakeology (meal replacement shake) followed by healthy less appealing food that nourishes me instead of just indulging in fatty deliciousness...
  • 3.2 Gluttony Gluttony is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste, the excessive desire for food causes it to be withheld from the needy, gluttony can be interpreted as selfishness; essentially placing concern with one's own interests above the well-being or interests of others. A more expansive view of gluttony, could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant eating of delicacies and excessively costly food. 
If you are: eating too soon, eating too expensively, eating too much, eating too eagerly, eating too daintily or eating wildly you might be guilty of gluttony. Are you the first one to dig in to the platter and fight over the last piece?? I know I have
  • 3.3 Greed Greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth. 
Are there any holes in your pockets? Is there maybe something that you're spending your money on that you don't really need?  Could you put aside an allowance for proper maintenance of your temple? I myself  was hoarding fabric, crafting supplies & bags from 31gifts... they're so cute & adorable!!! I didn't have enough money for a fitness program because I didn't put a value to my body & health- but Jesus decided I was worth his blood!!! Surely I had to make some changes..
  • 3.4 Sloth While sloth is sometimes defined as physical laziness, spiritual laziness is emphasized, a sloth has also been defined as a failure to do things that one should do. 
 Personally I think, as a Christian, that spiritual fitness & physical fitness go hand in hand. How can we say we love God and not read our bibles (spiritual bread)? How could we invite Jesus into our hearts & ask the holy spirit to reside in us and not spend at least 25-30 mins at least 5 times a week to maintain his temple? While the Bible doesn't depict Jesus pumping iron it says He walked from one place to another. People followed him- not came to him... He exerted physical effort!! He also showed self control and restraint during his 40 day fast. He, being the son of God, could have made everyone cater to him & carry him around without him having to lift a finger. I know for me It can be difficult to choose to wake up earlier to get a good uninterrupted workout & read my bible while I'd rather just sleep in...
  • 3.5 Wrath  Wrath is also known as "rage", can be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger- in its purest form, presents with self-destructiveness, violence, and hate. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatience, revenge, and self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse or suicide.  
Have you ever felt wrath of self? When you tried that 2week diet and lost 10lbs only to gain 12 back? And   instead of trying harder you just binged on food then told yourself off and wondered if you were better off dead??? (I've been there) That's not God's plan for me, not for you either...
  • 3.6 Envy  Envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent towards someone's traits, status, abilities, or rewards. The difference is the envious also desire the entity and covet it.
 Have you ever had that skinny friend who could eat an entire pizza and was still a size 0? "Man I wish I had that metabolism, I wish my clothes fit like that..." This has crossed mine- about my husband! While not all of us are born with the skinny gene, we have the ability to do something about it. Stop wishing and start doing!

  • 3.7 Pride  It is identified as believing that one is essentially better than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal self. 
Oh my friend works out & looks & feels great- whatever- I don't need to do all that. I'm perfect the way I am... (high cholesterol and ALL) I am God's princess and I am under grace- So I can get away with not working out & indulging in yummies... God loves us so much that he gave his only son to die for us even though we were sinners. Jesus died for you... but are you living for him?

 I quickly realized that the path I was on wasn't getting me to a happy destination, they are called the 7 deadly sins for a reason... and we know that the wages of sin is death. It was a WAKE UP call. Since I started my lifestyle transformation journey so much has changed. My mood has improved, my energy has increased, I've lost inches & self wrath. I've been more appreciative of what God has done, in doing and will do. I've dug deeper into his word and rejoice up keeping my temple.

If the physical isn't a motivation to make a change, dig deeper. Where do you want to be this time next year? 5yrs? 10yrs? Is your current lifestyle gonna take you there? Could you improve in any area of your life? While fitness brings along physical benefits, it also brings discipline, it helps build good habits & character.

If you have kids, what are you teaching them? Know that they are watching you, and being influenced by you. What's the example you are setting? Are we ignoring the problems and hoping they go away? Are taking the cheap fix easy way out like popping pills and wrapping something around you for 45mins- or do we set goals, work hard & stick to them?

Being a beach body coach keeps me accountable, I've gotten to meet wonderful people. I've inspired some of them and been able to see a transformation in  my challengers physical & spiritual journey. I'm not writing this post to try to sale you something or influence you to buy from me- I simply wanted to put this out as a self reflection post. Get a DVD @ Walt-mart if that's your budget. The point is to start somewhere. Work hard in all you do and honor God with your actions. Stop polluting your temple.

Dare to be loved & accepted, not just by God, but by yourself.