Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Encouragement

Well ladies...I think we are all well aware that tomorrow is Valentine's Day. For some, it may be a fabulous day. For some, it may be a pretty rough day. And for some, it may be a day that you don't even think twice about. Speaking from the perspective of a married woman who 100% loves and adores her husband, it is a day that I both don't really pay all that much attention to, but at the same time, expect it to be abnormally romantic. Funny how that works, huh?

In all honesty, I love the day because it is a holiday and I love all the decorations and excitement behind any me, I have an insane amount of Valentine's inspired pencils on my desk. What can I say, the Target dollar section just calls to me every time!! Back on track- I love Valentine's Day because I love any holiday, especially a ridiculously adorable holiday filled with fun colors and hearts. But, I have the same feelings about Valentine's Day that I have for New Years Eve. It's a little overrated. Believe me...I enjoy every opportunity I get to spend time with my husband, but without fail, every year I regret the pressure I put on the day. Even more so, I hate the pressure I put on Ben and the strain it can sometimes put on our relationship.

I am currently participating in a Bible study on Tuesday nights with a fabulous group of women. We are studying Exodus, in particular the 10 Commandments. Last night we went over the last 6 commandments. One in particular was very convicting for shall not commit adultery. Now, before you go jumping to conclusions, no...I have never nor will I ever cheat on my husband. What was so convicting to me was going back to the Sermon on the Mount when Christ talks about lust. I used to think that he meant that a lustful thought is the exact same as adultery. Now, I understand that what Christ is saying is that we have to cut our sin at the root. Lust or wishful thoughts are the root of adultery. They often lead to adultery and that is why we have to capture our thoughts and be careful with not just only our hearts, but our minds as well.

The reason this was so convicting to me is because I am a total hopeless romantic, and I often have to capture the thoughts I have about life being a fairytale. I want a fairytale, but I have to realize that because of the fall, life is simply not a fairytale. On a large scale, I thought I was pretty good about this. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I decided easily not to read it. I viewed, and still view it essentially, as a woman's porn. No, I am not watching anything, but by reading something like that, I am essentially thinking exactly what a man would be watching. When I thought about this, I thought about how devastated I would be if I ever knew that Ben was doing this. That is just the large scale...I am not so good on the smaller scale. All those Nicholas Sparks books do the same thing, just not as graphic. By reading all the fairytales and watching all the fairytales, I am often wishing for the fairytale. Now, don't think that I am saying you can't read those Nicholas Sparks books or watch your chick flicks. I am not at all saying that. I just think you have to be careful not to hold your husband to that standard.

Cut the sin at the root. I would like to encourage all of you, especially all of the wives, to let your husband love you tomorrow. Let him love you how he loves you best. Don't hold him to expectations that he can never fulfill. Let tomorrow be a fabulous day for love to flourish! That is my goal. To encourage my husband and not to put him down. To let him love me because when I let him, he is so incredibly wonderful at it.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

30 Day Challenge

When 2013 began and we were headed home from vacation, I decided that I would do a 30 day challenge to kick things off on the right foot. I didn't follow any program or anything like that; I simply wrote down goals and strived to meet them. I started on January 2nd and finished up on Thursday, January 31st. I would say my 30 day challenge was a SUCCESS!! I am a fan of challenging myself and setting goals...this year might just be a year full of 30, 60 or however many day challenges! 

My Goals:
  1. Consistently add more weights into my workout routine
  2. Push myself everyday with my workouts 
  3. Less processed foods, more whole foods
  4. Plan school lunches ahead of time
  5. Quit chewing gum 
  6. Drink more (2-3 L) water daily
  7. Be consistent about digging into God's word 
  8. Get out of my comfort zone!! 
Lets go through these one-by-one.... 
  1. With the help of my personal trainer, aka my husband, I created a weight routine for each day of the week. 
      • Monday - Biceps and Triceps 
      • Tuesday - Squats, Lunges, Step-ups, etc. 
      • Wednesday - Back and Shoulders 
      • Thursday - Hamstrings, Quads, Calves, etc. 
      • Friday - Full Body Circuit - Burpees, Planks, Push-ups, Dips, Mountain Climbers 
I used Saturday as a day to run or do a fun workout. Sunday is generally rest day unless it is switched with another day where time ran out. I really really really enjoyed doing this! This cardio queen has now turned into a weights junkie! I find that I look forward to the time I get to spend in the weight room rather than the time I spend on the elliptical, treadmill or stairmaster. There were those few days when I just got in the zone and I went with it. For example, I had a 20 minute HIIT run planned + back and shoulders one day, but when I got on the treadmill, I just zoned out and ran 5.02 miles instead. I love those pleasant surprises!  

    2.  SUCCESS - I started adding weight, reps and more circuits all on my own! It usually takes Ben going to the gym with me and yelling at me, but I wanted to see results! 

    3.  I really tried to plan out our meals and get more whole foods in my meals. On the nights when we  were both busy and there was no meal planned, I tried to choose better quick meals. I used to choose things like cereal, but this time I went with protein shakes, Amy's frozen meals, etc. There were a couple nights where cereal was just the best option and I didn't beat myself up about it.

Salmon, Quinoa and Roasted Broccoli
Roasted Kale, Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts with Feta and Black Beans 
I love Amy's!! My favorite is the Black-Eyed Pea Bowl!
Zoe's Kitchen Spinach and Chicken Roll-Ups...2 eaten for dinner, 2 wrapped up for lunch
These are just a few examples of my meals. I tried to make something on Monday's that could be taken for lunch during the week - taco soup, quinoa, etc. I was even proud of the choices I made at some of the events we went to. I stuck to vegetables, salads and things that were not cooked in large amounts of sauce or oil. 

     4.  Semi-succees. Like I mentioned before, dinners that could be taken in tubberware helped, but frozen meals that could be grabbed in the morning while running out the door did too. 

    5.  I would say this was an incredible success!! There have been a few days that I have chewed gum, but I no longer want piece after piece after piece. I was able to chew 1 or 2 pieces and then be done for the rest of the day! MAJOR SUCCESS!!!! 

    6.  Mostly a success - I struggle to drink water during the day while I'm teaching. I find it really annoying when I constantly have to pee during class. I can't exactly just leave my students, plus I am always cold and drinking water constantly doesn't help. I used my big Starbucks Venti cup to help and a 1L water bottle that I tried to fill up at least 2-3 times a day. Still working on this! 

    7.  Still working on daily quiet times, but I joined a Women's Bible Study that meets on Tuesdays and Ben and I attended Elder Led Prayer on Wednesdays. We also attended church on Sunday, but I would still really like to get into a daily routine. 

    8.  This, I have done. It was definitely not in my comfort zone to join a Women's Bible Study. I tend to stick with being around people that I am already comfortable around and who know me. I don't exactly open up easily, but I am have so enjoyed the 2 weeks so far that we have met. I just had to get out there and do it!! 

Also going along with getting out of my comfort zone, I am now doing a 30 day, maybe a 60 day if things go well, challenge doing INSANITY. I started yesterday with the Fit Test and already know that this is going to be killer! I am really excited and can't wait to share my results! 

Hope you have had a fabulous first 32 days of the New Year! Make this your year!! 

PS - Something else that has helped is keeping track of my meals and workouts in this adorable little spiral. I love feeling the accomplishment of writing down the really tough workouts!