I have superpowers….

but they are limited!  I pushed through day 2 of week 2 of Couch to 5k this evening.  It was a little tougher than the first day.  It was slightly warmer and a lot more humid, and I definitely felt it in my breathing.  I’ve decided my jogging skills are a lot like my singing skills…limited in range.  My voice is on the lower end and when the notes fall in my range I can  do a decent job of hitting them and usually with some power behind them.  But go out of my limited range and it’s a different story.  If I could keep the temperature below 70 degrees with little humidity maybe my jogging superpowers would come out!  Until then, I’ll push on.

At least there were no injuries tonight.  My jogging buddy is still out of commission after being viciously attacked by the sidewalk   veering a bit wide and rolling his ankle off the sidewalk two days ago.

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He went down hard.  Usually I’m the klutzy one.  However I was able to use my highly developed skills in treating sprained ankles.  Actually he wanted to shake it off and keep going.  At which I just shook my head and told him we were done!  I had to ask if he was just that crazy or if it was a “guy” thing.  You know, the “no blood, no foul” and “just rub some dirt on it” mentality.  He is a bit on weird side, but I was told it was mostly a guy thing!  Thankfully saner heads prevailed and we headed home…slowly.  Actually he went slowly and I took off to finish the jogging intervals.  It’s the only time in my life where I felt like the more athletic one!

Lesson learned:  always run on the road or my preferred location, the paved trails.

In other happy news, we received our first letter from Olivier from Haiti.  Along with a drawing and telling us some of his favorite things, his brother helped him write this letter.  Here’s what it said.

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Olivier is so glad to greet you.  He is so glad to tell you that everyone is doing well here.  His family greets you right now, he’s not busy in his school because he is on vacation.  He’ll enjoy with his friends.  He loves you so much.  He’ll pray for you.  He wishes you a special summer!

It fills my heart to read the letters from all of our sponsored children.  They are all very special to me.  They are one of the reasons why I’m working so hard to take control of my health before my journey to Africa.

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. –Philippians 4:13

 

Family

We’re back around to Monday after a full weekend for our family.  We traveled to Illinois for a family reunion.  My mom was one of six children, so family gatherings have always been characterized by two words, “a lot”!  A lot of food, a lot of kids running around and a lot of fun.  Close to sixty of my relatives gathered at the family farm to catch up on what life had brought to them the past year, comment on how fast the kids were growing up and to fuss over the newest family members. IMG_7713

 

These are the people who I spent holidays with growing up.  We’ve shared laughter, fun, and a healthy amount of homemade noodles together.  There have been new people to welcome and we’ve had to say goodbye to some, but there is one thing you can count on with this family….love, laughter, & faith.

On Sunday I had the privilege of photographing another family that is in many ways just like mine.  This family is also full of love, laughter, and faith.  However, life has landed them in the middle of some troubling times.  Their beloved mom has been diagnosed with stage IV cancer.  They gathered at church yesterday to join together to ask God for a miracle.

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 And yet in the midst of uncertainty this family radiated love…love for Jesus and love for each other.  As the entire church surrounded them to pray you just knew that something special was taking place and the very presence of God was in that place.

After this weekend, I was again reminded that life is short and relationships are precious.  Far beyond any possession or position the value in life is found in the relationships.  Your family, your friends (some of which are treasured every bit as much as family), and most importantly, your relationship with God our Creator.  Don’t neglect them.

Time to say goodbye

This journey to better health has brought with it some decisions.  Some that are harder than others.  With it I’m afraid I’ll have to say some “goodbyes”.

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So for the record, diet soda….I’m going to have to break up with you.  I know, I know we’ve had fun hanging out in the past….especially you, Diet Dr. Pepper.  But you’re just not good for me.  A nice cold Diet Dr. Pepper and I was a happy girl, but then I began to realize something.  I had these weird aches and pains that mysteriously went away when we would be on a break.  I researched you.  You’re chock full of chemicals and stuff that I’m sure God never intended for me to drink.  So as hard as this is, we must part ways.  It’s not you…it’s me…actually it’s you.

Bathroom scale….our relationship is going to have to change.  Yes, in the past we would faithfully visit every morning.  Our relationship was such that I knew exactly where to slide you to on the floor to get the lowest number.  But honestly, you’ve had too much power over me and my mood.  Just as a dropping number could fill me with confidence, a small swing up of your numbers could start my day off in a horrible way…full of defeat.   It’s not really your fault, I let you have that kind of control and power, but now I have to take it back.  Yes, we’ll still visit, but I can’t see us meeting up more than a couple of times a month.  Just enough to make sure I’m on track.  I’m going to have to start visiting your cousin, the measuring tape.  I’ve discovered it’s a far better indicator of my progress.  So for now….take a break.

And finally, coffee…….well I haven’t completely lost my mind! 🙂  But your friend, fancy flavored creamer with the high fructose corn syrup, needs to find somewhere else to hang out.  I’ve invited Half & Half over to stay.

  Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. –Philippians 4:13 (Message)

Here’s the skinny…

In March I will be travelling to Tanzania.  That seems a bit surreal as I type it.  I now have a little over 7 months to prepare.  In addition to the $3000 needed for the trip, I will need to book a flight to New York, get my passport, apply for a visa and get the necessary vaccinations.  But beyond all this is a far greater challenge to me.  This trip will be a difficult one.  It will require long periods of travel and be physically and mentally exhausting. 

I’ll come right out and say it…my fitness level is not where I would like it to be.  According to the wonderful little BMI charts, I’m obese.  I’m not thrilled about that, but it is what it is.  I have no one else to blame.  No one forced me to consume way too much sugar and processed foods.  No one forced me to choose a mostly sedentary lifestyle.  I got this way and stayed this way by using too many excuses.  

When I decided to go on this trip, I knew that God was working on my heart to start to seriously commit to doing something about it.  Please know that what I share I apply to myself alone.  What God has told me is for me to act on.  He’ll speak to you as to your life.  That’s what I love about a personal relationship with God.  

The reasons for this physical preparation were 2-fold.  First, the nature of the trip would require some endurance.  The other reason hit a little more deeply.  I am in the physical shape that I am in because I spent years abusing the fact that I live in a nation of plenty.  I’ve never had to go hungry.  I was surrounded by foods that I choose based more on convenience than nutrition.  It seemed somewhat ridiculous to me to travel halfway around the world to minister to those who went without the basics of life when my struggle was having way too much.  

It’s not easy to share that.  There are very few people in my life with whom I share the more personal aspects of my life.  Although those few would probably wish I shared less with them. 🙂  So for the next 7 months (and beyond) I’m committing to better health.  No crash diets here.  I’m working to cut out processed carbs and sugars.  I’m regularly exercising.  Tonight me and my wonderful exercise partner (my husband) did the  Couch to 5k program….successfully!  (Although he could have at least humored me by pretending to be a bit fatigued as I was sucking wind!)

photoIt’s easy to feel overwhelmed when looking at something like weight loss.  In the past I would drop about 15-20 lbs and then hit a wall.  It was slow to come off and I would get frustrated.  But just like anything huge your facing, whether it’s weight loss, getting out of debt, finishing that degree, or anything else I believe the best approach is one day at a time.  So For This Day I look to Philippians chapter 3

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.  Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus.  I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.  –Philippians 3:12-14

 

It Begins…

Flag_TanzaniaIt’s official.  I’ve sent in the deposit…I’m travelling to Tanzania!  I’m full of excitement and a small amount of anxiety.  Now I’ve just got to come up with the money for the trip, obtain a passport, book a flight to JFK, apply for a visa….and get into the shape I want to be in for this trip.  No big deal!

I plan to blog about the preparation and the journey that I’ll take over the next 9 months.  Hopefully I can get my thoughts organized a little better soon.  But for this day….I’m looking forward!