Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pressure.

Sometimes the pressure of life gets unbearably intense.

We have pressure to be pretty
to be fit
to be a good mom
to be a good wife
to be a loving friend
to be tough
to be a nurturer
to be wrinkle free
to be a good marketer
to be charitable
to be an artist
to be courteous
to be a boss
to be a listener
to be a caregiver
to be sexy
to be a housekeeper
to be funny
to be a teacher
to be resilient
to be charming
to be a solid rock
to be well mannered
to be an organizer
to be the glue that holds everything together.

But sometimes when the pressure gets too intense we start to crack. Through the cracks we begin to seep fear, anxiety, desperation, loneliness, uncertainty, and panic.

We can't do it all. And we were never meant to. We just think we were. But I'm telling you, we're wrong. We are not meant to do it all.



"Pay mind to your own life, your own health, and wholeness. A bleeding heart is of no help to anyone if it bleeds to death." - Frederick Buechner

Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. James 1:2-4 (Living Bible)

Release some of the pressure. Accept the difficulties as gifts. Breathe.
God's got this. Not you. You don't have to.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

"What are you doing?!"

This is the question I keep getting, so it's time to talk about what I'm doing, I suppose!

Some of you have been following my weight loss/fitness journey. If you'd like to know how I got started, I first blogged about it here.

At that point I had lost 28 pounds.
I'm currently at 37 pounds lost.

I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm making strides, although they're slow.

I still like food. A lot. And I eat nearly everything I want. I just watch the portions and offset a few "bad" meals with more good ones.
Someone asked me if I have coffee and/or alcohol. Yes and yes.
I don't take any pills, no special shakes or drinks. I'm not selling anything.
I don't belong to a gym, don't have a trainer.
I also don't mind making a fool of myself.

What I am doing: Working my butt off. Or trying.


- I do a 1.25 mile wog (walk/jog) every morning. A lot of people online think I'm "running" but I have to tell you I'm not. It ain't pretty, what I do. It's just walk/jog intervals. I don't think I could run a mile to save my life if I had to.


- I run the steps & sidewalk in front of my house. Again, it ain't pretty. But it gets me sweating.

- Push-ups. Last year I started doing them against a counter top. Eventually I moved to the ground and did "girl" push-ups. Now I do about 30 "guy" push-ups. And recently a friend showed me inverted push-ups where my feet are up on a bed/step/ledge and my shoulders are toward the floor - WHOA! So I've added those as well.

- Squats. Weighted squats, jump squats, double squats. I change them up daily. They really are no fun, but my butt is thanking me.

- Kickboxing. I have no idea what I'm doing. But I have a punching bag and it feels really good to beat the snot out of it. It makes me sweat and I'm sore the next day so it's doing something good, right?!


- Crunches. Old school. 100-110 of them. (but to be honest, I've slacked on these lately. Need to get back to doing them.)

"Cardio Yoga"... this is a thing I made up. As I mentioned above, I don't mind making a fool of myself.
I know a few yoga poses called Sun Salutations. I don't know why, but one day I started doing them to a Kid Rock concert I have in my dvr. It's fast paced and I crank it up crazy loud. Not exactly yoga-ish.
It's not about the breathing and relaxing that you normally get with yoga. It's about getting a crazy sweat on and being a cowboy, baby. (heh... see what I did there?!)
20-25 minutes of this and I'm about to die. But I love it!!


So, that's what I'm doing. I get bored easily so I change the workout almost daily. I'm always looking for new things that will make me sweat.
I am still limited to about 30-35 minutes a day for my entire workout.

Some people are motivated by new workout clothes. I'm not, but I LOVE new music. So I'm frequently adding new songs to my playlist. (currently liking rap, R&B, and metal. Ummm, that's crazy. And not very me. But really fun to workout to.)

I'm seeing more muscle all over my body, but there's still a layer of fat over most of it that I want to get rid of.

Questions? I'll try to answer!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

About being a bad mamma jamma...

I've always thought of myself as weak. Soft. Fragile. Delicate. Gentle. Tender. Feeble. Puny.
Both physically and emotionally. I don't think that about all girls, just myself.
And I don't know where it came from, but it's always been my deep hidden belief.

Through the years I've done a few tough things. I've tried to challenge myself when I could.
But I've always returned to the mindset of being weak.

Over the past few years, however, something has shifted.
I've finally started realizing that weak is a label I've put on myself, for far too many years. As I've stopped listening to my own voice and started paying more attention to God's voice, I've realized that He didn't design me (or you!) to be weak at all.

• I am God’s workmanship created to produce good works.

For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them (Ephesians 2:10).

(well, that sure doesn't sound weak, does it?!)

• I have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ.

… In whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ's faithfulness (Ephesians 3:12).

(bold and confident?! Well heck... that's not weak either.)

All these years I've ignored or been oblivious to what God has really said about me.
He has made me whole. Complete in Him. Strong. Courageous. Able. 
A bad mamma jamma.
(I might have made that part up. It's not exaaaactly a biblical term, but I'm pretty sure God agrees...)



Rise up. Embrace what God has truly given you.
Stop cowering and settling.
Be prepared to run life's race, trusting in Him, and you won't become weary.
Instead, He'll carry you on wings like an eagle.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Finally!! Chains of Hope!

I recently got to take a trip to Nicaragua again. It was such a blessing!!




I'm so happy to finally be able to offer Chains of Hope - a line of ethical jewelry created in Nicaragua, helping impoverished women and children.
I was able to train them how to make the jewelry and each piece was hand crafted there.
Each necklace and bracelet has a Guanacaste seed, native to Central America. It also has a shimmery pyrite, symbolizing Hope that shines even in the toughest times.




{LOVE GOD}





These are some of the most beautiful and hard-working people I've ever met. Their lives inspire me.



Each item you buy creates a link between you and the women and children.
It creates a link between our two worlds that seem so far apart.
It provides empowerment, dignity, pride, and love to people who could desperately use it.
Each purchase you make provides hope.




Click here for the necklace. ...... Click here for the bracelet.

We are SO EXCITED about this new line and can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

When God yells at you.

Have you ever had God yell at you?
It's a bit startling. It will stop you in your tracks. It's humbling. I can think of a handful of occasions when He yelled at me.
It's uncomfortable... and unavoidable.

So many people had asked about my journey to Nicaragua last year. Basically a random lady found me on the internet, and pestered me to go until I said yes. Click here to read the details of that.



When I agreed to go, I knew I needed to raise money. Fast.
By nature, I'm a very timid and reserved person.
In a matter of an hour one afternoon, I designed a new bracelet that says Fear Less. The message was mostly for me, but I listed it to sell to raise money for my mission trip.

Within a few days, I got an email from a lady named Kimberley, who had come across our bracelet listing on the internet. She knew that I was donating proceeds from that bracelet to help in Nicaragua, but had no idea that I was actually going.

"I ordered two Fear less Bracelets. One for myself and one for my son's girlfriend. Well, actually, she was my son's girlfriend when he lived. He has been gone four years now. It is a perfect choice for a gift for several reasons. You see she and my husband and I (and lots of other people from our church) traveled to Nicaragua to help with a mission that works with the "dumpground children." We have seen it - and it is hell on earth. Thank you for using part of the proceeds to serve God's children there.
Several weeks before he died he asked me to buy him Max Lucado's book Fearless. Which was odd, because he hated reading. He said the coaches were reading it so he wanted to as well. I am not sure how much he read...he did use "Fearless" as a meditation while running track for the two meets he was able to run before being diagnosed with a brain tumor his senior year. He was a boy with a lot of fears due to the abuse he experienced prior to us adopting him. He was an amazing, loving, forgiving, strong, sweet, boy who died "fearing less" thanks to his Heavenly Father. This is a phrase that has a lot of meaning to us. And it is a special reminder. Thank you.


My response after I wiped my tears and caught my breath:
"Hi Kimberly!

Your email stopped me in my busy little tracks. I, of course, tend to focus on the short term hustle and bustle. I'm running around like a mad woman, frazzled and stressed about my own little life. And this was exactly what I needed. It's easy to get caught up in jewelry orders and forget that there is a bigger purpose. So thank you!

I am going to Nicaragua with the team this year. We leave next week. I so appreciate you reaching out, listening to God's whisper to contact us."


And she replied:
"Wow! We are friends with almost all the people on your missions team! Richard from your team actually was my son's coach.
I almost never share our story so it is strange that I even emailed you some of the details. I guess I thought it would just go to so random big company...but I am glad you actually read it now. I am certain God wants us to be connected."


Readers, for nearly a year now I've been holding back publicly... wanting to wait until all the pieces fell together and then do some sort of "big reveal". In my simple mind, it seems like that would make the most sense. But it really feels like God is wanting me to share the story as it unfolds, open and raw. I don't know why. But I think I'm supposed to share the journey along the way, not just when I hit the destination (whatever that may be!)

I don't know the end result. I can't see the big picture. I don't understand the purpose of all this.
I've recently had the phrase Fear Less tattooed on my wrist so I can see it all the time.



Sometimes God is silent. Sometimes He pesters you. Sometimes he whispers.
But sometimes He yells.
And when He yells, there's no avoiding it.