When Life Gets In The Way

Since November, I have been battling what seems to be the worse case of the common cold, sinus, allergy, flu, throat problems I’ve EVER experienced. 

I have literally been in bed or at least homebound sick for most of this time, and just at a time when I had found a good rhythm at the gym for 10 weeks. 

When I felt some improvement, I jumped back into working out complete with an aerobics class. I remember being cold when they turned the fans on…this from someone who is ALWAYS hot!! I ran away from the fans. I was struggling to breathe because my lungs are not back to 100%, so I decided I was going to stay out until I was back to myself. My body needed to recover from this sickness.

I tried once more for a light day, and I just couldn’t get enough breath in my lungs. Ok. I give. I am literally going to sleep as much as possible which isn’t easy to do when you can’t breathe without coughing up a lung, but I am going to try my best.

When I return, I will be finding my way back to normal at the gym. I am happy to say, I am looking forward to that!!! It wasn’t too long ago that I said, I look forward to the day when I WANT to working out! Yay!! Great non-scale victory.

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241 Journey Evolution

whole wellnessWhen I began my journey many years ago, this blog was a diary of sorts. It was a permanent copy for me to look back on for motivation and encouragement. The type of end goal that I am pursuing is a long term one. There are many areas of stronghold that have to be conquered before the REAL work is able to begin, and this blog helps to show that there is true work being done.

In the beginning, my focus was solely weight related. What I did not realize was the beginning would go further back than that. It took a while of research and trial and error to learn that the fat that had collected on my body was only a small part to a much bigger problem, so I set out to identify the components of that bigger problem.

As I have learned new things and overcome obstacles, I have made changes here to put into practice what I have learned. I am not merely physical. I have known that my whole life, but it has taken me years to see that my focus was all wrong. I was looking at the a symptom instead of the problem.

Now, my focus will be a multi-prong approach. You will see posts on physical, emotional, nutritional, and spiritual here. For me, spiritual is the core. I had allowed myself to get so wrapped up in the other prongs that I had neglected the spiritual aspect of my life. As I kept following the trail from my symptom back–like following a power cord to its source–I found my God and Savior that I had put on the back burner. When I reconnected with the ultimate power source, my focus changed. Now, I am whole. I am able to see how I got here. It was like being nearly blind and being given the glasses that I had misplaced.

241 Journey is a whole life journey. It is a journey to complete growth and understanding. We are complex creatures. If there is an area of your life that hasn’t been receiving your complete focus, it is time to find balance. It is my pleasure to have you along for that journey. You will find the categories continue to change and be added to in order to organize the information available here. You may even find that the page will change in design from time to time as I find the best fit. Just hang in there with me.

The Death of the Prayer Warrior

Prayer-Warriors-NeededSince my time at the River of Life Church​, I have come to learn a lot of about prayer and really touching God through this communion with Him. We pray and make our needs known before God, and I asked in my spirit, where do blessings come from (more specifically…financial blessings since there’s no money in heaven). I know they come from God, but what or who is the catalyst?

God answered my question at the funeral of my dear grannie, Ella Taylor. As part of the service, Pastor Steve Thomas (Otis Road Church of God, Jax, FL) spoke of her fondly. He said grannie called him after having not spoken to her in about two years. When he answered her call, she said, “Brother Steve, are you ok? God called your name out in prayer today. Do you need anything? Do you need any money?” And THERE was my answer. But first, a little history.

See, my grannie was a prayer warrior. When you see that label, you may think of someone who regularly spends time in the alter in prayer, and while there are people who do have an intense prayer life that reaches God, that wasn’t my grannie’s way. Grannie prayed or was in a spirit of prayer 24/7. You think I’m kidding?? Ask ANYONE who knew her. I spent the night with her once for several days, and we fell asleep listening to 1 John on cassette tape (that will date the event). She wakes up with thanks and praise on her lips, and she went about her day as a homemaker with the bible playing on tape, or Christian music playing, or maybe total silence with her bible open on the kitchen table (marked up and falling apart), and if you walked in the house without her hearing you, you would hear her talking to God with spontaneous instances of praying in tongues, shouting, and she might even laugh and dance a holy jig of excitement at whatever the Holy Spirit had revealed to her.

Her life was not NORMAL. She was a “be ye separate” in the truest interpretation of that scripture. She would grocery shop, but beyond that, she only left her home to go to church, which she attended every single service. My grannie did not care what anyone thought of her. Honestly, I don’t think it EVER really crossed her mind, but if I were to ask, “Grannie, don’t you think people think your crazy,” she would have said, “Darling, God is not mocked. Let them think I’m crazy. I’ll be crazy for Jesus… (shouting with excitement wooo, wooo, wooo then something uttered in tongues).

Her relationship with God was made even more intimate with her commitment to fasting (especially after the death of my papa in 2001). I am 43 years old, and my grannie has fasted MY ENTIRE LIFE. I’m not talking about turning off the t.v. for a day. I’m not talking about avoiding cake or just not drinking coffee. I’m talking about full day fasting–complete–no food–fasting. After 2001, her weekly fasting (which was usually on Monday–it was how God called her to fast, the Holy Spirit would speak to her and say, “I call a Monday” which meant, he was calling her to fast) turned into multi-day fasting. I don’t know if any of us know how many days see would actually fast toward the end. She may have confided in someone about it, but she was private about it unless something we wanted to do would interfere with her fast, then she would tell us she would be fasting, so our plans could be changed.

Fasting increases the strength of your prayer. As a matter of fact, there are some things that can’t be overcome through prayer alone. Jesus tells the disciples this in KJV Mark 9:29 when referencing the casting out of spirits “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

The point is that my grannie was a SERIOUS PRAYER WARRIOR. A much coveted member of her church. She was valued by many. If you had a need, Sis. Ella Taylor was the person to call. The power of her pray was made evident by Pastor Steve Thomas when he explained that no one had told her anything about him having a need. During her time in prayer, the Holy Spirit spoke his name. What is even more important than he spoke her name is that SHE ACTED and called him. “Brother Steve, is everything ok? Do you need anything? Do you need money?” In times when you were most desperate, wouldn’t you want to receive that call? That is God in flesh–as close as he can be–answering our prayer.

So, I will wrap up my post by driving this home, will the prayer warrior die? My grannie is at the feet of Jesus. She’s not here to touch heaven for me or Pastor Steve or Brother Larry Hall​, so who will? No one can take her place. God designed her to be unique. There’s not another one like her, but you can be God’s design of YOU. I can be God’s design of ME. I want my prayers to be effective. I want to reach heaven for me, my family, my friends, all those who I offer prayer for…so what do I do? How do I reach that level. I (we) can take lessons from her life.

Keeping in mind my grannie was 87 when she passed away, so there were YEARS of growth there. She didn’t start at 14 years old with such efficiency, but she constantly grew. This means that we need to always been in a state of growth. To grow we need nutrition, which comes from the Word. Reading it, studying it, pondering it, sharing it, praying it, APPLYING it. Our walk will show our level of comprehension and obedience. If you didn’t know my grannie and was around her for even 1 hour (maybe even less), when you walk away you would have felt the presence of God (even if you didn’t know what that was). You would have thought, wow, I have no idea what I just experienced, but there is something very powerful about it. I want that level! I’m so hungry for that level!

So it starts with submission. I want to grow, so I submit to the authority of scripture. I learn. I allow the Holy Spirit to grow the Word in me and through me. I increase its effectiveness through fasting (starting with a meal and increasing as the Holy Spirit strengthens me). I remain obedient to the Word and the bidding of the Holy Spirit. I remain in a spirit of prayer and take time to be in intentional prayer.

We ALL should seek to reach this level. Our world no longer approaches God and prayer in the same way we used to. We wonder why we don’t see more evidence of God moving. We treat prayer like a fast food drive-thru. I’ll take a healthy baby and better job please…static…crickets…

PRAYER WARRIORS NEEDED. Pastor Steve Thomas will never get that same phone call again. Not from my grannie at least. Will he or you get a phone call from someone else that God speaks through?? As prayer warriors continue to leave our world, we must be EVER diligent to take our place in the prayer circle for the healing and blessing of our families and friends. What is God revealing to you in response to this post?? Take time to pray and allow God to show you how to begin growing your prayer effectiveness.

The Never Before Update

As of September 28, 2015, I have been working my spiritual, emotional, nutritional, and physical self. This holistic approach is what I believe is necessary for my goals to be fully realized.

God has been so good to make this process simple for me. I am a highly analytical person, so I have that personality type (A) that makes you want to overdo everything. I look for ways to make something that should be simple, hard. Yep. That’s me. I don’t need a 12 step program to overcome my bondage–I need God. He has been revealing to me through many different ways that simplicity is all that is necessary. While faith without works is dead, works doesn’t have to be insane and it should free you not bind you.

CharissaSo, I joined my local YMCA, which I TOTALLY love!! I had plans to use the pool primarily and not the gym, and I’m using the gym primarily and not the pool (yet). It’s interesting how God works things out. I have an awesome trainer, Charissa Dixon, who has already helped me so much before even beginning to work with me. This was a God thing, too. A relative of hers from my church had suggested that I work with her. By divine appointment, she’s the one that was in when I came by unannounced to join. While I felt no obligation to work with her as a trainer, after talking with her, I immediately felt a connection. I am expecting great things!

I use ActivTrax (through the YMCA) to develop my workout that I follow on my iPhone, and I get in the gym daily and hit it hard. I don’t hold back. When I walk in, I walk in feeling like I belong there, instead of feeling like I need to hide, shameful of my size. God delivered me of that, too!! There is no shame in Jesus’ name and His unstoppable love! I now realize that my body represents years of energy that hasn’t been used. It had to be stored somewhere! Well now, I am wearing myself out every day. I am burning that energy! And even though it’s just been two weeks, I can see a difference in the photos below–especially around my neck and face–that’s encouraging.

I have gotten messages from people stating that I have encouraged their own personal journey. If you’ve followed my blog very long at all, you know how happy that makes me. Knowing that I encourage others motivates me to continue for them and myself. I know what it feels like to be alone in a pursuit. Even if you don’t workout side by side, sharing posts and encouragement joins your two journeys together. I love being able to share with others how God is working in and through me and introducing them to His Son, Jesus. Without Jesus, none of what I do would be worth it at all. The liberty that comes through my relationship with Jesus is what ultimately frees me from all worldly bondage and allows me to see the truth of the matter. The comfort that I receive from the Holy Spirit helps me to overcome any negativity that may try to rise up in me. Praise God, I’m FREE!! And I can feel that in my body as well as in my spirit.

I pray that those who follow this blog will find that same freedom. If you would talk more about your journey, please message me. I look forward to hearing from you, and pray that God blesses each one of you!

week2

Doing The “Never Before”

I can now share with you what I am doing to change my health situation, but first, a little background to explain why this is so difficult. Aside from the financial ramification of this choice, there is a HUGE faith related reason for my decision.

I have been working since I was 16 years old. Very young, I had aspirations to be successful in business. I have to admit that anything I’ve ever tried, I have succeeded in doing and have done very well. Whether it was pursuing my real estate broker’s license making me the youngest real estate broker in the area at the time, or continuing my education as a first generation college student, graduating summa cum laude (with highest honors) and going on to earn the only master’s degree in my extended family on either side, there was a common thread that ran through all of my ventures–hard work, sacrifice of time and money, and discomfort.

Recently, God has revealed to me that I am not a stranger to hard work, sacrifice of time and money, nor have I avoided a goal because of discomfort. Working two and three jobs to pay my way through college, which required me to stay up all hours of the night completing homework assignments was pretty uncomfortable. It was definitely hard work and a sacrifice of time, and if you’ve ever paid for a college degree, you know it is definitely a sacrifice of money. He reminded me that there is NO door that He opens for me that He would not fully equip me to handle, so here comes the big GULP and deep SIGH of faith. You know the one that happens just before you step out onto a visual cliff. I can turn tail and run, or I can JUMP, so I…..JUMPED!

resignation-letterEffective yesterday morning, I resigned from my job. As I typed that, I felt like I was going to vomit for a millisecond. Yeah, that’s the feeling of stepping out of faith. It gets down in the pit of your stomach. It’s that feeling you get when you drive over a bump in the road too fast and leave your stomach at the top of the bump. Can you see the connection between my decision and my goal yet? Maybe not, so let me continue in just how this is going to play out.

During all of that time that I invested in business and education, I made some really negative health decisions. I stayed up WAY too late depriving myself of sleep causing a huge back log that I’ll likely never recover from. Being up all hours of the day and night, I had no rules for when to eat. I would eat when I was hungry, sleepy, bored, emotional because food was the quickest way to deal, and it could conform to any situation like driving, studying, etc. Food is easily accessible and very mobile, making it easily abused and misused. Needless to say, years of my focus being on my brain, my body suffered.

For at least the next 12 months, I will be a full-time student of good nutrition, health and fitness. No, I am not enrolling in a class for it. At least not right now. I will be attending the school of hard knocks. I am going to be giving my body, mind, and spirit a full-time job. It won’t pay monetarily. Financially, I will have to completely trust God (something I must admit I’ve NEVER done before). I feel wholeheartedly that God has led me to this place. He and I have stood at the door, and He said, “It’s ok. Go on in.” Faith is acting on something that you hope for–knowing that your action will not be in vain even though you can’t see the result (and you can’t see God).

It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. It’s like that zip line 200 ft up in the air that I would never in a million years ride down. It is like descending to 70 ft below water and taking a breath and your scuba oxygen being there for you to enjoy God’s creation at the bottom of a spring–I have done that! Yes, I know what it feels like. I have been a good student. I have been an excellent employee. I have ALL the skills necessary to be able to succeed in this goal, and I WILL DO IT by the grace of God.

So if you know me personally (or if you don’t), please think of the most terrifying thing you’ve ever attempted to do, and add to it you just left your financial security to pursue doing it, and please give me a shout of support. If you see me around town walking, working out, buying groceries, on FB, Twitter, or WordPress, stop and say hello. If you want to make the same leap of faith, hey, JUMP! The water is just fine!! You won’t be alone. Give me a shout and let’s continue on this journey together. This time next year we will reveal the great work that God has done in us.

Thank you God for your faithfulness and provision. I pray that all that I do will do nothing more but glorify you!

Different Choice For Different Result

I am SO ready for something different in my life! I have been never had never doneworking on getting my physical health in check, and I have not had great success. Perhaps if I were just 20 pounds over weight, my efforts would be golden. Yes, I have experienced positive changes, but I am needing BIG results. Since I want a different result, I realize I am going to have to do something different. This quote has really been on my mind this past week, and it is becoming more and more obvious what I need to do. I have NEVER pictured myself doing this.

CHANGEI have always stayed away from things that made me feel uncomfortable. There are actually a lot of things in my life that could be different if I didn’t allow things to make me uncomfortable. Well, change is uncomfortable. It requires you to accept that you are letting yourself enter into a world that you have very little control over. This is where faith comes in. I’m grateful to serve a faithful God.

I have promised myself a change. This week, I do-something-today-that-your-future-self-will-thank-you-foram going to do something totally outside anything I have EVER done before. I can’t tell you what it is just yet, but I can share more with you tomorrow. God has really made it clear what He is wanting to do in me when I do take my big jump of faith, now to honor the promises I’ve made to myself and DO IT.

 

 

Top 3 or I Lose Me

I have spent most of my adult life trying to find physical balance. The balance I truly want is the balance that allows me to enjoy good, healthy food with occasional indulgences, while always feeling in control, engaged, and inspired. I want to avoid feeling out of control, apathetic, and bored with my nutrition. I have learned SO MUCH about myself through my research over the years, and this past year I learned a lot about great nutrition through Whole30, but there was still something missing. Today, I learned what that “something” is.

What I learned today wasn’t new to me. These things were just mixed up among all of the other noise out there in the health and diet industry. It was the order that they come in my life that brought balance to me at a time when I felt out of control, apathetic, and bored with nutrition. The type of out of control that I used to be is much different than recently. During Whole30, I had TOTAL control over my nutrition, but I did finally reach a point where I got apathetic and BORED! I believe changing my recipes and adding more of a Paleo perspective would have helped, but that’s where the apathetic part comes in. I was so bored I honestly just DIDN’T CARE. I didn’t want to eat anything. Nothing was appealing to me. I was just….BORED.

Of course there are a number of problems with being in that state. I gained some of my weight back, fortunately, not lots, but still the scale is going in the wrong direction. My nutrition has suffered because I didn’t stick to Whole30 this time (I honestly just couldn’t even think of some of the food I was used to eating–as good as it is). The food we allowed ourselves to eat which was fast food wasn’t good, and I was miserable. I told my friend Crystal, I honestly just don’t want to eat. I physically was feeling terrible.

I wanted to find my good nutrition again. I had a problem getting that train back on the track. I realized that my apathy was in great part because of staying up too late, sleeping too late and not getting my green breakfast smoothie. I know that may sound overly simplistic, but guess what, I think it really is that easy.

I identified my TOP 3 things that keep me on track. While my nutrition plan may vary from time to time, if I want to be the best nutritional me that I can be, then I MUST do these 3 things.

1. Go to bed by 10 p.m. each night, including weekends.

2. Get up with my alarm at 5 a.m., including weekends.

3. Drink my green smoothie after waking.

green smoothieAfter doing these 3 things, I cleaned the kitchen, made a healthy lunch, and started getting everything ready for my day. I got Eli up and ready and got to work on time. If number 1 is off, then number 2 isn’t going to happen. If number 2 doesn’t happen, then number 3 doesn’t happen because I’m too pushed. If number 3 doesn’t happen, I end up picking up fast food for breakfast, and even though I know that one bad meal doesn’t ruin my efforts for the whole day, I allow it to.

So, there it is. My Top 3 to Always Be Me! What are your top 3? If you don’t know what they are, I understand your frustration. There is so much noise in the health and diet industry. You really just have to get away from it all and pay attention to how your body responds to every decision you make. Those that are negative–ditch them, and those that are positive — document them. How do they impact you? What do they help you do? Eventually, you’ll find the critical 3 that you can ALWAYS go to when you need a restart. I’m so glad I found mine.

Share your TOP 3 with us.