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He makes me new, He is making me new

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Prone To Wander

Lately God has been chasing me...in a good way of course :-)

He has been showing me so much, opening me up to so much, waking me up really, and as I was driving today and listening to my favorite Chris Rice songs I found myself enthusiastically singing along with the chorus to "Prone to Wander" relating so well to what he is trying to say about the way we can sometimes "forget" or choose to walk away and do things our own way only to find our way back and see that He is so willing and ready to love and embrace us and take us where He wants us to go.

I am filled with peace and joy today, knowing that as I make my way back from my self centered and self sufficient ways to Him, as I open myself up to live by His Spirit, He is smiling and eagerly stretching His hand out to me, so that I may follow.

So I felt like sharing the lyrics of this wonderful song with everyone out there who might feel as I do from time to time:

Prone To Wander by Chris Rice

On the surface not a ripple
Undercurrent wages war
Quiet in the sanctuary
Sin is crouching at my door

How can I be so prone to wander
So prone to leave You
So prone to die
And how can You be so full of mercy
You race to meet me and bring be back to life

I wake to find my soul in fragments
Given to a thousand loves
But only One will have no rival
Hangs to heal me, spills His blood

How can I be so prone to wander
So prone to leave You
So prone to die
And how can You be so full of mercy
You race to meet me and bring be back to life

Curse-reversing Day of Jesus
When You finally seize my soul
Freedom from myself will be
The sweetest rest I've ever known

How can I be so prone to wander
So prone to leave You
So prone to die
And how can You be so full of mercy
You race to meet me and bring be back to life

P90X progress report III

Well, here I am it is September 11th and I am finishing week 10.

I can't believe I am actually so close to the finish line, 2 more intense weeks, 1 recovery week and I'll be an official P90X grad :-)

So far my feedback continues to be very positive as I progress, I continue to enjoy the workouts, I continue to put in my 6 days a week, plus the occasional double work out. I continue to endure the soreness and stiffness, and I am continuing to see progress in my strength, stamina and flexibility....and of course, the lost inches ;-)

I went ahead and finally bought a pull up bar, because I suspected that using the resistance band wasn't quite cutting it, and boy was I RIGHT!! Now, I am not claiming to be able to actually perform A PULL UP, I do have to use a chair to help me out, but the muscles are all getting the work out that it is intended for, so I am very excited to see if maybe someday in the future I will be able to do an actual honest to goodness pull up, with no chair....only time and sweat will tell!

I continue to hate Yoga X and I think I have figured out why. All the P90X workouts are so full of variety it keeps things interesting and it makes it go by fast. You challenge yourself in different ways within a work out so you don't feel like you're doing the same thing over and over for an hour. Yoga X is quite repetitive, at least the first 45 minutes...and then there's another 45 minutes of a little more varied moves to reward you for surviving that first part. I continue to do it but man...I DO NOT enjoy it, it is the only work out I have to consistently dread. Not bad considering there are about 12 different workouts in the set!

So all in all, I am very encouraged and excited to see how far I've come and looking forward to see how far I can still go.

Bring it Tony....BRING IT!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

P90X progress report II

I have purposely waited a while to post again on this subject so as to not become annoying....oops, too late you say? :-P

Ok...I am now at the end of week 6 and I must say, I feel GOOD! I have actually not even needed recovery drinks after work outs and the soreness is definitely there but absolutely manageable and even somewhat enjoyable (I know..craziness)

I have only skipped 3 work outs in the past 6 weeks, which I think I can consider a success given how life has a way of, well, getting IN the way. I even brought the discs with me while out of town and made a friend of mine do Yoga with me (any excuse to NOT have to do yoga alone!).

One thing has changed, I actually switched to the "Lean" program, which is a slightly different version of the "classic" program meant for those who want to burn more calories and get rid of excess...um..stuff :-)
I had initially considered the lean program when I began but chose the classic because I do enjoy lifting weights quite a bit, but after trying the "Core Synergistics" work out during recovery week and realizing that I absolutely LOVE it I decided to switch to the program that has me doing Core Syn every week :-) in place of one of the lifting work outs.

All this may sound like a lot of blablabla to most...so I will just sum it up.

I love P90X. I love the variety, the challenge and the soreness. I am very glad to have come this far but I do also look forward to continuing and seeing my gains in strength, flexibility, and overall fitness. I am so glad I took my good friend's advice and went for it!
Thanks D.!!!!! :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

P90X progress report

Ok, so not much to report, except, I completed my second week today! WOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Soreness has now become a way of life, a welcome and expected part of the process :-)

I am noticing that it is becoming slightly easier to get through each workout with 2 exceptions:
-Ab Ripper X; those 18 minutes of core exercises always has me reaching for the fast forward button!!!
-Yoga X was still very, VERY intense!

I am also noticing that I need bigger weights for some of the routines, (that's right BIGGER!! ;-)) which is encouraging, though expensive to do...

This Thursday I begin my third and final week in Phase 1, then comes the much dreaded "recovery" week. I use quotes because although it is a recovery from strength training, it is a very strenuous week in other ways, (Yoga X twice in one week..YOUZA).

Wish me luck! :-)

On a tastier note, after considering spending lost of cash on a "Recovery Drink", which is supposed to help the recovery of the muscles, replenish glycogen, etc etc I did some internet research and stumbled upon an article extolling the wonderful restorative powers of Chocolate Milk! That's right, chocolate milk can be used as a recovery drink as it contains the same ratio of protein/Carbs, and well, it's cheap and tastes DELICIOUS!

So I look forward to my recovery drink every day now, after my very tough work out!

Thank you for reading and have a happy and chocolatey day everyone (all 5 of you) ! :-)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

P90X progress report

Ok, so it is only day 5, why bother with a progress report?

Well, mostly because writing about it helps me stay motivated, so it is a completely selfish motive, please indulge me....or don't...it's not as though I can tell whether or not anyone is readin... ;-)

My first impression of this program is..IT ROCKS! I really like it, I like how hard it is, I like Tony Horton (yes that's right, I SAID IT!) and his style of instructing, I like the variety of work outs, I just plain like it. Don't get me wrong, it is very hard work, but I guess that's what I was looking for, a good challenge!

So, day 5 and I'd have to say, as much as it hurts, I liked the Plyometrics work out the best. It was by far the most challenging for me, because it is hard core cardio and balance and I think the fact that I was able to complete it on my first try made me feel, well, really good!

I like all the strength training work outs because it is what comes easiest to me, though the chest and back work out was a BRUTAL way to begin...

I am finding it easier to eat way better as a result because I am motivated to fuel my body properly so I can get through the workouts, which is an added unexpected bonus.

Now, the big question is, will I still feel this way 2 weeks from now? Stay tuned.... ;-)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

P90X

I have to think that of the say..5 people who read my blog ;-) at least 2 of you have got to have heard of P90X, "extreme home fitness" program by now.

For those of you who haven't (that'd be about 3 of you) here it is in a nutshell: you spend about $140 for a set of workout DVD's and a couple of instruction books on how to reaaaaaally torture yourself for 90 days in order to achieve a stronger, leaner, healthier you. You follow the exercise schedule outlined, work out 6 days a week and eat lots and lots of protein.

Now, typically I HATE jumping on the bandwagon of seemingly too good to be true hyped up infomercial type "programs". Mostly because I have engaged in some sort of physical activity for the past 10 years and I subscribe to the idea that as long as you are willing to sweat and keep at it, you will be healthier and generally stronger and leaner, no need to do anything EXTREME.

But...I'm in the mood for a challenge. For the first time in years I do not have a gym membership (due to current circumstances)and I have been feeling sluggish and lazy and generally NOT comfortable in my own body for months now, and feel like saying ENOUGH! I AM going to do something extreme, just to prove I CAN and to improve my overall well being.

I also saw the results firsthand in a good friend of mine (Thanks for the inspiration D.!!!) which made me think...I would NOT mind that! ;-) That made me dig deeper, ask questions, read the books and even try a couple of the workouts, which in turn lead me to believe I would enjoy pushing myself in this way, achieving a new level of fitness, and well, looking better couldn't hurt right? ;-)

So here I go...I am excited to begin and wondering how much more sore I will be typing in say..6 days time? I'll keep all 5 of you posted ;-)

Ragamuffins

I don't really have any new words of my own, it's just, the more I read Brennan Manning, the more I want to share his words with everyone out there who is on the journey I find myself on.
The journey towards towards a stripped down and genuine self, towards real love for others, towards true and utter freedom in Jesus.

So here are some words that deeply convicted me as I read them last night:

From "The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning
The letter of James counsels: Confess your sins to one another(James 5:16). This sanctuary practice aims to guide us in accepting ownership of our ragamuffin status, but as Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted, "He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!" At Sunday worship, as in every dimension of our existence, many of us pretend to believe we are sinners. Consequently, all we can do is pretend to believe we have been forgiven. As a result, our whole spiritual life is pseudo-repentance and pseudo-bliss.

That pretty much sums it up for me. Once again, it's those masks we wear, except in "christian culture" it's more than wanting to one up each other or make ourselves look better, it is more than that. It is not allowing ourselves to embrace the fact that even though we are FULLY forgiven by our Creator, we really are still sinners, struggling to keep going, in the muck and mire of this chaotic earthly life. Not one of us is better than any other. Not one of us has it all figured out.
I have been in situations where I have judged others for their sins. I am not above it, I have thought "shouldn't they know better?" and I have issued judgment instead of acceptance and forgiveness. And then I have been on the receiving end of that question " Laura, shouldn't you know better?" It's no fun to be on the receiving end (though I have been on the receiving end of grace and that is nice :-)) to know that you've screwed up, you've hurt and disappointed someone, you have chosen wrong, you have chosen sin.
But, it is no good to be on the giving end either, because, it is not love. It is not what Jesus did for his own, for Peter who chose wrong, for all of us, before we even asked, before we even knew we needed Him.
What He did do is teach us how to love one another.
Can't we just accept and expect that those around us WILL behave sometimes in less than God honoring ways and love them through that? Can't we all see that an outstretched arm is infinitely more helpful than a pointing finger? And if we did, wouldn't people all around us feel safe enough to actually confess their sins to us so they can be free of the burden of loneliness? And wouldn't it be nice to feel safe enough to confess our sins without fear of losing out somehow?

I strive to accept and expect that because it is the only way to true fellowship with others. Honest, open and real relationship with those God has given me to love. I DON'T want to care what people THINK of ME, I want to care more about whether I am loving them well and whether I am being loved well.

I do still care what people think, about me, my image, my "performance" in life, (how do I look, what I do for a living, how my house looks, how my son behaves, how my marriage looks to others, and on and on) but of all the things I have ever wanted, being FREE of this has got to be among the top desires of my heart. To be free of performance anxiety, to be free of "what will people think" -itis, to be free of counterfeit relationships that serve only to stroke our egos.

To live in the peace of knowing that loving gets me way more brownie points ;-) HA! just kiddin'

but seriously, can't we all just get along? :-)


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Jason Mraz

Those who know me know, I love Jason Mraz.

Maybe that's not the right expression, I don't know Jason Mraz, so I don't love HIM per se, but I do love his music and I love his style.

What I most respond to is his genuine approach, his humble appearance, his non pretentious way to present himself. He is one of the most successful musicians out there right now, yet he does not show any signs of being full of himself. On the contrary he seems to have no problem making a fool of himself just to get a laugh out of folks, a quality which I especially admire, as a fellow fool :-)

Maybe I'm wrong, after all, how much can you really know about someone whose job is to present a face, an image and a style that people respond to?
I have been known to be quite cynical at times, but even I would prefer to think he is what we see, true to himself and just really good at sharing what is in his heart and in his mind in a very groovy and eloquent way.

He has a true gift. His music is fun, inspired AND inspiring, moving,dynamic, his song writing is as he puts it wordplay, and he seems to have a heck of a time playing with words as he sings, his vocal talent is among the best in my humble opinion....and he makes it look...easy and fun. Just a treat for the ears all around, and if you see him live, quite the experience for the senses.

I find his enthusiasm down right contagious...his music instantly puts me in a mood....depending on the song it can be a happy silly mood, a dancing mood, a contemplative mood, but I find it almost impossible to not react and respond to it.

So, for those of you who care to listen, here is one of his great performances, I hope you enjoy it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCgCmB0QsL4



Monday, July 05, 2010

No pretense

Among the books I mentioned in my previous blog that I've been reading, there has been a fair amount of Brennan Manning books lately, incidentally, I highly recommend ALL his stuff...and I just, love how absolutely stripped down he is, how honest and real he is, because, that is what I strive to be.

At the risk of being a bit redundant after my last blog.....I HATE getting caught up in playing the game, though I do, I am human after all ;-), but I am happiest when I really have the guts to be open and real, to show everyone my weakness, my fleshly-ness, but neediness, my annoying habits, etc.

Trying to cover up those things after a while can be so exhausting! Not to mention, when I experience being loved AFTER having had the heart to strip myself of all pretense, image maintenance and the like, it is true love, true acceptance of who I truly am, rather than getting those around me to think of me a certain way. One is love at its most pure and powerful state, the other one is nothing but an ego stroke. I don't know about you but I would so much rather have real love....it's kind of like comparing a hot and gooey homemade chocolate chip cookie with a store bought sugar free, "snack well" cookie. ;-)

Brennan also talks about sometimes getting lost in daily life and the daily mundane things, forgetting to notice the wonder all around us, forgetting to enjoy what is designed to be the most enjoyable, and free things in life. Sounds cliche, but it is SO true and so easy to do.

We do have to do the mundane things, obviously, but I am realizing, that I do want to make an effort in the daily grind to notice the wonder around me. It is everywhere around me everyday, and to my advantage, I have a beautiful 4 year old boy, and that means I have a daily reminder of the heart that Christ desires from us.

An open, inquisitive, easily awed, pure heart, full of wonder and trust, ready to receive real love no matter where it comes from, not caught up in image maintenance, not concerned with the future but fully engaged in the present gift.

I truly believe this is the heart Christ desires from us not for his own purposes, but because he really wants to see us in awe, with wondrous eyes, expectant of what He may give us or show us, so that we may really enjoy life to the full...he deeply longs to fellowship with us in that place.

That is what I most desire to be and to have... honesty, wonder, a heart that is open and lives in the present, and an alive fellowship with my Father, Creator, Lover and Friend.

To experience real and honest love from and with my God and those he has given me to enjoy, it is what I cling onto, it is what will endure in this life, it is what I hope my legacy will be.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ego

I read...I'm a reader and love to read...ok, that's redundant..point is, I have been reading a few different books all having to do with walking with God, following Jesus, doing the christian life...

One thing that keeps sticking in my mind as I read so many of these books is how tightly we seem to cling to our ego. Maybe I shouldn't speak for everyone, but I do get the feeling that we all seem to waste entirely too much time doing image control, ego improvement, and the like.

I am deeply convicted of this myself, which is why I write about it here, I am someone very vulnerable to wanting to produce and maintain a certain image to the world. But I get tired of it...So much of the time I would rather just NOT care, I would love to see what would happen if WE ALL agreed that all this "selling" ourselves to others is just silly, that we can really believe the trite idea that just being real, is truly enough.

I know it's how Jesus lived. And if He did...wouldn't it be a good idea for me to as well?
well, sure, in theory, but then there's this thing called BEING HUMAN...ugh!
Still, I strive to be less human in that way...I long to be carefree and allow others to like me or not, love me or not, based on who I truly am, and not the person I "put together" for display.

Not easy...not always natural, but still worth the effort, I think...

Unfortunately so many of us have repeatedly received the message that just US isn't quite...right; or quite, pretty enough, or not as smart as others, not as accomplished, not as giving, not as humble, you name it...and even more unfortunately, we have believed it.
Believed the lie, believed that we are less than we should be. Which is so very silly, cause, you see...He formed us in the womb, to be who we are, and He carries us in His hands....

So we go about working hard at "improving" ourselves, so we can SHOW a "better" self to the world. More often than not that work is a waste of time, mostly because, we were JUST fine to begin with, and sometimes because we're using our time doing ego improvements when we could be using our time loving others, thinking of others, and LESS time looking in and evaluating and striving...

Not sure there is any big revelation here, it's a tale as old as time, we ALL do it, some more some less, I guess lately it's been on my mind more, and I so badly want to be like Jesus and say... I DON'T CARE, I DON'T play that GAME, I just want to be me!
Maybe as I get older He will work on me to get me there..to enjoy that freedom....it sure must be nice...right?

Monday, April 12, 2010

another year...and, no change!

I have been gone...yet again, for a year! I think it's interesting and funny how that keeps happening

I got the bug to start writing again after watching the movie Julie & Julia, which if you haven't seen,I recommend.

The movie made me think, although I already was in a reflective state of mind, about my life and what it is that makes me the way I am.
I seem to have this idea, that I am somehow unfinished. That there is a great passion, or vocation that seems to somehow escape me, year after year. That there is something I should be studying, investing in, committing to, starting out, but I just can't seem to put my finger on WHAT it is.
Pray as I might, I can't reach a conclusion about what it is that I COULD do, with myself, I read book, and nothing, I research careers, and nothing, I think about the things I like to do and am good at, nothing....And then as I reflected, I decided to go to my blog and check out what I had last written about, HA! it is titled "who I am"
If you follow my blog, I'm sorry about being gone for a year, and coming back with..the SAME existential crisis over and over! :-P

Yes, I am a wife and mother and quite happy to be, and blessed to be able to spend as much time with my family as I can, but I am also a very social person, and thrive in social situations, so I keep thinking there ought to be something out there I could do, should do, that would enrich my life, life of others that I connect with, and make my world more interesting, more diverse, more connected.

Moving to Florida (oh yeah that's right, we moved!) has propelled me into thinking about this even more because we are starting over in so many other ways, it seems like a natural time to be thinking about this...yet again.

So...comments and opinions are welcome, as is constructive criticism :-) Heck, if anyone out there is STILL actually reading after a year, I'm just glad about that!

I hope to write again soon about....something else

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