Friday, October 5, 2012

Testimony

So, I just got back from a seminar at IHOP-KC (International House of Praise-Kansas City.

It was pretty much amazing. 

One of the things we talked about was testimonies. We didn't spend too much time on it, but it was mentioned that it is important to be able to share your testimony in under a minute. 

They had some people stand up to share their testimony, which was great. I definitely wasn't one of those people who stood up.

Mainly,  because I always thought that I didn't really have a story.  There are so many WOW testimonies, and I just always thought that mine isn't SO wow. In fact, I really just thought that I had nothing to share.

Until.....I went to IHOP-KC, I never even gave much thought to it. 

And then, it happened.

God revealed to me that I do have a story. Not just any story, but my own, unique, small story.  And though it may be small, maybe to someone one day, it will be powerful. 

So....here it is. Short, to the point, no extra details.....TRUTH.


When I was 15, my parent got divorced and my mom moved away. I was angry, but mostly I was angry at God.  If anyone asked me about God, I would say, " I hate God. I don't want anything to do with him."

I joined the military. I partied, drank, and lived fast. If I had a boyfriend, sex was just part of it. One day, a friend walked me home from a bar. When we got to my place, he came inside to use the restroom, and I fell on my bed, fully clothed, and passed out.  I woke up, unclothed, next to him. I immediately started shoving, hitting, and screaming at him. He sat up and said, " Your fucking crazy. It was just sex."

I froze, and he  left. I sat on my bed, and I cried. Where was my life going?  I knew that I had to change.  My life HAD TO change.

That was my first awakening...

Years later, I was married. Chris and I went to mass every Sunday. But we were just going...just following the "rules".

I used to run. Everyday. Miles and miles. Towards the end of my runs, I would pray for strength. One day, I said, "God, please help me, give me strength"

And I heard a voice very clearly say," I HAVE BEEN HERE ALL ALONG. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?"

I fell down, got back up, and fell down again. I ran back home...with blood dripping down my knees, and crying all the way.


I kept asking myself, " Where HAVE I been?" "Where I am going?"

And you know what?  .God said to me, " I will lead you down a road most will never go."


This is the end of the beginning  of my story.  Since 2005, I wondered what that road would be. I wondered how God would use me.  Now,  I know.  Finally, it has not only been revealed, but confirmed.  And...I am ready.

More to come later.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Confession of selfishness

I confess.....


that I am selfish.


Incredibly selfish.  Ashamedly selfish.


This isn't a new revelation. Rather, it is something I have struggled against for years.


God has a way of bringing things to the surface.  Things that need to be changed, things that need to be let go....things that have no place.....

For me, one of those things is selfishness.


Now....I have come a long way. But for me, God has said, " Let no bit of selfishness remain." In that case, I have a LONG way to go.

And truthfully, where does selfishness have a place in the Kingdom of God? Well, it has no place at all!

Right now, my bouts of selfishness are smaller and fewer in between....

Yesterday, my husband called from work to let me know he was tasked to go away for training for November and December. Thankfully, he would be home in time for Christmas, hopefully coming back a week beforehand. My immediate reaction was a sane, positive, practical reaction. " At least you will be home for Christmas. What can we do? Nothing....we might as well accept it and make the best of everything. At least your not deploying."

But today, after I dropped Isabela at preschool, I began to feel myself becoming excited about the impending holiday season. I LOVE fall, the holiday season, the traditions, the "hustle and bustle", the holiday music, the holiday cooking and baking, and the closeness of family during this time. I love it SO much! But it wasn't always this way.

As a child and teenager, Christmas and the holidays were the worst part of the year for me.  In my life at home, I cannot remember a time where I felt more lonely and isolated. When I first joined the military, I did not struggle like others did during the holidays. I was glad to be away from the loneliness of home, that always waited for us during this season.

And then, I got married.

Aurelia, my youngest sister, says, that our marriage changed everything.  Gone were the lonely, pretend-happy, isolated days, as Chris and I opened up our home to my family during this time of year. A new tradition started.....and it was filled with so much JOY.  It was during these times that I got to really know my dad, see how much FUN my family is, and see how SILLY we are when we are all together.

Last  year, Chris was deployed during this time. So, I was really looking forward to this year.  Our 2nd year in a new house, but our first year making memories and starting traditions as a family. You see, next year, Chris's time frame to deploy is also during this season.  So, everything within me wanted to make this year count.

And, not only that, Isabela is three this year, so she really understands things. My  heart was so excited....
And so today, when I thought about fall, I began to get excited....


Until I remembered we would be without Chris again. And then I remembered that my dad and stepmom will be traveling to the Philippine Islands during most of that time.  And my older sister, who stayed with us last holiday season, is living back in California now. And, it hit me that I would really be alone this year, without the comfort of my family.

I confess, I got scared.  Scared that this season, I would feel like I did as a child during this time of year.  Scared of feeling lonely and isolated again.  And then.....


Yes...I cried. Selfishly wanting everything to go my way. Selfishly not appreciating the fact the my husband WILL be home for Christmas this year.  Selfish...I am.

And then I heard God whisper.....Now, remember, there are others who will be like you. Alone, without family, and disheartened.  Remember? You have been there before. Go to them"

And maybe that should have immediately made me feel better.  But instead, I felt worse, like an undercurrent of pain and embarrassment had found me and rendered me helpless....and as a new rush of tears came, I could only say, "yes, God."

God then directed my thoughts to some people in my life.  People like my older sister, Angela, who is living so far away, without any family nearby.  Who is struggling with her disease, so far away...

And I felt so ashamed.

How much do I even call my dear sister?  How much do I email her or mail her little packages? How much do I go out of my way to bring LOVE to my own sister?
If I was her, I would be mad at me....sad and frustrated at my "business."


And then, I thought of my sister-in-law, whose husband is gone every 30 days for work. And how hard it must be.  In the same way, how much have I reached out to let her know that I care? I know exactly how it is to be a temporary single parent, yet, what have I done to help ease the loneliness that rushes in like huge rolling waves, during those single parent phases?


And then I thought of my own mother. Surely, our relationship is not typical, and tempered with the past years of heartache and maybe even guilt. Yet, I love her so...But how much do I let her know how much I love her? Never enough.


And there are others....

Thinking of all this, I say to myself, I am failing! I am losing the battle!

I hate selfishness, my selfishness.  I hate how it manifests in me and how hard I have to fight to allow selflessness to win. You see, God has showed me that selfishness never cultivates ANYTHING.  Nothing positive EVER grows out of selfishness. I don't want to be the result of selfishness....I want to be the result of Love.  And love, is NEVER selfish.

You see, selfishness lies in the small things....

like...
-receiving a beautifully written email from my dad, and not taking the time to respond. I'm sorry dad!
-receiving a message from a friend and not even taking time to listen to it or call back for several days.
-Not appreciating the beauty of the life I have, the roof over my head, and the comfy furniture we have to rest on. Being a complainer.
-Not reaching out to new friends, when their offer of friendship is so clear.


That, my friends, is the most horrible part of being selfish. Ultimately, the message the above actions say is," I don't care about you. I don't care about your time. I don't care about our relationship. I don't care about the beauty of the life God gives me."

And embarrassingly, sometimes I go on and on about how busy I've been, and I use that as my cover-up.  My " I've been so busy; I'm sorry I didn't call you back," should really be, " I've been really selfish and consumed lately; that is why I didn't call you back. I apologize and hope you can forgive me."


I have come a long way....but still have miles and miles to go.


Admittedly.....I am not finished. I am still being refined.  I am being sanded with a high grain sand paper. I am being sculpted, like a piece of clay, lovingly caressed and molded by my Creator's hands (Isaiah 64:8)
All my rough edges are being smoothed...
All my dents and unsightly grooves are being filled....
And although it hurts, although it forces change...I will allow it.
I will surrender to it.


I will allow myself to be refined and sanded into a new creation.
I will throw off my shame and cast it upon Jesus, he who cares about every single detail of my life. 


Hebrews 4:16 says:
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Ephesians 3:12 says:
 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.


God says, "Come to my throne BOLDLY! Confidently and freely, knowing that you will receive mercy and grace to HELP you in your time of need."

I am so thankful that I can cry out to God right now.  That I can give him my habits of selfishness and release my shame to Him.  That I can trust and allow Him to use me, change me, re-make me.

I am even more grateful that God is a God of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 1,000,000,000 chances.
And I am humbled and truly indebted to all of my family, old friends, and  new friends who have offered forgiveness to me when I'm just too "busy."


My prayer:

"Oh God of Love! I need you!
My selfishness consumes me!
My fears overwhelm me!
My shame covers me; Who could love one like me!

But God, you love one like me!
You love the ones like me AND the ones unlike me - all of us undeserving!
You reveal my selfishness!
You take my fears away!
You cover my shame and say, "Beloved, you are spotless in my eyes!"
Oh lovely,  God of Love, you AWAKEN my soul from a dead place!

You know the nature of my heart and every thought in my mind!
You listen to my soul's cries!
And, yet, You do not hide yourself!
You do not run away from my sordidness!
Instead, you reveal the depths of your grace and mercy!
You do NOT even flinch at my wretchedness!

You welcome me, without hesitation, before Your throne!
I am made speechless at the extravagant display of your Love!


“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.

You are worthy, our Lord and God, 
 to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being, (Rev 4)."



















Sunday, July 15, 2012

During my quiet time today...

Love is the greatest gift we can give one another.

 It can consume a raging fire and melt a heart of stone.
It can survive in the most desperate of circumstances.

Love is a constant.
Always adapting, yet never changing.

 Love is not just a desire, but a basic NEED.

Where Love is, God is. 
And where God is, there is Love.

 
Beautiful, sweet, indiscriminate Love. 
FREE, undeserved, and un-limited Love.


God's Love is not just for you or for me.
Or
 just for people who are like you and me. 
Or
just for people who have money, smell good, and have success. 
Or
just for worship leaders, pastors, missionaries, and ministry directors.

 
God's Love
Is
not confined, contained, or restrained.
Or
 Reserved towards only the "attractive" people.
Or
Reserved only for those who "help themselves."

Rather,

 God's Love is an all-inclusive Love.
 An Overflow of life and Grace
 His Love is TIRELESS.

 
 And....
He Loves the very least of us. 
He extends His Grace to the most depraved parts of our beings.  

 
He has chosen us as His BELOVED.
That we might go,walk, live, in His Love.

 
Oh Father,
Creator of Love,
That I might be your hands and feet.
That I might speak your words and not my own.
That I might know Your heart and forget mine. 
That I might be a testimony of your never failing, life-giving Love.
 That I might be a living sacrifice, a vessel to be used.
Full of humility,
 Alway moldable,
Always teachable .
Always your servant.



Monday, July 2, 2012

Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from a discussion question from the psychology class I am taking. The topic was asking us to discuss three groups that had an impact on your adult development.

There are many different aspects of my life that have contributed to the person I am today. When I look into the past 31 years of my life, I can think of three particular groups that were paramount to my development into adulthood.

High School Cheerleading Squad

In high school, I tried out for my school’s cheerleading squad. It was such a leap for me, as I did not have much self confidence in my ability. You see, I was the only Hispanic/Asian at my school and in my small southern town. I grew up in a racist environment, which made me feel inferior and insecure. Still, I tried out for the squad, and I made it. I went on to cheerlead until I graduated, and we won Superior ribbons every year at cheer camp. This “leap” that I took not only impacted my self-confidence, but helped me discover more about myself. I learned that I could be fearful, yet still step out in faith. Mostly, I learned that I was good at something. And as silly as it sounds, just knowing that I was good enough at something to receive an award in it, gave me faith that I could do something with my life.


United States Air Force

With my newly obtained faith came the courage to join the United States Air Force. The Air Force is a group that has had an unrivaled effect on my development as an adult. I entered into the military as a shy, insecure, almost broken child. And even in basic training, I begin to change. When I graduated from basic training, I had no doubt in my mind, that I could accomplish almost anything - if I worked hard enough for it. I spent seven years in the military. I graduated from Leadership Academy, deployed once, and truly learned what it meant to serve. I left the military bold, confident, secure, and ready to journey into the unknown. The military gave me a type of confidence that will last my whole life. Serving in the military enabled me to be unafraid and focused, and because of that, I was able to thrust myself into the next group, which is music ministry.



Music Ministry

 My whole life, I have loved music. But, I grew up in a very old fashioned home, and music was not an accepted priority or hobby. So, I never really developed much musically, but I still clung to music with a child-like hope. After I left the Air Force, my husband and I went to Iowa, where he was on Recruiting duty. It was there that we became part of a church planting team, and it was there that I first auditioned to be a part of a worship band. Being on the worship band was significant for me. It was something I never thought I was good enough to do. I was happy, but even so, being on the worship band was not a “dream.” It was a humbling, confusing time. I wanted more- I wanted to lead and play a larger part. Ashamedly, I found myself becoming jealous of others at times and frustrated with leadership. Ultimately, I learned that if you truly want to do something, then you will go through “the fire” to and let yourself be refined by it. In the long run, I decided that I would not run away or quit. I would not let myself be consumed by jealousy. I would prove my commitment by learning to be content where I was. I would be humble and patient. And in time, I learned to be content in my small part. That knowledge has helped me in ways I could never imagine.

Conclusion

You see I, am just a normal person. I am just an average singer and wannabe guitar player. I am not great at doing any one thing, but I do have a great passion for what I choose to do. And being a cheerleader, laid the first foundation of confidence. Joining the military developed me into bold, secure, and focused woman, which helps me every day of my life. From being a military wife and handling the home front during deployments, to being calm in the most irate circumstances, to being a worship director and managing a ministry, the military has truly developed me into a strong, responsible, independent woman. My first experience in Iowa serving in ministry helped me develop patience for people and an understanding of the complex emotions that occur within a constantly changing, dynamic team. If I did not experience such humility then, I would not be able to lead and love as effectively today. Surely, I am far from perfect. But, I am thankful for all the experiences I have had, the good and the bad, and know that they all played a role in developing me into the adult I am.


This was just an excerpt, but it was very interesting to look back over my life and see how some of these "groups" influenced my development. I would like to close with this quote, from Joyce Meyers.

"But God had called me, and He qualified me. What others thought was not even usable, God saw value in." Joyce Meyers


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why hello there!

I'm baaaaaaaaaack!

Hubs is home safely.

We've been busy.

Transitioning.

Organizing.

Playing.


I'm back. I'm back in school. ( Literally).
And I have A LOT to catch up on!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cupcake cutes



Many of you may not know this, but baking and artistic presentation is definitely my family’s bloodline. From my mother, who made enviably creative and delicious cakes when I was a child, to my sister, Aurelia, who makes beautiful and delicious sweets of her own, to my older sister, Angela, who creates unique and artistic cake creations that most would never attempt!

I, myself, prefer cooking over baking, where I don't have to use measurements and where I have fun coming up with my own recipes. However, as a mother to a toddler, the inevitable has happened. I must bake…for my toddler’s preschool class, for church, for her birthday, for the holidays.

So, this Sunday, our women's group at church had a bake sale fundraiser. Wanting to bake cupcakes, but also wanting to do something creative, I came up with some requirements:
Here were some requirements that I had:
1. Must be gluten free. (Thank you Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix)
2. Must be milk free. (Thank you Earth balance soy butter)
3. Must be delicious. (In my opinion, the chocolate gluten free cake mix not only tastes better, but has a better texture, more comparable to cupcakes made with wheat flour).
4. Must be lovely.

I found inspiration on Pinterest:

I love this idea! How lovely! How creative!

So, with ideas swirling in my brain, off to the supermarket I went. The first thing I saw when I walked into Super Target was beautiful, fresh strawberries! The idea formed instantly. Chocolate cupcakes with strawberry flavored icing, garnished with a strawberry.

And this is how they turned out! Lovely, delicious, gluten free, milk free, but definitely not guilt free! They were a huge hit!




Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February Photo Challenge days 5-7



10:00a.m: Bela and daddy video chatting

Dinner: Sinigang. A fabulous, amazing, favorite Filipino dish prepared by step mother Evie. Love her.
Buttons: Bela is currently obsessed with this little phone.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February Photo Challenge


Day 1: Your view: This is the table in our kitchen. I sit here in the mornings to pay bills, video chat with hubs, do art and crafts with Bela, and to eat our meals, as well. I love my huge fruit bowl!
Day 2. Words: I spent all morning Thursday preparing foods to freeze. It really makes days so much easier with the husband deployed. And its very cost effective, as well!
Day 3. Hands: My sweet Bela napping. I can't help but notice she has her daddy's hands...and lips.

Day 4. Stranger: I was out and about with Bela yesterday, but I can't take my eyes off her to take a picture of a stranger. Bela LOVES to run away from me in public places. So, this is a picture that inspired my hair style in October 2011. Yes, that is the last time I got my hair cut. And yes, my hair actually looked awesome the few times I styled it like this!

Weight loss confessions

So, since my sister is gone and I don't have too much longer til my husband returns from deployment, I have really been ,committed to eating clean and exercising.

Clean eating has been amazing. With my food allergies, its the healthiest and best way for me to eat..well , really its the healthiest way for anyone to eat! I actually started clean eating in october, and it has truly been a lifestyle change that is not only positive, but fun, and most importantly delicious.

Not only that, I have really been enjoying exercise for the first time in years! I have Brooke from,
Oh, The Joys of Parenting, to thank for literally transforming my mind and views on strength training! Brooke, thank you SO much! You are such an inspiration to me and so many other women out there!

So, let me start a little about my history. As a child, I never had weight issues. No one in my family really has. I was definitely an active child. I wasn't really into sports, though I did play softball til I was about 14. But I was a cheerleader, took some gymnastics and dance, and really just enjoyed dance and even running, and strength moves, like pushups, pullups, handstand pushups, and other crazy dance related strength moves.

I was strong. I had strong legs, strong arms, and a crazy strong core. Even after I joined the military, I continued to be strong. I ran long distances, and would do a lot of dance related core exercises and leg exercises. I could do just as many pushup as my husband in one minute, (about 60 straight legged pushups), and I could do 10 one armed pushups with my right and 6 with my left hand.

The only point I am making is that I was strong, and I was definitely proud of the work I put into it.

Fast forward some years...

I got out of the military and gained about 10 lbs. We moved to Iowa, and I committed myself to running and eating healthier. I lost the 10 lbs and then some, but also found out that I no longer enjoyed running. I have run 2 marathons in my life, and now I hate running long distances....how does that happen? It still makes me very sad, actually. I believe my heart will always love runners because I know how strong mentally you have to be to complete a race. Running is something you can do anywhere, it is always challenging, and it is the most free you will ever feel....when you love doing it.



In 2009, I had my daughter, Isabela. I gained about 50 lbs in my pregnancy! I lost 20 lbs almost immediately, thanks to breastfeeding. But the other 30 weren't so easy. I still have those 30 to lose and them some.

Anyhow, after I was finally able to exercise, I became extremely discouraged and frustrated.

Thank you csection, that I didn't plan on having. That I never wanted! But at the same time, thank you Jesus, that Bela was born healthy and alive!

Anyhow, I went to the gym, and just like my midwife told me, I had absolute no core strength. My "abs" felt like jello. Literally. In fact, I had no abs.

It took me 3 months just to be able to do 5 perfect pushups.

When I first saw my post pregnancy body, I cried. My stomach had stretch marks and loose skin. I felt horrible and for the first time ever, I didn't want my husband to see me without clothes. Even though he certainly assured me that in his eyes, I was beautiful and sexy and so forth.....um yeah, he better, right!


Anyhow, the first year, I lightly exercised and lost 10 more lbs, once the summer came around. ( Living in iowa in the winter is horrible. Incidentally, the Bela's first winter was one of the record worst winters Iowa had ever seen. Also, Bela was sick during her first 9 months, until we figured out all her food allergies, and I my number one priority was her health, making my health second.)

The second year was even more discouraging than the first. Even though I had regained some of my core strength back, weight loss seemed impossible. I signed up for weight watchers and followed it strictly for 3 months, I was still breastfeeding, and I was doing 45 minutes of cardio everyday.

I lost absolutely no weight. I had a thyroid test done and it came back fine. My doctor said some women hold onto excess weight until they are done breastfeeding, but inside, I knew that was not what my body was doing!

So, I continued with weight watchers for an additional 3 months and I did p90x for 2 months. I didn't lose ANY weight.

For 3 months after that, I changed my diet to a whole foods only diet and quit exercising. I lost 5 lbs in one month!

Yay!

Then, we were up to move from Iowa to Shreveport. It was a tough, very transitional move. We came down 2 months before the movers moved our stuff and stayed with my dad and Even.

After not living in Lousiana since 1998, I was thrilled to be around amazing, Cajun food and Chris and I ate crawfish and catfish like every week.

After making those bad decisions and not exercising, I gained 10 lbs! Of course, that was all my fault, but that brings me to October of 2011.


And so here we are. The last time I jumped on the scale was in October, and I was at 165. I am 4'11, so that is ALOT and puts me in the obese category, actually.

So, why haven't I weighed myself since then?

Well, the scale discourages me. I am scared that if the scale doesn't move , then I will get discouraged and angry with myself. Also, I am scared that if the scale doesn't move, then I will give up.


And I am so sick and tired of fixating on my weight. I want to make a TRUE lifestyle change. And for me, that means no scale.

It means taking joy in committing to exercise and clean eating. It means being proud that I have stuck to almost 4 weeks of constant exercise and eating healthy. I'm not gonna let the scale take the joy away from me.

Instead, I am going to make this a life change that doesn't involve that evil scale! I want to base my feelings on what I have committed to, what I have FINISHED....not what the stupid scale says!


So, just to back up just a little. In November I found out I was allergic to gluten and dairy. Bela is too. And as soon as I got rid of those allergens, I could feel my body starting to get smaller. Just recently, I saw on Dr Oz that true food allergies can cause you to NOT be able to lose weight!
I really think that was what was happening to me. Because when I stopped exercising and started a whole foods diet, I was also eating vegetarian, so I was having no dairy at all. I wasn't eating wheat, because I was scared of over consuming on carbs, like so many vegetarians do. And that was the only time in 2 years that I had lost weight...
Not to mention, I feel so much better, physiologically, after removing the allergens from my diet.

SO anyway, in mid January, I reached out to a friend that I great admire, Brooke. I linked her blog above, but here it is again.

She is a marathon runner, weight lifter, body building, healthy eating, mama of 2, who has been in school, raising two kids, decorating her home, and being incredibly busy with her beautiful family. She has an amazing figure, but really, she is one of those women who inspires everybody that comes into contact with her!

Anyway, she turned me on to learning how to lift weights, and because of her, I started researching everything about strength training and the best cardio for fat loss.

I haven't been weighing myself, but I have been taking progress pictures, and when I reach 8 weeks, I will post them. AHHH, thats super scary for me!

In just four weeks, though, my body has already changed. For the first time in almost 3 years. My legs are already toned. I have lost inches around my tummy. I feel amazing...most importantly. I am getting strong again! I can do 25 perfect straight legged pushups in one minute...I can't wait to see how many I can do in 4 more weeks!


I am so thankful for women like Brooke, for because of her, I am actually loving exercising again. I don't want to miss one day!

And because of the research I did, I learned you don't have to kill yourself doing an hour or more of cardio on a machine! Which is GREAT, because I HATE cardio machines!

After I lift weights, 3 times a week, I walk on an incline on the treadmill for 20 minutes. I can walk on the highest incline for 10 minutes now, at 3.2. Think that sounds easy? Try it! I walk on the highest incline til I lower it a little, while increasing the speed, and I only do that for 20 minutes (total). Some days, I switch it up for the stair master, and do intervals on that! No wonder my legs are looking so toned lately!

On the other 3 days, I do high intensity interval training. I run 6, 30 second sprints ( running as fast as I can) and rest for 2-3 minutes in between. My goal is to up my sprint time, and up my distance as well. (I want my sprint time to be 1 min, resting 2-3 minutes, and my distance to be 2 miles)

Two other days a week, I've also been doing zumba with some girls for church. I'm not gonna say I love it, but I do love being around other people, and the class itself is ok.
I think I just don't love it, because I actually used to do latin dance and teach some basic classes, so it just makes me want to REALLY go dancing...plus, I've never been an aerobics girl, despite my dance background. But, I am naturally sociable, so its still enjoyable for me. I will say its ALOT easier than walking on the highest incline on the treadmill or running sprints!

So, basically, I lift 3 times a week, do HIIT 3 times a week, and I do run once a week, as another goal is to be able to run at least 3 miles in 30 minutes. And of course Zumba. Clean eating, and making sure my fat intake stays between 20-30 percent of my diet.

I am going to start checking in once a week, so I have some added accountability. Fitness Friday perhaps?

Lastly, thank you for reading this far. I know it was long and poorly written.

a little update

Well, it certainly has been a while.

All is well here in the Stephens household. My oldest sister, Angela, was here for about 3 months, and she left back to California in mid January. We definitely miss having her. She was such a great help and comfort to me and Bela while Chris is deployed.

While she was here, in support of her eating disorder recovery, I did not exercise or have health food in the house. This was agreed upon, before her visit, between me and her therapists, as these types of things can trigger someone so new in their recovery.

Alot of people do not understand this rationale, and its okay because you don't have to. Ever since 1992, I've been living with a sister who has had anorexia. I have visited her in more than 19 hospitals, I've seen her at 50 lbs, I've seen her so close to death, so many times.

Before she entered this treatment center, she was very sick. So sick that she passed out in the middle of the supermarket, and had to be rushed to the hospital. Where once again, she was told that she would die. We quickly found a place that would take her in, a treatment center vs a crappy medical hospital program, and flew her out before she would be court forced into the local hospital.

And for 2 years, she was at an amazing place that would not let her go. Would not let her quit. And because of their dedication and commitment to her, she is not at the highest part of her recovery. I have never in my life, seen her so well, so healthy, so beautiful!

So, I made the decision to go along with her treatment facility rules of: no health food or diet food in the home, no talking about diet or exercise, and no exercising around her.

I am SO glad that I made this sacrifice for only 3 months. During these 3 months, I got to know my real sister. Outside of her disease. One that I haven't known, talked with, played with, since I was 8 years old.

It was such a joyous and fleeting moment of my life, but I am thankful for every single moment of it.

Now, Angela has been given a wonderful employment opportunity by the same treatment center that has brought her to this place in her recovery. I have hope and faith that she will continue to live in recovery and live a very happy and full life.

My dearest older sister. We love her SO much!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All you need is love

I just got done video chatting with my sweet husband.

I am so thankful for him, for always supporting me in my dreams, encouraging me, pushing me, and listening to me when I'm down.

Like today.

I just broke down crying over the video....over things that I cannot possibly control.

When we talk, I try my best to be positive and joyful. When your loved one deploys, you learn to understand that they are in an incredibly stressful and lonely situation. When you do get to talk to them, the last thing you want to do is stress them out even more, be upset with them, or make them worry about you.

So, I do my best....but there are times when I just can't control my emotions, and this was definitely a case.

To me, the worst thing is feeling pain over someone who didn't meant to hurt me....or to feel broken over things I can't control. It's the worst, because even as I'm feeling sad about it, I know that I'm just being silly and need to let it go!

BUT

The best thing is having the support of someone who not only loves me, but understands me. Who really gets that complicated, emotional, perfectionist, over-analytic person that lives inside of me. Who stays calm in the rushing waves of my emotions and WAITS....
Who kindly and gently tells me the truth, while still validating my concerns. Who encourages me, who BELIEVES in me and believes in my dreams....

My hubby is that who and so much more.

This May, we will have been married for NINE years! We've made it through so much-some things a lot of couples would have ran away from.

I'm so very proud of us.

Love you Chris!