It Is What It Is

My newest favorite four-letter word: tri shorts.

As I dance that sweet line between 195 and 200 pounds down (200 more days than not, but we’re not calling it official yet until consistent for a certain period of time), I still find myself in that great wrestling match of figuring out my body.  My body does so many amazing things that it has never done before, and yet I still get stuck on that teeter between how my head sees me and the person that I can see in front of my face that almost seems surreal today.  It’s so hard to absorb reality.

People often forget that not all my goals are physical.  Just like what is publicly presented and what I share isn’t 100% of what I do professionally or personally, or what my priorities are, there are other things that are being worked on, focused on, and changing.  One of the goals I have been working on through this journey of holistic wellness has been acceptance–attacking this very battle I speak of above, to come to a place where there isn’t a disconnect in how I perceive and view myself inside and out.  To learn to accept myself just the way I am.


I can’t begin to tell you the spiritual and emotional struggle this has been and I’m not going to hash out on this platform the highly personal work on what it’s taken me to start to make some progress in this area and the work that continues to still go on.  But, per usual, let’s chat–I am happy to share my experience on a one-on-one level, because I know I’m not alone in this struggle.

But, I will give you some glimpse into this–I’ve spoken before about how the loose skin on my body bothers me.  Yes, vain, I know.  I’ve also spoken how the loose skin on my upper arms pulls on my neck and shoulders and causes pain, and how the loose skin on my thighs pools on my thighs and around the top of my knees and can cause pressure on my legs.  Those things I can get over, it’s part of life…compression capris cover a multitude of sin.  In running.  I’ve sucked it up and donned the cycling shorts for a year now, but staring down triathlon race day…there’s a whole other head game in play realizing I have to run in shorts.

Now, God bless my coach, not even realizing my irrational feelings about shorts (realize, I have not owned shorts in my wardrobe in decades), has actually assigned my workouts recently to be in tri shorts (shorter inseam than my cycling-specific shorts) so that I am running in them to be used to them on race day–I’ve cycled in them plenty.  I’ve done a few super short runs off the bike with them, but today I took them for a full 5k to see the comfort at that distance as that is the distance of the run for this upcoming weekend’s sprint tri.

I was pleasantly surprised at the comfort level, I expected some technical issues that thankfully didn’t arise, but I will be prepared on race day just in case.  Still have some more runs this week, so we’ll see what happens.  As far as how I felt about it, that was a different story…here’s the view:



Do I like how I look here? No. Not even a little bit.  I see every inch of the sagging skin that I despise. But here’s what I’ve also learned–I see a woman that had a strong effort this morning running up and down the dam and equestrian center coming within 1:40 of my 5k PR that was achieved on flat course.  I see a woman that spent her morning communing with God, engaging with Him on so many issues close to her heart ranging from personal matters to professional matters and everything in between before doing anything else.  I see a woman that is imperfect, has yet to figure out how to not conduct business on a day off, actually spent a few hours unpacking boxes today, and continues to be blown away daily by how awesome that God has been faithful because she has been faithful.  The negative and the positive can coexist.

It is what it is.

Acceptance doesn’t mean I have to like what I see.  It means that I take it for what it is.  It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is.

I can’t go back and change the past.  I don’t have a crystal ball to know God’s plan for the future.  But I can live in the present.  I can do my best, each and every day to be engaged with the Holy Spirit and to carry out God’s will for me.  One imperfect step at a time. And I think that’s a pretty good goal.

My Labor of Love

Otherwise known as, “Hey! Did you hear? I’M A MARATHONER!”

So, other than blasting my crazy excitement for finishing 26.2 miles across social media, I was (smartly) cautioned by my coach to not evaluate my race performance, make too many judgments, or even study the metric feedback for the first couple days–and he was zipping his lips too–until my body and head were back to a place of more or less equilibrium and could fully comprehend and absorb the information.

First of all, can we take in the enormity of this first fact: 3 years ago I couldn’t walk to the end of the street and back without wanting to die.  On Saturday, I ran 26.2 miles.

And there’s the first point of acceptance for me that brings me back into check.  I was warned over and over in training to not set myself up with numerical goals such as pace, total time, splits, etc for a first marathon.  I did this in speech, but my numbers brain tried to do some math…I was shut down in discussion in training, but I don’t think it ever shut down in my head.  I had some different numbers in my mind, specifically in terms of finishing time and pace over different technical sections–and because of so many factors (and that I’m a noob at the marathon distance), of course I miserably failed at them.  But–I met the #1 goal: finish a marathon.

(And let’s be crystal clear–out of any perceived “failure” or factor that went wrong, I am in absolutely, positively, not in any way possible angry or upset.  It was an amazing day that I can’t possibly express in words how much finishing meant to me, an excellent learning experience, and I’m so excited to do it again!)

Backing up…

Friday was probably not the best planned.  It started early in the morning with business in our local office, traveling with my husband for business in our other office in our coordination and doing some business errands, and then driving to Las Vegas where we capitalized on a free hotel night we had.  Probably should have just stayed and rested and had a good dinner, but instead I wanted to make the most of the time we had that evening and we went to a triathlon fellowship/learning event that went late into the evening (for me, who goes to bed early) and then we had a late dinner afterwards.  Not smart.

I slept okay, but not fabulous, and was up before the alarm giving myself plenty of time to get ready.  I had some food that I had brought with us, but I did not plan ahead logically for breakfast to have quite enough substantial calories–that had some impact on performance at the outset I believe until my fuel during the race started to level out not only my hunger, but feeding my energy levels and such too.

We drove out to the race venue and got there a touch earlier than expected, no problem.  Kissed husband goodbye and he went off for breakfast and to do some other things and would be back in a few hours to spectate at the finish.  And that’s when the fun began…weather turned on a dime.

It was cool for the morning, the anticipated weather was 40 degrees at start and 60 degrees and sunny for the day…however, the ominous clouds had different plans.  The temperature never rose above 40 degrees and it rained from mile 7 all the way to the finish line (and all the way on our drive home to Laughlin).

And so came the start of the race.  First few miles, great.  Was feeling good, was keeping an side-eye on my watch aiming to keep my top pace under a certain threshold. Oh, did I fail to mention this was a really technical race with a total of 2250ft in elevation gain?  It was 13.1 miles uphill, and 13.1 miles downhill, with the exception of “the beast” from mile 21-23.  I pity the ultra marathoners that ran it multiple times for their loops…

I had really wanted in training to try to make a trip up to Lovell Canyon and run part of the course prior to the race, or at least drive it to get a taste of what it would be like so I could properly visualize it.  I am so happy that my schedule never allowed for it to happen–I promise you, I would not have even started this race had that been the case.  I had the course and elevation maps and was properly trained on hills, but it was no comparison to reality.  Other than the torture of “the beast,” I am satisfied with the amount of hill training that I had, as we live in a very hilly place and I often have a decent amount of elevation prescribed in my runs.

The wheels started to come off around mile 10.  I started getting a blister (one blister being my only “war wound” of the day) and letting it get in my head that this was going to “end me” because it was still so early in the race.  Now, rational me (that side is in there somewhere…) kicked in and realized all I needed to do was find a place to sit down where I could take my shoe off and just apply some RunGoo that I had in my tri-top pocket to that part of my foot to alleviate the worst of it.  A couple miles later at an aid station I was able to sit on a wet cooler (it had already been raining a while at that point) and take care of it and I was fine.

From there things were plodding along…slow, but plodding along.  I was FREEZING and soaking wet.  Remember that high of 60 degrees?  The average race temperature along the course that day was 37 degrees.  I was SO cold, and that contributed greatly to my significantly slower than anticipated pace.  When I’m cold, my muscles seize up and my body just doesn’t want to move.  You’d think running, you’d be warm…wrong-o!  Between the weather and being soaked to the bone, there was no chance that I was warming up.

I swore around mile 15 or so I was hallucinating when I saw my husband drive up, but no, it was real, and it was the greatest blessing of the day!!! He gave me some much needed encouragement and found some work gloves in his bag that I could wear to help at least try to warm up my hands.  He kept driving forward and was waiting every mile or so for anything that I needed, and always a much needed cheerleading session.  Even when the gloves he had given me were soaked through, he pulled a (clean) pair of wool socks out of his overnight bag that I wore on my hands for a few miles just to try and get warm.  As I got closer to finish, I was able to chuck things in the car too like my headphones that had died, my handheld bottle since I had flasks on belt, etc, which made things easier too.  I am so grateful for my husband.  I hate that I wonder this, but if he didn’t show up and do everything he did for me that day, I have to question if I would have finished–or at least finished as strongly.

And then came the finish line.  I was sobbing before I even crossed it.  It brings tears to my eyes still to think about that moment.  Sure, it took my longer that I thought it “should,” the weather was miserable, and a boatload of other stuff…but it had come.  I did it.  I ran 26.2 miles.  No one can take that away from me.

I have spoken in conversation that I felt like my very first half marathon was my most memorable athletic achievement so far, and I think I still believe that.  The completion of a marathon…it’s different.  It was incredible, absolutely, I’ll never forget it–it was more emotional that I think I possibly even anticipated it to be at the end, but the meaning that it holds is a different kind of achievement–it’s one of learning and endurance, and proving to myself what is possible, what my body can take, and how much farther I can go. And will go.

I don’t think I could possibly begin to list in detail all the many lessons that came from this experience.  I learned technical things, the areas of mental and physical strength that are still weak, things about myself, and things about humanity (mainly stupid drivers on an open course, but also how incredible and encouraging other athletes can be to one another).  I see why the marathon is a endurance feat all its own.  And I can’t wait to look at those lessons and apply them to training for the next one.  Because I can’t wait for the next one…how does six months sound?  I’m coming for you Chicago!!!

I have been truly overwhelmed by the love and reactions that I’ve received on the social media posts I’ve made too.  I can’t begin to tell you in the overwhelm and nerves leading up to the day how much the encouragement bolstered my confidence, and then in the after to be able to share my sheer praise to God and joy with the world.  Yes, it can appear some days to border on the edge of narcissism, but I also know from private feedback that my sharing is important to other people’s journey too–and we need each other in life, so I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  As the saying goes, “you do you,” and if you don’t like it…scroll on…or as some have done, go as far as blocking me. (I’m sooo not delving into that right now other than backing up to my firm stance I’ve always held:  if you have a problem, let’s talk about it together.  I have a lot more respect for an open conversation than passive aggressive behavior)

In the days since the race, I have felt surprisingly better than I expected–I truly expected to be the marathon horror stories of those that basically crawl for the next week.  The next day I even wore my uniform heels at church! My feet weren’t so happy after that move…but I did.  Sunday I wasn’t too sore, just moved pretty slowly.  Monday the same, until I had two hours of bodywork done–then I wanted to die once I had all those muscles worked out.  Woke up Tuesday feeling much better, feeling great, just a little bit of tightness remaining in my hips.  Today…well…it was my first recovery run.  It wasn’t pretty, but it was also my coach proving a point to me about recovery.  I don’t feel sore or anything, but in motion like that, my legs were pretty much lead.  Time…

But, rest and recovery aren’t docile actions, because I’ve still got goals, and a sprint triathlon coming up in 38 days.  I’m back on the bike tomorrow for some light workouts this week, aiming to hit open water swim this weekend, and we’ll see what next week brings once I get the full calendar for that.

At the end of the day, and everything that went down to get to the finish line, the one thing I know for sure…I. Am. A. Marathoner.


Breathe In…Don’t Forget to Breathe Out…

Welcome to one of my pre-scheduled freakout sessions.  Through the mental toughness training that I have been building upon with my coach that gets applied to racing, I actually have assigned time frames this week for which I am allowed to meltdown and flip out, and then when it’s over, it’s time to suck it up and get back to reality and real life.  Or if you’re also doing The Sufferfest’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge right now, you’re also on day 17 and accustomed to hearing at the end of every video, “and now you can move back into your day.”  Same principle, but without a badge at the end…although, I do get a medal providing I don’t die so…

I can officially say this has been an awful week.  Not a darn thing to do with running, just life hasn’t followed it’s pretty perfect plan.  So, it’s been very frustrating.  Then add on top of it modified workouts that aren’t my normal routine (quite light), but I’m ravenously hungry and eating more but not everything not nailed down–yet.  I’m exhausted.  I’m supposed to be getting more sleep, and I’m getting to bed on time, but I’ve been waking up at weird hours through the night and then having a hard time dragging myself out of bed, which it not my usual behavior.  So, everything coupled together….I’m cranky, hungry, and tired.

I’m also super excited and terrified at the same time.

Race day plan is locked and loaded.  I’m as ready as I’m going to get (oh, and no live tracking and notes from the race director say that cell service is spotty, so just don’t expect news until the end/as we head towards post race food in civilization if you follow my social media).  At this point there’s nothing more I can do in order to get ready but show up on the start line and run my best.

I. Can’t. Wait.

There’s three mantras that keep me going and come into play at different parts of the race.  I’ve trained so I will know what my body will feel like at all points, I know what to expect and how to deal with the unexpected.

  1. Trust the Training- I’m not going to elaborate on this one now, there’s another blog post I’m dropping next week that hits this.
  2. Fortitudine Vincimus (By Endurance We Conquer)- pretty self explanatory, just keep moving forward. Don’t stop.  Quitting is not an option.
  3. IWBMATTKYT- It’s an acronym from The Sufferfest…no, I’m not spelling it out to keep it family-friendly, but this one has come to reignite the fire for me at just those right moments when my head and body are at odds with one another.  Think 40% rule.  At the end of the day, this holistic journey is for the glory of God…but there’s some of my naysayers that could be clicked down a notch too.

Okay, time to get back to work and shut off this side of my brain again for the moment.  It’s a good thing.  I can do this.  I will do this.  I’ll see you at the finish line.


‘Fat Chick To Run 26.2 Miles’ Is Not A Headline

I’m not even sure how to explain this in a way to not discourage people from being an encouragement, but I’m going to try…so bear with me.  Yes, this is a selfish blog post.

We’re down to the single digit countdown to marathon day.  In the midst of the crapton (scientific term) of responsibilities that life holds right now, I’m trying to hold it together to not let my head get stuck in the enormity of this body running 26.2 miles.  Impending meltdowns are possible. (Because I’m not going to lie…there *may* have been a few teary runs and a few long drives where this may have already been proven…not in fear, but in the overwhelm and awesomeness of the realization that this is happening)

As the game gets upped quickly, I need to just put this out there on what’s not helpful.  I’m not saying this is the case for all people, but for me and my particular headspace at this time, it’s where I’m at…if you don’t know what to say to me in encouragement of this endeavor, don’t say anything! PLEASE!!!  (Sounds negative, but for those that don’t comprehend the marathon distance coupled with the stigma of size, there’s a lot that’s being said to me in “encouragement” that people don’t realize is flat out fat-shaming)  People of all sizes, backgrounds, etc run all the time.  I didn’t just wake up one morning and make this happen, so please stop looking at me like I have three heads when I tell you what I’m going to do.  I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears–quite literally–into getting this far in my athletic ability.  Without the tangent of probably a completely different blog post, I can’t even begin to tell you how important it is that I can sit here and tell you that I’m proud of myself and I haven’t even crossed the start line yet! (me and proud from my mouth don’t enter the same sentence…ever…)

Besides, um, running, there’s actually a lot of training that goes into a marathon.  There’s strength training, cross-training, looking at fueling for endurance and race-day nutrition, and there’s even a lot of mental strength training and adaptation that goes into it too.  They are all intentional, calculated, and measured efforts that have raised me to the physical ability to complete this task at hand.  I am forever grateful to those in my arsenal that have gotten me to this point, because I sure wouldn’t be ready of my own volition.

I. Can’t. Wait.

There’s a very specific taper and race plan that starts with a 5k I’m running this weekend that continues beyond the marathon finish line on March 10.  It details my sleep, my workouts, my mental training exercises, the influences I will expose my mind to, my food intake*, and oh, yeah, on top of it–a full week of work and normal responsibilities (Thank God, I need the distraction!).

In my past races, I’ve made different updates and things as I go…not going to happen this time.  Different headspace.  I’m not sure if there’s live tracking for this race, it’s a small race series, and I haven’t heard all the details yet.  So, if there is, I’ll pass the details to those so inclined to follow me through the day.  I also have no clue in this area if there’s even cell reception the whole route!  My focus is the race plan, proper fueling, monitoring the “big three” (the only agreed upon reasons I can DNF), and HAVING FUN!!! I want to be totally present in this experience so I can savor that finish line because…

It’s not about me.

This race is a celebration.  It’s a milestone.  It’s another chance to step back and say, “Look what God has done!”  If you think for one darn second, any of this has been of my own volition, you’re sorely mistaken.  God first.  Sure, I’ve put in the physical effort…but it’s been a constant effort of prayer, of discovery, of discernment, of wrestling with God on things so much bigger than putting one foot in front of the other.  Three years ago when I was almost 200lbs heavier and couldn’t walk up the street and committed my obedience to God, did I ever dream this was where I was headed? HA! Nope. But I wouldn’t trade one second of it.  What God has done in me is nothing short of my own personal miracle…I’m still learning to see myself as He sees me, working on being that reflection of Him that’s honoring to His creation–I have a lot of work to do, a lot of goals still to accomplish, and God’s not done with me yet.  His plans are pretty amazing.

Anyway, I digress.  As I do my best not to retreat into a bundle of counterproductive nerves and hibernation over the next week, just remember to offer grace to the high-strung (LOL). Wait…that’s my usual behavior…I promise, I’ll be back to myself soon.  Like after my post-marathon massage already blacked out on my calendar for my day off the Monday after. (My momma didn’t raise no fool!)

Let’s marathon, Baby.  See you at the finish line.


*simmer down intuitive eaters…by monitoring food intake on race week, it has nothing to do with restriction or quantity, but there are concepts of gentle nutrition applied in my personal situation that helps my body perform at its best–and that looks different for every single person.  Happy to elaborate more on that another time.

Let’s Hash This Out…

So, I had a lovely and beautiful friend bring up one of those “myth of the meme” quotes yesterday and likened it to my journey, with the explanation to another person that this was how I’ve achieved my weight loss thus far.  The quote…

You can’t outrun a bad diet.

My friend (whom I love), tried to use me as the converse example of this quote, in that my habits show you can outrun your fork.

Nope.  Let’s break this down.

  1. Food: I don’t diet.  I don’t restrict foods (restriction leads to a pendulum swing of binge and overeating behaviors, negating the original intent in the first place).  Everything under the sun is fair game.  The only thing that limits me is taste buds because I can be a picky eater in some instances with particular foods I simply don’t like or enjoy, and food allergies (I am allergic to tomatoes).  There exists a full permission to eat anything and everything under the sun.  Do I then eat anything and everything under the sun? No.  I use things like hunger cues, satiety, fullness to help guide me.  Am I perfect in this? Heck no.  Intuitive eating is an evolving practice, especially for someone like myself who has struggled with a disordered perspective on eating for a very, very long time.  It takes practice, introspection, accountability in the process, and a lot of trying and failing.  Labeling foods as good, bad, healthy, junk, etc is something that I have worked hard to eliminate from my vocabulary.  Food is not “good,” it’s not a reward, neither is it “bad,” or something to punish ourselves with.  Food is an inanimate object–why do we assign it that kind of power?  Part (yes, ONE of TEN principles) of Intuitive Eating is gentle nutrition.  This is not vigilant calorie counting, weighing and measuring every bite, and being a food consumption nazi–it’s an awareness of what you’re putting in your body and how it makes your body feel.  Do I feel better when I eat a variety of foods rather than just the same one or two things over and over? Yes.  Am I more comfortable when I eat a portion of something and stop when I’m satisfied as opposed to eating the entire bucket of something just because I plausibly could? Yes.  This also doesn’t cut out of the realm of possibility that some days I’m going to come home and grab a box of Cheez-Its (which I’m not a fan of usually, but they happen to be there because I don’t live in a vacuum) because they’re sitting there and they look really good, sit on the couch with the box, and eat the quantity I please regardless of the serving size of the side of the container says.  And it’s completely okay.  The world doesn’t end.  And I do it without guilt, shame, or remorse.  And that day, they happen to taste really good to me.
  2. Exercise: Another principle of Intuitive Eating is exercise, often referred to as joyful movement.  I don’t run because I HAVE to, I run because I get to–there’s a difference.  I can’t put into sufficient words the immense joy it brings to me to run (and bike, and swim).  Racing? Holy monkeys, that’s never something I’ve ever dreamed for myself–that’s like the next level beyond that immense joy that endurance sports brings to my life.  If and/or when there comes a point when it doesn’t bring me joy or I’m not able to physically complete these tasks without injury or harming myself, then it’s probably time to look at another form of movement that would bring me the same joy, but for now, this is where I’m at.  That said, there are some aspects of training that are less savory than others, but they are a means to an end–to become a stronger swimmer, cyclist, and runner and avoid injury, some level of strength training is necessary.  I’m not a super huge fan of the gym. But, there are also creative ways to make it more enjoyable–as I get stronger, I am able to move away from assisted machines to more free weight apparatus for lifting weights that I like better.  I can incorporate body weight resistance and yoga workouts into my training to supplement lifting too to get similar effects that are pleasant, but I don’t exercise out of a sheer means to simply lose weight.  My training is out of my found love for endurance sports.
  3. Marrying Food and Exercise: this is where this whole bit can come off the rails.  When you are stuck at viewing things from a diet culture or weight loss perspective, so much of things are viewed in a very black and white calories in/calories out viewpoint–that you have to burn more calories than you eat in order to lose weight.  That only works on paper with a mathematical equation…and that’s it.  Once you add in an actual person, varying foods, metabolism, age, gender, size, activity, health history, the day of the week, the tide, is it a full moon, whether or not one eye is blue and the other green, and if their third cousin twice removed on their brother’s uncle’s mother’s side was kosher (you get my drift…), you end up with WILDLY different results.  I’m not going to elaborate on some of the reasons I log foods here, and honestly, calories aren’t my concern (because they lie), but here’s an example on why this whole calories in/calories out thing just doesn’t work:  On an average 10 mile run at my current weight, I burn about 1760 calories.  On that same average day, I consume 1500 calories.  Would it not reason to argue that the scale would stay the same?  Wrong.  I actually will gain about 2 pounds the following day from that run (And no, I’m not explaining the reason why the scale goes up and what happens on day three–that’s a wholllleeeee other science lesson!).  Take a different workout: I complete an hour swim session and burn 500ish calories.  Swimming makes me ravenously hungry.  I eat 2200 calories that day.  The next day, I’m down three pounds.  The math doesn’t work.  But, I also don’t eat or workout as a slave to the scale either.  The scale is a measuring stick in a few different ways, one of the biggest when you know how to use it properly in looking at things like sufficient hydration/levels of dehydration post-run, etc (but you have to learn how to do that and use that tool properly!).  Those numbers go up and down daily–my head would explode if I were to allow it much worth in my life.  When it comes to food and exercise, the principles still apply–you eat when you’re hungry, you stop when you’re satisfied.  There’s some finessing in there when we get to endurance fueling in that you actually need to have a consistent stream of calories over time, etc to endure the situation–but for the average everyday person, that’s generally not a concern.  You’re not fueling a 30-45 minute workout or a stroll around the park.

I’d be remiss in not saying that please remember, these are my experiences, I am not a professional and do not constitute my opinion for medical advice.  You have to remember, I didn’t come to all this fount of knowledge on my own grey matter alone–I’ve taken classes, done homework, I have a triathlon coach, I utilize a registered sports dietitian, I consult my physician, and I have lots, and lots of others that I engage in conversation and work this stuff out with.  I’m not smart enough on my own to come up with this stuff, and I try and fail–a lot!

At the end of the day, can I explain in a quippy meme how I’ve lost weight? Absolutely not.  It comes right back around to the holistic journey.  It’s the shoring up all areas of my spiritual, mental/emotional, and physical health for the glory of God’s creation….well, actually, maybe I can sum it up in a quote, this one comes from Lysa TerKeurst, “So, I’m not on a diet.  I’m on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness.”  Food and exercise only fall into that one leg of physical holistic wellness…there’s still a larger portion of the rest of me to keep in check too than just those two tiny components!

As I mentioned before in my previous post on intuitive eating, check out the book, Intuitive Eating (Tribole & Resch).  There’s also some other great resources out there too:

Body Kindness (Book and Podcast by Rebecca Scritchfield)

*Nutrition Matters (Podcast by Paige Smathers)

Food Psych (Podcast by Christy Harrison)

*Love, Food (Podcast by Julie Duffy Dillon)

*=my faves!

Hope that clears a few things up!



There Once Was An Internet Bully…

….and hundreds came back with their stories of positivity and encouragement to build up the victim of the abuse. This was my #forChris story that I posted in a closed group, but the message is bigger than that, and the need to build each other up and not tear each other down is always relevant, always important, and always needs to be shared.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are less than the amazing and beautiful person that God uniquely created you–yes, you–to be.

Provision and Perspective

A few minutes ago, I just finished sharing with an accountability friend our daily gratitude, and today’s topic was the provision that we are most grateful for…I’ve shared this before on this platform, but it’s absolutely the ability that we have to (mostly) work out our own schedules.  It is an interesting dynamic with the 24/7 nature of ministry and the fine balance of time with God, work, family, personal time, balancing the expectation’s of others (this is an unfortunate reality when you deal with people as a leader that I’m not expounding on here), and the routines that come along with having multiple staffs in multiple cities that do punch clocks and having to be present for them physically or virtually at varying levels.

Since weekends don’t really exist on our world other than usually just a Saturday filled with the to-do’s, I have promised my husband for years that I would start to take a weekday off. 2018 is going to be that year, and Mondays are going to be my day for consistency sake.  And I already can’t fulfill that promise yet, at least for this week.  I can’t control how life happens.  I won’t work all day, but there’s some meetings and items I have to attend to because of unexpected that cannot be pushed to the next day.  So, we adapt.  I came home a couple hours early yesterday and we had a long overdue date and saw a great movie and had a wonderful dinner together. (We just won’t mention the call that came in that time that necessitates me having to go into the office later this morning to take some action because it cannot wait until Monday…life happens, we roll…)

Regardless of how the chips fall in the hours and minutes of the day, I’m still grateful for that flexibility.  I have a lot of freedom in determining how and when things get done (within reason–there’s still deadlines, accountability, and responsibility), but I don’t have the rigidity of a 9-5 time clock.  I can interweave errands into my day.  I can take a break and go have coffee or lunch and visit with a church member, friend, community member, or someone that just wants to talk.  I can hop on my bike in my office and wreck my legs for a little while to get some frustration out (and now that all the doohickeys have arrived, I think actually properly set up the training sessions!).  I can come in later if I need to–or the crack of dawn.  I can leave early–or stay late into the evening.  It’s all in finding the balance.

We talked in our women’s ministries group this week about different ways of being a witness in our daily lives, and part of my presentation was showing the different ways of showing how to be a light on the internet.  It’s not about filling your Facebook feed with Jesus, Jesus, Jesus 24/7…but living a reflection of Christ.  Being available (and that doesn’t mean dropping everything and come running, always being at home/in your office/physically present every solitary second that someone operates on a whim–there’s a difference).  We spoke of and saw all the different avenues available in person, in print, on the phone, online, and social media to take part in being a witness, but spoke of the importance of what we are reflecting.  Being real and honest will attract far more to the image of God than a feed filled with “like and share if you love Jesus” memes.  And far more of our witness online is what happens beyond the public screen.

When we’re real and honest (no matter how ugly it looks some days), people take notice.  They want to know what is different and they want to know how they can get it in their own lives.  That’s when the door opens.  That’s where the conversations start.  And it’s not in the public comment box–it’s in private/direct messages or emails and then ultimately phone calls or direct meetings.  It’s building upon the seeds that we plant wherever we go.

Balance.  I spend a lot of time online simply because of our work–online databases for social services, reporting, financial programs, etc…it’s unavoidable.  So, the few minutes here and there to break it up is to take a scroll, to make a silly post, to post a picture, to comment…  To be real with what’s going on in my life because maybe it’s going to make a difference in someone else’s.

Do I live under the delusion that I’ve got it figured out, that I’m some kind of example? Pffft. NO! I’m an imperfect person saved by the grace of God.  I’ve got a lot to learn.  I make mistakes. Daily.  I own up to them.  I correct them.  I learn. I live. I love.  And I have fun while doing it.  I endeavor to better myself for the Glory of God in all that I do.  I strive to repair the damage I have done to my body that is not honoring to God’s creation, but only according to His will.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’m going to have my cup of coffee to lick my wounds for missing AM long run to go discipline…maybe if the weather, my sore throat, and the stars align later today, I’ll get to my priorities!