Monday, August 27, 2012

A Family That Runs Together

In February of this year the oldest girls ran a 5K with us at Heardmont Park in Birmingham. I remember that JT actually ran the whole race and we walked quite a bit of it. I think our times were close to 40 minutes (JT's was more like 37). After finishing my first 5K (in a while) in December in 46 minutes, I was pleased with that! This is what we looked like afterwards (looks like JT is the only one who actually broke a sweat)!

With all of the mission trips this spring and summer, we have been unable to run another 5K together until now. It's fun to prepare for a race together and to know that we will all finish. So, this weekend we laced up our running shoes for the Kenya Relief 5K at Veteran's Park on Valleydale Road. And, we finished!

Our finish times were definitely better but not what we have been running lately or what we had hoped to run. JT finished in a little over 32 and I finished in a little over 33. The girls finished in 37.

We discovered a few things: (1) We did not like the course at Veteran's at all. It is more of a trail run with some points of sinking gravel. We are not used to that and it felt like we were in quicksand at times. Plus, there's a cliff at the end that wears a person out! (2) If there is a surprise start and you are NOT ready (e.g. your nike app is NOT ready to go), you might spend the first 1/4 of a mile trying to fix the situation and then be mentally off for the rest of the race! (3) If you help and encourage others to prepare but forget to do the preparations yourself, you will not be content with your finish.

With all of that on that the table, there were some HUGE blessings: (1) We ran with friends and family which is ALWAYS a plus. Why not build community while you exercise? Thanks to David, Courtney, Jeremy and Josh for making it bearable. (2) Madison was the only girl in her age group so she won. She got a medal, and we were all pretty excited about that! (3) Breakfast with just the older girls afterwards was amazingly special...we needed that time together!

We hope to run a 5K in September as well, and hopefully, our times will reflect our training! We will keep running for His glory and our good.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Choices...What Do YOU Think?

Life happens...schedules change...special occasions come, what do I do? I thought it might be a helpful idea to tell you a real-life situation that occurred this weekend. I'm not really sure how well I did, so I need some real-life input!

We had a family wedding in Georgia, so we all headed over on Thursday. (By the way, the wedding was spectacular...dreamy, in fact). We had NO idea what we would eat or what would be available, and I'm sure we should have planned better.

The rehearsal was Thursday night at 7:00 (that's one hour ahead of us). The rehearsal dinner was served at about 8:45. So, I planned ahead and fed all of us a protein bar and water prior to the rehearsal. With the three youngest kids still having food issues, we make sure to always have healthy food on hand to feed them (if you could see the look of utter fear in Z's eyes when the usual time of eating has passed, you would understand. He does not believe that he will get another meal yet...we are working on that.)

Rehearsal dinner included bread - I passed on that. Then, there was a salad with spinach, romaine, croutons, shredded carrots and Olive Garden salad dressing. I took the croutons off and ate the entire salad (probably a little too fast). Spaghetti with meat sauce was the main meal, and I about one half of the serving size (which I think equated to a typical serving size). There was homemade peach cobbler, apple pie and ice cream for dessert. I had a small serving of peach cobbler. In addition the toasts called for glass bottled sodas...what a cute idea! I helped the kids make their toasts (which were too numerous to count), so I didn't need to drink anything...I probably had 5 glasses of water!

For breakfast on Friday, we had the benefit of a great buffet at our hotel (can I just say that I HIGHLY recommend the Holiday Inn at Peachtree City in Georgia...awesome staff). I ate 2 scrambled eggs, yogurt (way too sweet for me), 2 pieces of bacon (we never have that at home), one packet of instant oatmeal, cantaloupe, water and hot green tea.

Lunch on Friday was at a local bread company. I choose a salad with chicken and lots of veggies. The dressing was on the side and I used about one-half of it. We also had a smoothie later that afternoon (a weight loss smoothie).

For dinner we met JT's aunt and uncle at a local restaurant. The menu at this place is HUGE...but there are plenty of healthy choices. So, I chose the chicken with mushrooms and peppers (sauteed in olive oil) and steamed broccoli. I drank 4 glasses of water and passed on bread and dessert.

Breakfast on Saturday was similar in that I ate eggs, blueberries, oatmeal and grapefruit. Water and hot green tea were the beverages of choice. Oh, and I also had another bowl of oatmeal at 6 (regular breakfast at 8) because the girls and I ran and walked 5.25 miles that morning. I have to eat a carb about one hour ahead of any runs longer than 4 miles. I think I drank almost 75% of my water intake for the day by 9 am.

Lunch on Saturday was a cup of chicken salad (the older girls and I were helping set up the reception, so that was our best option) sister in law made some AMAZING chicken salad (the kind with grapes, apples and pecans)....I wish I had eaten about 6 cups...but I got busy. I also had a protein bar and water. Afterwards I had a weight loss smoothie from Planet Smoothie.

Dinner was served at the wedding reception, and I knew there would be LOTS of choices...and I wanted EVERY ONE OF THEM!!! I chose one chicken salad sandwich, carrots, cantaloupe, grapes, a few squares of cheese, 2 meatballs and one small piece of cake. I joined the dance floor crowd to work off as many calories as possible. I drank about 6 glasses of water.

I feel pretty good about my choices but could have made several better ones along the way. I need your input....what should I have done differently????

Monday, August 13, 2012

Work to do...

What do you REALLY want? I mean, when it comes to your health and the health of your family...what do you really want? When I ponder that question, I narrow my desires to just a few things:

1. I want my physical body to be a testament to God's faithfulness and grace.
2. I want to honor the Lord with whatever I eat.
3. I want to honor the Lord with how I exercise and treat my body.
4. I strongly desire that my family is healthy...making healthy food choices, exercising and learning how to live in a way that brings God great glory.

But those things don't always happen. And why not? Because of ME! ME AND MY EXCUSES!!! Whenever my physical life (or spiritual life) does not honor the Lord, it is only because of ME and my SIN! I have come to realize that I am the problem...Me...only me!

If I want to be totally transparent, I could have a million excuses (well, that's not true...I might get to a hundred and just give up making excuses too). Here are my "go-to" excuses:

1. I don't have enough time. (I think we all agree that we all have 24 hours in a day and we choose to do the things that are most important to us. When's the last time you wet your pants or didn't brush your hair before going to the store or wore your pajamas to church? We DO what we want to do in most areas of our life.)
2. I have so many other things to do and this is just not a priority right now. (Of course, it's not a priority. God allows us the freedom to choose how to honor Him with our time. If we got tickets to a great football game, we would totally rearrange our schedule, hire a sitter and go to the game.)
3. I am scared (tired, angry, etc - Feelings always precede action or the lack thereof. Feelings will not determine if I do or do not do the right thing. We do not allow our children to hit just because they are angry or to pitch a fit because they are mad. Likewise, we as adults do not need to make decisions based on how we feel).
4. I'll do it later (NO, I won't! I'm just delaying saying that I am not doing it now).
5. I do not want to do it (Who does? Who wants to do something that can feel painful or like deprivation at times? Nobody. Who cares what I's not about me!)

Every day I am full of excuses of why I don't want to eat right or exercise or teach my children how to make good choices. I have given and heard almost every excuse known to man. How about you? What's your excuse today?

I just recently saw a commercial advertising the newest "Extreme Weight Loss Makeover" (or something along those lines). The mom wants to change for herself and her family, but when she really begins the work, she is full of one excuse after another. She is adamant about her excuses. I wanted to blast her...then, I took a breath and realized that I am her. I am the same way.

Have the excuses gone away...nope. I still have them EVERY day, but I no longer allow excuses to dictate my behavior or my attitude or my desires. I LONG for the day when there will be no more excuses, but for now, I tell my sinful flesh to take a hike because there is work to be done for the Father.

Now, get busy people....there's more to do.

Monday, August 6, 2012

You are the teacher

Recently I heard a saying that made me stop and think: Children will not take care of themselves the way we take care of them; they will take care of themselves the way they see us, as their parents, take care of ourselves. Ummm...ouch!

This is true, as we all can attest. WE are the teachers of our children. We teach them to eat, to sleep, what to touch, manners, how to talk and so much more. They learn just as much from what we do as they do from what we do NOT do. They are always learning which means we are ALWAYS teaching. We came to a point where we had to look at what we were teaching...

We saw the results of our parenting in the areas of eating/exercise over eight months ago. Our children's eating habits, diet, lack of exercise, unhealthy choices were a DIRECT result of the lessons we had taught them. We were at fault...100%. There was no one else to blame. It was all of our doing.

When looking back at my own childhood, I have tried to remember and access the lessons I learned when it came to food and health. We ate from a garden but I don't recall learning the "whys" behind that. So, now we are training our children daily about why we eat what we eat.

Here are some basic steps we took to help us parent our children in the area of health in a way that would honor God:

1. Read passages from the Bible about food/health. Explain what God expects of us in regard to our bodies!
2. Make a menu for each week and stick to it. Our youngest three children still struggle with some control issues and knowing that we WILL eat is important to them. They know that there is always a menu on the refrigerator, and they can see what we will eat for every meal that week.
3. Snack smartly! In the back of our vehicles, we have a cheap plastic 4 drawer bin that is attached to the last seat with bungee cords. One drawer is always full of bottled water (think 2.99 for a 24 pack....when we see a sale, we pick up several cases) and another has healthy snacks in it (peanut butter packets, boxes of raisins, trail mix, nuts). Being on the road doesn't mean we HAVE to eat fast food or pull into a convenience store for junk. We can still make wise choices without spending lots of extra money because of our lack of planning!
4. Educate, educate, educate. We not only want our children to learn to make healthy choices but to understand the reasons behind their choices. They need to know what carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc. are and why their bodies need them. They can learn to read labels and see what is truly important!
5. Model wise behaviors....this is SO hard! But, when my children see me at breakfast, they know that I've already run several miles. They see their daddy come in sweaty from a great workout. They KNOW when we go to the park that everyone will be doing something to exercise! You can tell them to "go outside and play" all day...but if you are not exercising, they will be less likely to exercise when they get older!
6. Pray together. Seek God and His wisdom on how you should eat. Let your children see that you are vulnerable and cannot do it alone. Depend on the Father and admit your failures to Him. Praise Him as He sustains and teaches you!

I hope that one day our children will look back at the last eight months of our lives and KNOW that we fought for their future. We have been desperately trying to teach them a new and better way to live for the Lord. We pray that God will remind their hearts of His Word and His commands about health.