Friday, October 19, 2018

Get Fit Friday - 100 Day Challenge - Week 9

I've learned a lot these past weeks. A LOT.

I've learned that I truly hate burpees...and push ups. I've learned that fat girl + push ups = hurt shoulder. Going to the gym is hard. Eating clean is almost impossible. I don't hate cleaning house, but I hate cleaning house in a rush.

I mentioned early on that I realized that Perry was correct in his observation that I think I can do more than is realistic. I realized that I truly have insane expectations of myself. Even so.... I TRULY believed that I could achieve everything I set out to do over these 100 days.


I ignored things that I should NEVER ignore.

First, I'm a mom and a wife. The people in my life have needs and wants and there are things that they need from me specifically. My schedule is not solely my own.
Second, I work a full time job outside my home. For 8 hours a day, 5 days a week I am at the bank.
Third, I battle depression. I hate this. I am not using it as a crutch or an excuse. I'm only saying that there are things I need to do to ward off a depressive episode... Get enough sleep, exercise my body in some way, eat food that is good for my body, drink enough water and take my vitamins.

These things are truly important. I value my people more than my personal schedule. I value my job and the people I work for and with. I value my mental and emotional health more than achieving  a list of personal goals.

I'm not saying that I'm quitting. I'm not saying that goals aren't important.

When I started this journey, I wanted to completely change who I am. I didn't like myself very much. I believed that being who I thought others wanted me to be would make me happy. Over the past weeks and months, I've solidified deep in my soul that there are things I actually like about myself. There are things I am really pretty good at.  Now, these things aren't necessarily the things that the people close to me place a high value on....

...but I'm not sure that matters as much as what value I place on them. 

I'm not sure that makes any sense. So many things are bouncing around in my head.

Here are the things I like and value about me....
I'm kind
I enjoy my relationship with God
I am encouraging
I love my people fiercely
I love to DO things more than I love to have things
I am imaginative
I am artistic
I like to read and I like to create things

I'm pretty good at writing (some days are better than others)
I'm pretty good at painting
I'm pretty good at teaching

These things are not spectacular or unique... but they make me... me.

37 Days to Go!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thursday's Thoughts on .... Choosing Joy

Several things happen when depression sucks me in... one is that I can't write. I am thankful for those of you who noticed and reached out to let me know that you noticed, and, more importantly, that you understood. This "writer's paralysis" is an outward sign of an inward struggle.


Is that the right word? Well, it'll have to do. That's all I've got.

THANKFULLY, the darkness is lifting a bit and yesterday and today have been better days.

Now that I am not suffocating under the weight of a depressive episode, I'm reminded that I must CHOOSE joy. EMBRACE peace. Reject negativity and judgmental attitudes, gossip and pessimism. Welcome love and laughter and hugs. Just as I remind those struggling with any other illness to seek out the positive, I must remind myself to do the same. Some days that's easier said than done. I think that the key is to make "Choosing Joy" the norm, not the exception. 

I want it to be my habit to look for the positive, to choose Joy, to pursue peace, to SEARCH for light and to LOOK for the good in...whatever. I HOPE that this will help me ward off the next depressive episode, but if not, maybe it will help me to not slip so deep into that abyss.

I don't know where you are in all this. Maybe you think Depression is "all in your head" and that those of us who are depressed should just "get over it." (I promise we all wish it were that easy) Maybe you are slowly slipping into the abyss of the valley of depression. Maybe you have been in the valley for so long that you forgot what the sunlight feels like on your skin. Maybe you are on the other side of that dark valley and are celebrating being in the light.

Where ever you are in this, please be gentle. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with others. Be kind and encouraging. SEARCH for light. Look for the good. Most of all, CHOOSE Joy.

I don't know how to tell you to accomplish this, but I know what it looks like for me....

The scripture that comes to mind is  found at the end of  Nehemiah 8:10, "the Joy of the Lord is my strength."  There are ALWAYS going to be things about me and my life that I wish were different. There are things that make me angry, sad, or frustrated. It's not the "joy of a perfect life, perfect kids, perfect job,  perfect friendships,  or perfect husband" that give me strength.... it's the Joy of the LORD...

I choose Joy when I choose to be grateful for and focused on what God has given me rather than resentful for and focused on what I believe I am lacking.

I choose Joy when I and grateful for and focused on eternity, reminding myself that my reward is eternity in heaven, not peace and happiness on earth.

I choose Joy when I focus on who God is rather than on what I think He should do for me.

I choose Joy when I focus my love and attention on serving and being a blessing to others rather than grumbling about how "I have to do everything around here." (every parent in the room says 'Amen')

I choose joy when seek to serve Christ and focus on the many opportunities He gives me each day to share His love with those who need it.

I understand that this doesn't mesh well with our society's dogma of "look out for number 1" and it doesn't really fall in line with the whole culture of protesting and screaming and what not that gets so much media coverage.

Even so, choosing Joy is a CHOICE I make. It is a choice I plan to make more consistently. I choose to see the good in people. I choose to search for light. I choose to see beauty. I choose to love. I choose to forgive. I choose to serve. I choose to focus on God's goodness and on how He can work in and thru me. 

And when the darkness comes, I choose to fight against it. I wait it out, knowing that it WILL pass and that what's on the other side of this valley is worth waiting for.

Just my thoughts

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wednesday's Weekly Recipe - Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

This is one of my FAVORITE fall treats! Think I may make some this weekend!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice or water
1 cup sweetened dried, fresh or frozen cranberries

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

BAKE for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe makes two loaves.

PREPARE as above. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.

PREPARE as above. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

Y'all Enjoy!