because fear

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I’ll be honest.  My human nature–my natural tendency–is to worry.  And if I run out of things to worry about (as if!) just give me a minute…I’ll dream something up.  Yet I know it’s not only a waste of time but it’s also flat wrong.

Because you see, it truly is a human tendency to worry over that which we feel bound by responsibility to control.  By the grace of God, we’ve been equipped with a desire to provide for the basic needs of ourselves and our families.  And that’s a good thing.  A very, very good thing–but under one condition:  We must never lose sight of the fact that we can only protect and provide for those things He enables us to.  Anything and everything we accomplish is purely and simply because He allowed us to.

It’s a collaboration of our human will being willing to persevere with His infinite wisdom tempering our efforts for our very best good.  We certainly play a part but only because that’s how He designed it.

The wrongness of worry isn’t with the fear itself but what we do with that fear when faced with it.  Our response makes all the difference.  Take a quick drive through the sludge of current events and you’ll find yourself tempted to park where your thoughts are constantly feeding the meter of anxiety.

Consider it, instead, a no parking zone.  You have no business hanging out there and neither do I.

 

Ebola can’t take anything from me that He can’t redeem.

The enterovirus has no power of its own.  The body can become sick even while the spirit is gaining in strength.

The president–even of the United States–cannot take down a people or a nation unless it’s all part of the greater plan.

Terrorists cannot force us to succumb to terror unless we open the door and allow them in.  They can destroy buildings and shorten the days of our temporal lives but they cannot keep us from Jesus.

 

I’m inclined to believe satan (am I the only one who has trouble capitalizing the first letter of his name?) is in panic mode.  If we can sense and urgency and shortness of time, surely he can.  He seems to be working furiously to abduct as many souls as possible and his greatest and most effective weapon is fear.  If he can immobilize us and paralyze us and confuse us, he can control our minds and distract our hearts.

Our defense is simple:  Don’t be still long enough for him to capture you.

Matthew 6:25-34 tells us exactly where our focus should be and it isn’t on the preservation of this life.  It’s all about the next life.  The better life.  The life that will make all the trials, temptations and tears we face here fade away.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.         {Matt. 6:33-34 KJV}

Our focus should be on Him.  On eternity.  As we move through this life, we can and should do what we’re capable of to maintain health and well-being.  We’re to use the wisdom He imparts to us as we care for our families.  We ought to be taking measures to safeguard against illness and disease but even more so against moral and spiritual decay.  It’s insanity to battle a virus or bacteria with fear and trembling while giving little thought to what is going into our minds or those of our children.  THAT should have us shaking in our boots.

One of my very favorite quotations I’ve ever come across was one I found just this week.

“He gives most who gives with joy.  If in your work (for me, that’s motherhood) you have difficulties accept them with joy, with a big smile.  The best way to show your gratitude to God and people is to accept everything with joy.”

You know what I love about it so much?  That it gives me something practical to do.  Give with joy.  Accept with joy.  Show gratitude with joy.  Because a life well-lived is one lived with Jesus and with joy.

Purpose to show your children joy today.  Dig deep until you find it.  Hit your knees and ask Him for it.  Seek it out and share it well.  Do not live with a spirit of fear.  You’re only stealing your own joy and that of your family while denying God entrance to your heart.  Embrace each moment.  Savor the beautiful people you’ve been given.  Do not sit over them in fear you may lose them…determine to extract the joy from every moment you’re granted with them.

No more excuses.  No more validating your anxiety by saying it’s just your genetic makeup.  No more wasting today by worrying over tomorrow.

Smile–and seek Jesus with me.

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Week One: F.Y.B. Fitness Challenge

I have been excited to get started so I’m so glad the day is finally here!  And it makes it even better that I get to jump-start my year with all of you ladies, husbands, sons, daughters and friends.  :)

And here is a video intro with the absolute worst lighting ever.  My son told me I spoke in the voice I save for people I don’t know. I decided not to read too much into that!

 

First things first.  

We need to nourish ourselves spiritually every single day.  Make time for it.  Even if it’s in the shower or while you hide under the table because you are so exhausted from a night of lost sleep with little ones that you couldn’t drag yourself out of bed.  He understands mothers better than mothers understand mothers.

Don’t beat yourself up for what you haven’t done.  Give yourself the grace to do what you need to do.

The Spiritual Challenge this week is to write out the following verse every day during your devotions:

“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”  

Exodus 15:26

I say to write it, rather than just read it, because writing things down helps them to absorb into our minds and hearts.  And memorization generally comes so much more quickly.

I’d also urge you to write out your prayer.  It is so easy for our minds to wander while we’re praying and writing them down as we train ourselves to focus is an amazingly effective tool.

BONUS activity:  S.O.A.P. the above verse

  • S-Scripture: write it out
  • O-Observation:  what are you taking from the verse
  • A-Application:  how does it apply to your life practically
  • P-Prayer:  write out your prayer with this verse as your guide

**Note:  If you have a great thing going in your daily devotions, by all means stick with it.  My goal isn’t to dictate anybody’s time with the Lord.  It’s simply to give you ideas and encouragement to make it a priority and to find it meaningful.  All you have to do to stay eligible is to seek Him daily.

To grab a printable version of this week’s spiritual challenge, click here.

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Second thing second.  

Grab those tennis shoes and get your sweat on.  I mentioned that you can choose whatever activity you wish and that hasn’t changed.  The only condition is that you work at it for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, at least 4 days this week.  Walk, run, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, ice skate, swim, pop in a video or hit a live class.  Do what works for you and give it everything you’ve got.  Don’t worry what the person next to you has got or the lady down the street.  That doesn’t matter.  This isn’t a competition it’s a collaboration of a whole bunch of people wanting to be better at being themselves.

If it takes you 20 minutes to pop out 10 push-ups and you’ve given it everything, BAM. Tomorrow do 11 push-ups in 19 minutes.

The highest rate of burnout occurs when we try to perform at somebody else’s fitness level, even unknowingly.

Ask God to show you clearly where you are and then ask Him for strength to keep with it until you can barely see a tiny speck of that place way off behind you.

If you need a starting place, check out the sidebar every weekday for a suggested workout.  But keep in mind, it’s only a suggestion.  Adapt, modify or completely disregard.  Totally up to you.

And don’t forget to check-in in the comments below.  If you have any trouble commenting here, try un-ticking the commentluv box and trying again.  If that still doesn’t work, find me on Facebook and shoot me a message.  All entries below qualify you for the weekly drawing and get you off to a great start to qualify for the grand prize drawings.

psssssst.  I created a Pinterest Board for this challenge.  If you’re in search of ideas, check it out.

Sponsor Shout-Out

Gail, an awesome Mary Kay consultant, has generously donated a Microdermabrasion Set for the Grand Prize Giveaway.  If you are in the market for skin care products, she’ll treat you right!

 

If you are new here and want to check out the intro post and jump in, you can find it here.  You are more than welcome!

 

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Consider yourself humbly invited to stay connected with us through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+…or you can have our latest posts delivered directly to your inbox via email.

For your convenience, this entire post is print friendly. If you’d like to have a paper copy to keep with you just click the link below.

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real help for the post-baby body: when exercise isn’t enough

How many of you are moms?  A great number of you, I think.  Most women who have lovingly tucked a baby away for roughly nine months know what she’s left with when that party’s over is not entirely pretty.

Stretch marks.  Deflated or sagging skin.  Cesarean scars.  Oooh laa laa.

{allow me to interrupt myself to say i wouldn’t trade the amazing blessing of my children for anything.  and anything, in this case, includes an un-battered body.  they are a gift and a treasure and i am eternally grateful He saw fit to share them with me!}

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Maybe you aren’t a mother by birth but you have still experienced the imperfections of living in an imperfect world.  Maybe you have a little tricep flop or chin sag or saddle bag.  I know, I know.  Stop already.

Anyway, you’re never, ever going to hear me say the benefit of exercise can be substituted by a short-cut.  But sometimes being fit doesn’t take care of everything.  And even a careful diet can leave behind some pot-holes.  Sometimes you just need a little boost.  There’s no shame in that.

I repeat…there is no shame in that!

It is my personal policy to never attempt to “sell” something I don’t believe in just to turn a buck.  I won’t do it.  I’d rather be broke than to be a fake and a fraud.  But I have used a product that truly has tightened and toned problem areas resulting from 6 pregnancies, including multiples.  I saw the results and then laughed them off as impossible.  And I didn’t even follow the directions exactly as I should have.  

All it consists of is a wrap that you apply to your target area and wear for 45 minutes.  Remove it, rub in the excess cream and toss.  You drink 1/2 your body weight in water on the day you wrap and the 3 days following.  The wrap will continue to work for 72 hours.

Don’t forget to take before and after pictures AND measurements!

Likely you’re thinking it sounds too good to be true.  I know that’s what I thought.  And that’s exactly why mine sat on the shelf for weeks before I ever mustered the desire to use it.  It’s a botanically infused wrap that, in effect, massages your fat cells.  It doesn’t eat them or burn them.  There is something of a detox effect which results in shrinkage.  And it isn’t just water weight and it isn’t dehydrating you as the critics like to say.  You are drinking a ton of water with and following the application which ramps up the process and flushes your system.  It isn’t magic, it’s awesome.

I want to share this with you.  You can get in on it one of two ways {psst. One of the ways is FREE}:

  • 1) Let me hook you up with a 4 PACK of wraps for just $59.  Considering they go for around $30 a pop when purchased individually, this is a steal of a deal.  And by the way, I saw the results I got after just ONE wrap.  With four you could cover a problematic area multiple times or use them on different parts of the body.
  • 2) Host an online party and get your wrap for FREE with their purchases.  Online parties are a cinch because all you do is tell your friends, send them the link and done.  No cookies, punch, frenzied cleaning or stress.

If you have questions, I’m here to answer them.  You can check out my page where you’ll find more detailed information as well as an explanatory video.  You can head directly to the shop but this is the sort of thing that is better when someone walks you through it so you get the best deals and the right products to meet your goals.  Nobody has money to waste on stuff they don’t need.

Let me know how I can help!

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Have you signed-up for our 8 week fitness challenge beginning on January 6, 2014?  There is still time and we’d love to have you join in!  It’s free, completely customizable and includes some truly awesome prize incentives!

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recapturing your beautiful–a fitness challenge

A New Year is perched on the horizon and I’m one of those people who gets excited by the thought of a fresh start. A clean slate. A better next year.

And so this idea was birthed in my heart…

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I’ve been scrambling to pull together the details and round up some totally awesome prize incentives to keep you motivated.  Is it weird that I’m crazy excited even though I won’t be eligible to win any of the prizes since I’m hosting?  Fine, whatever.  I’m crazy then.

So, here’s the scoop~~~~~~~~~~>>

 

  • 1)You need to sign up in the comments of this blog post.  That gets you in the door and admission is absolutely free.
  •  2)Grab an accountability partner.  It can be your neighbor, child, best friend, paper carrier, mother, great aunt twice removed.  Aww shucks, it can even be your husband.  Just make sure to send them over to sign up so they’re eligible for the prizes, too.  Note:  You can still join in even if you can’t scrape together an accountability partner.  We’ll still love you!
  •  3) Decide on a fitness approach.  You can absolutely customize this to your level of fitness.  You can walk, run, strength train, pop in an exercise DVD….and you’re free to mix it up if you want.  Monday thru Friday I will (try to) post a suggested workout.  You’ll find it in the right-hand sidebar of this blog.  You can follow that if you’re needing inspiration but you certainly don’t have to.  The key is to exercise consistently.  To remain eligible for the grand prize package you must exercise 4 days a week for at least 20 minutes.  
  •  4)Swing by each Monday for the week’s “spiritual exercise”.  Because one can be physically healthy even as the soul is withering away.  Balance is so important.  To remain eligible for the grand prize package you must complete the spiritual challenge each week.
  •  5)Check-in.  Accountability is key and without it most of us are much more likely to give up.  That’s why I can’t stress #2 enough.  But in addition to keeping in touch with your partner(s) I need you to check in here.  This does two things:  It keeps you connected and motivated as you see others doing the same AND it keeps you eligible for both the grand prize as well as the weekly prize incentives.  It’s a win-win.  All you have to do in order to check in is to leave a comment in the post each Monday.  See how easy to please I am?

 

Here are a few tips to get you started~~~~~~~~~~>>

 

  • Write down your goals.  Do you hope to lose 10 pounds in the 8 weeks?  Maybe you want to be able to run a mile or make it through an intense cardio video.  Seriously, write them down.  Just thinking about them isn’t nearly as effective.  And then post them somewhere where you will see them often.
  • Take pictures.  This is probably the only time I’ll encourage you to wear something skimpy.  Get photos from the front, back and side.  Use them as a catalyst to fuel your drive and as a way to visually track your progress.  You can even use the afters to entice your husband, but that’s entirely up to you and completely optional. ;)
  • Make a plan and be sure you have what you need to follow through.  If you needs dumbells (you can use canned goods in a pinch) or running shoes now is the time to get them.  If you’re looking for recommendations for fitness videos that I have experience with you can visit this page to shop through my links.

And now onto the nitty-gritty prize talk~~~~~~~~~~>>

 

Grand Prize Package

($275 value) One Winner, randomly selected from those eligible.

Eligibility Requirements:  Must have checked-in every week having met the physical/spiritual fitness goals.

New Sneakers:  Your choice up to $100

2 skinny wraps–These are absolutely natural, crazy effective and NO they do not dehydrate you!

BIC Band–For when you just want your hair out of the way while maintaining some measure of cute.

Microdermabrasion set by Mary Kay–Pretty sure this speaks for itself!  

Greens on the Go–Alkalize, Energize and Detoxify. Naturally.  Super immune boosting!

1 bottle of Peppermint Essential Oil–A proven energizer.  Only one oil in an amazing line.

 

Consolation Prizes

( $100 value) 2 winners, randomly selected from those eligible.

Eligibility Requirements:  Must have checked-in 5 out of 8 weeks having met the physical/spiritual fitness goals.  

3 month subscription to Fit2B–Online fitness classes, with support and accountability forums.

T-Tapp DVD (Basic Workout PLUS)Effective.  Restorative and Healing Fitness.

Body Brush w/ Instructions & CDSkin tightening, cellulite blasting.

Greens on the Go samplesGoodbye allergy symptoms.  Hello improved health and wellness.  Brought to you by the makers of the skinny wrap!

 

But wait, there will also be weekly drawings done each Tuesday.  Winners will be randomly selected from those who checked in the week before.  You’re welcome.

Soooooo, who’s in??

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A Word with my Post-baby Body

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Dear War-ravaged Body,

Wow, where do I begin? We’ve been through so much together though we haven’t always been on the friendliest of terms.  You really know how to work my nerves, you know?

Like after my first baby was born and I packed a pair of much-too-big-for-me pre-pregnancy jeans to wear home from the hospital.  I guess you thought it was funny when I couldn’t even get those things past my hips.  Well, I cried.  You may not have noticed since when I emerged from the bathroom with pajama pants on instead I laughed and made some silly joke about it.  But that was only the beginning of the times I’ve had to cover for you.

Oh, I had my moments in the sun where I talked you down and back into suitable form.  That baby wasn’t but 2 months old when I was wearing my normal clothing.  I’d put you in your place, that’s for sure.  Of course, it didn’t last since by the time that same baby was 5 months old I was snuggling another tiny baby within my womb.

And, honestly, you weren’t real kind to me during a time that should have been beautiful.  Not real kind at all.  Come to think of it, you always got a little out of hand when I was expecting.  Thanks for that.  Really.  What girl doesn’t love her mama glow to be replaced by swollen everything-you-never-knew-could-swell?

Anyway, we’ve moved beyond all that now.  We’ve battled back and forth as you grabbed for the extra pounds, trying to throw them in the cart like a spoiled child while I screamed and threw them back on the shelf like a frustrated parent.  What a scene we’ve made!  And the truth is, I feel like I need to apologize.

You see, I’ve seen the light.  I’ve finally seen, I mean really seen, all that you’ve been through and how I heaped guilt on you for not measuring up.  Oh my goodness, how wrong I’ve been.

You have housed and nurtured 7 precious babies for me.  They stretched you beyond reason, made you sick, wore you down and made you accommodate their growing needs without ever offering a single thank you.  You have done the work of a soldier, time and again, and then come back for more.

You’ve manufactured milk in abundance so I could nourish those sweet babes with that liquid gold.  And you’ve done it even when you were exhausted and depleted and wanted nothing more than a little rest.  Year after year for years you gave of yourself even though your outer beauty was slowly being chiseled away with all that giving.  Well, I’m here to tell you, you are beautiful.  You are and you need to know it.

And it isn’t because you look like a Barbie (stop laughing!) or because you’ve bounced right back after each blow.  I’ve seen you and I know that bounce started looking more and more like a splat as time went on.

No, it’s because you’ve sacrificed everything so I could have my arms and heart filled to overflowing with love.  You have given so I could receive.  You have borne my scorn with a smile and done your best not to betray.  YOU are the reason we’ve made it this long nursing a chocolate semi-addiction with any shred of dignity.

And you, my friend, have managed it so that my awesome, hard-working, loving man can look at worn out old you and still see me.  He sees right past your flaws and into my heart.

You have been the scapegoat for all my bad habits yet you keep trying.  You hold it together when you feel like falling apart and you jump on board when I decide it’s time to really get fit and healthy.

You’re a trooper and I’m going to try to be nicer to you.  I promise.  Because after all you’ve done for me, the least I can do is make things a little easier for you and stop holding you to such ridiculous and unattainable standards.  You will never again be the body of my pre-baby years but you know what?

I’d take all these babies over that body any day.  Absolutely any day.  So thank you from the bottom of my heart!

With peace and acceptance,

Your Taskmaster

 

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Would you like to host a Thirty-One party to earn some awesome, free product?  Email me at walkingredeemed@ gmail.com and I’ll get you set up.  You can also sneak a peek at the latest catalog here!

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Trim Healthy Mama: My Weekly Scoop

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You can find my Getting Started post HERE.  And if you’re interested in grabbing a copy of the book you can do so HERE.  <<—- that last one is an affiliate link.  Your price doesn’t go up when you use it but they share a tiny percentage of the purchase price with me when you do.  Feel free to skip any and all affiliate links I ever post.  I’ll still love you.

I’m a day late with my THM update because I forgot I had scheduled a giveaway for yesterday.  {If you love babies you may want to ENTER} So week one was a learning experience.  I was away from home for 3 days of it and I forgot to take the book.  I had to wing it but I think I did a fairly decent job of staying somewhat on plan.  Note:  What I’m really saying is I messed up a lot but it could have been worse.

At weigh in I was down 2 pounds.  I’m not naive enough to think I really lost two pounds since we women are naturally gifted with weight that fluctuates depending on all manner of circumstance but I’m counting it as a loss.  I’m going to measure so I can track inch loss but I keep forgetting to do that.  Too bad I don’t have tons of spare time to sit around just thinking about my body.  Come to think of it, that isn’t a bad thing at all or I’d be back in the corner, crying and eating chocolate again.

I did do some special THM grocery shopping and just in case anybody is wondering what I considered to be essentials to jump-start my plan, I’m going to tell you what I bought…

Items I ordered online

Coconut oil (Swansons)

Better Stevia Liquid Sweetner (Swansons)

Whey Protein Powder (Swansons)

Defatted Peanut Flour (Netrition)

Konjac Noodles (Netrition)

NOW Xylitol Sweetner (Netrition)

 

 

Items I grabbed from the store

Almond Milk

Joseph’s Brand lavish/pita breads

Tahini

Butter

Cocoa

Coconut milk (canned)

Nuts

Berries

Beans

Brown rice

Produce (the only thing I bought organic was my greens)

Olive Oil

Apple Cider Vinegar with the “Mother” (I was going to get Bragg’s but I bought the cheaper stuff)

Oats

Chobani Greek Yogurt, Plain 0%

 

I had other things already on hand (in fact, many of the things listed above I usually keep on hand but was running low on) so this is not my entire fridge/freezer/pantry inventory.  This has to be very budget friendly for me.  Ordering those items I mentioned was a stretch.  A really long stretch.  But much of it will last a while and won’t be a regular expense.

I made Good Girl Moonshine for the first time (no worries, the name just sounds alcoholic!) and it wasn’t too bad.  I added 4 strawberries to it because I am just not used to ACV sneaking in my drinks.  I think it could grow on me.  I really want to try the Shrinker but I’m not a tea fan.  I just need to talk myself down from my high horse and give the stuff a try.

For exercise I’ve continued walking. Most days we get in 4 miles.  It’s actually pretty grueling because our path is quite hilly and I’m pretty much always pushing the double buggy with two 20+ pounds toddlers in it.  I do want to add some strengthening exercises back into my plan.  So much to do.  So much to change.  Maybe I’ll just go back to bed and dream about being a size 4 without exercise and while I stuff myself full of mint-choco-chip ice cream cones.  Yes, that sounds good.

Anyway, I blew it on the picture thing this week.  Yesterday was the queen of crummy days and today I’m catching my breath and just have no interest at all in posing.  Maybe I’ll have a better attitude next week and I’ll put my scary mug back up here for you to analyze if I’m shrinking. :)

How’s your week been THM-ing?  And if you’re just thinking about getting started, I’d love to hear that, too!

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