Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One Husband's Journey: Part 2

After my husband had to make some tough decisions while going through a difficult time, I saw him in a different, but brighter, light.  I saw how incredibly dedicated he is to everything...his job, his family, his responsibilities.  I saw how much he truly loves and cherishes his family.  The love he has for us, especially during this time, is so overwhelming.

I didn't realize how many burdens he was carrying on his shoulders.  I didn't see them sagging under all the pressure.  It wasn't until God lifted those burdens and he was able to let out a sigh, that I could see him finally stand straighter and freer.

My husband continues to love and show his dedication.  He always amazes me at how much responsibility he is willing to take on, not just at his job, but at home as well.

I thank God for opening my eyes to see my husband in a whole new way.  Even though I felt I knew absolutely everything about him, I'm in awe of what has been revealed.  Change can be tough, but it can also be good.  You just have endure the storm to feel the calm.

The Calm

The storm is slowing.  The waves that once crashed so hard against us, are becoming gentle again, with just a slight rocking.  I can see the clouds starting to thin since all the precipitation they once held, have been released of all the pressure.

We don't feel the need to cling so tightly anymore.  We are sensing the calm that now surrounds us.  But we know His grip on us has not been released.  It never has.  It never will.

As we are trying to make our way through the remnants and sprinkles, we are trying to stay hopeful.  Hopeful that the sun will shine brightly in our world again.  Hopeful that the promise of a new life, a new future will reveal itself to us in the form of a beautiful rainbow.

We handle each day as best as we can.  Our smiles are starting to return and praying that the worst has passed.

Now we are slowly starting to feel a peace envelope us.  We are starting to feel that maybe we will be okay.  And then, in the far distance we see it.  We see a small shimmer of a beautiful rainbow.  It's the promise.  The promise that God has always kept.

And we cling to that.

Monday, July 14, 2014

One Husband's Journey: Part 1

I've decided to start a series dedicated to my amazing husband.  I honestly cannot put into words how much he means to me.  He is my best friend, a great provider, and very dedicated to his family.  So often we see spouses publicly humiliate or degrade each other.  More often we need to see couples lifting each other up, praying for them, and praising them.

My husband is in management and absolutely loves what he feels he was called to do.  He goes around and greets every single associate and co-worker each day.  He listens to any and every problem, and gently provides suggestions or solutions.  He always says he doesn't want to just tell people what to do, but that he wants to coach and train them.  He very much wants to see others succeed in their jobs, even in their lives, as well.

However, there was a period of time when things weren't so good for him.  And it was hard.  It was hard on him and hard for the family.  So, I privately journaled my thoughts, sharing only with him.  Needing to get out my feelings, I always turn to writing.  With his permission, I am sharing the first of 2 posts that I had written during that time.  I can feel the heartache written in the words, but am also encouraged to see how far we've come.

The Storm

My husband is the rock of our family.  He's our stronghold.  He's the one that comforts each of us when we are in need of extra TLC.  But to see your stronghold falter, to see him slowly crumble, and to see him cry a river of tears is almost unbearable.

The one that always so tenderly did the comforting, was the one that needed to be comforted.  The one that always has something positive to say, needed to hear positive words himself.  The one that always does the leading, needed someone to follow.

As the storm came upon us, it felt hard to keep our heads above water.  We were desperately clinging to our Lifesaver and holding on oh so tightly.  Holding on to each other and holding on to the One that always holds us.

And as the storm raged on, there was a shift in momentum.  It was no longer him that needed comforting, but I.  I needed to be held.  I needed my tears dried.  And I needed to know that we would be okay.

The storm still rages.  I am in a constant battle with my fears.  I can't see the future to have some comfort, but I look to our Comforter to hold my future.

My faith is firm.  I will continue to believe, to seek, and to find the peace that I need in my heart.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fit and Fab: No More Couch Potato

I DID IT!!!!

I completed the Coach Potato to 5K training program.  It was 8 weeks of running/walking, 3 days a week, with gradual increases of running each week.  I decided to repeat each week of running before moving onto the next week, so it took me a total of 16 weeks to complete everything.

I remember starting the first week, even the first day, and thinking "What did I get myself into?!"  A friend and I agreed to start this program in hopes of getting fit and maybe running a 5k in the fall.  But after starting and then realizing how out of shape I truly was, my goal was to simply be fit. 

March 24 was Day 1 of Week 1.  It's a 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.  Finally, end with a 5 minute cool down walk.  I seriously thought I was going to die!!!  I was so sore the next day.  

Fast forward 16 weeks to July 10 and Day 3 of Week 8 (or Week 16 in my case).  It's a 5 minute warm up walk, 30 minutes of running, then a 5 minute cool down.  And I didn't die!!!  

I've been doing Camp Gladiator since April as well.  It's really helped with my running and all other areas of my body.  I actually look forward to going, I love being around all my very encouraging workout buddies, and I seriously have the BEST trainer!!!!  

These pics were taken during Spring Break, just a couple weeks before I started running.  How did I not see myself looking like this sooner?!

Big legs

Big cheeks

Big belly

Big all over

          May 15 (dressed for a work event)                                                          June 10

July 10

All geared up and ready to go!

So far I have lost 10 lbs. and 23 inches overall.  I know I have a long ways to go still, but it's a start.  My little 5 ft. frame doesn't need to be carrying around such a heavy load all the time! I will continue to run and work out.  I have drastically increased my water intake and watch what I eat.  I will never diet or do a cleanse of any sort, but I do say no to certain foods and don't consume so much sugar anymore.  It's definitely not easy though.

It's been a long journey, but not a lonely one.  I have the greatest support group that only wants to see me succeed.  My family was by my side the entire time.  They would either run with me, ride their bikes alongside me, or even pass out water when I needed it.

Once I put my whole heart and mind into something, I don't stop until it's finished.  I wanted to give up and make excuses so many times, but I forced myself to keep going.  I found inspiration from those that are also on their own fit and fab journey.  I found encouragement from those that would tell me how much they loved seeing me on this journey.   Even though I was doing this for my own health, I hope I have inspired someone along the way.  If so, know that nothing is impossible.  You CAN succeed and tell your own story.  Just keep the faith.  One step forward is already further than where you were.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lesson Learned #4

The year is half gone and so many life lessons have been given.  God has taught me so much already.

I've learned that I really do like to encourage people.  It's not unusual for me to text a friend or send a message of encouragement to them.  Of course, I don't do it to receive a kind word in return.  I want people to feel lifted up.  I want them to know they are thought about.  I don't always know what someone may be going through or struggles they may be facing.  But hopefully, a word of encouragement will change their day, even if just for a moment.

I've learned that some people just aren't the encouraging type.  As much as I love to encourage others, some people just simply don't.  Perhaps they don't have the words or maybe it's just not their personality.  For whatever reason, they don't take compliments well either.  Instead of saying a simple "Thank you" or giving a quick hug, they'll just nod their head or smile.  I don't have to understand it, but that's how they are able to handle compliments.

I've learned it's so easy to play the comparison game.  SO EASY!  I'm not pretty enough, skinny enough, the right size, live in the right neighborhood, have nice things like others....the list goes on.  We've all been players in this game that will rob you of any happiness you may have.  While we may be comparing ourselves to others, others may be comparing themselves to us.  It's a vicious circle with no end.  But we are enough.  God is the only one we must please.  For Him, we are pretty enough, we are blessed enough, we are simply enough.

I've learned it is okay to relax.  It is okay to let go of responsibilities that are no longer meaningful or beneficial to us.  It is okay to spend a day in peace, forgetting for a moment any frustrations or problems that may be weighing on our hearts.  And by being able to relax, we allow ourselves to be happy and to just be still.

I've learned words of the past like to haunt the heart.  They are constantly replayed over and over again until the hurt is present once more.  It's not always actions that are the most painful, but words that are sharp like a dagger.  It's in these times that we must fervently pray for God to help us release the pain, release the words, and sometimes, release the people that have caused it.

I've learned to stop sweating the small stuff.  So maybe a day didn't go as planned.  The house wasn't cleaned like you wanted, the To Do List didn't get completed, someone didn't listen like you had hoped, your kids didn't behave like they should.  But it was one day.  Perhaps it was a few days.  But in our lifespan, it's insignificant compared to the many days we have before us.  Many days to continue to feel God's love.  And when we are in turmoil about the little things that may or may not have happened, we waste time worrying.  And wasted time is time spent being unhappy.