I am “ME” again!

2015 was a blur for me…literally. I really had a hard year. I had so many health issues, my daughter and my mom had health issues, and I was just physically and mentally spent. One thing different than usual though – when I get completely ruined down – is that I didn’t feel spiritually spent this time. That is truly what got me through these rough times. I became closer to God and turned to him even more. I relied on him instead of myself and I made it through somehow! We forget how good God is to us and that we need to rely on him ALWAYS.

My favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

How amazing is that – God has planned out my life – how can I go wrong? Well it is so easy to go wrong – I know – I do it all the time! I make plans without getting advice from God. I tell him what I am going to do instead of listening to him. It’s hard! I want him just to make it easy for me but I have learned that all the twists and turns and mistakes have made me stronger and my journey was planned that way.
So, I thought I would share about some of my struggles – maybe it will help you know my thoughts and my frame of reference. I hope that you can relate or know that others may feel the same way or made the same mistakes. I am so busy taking care of others that I don’t focus on myself and 2015, I just about fell apart. I knew I felt bad and something was wrong, but I kept trudging along. I had my mom and my daughter; both, that had more urgent health issues and I needed to be the caretaker. I had lots of work on my job that I needed to accomplish and I just couldn’t take the time. I had community and church things that were always pressing and needed my attention. I always put other things in front of taking care of myself. I thought I was being selfish if I took care of me! WOW – I learned the very hard way when I almost had a physical and mental breakdown. I knew all last year that I was depressed, not confident, jealous, and grumpy and even isolated myself at times (I am a PEOPLE person – so this was something new). I didn’t even understand who I was and that made me even more stressed! Who was this person inside my frail, worn out body? I had NO energy, had brain fog, just felt terrible all over! I ached from head to toe…I thought I was getting old and that was just how it was going to be for the rest of my life. You see – I am overweight, have mechanical heart valve, high blood pressure, bad knees and a variety of other issues and I just accepted the fact that this was supposed to be how I felt. I grabbed fast food or something for dinner because I had to have food for my family (I am the mom!) Of course I was too tired to cook – I was barely making it through the day. I literally was too tired to get out of my car and make it inside – but I usually did.  Do you think I worked out – well I had a fitness center membership and paid my dues – but I guess you have to go – huh?  I literally had no energy to workout or even walk the halls at work.   Why would I think this was normal? How STUPID is that?
When autumn came, I had hit rock bottom…I was too tired to keep going. I had convinced myself I had cancer and thought I had a stroke or TIAs. Oh yeah, my left hand and arm started tingling…and still hasn’t stopped. I got to where I was not even able to think, forgot things, missed meetings and was just not myself. Who was this person? What in the world was going on? Where was I? Who was I? This tortured me even more. I usually can write about my thoughts, feelings and am never at a loss for words but honestly – I was having trouble even saying words. I didn’t tell anyone except that I wasn’t feeling great. Finally, I went to the doctor – had tests and blood work. I mean a lot of tests and a lot of blood. I had several things physically wrong with me but the biggest thing was that I was completely depleted of Vitamin D. I was even taking a supplement because this time last year – it was low. Vitamin D – the “Sunshine” vitamin is so important and I never even thought about it! I started taking a prescribed Vitamin D as small as a Tic-Tac and it has made such a difference. I have a few other issues and am doing some procedures and Physical Therapy to improve other parts of my body but a simple little vitamin has changed my life. So why did I wait so long to take care of me? Why didn’t I realize that I couldn’t take care of others if I fell apart and in fact, they may have to care for me – what a burden I would be then!
So for 2016, I have found “me” again and I am happy! I like and love me! I am back to who I used to be. Now I am going to be the first to tell you – there are many areas that I need to improve but I am working hard on those every day! I am excited to be going into a new year and finding a better me at the end of the year!

Images and videos of who loves me
I encourage you to take care of yourself. Don’t miss all those warning signs. You are not supposed to feel bad, if you do, go see a doctor. Do something for yourself – it is the best investment you can make. Also, most important…listen to God and follow his plans…he knows the way and he will guide you.
I hope to hear from all of you as you start the New Year to find yourself!
Blessings,
Leigh

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Fitness – Step 3

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1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)  19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit that you received from God and that lives in you. You don’t own yourselves. 20 God paid a very high price to make you his. So honor God with your body.

I have been procrastinating to write this blog.  This is the hardest blog for me – to write about Fitness.  I know what to do, I know where to go, I have the best trainer in the world, I have fun when I work out – so what is the problem?  Most of the time I just make excuses – I don’t have time; I am too tired; and I just DIDN’T DO IT!

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 I start occasionally and then run out of steam.  Why can’t I just keep going?  I have found things that I enjoy…I like yoga – there is something about stretching and relaxing and focusing just on me that I enjoy.  I like riding the stationary bike…it helps loosen up my bad knees and gets my heart pumping.  I can read, look at email and just exercise – it is good cardio for me!  I am so surprised that I like lifting weights and body pump.  I am not that good but I feel comfortable and am actually proud of myself when I really try.  I enjoy having a trainer that guides me, motivates me and kicks me in the butt!  I need it.  I don’t know why I can’t get back to working out…why do I find so many excuses..

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I want exercise to be important to me!  I want to get excited to work out!  Please help me figure out a way!  I am going to pray about getting back to the gym and get back in shape.  There are some great resources at The Daniel Plan website…here is an excerpt from Sean Foy.  I want to be Daniel Strong…

10 STEPS TO BECOME DANIEL STRONG

By Sean Foy, MA
Daniel Plan Health and Fitness Coach
 
Daniel Strong = “A pursuit of excellence in body, mind, and spirit for God’s glory.”

We all want to be healthy, fit and happy…but it can be challenging to achieve with our hectic lives. Follow these ten steps from Daniel Plan Fitness Coach Sean Foy to help you become Daniel Strong and make a fitness plan that will work for you. Here are Sean’s tips to help you start and stick with your fitness plan:

1. You can do it!!     The first step in reaching your health and fitness goals of an active, physically fit, Daniel Strong lifestyle, is to begin by believing that you can change. Forget about yesterday – no matter what your previous experiences or attempts to change your fitness habits in the past have been….today is a new day and with God’s help and strength you can do it – one day at a time!

2. Take Fitness Baby Steps One of the best ways to “ease” back into a regular fitness program is to “start small”. Set small realistic goals allowing you the opportunity to “fit” exercise into your daily schedule-as well as increasing your confidence as you accomplish small measurable goals.

3. Select exercises you enjoyI get asked all the time, “What is the best exercise to help me lose weight, get in shape or improve my health? And my answer is always the same –  “The best exercise to help you get fit and stay fit is THE ONE YOU WILL DO!” In other words, choose activities you enjoy – not exercises you find to be boring or drudgery.  Begin with exercises or movements which bring a smile to your face. Whatever brings joy to your heart and soul, you are much more apt to continue.

4. Get in touch with your “fitness personality”… Ask yourself: Do I like to exercise outside, inside, on machines, with others or by myself? Do I like to do other activities when exercising such as reading, praying, worshiping, watching TV, and listening to music? Do I prefer exercising at home or at a gym? Do I like to compete when I exercise (e.g. playing a sport or training for an event)? By asking yourself these questions, you’ll get a better sense of what your “fitness personality” is all about.

5. Forgive!! Be aware of statements that produce self-blame, shame or guilt. “Oh, there you go again missed another exercise session!!” or “You will never change!” Typically, self-blame can spiral into a demoralizing way of thinking that can sabotage even your best efforts. If you miss an exercise session or were inactive for a short period of time, which will happen, don’t beat yourself up! Simply assess your lifestyle at the time and plan to get back into your new Daniel Strong active lifestyle. Maintaining an active healthy lifestyle requires patience, persistence and most importantly forgiveness.

You don’t have to be perfect to be physically fit and Daniel Strong!

6. Take Charge!!“Responsibility can be defined as the ability to choose your response”. Individuals who begin and maintain a Daniel Strong lifestyle recognize their ability and the freedom to choose their response in any situation. But remember, taking personal responsibility for your health and fitness does not imply that you have to do it alone. In fact, taking responsibility for your health and fitness should encourage you to proactively build a support team of good friends around you to encourage, assist and support you along your journey.

7. Plan your exercise before your week beginsGood exercise habits happen because we make them happen. Take a few minutes before your week begins and plan out your week. Schedule “non-negotiable” appointments with yourself – jotting down on your phone or calendar the exact day and time you are committing to move your body. Soon enough, your regular exercise program will be something you cherish, protect and look forward to!

8.  Increase your training slowlyTo help your body become Daniel Strong, slowly and incrementally begin to increase your training by 5-10% every week or every other week, based upon how you are feeling. Progression of your exercise routine is the key to getting into Daniel Strong shape. There are a number of ways to progress your workout such as:

  • Changing the number of repetitions
  • Increasing the duration of exercise
  • Increase the speed of exercise
  • Increase the number of exercises performed
  • Increase the number of sets performed
  • Increase the intensity of exercise-increase the elevation, RPM’s revolutions per minute.
  • Changing equipment or apparatus
  • Decreasing your rest interval
  • Change your position
  • Going from bilateral to unilateral –training one arm or leg at a time vs. both at the same time
  • Add a balance factor-when exercising such as using a ball, BOSU or foam roller.

9. Track your progress Use a small notebook or your mobile device to keep track of your exercise duration, number of exercises, sets, repetitions and weight completed. Also, make note of how you feel before during and after your activities or workouts. If you want to simplify your tracking, check off the day you completed your exercise-and give yourself a pat on the back!

10. Fitness and Friends: Get a workout buddy who is at your level! Getting back into shape and becoming Daniel Strong is always easier with a friend who is at a similar or higher fitness level to you. Enlist the help of friends, family members (even your dog) who you know will be consistent and faithful to exercise with you….this will help you progress together as well as encourage you and keep you accountable.

It doesn’t matter where you begin – what matters is taking that first step and discovering the exercise you enjoy. Start small and make it a regular part of your life.  Just remember to take it one step at a time and win today!    God bless, Coach Sean”

I am going to read these words and go back to the gym this week.  It is all about getting off the couch and getting going.  A first step is better than no steps…I want to do it!  I can do it with God’s help and would love your support.

Blessings!

Leigh

On the road again…to a new and healthier you!

road       So, here I go on another journey…you would think I would be tired as I trudge down the same old road of getting healthier…I have been here before and I am sure I will be here again but I want a different path this time.  I am so tired of going down the wrong road – I mean – I just don’t fail,  but something about losing weight, taking care of myself – I am a complete failure – where did I make the wrong turn?  I want to plan a path of change, something that I can handle that is not to stressful and something that will produce results.  This time I am going to plan my journey so that I don’t veer off course.

This time I have decided to do something different.  I have prayed about how I could be healthier, how I could be better, and how I could lose weight.  I heard someone mention the Daniel Plan and it peaked my interest.  Then I heard it again that same week and someone said they had just started it and loved it!  Then God practically smacks me upside the head…I was standing in line at a Christian bookstore and while I was there I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye—something lime (My favorite color).  I am naturally drawn to that color, so I looked at the title of the book, naturally…It was “The Daniel Plan” a book by Rick Warren (Who also wrote The Purpose Driven Life).  OK God – I get it!  I should explore this is an option.  The five essential parts to the Daniel Plan are Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus & Friends…sounds reasonable.  So I started researching and realized that the Daniel Plan was very similar to the Paleo Diet that I had been successful with last year so I know I can do this.  What I missed last year was the other parts…I need to focus, to utilize my faith in God and to share with my friends.

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There were great things on the website www.danielplan.com   Rick Warren and his fabulous team have so many sermons, lessons, verses, inspirations that I know it is the direction that I need to go in!!

 

Therefore, I decided to start at the beginning of Lent season.  I started a Facebook page called the Daniel Plan Connection, so that I could share information, have a place to discuss when I need a little encouragement and just a place to share recipes, inspirations, funnies, etc.  We are three weeks into this now and I have about 50 friends that have joined my journey.  I still struggle some but not nearly like I did and now I have someone to keep me accountable, to inspire, to share best practices, etc.  If I stray off course – I am encouraged to get back on and I keep chugging along.

I love the food that I am supposed to eat and I am enjoying it!  I do not feel deprived.  I have eased into it by cutting out all white products (Rice, Flour, Bread, Potatoes, etc.)  I am only drinking water and try to drink at least 72 oz. per day.  I have upped my veggies and fruits and am just paying attention to what I eat.  I am getting a little stricter each week.  I plan to start the Daniel Fast next week and it is even a little stricter.  I can do it though if I plan, buy the right groceries, etc.

The Daniel Plan is about so much more than eating though.  I have really started to think about my faith – I have read Daniel and have watched YouTube, Googled, read many translations, started the Beth Moore study on Daniel, and have just grown to LOVE the book of Daniel in the Bible.  It is so intriguing and there are so many things that I never really got from it before.  I have tried to establish a better prayer routine as well.  I pray breath prayers all the time – you know—the ones where you say just a word and God knows what you are saying. My daily prayers used to be when I was driving somewhere.  That was my alone time with God.  You know, I realized that really was not good enough and I needed to treat God better.  I am still struggling to find time to make it special every time, after all he is so special and wonderful and forgiving and I need to treat him more holy!  I love that I am casual with God but I feel a strong sense of needing to be more respectful.  He is God after all!

Well, I hope to be writing more often so that I can encourage, support and inspire you to take care of yourself and take care of the body God gave you – it is the only one you have!  So I think they were missing one Essential Element of the Daniel Plan and that is ….FUN!  When you are taking this journey – make it fun, have get togethers, yoga parties, recipe swaps, Bible Study.  This is the secret passage to a better and healthier you!  Safe travels….

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. — 1 Corinthians 10:31

God

Blessings…

 

Leigh Christian

Eat, Drink and be Merry and Get Healthy

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I love food – every kind!  You could say it is my hobby…I eat when I am happy, stressed, mad, for enjoyment,well,  for every possible reason.  I love cooking, eating out, tasting new recipes, cooking family recipes…let’s facing…I am a foodaholic!! I have struggled over the years with eating right, working out and just getting healthy.  I have dieted, exercised and just can’t seem to stick with anything.  Last year I lost 43 lbs. and then stopped losing – no matter what I tried – I gave up…I gained it all back…why can’t I do this?  I am not a failure.  I am sure so many of you feel the same way – it’s yo-yo time!  Up and down with dieting, healthy living and exercise.  Usually we are so committed at first and then somehow we don’t have time, we don’t make time, we let other things come between us and taking care of ourselves – all good reasons we think – but if we are not around long enough – we will not be able to take care of these things.  I learned that it is ok to pray for yourself, to take care of yourself, to make time for exercise – you are not being selfish – you are trying to make sure you are going to be there for others for a much longer time!  

So once again, I tried to start about 4 weeks ago and I am eating so much better and I have lost 10 pounds.  I wanted to lose more and I wish it was coming off much faster but this time – I am having fun with it!  I have been craving Fried Chicken – one of my favorite foods.  Well – not exactly a healthy choice but today – I must say – I am very impressed with the best tasting “fried chicken” that I ever made.  I took some chicken breasts and flattened them and rolled them in crushed pistachios and drizzled them with honey and put some olive oil in a baking dish and baked them.  Not only were they beautiful – they tasted amazing!  I have found fabulous recipes and am being creative with our meals.  Why can’t eating healthy be fun?

I am praying and preparing to begin the Daniel Plan (from the Saddleback Church – Rick Warren’s church) for Lent beginning March 5 through April 17.  40 days to a Healthier Life.  Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends – sounds like a winning combination for me.  I hope you will think about joining me in this plan.  I am studying Daniel and looking at videos so that I can be ready when I start.  Pray for me that I can be completely committed during this 40 day period.  Let me know if you need my prayers and if you will join me.

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1 Corinthians 10:31  Amplified Bible – So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

Connecting with you,

Leigh

 

The POWER of ONE

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The Power of ONE…it doesn’t seem like ONE person really has the power to make a difference but I know it is true.  I have experienced so many things that just ONE thing changed the course of my world, or ONE person made a difference, or ONE moment withstood time!  Be the ONE person to change others lives…maybe through smiling or offering a helping hand or maybe a word of encouragement.  There was ONE coach who started ONE cheerleading gym in our community against alot of odds, not many supporters and even many haters.  He still did it and it changed our lives.  He wanted to ensure there was a place to provide great instruction on tumbling, cheerleading and life!  This is a place where skills are improved, friends are made and family is formed.  This was a second home for so many, a place where you felt loved and encouraged.  You would think only the kids would feel this way but it was everyone – brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents – we all felt part of ONE family.  It changed my life forever!  ONE person – Phillip Boyett – you did make a difference and we all love you!  I think of kids who would not go to college if not for this gym, I think of families who would not have connected, friends that would have not met and lives that would not have been impacted.  Because of ONE person – a huge impact was made!

Don’t ever think that you cannot make a difference!  You alone can! ONE word, ONE smile, ONE prayer…

Here is a poem that expresses the POWER of ONE!  Be the ONE!

The Power Of ONE

One song can spark a moment,
One whisper can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One moment can make one fall in luv.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true,
One life can make a difference,
You see, it’s up to you!

BY:  Ashish Ram

There was another man who made all the difference in the world to save us – JESUS.  ONE man took on all the sins so that God could forgive us.  ONE crucifixion, one death – to save the world.   The ONE and only begotten son – JESUS!

There is only ONE God. And there is only ONE go-between for God and human beings. He is the man Christ Jesus. He gave himself to pay for the sins of everyone. That was a witness given by God at just the right time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 NIRV

Physical – Take that ONE trip to the gym, do ONE pushup, run ONE mile, the first ONE is always the hardest ONE but it is for sure a step in the right direction….the POWER of ONE!

Mental – Determine how you can do ONE thing to make an impact – maybe it is tell ONE person about God – possibly they could become a missionary and tell thousands.  You are the ONE person that can start the change in others.  Be the ONE!  The POWER of ONE!

Spiritual – Serve the ONE and only God!  Give thanks for his one and only son who dies on the cross for you and me!

Prayers for you as you begin to see the POWER of ONE!

Pray for me that I will be the ONE to make a difference and that I will understand the POWER of ONE!

Love ya,

Leigh

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As Lent begins

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I have only participated in Lent for a few years so I really didn’t know much about it. I researched and found some great information in The Upper Room devotionals of the United Methodist Church. Here is a great link. http://www.upperroom.org/lent101. So what should we give up?

Below is scripture that explains how Jesus took forty days for fasting, service and prayer. He was on a journey too and he reflected on all the changes going on his life. He talked to God, he gave up food. He meditated and focused on his relationship with God.even when he was tempted, he stayed strong…I am going to commit to several things for Lent this year. It is a time for us to reflect, repent and rejoice. By the way…fasting doesn’t mean eating your food really fast! It means that you go without.

Luke 4:1-13 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:“‘He will command his angels concerning youto guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands,so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Physical – I am going to workout every day, whether it is sit-ups and push-ups at home, cardio at the gym, weightlifting with trainer or yoga. Will not miss one day.

Mental – giving up electronics such as IPad, television and cell phone usage in my bedroom. This is going to be so hard for me because I sit in bed and work catch up on Facebook, etc. pray extra hard for me on this one.

Spiritual – I am going to read one chapter of the Bible everyday. I am going to make thirty minutes of time for prayer and meditation daily. I am going to do one hour of volunteer service per day…something good for others.

Prayers for you as you make a commitment to do something for forty days and that you will stand up to temptations.

Pray for me that I will be strong.

Love ya,

Leigh