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Weight Loss Wednesday – The Workout Edition

By the time this is all edited and uploaded, Weight Loss Wednesday will be Thursday, but I thought I would take you on a brief tour of some of my workout activities as I continue to whittle my frame into submission.  I filmed this at Shapes Fitness of South Tampa using my HTC Evo, and edited the final product with Windows Movie Maker.  I’ve been on the elliptical a few more times since I recorded this session.  My legs feel like jelly when I get done, but it feels pretty good to know that my muscles are responding to the torture exercise.  Who would have thought that exercise could be so much fun??  Certainly not me!  But I am really liking my time in the gym.  I might just become a gymaholic!  I wonder if there’s a 12-step program for that?

I am really encouraged by all the support and comments that I have been getting here and on Facebook.  I have always wanted to inspire people, but I would have NEVER thought that I could inspire others to work out!  Thank you for telling me that my efforts to be a better, healthier person are making a difference for you, too!  I am humbled.  And if you know me, you know that is RARE!  If any ladies out there would like to join me in the gym, I’ve got free guest passes!  Just give me a shout and I can hook you up…I would love a workout buddy!

I am seeing changes in my stamina and in my body, and that is really encouraging.  My brother-in-law and my step-dad even noticed!  That feels really good.

I am happy to report that I have been able to stay under the 330 mark and am now the proud owner (and user) of the Wii balance board.  I’m still looking for suggestions for the under 300 reward…  any takers?

Remembering the Sabbath

So, what’s so important about Sabbath?  From the beginning of recorded time, the importance of taking a day of rest has been stressed as vital to the human condition.  Yet here we are, busier than ever before and growing more busy every day.  All the new technology that we have that helps to make our lives easier—Facebook, Twitter, texting, cell phones, instant messaging—are the same things that bleed into the time that used to be set aside for rest.  Instead of taking time to wind down and reconnect with our families, we are in a constant state of “on.”  This constant pull to be in work mode may seem beneficial on the surface, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

With each passing day, we demand that our businesses be open around the clock.  I mean, really, who needs a cheeseburger at 4am?  But that’s what we have done.  We feel the need to be on the go all the time, and that means having businesses that meet our needs.  The problem is that these businesses need people to operate.  And those people have families.  Before you know it, the parents are like ships in the night that only pass as one comes home from work and the other is leaving.  Together time is sparse to non-existent, and rest is simply out of the question.  I know that we live in a time of economic hardship, and I recognize that people have to take care of their families the best way they can, but we still need to recognize our need for rest – for Sabbath.

The founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, faced a similar dilemma when he was opening his first business.  During the early years of his first restaurant, he made himself available 24 hours a day, even renting a house next to the diner to make it easier for him to be reached.  As business grew, he invested all his money and time into the success of his new venture.  His future was on the line, literally.  If he failed, he would lose everything.  At this critical moment, he made a decision.  He says it best in his book, Eat Mor Chikin:  Inspire More People:

“We were not so committed to financial success, however, that we were willing to abandon our principles and priorities.  One of the most visible examples of this was our decision to close on Sunday.  Ben and I had attended Sunday school and church all our lives, and we were not about to stop just because we owned a restaurant.  Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring god and directing our attention to things more important than our business.  If it took seven days a week to make a living with a restaurant, then we needed to be in some other line of work.  Through the years I have never wavered from that position.”

What initially seemed to be a risk has turned out to be one of the most successful restaurant ventures in America.  Taking a day to rest in his business has benefited his bottom line.  Your reason for taking a day of rest may not be the same as Truett’s, but rest you should.

We were designed to work, and work hard. But we were also designed to have a day of rest.  I make it a point to rest and worship on Sundays, and encourage my friends and family to do the same.  I hope you do, too.

Wake up Call

I’ve just joined a new group on Facebook in which we are reading through the New Testament in three months.  Today’s reading was Matthew 8-10.  Lately, I’ve taken to reading “The Message,” one of the newer versions of the BibleGod has really used it to open my eyes to more of Him and His truths.  For those of you that are purists, you probably will not appreciate the simplicity of language that this paraphrase utilizes, but I have found it refreshing to have another “voice” in which to hear God.  When I read these old, familiar verses in this new manner, I find that I have more questions.  Where I used to hear a lulling comfort in the words, I now have a stirring of ideas and queries that need to be sated.

I found the first part of today’s reading to be a little disturbing.  Maybe it sounds strange to say that, but I found it troubling to see the juxtaposition of the compassion Jesus displayed to all those who were hurting and in need of healing in verses 8:1-18 to the curtness and, well, crabby-ness when dealing with the religious scholar, the mourner and his own disciples in the boat in the remaining verses of the same chapter.  What’s even stranger is that I found the exchange to be somehow comforting to me because I could more easily see the humanity of Christ in these conversations.  This passage of scripture is rife with emotional charge.  I can identify with that, and it makes me love Jesus even more to know that we have that in common.

Chapter 10 jumped off the page, in particular. Christ is telling his disciples how to go about the business of, well, discipling.  He tells them they don’t have to fulfill some grandiose vision of ministry.  They don’t have to go to some far-off land, they don’t have to have some huge fund-raising campaign, they don’t have to look, act or be anything but who they are!  Man!  This is a lesson our church needs to learn today!  I know I did.

Let me share with you how these words read in The Message (my own emphasis added):

“5-8 Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers.  And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy.  Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood.  Tell them that the kingdom is here.  Bring health to the sick.  Raise the dead.  TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLES.  Kick out the demons.  You have been treated generously, so LIVE generously.  9-10″Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start.  You don’t need a lot of equipment.  YOU ARE THE EQUIPMENT, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day.  Travel light.  11″When you enter a town or village, don’t insist on staying in a luxury inn.  Get a modest place with some modest people, and BE CONTENT there until you leave.

If you don’t believe this is something Christianity struggles with, just turn on the television and turn to ANY religious channel.  With few exceptions, you will see the opposite of what you have just read!  Reading the next few verses, you will see even further that we are MISSING THE BOAT when it comes to what Christ expects of his disciples.  I just want to pick out a few mandates in bullet point:

  • Be gentle in your conversation.
  • Don’t make a scene.
  • Stay alert.
  • Don’t call attention to yourselves.
  • Don’t be naive.
  • Others will smear your reputation — Don’t be upset
  • Don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it.

The part that struck me the most was in verses 21-23, nestled right in the middle of the passage, a truth so quick and so simple that I think we just gloss over it:

“There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate!  But don’t quit.  Don’t cave in.  It is all well worth it in the end.”

We have a lot of hate in this world.  In the church we hate and then we paste a pretty label on it and call it “righteous indignation” or attribute our nastiness to our Christianity.  In the world we hate each other because we look differently, act differently, smell differently, believe differently.  I don’t want to be the type of “Christian” I see on TV.  I want to be the type of person that Christ describes in today’s reading…content, satisfied, pleasant, non-confrontational, peaceful, modest, alert, and trusting.  I have a long way to go.  What about you?