Friday, February 26, 2010

Jillian update....

I made it 4 straight days working out with Jillian - then life got CRAZY! And not just the "oh it's a little busy" kind of crazy. The kind of crazy where NOTHING happens past waking up, getting things done and going to bed. However, I have managed to squeeze in just a bit of Wii Fit (nothing compared to Jillian but at least it's moving) and pushing myself to just move more during the day. I'm not disappointed though - I have lost 3 lbs in the past week and a half and I feel more energetic. Starting back up on Monday with Jillian and going to strive for 3 days a week with her alternating with some basic Wii Fit strength training moves and that kind of thing as well as continuing to eat right...

Gotta have balance - 7 days a week of Jillian= too much for me. Three days I can handle and for me it's all about not getting frustrated with expecting too much of myself. So, there you go...a week and half, 4 workouts, 3 lbs lost. I'll take it for now...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just one of those weeks...

This past week has just been "one of those weeks". Ya know, the kind where everything goes wrong and you know it's all your fault. The kind where as hard as you try to get into a groove it just doesn't happen. The kind where you try to find joy in the little things but that joy seems elusive. The kind where you feel like you could have dropped off of the Earth and very few people would have noticed. The kind where pushing through and getting by feels like the best you can do - yet everyone around you seems to just keep expecting more. The kind where every little thing sets you off and you don't understand why. The kind where you realize so much of what you thought you had been doing right is revealed as so much that you have been doing wrong. The kind where instead of a gentle nudge, the Lord uses a swift kick on the back of your head to wake you up. The kind where you want to press the pause button of life and just breathe a minute- or a month- before moving on.

Yep, I had "one of those weeks". This week the Lord revealed to me some major ways in which I haven't been surrendering to him. Some ways in which I have been selfish, uncaring, and just plain hurtful. I have hurt people I loved deeply. I've been on the other side of this and neither side is fun to be sure. When everything came to light, I felt disconnected, discouraged, worthless, misplaced, weary, burdened, indignant, over-driven, and lonely.

Recognizing a very particular sin in your life can be so painful and can surely hurt your pride. It should. Pride in and of itself is sin. Add to that all of the feelings and emotions mentioned above, and you've got yourself into a that feels unending and so deep that nothing will ever lift you out. This is where I sat Saturday night.

But, oh, Sunday came...and praise the Lord it did!

With pain ever present, we went to church Sunday. Honestly, I was faithless and expected to come home with even less hope. But the Lord was ready for me - He knew that's how I would be feeling and He had a word for me in a huge way.

First, he pointed to my loneliness. He put people in my path that I hadn't spoken to in months - or ever - who, by just asking how I was, did more for me than they will ever know. I had conversations with people that we have just met through high school ministry, a lady who asked to hold our baby and while doing so shared that her estranged daughter was getting ready to have a baby and she just wanted to hold an infant. She had such pain in her eyes as she held my sweet girl close but spoke a quiet and sincere thanks as she handed her back a moment later. I got to catch up with someone who is only an acquaintance. For the past year we've passed and said "Hi" and moved on with our lives but Sunday she stopped me to talk, really talk. What an encouragement. It's like every step I took, the Lord led someone directly in front of me - unexpected faces - and let me know that not all was lost. That moving on will be possible - even if it's not to where I thought I would be at this time.

Next, he pointed to my sin. That part wasn't easy, but through songs like "Lead Me to the Cross" and "Jesus Paid It All", I was faced with it fully - and then reminded of the fact that though I have been so unfaithful and so sinful, that doesn't take away the fact that Jesus died for me - that he allowed himself to be led to the cross for me and paid it all - everything - just for me! Paul says in Romans 5:20: "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." When my sin increases, grace simply abounds more! Now, please don't get me wrong - I'm also FULLY aware of the verse he goes on to say. Romans 6:1&2- "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?"

My eyes were opened to my sin, he confirmed one very important fact once again within my heart. Through my belief in him I am forgiven and I repented and now know that I must run as far from that sin as is possible - and I plan to with the Lord's strength and help.

After my time of repentance during the singing portion of worship, Tim spoke on the scripture from Genesis regarding how we are created in God's image. He brought up a great illustration from Brennan Manning about how God says to each of us, "You're my favorite!" The tears spilled forth at that point. There I was, sitting in my deepest pit and he spoke a word of love straight into my heart. Tim spoke the words, it felt like he was looking straight at me (not on purpose I'm sure) and said, "You are God's favorite". Now, I know part of his point is that everyone is loved by God, but it had been SOOOOOOOOOO long since someone had reminded me of his great love FOR ME - how he looks past all of the ugly, wretched places in my heart and sees love. He sees his daughter covered by his son's blood and sitting white as snow.

Such freedom was found in that moment. A freedom I hadn't experienced in so long. Not to be TOO cliche, but it was as if chains fell from my hands and feet - almost literally - and I could breathe once again. The son has set me free and I am free indeed.

The rest of Sunday was one of the best family days we've had for awhile. My two oldest girls and I shopped at JCPenney and had a blast just being goofy and then the whole family enjoyed a meal at Applebees. Those things on their own are not especially rare, but the light hearted feeling that has been gone for some time was back! We laughed and joked so much - I even FELT younger! This whole week has been much the same.

I know that though forgiven by God and feeling such freedom through Him, consequences here on earth of my sin will remain. Wounds will need to heal and hearts will need to mend. Things will not be as they were ever again. While I would do basically anything to take back my actions that led to others' hurt, this lesson I have learned is invaluable. From where I sit with the Lord, I know I am in good standing. And that's all that matters in the end.

Right now he gently reminds me of this scripture...

“Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalms 55:22 NKJV)

I am His child - of that I am assured. I WILL lay my burdens at His feet and allow Him to sustain me.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:1-3 (ESV)

So what now? I will do my absolute best to rest on His strength and to be pure and holy- to do all things for His glory. Through that, may others see that I am changed - not through my earthly effort but through his heavenly power.

Over the coming weeks, I'm pushing the pause button on life, laying in His arms, taking a few deep breaths of Him, and then moving on...renewed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ready to be Shredded....

by Jillian Michaels. I think.

See, here's the situation. Although I've always struggled with my weight and already had some to lose, having my third baby in December certainly didn't help matters any. Don't get me wrong - I love my latest bundle of joy more than words can say, but this time I'm struggling to get the last 20 pounds off and it's DRIVING ME INSANE!!!

Add to that fact that we are taking a Disney Cruise over spring break and you see the equation quite simply:

Cruising the Caribbean + too much baby weight = unhappy Rachel

Now, to clarify - it's not really a looks thing. Though I obviously feel like I look better when I'm smaller. There are two main reasons: 1) If I am going to be clothed on this trip (which I'm sure everyone would appreciate), I have to lose 20 pounds in order to wear my spring/summer clothes. 2) Energy. I want to be able to run around Castaway Cay, Nassau, the beach, and Disney World for 9 vacation days with my family and have the spare energy to lift up a frozen fruity slushy non-alcoholic drink by the pool.

Here's the plan:


Today I'm starting Jillian Michaels' "30 Day Shred" DVD. As you can see, it claims that it's possible to lose 20 pounds in 30 days with this program. Jillian definitely has the rep for being hardcore and serious about fitness and I'm sure this DVD will not disappoint. I am committing to workout along with this video for 20 minutes a day for the next 30 days.

But, of course, in order to lose weight and tone my muscles (also a necessity for me!), I have to eat healthy as well. I'm going simple with the eating - allowing myself whatever types of foods I want, yet seriously watching my portion control and counting calories. For the next 30 days, I am going to have between 1250-1400 calories a day.

Let me say this, I'm really hoping and literally praying for the Lord to be over me in this and give me strength to make this not only a short-term thing, but I whole lifestyle change. That being said, I work much better with a bunch of small goals on their way to beginning one big one. So, this is just the beginning...and I aim to keep at this healthier lifestyle indefinitely.

But for now...'s the plan. Exercise and eating right everyday (no breaks!) for 30 days.

If Ms. Michaels hasn't killed me after the first five days, I'll update regarding my progress.

So, BRING IT ON JILLIAN! I can take it - and hopefully lose it!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If at first I don't succeed....I probably won't try again! :-)

I'm jumping on the bandwagon. The blogging bandwagon. After following several other blogs, listening to my husband encourage me to do some more writing, and the general need to express myself through the written, er, typed word, I am attempting to blog. To be honest, I'm not sure how public I will make this for the time being, but we'll see how it goes.

First things first...

Who am I? My name is Rachel. Although I grew up in the Southern Illinois area, I now live in Noblesville, IN with my incredible husband of 10 years (how in the world has it been that long already?) and our three girls ages 8, 6 and almost 2 months. As a family we enjoy movies, going to Disney World, playing games together - love the Wii! - playing with our dog, Minnie and hanging out with our great friends and family. I am turning into a coupon/bargain junkie. Lastly, but not leastly, we love our church family at White River Christian Church and the wonderful high school group that we are involved in as well!

My goals for my little personal piece of the internet? I am longing for a place of expression. This blog will be a huge mixture (hopefully) of laughs, insight, and stories from my life that I long to capture. I've never been great with a diary or journal, but long to have a place that years later I can look back and see what the Lord was teaching me, what my family was doing and how I felt about it all at the time. Oh, and since I'm a stay at home mom and these things fit into my niche, expect a few stories about my kids, consumer product reviews, news of great deals to be found, and pictures of my latest sundress created for one of my girls!

Next, for the title - Every Sign and Wonder. I'm a huge Nichole Nordeman fan and this phrase comes from her song called "Small Enough". I re-discovered this song during a very difficult season in my life. These lyrics and melody found their way through my speakers one dark night in a church parking lot when I needed Him, what felt like, more than ever before. It helped me cry out the Lord and feel His arms wrap around me in a way that felt so real, I could almost swear it was.

That evening, He confirmed himself to me in a way that spurred me on to a greater relationship with him. I no longer experience simply a belief in Him as my Savior but a much larger desire to serve Him as Lord over my life. There's a huge difference there!

As the song suggests, I am amazed daily by the Lord's power and might - His every sign and wonder - and long to express what He is teaching and leading me towards daily.

Small Enough by Nichole Nordeman

oh, great god, be small enough to hear me now

there were times when i was crying
from the dark of daniel's den
and i have asked you once or twice
if you would part the sea again
but tonight i do not need a fiery pillar in the sky
just wanna know you're gonna hold me if i start to cry
oh, great god, be small enough to hear me now

oh, great god, be close enough to feel you now

there have been moments when i could not face goliath on my own
and how could i forget we've marched around
our share of jerichos
but i will not be setting out a fleece for you tonight
just wanna know that everything will be alright
oh great god, be close enough to feel you now

all praise and all honor be
to the god of ancient mysteries
whose EVERY SIGN AND WONDER turn the pages of our history
but tonight my heart is heavy
and i cannot keep from whispering this prayer
"are you there?"

and i know you could leave writing
on the wall thats just for me
or send wisdom while i'm sleeping,
like in soloman's sweet dreams
but i don't need the strength of samson
or a chariot in the end
just want to know that you still know
how many hairs are on my head

oh great god, be small enough to hear me now