10 Things I Learned in 2013

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After a complete year of living a healthier active lifestyle, this is what I’ve learned:

1. Runner’s High Apparently Doesn’t Kick in After 3.1 Miles. I set a goal in 2013 of running a 5K. Since I had quit smoking weed in high school a thousand year’s ago, I was looking forward to that runner’s high all marathoners talk about. By mid-autumn, I had been unsuccessful in running a full 5K. I had walked a handful, alternated running and walking a bunch but never ran a whole 5K. In November, at a 5K held by a Pentecostal Church to benefit foreign missions, I went all in and decided to run the entire thing. I figured if I was going to die at least do it around folks who believed in divine healing. I kept waiting for that runner’s high to kick in but all I got was a side cramp and lungs that felt like I was breathing in razor blades. No runner’s high but with the finish line in sight as I realized I was going to finish having run the entire time, what I got was a big lump in my throat and a huge sense of accomplishment. I had run an entire 5K.

2. Feeling feelings sucks. In 2013, I resolved not to eat my feelings. Do you know how bad a bad day feels when you don’t shove a cupcake in your mouth to forget about it? And, if you decide to just say screw it and eat the cupcake, you are now cognizant of the fact that you are using the cupcake to make you feel better. At that point, either way, the cupcake has lost its appeal and no longer makes you forget all about whatever it was the upset you. On the other hand, not eating feelings keeps me being able to only buy one seat on an airplane, not buy my clothes at Nashville Tent and Awning and keeps little trucks with flashing lights and wide load signs from following me around. There are perks to not eating my feelings. Note to self: In 2014, learn other coping mechanisms.

3. Most People Push Food. If I ate every time someone thought I should, I would be as big as the broadside of a barn. Why are people so concerned with when I eat or how much I eat? I don’t need a slice of cake at every wedding, birthday party, bridal shower, or girls’ night out. NO means NO, people…..whether it’s sex, drugs or FOOD.

4. If You’ve Lost More Than Twenty Pounds, You’re an Instant Party Hit. If people hear I’ve lost weight, boom, instant hit at a baby shower, bridal party, cocktail reception, you name it. People are curious about what I eat, what type of exercise I do, anything and everything pertaining to how I’ve lost weight. My answer is simple: eat better and exercise; what works for me may not work for you but eating healthier and exercising in some form or another works for everyone. After they hear that no easy quick fix answer, my popularity fades pretty quick.

5. Eating Healthier Doesn’t Equal Deprivation. Now that I’m eating healthier, I eat more food than ever, 4-6 times a day. I used to wake up, drink a Diet Coke, go all day without eating, come home at 6 pm, basically set up a buffet and graze the rest of the night on junk food until bedtime. Now I eat all day long, just better choices, whole grains, lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and LOTS and LOTS of water….with even more and more trips to the bathroom!

6. I Need a Team. As a self-proclaimed know it all, I realized when it came to getting fit, I didn’t know it all. I enlisted a trainer to help me get into an exercise routine and streamline my eating habits. I talked to my doctor and made sure we were on the same page. I told all my friends what I was doing. I set up a network of friends and professionals who hold me accountable, a system of checks and balances if you will.

7. It’s OK to Ask for Help. My super independent self just cringed even thinking about asking for help but I’ve had to that this year. When my darling husband kept bringing home contraband like jars of peanut butter and jelly or Ritz crackers with summer sausage I had to ask for help and we compromised by having him keep those types of snack foods in his truck tool box. When my Moma kept dropping off sweet surprises while I was burning the midnight oil at the office, I had to ask her to find other ways to help me out like running an errand or bringing a healthier snack. Asking for help is OK. I think I just gritted my teeth reminding myself of that.

8. Try New Things. I have tried all kinds of new things in my quest for a healthier lifestyle. Some I now love and some, not so much. I tried Spin classes. At first, I thought I might die. Now, it’s one of my favorite forms of cardio. I tried celery root as a substitute for mashed potatoes. It didn’t fake me out that I’m was eating mashed potatoes but it was dang good celery root purée. I tried making flaxseed muffins. Let me just say, sawdust from my Daddy’s barn has to taste better than those muffins. I tried Hot Yoga. Nothing about me wants to be in 110 degree weather unless I’m floating like a walrus in a swimming pool with a fruity drink in my hand. Point is, try something new. Somethings won’t work but somethings will.

9. I Have Hip Bones. Ok, so technically, I knew this already but it had been so long since I felt them I had forgotten I had them. I rediscovered I had hip bones and various muscles this year. I’m still searching for rock hard abs but I’m hoping they make an appearance sometime in 2014.

10. It Ain’t Easy. I’m not going to sugar coat it. This past year hasn’t been sunshine and rose petals. To put it plainly, some days, it’s been hard as hell. Some days, I’ve cried, I’ve whined, I’ve raised cain. Other days, I’ve laughed, smiled and jumped for joy when I’ve fit into a smaller size, watched as the scales dropped or noticed a muscle I hadn’t seen before. Tomorrow’s the big day when everyone sets out with all their New Year’s resolutions. If you think it’s going to be easy, forget about it. But if you’re willing to do the work knowing that some days are going to just be plain old awful, have at it. Trust me, a year from now, you’ll be glad you did. I know I am.

Proverbs 2:10-11 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.
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This is Still America, Right?

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camo-american-flag-XSmallI’ve tried to stay out of this. I’ve tried to bite my tongue. I’ve tried to mind my own business. Three things, this Southern woman is rarely successful in doing and I’m afraid if I keep my mouth shut my head will blow straight off!

Last night after a long day of meetings followed by an even longer evening of Christmas shopping that would make speed skaters look like they were moving in slow motion, I finally collapsed into bed. My body had just made the perfect arc with my pillows and duvet when I made a colossal mistake. I pulled out my cell phone scrolling through Facebook to see what cocktail parties my friends got invited to that I didn’t, to see whose kid sang what in the school play, to see what elaborate displays these over the top elf on a shelf parents had come up with, you know the ones who have had that Christmas version of a Chucky doll swinging from the Christmas tree since Thanksgiving. Just enjoy the spirit of the season via Facebook. Instead of seeing all the usual stuff, all I saw was PHIL ROBERTSON. Sign this petition, boycott that, A&E this, Duck Dynasty that. Lord have mercy!!

I don’t know Phil Robertson. I don’t know all that much about Duck Dynasty. All I know is that with the way Uncle Phil guzzles sweet tea, he’s got one heck of a chance at ending up with sugar diabetes. That, and, he has every right to say whatever it is he wants to say. If he wants to say homosexuality is a sin, go for it. If he wants to say that people who don’t drink sweet tea are infidels, have at it. It’s his right last time I checked our Constitution.

We forget this is America. We have the right to free speech, doesn’t matter who it offends. We have the right to our opinions, right or wrong. We have the right to be who we want to be, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Alabama fan or even, heaven help them, a Florida Gators fan. This is still the United States of America, where the right to this freedom was paid for by the dying breathes breathed at Yorktown, Shiloh, Normandy and battlefields across the globe.

Don’t cancel Phil Robertson from A&E. Let the public make that decision. We are not only the land of the free and the home of the brave but also the land of a free marketplace. That means if I am offended by what Phil Robertson says, I stop watching Duck Dynasty. If enough people are offended and don’t watch, ratings go down. When ratings go down, A&E cancels the show. Not because Phil Robertson thinks homosexuality is a sin but because there is no market for the show. The public has spoken.

So, where do I stand on this issue? This is not going to be popular but in my belief, homosexuality is a sin. I’m not the person to get into a theological debate with because frankly, I’m a tax accountant and have trouble understanding the US Tax Code which is a heck of a lot less ambiguous than the Bible. I just think it is a sin. I’m not the condemning type. I’ve sinned way too much and needed forgiveness way too often to get into all that. However, pointing out a sin and condemnation are two different things.

Some of my best friends are gay. I love them in spite of their sin. They love me in spite of mine. Christ loves us ALL in spite of ours. Do my friends know where I stand? Yes, I’m not the sugar-coating type. Unless, it’s a powdered sugar donut. It’s a sin for that not to be sugar coated.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Tyler Perry and Oreos

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I was in a funk yesterday afternoon. Maybe because of that last second 109 yard touchdown Auburn made crushing my beloved Crimson Tide’s chances of another National Championship title. Maybe it was the 110 poinsettia I’ve been hocking the past couple of Sunday’s at Church for a mission fundraiser and people have quit making eye contact with me for fear they will have to buy one. Maybe it’s that while Thanksgiving is a holiday full of football, food and family, three of my favorite things, it’s also a reminder of empty seats around the table of loved ones gone on and ones that just stopped coming by.

Whatever the reason, I was in a foul mood. Heck, I’d been in one off and on for the past several months. Life, seasons and people change and it seemed 2013 was a record-breaking year for change, some good and some just plain depressing. And so, while watching an especially moving Tyler Perry movie, I ate my feelings in the form of a Oreo. Not just regular Oreos. Double stuffed with a faint smear of peanut butter on top dunked in Purity’s Sweet acidophilus milk. My absolute favorite way to eat a Oreo.

As I dunked the last one in milk (yes, I ate the whole darn bag), Tyler Perry’s main character sat in a Church service listening to a man preach about not growing weary. You know the verse, “And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Of course, the whole time the man of the cloth spoke the congregation was nodding, clapping and Amening while the choir hummed in the background. It was one of those scenes in just about every Tyler Perry movie where you want to jump up and take a lap around your living room shouting “Hallelujar”.

I’ve heard this passage from Galatians preached more times than I can even count. This particular time, something the preacher said stood out. He authoritatively spoke, “What I am trying to tell you is that God is faithful. And, in his faithfulness, he reminds us that in doing good you shall get weary. There’s no sin in getting weary. The sin is giving up.”

I had always thought that the “let us not be weary” part meant if I was the Christian I claimed to be I wasn’t supposed to get tired. I wasn’t supposed to feel like I was at my wit’s end trying like hell not to throw in the towel, like all those Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights sitting on a Church pew had been in vain. If I had moments when I felt like giving up then something must be intrinsically wrong with me and my walk with Christ.

Hearing this robed preacher from the Wheat Street Baptist Church tell his congregation that Jesus didn’t count it a sin to get tired gave me hope. Jesus had given me permission to get tired. Just because I get tired at times and question what this is really all about isn’t the crime here. Choosing to give up is and, I sure wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Yesterday, I ate my feelings and surprisingly enough, they didn’t even taste that good. Oreos not taste that good. Somebody call the doctor. I must be sick.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
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