Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Home!!!

There are many times I look at our new home & realize where God has brought us from. So I wanted to share this beautiful testimony.

For the last 6 years we have been renting. Moving either every year or every other year. So when it was time to rent again. We started looking at buying. We prayed about it and agreed we would not force the issue. If it happened then this was where we needed to be. So in June our house hunt began. We looked at several dozen. Put an offer on one, it needed work before we moved in, but it was still a good size. The offer was rejected. That was hard to take. We "regrouped" our mind. Continued to pray. This was getting into the month of July. And we knew we had to find something soon. Our current rental lease was up on August 31st. We had 3 new houses to look at. I told my husband if these don't work then I'm done looking, and we'll just rent another year.

I walked in the house (that is now our home) and absolutely fell in love. This house checked off so many needs as well as desires of ours. I won't list every single one out. Although that is a part of the testimony. But the major ones that was like a reassurance that God is looking out for us were: When we put our offer on the other house that needed work we had talked about painting our master bedroom gray and replacing the doors to the doors that have character. We also looked at photos & we really loved the dining room ceiling with the tray sectioned ceiling. THIS HOUSE HAD IT!!!

Y'all - God knew our desires!!! When the other offer didn't go through, my friend said "that's ok, God has something better" ... but that's not how I was feeling at the time..... but HE DID!!!

The more of the testimony is our closing date of our new home was ON August 31st. That was the day we had to be out of our rental. And to top it off, they had a new tenant on 9/1 !!! Talk about stressful. So we told a few people to pray for an earlier closing date. We asked our Loan Agent if he could try for that. He laughed & said that would be a miracle. You see, the typical loan process was 45-60 days. And we were already getting it great on the lower end of that time frame (we submitted our offer on 7/20). Then Monday 8/22  our Loan Agent called me and said, can you do a closing this Thursday? 8/25 WHAT!?!? My Realtor called me and was just so shocked, he said a week is HUGE in the 'closing' world!! GOD IS AWESOME!!

There are several details I have left out. But that is our testimony.

And just to kinda put things into perspective, to those who did not see our first house we bought in 2006. I've attached a photo.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Believe in Your SELFIE

a fun tote bag I received for my birthday

This year (no, not a New Year's Resolution) I have been trying to do just this: Believe in your SELFIE. And no I don't mean posting more Selfies on Facebook or Instagram. What I mean is believing in myself that I don't need other people to approve of me.

Yes, I am the friend that untags myself in photos that I wasn't prepared for. Yes, I am the one in the group that makes people retake a picture because I don't like how I look. Aaaaand  I get joked about it often. I criticize everything about myself in the picture. My hair, my teeth, my weight. 

I scroll through the 'likes' on my photos and comments to see 'who has approved'. I mean, really, look at my blog name. I have issues. ;-)

This has taken me a loooooong time to actually admit this to myself. 

I'm not saying to not care about how you present yourself. I am all for taking care of your body, your health and your appearance. But not for the approval of others. Do it because you love yourself. *and on that note, ditch the scale, ditch the idolized size in your clothes. As long as you are healthy and happy. THAT should be the main goal.*

I pray I can teach my daughters this. And if I could teach every young girl/teenager something. It would be to love yourself. You will not find self appreciation by someone else loving you. You will look for self appreciation in your friends, in your parents and even in your spouse. It doesn't matter how many times my husband tells me he likes the way I look. If I don't like it, then it doesn't mean anything to me. And truthfully, in the end, the only person it is harming is.... you guessed it.... yourself

Your family and your true friends love you for who you are. Not by what you wear, or what your weight is. So don't feel like you have to have their approval. 

I'm not gonna stop posting pictures... cause I do enjoy staying connected with my friends and family. But I will stop obsessing over what I look like. And I will love myself, flaws and all. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Building a Memorial

"And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever." Exodus 12:14 KJV

The NLT says this "This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD..." 

When I was around 3 years old my Granddaddy had a dream of me falling down a deep hole. He didn't normally have 'prophetic' dreams. But he was Holy Ghost filled. When he woke up it was still troubling him. So he told my Grandmother. They began to pray right then for me. After prayer they felt the need to call my Mom. (I can just see them now, each of them on different phones in the house, one of them being 70's green :) ) When they were on the phone with her she heard some commotion outside. They told her to put them on hold (now remember this was back when they had to pay for long distance calls) So my mom went outside to check on me. When she came back inside she said "Oh it's ok, Michelle just got her foot caught on a board that was covering an old well, but her Dad was with her, she's ok." That is when my Granddaddy began to tell my mom his dream and told her to get that well properly covered.

And every time I see this old thing I remember that memorial. That testimony my mom reminded me of. Actually every Sunday when I bring my family to that same church that I went to at 3 years old. 

I had the privilege of sharing this story with my children "...from generation to generation..." the other day. When I told my, Holy Ghost filled, 8 year old that if she ever feels like she needs to pray for someone that is the Spirit leading her. And there are memorials that I have reminded my own children of in their lives. And generations from now they will know the story of when Jayden was 3 years old, he swallowed a watch battery and his life was spared. When I have heard of several other stories of children dying from doing the exact same thing. 

Build memorials for your children, talk about them, celebrate God's blessings on their lives.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Running Skirts

The Bible teaches us (ladies) to be modest. This is not a blog about modesty, there are so many wonderful other blogs about that. But because of that conviction I wear modest apparel all the time. Within the last 3 years I started exercising, and if you have been reading my blog you know I have also been running & recently became certified to be a Fitness Instructor. I basically live in exercise clothes :) So I am asked a lot where I get my skirts. The short answer is "everywhere & anywhere". This blog will give the long answer :)

There are several websites that sell long enough skirts. Unfortunately those are anywhere from $40-$70*. And I don't know about you but I want more than one skirt in my exercise wardrobe. And being a 1 income family of 5, it's just not wise to buy that many at that price. Yes I could save up for them, but life happens and there's other things that require my money :-(

So I shop thrift stores. Just this week I found a Lululemon shirt ($60 shirt) for $3.75!!!  But we're talking about skirts here. So I go through the skirt section of the thrift store, and I feel every. single. skirt. I know what I want by the feel, then I check the tag. In my experience, my favorite exercise skirts are 95% polyester and 5% spandex.  When I am in the dressing room, I do lunges to see if it has enough stretch. I also found at Walmart some swimsuit cover ups. (mine do not have the ruffles) I just wear them on my waist. I also use them for swimming - I have 3 of them. They are a little more full than I like for running, but are good for summertime exercising.

I do have a few cotton skirts. They are not the best for summer time and they cling to my pants underneath. So I do not wear them during running.

I do always wear capri pants under my skirt so when my skirt comes up during exercise or running I am still covered.

I took a picture of my favorite skirts to help you see what to look for

1 - cotton - Old Navy
2 - this one is Lands End & PINK :) it is a fold over waist - similar link given above
3 - swimsuit cover ups - link given above
4 - running skirts nowadays have ruffles - I want ruffles too! so this has a small ruffle on the hem :) it is from Old Navy I just got it from the thrift store & it is made the same as #5 so I'm happy to have another good running skirt
5 - I don't know where this is from, but it has two slits on the side and I really like it for running
6 - this is a sports skirt, I think from REI, the brand is Patagonia. I just got it from the thrift store too. It is shorter than normal, so I just got it a little bigger so it will be on my hips not my waist. It has shorts built in & pockets.

This skirt I am SOOOO happy about. The company Running Skirts {below at #2} just released this pink polka dotted skirt. I LOVE polka dots & pink. So I found this skirt {below at #1} at the thrift store. The perfect fabric for exercising!!!! I can't wait to wear it.

Hopefully with this blog I have helped people out. And it helps me out, I don't have to type this whole message when friends email me asking :)

*the skirts you can buy online are here and here. I have not purchased these skirts from these sites. I did but some cotton ones from Kosher Casual, and they run small, so follow the size chart. They are also in Israel so the shipping takes a little while.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

AFFA Online Group Fitness Instructor Certification Test - part 2

The online Practical Group Fitness Instructor test

You have a Proctor watching you. They make sure your work area is clear. There could be 1-4 people that they're watching. You can see the other testers. That was hard because I was worried if I saw them doing a particular exercise I would do it too and the Proctor would think I was copying. :)

You start off by doing a demo class. Two minutes of warm up, 4 minutes of cardio and a 1-2 minute cool down. The Proctor plays music. It was a little difficult to hear. I just tried to stay with the beat count in my head. After the time is up they tell you "ok go to the cardio portion". In this portion you do not have to talk. Maybe if it was just you, you may have to. Both times I took it there was one other person.

After that they tell you to do 2 exercises & 1 stretch for the following muscle groups:
Trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorisi
Hip abductors, hip adductors
Gluteus Maximus
Tibialis Anterior
Hamstrings, gastrocnemius & soleus
Rectus abdominis and obliques
Erector spinae

Study this list before hand. Come up with what exercises & stretch you will do. Don't just wing it, you'll forget all you ever knew :) The first Proctor asked me those in that exact order, in that exact group. The second Proctor combined biceps and triceps & the tibialis anterior was combined with hamstrings. So the Proctors aren't all the same.  The key is: continue doing the exercise until they say "show me the next exercise" (this is where I messed up the first time. I just stopped after 3 reps) Again, the second Proctor was better, she told told me that at from the get go.

Then they will have you turn your speaker on and demonstrate an exercises showing 3 different levels. I recommend doing a strength. Cause with cardio you have to talk the entire time, that gets difficult. This is another area I messed up the first time through. Here is what you should do: Introduce yourself (with a smile) and then tell what exercise you will be performing & what muscle group it works. Start with level 1 - give cues! I did push ups so I said "keep your arms shoulder width apart.... neck in alignment with your spine ... keep a flat back" do a few of level one. Go to level 2... Give the same cues - and add some others "inhale going down, exhale coming up... Remember...." Level 3 - keep giving those cues, talk about what muscles you are working. [The first proctor said she wanted to know what I was doing if she closed her eyes] So keep that in mind. There's no such thing as too many cues (as long as it's correct :) )  Then you can end with "and that is how you do 3 different level of push ups [insert your exercise]"

When I finished the test the first time, the way her voice was, I could tell I wasn't going to pass. The second time through I was confident of the improvements I had made, and I could tell it in her voice. This test you don't know until about 48 hours later, and you get an email also.

I hope I've helped someone pass these tests :) and not deal with the heartache I did.

Happy testing!

AFFA Online Group Fitness Instructor Certification Test - part 1

In November 2013 I took the Online Group Fitness Instructor Certification written test. I failed it, by one too many missed questions. I cried when I clicked that button & it said "Unfortunately you did not answer enough right answers...." I cried like a big baby. It was an awful feeling. Then a week later I took the Practical Online Test. I failed that too! I cried again!!! It took me $75 and 3 months to get my courage back up to reschedule. And I PASSED!!!! So here are some things to help anyone else out there taking the online tests.

Watch the online lectures. Over and over and over again. Print off & fill in the Study Guide. There is this place that has flash cards & answers to the study guide. The flash cards weren't for me cause I just kept flipping to the other side too soon. Not enough self discipline I guess. The filled in study guide is a good tool. But I really recommend filling out one yourself. Something about writing the answers helps it get in your head.

What you should expect for the online test. Things you need: A laptop or computer with a webcam. A great internet connection. A clear working area. I was on a desktop so the "Proctor" (person watching me) asked me to grab a CD for the reflective backing & I showed him the desk. You have to "share" your computer with them they will make sure you don't have any other web pages open. You answer a few questions about your life. It's kinda erie because it asked questions about my house 4 houses ago!, and about my mother-in-law!!!?!?!? The second time I took it we had just moved to a new house so it was asking me questions about the previous owner... I failed that part of it. I felt dumb! I felt the need to explain to the Proctor that we had just moved & we were renting. She sent me through again. I got those right. Phew!

So after all that checking you click a button to take the test. You can't see or hear the Proctor during this (the second time I actually asked the Proctor "am I suppose to hear you?" she apologized). It's a white screen with little AFAA logos all over it. I have test anxiety so all that chaos on the screen was messing me up. I just had to get over myself :) There is a timer at the top of the questions. That was stressful too. (My palms were so sweaty the second time through)

You have 1 hour to complete 100 questions. All of the questions are multiple choice. No write in answers. Learn the Muscle Man and the muscle prime movers, very important. You are allowed to skip questions & if you have enough time at the end you can go back to them, otherwise they will be wrong. If you don't think you know the answer right away. Skip it. Both times I took pretty much the entire hour. When you click that last 'submit' on the last question that is when the news comes. <dum dum dum> To me that was the hardest to do after I failed the first time.

The second time through I only missed 12 questions. (you're allowed 20 wrong, an 80%) I was happy about that! You find out of you failed or passed right away. But you don't get the exact number of questions you missed until a week or so later. They send you an email.

Onto the Practical Test (next blog)

Longest Plateau Ever

Here lately I have had a lot of fitness disappointments. 

I have not lost a single pound in the past year & half. 

In November of last year the first time I took my AFAA Group Certification written tests & practical test I failed. 

The last four races I have raced I have not made PR's (personal record). That makes me mad. I am sick of hearing " you can't PR every race" I know that - but at least one more PR...soon!

I did finally pass my AFAA Group Certification. Although it took me a lot of guts to retake the tests. 

And I know what I have to do get faster. I have to push myself harder during my weekend runs. Then my hard will turn into easy, and then I can push myself even more. 

I know what I need to do to lose weight. It's just a slow process. I do enjoy the instant gratification after lifting weights. I see my muscles pumped up. And that makes me happy. 

There is no magic pill. No quick fix. But every disappointment I face is a new step to get me more in shape. So it's time to pick myself up and quit moping.