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. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Self-Discipline Confession

I lack self-discipline.

Some would say I have lots of discipline. I exercise most days. I wake up really early to go running, in the cold, rain, ice, heat.

I have a problem prioritizing.

For instance, the major things I need to do right now are: I need to pack up my house to move in 2 weeks. And I need to study for a Fitness Instructor Certification & take the test. Those two things have deadlines, and are very important. BUT at the end of the day, after I have done the typical household things - homeschool the kids, keep the house, laundry & dishes clean. I feel like I deserve some me time. My husband suggested not watching my shows on Hulu at night until I watch one online study video. My response, I deserve time to unwind.

Same goes for food. If I really want a piece of chocolate or soda - I don't withhold it from myself (all the time). I tell myself I've done a good job that day.

On Saturday the kids are being entertained by my husband & I have help in taking care of them. So I like to do crafty things. I should make myself pack a box. But I don't. I get out my craft supplies & enjoy my day.

I'm not writing this to get suggestions on how to prioritize.... it's just a confession :)

Friday, January 3, 2014


In December of 2012 I found out that a little girl, Sophie, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I had known the family through a Mommy exercise class, but it was just a brief 3 months that we saw each other regularly. It was hard to take it all in. Having a little girl the same age. I didn't let my mind dwell on it too much. I couldn't.

In April 2013 a friend took it upon herself to plan a Fundraiser for the family's medical expenses. It was a huge success, very heart warming.

On December 29, 2013 Sophie passed away. A sweet, full of life, three year old. I got the news when I was driving back from vacation. I told my husband, he continually checked on me to make sure I was ok to drive. He said "just think about our healthy children" I cried even more, "that's the problem, it's just not fair, why did she have to be sick?" That night I let our 3 year old sleep with us without even trying to put her in her bed first. I watched her sleep. I kissed her cheeks. I stroked her hair. I begged and pleaded with God to keep my children healthy. I told Him I couldn't handle it, I was not the one to be tested in that way. Give me any sickness that would ordinarily go to my children. I know that's not the "Christian" thing to do. I know that's not how God works. He doesn't just "zap" us with sickness because He can. I know that. But it's all my human brain could think about.

This week in the store Mayci was a mess. All she wanted me to do was hold her. I was holding items to buy. I was holding her coat. And she was jumping up and down, crying, "hold me." I wanted to be the stern parent. I wanted her to realize she couldn't get one over on me. But then my mind raced to the mom of Sophie. She will never again be able to carry her girl through a store. After I made my little one stop pitching a fit, then I held her.

Today our exercise class was to wear our Bounce-a-Thon shirts so we could get a group picture. A piece of me didn't want to go to class. Because I knew that it would mean I would have to explain to my children why we were wearing them. My 8 & 6 year old would pick up on everyone in matching shirts. And I didn't want them to overhear anything. So I knew I had to tell them. This morning while getting ready, after I found their shirts, I sat them down and asked if they knew why we had them. My 8 year old said "it was to help kids who had a sickness that made them lose their hair". I reminded them who we had fundraiser for. I told them that Sophie died last week. My 8 year old's face just sunk. I could tell she realized what death was. I cried. I told them that we shouldn't be scared that it will happen to any of us. My 6 year old said "I'm scared of heights". (I can always count on him to say off the wall stuff during serious conversations) I told them that whenever they think about it to pray for Sophie's parents. I told them that her parents will be sad forever that she's not with them anymore. I reminded them that God never did this to her, He never wanted it to happen to her. And we have to trust that God will always take care of us. My 8 year old hugged me, we cried together. It was hard. I hugged my 6 year old as well. We went on to finish getting ready, then just 5 minutes later my 8 year old came to me & hugged me again. She made a card to mail to Sophie's parents that said "I'm sorry this happened". I told my older two not to mention it around my 3 year old. We have Sophie's picture on our fridge, my oldest said "so this is the one who died" My little 3 year old was right there and she said, with great emotion, "She's dead? I will never see her again!" and then a dramatic hands in the face cry (not tears, just a drama cry).

This last week has been a very hard week... and it does not even scratch the surface of what the Vincent Family is going through. Right now they are trying to raise money so they can have a proper burial for her. If you can, here is the link to donate money -  Sophie's Celebration

Please keep them in your prayers.