Monday, March 19, 2012

More than a magic weight loss pill

Back in September or October, I did some evaluation. I weighed the most I have weighed without being pregnant, and I had no excuse. I hated it. I felt bad about how I looked, about what I was eating and about the road that I saw myself on. When I looked down the path I was on I saw a very overweight middle-aged mom. Granted middle age is a good number of years away, I’m only 33, but I tend to have a ‘long-view’ of things. Despite how I felt, the cycle continued. Less than ideal dinner menus and delicious brownies were regularly present in my house.

For two years, I have participated in Bible Study Fellowship –a training organization that teaches you how to study the Bible and teaches you to hear God through his inspired Word.

This year we are studying the book of Acts.

In late September, my study in Acts was focused on the role of the Holy Spirit. I will not forget the following two statements made by our teaching leader, which the Holy Spirit used in coordination with the Bible to really change me:

As we look at Acts 2:14-21, the principle was this: “the Holy Spirit convicts and enables a person to repent and trust Christ.” The challenge to me was this: When you feel convicted, what do you do about it? It is not enough to acknowledge the sin [I know I should not bake and eat these brownies], but you must be contrite and be converted from the sin (converted – ‘to turn away’). You have to realize that the Holy Spirit is grieved when you ignore him.

This stayed with me for weeks. Each week as I read Acts, and studied the Holy Spirit, I was challenged to think “how can I apply this to my life” the only answer was this: poor lifestyle choices – choosing to eat what I should not eat, what I know is bad for my body was purely a sin.

I had been convicted to change to ‘turn away’ and I was not. In terms of sin, food (for me) could have been alcohol or drugs, or rage – or any other thing. It was becoming an addiction, and I felt powerless to stop. So I looked to the Holy Spirit for guidance, HE wanted me to stop, to change, so I needed HIM to tell me how. So I began to pray: Please show me why I cannot change, why can’t I truly repent.

And he did. Slowly a realization began to emerge. The last time that I looked and felt ‘good’ was nearly 8 years ago. At the time, I was single; I met my husband at that time. I had lots of free time and I spent that free time at the gym 4 days per week and cycling or doing other active things on other days. I realized that I had given up, I told myself that with a husband, two toddlers, a house to manage, a business to run, friends to try to see – it was impossible to dedicate the kind of time and energy that it would take to achieve that again. So – why not bake some Ghirardelli Brownies instead?

That was it. That was the bottom line. In my mind and in my heart, I was defeated by my weight.

This had been my road to repentance in this area. The Holy Spirit had convicted me, I had submitted in my weakness, I did not know how to repent and he showed me the last thing I needed to surrender. I had to surrender my attitude of defeat. If He wanted me to change, then I was not defeated. It was time to ‘turn away’.

Shortly thereafter, I was given an arsenal of tools, and the Lord opened a door for me to change.

My husband hates talking on the phone. He never calls me on the phone. Literally, the same week that I reached this point, my phone rang at 11am – prime work time for Alex. He called and said, “I met a guy who owns a gym, called CrossFit. It sounds really different from anything else I’ve heard of. I think you should go to the introduction meeting on Monday.” Alex is part of a business networking group called BNI and the owner of my CrossFit visited one day, and one day only. He didn’t join the network. But since Alex is the visitor host, he got to spend extra time talking to Vidal and learning about his business. As soon as they left the meeting, Alex called me. I truly believe that God introduced them. It was important that Alex was inspired for me to try CrossFit. It takes a lot of time and it is expensive – and now he was bought in for me.

I went to the introductory meeting and loved the approach, the philosophy, the mutual encouragement among CrossFitters. It didn’t matter that when I started I was using parallettes to do pull ups – people were happy that I was working hard. And when I progressed to 2 bands and then progressed down to a single green band – people were seriously excited for me. And I was thrilled with myself.

More importantly, I found that I didn’t want to quit; I didn’t want to skip a workout or cheat on reps because I had greater tools at my disposal than even my (awesome) coaches. Many verses echoed through my mind and heart during workouts and meals:

· Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18) I said it to myself this way: “because Jesus was tempted, he is able to help me when I am being tempted... to quit, walk instead of run, not push as hard as I can, eat a French fry…”

· Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. (1 Corinthians 6:12). This verse was my driving force once I started CrossFit’s Paleo Challenge – 10 weeks of eating lean meats/fish, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, cutting out sugar and processed food. I would joke to Alex that I was eating like Jesus (not a caveman, like the paleo diet says) because I would frequently eat fish and fruit for breakfast.

So I may, or may not, win the Paleo Challenge on Thursday’s weigh out. But I’m 24 pounds lighter since November 17th when I joined CrossFit and 15 pounds lighter since the challenge started on January 17th. I have learned that (lo and behold) food should give you energy after you eat it and make you feel good, not sluggish and tired. I have learned that it is liberating to know that I don’t need to eat whatever I might have a desire for and I’ll feel better afterward for not doing so. I have learned that I have muscles in places that I didn’t know I had them – and that I can actually use them! I have learned that I am strong.

The end of the Paleo challenge is four days away. I hope that I win. But I don’t care if I don’t. I am being transformed. It didn’t start in November when I joined CrossFit. It started in September when God began to refine me. You might say that getting ‘fit’ and losing weight is insignificant in the spiritual sense. But it’s not, because it hasn’t been about fitness and losing weight – it was about submitting to Christ through the Holy Spirit. It has been about trusting God to refine me in an area that I was holding back from him. It is about realizing that what I was trying to hold onto on my own was hurting me – but that He didn’t want to change me to keep me from enjoying what I like (food) – but that he wanted to show me that His power is greater than what I thought I wanted.

I’m preparing myself to live ‘post paleo challenge’ and this is the verse that’s going to drive the days ahead.

· Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

· And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

A year ago today...

One year ago, at 6:35 am the Lord blessed us with a precious little girl, Grace. She is beautiful inside and out. Already we see a sensitive spirit in her, sweet innocence and amusement. In the nature of our little family she has her own little 'spicy' side, too. We like to think of it as the very emotional manner that is common in all four of us - our emotions run strong.

Like all blessings should, Grace, is a constant reminder of how undeserving we are of the things that the Lord grants us out of his goodness and mercy. Moreover, this is why we chose her name, as a namesake for the amazing love and grace that God showed us in his greatest gift to us; giving us His son, Jesus, to bear our sin on the cross and be the perfect substitutionary sacrifice that redeems us to God. The Lords holiness is so beautiful, awesome and perfect. Alex and I are truly humbled by his sovereignty that saw to bring us to himself. Beyond that....everything else is just....a gift of love, which we are so undeserving.

For that reason, today, we praise the Lord for Grace and all that he will do through her life. Happy Birthday to my beautiful, sweet little Gracie-Grace!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A little comparison

Caleb at 12 months...

Grace at almost 11 months....

And just for fun...

Here are Caleb and my niece, Maya, being a couple of silly monkeys...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Aaron and Mandy - July 1, 2011

This past weekend we had the wonderful pleasure of witnessing the marriage of my brother, Aaron, to his beautiful fiancee, Mandy. They had a very intimate ceremony attended only by immediate family.

I will readily admit that Alex and I are both very emotional people (we have, in fact, cried watching: American Idol, the Apprentice finale, Humane Society commercials- for a few examples) - but the ceremony was very emotional for everyone present. Certainly, it was emotional because the caliber of their relationship and their love for each other is so great. But I think that the emotion really came from a different place. The tears of joy came from hearing Aaron and Mandy express so beautifully their commitment to God and their promise to honor Him through their marriage. Their vows were words of praise to their Lord, Jesus Christ, - who has blessed them with salvation and who they recognize has blessed them further with love that He ordained.

I am thrilled to have Mandy as a sister-in-law. She is quite possibly the sweetest woman I've ever met. She makes Aaron a better man (which is saying a lot, b/c he was nothing to sneeze at to begin with) ;)

Aaron and Mandy - Alex and I love you so much. We praise God for you, individually, as as a couple.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer fun

We had a little technical glitch which resulted in being unable to download my camera. Namely, that the projects for our family photos was also stored in external drive that stores all of Alex's client work -- which is stored securely away from our computer. So...I had to wait for him to move those projects back onto our computer.

Nonetheless - we are back and ready to catch up on documenting the kids' fun over the last month or so.

First - this is huge - we went to Disney World! Alex and I tried as hard as we could to avoid introducing Caleb to the Mouse. But it is futile, the Mouse is too powerful. It was, however, really, really fun; absolutely exhausting, but fun.

After Disney, we made a very, very wise decision and spent 3 days in Bonita Springs Beach over on the west coast - to relax after the vacation.

Then, as if that wasn't enough fun for everyone...right when we got home, my best friend, Lourdes arrived in Miami with her girls - Sienna and Ellie. So we spent even more time at the beach with them.

Ellie and Grace in a staring contest....

We also got invited to Lourdes' dad's birthday party - we love joining in on Molina family celebrations!!!

Sienna was in desperate need of a bath - which she was not interested in taking. We used Caleb as a human bribe and he took a bath too. It was super-fast and there were still tears involved, but at least everyone was clean!

This summer is really hot, but we are exploring all the fun ways to keep cool and stay outside to make Caleb nice and tired. This is a new favorite - the Pinecrest Gardens Splash Park - it is SO fun and safe. It only costs $3!

At first, Caleb was afraid of running under the big waterfall feature - but he was in love once I helped launch him under the water. Mommy knows best.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Caleb Turns 2 - the movie

I know that Caleb's birthday was a little bit ago - but my brother, Aaron - had taken some cool videos on his 'GoPro' video camera. This is the tiny video camera that snowboarders and skateboarders mount on poles or helmets to get their cool action shots. Aaron got it for his recent snowboarding vacation.

Check out his movie - and all the accolades that he gave himself! :) Caleb loves it and watched it about 5 times in a row, he was very amused by seeing himself in the swing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Wow! So many fun pictures to share. Since the last post we've had some fun times. Caleb turned TWO years old (woohoo for two!) He had a super-awesome, low stress birthday party (yay for mommy and low stress!) My parents, the kids and I left, literally, from the birthday party to start a drive up to Chattanooga to visit some of my awesome family up there. We had a blast. It was significantly less stressful than I imagined b/c I purchased a portable DVD player (yay for television in the car! --road trips only- ) and I brought my pump, so I could pump and feed Grace w/out stopping.

Here's the evidence of all the fun we've had...

Look! Mommy and Caleb woke up with the same bed-head!

My friend, Jenna, makes cakes (hint, hint). She made Caleb's amazing dump truck cake - it rocked. The layer-cake bottom was yellow cake w/ chocolate frosting and the dump truck was chocolate with vanilla frosting (yum!).

He liked the cake but he LOVED eating the sugar stop signs on the side of the cake.

Caleb's Abu and Aya gave him this awesome, realistic recycling truck!

You can even make it dump the cans into the truck and then you can turn a nob to make the gears take the trash into the truck - fun!

Caleb's Tia, Tio and cousins gave him a Melissa and Doug piano. It's also the perfect height for Grace!

Ok, northward in TN, we spent quality time with my Aunt Peggy.

We visited Mommy's alma mater, Bryan College. And Caleb got the obligatory picture with the Bryan Lions. Actually, the whole clan who visited Bryan that day were alumni - Mommy, Grandmother, Buddy, Aunt Peggy and their friend who came along with us. It's an awesome place and I wish that I had taken full advantage of the wonderful Biblical teachers that I had there...oh well, we live and learn.

Penguins are MUCH bigger than I anticipated! Chattanooga is the family friendliest place I've ever visited. If I didn't live in Miami, I would want to live there. We visited the aquarium - which was fish-overkill. By the end of it, I would try to excite a tired Caleb and he would say, "No, no Mommy, no fish!"

Speaking of family-friendly - check out the size of this playground! What the?!

We took the incline rail to the top of Lookout Mountain. For all intents and purposes for Caleb it was a train. Here is the view from near the top inside the car.

Here's the view inside the car...Yes, my mom is laughing - but her eyes are closed out of fear. :)

For the first time, Caleb got to play with his 2nd cousin, Dylan. He's 5 and very witty.

Dylan and his dad - my cousin, Dave. He is a complete kindie rocker. Yes, for those of us with kids - that is a new genre of music. It's like indie rock for kids. It's what super-cool rockers (Lisa Loeb, Weezer, the lead singer of the Presidents of the United States of the America, and the Verve) end up doing when they started having kids. So, Dave hosts a web-and-podcast called the Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl where he DJ's kindie rock. Check it out, it rocks (sweetly).

We also visited Julie's doughnut shop. Oh goodness. What that woman does with a doughnut is just not right...and I don't even care for doughnuts (who can eat that much sugar in the morning?) But these were simply dessert-like. Check out the labels.

And yes, she even does this...

I ate that doughnut. It was really good, very much a novelty and I couldn't eat it very often (like I can't eat bacon all that often). But I have a sneaky suspicion that if you got one of those fresh off the line that it might be like manna from heaven.

Caleb ate his first, and still only, doughnut. He ate five bites - aka the magic number. He hardly takes more than 5 bites of anything.

And finally - whew - what a post! Here are some videos!!

Grace is learning how to conduct an orchestra under the tutelage of Dylan and then Caleb.

Part 1 - Dylan instructs...

Part 2 - Caleb instructs...

'Milk': Caleb just cannot say 'milk'. It's not the mmm sound- it's just milk. Too cute.