MamaCreates

Behind the Scenes of One Mama's Life

Thrive90 – Days 3 & 4

Today is actually Day Four; and a day of rest. Boy, did I need it after Day Three’s activities! On Day Three, I had a new video to try. It was called HIIT Squat Walks – HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This video and workout was short, but boy did it pack a punch! You do four different variations on walking in a squat position for 30 seconds each, with a 60 second ‘break’ in between. The funny thing is that it seems so simple, but my glutes and quads were definitely worked hard! I felt it all day yesterday and again today.

I’m sticking with eating less than I used to, but I’m not always making the best choices when I do eat.  I’m not at a point yet, where I am able to make two different meals so that mine can be healthier.  I will continue to work on that!

Well, tomorrow it’s back to another new video. I look forward to trying it as well as the others. I have to admit that’s one thing I like about the Thrive90 program is that there are several different videos to do during the week. These videos will be the same for four weeks, then there will be a new set of videos for four more weeks, and another new set of videos for the last four weeks. I am told that they get more challenging with each new set, which helps with boredom, strength training, and plateauing.

Thanks for reading this journey with me!

Thrive90 – Day Two

Well today I actually had to exercise – the kids even did it with me. It’s good for them to see their mother doing this and to take part.

Why am I doing this again? Oh, that’s right, for my health (and I wouldn’t mind some clothes other than sweats and Ts).

I had to do a workout called Core Blast. I was happy that I could do a few of the exercises for the full number of reps or the full time. However, there were a few that kicked my you-know-what! Either I couldn’t complete the suggested number of reps or I couldn’t hold the position for the suggested amount of time. But since I am scheduled to do this workout a total of four times, I am hoping that will change. Wow, was I tired at the end.

Here’s what I liked about it:

  • there was a variety of exercises,
  • there was a combination of exercises and stretches,
  • to complement the video, there was a ‘worksheet’ that told me the exercises in the order completed; and provided room for me to make notes & record the amount of time I held a particular pose –  a way to measure my progress over the four weeks,
  • I felt like I got a total body workout (especially the legs after yesterday’s 30 minute walk),
  • there was enjoyable music playing in the background; it wasn’t too loud or obnoxious,
  • it showed a husband and wife team working out together,
  • it showed a couple of possible modifications to assist beginners (like me!),
  • Tony D. (the instructor) sometimes turned to show the correct form of a stretch or exercise,
  • the fact that it was on the computer, I could easily hit the pause button if I needed to make adjustments or get a sip of water.

There was really only one thing I didn’t like (not counting the physical pain :>). Since this was downloaded to my computer and I do not have a compatible TV, it was difficult to find a height that worked for the standing up exercises as well as the floor exercises. I actually had to move the laptop from the table to the floor, and back again, in order to see everything well. But it really wasn’t that much of an inconvenience.

My diet has actually improved over the last two days and I really hope I can continue that trend as well. I know how important it is to change eating habits when you’re trying to lose weight and/or improve health. I have a love affair with all things chocolate – Coconut M & Ms, Hershey’s Kisses, ice cream, cookies, fudge, etc. And I have made a deal with myself that I will cut it down, but not eliminate it. Now I realize that this may slow my weight loss a little, but I also know that if I completely deprive myself of this indulgence (which has admittedly gotten out of control), I will not succeed at all.

So yesterday and today, I ate more sensible meals than I have in recent past. I even made this:

It actually has more green in it than any other color – I was proud of myself. And you know what? It was delicious! I also made myself (and Diva) a strawberry-banana smoothie for breakfast today. Now, like I said, I have a chocolate addiction, so I did have a little each day, but the amount was tiny in comparison to what I was eating. I limited myself to about 1/2-3/4 of a cup of low-fat ice cream. And I stopped. I enjoyed the little taste I allowed myself and didn’t feel like I needed to have more. Yay!

Now I don’t know if I will post about every day of this Thrive90 program, but I’m going to try to post about each new element and any progress that I have made. I’m truly hoping that I see some results, even if they’re small, relatively quickly; as they will be powerful motivators to continue.

Wanna join me?

Thrive90 – Day One

As I mentioned here and here my health is not at its best right now. Over the last week I’ve been thinking, and praying, about the possibility of surgery. I keep thinking about the fact that this surgery would remove two (one at a time) parts of my body that God gave me when I was being formed in my mother’s womb; and I’m not sure I want to do that. It’s not like they can be put back if I change my mind. Not to mention that I had already done that once. A couple of days ago was the second anniversary of my hysterectomy.

I still have mixed feelings about that surgery. On one hand, I no longer spend days on the couch, clutching my abdomen; but on the other hand I regret that I can no longer have children. I don’t want that regret again.

As I was praying and talking about the possibilities, an option presented itself. It had been suggested that I could eliminate some, if not all, of my symptoms through exercise. I objected because my symptoms began when I was at my lowest weight. Admittedly I have gained a bit of weight since the hysterectomy, and I am not happy about it. That, combined with some of the online research I did, made me want to try to lose some of the weight.

There was an email in my inbox about a webinar for an exercise program called Thrive90. After watching the webinar, I felt like this was something I could do, and be successful at doing. It’s a program from a website called Fit Marriage and it looked like something that would accomplish more than just weight loss, increased energy, and better health.

Today was the first day. As you may have guessed Thrive90 lasts for 90 days, and you’ve got to start on Day One. With the program came several videos that I can stream or download, a calendar that plans out my workouts, a fit test, and an article on goals & motivation. There’s more, but that’s what I want to focus on.

Today I was supposed to take those dreaded ‘before’ photos (who knows, maybe I’ll be brave enough to post them once I don’t look like this anymore!), take the fit test, and do some measurements. Then I had to do 30 minutes of something cardio-related. Ugh! Those numbers were depressing! But I do the fit test after each four week cycle and can track my progress. And I even did my cardio – the kids and I took a brisk walk for 30 minutes. It was hard for me, but I did it and I really felt good about it.

Tomorrow I get to try my first workout video. I’m a little bit nervous and a little bit excited. It is my goal to report on my progress as I take this journey. Hopefully I will have some small success to report soon.

What about you? Are you working on improving your health and/or getting fit? How are you doing it?

* Disclaimer: I am trying to bring in a little extra income to help my family, so the links to Fit Marriage and Thrive90 are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a commission. Other than that, I have received no compensation for this post. I paid for the program and the opinions, and results, are ~ and will be ~ all mine.

Tough Decisions

Like I said in this post, I have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome on both sides of my body. You can learn more about it here, here, or here. Even with all this information (and there’s a ton more out there), I find myself very conflicted.

Or, maybe because of it.

I have had two thoracic surgeons examine me and perform tests; they both came to the same conclusion: this is a debilitating disease that will only get worse if I don’t address it via surgery. I have been through physical therapy with no improvement. I have taken pain meds which only last a little while, if they work at all. I have been at a healthy weight (when the symptoms first appeared) and at a “less than” healthy weight.

My symptoms are getting more and more difficult to tolerate. I wake up daily with pain in both shoulders and numbness or tingling all the way down to my fingertips. I have difficulty ~ pain, heaviness, fatigue ~ in every day things like brushing my hair, shampooing, dressing, baking. I go numb when I type (I have taken several breaks while typing this post) and when I drive. Sleep is difficult as I cannot get comfortable, or I go numb when lying on my side. These symptoms are not easy to ignore; and they are getting progressively worse. I am actually starting to drop things.

So here’s my dilemma: The docs both say surgery is the only way to alleviate the symptoms; they say I’ll recover quickly and feel much better, returning to normal activities within a few days. Though some say I’ll create more problems than I will solve with this surgery.  I want to make sure that it is a decision I can live with – literally. It’s not like they can put my ribs back in once they take them out.

Lord Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to guide my decisions. Help me to do what is right for my body and my children.

First Days

I’ve heard it said often enough, “This is the first day of the rest of my life.” This phrase usually implies that there has been a change in the person’s life, either for the better or the worse.

Well, I said that phrase yesterday and it was because something ‘worse’ had happened and it looked like it was on its way to becoming the ‘better.’

This has surely been one crazy month. There have been continued medical issues, like I posted about here.

But that’s not the worst of it… You see, something happened this month that turned my life upside down. It made me question so many things. It was devastating. Add the fact that there were others involved and you have multiplied pain. As in all things, God gives us free will; and with that free will comes the opportunity to make choices. I had the opportunity to choose to hold onto anger and to let bitterness fester or to let go of the anger and begin the the process of forgiveness.

I have chosen to begin the process of healing, forgiveness and learning to trust again. But it’s not easy. There’s one person involved in this situation who expects to be trusted immediately, just because they have promised not to do it again. I believe that trust is one of those things that can be switched off in an instant, but it cannot be switched on in the same way. I believe trust must be be earned. Now, that’s not to say that the person who committed the sin is to be untrusted for a specific amount of time, or a certain number of days without incident; but it still must be earned.

The person who sinned against me should want to do everything possible to earn my trust back, if truly sorry. Questions should be expected. Doubt should be a given. This is not a punishment – I don’t really want to punish anyone. Though I did want to punish everyone involved at first.

Then I had one of those “ah-ha” moments. Like I said, I wanted everyone to suffer at first. But something strange happened. I was driving Diva home from the hospital (she’s fine, just a doctor’s appointment), and mulling all this over in my mind, when a song came over the radio. I didn’t really focus on the verses, but the chorus stood out, “Hold on just a little bit longer. He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger. The pain ain’t gonna last forever. And things can only get better.” (from Stronger  by Mandisa)

I felt at peace. I no longer wanted everyone to suffer as I had; and I just knew that everything would work together for God’s glory. God’s Holy Spirit just filled me – it was amazing.

I will continue to pray and continue to walk the path of forgiveness. I know it’s going to take some time, but I also know that God has blessed me with His Holy Spirit to walk with me, to help me, and to lead me.

It’s the first day of the rest of my life…

COURAGEOUS: Honor Begins At Home

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)

Recently I was privileged to participate in an advanced screening of Courageous ~ the latest movie from Sherwood Pictures. You will remember Sherwood from their life-changing movie a couple of years ago called Fireproof.  And after what I saw in Courageous, I think God is using another movie to deliver a powerful punch.

In Fireproof, Stephen and Alex Kendrick reminded us that marriage is a covenant. In Courageous, they remind us of the importance of fatherhood. Courageous does deliver a powerful punch and more. It’s convicting (smacks hand to forehead ~ that’s the word I was searching for when I was filling out the comment card after the movie!). Like Fireproof, it makes you think. But the real question is, how will it make you act?

Some might ask why we need a movie on this topic. Don’t fathers know how important they are? Don’t mothers know how important a father is to her children’s lives? Of course, children know how important fathers are, right? Apparently not.

The Bible tells us that God created a man and a woman and told them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22). The man wasn’t told to plant his seed and the woman would take care of the rest. God created a family – with a mother and a father. God placed the father at the head of the family (1 Cor. 11:3; Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:25-29). He is there to lead, to guard, to guide, and to protect. The father has a vital role in the success of a family.

Now back to Courageous… the Kendrick brothers introduce us to four police officers and we hear about their experiences with fatherhood; whether it was as fathers themselves or their relationships with their own fathers. They did a good job depicting families that exist today – families with two parents, a divorced family and a single man. One of them grew up without a father, but had a father-figure as a mentor. One is a so-so father, another is a good father, and still another is just a weekend father. We see how their individual situations have shaped their views of fatherhood. We also see varying degrees of faith, and journeys toward developing deeper faith. A little later in the movie, we are introduced to another father who really brings a lot to the story.

The major themes running through the movie are that honor does indeed begin at home and that every home needs a father. Courageous hits us hard, right out of the gate. This movie is not a chick-flick (but ladies, you may want to have a tissue or two…). But, like one of the other attendees at the screening said, of the four movies Sherwood has done, this one outdoes them all in terms of acting, action, cinematography, message, and story.

Throughout the movie we see situations that many families face on a regular basis – busy schedules, feelings of inadequacy, fear, a need to forgive, anger, and more. More importantly, we see how to handle some and not to handle others. When tragedy strikes one of the fathers, it sends him on a journey to discover what God says about fatherhood, and he eventually confronts his own mistakes as a dad.

While you may think that this alone is enough for one movie, Sherwood Pictures takes it a couple steps further. After discovering what God wants a father’s role to be, the other men want in. They put it into practice and vow to hold each other accountable. Now here’s where you expect the typical Hollywood ‘happy ending’ – so not the case in this movie. There’s more excitement to come when one of the fathers truly needs to be held accountable for his actions.

This is a movie where there is no typical Hollywood ending; but there is resolution. Each man in this story is taken on a journey; and each has a different path with a different ending. The solidifying factor is that they all commit to the journey, all are held accountable, and all find the true meaning of fatherhood.

Be prepared for a couple of amazing ‘Daddy-Daughter’ scenes – they will tug at your heart and leave a lasting impression. But also be prepared for some intense moments – remember that the main characters are police officers.

The movie initially received a rating of PG-13, but that rating has been surrendered, leaving the movie currently unrated. The initial rating was for some violence, as well as gang and drug references. These things are certainly understandable in a movie dealing with officers of the law. One thing I noted, and appreciated, was that some of the necessary violence was implied and not directly on camera. For instance, in one scene you see the police officer tackle the ‘bad guy’ on the ground. When he loses the advantage, you see the ‘bad guy’ throwing punches but you don’t see where they land. The cuts, bruises, and blood are mostly left up to your imagination. This is especially helpful in one of the defining moments of the movie. That being said, parents need to be aware that there is some violence; and there are scenes involving drugs and gang activity.

The emotions I experienced during this viewing were many. To quote Larry the Cucumber, “I laughed. I cried. It moved me.” But that does over-simplify things a bit. Alex and Stephen Kendrick have a God-given talent for being able to insert humor at just the right moment; and at just the right level.

Thank you Alex & Stephen Kendrick, Sherwood Baptist Church, the City of Albany, and the many people involved in making this film. I believe it will change many families. Most importantly, thanks be to God for the inspiration, talents, and abilities of these men and women.

Now, Don’t Let Go of the Wheel   —   See. The. Movie! September 30th, 2011. Buy tickets, buy a show time – do it opening weekend. Show Hollywood what types of movies really matter! For more information, visit Courageous online.

NOTE: I know there are some fatherless homes that can’t change the way they are right now for a reason. I have been there, and I understand. This is a movie review and not a judgment. However, there are some families in this position that can change, and should. See the movie. Pray about it.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie

… seek the Lord, even if it means you’re standing alone.

WHERE ARE YOU MEN OF COURAGE?

* Images provided by Courageousthemovie.com

Fall Challenge Week One

Today begins Week One of Courtney’s Fall Challenge to Make Your Home a Haven. The challenge for the week was to get a candle and light it each day this week. Every time you see your candle’s flame say a prayer for peace in your home.

We are in the midst of a major transition at our house right now. One morning about two months ago we received a phone call from our landlord informing us that a realtor was coming over to photograph the house in order to list it for sale. Needless to say we were a little shocked by this news. However, we figured that we had plenty of time, given the economy and the asking price of the house. On September 20th we were told that we had 30 days to move.  Anyway, later that day, we were asked to try to find a new address by October 1st, but that we would still have the remaining three weeks to move out. It has been a very busy and stressful two weeks. We just confirmed our new home last night and will sign the lease tomorrow. Talk about cutting it close!

So, our house is not much of a haven right now. We have empty shelves and packed boxes. We have limited closets and no decorations. We have a tired Mama. I have two children who don’t understand how much work is involved in this move. Haven is not a word I would use to describe the house in which we currently reside.

But I have faith that that will change. We have a new beginning awaiting us – a new chapter in our lives. I am a different person moving into this new house than I was when I moved into this one. I have new tools, techniques, that I can put to good use in making my new house into a haven.

That being said, I knew which box was holding my candles. I didn’t go out and buy a new one, but I used one I had in the box. I placed it on the mantle this morning. As I was running around cleaning and packing today, I saw that candle’s flame dance frequently. I kept praying that my new home would be a peaceful haven. I look forward to lighting more candles in my new home.

Come along and light some candles with me…

Dear Younger Self

Today, Lynn and Dineen over at Spiritually Unequal Marriage began a series called The Intentional Marriage. While I was unable to view the first part of this series (long story, but no audio and very little data usage), I wanted to take a moment to participate. The challenge this month is to offer advice to our younger selves – before we were married.

Well, I wasn’t so young when I got married; at least not like brides used to be. I waited until I was in my 30’s to tie the knot. I had even known him for many years before we married. However, ironically, my advice to my younger self would be to wait a little longer and get to know him better. Had I done that, though, we probably would never have been married at all. So, what do I mean by this seemingly conflicting advice?

Ok, so maybe we wouldn’t have married… I can look at my younger self and honestly say that I wanted to be married. I was in my 30’s and had no prospects. I had grown out of the typical ways I thought one would meet a husband. I look back and know that I had already overlooked a few red flags. We got married, and even though we had known each other for years, we really hadn’t spent much time together.

Now older and, theoretically, wiser, I would highly recommend courtship instead of dating. I would suggest spending more time together learning about how each person handles conflicts, how he or she relates to family members, and how arguments are handled. These are all important as these situations will surface in every marriage.

Ok, Lynn and Dineen also requested that we post a picture from the wedding – keep in mind that we didn’t have digital cameras so this main be a bit grainy.

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