Pursuing Transformation: Becoming a stronger, healthier person

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Happy #TransformationWednesday!!! Truth be told, I wanted to post my transformation update on Tuesday to be all cute and join on the #transformationtuesday train, but then I giggled at myself, because why the heck can't it just be Transformation Wednesday?!!!  I want everyday to be transformational- not just Tuesdays and Thursdays for the sake of the hashtag!! So here I am on Transformation Wednesday, excited to be back sharing the second installment of my Pursuing Transformation updates!  If you're new to this mini-series, last week I talked about this proclamation that I made back in January, pinpointing five areas of my life where I want to see growth in 2015 - and I introduced this mini-series where I'm checking in with where I'm at and encouraging you to do the same!

I kicked off the series by talking about my goal to give more of myself to the Lord.  I shared how I need to continue working on this area, more specifically by improving my discipline for daily Bible reading.   I sat down (today… ) to start reading a Psalm a day and it was great!!  Of course the Lord knows exactly what I needed to hear to start off this little journey; the scripture says, “ Blessed is the one… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, who meditates on his law day and night.”  Well, that pretty much sums up what I need to do- to delight in the law of the Lord day and night.  So much truth in that first chapter!! 

But before I go off on a tangent about Psalm 1 – I want to move on to my second goal of transformation for 2015.  That is, to become a stronger and healthier person.  I am pretty excited about this one because I have already grown leaps and bounds in this area since January. 

Wanting to improve my posture, decrease pain, strengthen my body and work on improving my overall wellness, I made three intentional steps to move me in the right direction (hah, no pun intended) - Body pump, Yoga, and Essential Oils. 

Body Pump- You may have heard me talk about this before, but I am in love with my weightlifting class at the YMCA.  Going back to class every week (sometimes twice a week), slowly but surely I have been increasing the amount of weight I add for each exercise.  My goal isn’t to be the next Hulk, but to be a more toned, stronger version of myself and I'm really excited because I feel like I am beginning to see (or at least feel) results. I really look forward to this workout every week - it's a great motivator to keep going, and it's an encouragement to the soul too because the music the instructor plays sings about the Lord!  Nothing like being motivated in body and mind! 

Yoga – man, I was missing out.  I am sad that it has taken me this long to try yoga because I absolutely love it.  I tried my first yoga class (besides good old Wii fit yoga) back in November and I am hooked.  Having had far too many skeletal issues for my young age of 29 ;) I have found the great importance of taking care of my spine.  Going to a Chiropractor regularly, I was so proud when she said everything in my spine was starting to line up nicely!  Being all about creating space in your spine and helping you strengthen your core muscles through the poses, I know that yoga has played a huge role in this and has been an incredible and crucial part in decreasing pain I was struggling with in both my lower back and my clavicle trouble areas.   Not to mention, it’s the greatest way to de-stress!! There have been many times that I have gone to class super cranky, and left feeling refreshed and re-energized.  It's crazy how even the simplest exercise of focusing on my breath can encourage me to make a positive change in my day.   If you are in the Milwaukee area, I highly recommend checking out Tosa Yoga.  The owner, Melanie and each of the instructors I have experienced are phenomenal!!  And plus, the first class there is free! Seriously do it!!  P.S. check out the pic above of my friend and I doing Paddleboard yoga!!! It was a blast!!! (Even if we fell into the water once or twice.)

Essential Oils  It’s crazy to me that I have only written about my love for essential oils once before on lovemin!! You guys, they have made a huge impact in my life.  I am a user, supporter, and distributor of Young Living essential oils.  But you can be certain that any time I share about how essential oils have helped me, I am not trying to sell you on something- I just want to share with you the exciting benefit that I have learned about.  My amazement for this blessing God has given us continues to grow with each and every oil I learn about and each new combination I try.  As of late my favorite combination has been Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint as it has helped me immensely in coping with seasonal allergies!! And this is just one of the many ways that I have been using essential oils to promote a healthy life.  If you don’t know about essential oils and how they can benefit you, please please let me know! I would love to help you start your own journey!!!

I am so thankful that the Lord doesn't just care about our souls but that He cares about our bodies!  And He gives us such great resources at our fingertips to play an active role in taking care of them.  I can't even believe how far I've come in regards to the amount of back pain I was still struggling with when I wrote that post back in January, and I can't wait to see how I continue to grow over the next six months.  I mean shoot, maybe I'll even have a six-pack!  Okay, props not, but hey, I can pretend.

My prayer for you this week is that no matter where you are at in your pursuit to become a stronger, healthier person, that you would be reminded that the Lord loves every inch of you.  As you go through this week and look in the mirror and are tempted to be discouraged, remember that you were created in His image and He wants you (and me) to use our bodies for His glory.  And that means, we can't diss his creations ;)  Own what you've got and be intentional; make steps towards becoming an even stronger, healthier you.

Want to join me in this? I’d love to hear how your pursuit for transformation in 2015 is happening- please share with me! Let’s be transformational ya’ll!


Pursuing Transformation: Giving more of myself to the Lord

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

One of my favorite verses comes from 2 Corinthians 3:18 as it says, “And we all, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  It gets me all sorts of excited when I think about these words that teach us that we are being transformed into His likeness.  I love that it’s not a past tense or a future tense, but a present- are being transformed.  There’s something so encouraging, so challenging and so exciting about this. 

I love this truth so much that I decided to make it my anthem and my goal for this year- to pursue transformation.  In the beginning of January I made this proclamation and explained five different ways that I want to grow- to be able to look back and pinpoint that I have been transformed more into His likeness.  Being that we are now halfway through the year (what?!?!), I want to revisit my goals and see how I'm doing.   

Transformation isn’t like the lovely crockpot that is brewing up my habenero beef tostadas for dinner tonight, with the “set it and forget it” mentality.  Instead it's a challenging sometimes gut-wrenching process that needs to be monitored, prodded, encouraged and pursued with each and every step.  Just like toning up those biceps in the gym, it takes intentionality and follow-through (but it's so rewarding!).  So, for the next few weeks I am going to touch base with each of my growth areas, not just for me to see where I’m at, but to hopefully encourage you to keep challenging yourself in the areas you’d like to grow as well. 

My first goal was “Above all else, I want to give myself more to the Lord – to be transformed into a better reflection of Him.  To dig deeper into His word and come out knowing more about Him and understanding how I can be a better communicator of His love.”    

This is the most important one on my list and there is always much, much room for improvement here.  I have made definite progress in giving myself more to Him by giving Him my dreams.  Making this choice day in and day out has been so rewarding, giving me great joy and more freedom as I give Him the power to guide me.  On the other hand, I have not been as successful in my efforts at digging deeper into His word.  I seriously don't know what the catch is there- it’s not a difficult thing.  I love to read, I’m all about words (clearly), but for whatever reason I am still terrible at daily Bible reading!!! It’s SO SIMPLE. Insert angry/annoyed emoticon.  There’s no excuse.  I need to start… today.  I am going to start by reading a Psalm a day (encouraged by our pastor Matt in church this Sunday) to build a habit of being in the word.  Once I build that habit back up a little bit, I’d like to add another book of the Bible in the mix- maybe one I haven’t spent much time in before, like Daniel or something.  For some reason I feel in the mood to be in the Old Testament; any suggestions of a favorite book to dig into?

I have a really hopeful expectation for this year, and I really do want be able to look back and see growth.  God created us to be reflections of His glory, but we need to do our part – by His power, let’s be transformed. 

Want to join me in this? I’d love to hear how your pursuit for transformation in 2015 is happening- please share with me!  If you’re a fellow blogger we could even start a link up! Let’s be transformational ya’ll! 

Giving Him my dreams

Thursday, June 11, 2015

When was the last time you were driving down the road, your jam came on, and you had no choice but to crank up the music and wholeheartedly belt out the lyrics with an occasional raised hand or a fist pump?  You’re jamming out so strongly, with no restraint knowing that everyone who passes you can’t help but laugh at the sight of you giving it your best Kelly Clarkson.  Yeah, you know the feeling.  That is my favorite.  I love when I am so obsessed with a song that I want to sing it out so loud, so strong that at the end I’m breathless.  

There is something so powerful about music.  It’s motivating, lifts your spirits, and most often gets your body moving.  But one of my favorite things about music is when it inspires.   Being a writer, it’s probably pretty evident that words are important to me.  They have power, they speak for us when we can’t find the voice, they share emotion, they evict love, they proclaim truth- they’re just good.  So when you partner a beautiful melody with strong words that speak to the heart- that’s when I love music the most. 

The scenario I described at the beginning of this post? Yeah… that was totally me this Tuesday.  I was on the two hour drive up to our family cabin and I was jamming out.  A hand was being raised, my head was bobbing, eyes were closing here and there (quickly and carefully of course- I mean, I was driving) – it was pretty epic.   Not too long ago, I discovered an artist named Lauren Daigle who has an Adele-like voice combined with some truth-speaking, Jesus loving, God seeking lyrics.  I am pretty obsessed with her.  (If you haven’t heard of her, check her out- you will not regret it, and you’ll probably thank me.)  The song that keeps finding itself on repeat, the reason that I felt inspired to write this post, and the cause of my jam-session is called Trust in You.  With lyrics all about giving our dreams to the Lord, recognizing that His ways are better than mine, and with a full breathed declaration to trust in Him even when things aren’t going as we hoped – it seriously speaks to my heart.  

I have very high hopes for this summer in regards to reaching for my dreams.  I feel a pressure on my soul to be intentional about what feels to be my calling as a writer, but the fear that tries to grip me is wanting to be certain that this isn’t just my dream, my hope for my life, but that it is indeed His call for me.  Being able to listen to a song that so clearly, and so profoundly describes the desires of my heart is so liberating and pushes me to make my trust in Him an outcry of my mouth and a declaration of my heart.  

Singing the words, “Letting go of every single dream, I lay each one down at your feet… Truth is you know what tomorrow brings, there’s not a day ahead you have not seen” and then joining in the anthem cried out in the chorus where it says, “When you don’t move the mountains I needed you to move, when you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through, When you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you, I will trust, I will Trust, I will Trust in you!” I know that the Lord is using Lauren’s beautiful voice and powerful lyrics to inspire and encourage me to over and over again give it all to Him. 

I am so thankful that there is power in words.  That God himself uses words to speak to us through the Bible - and that He reaches out to us through His Spirit to lay the truth that we so need to hear on our hearts.  And I’m thankful that God created Lauren and her beautiful voice. 

So if you drive past me in the near future and it looks like I’m embarrassingly in the zone, don’t worry, I'm most likely singing Trust in You. :)   If you need a new jam with words that speak truth to your heart and give glory to God, I highly recommend checking out Lauren Daigle's cd How Can it Be.  Then we can both be the crazies on the road turning up the music and pumping our fists- but better yet we can join together in giving our dreams to Him. 


the reason I write

Monday, June 1, 2015

Waking up this morning, the heaviness of my worries, my fears, my hopes, my to-do list, came crashing onto my heart like a 10-foot wave.  Sitting on the edge of my bed having such strong desires to accomplish much, I felt stuck.  30 minutes went by as I paged through my Facebook and Instagram feeds as I avoided putting my feet on the ground and figuring out how to start my day.  Dragging myself out of bed, I grabbed my cup of coffee and sat myself in front of my computer hoping that words would come bringing clarity with each letter typed onto my screen.  Writing out a few paragraphs for what I hoped would be a June Goal and update post, my fingers seemed forced and my words felt dry.  Taking a deep breath and fighting off the frustration that ensued, I started a new page and began to speak to the Lord.  Words flowed off my fingers as I talked with him about my heart, the heavy feeling of this day, my hopes and dreams, and the struggles that I feel in finding the right way to move forward.  Closing my eyes and pouring out my heart to Him, His words came to my heart like a much needed deep breath.  It’s all about Me.  Suddenly it clicked and a realization swept in that yet again, my focus was displaced… 

Throughout the years God has taught me time and time again how important it is to understand that this life I live is and must be all about Him.  He loves me so much that He sacrificed His son to the cross, just so that I might be freed from sin and build a relationship with Him. He, this awesome God, who has the power to move mountains and part the seas, so selflessly gave up His son for Me (and for you!).  And that’s not where His love ends.  He knows my heart, all of it, the good and the bad, and He still wants me to get to know Him and be a part of what He is doing on this earth.   Learning this lesson and shifting my perspective to the understanding that I want to be a part of what He’s doing, that I want my life to be about Him is something I know to be true in my heart, and yet it’s as if it hasn’t quite stuck because every single day, I get distracted, lose my focus and need to re-center on Him.  

Wanting so badly to pursue the dreams that the Lord has placed in my heart, I’ve gotten so caught up in the steps I am trying to take, the “how am I going to get this dream off the ground?”, thoughts about which designer I might use to help me create a logo and brand that best represents what I hope to be as a writer, where I am going to submit an article to, fears of how I could possibly one day become what I hope to be- that I’ve become overwhelmed and lost sight of why I want to do it all in the first place. 

The reason I write, the reason I want to be a writer is not about me.  I write because of the Lord.  I write because it helps me connect with Him and process what He’s teaching me.  And I write because I believe he’s given me a voice to share and a call to encourage. 

Reconnecting with the why, it’s as if the weight of the how and the when and the next step of what to do if I want to be a writer has fallen off my shoulders.  The desire is still here, the questions are still here, but with Him the weight, the heaviness, the burden, has been lifted away.  

I need to be reminded of this lesson every. single. day.  To be challenged to submit my desires, hopes, dreams, fears into His hands knowing that He is faithful and that his mercies really are new every single morning. 

Praying that you, too, would sink into His love and trust in His faithfulness. And that the words of Lamentations 3:22-23 would wash over your heart.  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”


-- image by Roost Photography -- 
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