Fitness Friday: Pressing Through the Pain

This week has been tough.  I’ve shared a bit about my history of chronic pain and plan to continue to do so in my future blog posts.

It’s not always easy.  Some days are particularly harder than others.  Sometimes my pain is minimal, but I have other periods when the pain persists for weeks at a time.  I had to sleep sitting up following my sinus surgery this past December and I think that may have triggered some things, but I won’t complain because the pain is still not what it used to be.

Back in 2012, I remember praying and promising God that if he did what only he could do in the spirit realm, I would do what I could in the natural realm.  Prior to that, I’d worked out with a trainer and lost a decent amount of weight while in school in North Carolina. After moving to Mississippi, I slacked off of my workouts and the pain returned.  I quickly realized that a significant factor in managing my pain was building up my strength.

This leads me to the main point of this post: Pressing through the pain.

By pressing though the pain we gain our strength.  In Philippians 3:7-14, Paul writes to the Philippians in this frequently quoted passage of scripture about “Pressing Toward the Mark.”  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you’ve seen me use the hashtag #iPRESS often.  It’s my personal motto. I’ve even crafted my own definition of “The Art of the Press.” In my own words:

The art of the press is the process by which we continue to pray, praise and push even when it makes no sense at all.

The process of pressing may take us down a long road, but FAITH wins EVERY time. When we commit to the press, we make it to the promise or we come to a place where we understand the purpose of the process.

Take coal for example.  Coal under pressure can become a diamond.  If the coal does not become a diamond, it meets another destiny– Often a source as a source of fuel. Both are endings are significant.  The outcome is determined by 2 things– (1) the power working within it [us (Ephesians 3:20)] and (2) how it [we] withstand the art of the press.

Diamonds - Coal that Did Well Under Pressure

One of the greatest lifestyle changes I made for myself was creating my own “fitness corner” in our home. I have most of the elements I used at physical therapy. My intention here was to create an environment in my home that would allow me to continue those activities that helped to minimize my pain symptoms. A big thanks to#peakwinathletics for the stability ball and foam roller!  Both items are super sturdy and come in my favorite color– pink! I use the stability ball for core strengthening exercises and roll out my IT band to reduce any muscle fatigue after I finish my modified workout. I may not feel well enough to go back to the gym just yet, but I know I can remain active at home and maintaining my strength training makes a world of difference in managing my pain– #iPRESS!

In the same way, it is also important that we are intentional about carving out both time and physical space to focus on building our spiritual strength. I’m using apps on my phone like First 5, YouVersion, and BibleGateway. I like that each app has different features and that I can synchronize my activity between my android phone and tablet device as well as my online profiles (for YouVersion and BibleGateway).  First 5 is really awesome because you can read the morning devotional (which really does take about 5 minutes) and then schedule it to remind you to complete a complementary study called “More Moments” later  that same day.

I am in no way trying to tell you what do or how to do it, but I am hoping to encourage you to do and use something.  For both your physical and spiritual health.

Be intentional about your future and what you want to see for yourself in 2016.

I’ll be praying for you!

Book Review: Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible for Kids

image

I’m back with another book review!

I was extremely excited to receive an advanced copy of this text to review because I still vividly remember when my mom gave me my very first bible and how special that moment was for me.

Given that this is a children’s bible,  I was surprised to see that it did not have many images in it at all.  It is very much like a traditional bible in this sense which would make this more appropriate for an older child,  in my opinion (maybe one who is 7 or 8) or for a children’s church leader to use with a small group or for his/her instructional study.

Continue reading

Brace Yourself

I’m in the middle of several transitions right now, but one thing I am reminded of in this season is just how much God CAN and WILL provide! {Luke 12:24}

I am also learning how just how necessary it is for me to brace myself– both physically and spiritually.

In the physical sense, I still have some days when my lower back is in a bit of pain. I spent the past couple of days cleaning and organizing our home office and combined that activity with an event at church where we made vision boards with our Girls’ and Women’s ministries so I’ve been giving my back and lower body a good workout. Thankfully, I’d received this #freebelt to review and its lower lumbar support and heat are EVERYTHING right now!

What I most like about this belt are the built in stones and magnets inside the belt that transmit heat to your muscles and offer immediate relief by reducing any swelling and helping your muscles return to their normal state.
image

This lumbar belt is also designed to support and strengthen your lower back muscles, while aligning your posture and reducing muscle inflammation and pain. You can even wear it during your workout. I’ve yet to test out this option, but I may do so when I go back to the gym tomorrow.
image

In the spiritual sense, as I continue to go through experiences of trying, testing, and pressing I have to brace myself.  Before worry, anxiety or stress set in it’s of the utmost importance that I pause and pray and recenter myself.

I’m in a season that requires great faith.  And a key part of that faith is to remember just how faithful God has always been.  If I don’t brace myself daily and moment by moment, the temporary challenges and unknown future can overwhelm me.  But God has been so faithful and he has not changed.  He is the stability I can hold on to each and every time I find it necessary to take a moment to pause and brace myself.

You may find yourself in a situation somewhat similar to mine today.  If so, I’m saying a special prayer for you right along with myself.

Here are a few passages of scripture that I am holding near and dear to my heart at the moment:

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Luke 12:22-32 Do Not Be Anxious  And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Hebrews 6:19-20 The Certainty of God’s Promise   We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Image

A NOSE by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

My nose is still a nose by name, but it’s a “whole new creation” — if you will.

I mentioned in my previous post that I’d undergone surgery to correct some sinus issues. Long story short, after years of allergy issues, I was diagnosed with what my Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist called “Sinus Disease” — something I’d never heard of before. Basically, my frequent sinus infections and reoccurring bouts of sinusitis had damaged the lining of my sinus cavities and made me more likely to get sick with any change in the weather or my surroundings.  2015 was a long year, but in the month since my surgery I’m feeling much better — My breathing has improved, my sense of taste is heightened, and my husband and close friends swear that my voice has changed!

At first I didn’t agree with them, but after listening to and comparing some of my old and new podcast recordings– I do hear a difference in my voice– That’s SO CRAZY!!!

Another unexpected benefit of my surgery was that it got me into the habit of using an aroma diffuser in our living room and bedrooms. My post surgery instructions recommended using a humidifier/diffuser to keep the air moisturized and in-turn keep my sinus cavities moisturized to aid in healing.  I’d received an aroma diffuser to review and these oils from Simply Earth prior to my surgery, so this was really the perfect opportunity to aid my healing and make the shift toward using more green products in our home.

I love having air fresheners and candles to add pleasant scents to each room in our home, but I’m learning more and more that most commercial fresheners aren’t friendly to allergy suffers and contain a number of ingredients that aren’t the most healthy things in the world (I’m not getting into the chemistry of this, but if you do a quick google search, I’m sure you’ll find lots to read).

I’m very pleased with the oils I received to review and plan to order more. They’re 100% Pure, Non-Toxic, Have No Additives, and are Unfiltered and Undiluted with No Fillers.  Now, it’s my nightly routine to add a few drops of the lemon oil to my diffuser along with some lavender oil and I sleep through the night (Lemon and Lavender are natural antihistamines and it’s suggested that lavender oil induces sleep).  I use the peppermint in in our living room while I’m working at home (Peppermint is said to stimulate the hippocampus area of the brain which controls mental clarity and memory. The aroma prompts you to wake up and pay attention.)

If you’re looking for healthier, “greener” options for your home, I’d highly recommend giving essential oils a try!  These are more affordable than most and the company donates 13% of their proceeds to organizations working to end human trafficking.

image

 

 

Image

3 Steps to Getting Back in the Gym After an Extended Break

Step 1. Set a date and time to go back to the gym.  I love the quote in the image below. I’m a stickler for keeping appointments and being timely. Once I set a “gym date,” it’s on!

image

Step 2: Select some cute (and functional workout gear)! This was easy for me to do since the husboo gifted me the cutest workout top for Christmas (it actually has glitter in the threading of the fabric) and I received these leggings from Sport It!

image

image

The leggings are AMAZING. I wore them all day before going to the gym at 5:30 pm and let me tell you that is no small feat.  Usually, compression leggings are uncomfortable to wear for long periods, but these applied the perfect amount of pressure without being too tight and still maintaining a decent amount of slack at the same time.

I woke up at 9 am. Put my leggings on. Did hours of cleaning and housework while wearing them and headed straight to the gym with no issue.

Step 3: Get to the gym (Or wherever you work out) and get to it.

The hardest part is getting started. You may feel rusty, but don’t hold yourself back.  Here area some shots of me at the gym and trying out the new leggings!

image

image

image

image

image

And DONE!  Before I knew it, over an hour had passed!

Getting back out there can be the hardest part! If you’ve hit a slump, are at a loss of motivation, or have already set aside your New Year’s resolution to get healthy or get back in the gym, I hope this post has helped to motivate you.

I know there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to health and wellness, but one things is for sure, “You have to start somewhere!”

Figure out where your “somewhere” is and take that first step,  no matter how small it may feel!

Scriptures to meditate on:

1 Corinthians 9:26-27
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.

3 John 1:2
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Until next time, #GoFixSomething and #GOSPORTIT

Disclaimer: I received a promotional pair of these leggings at a discounted price in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.