Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yesterday's Rally and March for Life

Yesterday, Mitch and I went to the annual rally and March for Life in Fort Wayne. To read highlights from the event, please read the article I posted on (and please subscribe and pass it along! Please, remember to credit me if you decide to write for them as well!). That article took me four hours to organize/compile, write, and post and I had some technical issues that made me lose it (good thing I had saved my own copy elsewhere! So much for the "auto save" feature that was supposed to prevent that!).

Since articles aren't supposed to be "bloggy" or about the writer, I saved some of the good stuff for my own blog (like these two pictures). This picture is of Cathie Humbarger and I. She works tirelessly to put together and promote events like this and she is always fighting hard for life! As some of the other speakers said, she is truly one we all look up to and a pro-life hero! ;)

This picture is of Abby Johnson and I. As you will read in my article, Abby Johnson is the Planned Parenthood worker that resigned after seeing an ultrasound aided abortion. What she saw totally changed her heart and her life! I was so honored to hear her speak and to get to talk to her in person! She is another amazing pro-life hero that is now working hard to expose Planned Parenthood and motivate others to stand strong for life!

There are a couple things that I wanted to mention that I couldn't fit into my article. One of them being that Cathie reported that we have yet another abortion provider in Fort Wayne. The glimmer of hope is that, once again, a Women's Care center has opened across the street (which has led to a lot of women coming to the "wrong door" and subsequently, getting REAL help!). ;) Praise God!!

The other thing I wanted to mention was a little bit about some of the Planned Parenthood secrets that Abby revealed. The laws and patient safety ordinances that help restrict abortions are having a positive effect on Planned Parenthoods because it's making it harder for them to operate. However, there are instances in which they are being able to skirt around the laws. Abby talked about going to NAF (National Abortion Federation) conferences as well as CAPS (the Consortium of Planned Parenthood Abortion Providers) and how they stategized to beat the system. She was right when she said you would have a hard time googling information about CAPS because it's very secretive (but I was able to find this link).

Abby said that she learned about how Planned Parenthoods were going to get around a law that said that the RU486 (abortion pill) could only be given by a doctor who administers abortion. She said that women in more rural areas didn't often get to the big city clinic where that could be done. So, they are setting up pcs, web cams, and a cash drawer in these smaller clinics to where the women sit in front of them and she gets the pill administered to her by a doctor in a totally different clinic via the web cam! He/she just simply presses a button on his computer, that is wired to the little drawer in the clinic that she's in, so that the pill is dispensed to her! The worst part about this is, these rural area girls are in danger of hemmorhaging and having blood clots because of this pill and if they have complications like that, their nearest ER could be miles away (not to mention the fact that her "administering doctor" isn't anywhere near her!). So, by the time she gets medical care, it may be too late!!

In instances where things like this occur, Abby said that Planned Parenthood doesn't even report them until 1,000 patients have experienced a problem!! So much for women's health! Not only do these women not get follow up with their "doctors" (especially doctors like these that they have never even meet in person) but they get no real patient care. Once you're done, you're done. They get you in and out and that's all you get.

This is only the tip of the iceberg! I would like to think that anyone reading this would be outraged and horrified. Even if you aren't pro-life, I would think that the fact that a corporation is acting illegally and placing people at mortal risks would be enough to get upset about. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with things like this!!

So, what can you do to help? Well, for one, you can spread the word (and even forward this blog). Write/call/e-mail your representatives and do whatever it takes to spread awareness and get the ball rolling!! If we band together, we can get it done!! God bless you all!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Momentum Continues! :)

Praise God! The momentum continues!! I am down 3.2 pounds this week! Thank you, Jesus!! So, by my scale, that’s 202.2 to 199!! Oh yeah!! The one at the gym weighs differently (and I go there in the evening); 204 to 201 by theirs. So yeah, 3.2 + 4.8 from the week before = 8 pounds in two weeks!! I’m very thankful! Couldn’t have done it without Jesus!!

Gosh, I can’t remember the last time I was happy about weigh-ins! I just hope that the trend continues and I stay free from the “p” word (plateau). Usually, after a while, the nicer numbers slow/stop and it ends up just being 1 or 2 a week (though, that’s the general recommendation anyways). I guess when you watch “The Biggest Loser”, you would like to think that losing a lot from week to week is something you can do (and keep doing) too. It depends on how much you need to lose too, though, anyways.

I can’t think of anything else other than the fact that I didn’t get to “bring it” like I had hoped. For some reason, Blake wasn’t there to help train. I couldn’t find anyone that knew the reason why, but something must have come up because he’s not the type that just doesn’t show. So, maybe next week I will get the opportunity to “bring it” and see what P90 is like (I hope). It will also be great to be shown how to lift/do things the right way. I’m pretty sure I do alright, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if you are doing things with proper form. It’s nice to have someone who knows what they’re doing help you figure that out for sure. That’s what I was hoping for; to learn from Blake’s expertise so I can maximize my performance, weight-loss, and avoid injury causing mistakes.

At the very least, it’s nice to be able to use the gym once a week for free! I ran on a treadmill for 20 minutes and then did weight machines for 35 minutes (and yet, still felt like doing a 20 minute Turbo Jam workout when I got home). So, I really sweat it out; and it felt great!

It also felt great to be around other people from church (and to see how our teams are doing!). I think there were a few people that had to pay-in because of a pound or so gained, but most people are losing. I think my team is doing pretty well - oh, and we got our blue team shirts (I’ll have to take a picture, soon, and post it!). Pretty awesome!

Well, that’s it for this week’s update!! Here’s to keeping the momentum going!! Thank you, everyone, for reading and cheering me on! I’m so appreciative of everyone’s positive comments and support! God bless you all!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Praise God for Progress!!

It’s been a week now since I started “Fit Life” at church (click here to see last week's blog because I forgot to post it other than on spark). Yesterday was weigh-in day and I am happy to report that I have had GREAT success!! According to my scale last week, I was 207. This week, it showed 202.2 which means I lost a total of 4.8 pounds! Though, if we’re going by the weigh-ins at the gym, my numbers are a little different. I weighed in at 209.5 last week and then 204 this week which would make my weight loss 5.5 pounds! Either way, I’m pretty much five pounds lighter!! Praise God!! To Him be the glory, because I couldn’t have done it without Him!

I’m happy with the amount lost! My scale actually showed me closer to 200 earlier in the week, but I had muscle gain/fluid retention. That’s something that always makes me wonder a little bit and I hope that it never interferes to the point that it shows a gain because, as you know, if I gain weight I have to pay five bucks per pound!! I don’t want to have to do that! I am hoping and praying the momentum will continue, but it usually has it’s ups and downs pretty quickly after that first week of initial success. I think I was also all the more successful because prior to that, I hadn’t done anything nutrition or exercise wise in a couple weeks because of the illness I had. My scale measures body fat and my percentage is down by 1.4% so I am happy about that! ;)

I’m satisfied with the progress I have made in this past week. I tracked everything, and even on the days that I went over on my calories, it usually wasn’t by much and that is the one thing I have tried to be “loose” about. I’m being strict and disciplined, but I don’t want to be THAT rigid. Not only that, there are times where I really am physically hungry and as long as I’m not eating when I’m already full, I don’t worry about it too much. I also don’t worry about being perfect in every area or about total restrictions. If I go over in sodium or something, I’m not going to obsess about it or worry. If I eat ice cream or something sweet, I’m not going to feel bad. I’m not going to say I can never enjoy something that I like; I’m just not going to eat a truckload of it. In fact, there were several times where I cut things that I normally wouldn’t have, but still enjoy it. For example, I actually said “no” to cheese on my sub at Subway (which I usually don’t do). I said “no” to a large size latte and got a small with NO whipped cream and I enjoyed it slowly (usually, I get the largest and gulp it down quickly). And, probably my proudest moment, was when I went to a baby shower and ate NOTHING (that’s right! I had no chips, hot wings, cookies, OR the delicious looking chocolate cake - which I NEVER refuse!). I chewed gum and drank my water instead and then savored a delicious salad and sandwich at Panera bread afterwards (and they print the calories right on the menu and I picked low-calorie things!). Ok, so I DID eat that Baby Ruth candy bar that I won at the baby shower later on that night, but that was the first I had eaten a candy bar in a while and like I said, it’s ok to say “yes” sometimes. ;) Especially when I got 4-5 fruits and/or veggies nearly EVERY DAY and didn’t miss a day where I didn’t have my full 8 glasses of water!! ;) I was a good girl!!

Not only did I do pretty well with my food, but I did great with exercise too. Most know how much I HATE strength training, but I did it THREE times last week (lately, I had only been doing two) and cardio the rest of the days. The ONLY day I didn’t work out was Sunday. I’ve been a tad sore here and there (which is good) but I could stand to be sorer and know that I’m working all the harder. ;) That’s why I asked Blake (my trainer and team leader) to work me out hard next Monday. I used the weight machines Monday instead of going in with most of the people into the kick-boxing class (since I do Turbo Jam at home) because I wanted to get some strength done and over with for the week. I’m not a machine person (at least not for cardio exercises) but I think I like machines for strength (well, when I’m not sitting there wondering if I’m using the equipment right and having a bunch of gym rats look at me like I’m a moron! LOL).

I am looking forward to another week of success! Every morning, I read a bunch of verses to get me started and focused. I am hoping that I will start having them memorized the more I read them and that I will keep my focus on Christ where it belongs. He is my strength and He fuels me to do all that I can do. I am lost without Him! Praise God for getting me through this week!! On to the next!

One of the biggest things I look forward to (aside from seeing success at the weigh-in on Monday) is next week’s workout one-on-one with Blake. I told Blake that I viewed him as the “Jillian” and that I wanted him to let me have it next week and asked him if he would show me what to do (because thus far, no one has really gotten any “in your face“ training like I think we all expected). He said, “Ok, but you’d better bring it!” I said, “Oh, I’ll bring it!” (no,….there will be no “spirit fingers” when I bring it on!! LOL I just had to say that!). He said he was going to have me doing some P90 exercises. In fact, I’m hoping that maybe I can get that system from soon. I REALLY need a good (and fresh) strength training routine. He said P90X is the best, but it’s more advanced and P90 would be good for me just starting out. That’s good, because I have heard how intense P90X is and while I am not scared of the intensity, I know that my back/neck probably shouldn’t be pushed too much until maybe I’m a little more fit. I have to be sensible and listen to my body. I’m not afraid to push and be tough, but I think it will be best to start with the basic P90 as Blake said. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to have me do! LOL (Don’t worry, Shane. He’s not as frightening as Jillian! I can take it!!).

Well, that’s the lowdown!!! I’m thrilled to keep continuing on and am more encouraged and convinced that this REALLY will be the year I will get to 150!! ;) Wow! I can only imagine how much better and healthier I will be and probably how much of a difference it will make in the amount of pain I usually have to deal with. I look forward to being lighter and having a load lifted off of me! Praise God!! Also, thank you all for being supportive and cheering me on!! It means a lot to me!! God bless you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Love Note

I just finished a small book called “Love Notes from God” by Mary Hollingsworth. It was a book that was given to me some time ago by my dear friend, Cheri. She also included several precious notes of her own (each including some amazing insight into God and the scriptures). The final note of hers that I read was at the end of the book when I was reading little stories about being lost and found (and coming home). She gave this verse from Song of Solomon 2:4 which reads: “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

The way Cheri described it is beautiful: “He hoisted himself - the banner of love - up on a cross to fly over us. No banner of man can come close to the banner He waved.”

Amen to that! It reminded me of Zephaniah 3:17 and Psalm 23:5-6: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing….Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever."

Did you ever realize that the whole chapter of Luke 15 is devoted to the lost that was found and their homecoming? There are THREE stories telling of His love for us. We stray like sheep, but He pursues us and finds us. He celebrates every lost soul that is found! And, like the woman who finds her lost coin, He is overjoyed at finding something so precious and priceless!

Next, we see the infamous story of the prodigal son. No matter what he had done, the Father rejoices and welcomes him home! His love for him abounds. He feels no anger, resentment, hatred, judgment, or condemnation towards his son; only mercy and grace. This is how a good and loving parent treats their child. How much MORE so, oh gracious Father, do You show this to us?! You throw that party! You are glad to see us! You rejoice over us with singing! You prepare the banquet feast! We dine with You and spend our time in Your presence underneath that beautiful banner of love! How awesome!

Dearest friends, this is how much God loves us! Pause for a moment to think about it and take it all in. Let it sink down deep into your soul. If it moves you to tears, let it out as you let His love in! Breathe and be still. Praise the Lord!

Take a look at those verses again. It often helps to read God’s Word and to personalize it with Your own name (when you see the pronouns you/me) because, after all, His Word is for you! It speaks to your heart! Let it speak! Put your name in the place of the blanks and read it to yourself. Know that you are SO LOVED! Grace and peace to you! May His blessings rest on you all, His beloved:

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. (Solomon 2:4). The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Psalm 23:5-6).

“I bring you, _____, to the banqueting house. My banner over you is love. I am with you, ____. I am mighty to save. I take great delight in you, _____. I will quiet you with my love, _____. I rejoice over you with singing. I prepare a table before you, _____, in the presence of your enemies. I anoint your head with oil and your cup runs over. Goodness and mercy shall follow you, _____, all the days of your life and you will dwell in my house forever!”

"Jacked" on Jesus! :)

The time has come!! It is the new year and it’s prime time for losing weight! Yes, this has been a goal of mine EVERY year for the past I don’t know how many years! I have had my successes as well as setbacks. I’m still not at “goal” but I hope to be this year - finally. If ever there was a big kick in the pants to get started, it’s now! That’s because Life Church is doing “Fit Life” and this challenge isn’t for sissies!! They said it’s a big commitment and boy are they right! We had our informational meeting last night (just before the premiere of the new season of “The Biggest Loser”). A LOT of people showed up (but we shall soon see how many will last! Muah ha ha!!).

The commitment doesn’t scare me! I love it! Gives me clearly defined goals/boundaries! I know I can do it because I have done it before. I have to help me track my food and exercise. All I have to do is dig in my heels with my stubborn resolve and be super-strict on myself as I was when I first started spark in 2007 (and lost over 40 pounds). I have been consistent with my exercise, but not my nutrition. Now, I am ready to refocus and this challenge is already revving me up!

When we had our meeting, we paid twenty bucks (which covers our t-shirt and the cash prize for the team that wins - which they’ll split the money). The BIGGEST LOSER is the one who wins the BIG PRIZE - a week in a timeshare of their choice! I’m going to run this race to win, baby!! I don’t know if I will be the big winner or not (I probably don’t have as much to lose as some) but I’m going to work hard regardless! That and I don’t want to be one of the people that will have to pay five bucks per pound if they gain one (oh yeah, you heard right!). So, there is PLENTY of motivation to go around: trip, cash prize (or cash loss if you GAIN!), and your teammates!

We are meeting every Monday night to weigh-in and workout together (the rest of the week, we workout on our own time). This works out great because I normally weigh-in on Mondays anyways. I was primarily just going to post this kind of thing on spark (where I usually do) but I have decided to share it on the rest of my blogs as well (because your support motivates me and the extra accountability would be good for me as well - and if I can help inspire someone, even better!). So, be looking for a weekly update! Our starting weigh-in will be Monday and we are doing this for eight weeks.

The best part is, I got GREAT people on my team (though, I’m sad that Jenny Elliott and I didn’t get to be on the same team, as we had hoped!). Even better is the fact that when we were told who our team leader was, I got the JILLIAN of the bunch!! Oh yes, my team leader is personal trainer BLAKE RINGGER (Maggie, please stop drooling! LOL). He’s buff and downright tough as nails about nutrition and fitness! I’m proud as peaches to be on his team!

In standard “Blake” fashion, he proceeded to tell us how he would know in the next meeting or two who was “serious” or not and who the “jackers” would be (whether on our team or the other teams). We all laughed, but know exactly what he means. You always got some that are pumped up like truck tires but they either deflate easily or pop under pressure. The ones that “jack” around will either drop out quickly or just slack-off and not work very hard. Nuff said!! Though, as far as I can see, neither I nor anyone on my team is a “jacker” (though I think a lot of us are “jokers.” What? Laughing burns calories!). I’m very glad of that! No worries! We got each other’s backs (and our own!). The others teams should fear us!! LOL (Sorry, Jenny, nothing personal!).

Ok, I’m not trying to talk “smack” about “jack” or anything. I just wanted to take a walk on the lighter side before talking about the overall picture which is very serious. The fact of the matter is, our lives need to be about glorifying God and taking care of the temple that He dwells in; our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 10:31). The first and most important lesson I learned when I took “The Lord’s Table” course is that if we are to have any success, Christ has to be our motive. Christ should be our focus and our goal; everything else is just a bonus. I’m not fool enough to think that nutrition, fitness, and this challenge will carry me through this. CHRIST will be what motivates and carries me. I will NOT succeed apart from Him! It’s a fact! I will most CERTAINLY fail if I try this without Him (because I always do when I try and do it on my own steam)! Therefore, I must pray and seek Him MUCH more! HE is my ultimate personal trainer! To Him be the glory!! Jesus, it’s all for YOU!

I am hoping with all my heart that I will prioritize and make sure that my soul is nourished and exercised in faith before anything else. If I do that, I will succeed in whatever I do through Christ! To help with that, we were told that Chad’s sermon series for the next few weeks would be on “momentum” and keeping ourselves going in life with Christ as our fuel! I am really excited about this series! It seems as though all the tools are in place to get me going in the right direction (and I’m thrilled to have so many of you along with me for the ride! Thanks for the support and encouragement!).

Grace and peace to all of you! Here’s to hoping that none of us are “jackers” - unless we are “jacked up” on JESUS!! ;) Praise God! He always lifts me up and never lets me down!!! God bless you all!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to Snuggieville!!

Well, it’s officially 2010! Everyone always hopes for a wonderful new year and we all eagerly anticipate the joys we hope it will bring. Therefore, let’s start the new year off right - with some humor!! Yes, my friends, it is time to laugh……..WELCOME TO SNUGGIEVILLE!!

What is “Snuggieville” you may ask? Well, unless you have been living with Osama Bin Laden in a remote cave somewhere, I would think that it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out what I’m talking about (and you never know, Osama Bin Laden might be using one of these on those cold chilly nights in his cave!). I am talking about the “Snuggie.” Oh yes, they are EVERYWHERE!! You have probably seen them in every store you shop in! The box has a very comfy and content looking woman on the front and she’s wearing one (whether it be blue, pink, or leopard print). They even make them for kids (and DOGS) too!! Oh the joy (or to most, the HORROR!). It’s the infamous “blanket with sleeves”!!

For quite some time, I have been making fun of the Snuggie (and my friends and I have been having some good laughs about it). My favorite jestings come from my dear friend Adam who complains that the Snuggie is a “bathrobe turned backwards” and that “if you can’t figure out how to work a blanket, you deserve to be cold!” My friends, Amy and Shane, have also added their two cents worth here and there. Amy has said that they’re ugly, but that they could possibly be improved with a cool belt or some “bedazzling.” ;) Shane…….well….Shane is just too good for a Snuggie!

We have all enjoyed talking about the ridiculousness of Snuggies and have laughed ourselves silly over them. However, this greatly stirred up my curiosity about WHY Snuggies are so popular and if they are all they are cracked up to be. Then, I started kind of wanting one - just as a joke (and to take some awesome pictures!). My friend, April, wanted to be the one to grant my snuggly wish and so she bought me one - A PINK ONE!!!!! *Thank you, April! YOU ROCK SISTA!*

So, what did we do? WE TOOK PICTURES!! Oh yes, did we ever!! We had a blast! And, I just had to incorporate some “accessories” in with my Snuggie in order to give a little “wink” to my friends. The belt, bling, and tiara are for Amy. The sunglasses….for Shane (of course! What else?!). And the sunflower…for Adam (you would only understand that if you seen his profile picture). Then, April and I just took a bunch of pictures to demonstrate just how ridiculously HUGE the Snuggie is (and I think that plus the camera adds more than just ten pounds!). Oh, and Adam is totally right… IS a bathrobe turned backwards! Though, to a bathrobe’s credit, it actually CLOSES! The Snuggie does not! It leaves your backside feeling strangely exposed (like a hospital gown, I’m afraid). But, you learn not to mind so much because you are too busy pretending to be a Jedi as you endlessly flaunt your arms and position them in ways that Obi-Wan would (like using your enormous sleeve as a muff). Dang it, Yoda, where is my light saber?! Complete not my ensemble is!!

The entertainment factor alone is reason enough to own a Snuggie. However, I have discovered that its original intended purpose (warmth) functions fairly well. It’s convenient when you want to be covered (but not smothered) by a blanket and want to have your arms free. In fact, I am wearing this “pink nightmare” right now as I type! Yes, it’s shameful (and a downright disgrace) to all you anti-Snuggiekins….I know. I have betrayed you all with my conversion (to Adam, president of the “anti-Snuggie alliance”, I am so sorry! Well, kinda! LOL)!! Though, I still agree strongly that it is one of the strangest, most ridiculously redundant inventions ever conceived…..but gosh darn it, it’s a barrel of laughs! How can you not want to laugh yourself silly when you see it (or wear it)? Me,….I am tickled pink!! Ha ha!!

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and your grand tour of “Snuggieville.” While I wouldn’t wear it on an airplane like the gal on the box (it’s true! LOOK AT IT!) or want to be buried in it, I will wear/use it some around the house. Besides, in my daughter’s eyes, she says I look like a beautiful princess lol! Oh yes, look at my fluffy pink gown!! I’m gorgeous!! Yeah, roll your eyes all you want…….but you KNOW you want one!! Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it! Go ahead and get you one! You know you want to! No one has to know!! ;) Get Snuggified!!

Warm wishes and big laughs to you all (and may the force be with you!). ;)