The Struggle to Keep a Godward Focus

Lara Casey posted this on her IG account yesterday and it had me thinking. While she was specifically speaking to the context of business, what she shares has been my greatest struggle as a believer in so many areas of my life.

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Not growing up in a Christian home, I learned to take care of myself early on. To say that my family was dysfunctional would be an understatement. I spent my childhood and early teen years focused on building a life that looked nothing like the one I came from.One where I was the boss, in charge of my own destiny. I was focused, smart and willing to do whatever it took.

Then, God saved me.

He plucked me out of true darkness and began conforming me to His image. So much changed drastically and quickly, but there were some deep places in my flesh that remained. They were hungry for comfort, stability, notoriety, and success. I learned to mask those desires on the outside, but they continued as driving forces in everything I did, and still do. They inform my work, my parenting, my role in marriage and virtually every other aspect of my life.

I know in a heady kind of way who I am in Christ and what that should look like. My knowledge of who God is, and the need to invest in eternal things, is not lacking. But, that’s just knowledge.

My anchor in Christ is not as deep as my knowledge of God is wide.  

This striving and busyness that Laura describe above, truly is tiring and frustrating. It is like squeezing a handful of sand so as not to lose any, only to watch it all trickle slowly through your clenched fist.

My flesh still rears its ugly head compelling me to hustle and work, and make things happen. It yells at me to be a better parent, wife, teacher, and overall better Christian. I live my life with a sense of urgency and hurry instead of in a resting, active peace.

I do believe that God designed me uniquely and on purpose. He gifted me with a childhood that made me a scrappy fighter. He gave me big ideas, dreams and a “let’s try” attitude. He educated me through intelligent, thinking people, both inside and outside of the church. He places me exactly where He wants me, because where ever I am, there is a need for the light of the gospel. He has redeemed so many broken pieces of my past.

The depths of my sinful heart never cease to both surprise and sadden me. At the same time, the expanse of His grace never seems to end. I long for a heart like David’s when He says, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere”, or like Moses who “…considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt”. My mind knows of the truth found in these verses, and a small piece of my heart feels the weight of them. But, if I am being honest, this isn’t always my default, my natural disposition, or the true direction of my heart. I am easily drawn to the world and its promise of comfort, ease, more, better, faster, and shinier.

Lara’s post got me thinking. Thinking about grace, and striving, and seeking to live a life that truly honors God. A life that desires to be with the Father, to walk in obedience to His calling and to do more than build something that will ultimately have no eternal value.

God’s grace has brought me so far, that at times I feel as though I couldn’t have possibly been the girl I know I used to be. But, this streak that lies so deep within me, often takes me by surprise. My heart is truly prone to wander, but His Spirit never lets me get too far. His Word, His people, and His presence draw me back into focus. I know He has already done a great work in my life, and know that He will continue that work until it is complete.

God plucked me straight out of true darkness and set my feet on His path. I sometimes get sidetracked, following down rabbit trails that lead me nowhere. But, my good Shepherd always brings me back.

I am thankful for His grace, the work of Christ and the restoration He grants believers.

I am thankful that we no longer have to walk in accordance to the patterns of our flesh and that we can joyfully walk in obedience to His calling.

I am thankful that we can have families, businesses and day to day interactions, using every ounce of who we are, to bring Him glory.

I am thankful that, as a believer, there is no rabbit trail that will ever bring us to our destination or completely out of the hands of God.

I am thankful that we have an eternity that is truly worth investing in.

I am thankful for a new heart, new identity and power in Christ.

I am thankful for His Word, that is truly a lamp for us, guiding our steps to live and serve and honor Him.

But mostly, I am thankful for a good, patient gracious Father. One who does not allow us to find lasting satisfaction in the temporary, but offers us full relationship with Himself, where satisfaction for all eternity is found.

Quick Effective Workouts: Tips and Encouragement from 7 Personal Trainers

Ya’ll know that I’m a busy, working mom. Because of that, I am all about quickly squeezing in an effective workout each day. I know many of you have even more going on than I do, which means you need to know how to get the most bang for your buck in every workout. Sometimes we feel like a quick workout isn’t as effective as a longer one. But, the right kind of quick workout can be more effective than hours in the gym. So, I called in a few friends to share their tips and some encouragement for doing a short workout that will get you results! These ladies are all killer trainers (and one running coach) with lots of wisdom. I love the common theme of simplicity they all shared in their tips! Be sure to check out their blogs and Instagram accounts for lots more tips and encouragement to get and stay healthy!!

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My Tip:

You all know me, but just in case you aren’t following me on IG…Here ya’ go!

You know I love a Tabata style workout. 4 Minutes is all  you need. 20 seconds of high(est) intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for 8 cycles. Anyone can squeeze in 4 minutes a day! If you want more info, or some sample workouts, leave a comment below and I will send some your way!

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Kelli Tobin

Blog/Instagram

Keep it simple. Thinking of what workout to do can be daunting. Use the numbers 30,20,10,5 and use a cardio, lower body move, upper move and abs move.
Example: 30 jacks, 20 squats, 10 push-ups, 5 crunches and repeat for time or a number of rounds. Short but effective!

 

Jen Mcamis

Jenn McAmis 

Blog/Instagram

I would second keeping it simple. You don’t need to stand on one leg on a BOSU and spin in circles while you do a bicep curl. Classic moves are classic for a reason. Also, be aware of form and don’t be afraid to ask! Doing something with poor form is the easiest way to get injured and discouraged on your journey. Most people love sharing what they know and want to see you succeed (especially trainers ).

 

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Jenna Carelli

Blog/Instagram

Circuit training! Keep workouts short and sweet, but effective! If you are limited on time, opt for a full body workout. No need to buy equipment for your home, you can find objects around the house (canned food works great for shoulder presses, as do small children!). I LOVE incorporating wall sits and other static holds into my at home programs.

 

Leah

Leah Bahrencu

Blog/Instagram

Don’t feel like your not getting a good workout with modifications. Modifying a move will allow you to focus more on your form and focus on the muscles being engaged. It’s ok to slow down the move. Taking it slow makes the exercise more effective than quickly trying to make it through an move. Always make sure you know the modification of each exercise before doing it.

 

Lauren-headshot-3 Lauren Boldizar

Blog/Instagram

You do NOT need a ton of time and it doesn’t need to be perfect…you just need to utilize the time you have everyday.

 

Lauren

Jenny Mire 

Blog/Instagram

My biggest advice to women wanting to lose weight is to lift weights. Learn how to weight train properly and lift those weights. You won’t get bulky and you won’t look like a man! Get firm, lean muscles by lifting weights followed by HIIT or burst cardio training.

There you go! Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy equipment. Stick to the basics and just get moving!!!

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Quickstart

Barre Playlist

Need to refresh and refocus your mornings? Sign up here to grab my 3 day devotional & workout plan!

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Hey barre teachers of the world! Have you searched high and low for the perfect playlist to rock your next class? I have, and I always end up finding things that aren’t long enough or that don’t pass my-love of pop music-test. So, I thought I’d help some sisters out!

playlist

The general format of my class goes a little something like this:

  • Warm-Up
  • Parallel Feet Section
  • First Position Section
  • Second Position Section
  • Arms
  • Arms and Legs Combo Section
  • Cardio Section
  • Floor: Abs and Back Section
  • Hip Abductor/Hamstrings/Booty Section
  • Calf Section
  • Floor bridge Section
  • Cool Down

I do vary things up a bit, but try to include each of those segments in my hour long classes. I like a mix of high tempo and low tempo songs, from all types of genres. I try to throw in some old school music with the newer chart toppers, because, let’s be honest… I am old…”ish”.

Here’s a playlist you can use for your next class, including BPM’s, if you care about those!

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Barre teachers, I would love to see your latest playlist! Leave me some new tunes in the comments below!

Want a new barre playlist emailed your way each week?

Sign Up Here

Faith Filled Yoga; Why You Should Give it a Try!

One of the main keys to getting in shape is finding a type of exercise that you love…or at least one don’t hate! So, I am bringing in some friends to share about the types of exercise they love in the hopes that something will pique your interest, and get you moving!  Today’s guest is a good friend of mine. In fact, she was one of my very first friends in BKK and was definitely my “how to survive life in BKK life coach”. Kristi is a yogi, and a fantastic workout partner. She is also a rockstar runner (like the kind that wins races), and became a certified Holy Yoga Instructor about two years ago. You can check her out in IG, and follow her fun BKK life!

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faith filled yoga
I remember my first encounter with yoga my senior year at university.  I was experiencing some hip pain as a result of a car accident, and my chiropractor at the time recommended I try yoga to help in the healing process.  I didn’t take his advice right away, but as a committed runner, I was desperate to be able to get back to running regularly again; so soon enough, I found a local gym offering a yoga/pilates class and signed up.

To say I was skeptical is an understatement.  Yoga to me seemed like one of those things people did who wanted to just be still, stretch and meditate a little, which seemed so far from what I wanted in regard to exercise and fitness (I have learned to love a good, long sweaty run).  But next thing I knew, I was 3 months into the class and found myself showing up a few times a week, and looking forward to the next class.  And best of all, my hip pain had disappeared completely.

I was spot on in my evaluation of the class, being that yoga does offer all of the things I was skeptical of: the invitation to be still, increased flexibility, and an invitation to presence of mind, heart and body.  But the thing I was wrong about was my assumption that this practice of yoga wasn’t “my kind of thing”.  Instead, I found myself realizing two things:

1) How amazing of a workout yoga was, different than any of the other types of workout I had ever known; crazy hard in it’s own way and yet one of those workouts that my body seemed to thank me for at the end of every class (and a perfect counter-balance to my other weekly workouts for increasing flexibility and helping to stretch out crazy sore muscles).

2) That stillness, deep stretching and taking time to be present to my body and to my heart was something I needed more than I ever knew.  Something that once I got a little taste of, I found myself wanting more of in the midst of this crazy thing called life.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I attended my first Holy Yoga class, lead by a friend who was offering the class near my house.  Holy Yoga took all that I had experienced in other yoga classes, and incorporated a rooted meditation on Biblical truths.  I found that in this practice of Holy Yoga, as my body was practicing yoga, God’s word was at work within me, and so often I heard the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart.  It was 100% yoga and 100% worship – and this, I loved.

And now, 3 years later, I lead that very class that I once attended. Even though I still run regularly and love hitting up other fun workouts throughout my week, yoga has become as much part of my life as any of those other activities.

Yoga, as a practice, is intended to connect the whole being – mind, body and spirit.  Using a series of movements (“poses”) designed to allow for the use of deep muscles, and increase the bodies’ natural flexibility, you are able to develop space to experience things physically that may never have been accessible to you before.  But even greater than this, yoga is a practice intended to create space for mind, heart, and body connection.

I love that yoga creates a space to be still.  No phone, no have-to’s, only get-to’s.  And I love the benefits that my body experiences after a yoga practice, kind of like it screams THANK YOU at the end of a class.  But most of all, I love that yoga is for anyone.  No matter what your body type or how “fit” you consider yourself, you can practice yoga.  That’s why it’s called a practice, because it’s never finished.  We all start somewhere, and as we continue, we find ourselves slowly moving forward and finding deeper spaces and more things we are able to do.  A little like the practice of LIFE huh?

So how ‘bout it?  I was a crazy skeptic and now, am a crazy instructor.  All I can say is try a class, or a few (usually the first class is a lot just figuring it out, so stick it out a few weeks).  I have a feeling you’ll surprise yourself with how great your body feels, but even more so, you will find the delight of the stillness and presence in the midst of the non-stop rhythm of life.

And if you are ever in Bangkok, come join me for class.

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Quickstart

6 Ways to Stay Motivated to Workout

Some people live, breathe and dream about workouts. You hate those people. I know. Most of us know we need to workout, and know why. But few stay motivated to actually get our butt’s in gear, to finally make working out a habit! I’ve written about some ways to build that kind of habit, but wanted to give you a few tips on staying motivated. Obviously there will be some overlap between the habit building and motivation, but there are a few extra things you can do to keep your motivation level up!

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Know your “why”

Having a clear “why” for your pursuit of health, is crucial to staying motivated. And let me be clear…aesthetic goals are a place to start, but they are usually not enough to keep you going when things get tough. So come up with something deeper. Wanting to be able to stick around for your grandkids,  live your life with energy, be able to work and serve others well,  are all big-picture “why’s” that will keep you moving, when all you want to do is climb in bed with Ben and Jerry.

Non-scale victories

I don’t own a scale. I don’t let my daughters weigh themselves. I was enslaved to the numbers on a scale for years. Let me tell you, that no number on a scale can measure your actual health, strength or how energetic and strong you feel. I like for my clients to have other types of goals and then we celebrate when they meet those goals!  Maybe they want to do a certain number of push-ups, fit into a certain pair of pants, or be able to run around the back yard with their kids without having to take a break. The scale can’t measure any of those things. AND… 150lbs on someone who never works out, and eats fast food all of the time, is going to look a lot different than 150lbs on someone who is living a healthy lifestyle fueling their body well, and growing in their strength.  Celebrating non-scale victories helps you to see progress more clearly, and reminds you of the deeper reasons why you are pursuing a healthier lifestyle!

Switch it up

Some people love consistency, but most of us get bored easily. Change up your workouts. If you live in a city with ClassPass or GuavaPass, I highly recommend you utilize those! They are a perfect way to try out different types of workouts, bringing you some variety. Having something new to try and master keeps most people motivated to keep truckin’ on! If you can’t swing a ClassPass or Guava Pass, then vary your workouts at home. Try different types of YouTube videos and mix them up with a run, a sprint session or a heavy weight session!

Find community (online or off)

You have probably heard the saying, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So, choose wisely! Surround yourself with people who understand your goals, and who are working towards the same thing. If you can find this in your offline life, awesome! If not, join some online FB groups, get a trainer or join an online bootcamp (shameless plug), or connect with people through social media (check out some fitness related hash-tags). If everyone around you (or everyone in your IG feed) is making time for the gym, a little positive peer pressure might kick in, and get your booty to the gym as well!

Schedule it in your day

What gets planned gets done. And ya’ll, I’m NOT a planner. But, I am learning this principle, and implementing it in my own loose way (planners of the world would mock me, but I am getting it together in the planning department). If you put a workout on your to-do list you are more likely to do it (<–see what I did there). Even though I am not a huge list-maker and crosser-offer, I am much more likely to get anything I put in writing, done! Schedule a workout into your day, and then cross it off when you finish.

Set up small rewards along the way

Set up small rewards like a new pair of workout capris, some new sneakers, a quick massage, or an afternoon off at the coffee shop when you meet a goal. I am not a fan of food being a reward, and you certainly wouldn’t want to reward yourself with something that will derail your goals (like a week off of working out)! So, think about what would reinforce your healthy lifestyle, and then set your goals with that reward in mind.

Here are some examples:

  • When I am able to complete 10 chin-ups, I will get a manicure and pedicure with my friend.
  • When I have worked out every week day for an entire month, I will buy a a new workout outfit.
  • When I drop one dress size, I will take one Saturday morning off to go read in a coffee shop.

Be sure to tell someone about your goals and rewards so that you will have some people cheering you on and celebrating with you as you begin reaching those goals!

Staying motivated to work out can be a challenge when you are busy living life and doing your thing. But, the benefits are obvious (in addition to the health benefits, there is a lot f research that shows regular exercise can correlate to productivity and overall success at work). So, while it would be great if we were all intrinsically motivated to live a sugar free life at the gym, it is likely that you will need to get creative in your extrinsic motivators. Enlist help and do what you’ve got to do. You might find over time that once you have worked fitness into your life for long enough, that you actually do begin to feel a lot of that intrinsic motivation rising up in you. Until then…bribe yourself with a kid-free afternoon or some cute new LuLu’s!

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Quickstart

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