Heart Choices: 2009-01-11

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Fitness Friday




It's Friday, so it must be Fitness Friday. If you missed my post last Friday, I approached Sandy at God Speaks Today because I love reading her Fitness Friday posts. Sandy's a freelance writer on health and fitness and my background is cardiovascular nursing. So, I thought we could each offer our unique perspectives. So, don't forget to drop by Sandy's Fitness Friday post too.

If you want to get fit or lose weight, would you ask someone who is overweight for advice? I doubt it. Wouldn't you want to talk to someone who is successful and could share their tips and advice about living a healthy lifestyle?

Jamie is a 30 something friend of mine. She's a wife and mother of five children who range in age from 4 months to 14 years old. She home schools all her kids and wow; are they smart! And by the way, did I mention that Jamie runs one or two marathons a year and is in great shape?

Now, don't think she's a Stepford Wife. (I don't know if you're old enough to remember that movie about wives that were made into robots so they could become the perfect wife.) Well, that's definitely not Jamie! She'd be the first one to say that she makes her share of mistakes and learns along the way.

Since I don't have children and many of you are moms, I thought it might be helpful to find out what works for a busy mom who wants to stay in shape and be healthy. So, I emailed Jamie a few questions. She wrote back the same day with her answers. How's that for being organized?

I'm not going to share all of her tips because this post would be much longer. So, I'll save some of them for another time. But here are a few of her tips and ideas:

  • Jamie mentioned priorities and time management on the top of her list. She makes time for what is important and "daily exercise and prayer are at the top". I loved reading how she organizes her home so each child knows what's expected of them. Hmmm ...very wise.

  • Jamie has established the best time for her to exercise. In her case, the afternoons work best. She assigns the older children to rotate caring for the younger toddlers and babies while she exercises.

  • She incorporates variety into her exercise regimen. One day she might jog on the treadmill or do an aerobic video. The kids sometimes exercise alongside Mom. There are days when a formal workout isn't feasible. So, Jamies tries to incorporate some kind of exercise into her day, like roller skating around the driveway, jumping on the trampoline with the kids or simply walking briskly to get the mail. She gives herself the freedom to miss a day now and then and not feel guilty about it.

  • She sets a goal of running one or two races a year. She writes that it helps her to work towards something and then to be able to celebrate when she completes it. (Love this!)

  • Jamie tapes a picture of herself running her last half marathon on her bathroom mirror. It's a great reminder of how good she felt after completing the race with her husband Todd and the kids cheering her on.

  • Jamie and Todd sometimes even plan their family vacations around a race. The children are encouraged to participate. Braden is 14 years old and he's on his dad's cycling team. He often does 30 mile training rides with the men and occasionally joins in a race with his dad.
Here's six year old Mary. She received a medal for a tandem bike race. Way to go, Mary!

In the life of this busy family, exercising and a healthy lifestyle are just a part of their normal routine. Jamie says that "for our children, it is just how we live and a part of who we are".

I love how Jamie and Todd lead and teach by example. It's one thing to tell kids what to do but ...it's so much better to live it out in front of them. And the whole family has fun doing it together.

Now, maybe your family isn't quite as active but don't despair. It's never too late to get started even with small changes to work towards a healthier family lifestyle.

So, now how about you? How do you fit in time for exercise for yourself particularly if you have children? Do you exercise together?

Don't forget to visit Sandy for her Fitness Friday post too.
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Thankful Thursday ~ Possibilities



It's thankful Thursday and the theme for this week is ...possibilities.

When I checked Iris' blog to find out what the theme for this week would be, I have to admit that my first impression was to groan inside. You see, I'm in a place right now where I don't know what the future holds. And I like to know what's going to happen. But I guess that's part of walking by faith.

Abraham was called by God to leave what was familiar and to venture out on a journey of faith in obedience. I'm sure that was scary for him. But he obeyed since Genesis 12:4 says "So Abram left, as the LORD had told him."

I have repeatedly written on Heart Choices that we don't always choose our circumstances, but ...we can choose how we respond.

I guess I need to practice what I preach. That's the hard part. I find it easy to learn and have the head knowledge. But that knowledge needs to move down to my heart so ...I can apply it to my life.

So, on this thankful Thursday, I choose to embrace possibilities.

Do I know where I'm going? Not yet. But I'm thankful that God knows where He will take me. And that's good enough for me.

How about you? Do you embrace possibilities or do you stay in your comfort zone?

I encourge you to check other blogs who participated in thankful Thursday. You can find them on Grace Alone.

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American Idol Is Back!


American Idol is back! Season 8 began in Phoenix and since that's where I live ...I had to watch. I haven't been a fan of the show since the beginning. But my dad enjoys watching it and sharing his opinions. So now, my hubby and I tune in.

They've added a new judge this season. Her name is Kara DioGuardi and I have to admit that I'd never heard of her. She's a singer and a song writer. I'm sure I'd recognize some of her songs but I don't remember seeing her before.


Why choose to audition for American Idol? Well, the contestants obviously believe they have talent and can sing. Some were encouraged by their family and friends. Others seemed to want to be on the stage in front of a huge audience and be noticed. In today's society, it seems to be about having their 30 seconds of fame which is sad to me.

There were several contestants who stood out to me from last night's show. I thought the bikini gal was kind of sad. It was a singing contest and she auditioned in a very tiny bikini and certainly got noticed. She's only 20 years old and I kept wondering what her parents might be thinking or ...did they care? So many young women use their bodies to get what they want. It's a very revealing insight into our world's values.

But two of the contestants stood out in a good way for me. One was 23 year old Scott McIntyre of Scottsdale. He is almost completely blind and yet he chooses to not allow his disability to hold him back. He plays the piano beautifully and I thought he had a great voice. It reminded me of Jennifer Rothschild, a Christian speaker, author and singer. Jennifer went completely blind as a teenager and has not allowed her blindness to hold her back from being about the work God has called her to do. People like this inspire me!

The second contestant that stood out to me was 16 year old Arianna Afjor. She won me over when she talked about how she organized a group of teens to sing at the local nursing homes. As a nurse, I know how lonely and difficult it can be for older people in nursing facilities and for a teen to take time to do this, well she's OK in my book.

So, what did you think about American Idol? Who stood out to you from last night's show? Would you choose to allow your son or daughter to audition if they had talent to sing?
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How Patient Are You?


How patient are you? In our fast paced society, it seems to be instant everything. Who needs to wait for anything?

See something you want? Buy it with your credit card. Are you hungry? Simply nuke your meal in the microwave or go to one of the fast food places in your area of town. Missed a show on TV? Watch it online.

Did you know that we used to have to actually get up and turn a nob on the television to switch to a different channel? There were no remote controls.

And there was something called layaway? If you wanted to buy something but you didn't have the full amount, you paid if off slowly but you only got to take the item home ...after it was paid in full. Imagine that?

Consider the following questions:

Body:
Do you get discouraged and give up after eating and exercising for one week just because ...you only lost one pound?

Mind:
Have you tried to read a book but get distracted by all the other things you have to do?

Spirit:
Have you prayed for something and not yet received an answer?

We don't always get to see instant results. After all, some things take time and ...patience on our part.

So, how patient are you?

  • Are you willing to wait for something?
  • Or have you grown so accustomed to having things right now in your timing and in your own way?
  • Do you have any examples that you might share?
  • Have you learned anything from having to wait for something?
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Are You Teachable?


Are you teachable? Or do you think you aleady know just about everything you need to know?

After all, you've gone to college. Or maybe you've just learned in the school of hard knocks. You've had a lifetime of lessons.

Maybe you feel you're just too old to learn. After all, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Life can be hard. Maybe there are circumstances in your life that you never asked for. Other people's choices may have impacted you and shaped your perception and way of looking at life in general.

Maybe you've been hurt in the past and so ...now it's hard for you to trust or be open. You close your heart because you don't ever want to feel pain like that again. But I wonder ...are you missing out on good things by not being willing to be open to learn?

I remember hearing my pastor encouraging us to be life long learners and that intrigued me. I love to learn new things but I don't always apply what I learn. Head knowledge is one thing but ...heart knowledge is another.

The focus of Heart Choices is how our day to day choices will determine what our tomorrows will become.
If you're not satisfied with where you are today, would you consider examining the choices you make? After all, if you keep doing the same things ...you'll end up with the same result. Maybe it's time to learn a few new skills.

Think about children. When your child is learning to walk, they stumble and fall continuously. A fellow blogger posted a video of her little girl learning to walk. She would take an unsteady step, waver a bit and then fall down. But did she give up? No way! Up she went trying again ...along with her mom and sister's encouragement.


When little Mary was learning to ride her bike without training wheels, it took a time of falling again and again. But with encouragement from her big brother Braden she finally succeeded. And then when Braden was learning to dance he wasn't Fred Astaire overnight. It takes practice and time to learn new skills.

My blogging friend L-Jay of My Little Norway writes about adjusting to life in a new country. She's from Australia but she married a Norwegain who lives near the Arctic Circle. She had to learn a new language which isn't easy. She takes language classes to learn and she must practice every day. I'm sure she feels ackward at times but she's persistent because she made the choice to follow her husband.

Maybe you've set a few new goals for yourself in 2009? After all, it's a new year and a new opportunity to make some new choices.
Consider the following questions:
  • Are there some new skills that you might need to learn to accomplish your goal?
  • Are there people who might encourage you?
  • Is there someone who will help to keep you accountable?
  • Are there resources you can tap to learn a new skill to help you?

I'd love to hear from you. Are you teachable? What steps will you take to make new choices that will help you grow in body, mind and spirit?

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