Monday, August 5, 2013

Cinco de Agosto

We leave in one semana, (week) for Espana.  In addition to all the divertido (excitement) of planning this trip, I have shed some serious tears.  I'll get to that in a minute...

Jason and I enjoy traveling.  Mucho.  I'm pretty sure our experiences as a young married couple working with Teen Mania Ministries in the summers, taking hundreds of teenagers overseas on trips, equipped us with a sense of confidence and ease we would not have otherwise known when it comes to travel.  The President of TMM is Ron Luce.  He started TMM when he was a young guy with a passion for youth ministry and equipping young people to share God's love around the world through short term mission trips.  It's still going strong and has blossomed into so much more than only summer trips.  The thing is, it's always been run by youthful people, and for this particular ministry, at least in my own life, it was a very good thing because it helped me learn Trust at an early age.

You see, I hadn't ever been out of the country other than to a Mexican vacation town with my family where I would eat shrimp, play in the tide pools, drink a lot of Coke on ice, and buy cheap trinkets to "decorate" my adolescent room.  As the middle daughter of three girls, my dad was quite protective of us, even though I had wanted to go on mission trips here and there.

Then, 19 years ago, that is, one year after Jason and I were married, we celebrated our 1st of many anniversaries overseas...with lots of teenagers.  We were Team Leaders in Venezuela, and next to a week of intensive prayer and late hours of leadership training in the classroom, with further training on a ropes course, where I incidentally spent one hour, una hora, 60 minutes, on top of a "Pamper Pole", crying like a baby while everyone else went to lunch, it was this experience that was supposed to make me, a 22-year old newly married "grown-up" responsible enough to take 13-18 year old kids away from the comfy American lifestyle for one month.  I'm forever grateful for the real life, on the road, real-time, hands on training I received right in the thick of it.

It was there Jason and I found our traveling mojo.  With a new found affinity for world adventure, our love of ministry and sharing these experiences with others, Jason and I saw how once we leave the comfort and ease and familiarity of our day to day lives, even with a bit of apprehension, Big World warnings, and the fear of the unknown, there is this flow of trust which occurs with God, the Creator of this World, and between the two of us, to just take one step at a time, not get freaked out, get to know locals and ask questions, for directions and recommendations, and to just. have. fun.

And so, even though we've been married 20 years and have been parents for 11 years now, even leaving Em for Mexico several times, Japan, and weekends here and there, we've never written a Will.

*I'll pause while you gasp...

And we're back.

The process hasn't been difficult as far as "stuff" goes because having loved Noah and lost him, we're not big "stuff" people, but let's just say, my sinuses were stuffed for several nights, crying myself to sleep thinking of who we'd leave our KIDS with and pleading with God to follow through and bless me with this promise He gave me a few years ago, trusting Him with the number of ALL OF OUR DAYS, and just NOT LIVING IN FEAR since anything could happen anywhere, any day of the week.

What does this have to do with "Operation Get Sexy for Spain?", you might ask.

Well, it helps me keep the fact I've even been married for 20 years to my very best friend, in perspective.  It reminds me God is BIG and He loves me and loves everyone else and has a plan and sees a bigger picture, one we aren't able to see, but it's good and I can trust Him.  I can trust Him with my heart, my fears, my STRESS and how I manage it, and allow my heart to be filled by Him in ALL things rather than quick fixes which will never satisfy, like salty or sugary carbs that don't actually FUEL my body.

Does God care how I look in a sundress in Spain?  No.  I highly doubt it.  However, He cares about me, and you, because He hand-crafted us and knows us by heart, and He promises...He promises.

And you thought the two weren't related ;)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Short Challenge Info

Here's the deal...this isn't about weight loss.  It's not a diet.  I don't even advocate you hop on a scale or take measurements.

I'm not intending to lose any weight, actually, just so that is clear.

I feel good and want to remain feeling good.  

It's just when I get stressed, historically I will eat...and preparing for trips, even though they are fun and exciting and once in a lifetime opportunities, stress me out.  I don't love packing...

I don't know about you, but I will eat in an attempt to stop the stress but the stress only heightens because the focus of the stressful situation then shifts to wishing I hadn't eaten such and such and so goes the cycle.

Just to clarify, the challenge from last night is how I usually live and eat, when things are smooth and life is coasting along...although life doesn't just coast along and things get wonky and the flow hits a dam or cascading waterfall or tons of rocks that slow or heighten the flow and then I have to decide what I'm going to do...which is what I'm working out in the day to day and through counseling. I going to turn to food or to God?  What or Who will I let FILL me?

My plea is to have a group who will rally so I can stay strong and not freak out and say, "Screw it all, oh well, just pass the carbs and chocolate!" over the next week and a half.  Because this is a #firstworldproblem and God is the Only One Who can deeply, truly, ultimately satisfy us at the core.

And so you know, I am going to enjoy myself in Spain, but for me that doesn't mean I'm going to go hog wild, because I don't want to feel miserable there, either...

Someone I love dearly, when I posted this on Facebook, said this, "You will look AMAZING in a bikini in Spain.  Don't do it!!!!  Who you are is beautiful, that is what makes the biggest impression!"  I want to be clear, because here was my response, "I feel beautiful and already look good in my bathing suit, I just want to stay strong and not stress eat or slack on my day to day normal health routine while preparing, if that makes sense?  Not doing something "new" or even a diet!  I promise!  It's just staying on track.  Thanks for the loving!"

In a new favorite book I am reading by Bob Goff called, "Love Does," he says, "God is the master artist and made an original version of us, a priceless (piece) that cost everything to create.  A version that can't and won't be created again."

My heart for this challenge is to continue to stay strong, to love myself, in the day to day, not with food rewards but in time with The One Who loves me and made me, treating this gift, this original version of me, a body He intricately designed, with grace, taking care of it, filling it with good, life-giving things He made, along with ample rest, and strength.

For some, this may be a radical change, for me, it's remaining faithful, keeping my eyes on Him, not even focusing on what I can and can't eat, but allowing my eyes to be on Him as I balance in the here and now.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Short Challenge

So, we leave for our 20th wedding anniversary trip to Spain in 11 days.

Once dias.  (pronounced, "Own say" and "dee oz")

Uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez, once...

20 years ago on my honeymoon I was so friggin' insecure about my body I was self-conscious in my bathing suit...and not in my bathing suit, but that other "suit" that starts with a "b."  Now, 20 years later, I love me.  It's been a journey, for sure, but I'm so much more comfortable in my own skin and confident in the woman God created me to be.  All that being said, I still want to be one sassy hot woman for my man in Espana...and for me!

Soooo, I selfishly want a support group, and would be MORE THAN EXCITED to also cheer you on.

It's simple.  Nothing extreme or long, and yes, we are approaching a weekend and have one more before we leave the morning of the 12th, but this is what I'm thinking:

  • Starting August 1st, Move every. single. day.  Doesn't have to be long, just walk, bike, swim, Zumba, run, whatever, just move our bodies.
  • Drink only water.
  • Eat boat loads of COLORFUL veggies and lean proteins and good fats 90% of the time.
  • Eat one to two pieces (servings) of fruit before 2pm.
  • Lift heavy things or do resistance training 3-4x in those 11 days.  I'll be doing weights and squats and lunges, push-ups and pull-ups...
  • Do Yoga or some really great stretching at least 2-3x in those 11 days...I have the P90X Yoga and a Rodney Yee one hour video...
  • Journal how we feel, leave comments here (I'll post on weekdays for accountability's sake), ask questions, cheer one another on...or we can make a Facebook page, instead, let me know, too, called "Operation Hot Naked" I mean, "Operation Hot Spain"...even if you aren't going to Spain with me and Jason, and all...Or it could be called, "Clean Streak" or something catchier...thoughts?  It's only 11 days...
What does the 90% mean?  That means, 6 out of 7 days, love our bodies in a way that our food choices have to do with giving our bodies a source of energy and strength rather than "rewarding it" or "comforting it" with food that has multiple ingredients or comes from a box or bag...and on the one day of the 7, eat one or two meals where we just don't worry about it.  We can feast, but listen to our bodies and see how we feel after a whole week of eating well.  

So, I'm NOT a mathematician, but basically in the next 11 days, 3-4 of our meals would be "free" and this usually works best for me, at least, on weekends, and includes a little wine and chocolate, obviously.  

*I was already doing this challenge with my sweet friend who is going on her anniversary trip to Alaska at the end of August, but with it right around the corner, I'm all about team and cheering one another on...and selfishly leaning on YOU so I can stay strong!!!  

Anybody?  It's short!  It's doable.  AND IT WON'T HURT YOU!


Monday, July 1, 2013

On the Road to Freedom

Today I did a CUH-razy thing.

I played at a splash park with my kids.  In my bathing suitWithout a cover-up

In public.

Even crazier than that, I ran full speed through the grass in my bathing suit, chasing my screaming/laughing toddler as he fled my water gun assault, all the while yelling, "More, Mommy, more!"

In the far distance is Em in her striped bathing suit, I'm the only mom in the fountain with the aqua suit, Anthony is almost engulfed in a geyser, and Ry is positioned to shoot Miss Gina, who did not ask his mommy for permission to take pictures ;)

Sunny day collage with Gina and Anthony.

And the craziest of the craziest part of it all:  I felt free!  I didn't care.  My thighs were flapping in the sun, but it was warm.  Emily was chasing me as I chased Ryan and we were all laughing and playing and having what a majority of people would call fun.

And it was good.

I did experience a total sinus flush when Em and I ran through the fountains, but even then I didn't care.  Instead of quitting, I stepped aside, got my bearings, did a fantastic farmer blow, and went back through the fountain.  With my daughter.  Because she wanted to play with her mom...and I wasn't being a lame-o, as I've been so many times in the past, sitting there, caring that my thighs don't look Photo shopped in real life.

I played with my kids.  I mean, I play with my kids every day.  But this time, I played with them in a bathing suit.

*If you even know what the heck I'm talking about*, then you know this was a step in the right direction on the road to freedom. 

I hope you'll join me on this freedom road.  There is laughter and weightlessness here.  It's called living.  Profound.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


I have a confession.

In the summer of 1988, my parents made me get a summer job.  Apparently going to swim team in the morning for an hour and a half, then coming home to lay out in the pool for 6 more hours with a pitcher of sun tea and jug of baby oil, working on my tan lines, wasn't a real job.

Who knew?

I kid, but seriously.

I worked at McDonald's.


I will wait as you catch your breath, come to, reorient, whatever you need to do to continue reading here.

I will write that again in order for it to soak in...I worked at McDonald's.

#instagram #confession #notlovinit

We all have those jobs from adolescence we look back and are able to laugh at...and there really is so much to laugh at regarding this whole scenario.  Oh, the irony!  Hindsight brings such clarity, as well as research, educational films, websites, and nutritional books, but the information I've gleaned from this clarity isn't funny at all.  The black leather Keds to go with my black polyester pants, Golden Arches on the rear pocket...that's funny.  After only one summer of working there in my whole life, the fact that I can still say, "Hi!  Welcome to McDonald's.  My name is Adrienne.  May I take your order?"  Disturbing, yet funny. 

Over the years learning about health and nutrition, eating as close to the way God created food in the first place, then feeling the effects of it in my body, as well as my brain and energy, do make me look back and laugh at this picture, but cringe I had anything to do with Big Brother and our rampant health crisis in America to any degree.

The idea I actually thought eating there on my breaks was still a good idea even after orientation and training, well, hindsight reveals this not funny at all!  More of a brainwash session, really.

The owners were very honest, hard-working people who owned several franchises.  Physically, they didn't look as if they ate at Mickey D's regularly.  Our particular location was clean and well managed.  All that to say, truth be told, the last time I ate there was while I was pregnant with Emily, first trimester.  I wanted what the "SuperSize" guy craved:  I wanted fat and grease.  I drove through the Drive-Thru and had a cheeseburger, hold the mustard, not because I don't like mustard, I actually love it and craved it while pregnant with Ryan, but because I knew they had to make me a fresh burger if I put in a "special order."  If you are into math, Em's entering 6th grade, so that's how long it's been...

What's the point of this post, besides making fun of my high school summer job?  Well, let's just say, even as a high school kid, I knew deep down inside that smelling like a french fry every day for an entire summer, and eating a cheeseburger without mustard each day on my break, could not be good for me.  Just like out of a commercial, the next summer and summer after, I worked next door at Subway.

Which is a totally different story altogether and a load of laughs for another post, but back to the point of this one...

God created our bodies to understand the foods HE created.  And if God did make burgers, do you think He'd put up to 100 cows into one?  And did you know He created them to eat grass?  The stomachs of cows were designed to eat grass, not corn.  But setting meat aside altogether since that's a hot topic, we wonder why we are sick and diseased, achy and growing old at an alarming rate, earlier than in history...maybe "alive" longer, but not really LIVING.

*Just something to think on:  If God designed our DNA to understand the DNA in foods He designed, wouldn't it make sense that we feel better when we eat a majority of foods in the "whole food" category?

I ask this, not because I am perfect and don't ever eat GMO foods or foods in aisles in boxes with words I'm unable to pronounce since I failed chemistry, but I ask this of myself, and challenge myself, to choose the foods which are closer to the way God designed them in the first place, because, maybe, just maybe, my body will flourish and feel strong as a result.

Do I do this 100% of every day?  Nope.  As a rule of thumb, I eat "clean" 85-90% of the time, then depending on the events of the week or upcoming holidays, I'll let loose a bit.  You can bet chocolate in some form is on the agenda.  I usually can feel the effects pretty quickly, but once I get back on my "clean" wagon routine, I'm feeling good again.

If you are achy, dealing with bloating, gassy, arthritic, tired, cranky, short-tempered, experiencing memory loss, sleep deprivation, intense cravings, and whatever other things you may just think "go along with aging," I dare you, even if you don't eat at McDon*alds, the next time you go to the grocery store or to a restaurant or search the web for a new recipe to serve yourself or your family, ask yourself the question above, marked with an asterisk, in bold and italics.

And then listen to your body and see how you feel.

If we don't believe our digestive systems have anything to do with our current state of health, we're just drinking the Kool-Aid.