Friday, March 23, 2012

Rise and Shine

A while back, I bought a CD collection of children's songs to sing with my Sunday School kiddos. One of the CD's has all of the old kids' Sunday School songs that we sang as kids. (Who remembers Father Abraham???) On Wednesday, I took the CD's out of the Sunday School room because I'm no longer teaching on Sundays and Wednesday nights will be ending soon for the Summer, and I didn't want to lose them. So, they've been sitting in my car. It was only natural that on the way to work this morning, I stick that CD in and start jamming to preschool worship songs. I'm not to good to be that crazy woman driving down the interstate, windows down, with no kids in the car, singing "This Little Light of Mine" with much enthusiasm.

One of my all time favorite songs, Rise And Shine (Arky Arky) came on. As I was jamming along with it, I was reminded of something. The song tells the story of Noah and the Ark. In a strange way, it reminded me of our journey waiting for a birth family to choose us. Noah was told there would be a big flood and that he needed to build an ark to prepare. At that time, there had never been one drop of rain in the world, so Noah had no clue what a flood was, and he surely didn't know what to expect. But he knew what he needed to do to prepare, and he obeyed. Then, once on the Ark, the rains came. They were stuck on that Ark for 40 days. No TV, no iPod, no Youtube, no Wii or Xbox...just a staff and a whole lot of smelly animals. Sitting. For 40 days. Can you imagine?

Noah was patient, and he had faith. He believed that God would protect them, and that one day the waters would subside and they would be able to begin life as normal again.

I've never related to Noah like that before. Brandon and I have absolutely no clue what to expect. We don't know what our adoption story will look like, because no 2 are the same. But, we know that there are things we must do to prepare for a child because we have faith, and we believe that God will bless us with a child. We don't know when. We don't even know how. But we know that God is good, and that He is faithful. I believe that God has his reasons for allowing us to wait, and I believe one of those reasons is to prepare us to be parents. But for now, we are stuck waiting, and some days it feels really yucky, much like sitting around a bunch of stinky just plain stinks! But God has reasons for all things, and I believe whole heartedly that even when I am sad, depressed, lonely and even angry, God is holding my hand, and that one day we will no longer have to wait. One day, we will hold that baby in our arms and all will be right in our world. I need to remind myself of the meaning of the Rainbow...that there is calm after the storm, and that God never ever breaks his promises!

Just like the song says: "Rise and shine, and give God the glory glory, Children of the Lord." So, that's what we will continue to do. We will give Him all the glory and trust in Him completely...even when it isn't easy. One day, we'll be singing "The sun came out and dried up the landy landy, look! There's the sun! It dried up the landy landy! Everything is fine and dandy dandy, children of the Lord!"

Cheesy much? I think so :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 25= New Habits

We did it! We made it through our 24 Day Challenge! I really truly feel that we have made some dramatic, positive changes that are becoming new habits. These are some of our new habits!

The Old Habits:
1. Lots of sweet tea, cokes (diet and otherwise) and sugary drinks
2. HAD to have some form of sweets daily...cake, cookies, ice cream....anything.
3. TONS of bread
4. No water. No, really. I hated water and rarely drank any.
5. Skipped breakfast or ate something like cereal or a tall glass of chocolate milk
6. Lots of potatoes, white rice, and pastas
7. Two words: red meat.
8. Visited the grocery store hungry and without much of a list
9. Never really planned ahead
10. Ate out 3-4 times a WEEK! That doesn't include buying lunches (usually fast food 2-4x per week)
11. No exercise. At all.
12. Portion control? What's that?
13. Milk and cheese daily. Actually, at every meal pretty much.

The New Habits:
1. We have had nothing but water, spark, and 2 glasses of UNsweet tea in 24 days, and I am ok with that. I now crave water and will turn down the tea for water, and the thought of a carbonated beverage makes my stomach hurt.

2. We have pretty much cut out refined sugar. With the exception of the sugars in sauces (which we now ALWAYS opt for a lower sugar or no sugar added version now), we haven't had any sweets, and neither of us have missed them.

3. We now ONLY eat whole grain bread, and only in moderation. Bread isn't daily for us anymore.

4. I drink 80-100 ounces of water daily.

5. I always have breakfast. Currently we are using the Advocare Meal Replacement shakes which are fabulous.

6. Baked potato 1x per week or less, with NO BUTTER. We've switched to brown rice and whole grain pasta, and we've only had pasta once in 24 days.

7. Very little red meat, and when we do have it, we use really lean beef. We've started using ground turkey in a lot of recipes.

8. My weekly meal plan and grocery list is a must now.

9. The biggest key for me has been planning ahead. From creating a weekly meal plan, to putting my blender bottle of water in the fridge at night for my breakfast shake the next morning, to putting my lunch together for the next day while I'm cooking dinner, and planning ahead for going out or nights that we won't be home.

10. We've eaten out 3x in 24 days. We now are getting to where we prefer homecooked, real food. Restaurant food just doesn't satisfy like it used to.

11. I am adding exercise daily. Some days I take a walk on my lunch, some days I go up and down the stairs at work, and yesterday I did yard work. I am striving to add some form of exercise each day.

12. Portion control is a must. I don't measure our food, but I fix a healthy plate with smaller portions of lean protein and brown rice, and larger portions of veggies and fruit.

13. I eat very little cheese, and haven't purchased milk since we started.

All in all, we have made major changes to our diet. We've even started getting creative and finding substitutes for things, like 0 calorie butter spray instead of a heaping spoonful of butter, and blue agave nectar or Splenda instead of sugar. We feel so much healthier, and I can tell it not only in pounds, but in our energy, the way our clothes fit, and my hair and skin. I even sleep better at night.

Although it sounds like way too many changes to make all at once, the funniest part is that most of these changes just came naturally. We don't WANT the sugary things. We don't WANT potatoes. Our bodies are craving fruits and veggies. It's amazing how when you give your body the complete nutrition it needs, it operates the way it's supposed to.

I can say, for the first time ever, that after 24 days, I am not feeling the desire to quit. I am more motivated and determined than ever!! Taking it 10 pounds at a time, I know I can do it! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 20...Closing In!

We are in the home stretch of our challenge. I must say, this has been the best decision we have ever made. The changes we are making are tremendous. Just 21 days ago, we ordered pizza because we knew we wouldn't have it for a long time, and now the thought of pizza or burgers literally makes me nauseous. During the first 10 days, we cleaned our bodies out, and now we are pumping ourselves full of great nutrition that our bodies weren't getting before, and it is amazing how when your body has all the nutrients it needs, it doesn't crave things to make up for the missing pieces.

I am currently sitting at a 10 lb loss and overall 8 inches. We'll get the final results on Monday, but I don't expect that to change much. But I am pretty happy with that! I definitely have a long way to go (about another 130-140 lbs....I haven't decided), and I surely have things I need to work on, like my exercising. BUT, I am on the right track, and in a MUCH better place than I was 21 days ago! For the first time, I'm not itching to "be done" with it so I can pig out. I'm not itching to go out for Mexican food, burgers, wings, or pizza. I'm actually craving good things and enjoying food in a whole new way. My body LIKES water!! Who knew, right? ;)

One thing I am really, really pumped about is that when we do get our referral for a baby, we will be much healthier, happier, and better equipped to handle a little one. We will have the energy and health to be able to get through those sleepless nights, and we will be able to enjoy playing with them and teaching them to be active. We will be able to lead them by example to a healthy lifestyle, instead of having the "do as I say, not as I do" attitude.

"If something is important to you, you will find a way. If it isn't, you will find an excuse"- this speaks volumes to me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 12

Today is Day 12 of our 24 Day Challenge. We are halfway there! That's not to say that we are going back to old habits on Day 25, though. We are really thrilled with all of the changes we are making, and for the first time we feel like these are changes that will stick. We have been eating a very healthy diet. On the 1st 10 days (10 Day cleanse phase), you have to be on a restricted diary, no sugar, little to no bread (all we had was whole wheat tortillas twice), lots of lean protein, fruits, and veggies. The only thing I have really missed is cheese. I am a cheesaholic! I did slip 1 Kraft single on day 10 for a snack, and it was YUMMY! Shhh. Don't tell. ;) But the funny thing is, since we've been making all of these changes and taking the supplements, our cravings are almost nonexistent.

We had a slight meal mishap last night. The recipe was for Hawaiian Bunless Turkey Burgers and I was making baked sweet potato fries with them. Neither were very good. We ended up with meal replacement shakes for dinner. Good thing we like them! Tonight the menu is baked tilapia and baked sweet potatoes. Hopefully those turn out better!