Three years ago this summer I moved away from my family and friends and began a new journey in life in Texas. Twice a year I’m able to come and visit my mom, and it’s not until recently that I have really learned to appreciate everything she’s done for me. I’ve finally learned to really love my sisters and not see them as annoying. And I’ve really learned to love my stepdad and everything he’s done for me, especially the times he did things and didn’t have to.
Dear Readers, it’s finally Friday! What are y’all doing this weekend?! I want to hear all about it! Dear Self, today is a day to relax and calm down. You got really emotional yesterday, so take today to be in the word, be honest with people that you’re struggling, and let God calm your heart. Dear Alyssa, I loved getting to see you this week! As much as I love you I am thankful for the time we’ve spent apart, especially since we will be sharing a room with one other person this semester. Dear Mom, I cannot WAIT to see you in less than a week! I’m sad that I’ll only get to spend a couple of weeks with you, but we’re going to have a blast!
From Sunday until today I had the privilege of staying at the Gaylord Texan with my Alyssa’s church as a youth leader. I’ve gotten to do several events with Alyssa’s church and have always loved every second of it. I’m currently between churches and am struggling to get plugged in anywhere, but FBC Livingston has really adopted me and I’ve been able to develop great relationships with so many of the people there. So when the opportunity came up to volunteer at a youth leader at this conference I jumped all over it.
We arrived on Sunday night and played a game called Whirlyball. This was one of the most hilarious and challenging games I’ve ever played. It’s played in teams of 5 each and you ride around a room in bumper cars trying to get a hold of a small ball. Then, you must somehow throw the ball at a board that is a good 10 feet over your head. This game is not for those who are uncoordinated, meaning me. HA! But it was still a ton of fun!
Once we finally made it to the hotel I was placed with 3 high school girls, who were so awesome the whole week. We had minimal problems with sarcasm that first night, but it was soon replaced with us trying to point out things we like about each other. I wanted the girls to realize that sarcasm can be hurtful so I laid down the law: we were going to be the nice loving room. And by the end of the week everyone in the youth group was calling us the loving group. It was awesome!
On Monday we had the opportunity to go serve with Mission Arlington doing apartment ministry. This was new to me, but I loved every second of it. We spent some time cleaning up the apartment complex and then went door to door inviting families to bring their children to the park for games and Bible study. We split up into groups to go knock on doors and at first I was getting discouraged because many families said no thank you, or would not come to the door at all. But one little girl, Maya, came out with us and showed us where her friends lived, and we soon had a small posse of children following us back to the park. When we arrived at the park we were shocked to see at least 50 children running around playing games and being held by different members of the youth. It was such a great scene. These kids just wanted to be hugged and loved on and we were all more than happy to oblige. I also got to speak Spanish with several of the residents in the apartment complex, which was so cool!
The rest of the week was filled with a trip to Six Flags and a water park, multiple worship opportunities and listening to speakers. The fellowship in the wee hours of the morning were my favorite parts of the trip. Those were the moments when people got real and honest and began asking the hard questions. It was awesome to see the youth group grow over the span of a few days. I wasn’t ready to come home today, but I took so much away from the week and am so thankful that I was able to go!
This morning I woke up with a to-do list a mile long in my head. I had errands I needed to run, things to do around the house, people to call… And I began doing those things and then stopped with the conviction that I hadn’t taken the time to read my Bible or pray this morning.
I want to be very honest and say that I have not been diligent lately in spending time with the Lord, but yesterday and today I have had the desire to be in the word.
So I say down on my bed and opened my Bible to my favorite Psalm. Psalm 46. When I got to the end, one verse stuck out to me: be still and know that I am God. be still.
In my normal routine I am rarely ever still. I fidget all the time and am always running around trying to get things done. But that verse reminded me that we have to slow down and choose to spend time with the One who created us.
As I sat there and forced myself to be still I started feeling peace come over me and I began going through the names of God that I know and who I know God is. It was wonderful to think of how magnificent He is, but that He loves us deeply. It’s all in His perfect character.
Take a break today from the hustle and bustle of life and remember to be still before the Lord, knowing that He is God.
I honestly slacked off on working out for a little while there, between homework and work and family coming into town for a weekend, I was exhausted. BUT on Monday I got to take off work to go to Six Flags with an old friend, which meant a TON of walking! It was great! And even better: I stayed away from carbonated drinks and junk food! I felt very accomplished. I came home exhausted with sore feet but it was worth it!
Yesterday, I decided to take off work an hour early (mostly because I was overwhelmed, on the edge of tears, and stressed out beyond belief) and spend some time outside. We have this church down the road from us that owns a lot of land on a hilly region of Dallas. They have hiking and biking trails for miles and miles. I called up one of my friends and asked him to come up there with me so I wouldn’t be wandering around the woods by myself.
We got some water bottles and set off on the longest trail they have: a 7 mile loop up and down tons of hills, over creeks, and through gorgeous fields. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, mostly because I wanted to stay away from my phone for a while and enjoy being outside.
We finally finished our hike after 2 hours and 20 minutes. We were beat, but it was worth it, and I was able to come home a little more refreshed and relaxed so I could focus on getting more homework done.
I mentioned in my last post about waking up and going for a walk last week. Well, that was a success! Something that I used to always try to do was wake up obnoxiously early and go running. This never worked, normally because my body wasn’t in shape, or I would be super tired at 6am, and I would end up discouraged and not work out again for a month. It was an exhausting cycle and I had to realize that I was trying to do things that were too difficult for my fitness level.
But walking, that’s easy! Because I walk everywhere already, so why not put on proper shoes, headphones, and walk at a faster pace?! Great workout! Needless to say, I was up this morning and walking again. And it was awesome!
This weekend I also invested in a medicine ball to help motivate me to workout when I’m at home and have nothing to do. It’s also incredibly fun to play with and you almost don’t realize that you’re getting a workout! It makes it a little easier to to fit small toning workouts in throughout the day instead of trying to block off an hour of my time to go to the gym where there will be sweaty guys grunting and being manly. I also don’t have to worry about looking silly or worry about anybody looking up my shorts when I’m in the comfort of my own home.
Lately I’ve been learning a lot about eating healthier, and after my breakdown last semester I want to keep myself in better shape. I’ve been taking a good look at my life and realizing that half of the things I eat are just junk. Nothing healthy is going into my body, except the occasional banana. I also have a horrible habit of overeating.
Exhibit A: To cope with being lonely because all my roommates were out of town I made a dozen cookies and ate them all in one sitting. I am not proud of this moment.
Needless to say, I am not the healthiest person on the planet.
That being said, I want to use this portion of my blog as a way to keep track of how I am doing with portion control and getting some form of exercise in daily.
For example: while I was at job number 2 today I did not have access to a gym because I was babysitting. So instead I got on Pinterest and found simple exercises that you can do at home that don’t require any equipment. It was really great because I could still watch NCIS and the girls were doing their chores. It worked out for everyone.
Tomorrow, my goal is to get up and go for a 30 minute walk around campus. Not running or anything difficult, just walking at a vigorous pace.
Along the lines of portion control, I went and got ice cream today, and instead of having my normal 2 scoops I settled for just one scoop, which ended up being the perfect amount!
I would really love some feedback from my readers: what works for y’all in portion control, what you find difficult, and your successes!