Fixing it ALL – the humbling process of fixing my life.

Many years ago, I was ready to make some life changes.  In fact, in January of that year, I decided it was the time to fix EVERYTHING that was wrong with my life!   I wrote out a very detailed list of goals – it included perfecting everything in my 1) Physical life/fitness (ie.. get skinny once and for all)  2)Financial (out of debt, college for kids paid for, retirement fully funded, etc) 3) Spiritual life (ie, get to know God in an up close and personal way) and 4) Relational (ie, fix everything that’s ever been wrong in my marriage, become the friend that I should be, etc).     I went at it like gangbusters for about 2 weeks.   I was conscious of everything I ate and drank, I logged more miles on the treadmill than I had in a very long time.  I created a budget, read my Bible every day, tried to engage my husband in deep, philosophical discussions.     And then…  fell of the wagon.  I failed at every single one of my goals.

The problem wasn’t lack of desire… or even that my goals were bad.  The problem was that I tried to fix everything all at the same time – and I got overwhelmed, and in the end, fixed nothing.

Fast forward a few years – I learned to set much more REALISTIC goals.  Because I had previously learned that I couldn’t fix everything all at the same time, I decided to pick one or two things to really focus on, master, gain some confidence – and then move on to other areas while maintaining the one.

I realize that my life is a work in progress – I didn’t get where I am (either good or bad) overnight, and I’m not going to be able to change overnight either.  On occasion, I lose sight of this and become frustrated with people who haven’t “gotten it” yet until I remember that I am still growing too, and there are plenty of things I haven’t “gotten” yet.  God allows me to continue growing and learning – He is so much more patient with me than I am with myself or others – I guess that’s why He’s God and I’m not.

As we approach New Years, there are plenty of people making resolutions.  My resolution is simply this:  to continuously improve something – to consciously work toward making something better tomorrow than it is today – in whatever area of life I choose.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, my friends.  Thanks so much for supporting my journey!

My challenge to you all today is to leave something better than you found it.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 journey for life. All rights reserved

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The 1,000 mile Journey – Week 2

Two weeks ago, I began a journey of 1,000 miles – my second one (the first 1,000 was in 2015).   Joining my friend as a show of support to get in shape, I decided to give myself a goal – 1,000 miles (because, why not).   

So, within 2 weeks, I’ve traveled 67 miles.  It’s not an auspicious beginning, but it is a beginning nonetheless.  I am moving in a positive direction, which is more than I was doing last month. Along the way I’ve had to get reacquainted with some things, like the proper way to pack my gym bag (not forgetting a towel, or gym clothes, or socks, or makeup, lol), and setting my workout targets (like finishing 8 miles within 35 min, or rowing 3 miles in 28 minutes).

If I intend to finish 1,000 miles in 12 week, I’d have to average 83 miles a week or 14 miles a day (with one day off per week). 16 weeks is more like 10 miles a day. Doable on a bike, for sure, a bit aggressive for me on a treadmill. I’m still getting into a groove but will say for now somewhere between 12 and 16 weeks I’d like to complete the current 1,000 miles.

This summer, my youngest daughter and I will be part of a missions team to NYC. One of our planned fundraisers is a “century” bike ride (100 miles in one day with opportunity to join at the 50 mile, 25 mile or 10 mile mark). I know we can do 10 or 25, so I’m setting my sights on the 50, maybe a stretch goal of the whole 100. This will prepare me for my longer term goal to bike from Pittsburgh to Washington DC.

I appreciate all of you who have been supportive of this journey. I’ll keep you posted on my progress along the way!

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 journey for life. All rights reserved.

Outgiving

In 2012, my husband had a life-changing medical event and was off work for nearly a year.   At Christmas-time that year, he got word that there was a package for him at his place of employment.  He stopped one day to pick up it up, and brought home two enormous gift bags the size of large garbage bags.   The folks at his shop said only that one of their customers, who had heard about Rich’s injury, stopped by with the package – they didn’t know who it was or weren’t telling.

We gathered the entire family around to open the gift.  We were awestruck by what we saw.  Though not knowing us at all, someone had tried to find gifts appropriate for each person in the family.  There were games, and blankets, and candles, and decorative pillows, and treats, and all kinds of goodies.  In addition to the thoughtful trinkets, there was a devotional book along with a Christmas card about the Savior of the World.  

We were all completely humbled that someone we didn’t know would have taken the time and effort to have so elaborately put together as thoughtful of a package as they possibly could without knowing the family.  All they knew was that Rich was out of work – and they felt his family should get to have a Christmas.   

We tried to find out who had left the gift so that we could properly thank them, but were never able to.  In reality, I don’t believe they did it to receive a thank you. 

I wept hard that night at the thought of the compassion bestowed upon us.   I vowed to always do my best to do similar for other families, and every year, now, I look for opportunities to be a blessing to others

Just a few weeks ago, one of the store managers where Rich works had a heart attack, and is off work for 8 weeks.   Almost immediately after it happened, Rich asked if we could organize a financial gift for him and his family.  He said he’d like to ask the other guys in the shop to contribute but didn’t know what kind of response he’d get.  I assured him that we’d be happy to not only organize, but fill the gap to make it a good financial blessing for his family.   He got to work collecting money, and we put the final amount into a card last Friday and gave it to the man, who was overwhelmed with emotion.  

The following day, Rich found out that the company had achieved a sales target it had been trying to achieve for 4 years, and so gave everyone in the company a bonus – it happened to be the exact amount that we had put into the envelope for the manager.    My husband was surprised about this.  When he told me about it, I simply smiled and thought, “you can’t out-give God.”  This is a principal I’ve long known, and it is a such a blessing for me to see that others can see it as well. 

photo cred: sheisstronginhim.com

Be Blessed today, my friends!

SB

copyright 2018 Journey For Life  All Rights Reserved

 

Your worst enemy

Is it the girl in the hallway, who is jealous of your date?

or the man who works beside you, uncertain of his fate?

Perhaps  the one who feigns to be a friend for all to see

but in the silence of the dark, true colors soon to be

No, though all these may be true.

Possibly, just possibly, your worst enemy might turn out to be you.

Copyright 2018. Journey for life. All rights reserved

The Gym Playlist: Back on the Chain Gang

As my motivation to keep going on this journey-for-life, I will share with you my playlist.   I am still tweaking the playlist, so it may evolve over time, but as it is right now, the song below is first on the list. Because the tempo of the song dictates my pace of my run/walk, I start with a not-too-aggressive pace – quick enough to get started.   This song is listed at 154 BPM (beats-per-minute for the non-music junkies out there) and is 3:48 min long.  For me, it’s about a 3.8 MPH.  I’ve noticed that I  adjust my stride length to the beat of music as well – this works well (at least for me) because by adjusting my stride length, I work different muscles –so the change is good in a long treadmill workout.   At 3.8 MPH and a medium stride length, this is a good song to start my treadmill workout. 

One thing you’ll probably notice about my playlist is most songs will have a strong bassline. Next to keys, bass is my favorite instrument. Often understated and overlooked, it is actually the bass guitar that adds both rhythm and depth to music we hear. That which we sometimes overlook may actually be what we’re looking for…

DISCLAIMER:  Please note, I am by no means a fitness expert – I am experimenting with what works for me, and sharing with you that I may somehow be an inspiration to someone along their journey.

Enjoy

Be a blessing today!

SB

Copyright 2018 journey for life. All rights reserved

Back on the Chain Gang

The Pretenders – written by Chrissy Hynde

I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh 
What hijacked my world that night 
To a place in the past 
We’ve been cast out of? Oh oh oh oh 
Now we’re back in the fight 
We’re back on the train 
Oh, back on the chain gang

A circumstance beyond our control, oh oh ohoh 
The phone, the TV and the news of the world 
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell, oh oh oh oh 
Threw sand in our eyes and descended like flies 
Put us back on the train 
Oh, back on the chain gang

The powers that be 
That force us to live like we do 
Bring me to my knees 
When I see what they’ve done to you 
But I’ll die as I stand here today 
Knowing that deep in my heart 
They’ll fall to ruin one day 
For making us part

I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh 
Those were the happiest days of my life 
Like a break in the battle was your part, oh oh oh oh 
In the wretched life of a lonely heart 
Now we’re back on the train 
Oh, back on the chain gang

Songwriters: ChristineHynde

Back on the Chain Gang lyrics © Sony/ATV MusicPublishing LLC

Taking me back

As I dive head first back into my lost world of fitness, my mind goes back 35 years to my first track season at A.E. O’Block Jr. High School in Plum Boro, PA.  35 years is a very long time, but somehow, it seems like yesterday.   

There are a few life secrets I can let you all in on – some of them are not a surprise…   the first is that I am not a natural born athlete.   In my young life, I was more interested in music, and started piano lessons at the age of 4.   Throughout elementary school, I cared little about sports, although I do remember with pride the day I caught the fly ball kicked by Dennis Haygood (the best kickball player in our 4th grade class), making the 3rd out of that inning.  The entire class cheered, and despite the fact that it was his out, a wide smile came across his face as he congratulated me for making an awesome play and invited me to play in his team in the next game.   

In 7th grade, my first year of junior high school, I decided I would join the track team.  Very few people ever got cut from the track team, and since there were many events to choose from, there were many opportunities to find a niche.   Good coaches will observe strengths and weaknesses and help their students get where they need to be.   Luckily, we had several good track coaches. 

My first year in track was ok – not stellar, but ok; probably not unlike most of the first-year track team students.   When the end-of-the-season award time came, I set my sights on a goal for the next year….   the coveted letter.   I didn’t letter in my first year – and, truthfully, few 7th graders did.   But somehow, the desire to receive a letter in the next year took a-hold of my heart and transformed my apathy for life into an ardent desire to achieve.  Little did I realize that transformation would carry far beyond the track through my entire life.

The summer following that track season, I set out to improve what I could control – my endurance.  (Life Lesson: control what you can control; don’t dwell on what you cannot change).  I started to run on the streets of my neighborhood.  I got up early every single morning of the summer and forced myself to run 2 or more miles.   I’ve got to tell you that I hated it… at first.   Literally hated it, but I told myself that I had made a commitment to myself and I was going to see it through, so every day, I got up and put my shoes on and went for a jog.    (If I were honest, there were times in this 2 miles that I stopped running and just walked… I’d look at the mailboxes as I passed and say to myself, “I’ll start running at the next mailbox” and that mailbox would come and go and I was still walking….    this is the reason why I need a playlist to keep the beat for my feet when I’m running now…)

Something interesting began to happen…. After a few weeks, I found that I really enjoyed my morning run.  I began to look at the process of improving differently – yes, still with the end goal in mind, but focusing on the transformation that was happening.   I was “getting it”.  I remember on one particular morning, I ran past the school track, and came across a friend who was running on the track.  As I continued toward my “finish mark”, I was getting tired, and he was running along side me.  I said, “I’m done, I can’t make it.”   He grabbed a-hold of my arm and pulled me – he could run much faster than I could – he forced me to keep running til I crossed the finish line.   I continued running through the entire summer and into the next school year… and into the next track season.  My endurance had also paid off, and I discovered that, although never a sprinter, I had endurance to run the 880 and/or the mile events, depending on where the coach needed someone.   

It was during this season that I discovered the high jump event as well.  What fun that was!  The Fosbury Flop (more on this later).   Turns out I was pretty good at this event… though not quite good enough to beat Kelly Gress.   

Some action shots below:

Kelly was very good at this event – but she was also a little heavier than I was. For certain track/field events, contestants are broken into weight categories.   At the time, my weight was right on the border between Lightweight and Middleweight.   Kelly was a solid Middleweight, so I decided it was in my best interest to compete as a Lightweight.    For me, that meant an absurd fixation on keeping my weight on the Lightweight side.   

I might add that, at that time, I really didn’t have a lot of excess weight on me, so in order to stay below the threshold considered Lightweight, I had to do absurd things with my body to try to loose as much of my water weight before weigh-in’s as possible.   This included things like starving myself, sleeping and running in a garbage bag /  sauna suit, which became a normal part of my life.  I wasn’t even above spitting in a cup during the school day before the track meet (I learned this from the wrestling team for whom I was a statistician the year before).   Because several of my teachers were also track coaches, I would often get out of their class to run laps around the track (in my sauna suit).  Immediately after weigh-in, after they marked a giant “L” on my hand to show I had made weight, I would have some quick energy (usually a tablespoon or two of honey, a Twix bar, and an apple) before competing.   After the meet, I would go home and eat (probably everything in sight) and then start again the next day for the next meet.    Looking back at it now, I can understand why my mother was concerned that this might lead to destructive behavior, but I had a goal in mind, and I wasn’t going to allow anything to get in my way to achieve it. 

Kelly is the left most circle. I’m the right

I did receive a letter that year.  But more importantly, I had captured the respect of my coaches.  I can clearly remember Ms. Thompson’s words as she handed my letter to me, complimenting me for my determination and persistence.   As much as I had wanted that letter, I realized that having their respect meant so much more to me than I ever dreamed.  I was glad to have made them proud and to have heard them say, “Well done!”  

Here’s why I share this with you today…   as you’re going through life, look for the people who are turning themselves inside out to prove something to someone, even if it’s just themselves.   Tell them that you’ve noticed.  Tell them that they’re doing a good job.   When they feel like they can’t make it and are ready to give up, grab a-hold of their arm and run along side them until they reach the finish line.   You may be changing the trajectory of their life. After all, at the end of it all, who doesn’t want to hear the words, “well done, good and faithful servant”?

Be a blessing to someone today.

You are all blessings to me.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey-For-Life   All rights reserved.