The Bible used to intimidate me. I would open it up and start reading and feel like I wasn't smart enough or didn't understand what was happening. I was expecting to read it and have all my problems fixed and be told exactly what to do. Honestly, I read it like it was a horoscope and wanted it to just explain my life to me. I tried so many different "read the Bible in a year" or random devotions, but none of them stuck. So inevitably, I stopped reading the Bible. I just didn't get it. I did this for YEARS. Then someone mentioned that we should read the Bible to learn about God's character, not our own. It took me awhile to understand. If we approach the Bible as a way to learn about God, to get to know Him, to read His story, everything changes. We begin to see the beautiful story He's woven since the beginning of time. We get to see his constancy, His faithfulness, His love. It's pretty awesome.
I didn't really know how to start so about 2 years ago, I joined a bible study at Johnson Ferry Baptist here in Atlanta. I'll be honest and just say that I was terrified. I didn't feel comfortable and knowledgeable enough to go and talk to others about it, but I just knew that I had to th something other than what wasn't working. I picked one titled "What Love Is" by Kelly Minter. It focused on 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. I had for sure never read those. It had assignments for 5 days each week and then we met once a week, went over the homework and watched a short video. I stayed pretty quiet those first weeks. I listened, did my homework, was confused, kept trying, and slowly but surely I started understanding what John was saying about Jesus. I started to get a picture of who He is. I loved it so much!
I also was truly blessed by the women in the group. I had imagined a bunch of 20s-30s mom's. I thought it would be great since I was just into my 2nd trimester with the baby that would be Calista. Instead, God gave me women who could be my mentors. Women who had already walked through parenting and were now grandparents and I could write a whole blog on how much they blessed me. God knows what we need even when we don't. :) I tell you this because I want to encourage you to keep going where He is calling you, even when it's scary, doesn't look at all like what you expected, and doesn't make sense to you now.
After that I did another study and another and another. As of now, I've done...
Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
Seamless by Angie Smith
Sermon on the Mount by Jen Wilkin
Hosea by Jenn Rothschild
When God's Spirit Moves by Jim Cymbala
Ive also read numerous devotions and articles and have fallen in love with all things Bible. Some of my faves are...
Famous in Heaven and at Home by Michelle Myers
The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
.You see though, I needed help approaching God's word. I needed others to remind me that this is about Him and my fears and insecurities approaching Him are the enemy keeping me away from God. The Bible has taught me that I don't need to be smart enough or good enough or worthy enough. God want me. He calls me chosen. He removes my shame, my insecurities, my fears. He redeems me. All I have to do is show up, believe, and ask for forgiveness. Just like that, I am His. Sounds amazing, doesn't it?
Now, 2 years into studying I still miss days or don't do my homework, but I have learned so much about God and He has shown me so much about my life through His goodness. I am never going to be a Bible expert. I will never know it all, but I can continue to earnestly seek Him through His word and prayer. I'm so grateful I found an approach that worked for me and I want to encourage you to keep trying to find one that works for you. I'd love to chat with you more about it if you have questions, so send me a message or an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you see it? I certainly do. Baby #2 shows so much faster. I don't know how I would have kept it a secret if we were tried to wait until the 2nd trimester.
We just got back from a trip to Louisiana for my best friend's wedding and it was amazing. However, I only worked out once and totally gave in to the Louisiana food goodies. This week I am tracking my food and my goal is 5 workouts. I just know I have to get on top of it or I will have serious guilt.
A long time ago, I realized that as long as I control the controllable as far as eating healthy (80/20) and working out 4-5 times a week, well, then I'm okay mentally. It protects me from freaking out over every little thing in the mirror and it for sure helped me through my 49 lbs weight gain with Calista. I mean, imagine if I only put stock in the number on the scale... I would have lost my mind and felt horrible about myself. Instead, I focused on eating as well as I could, minimizing my pregnant treats, and being as active as my pregnancy would allow. That's all I can control anyway and for me this is a safe plan.
So, this week is about tracking my food, making sure I'm eating enough calories (I'm still nursing), and getting my body moving and stretching. I am having some pretty intense hip pain, but it's not as bad as it was with Calista. I'm also really feeling the stretching pains of my uterus. Other than that, there is of course fatigue, but I actually feel pretty decent and I am NOT taking that for granted. :)
We had a 10 week doctor's visit that was basic lab panels and everything was awesome. We also attempted to hear the heartbeat via Doppler which is iffy at best at 10 weeks and this little nugget (I'm calling girl) was unbelievably easy to find. Instantly, we heard her little heartbeat thump thumping away and it was the most reassuring sound.
Our next appt isn't until 15 weeks, so we can do a quick ultrasound to find out gender. 5 weeks is a long time, but it's good for me because it makes me rely on prayer. This baby makes her presence known in growing pains, nausea, and this belly and I'm totally okay with that. So, mark your calendars (lol), November 16th is gender day. We probably won't do anything fancy for a reveal because we are impatient and Calista is too young to care. ;)
Until then, what's your gender guess?
Getting back on track today after a carb and cheese fun-filled weekend. your body is used to pretty clean foods, it means the sooner you get back on track the better. I tried this one-pan balsamic chicken to get in as many veggies as possible. My hubs and I both loved it and I think it's a great option for those of you who struggle to get veggies in. So many people tell me that they don't just want to eat boring chicken and veggies to lose weight, and I totally understand. The recipe is proof that you chicken and veggies doesn't have to be boring or take a ton of time in the kitchen. 😘
The original recipe calls for asparagus and tomatoes, but I'm still restocking my fridge so we had carrots and zucchini.
3-4 chicken breasts, cut into tenders
2-3 cups of veggies, your choices
1-2 tbsp EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Italian dressing
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp red chili flakes
1. Cook chicken in a large skillet, medium high heat with salt, pepper, and olive oil. About 5 minutes each side or until done.
2. While chicken is cooking, mix up your sauce and prep your veggies.
3. When chicken is cooked through, add half the sauce to pan and coat chicken. Promptly remove and set aside, leaving sauce in the pan.
4. Add veggies, coat in sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes until crispy tender.
5. Add remainder of sauce and chicken back to pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
6. Serve and enjoy!!!
Let me tell you a little story... 😘 A long time ago, I struggled with anxiety and depression. My doctor recommended working out to help with my seratonin levels. Years of ups and downs in weight, consistency, knee surgery, and carb addiction (it's a real thing right!?!) and I still struggled to find time to take care of myself. What I really kept saying is that I wasn't a priority. About 5 years ago, my husband and I were living in Los Angeles and I was really low, like the kind of low that you just know something HAS to change. So, I became a certified personal trainer. Then, I got ambitious and wanted to help everyone, so I also became a Beachbody coach. Stay with me here. God had other plans. Little did I know that God would seriously change my heart. I started noticing that He was chasing after me HARD. He tore down my walls. He made me stop living for the world's definition of success, but to live for the only thing that matters... His glory. He used my darkest moments and made them a ministry. A ministry where I get to love on people. Maybe I'm not the most successful coach or personal trainer by the world's standards, but I do know that God uses me to LOVE on people and love on them hard. All those years ago, I never would have imagined serving His kingdom over my dreams and my goals, and I'm so grateful God chased me down and reminded me that I'm HIS. I don't know where you are in your journey tonight, but I do know this. It's never too late to seek Him, to make a change, and to grow in faith and strength. If you want, I'll love on you right beside God. It would be my honor. And if you feel like loving on people right beside me and God, well, why don't you join my ministry that serves others through fitness. It's brought more to my life than I could ever imagine. God, strong Christ-centered women, my health, overcoming of anxiety and depression, and a faith that is bigger than I could have ever imagined. Send me a message and let me know how I can pray for you. Thanks for staying with me the whole long post. You deserve a prize! 🙌🏻😘
Forgive me for a moment while I reminisce and mourn the end of a season.
My doctor has suggested that I wean Calista before the 2nd trimester, and while I completely understand and agree it's still emotional.
I didnt even know if I was going to enjoy nursing and we didn't have an easy start. Sobbing in the middle of the night for weeks was never my idea of fun. However, I was determined to make it to a year and I was blessed to have found a way to make it work. Not everyone gets that opportunity and I promise that I have relished it for all of you who wanted to but couldn't. 😘 So, here we are at 15.5 months and she only nurses about 3 times a day. I had started to think that weaning between 16 and 18 months would be good for us, so I'm not against my doctor's recommendation. I mean, the caloric intake needed for 2nd trimester nursing mothers is close to 800 calories if my La Leche League research memory is right. That's a lot of eating. So I agree, but I'm sad.
As of tonight there will be no more bedtime nursing sessions. 😭 We've been following the "don't ask, don't refuse" policy with a few "do you want water instead" checks. So when 3 nights ago she didn't ask before Tim put her to bed, no biggie. Then the next night, she didn't ask after I read her her books. Yesterday, she didn't ask again before Tim put her to bed, and tonight, nope. So just like that we are done with this one and down to two nursing sessions.
Why am I writing a post about this? Well, they say it goes fast. They say that you may not remember the last time you did something and just one day it will be over. Well, it just happened. It's like when she stopped sleeping on my chest. I didn't know it was the last time or else I would have enjoyed it more. Things become routine and maybe if I would have known I would have held her a little closer or prayed a little longer. It's just a reminder to soak in every single moment, even the ones that you want to rush through so you can go eat.
It just goes too fast and just like that seasons are changing.