Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 9: Got my butt kicked! (In more ways than one)

Day 9 of my 30before30...

I will officially name this my "I got my butt kicked day." How so? Well, since revving up my exercise routine, I am still part of the sore club. I'm somewhere between an all out limp and an elderly woman stance. It's good pain, but I definitely missed today's workout due to my burning glutes and legs. Never fear, because I will attack my Crossfit workouts again tomorrow. I used to get discouraged when I would miss an item off my "Checklist" or "To Do" and just completely give in to failure. However, one thing I am realizing is that the journey (through anything); doesn't have to be perfect.

I'm a sufferer of perfectionism, yes I said a sufferer. Knowing that no one is perfect, other than God; that makes me a sufferer. Perfection is a strain, a burden, something we all know we'll never achieve. Sounds like a downer, but it's just a truth. Things can be in order, things can be great, standards can be made and maintained-but it doesn't have to be perfect. So, while I wished I would have not missed (two now) days of workout since I started...reality is- I missed it. I'll keep going. Wasn't the goal to insert more of the necessary, more of the productive, more of the hard stuff that's the good stuff into my everyday life? Doing it. It wasn't to have a perfectly marked, cutesy checklist to show. So, while my butt is kicked today, it's a good one. The good pain.

Along with my physical butt kicking, I also got my spiritual butt kicked today in regards to fears. I didn't necessarily think I had any fears. I mean, I'm not scared of anything (other than all reptiles, insects, and rodents). As far as life, people, and day to day; I'm a tough cookie. Yeah, a tough cookie.....that crumbles sometimes....oh wait. Is that crumbling, fear? I learned today that fear doesn't always present itself as the big bad wolf. For me, it's the subtle things. So, I'm calling myself out, to face those things that I truly fear (and didn't think I did).

My "Face It, Don't Fear It" List (thanks to Joyce Meyer!)

*Not being perfect- I have to laugh at this one, because logically I know I will never reach perfection. However, I notice that how I do things and what I think is a direct indication that I believe this is attainable. Also, the shear disappointment I feel, but don't always show...that's the longing for things to be perfect. The real freedom, joy, and peace is not when things are all lined up straight and perfect. It's when things are as imperfect as they can be and you still have your joy and peace. So, I am ready to eradicate this fear. Excellence can be sought after, but I'll eliminate the self defeat when imperfections arise. They'll always be there, and since I know this, why over-analyze, why exert the pressure, why give in to the disappointment. 

*Others taking advantage- Not a fear I have always been conscious of, but it's there. There's that quiet voice of "I'm not going to allow anyone to...." I think the fill in the blank is different for everyone. For me, it varies on the circumstance, person, etc. Nonetheless, I do put up a tougher exterior to prevent others from taking advantage of me or taking something away from me. Crazy, because that's going to happen in life anyway. Someone at some point will attempt to take advantage. It may come in a myriad of forms, but it will happen. Some can mistake my helpfulness for being willing to "always say yes", my silence for acceptance of what's going on, etc. Whatever the case, these things will occur, so why be fearful. Whatever is taken can be, WILL BE restored. I feel that God acts on our behalf (just like the Nationwide woman in the commercial). Things will be taken, and He'll replace those things with "Brand New Belongings." So, no worries. Life will happen, and those who take advantage will not have reign, or rain on your parade. And, yes in these recently reflective 30before30 days; I have found meaning in the most random things- hence the new Nationwide Commercial.
God is on your side!

*Giving up control- Big one for me! I would even say teachers in general would most likely have this fear as well. I mean we live to control our environment, for the betterment of children, yes. Even so, I have never liked feeling out of control--but again that's life. I mean, are any of us really ever in control? I'm sure while we think we are; God has an LOL moment. The thoughts of "I have to do it because I'll do it right" "I must turn every stone myself." "I have to have a hand in everything." How exhausting, and I've been functioning this way for years. I can do what I can do, and what I cannot control is OK. God, grant me the serenity...I need to say that prayer for often.

All in all, I'm glad I got my butt kicked today! I was reminded that true growth involves pain. Good pain, and good pain is not always physical. My spirit took a punch in the gut. A necessary one, needed to face some things that I fear. Things that can be crippling. Making a list of them, great. Working these things out of my system, THAT'S THE JOURNEY. Not a perfect one, not one that is completed overnight either. But, it will be one worth the effort and one that can only restore the joy and peace that has suffered--actually buried in my fears. A butt kicking isn't so bad, bring it on!

Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!
*Taking the butt kicking that comes with the journey!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 7 and 8: Just Post-It!

30before30: Day 7 & 8

Yesterday was definitely a reflective one. You know the type of day that doesn't necessarily begin as planned, yet you still have to keep on keeping on. I decided to take some moments, pause, and read. I'm currently reading a book, Woman After God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George. It's a pretty dated book, one I realized I had in my collection that I had never quite taken the time to dive into. Similar to an outfit that you notice you've never worn, then you try it on and it looks great! I must scan through my books more often and pick out those forgotten treasures I didn't know were there.

Anyhoo, as I poured into the first chapter I was reminded of many things. Things that were perfect for my day 7 and for each day thereafter.

My Book Lessons

Spending time with God- I know this and part of my journey lately has been to do even more than I thought I was doing. It's not just important so that we can face the days's important because we need to show that devotion to God not for what He can do but just because of Who He Is. Always a good reminder!

Choose His ways at every opportunity- Again, this I know as well but I didn't realize how many times I miss opportunities to consult Him on tasks that seem so small. For instance, it's always been a struggle for me to always have the right response to certain situations. My facial expressions are always changing, one of the things my students love about my teaching. I can be very animated depending on the content. This strength in my teaching is not necessarily the best attribute outside of the classroom. I tend to wear my thoughts on my face. My face can speak volumes without me ever uttering a word. Something I am trying to be more conscious of, and it never dawned on me that I should consult God when I'm faced with situations where I need to be mindful of my face. My face. Body language is a powerful tool, and can cause one to be comfortable or uncomfortable by a simple expression. So, when someone is saying something I would rather not hear; I can choose His way in that moment. I can ask how I should present myself, I can replace an anguished face with a Godly one. 

"Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better, and your better is best."- When I came across this phrase in the book, I thought I hit the goldmine! One, what a great phrase to use in my classroom. Two, what a great phrase to use for myself. The quote prompted the discussion of choosing to go from good, to better, to best. Sometimes we just decide to do something. It could be what we want, it could be impromptu, it could be a gut reaction. Whatever the reason, how much better off would we be if we took the time to use good, better, or best. Always being mindful of what is the best possible thing we could do, and not settling for just the good. Yesterday, I had a huge craving for sweets. Probably because I have eradicated them and sentenced myself to water during my exercise regime. I wanted cupcakes, I wanted cheesecake, I wanted anything sweet and yummy. I gave in. I had 3 mini Kit Kat bars. They were great, but I didn't feel that great afterwards. Now, same situation, but what if I had used good, better, best? I could have made a low cal sweet snack, that's good. I could have had fruit, that would have been better. I could have thrown out sweet altogether (as this is just a temptation) and just made a healthy snack- that would have been best. This phrase is why p. 17 in this book will be folded forever. I need the constant reminder of good, better, best. It could make the difference in my health, relationships, interactions, ultimately LIFE! There's much talk about not settling for mediocrity. I agree, but don't settle for just "good" when you can always do your best!

Having been mentally jolted and charged from my read yesterday, I felt that I needed to consciously remind myself of other necessary things. So, I compiled some of my favorite quotes/scripture. From now on (as I do with just scripture from time to time) I will "Just Post-It!" Post those things that need to stay in the forefront of my mind. Post those things that are a struggle. Post those things which are good. Post those things that can bring peace and defeat a storm. Just Post-It! As simple as print, cut, post. Words have power. As a teacher, I find myself restating this common cliche. But, they do! They can transform, they can provoke thought, they can change things. Just like the Bible is a mirror for us through words of how we should be, just like a book can create a chain of thoughts that lead to discussion, just like our own words can help or hinder. Words matter, why not surround yourself with words that will edify you, challenge you, remind you, bring out the best in you?

To "Just Post-It" with me, click the link below for my download:

My 7th and 8th day Take Away:

Aspire to go from good, to better, to best!

Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!
*Aspiring to go from good, to better, to best in ALL things!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 6: S.O.S Awareness

Today is day 6 of my I:

Did a bit of crocheting (Yes, it's summer and I'm crocheting a blanket). I've been working on it the last 3 years or so. I am a novice to crocheting, I only know about 3 stitches, but it's a calming thing to do. I started this particular blanket when my uncle (who has since passed) was ill in the hospital. I initially started it for him, as I used to take turns sitting with him in the hospital. It kept me busy and he always had blankets, seemed like a cathartic and productive thing to do. Somewhere between then and now I fell off of it. Today, of all things I decided to start my morning with adding a bit more to it. The simplest things can sometimes be the very ones we should pick back up. So, I am not sure if I'll finish it in these 30 days, but I am definitely going to try.

I also went to meet the director and check out the new place I'll be volunteering in the coming weeks. I mentioned previously that as I was "searching for more" I came across another volunteer opportunity in addition to serving at the Food Bank. This particular organization helps those in need acquire food, clothing, job services, or anything that would help someone get back on their feet. After touring the facility and speaking with the director, I snagged a position as the Intake Receptionist. The Intake Receptionist greets the clients that come in, helps refer them to services they need, and even assists with getting food for their families. I'm just a teacher, off for summer break, looking to help. I was told that 60% of those that have helped in their reception area have been teachers.

I didn't find this surprising because teachers, in fact, are people-oriented by nature.
We care about others and always want to help our students. So, I can see how those same attributes can be channeled into other things. While I was there, I saw various people enter, looking for assistance. The interesting thing is they varied in needs and nature. As much as we don't admit it, I think many of us assume we can recognize someone in need (I have thought this many a time myself). We have some sort of criteria in our heads that we think are characteristics of someone who would give an SOS signal of distress. I would even say this could be borderline to judgement. Judging a book by its cover, per say.

As I noticed those entering, I was told one of the organization's main goals was to treat their clients with dignity and respect regardless of race, culture, affiliations, etc. The director told me that she has noticed in their food delivery services many people who reject help because of the embarrassment. I was told about a young man who needed food for months, drove to the facility several times, but each time he couldn't make himself get out and walk in. He couldn't brace the fact that he needed this help. He couldn't send out his own SOS signal. Finally, he decided to come get the help he needed and was able to get back on his feet.

Hearing this story made me realize how much it's necessary to have an awareness of the simple fact that everyone needs help. Everyone from time to time will flare their SOS signal and need someone to step in and assist. You can't know based on how someone looks or what you think you know about their life. It's not always a discernible sign. For this reason, I decided a few things...

I can ALWAYS be helpful!

You never know. You never know what someone is dealing with, what they need, how even the smallest thing can make the biggest difference. So, I CAN ALWAYS HELP. Wherever, whenever, in whichever capacity. I can't imagine how humbling and hard it is to have to go where you once thought you never would. Many people find themselves in this very predicament daily. No one ever expects these things, they just happen. Thank God there are those who see the needs and meet the needs. I was told today, "we deal with issues that not many people think about." There are many simple things most of us take for granted that others are fighting to have. Now, this doesn't mean that our own problems aren't problems too. But, while the grass is not always greener, for some, it's non-existent. Help, as with air is always readily available. Question is how much can be given away? If we thought of being helpful as necessary as needing to what a concept!

The insignificant is significant!

Yes, I'm an English teacher. I know my prefixes. I know that -in placed in front of a word means "not." However, today I realized that the things we think are "not" significant, actually are. As the Intake Receptionist, I'll greet the clients, take their IDs, help them make a grocery list from the choice pantry, connect them to other services they need. Seems like secretarial tasks I'll complete each week. Nonetheless, these tasks are important and will help someone get from point A to point B. No matter what we find that can be "insignificant," it's important. Picking up a piece of trash, returning a grocery cart, smiling at someone, etc. It's not small. It's one thing that can have a huge impact. Sounds cliche, sounds like stuff we already can conclude. But, today it was apparent how much we "know" that we don't tap into. I intend to tap into what I know and to make all that is insignificant, SIGNIFICANT!

Keep my happy!

Gosh, this is hard. From day-to-day, this can be a struggle even if you consider yourself a generally happy person. Why, because as I said previously, the world 10 times out of 10 will go loopdy loo and take you down with it. One of my weaker areas to be honest. I'm a worry wort by day, and a stressed out gal by night in most cases. I've grown a bit over the years, but it's still something I am determined to master. Daily awareness of this has been a good help to me. This 30before30 challenge has also been a good jolt for it, and of course God. I cannot even pretend that I have the capability to keep my happy on my own. It's a daily, "God, you're going to have to help me with this..." prayer. But, one day it won't be a challenge. One day this is will a consistent natural part of me. Whoo! How positive, but back to reality. Until then, the meantime is the real part of it all. I think we all struggle with "the meantime." That's that seemingly long period of time between your current cloud to your happy sunshine. The sunshine will come, but it's the meantime that needs the true maintenance. So, in the meantime I'll continue my daily, "God, help me with..." "Thank You for helping me with..." "I know that You are working with me on..." and after those prayers when you still feel a bit not so peppy-you show it anyway. Today was an ok day. I felt pretty productive, but I wasn't bouncing off the ceiling happy. But, when I came into contact with others today I kept my happy. That is a chain reaction. Others need that, and their need increases your willingness to keep and show your happy. Don't worry, be happy! (I had to sing it, just had to).

Number 1 thought today:
We all have S.O.S distress moments, they're easy to recognize...the hard part is recognizing how to respond and what you should do in those moments. You can ask for help, you can be the helper, or you can keep your happy in the meantime.

Another day in the books. "30before30"

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy
*Being more aware and helping others, so I can help myself!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 5: While the world goes crazy, I stay sane...

Day 5 of my 30before30...and I must say it's interesting how things can be in such disarray, and in the same instance- you don't notice a thing. How so? I have been amazed this week how many topics, distractions, and issues have  unfolded in our country and our world. From just tuning into the news this week, or being online long's apparent that the world has in fact gone loopdy loo. In the midst of these current issues, I realized a couple things...

1) Regardless of my opinion on any of these things, there comes a point where you have to go back to what you can control. No matter who you are, we will all most likely arrive at the same conclusion- you can only control YOU. Why expend extra, unnecessary energy trying to control others or things that you cannot. The quote below says it best...
With that said, I realized part of this 30before30 wasn't just to have something to do. I think it's necessary ever so often to stop, drop, and evaluate. Evaluate what's important, what tied ends became loose, what is productive, etc. 

2) Another conclusion I came to is that while the world or my environment might go crazy, I in fact CAN stay sane. Seems simple, but you wouldn't believe how hard it is to not let your environment shake you. It's not easy by any means, but it's necessary if you want to protect your space and your place.

How I stayed sane today...

I used my hands!

Today I spent a few hours and helped pack 168 (they needed 5,000 by the end of the week) lunches for local children who struggle with having meals when school is not in session. I worked alongside a student mission group from Nebraska who was there for the week. In those few hours, I wasn't pondering about any current happenings. Not because I didn't care, but because in that moment the only thing I could do was to use my hands and help feed hungry kids. This seemed better than stressing over anything else. When in doubt, do what you can do! For me today, that entailed using my hands.

I searched for more!

Just in these 5 days of my 30before30, two of them including service at the Food Bank, I noticed that I had already created a hunger for more myself. Not for food of course, but for more to do. How else can I be productive? Get involved? Help someone else? Step outside of myself? So, I contacted another organization with other needs to see how I could be of help. One thing was clear...if we just take a moment to look around, there is SO much that is waiting to be done. Within minutes from 1 email I had a volunteer application and an appointment to help out. So many people are just waiting for someone to ask, "Is there anything I can do?" Of course, if we had a dime for every time we heard the phrase, "How great the world would be if everyone_________________" we'd all be rich. However, the reality is- everyone is NOT going to do X, Y, and Z. Another reality is...I CAN DO X, Y, and Z. So, why not. Why not stop and actually just search for more. Search for more opportunities, more ways to help, more knowledge, more anything that would not only enhance you but others.

I got busy!

Yes, I am continuing my 30 day crossfit at home challenge. Thanks to Momma Crossfitter (link in my first post), I am continuing on with my 30 days of exercise. Truth- I skipped yesterday. While I checked off other tasks on my 30before30, exercise didn't make day 4. So what did I do? I combined day 4 and 5 and worked my CraftyGriffin butt off! I hated it, I was sweaty, I was tired, but I felt great afterwards. Of course that greatness is not counting the soreness I've had since I started this challenge Saturday. I think soreness and I will have a long term relationship for a while. We don't seem to be breaking up anytime soon. Nonetheless, soreness/pain is part of the challenge. It's part of the growth. It's the thing you tell to shut up because you know in the end it's good for you. The hard stuff that's the good stuff. Sometimes you just need to get busy. Jolt that kinetic energy and MOVE...amazing how much better things get. Get busy!

Ultimate take away to staying sane...

YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE IT, because if you don't, the world will always choose the crazy for you instead.

Another day in the books. "30before30"
*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"
*Staying sane while the world goes crazy

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 4: From Meh to Yeah!!

Today marks day 4 of my "30 Before 30." Honestly, today began with me feeling "meh." Which is not necessarily a discernible sound, but simply're not your happy peppy self. This was for a couple reasons...

1) I AM SORE!! I started a "CrossFit at Home" challenge on Sunday to rev up my exercise as part of my "30before30." While I am excited about getting back in exercise mode, I hurt from my hair follicle to my toes! CrossFit is a million reps of any exercise you can think of times a million rounds. I've exaggerated of course, but that's how my body feels. Nonetheless, I have decided...

So, I might as well just establish a love/hate relationship with them now, and

I don't love to workout, just love the results, so I'm going to keep on trucking!

2) Another reason I was a little "meh" was because it happened to be one of those days that other people can just drive you mad, be frustrating, or irritating. Oh, and did I mention how SORE I still am! Anyhoo, to tackle this unlikely start to my day, and spark the happy; I chose to take my eyes off of the gray clouds and focus them on other things by implementing some of my "30before30" tasks on my list...

Back to life, Back to Journaling...
art journaling that is-
I used to journal in high school and college all the time. Somewhere between graduation and starting my teaching career, I lost the time and passion for it. What better way to give positive/constructive time to myself than by journaling. I chose to broaden my horizons and move from simple writing to Art Journaling. Art journaling is just that, using art and doodles to document your thought life. I let go of the perfectionist part of myself and just scribbled all that was on my mind. Sometimes you just need to let it out. Whatever thoughts you have...the good, the bad, the thoughtful, the random, the junk, the treasures. Just get it out! Very helpful for one who can't ever turn her brain off. I'll have to keep this one up!

When you don't feel awesome,
 it's time to tell others how awesome they are!-
From time to time, like today; you wake up and feel "meh." For me, one of the best ways to bring the happy back (as this is also one of my 30before30 tasks) is to do things for others. I LOVE TO GIVE! I don't have to have a reason, I just like to make others happy through giving. So, I find it helpful to also do this when I don't feel all that great. After some cathartic art journaling, I decided to choose 5 people to encourage, and send them each a note with a small gift. What I named my "5X5." 5 things for 5 people. Why is this beneficial? I think it's always a good idea to turn yourself away from your thoughts, problems/issues and focus in on someone else. When you're in your own funk, it seems to weigh on you. However, when you start to give of yourself; it literally takes that heavy weight away. I also feel it's the random thoughts, appreciation, and giving that can truly propel others. The things you least expect to receive can add that much more to your day! Just because. You don't have to receive anything back, it just totally changes the path of your mood. That in itself makes it all worth the while. 

Water: Lesson in a glass-
Yes, a task on my "30before30" was to drink more water. I don't necessarily love water, unless I'm working out and hot (then it's my best friend!). Outside of that instance, I have a hard time making it a drink of choice. I mean, who doesn't love the sweet yummyness of juice! I love juice even more than soda. However, I know having a good water intake is healthier. For this reason, I felt that it was necessary to add such a simple thing to my task list. Funny, replacing one thing with another can mean so much. I just began being more conscious of this when I started my challenge about 3 days ago. I planned to only drink water. Just water. With breakfast, lunch, dinner, in restaurants, etc. I wouldn't say it's at all a solid habit yet. I do have to consciously decide to do it. But, I have realized in this short time that replacing something drab with something fab, consistently, causes you to desire the drab thing less. Well, duh! you might say. Yes, this is an obvious truth. However, you wouldn't believe how amazed I am that I no longer need what I thought I would. What a lesson for so many things other than water! Many of us are so quick to say "I need..." when we really just want it, but know that we don't really need it. I would even say, I hated water at one point. Few days in, I am more appreciative about how a no calorie, unsweetened, cold, clear, glass of water has changed my mind. I need water whether I want it or not. 

How many things do we need, but don't want? 
This is the difference from going from "Meh" to "Yeah!!"

Another day in the books. "30before30"
*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes
*Doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is the good stuff
*Dotting my i's and crossing ALL of my t's
*Going from "Meh" to "YEAH!!"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 2: Crossfit Smossfit: 30 Before 30

Day 2: 30 Before 30
"Crossfit Challenge"

So, part of my "30 Before 30" included 30 days of exercise. Ha! This has been me lately...
Enough of that. It's summer, I have NO excuse and I love a challenge. Previously, I posted about starting the "30 day Crossfit at Home Challenge" I found on Pinterest by blogger, "Momma Crossfitter." Let's be honest, everyone wants to do what is most convenient and practical. For me, right now, this seemed perfect. Why not? Plus, I needed to do something with my "Exercise Board" on Pinterest.

Since I missed my first day of exercise, I decided to combine days one and two on the schedule. This included 4 rounds of the following:

Running 6 min. 
15 squats
10 pushups
20 KB (Kettle Bell) swings
7 burpees
21 situps
7 lunges....then back to 6 min. of running

This is Toya Pre-Crossfit Challenge:
Just happy-go-lucky, underestimating what I was about to embark upon...

CraftyGriffin's Workout Take-Aways:

What was I thinking?!- Not necessarily always a negative thing to think. I came to the realization that when I have this thought, it's because I am doing something hard. Something that takes intense focus, is a challenge, or a stressor. But, what a clarifying moment! There are times when this thought means....I must never do this again, or I need to do this! Working out, yeah, definitely something that needs to be "continually consistent." 

People give up too soon- I wanted to quit during round 2 (post "what was I thinking" thought). Nonetheless, I was determined to get it done and finish the 4 rounds, as there will be days where there will be 5 or 6 rounds to complete.  My "boyfriend/workout buddy/cheerleader" wouldn't let me quit anyway. The afterthought is that many times we want quit something too soon. There's an Israel Houghton song, Mercies, that comes to mind which says, "Nobody said it would always be easy, nobody said it would always be nice, nobody said that things would always turn out perfectly right." True that! Glad I didn't quit, it wasn't easy, nice, or perfectly right. I have a poster in my English classroom that says, "Just because something is difficult, doesn't mean you shouldn't try, just means you should try harder." I had to take my own medicine in regards to sticking it out today. I still don't believe that English class is harder than working through pain, but I am sure my students would beg to differ.

Just do it!- It's cliche and a Nike slogan, but seriously...sometimes you just need to accomplish something. I agree that many unnecessary burdens can come from just not accomplishing a task and/or doing the right thing (remnants of the sermon I heard today at church). I have MANY examples of this in my own life. Just ridiculously, unnecessary stress from not getting things done, or even the RIGHT things done. The feeling of finishing and knowing that it was really for your own good, can't argue with that. Too many times I feel we finish things that are not for our best interest. 

It's easy to do the easy stuff, and hard to do the hard stuff. Simple as that.- There's a plethora of things where this applies. From just checking off To Do lists, to saying the right things, having the right motives, or simply treating people the right way. Sad how easy it is to be a pain instead of being the positive. It's hard to be good. Good requires sacrifice at times, it's a choice, it's killing your flesh (the part of you that wants to do the total opposite of what you should do). That's the hard stuff, but the good stuff. Easy doesn't care, easy is not considerate, easy doesn't take the time, easy gets by, easy sometimes looks like a great structure on the outside and is crumbling on the inside, easy is just that and nothing more. All that's been accomplished, worth it, great, and caused growth has been hard. 
My ultimate take away: How much hard stuff can I do? 

Post Crossfit Challenge: a sweaty, accomplished, tired gal!

*Surrounding myself with good people/with good goals/for good causes 
*Doing the hard stuff, because the hard stuff is the good stuff!
Here's to another day in the books. 30 Before 30!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 1: 30 Before 30!

Today begins my "30 before 30" birthday initiative! I haven't been too jazzed about turning 30 lately...not sure why exactly, but maybe just because it's a final goodbye to the 20s. It's nice to notice how you've grown in a myriad of ways, so to make 30 matter; I've decided to do the following things for 30 days...

*30 days of giving (anything from time to gifts)
*30 days of exercise
*30 days of water (why? because I hate it and I need to love it)
*30 days of MORE in-depth scripture memorization and Bible study
*30 days of happy just because
*30 days of blogging about my 30 days (of course)

Seems like a mountainous task, but why not? So, because I am me, I made a calendar for all of this, printed my "Cross-Fit" at home schedule, and made my own scripture cards to kick off getting my Word on!

I found a calendar printable on Pinterest (the best site ever) and wrote out my 
routine for the next 30 days...which pretty much includes giving opportunities, exercise, water, studying, and blogging. Printable Link:

Here's my "Cross-Fit at home" calendar, again found on Pinterest.
I can't afford a workout program each month, so this is the next best thing! Who says you can't get sore, toned, and sweaty at home? Here's the link to "Momma Crossfitter 30 day challenge":

My scripture cards, 30 of course. I started out with a pre-made list, but then decided I would brush up on some common scriptures and insert ones I am not so familiar with and/or ones that were on specifics areas of growth, that I needed. 

Day 1: June 22, 2013:
I found the Need-Tarrant faith based non-profit online (randomly). I emailed the coordinator days prior, and simply told her I was a teacher off for summer break who was looking to help out. She informed me that they volunteer at the food bank every 2nd and 4th Saturday. Since a 4th Saturday was coming up, I decided to join. It was definitely a new experience to meet up with a group I didn't know and help out at the food bank. I had been to the food bank once before with my students, but being there to physically help with meals was a joy! The Need Group was very welcoming, and excited that I randomly agreed to help them, help the food bank. 
Few things I learned in my 3 hours of packing meal boxes:
-Everyone is nice, when the goal is positive. Amazing how sweet, thoughtful, and considerate a group of diverse people can be when their ultimate goal is to help others. I found myself laughing, talking, and working as a team with a room full of people I had never met before.
-Packing boxes is not a joke! It takes lots of focus to pack what you feel a family would need, like to eat, one that fit the weight and capacity requirements, one free of expired food items, and one with care:) It's a grueling task, your body gets tired of standing, your hands are dirty (even through the gloves), you are constantly looking for things, and lifting more boxes....but YOU DON'T CARE. You only care about completing the task and making meals that you know will be on someone's table next week. 
-Everyone has to be on the same team to be successful. Meaning that no one can have a hidden agenda or motive in order to complete a meaningful task. There were several groups volunteering, and my team consisted of many different people. We pulled together to find things that were lost, pack with concern and care, revamp a plan when it didn't work (as packing a box of food is like a puzzle). The best part was the continued validation, affirmation, appreciation from  those on my team. I don't know you, but thanks for pointing out my strengths and telling me "Great Job!" repeatedly. What does that make me want to do? MORE! Funny how, those who know us better than strangers can sometimes find it difficult to genuinely appreciate. 
-Simple things are a BIG DEAL! 
We clapped and cheered when we found items like syrup, ketchup, flour, mustard, Velveeta meals. It was like Christmas! Which was a phrase many uttered throughout the morning. Interesting how excited we were over finding simple items just to make a basket complete with a variety of meals to make. I was happy about condiments today. Condiments. Don't tell me that you can't find joy in anything. If a bottle of ketchup put a smile on my face today, then the possibilities of happiness are limitless. 
What I learned today: Surrounding yourself with good people, with good goals, for a good cause is a win-win. Most times you have to create those environments yourself. Thinking about our day to day, work, family, etc. So many things are what I call "perforated punch outs" -already assembled parts of life that we HAVE to deal with. The sweet thought for myself is how many good people/good goal/ good cause experiences can I insert in my life? In the next 30 days....I'll find out!