Sunday Summary – October 9, 2016

I’ve recently started sending weekly updates to our Sunday Life Group that include a summary of the Sunday sermon and a summary of our Life Group lesson. The goal is to keep everyone in the group in the loop even if they can’t make it to church every Sunday.

I know it’s tough for a lot of people to make it to church every Sunday so I thought more people may benefit if I post my weekly updates here on the blog. Feel free to check in each week (I’ll try to get them posted by mid-week) or if you’d like to get added to my weekly email list, just shoot me a message – I’ll be happy to add you!

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Title: “Positive Living, Part 2” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) – Herb Hartso (Youth Pastor)

The sermon on Sunday centered around Attitude and was a great follow up to last weeks lesson on encouragement. In the scripture, Paul is encouraging Thessalonian Christians and describing the type of attitude they should have. Ultimately, an attitude that is joyful, prayerful, and thankful is God’s will for you too.
The ability to maintain a joyful attitude “always” is rooted in faith. Although our circumstances change and may affect our happiness, our joy is rooted in Christ and therefore should not be impacted by circumstances. Herb noted that joy can be reflected in how often we smile. Spreading our joy (and our smile) to others will spread the joy of Christ.
We should also have a prayerful attitude. While the scripture notes that we should pray “continuously,” Herb pointed out that this does not mean literally pray every second of the day. Instead, we should be in a spirit of prayer.
Lastly, a thankful attitude is crucial to maintain perspective. Again, the scripture calls for us to give thanks “in all circumstances.” This can be tough because on the outside, it doesn’t seem like “all circumstances” are good; however, we must maintain the belief that God is in control and he is working things together for the good even when we can’t see it.
John Maxwell says, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” As believers, our attitude impacts others – it’s important that impact we have reflects Christ.
Key Action Items:
– Smile more often – spread a joyful attitude
– Stay in a spirit of prayer – 2 specific items we can continually pray about are the racial divide in our country and that lost people come to know Christ.

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Title: “One Great Task” (select verses from 2 Timothy 2: 1-10)

The point of our life group lesson this past week was each of us must share the gospel. The scripture focused on Paul’s letter to Timothy as he helped him understand the Christian life and his role as a minister.
In life, there are tasks that are important and tasks that are urgent. Rarely does something fall in both categories. Our call to share the gospel with others does fall into both categories as important andurgent. We should not hoard the good news but instead share it with others – openly and often. As a group we talked about modeling a Christian life and building relationships with others as avenues to share the gospel. Since this is one of the most important things we can do in life, we should be putting more time and energy towards this goal.
Key Action Items:
– Pray for an opportunity to share the gospel with someone else and the boldness and wisdom to take advantage of that opportunity.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!
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Sunday Summary – October 2, 2016

I’ve recently started sending weekly updates to our Sunday Life Group that include a summary of the Sunday sermon and a summary of our Life Group lesson. The goal is to keep everyone in the group in the loop even if they can’t make it to church every Sunday.

I know it’s tough for a lot of people to make it to church every Sunday so I thought more people may benefit if I post my weekly updates here on the blog. Feel free to check in each week (I’ll try to get them posted by mid-week) or if you’d like to get added to my weekly email list, just shoot me a message – I’ll be happy to add you!

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Title: “Positive Living, Part 1” (Acts 11:19-26)

The sermon focused on Barnabas and how his encouragement of others helped grow the church. Like Barnabas, we should also be encouragers of others.
An encourager sees potential in others. We should not show favoritism but instead assign EVERYONE a high value – treat everyone as a “10.” Clay referenced Proverbs 15:23 which says: “How good is a timely word.” By placing value on others and providing encouragement along the way, we can leave a positive impact on the lives of others.
In addition to seeing potential in others, an encourager also makes investments in others. As Christians we should strive to make our biggest investments in the lives others. Our goal should be to impact people (as opposed to merely impress people).
Key Action Items:
– Join the “Compliment Club”: Give 1 sincere compliment to 2 people every day.
– Write a hand written note to someone with the intentional effort to encourage them.

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Title: “One Great Commitment” (select verses from Romans 10)

Our life group lesson focused on Paul’s concern for Jews and their possible misunderstanding of righteousness and how to be saved. This concern is still valid today as many people still believe they can earn God’s favor.
Paul noted that to become a Christian we must declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. Both the inward conviction (believing with the heart) and the outward expression (confessing with the mouth) are important. On a day-to-day basis these two play out in how we center our lives and decisions around Him.
Key Action Items:
– Make time this week to asses your relationship with Jesus. Are you growing closer to Him? Are you studying His Word? Are you sharing the truth of the gospel with others?

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!
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7 Reasons Why I’ve Been a Coach for 7 Years

...mostly I like it because I get to drink beer on peddle taverns in Nashville

…mostly I like it because I get to drink beer on peddle taverns in Nashville

This week marks my 7th “anniversary” as a Team Beachbody Coach.  Over the past 7 years there are dozens (if not hundreds) of times I didn’t think it was for me and I seriously considered quitting… but I’ve stuck with it and here’s why:

  1. It Keeps Me Accountable: As a Coach, I’m responsible for helping other people reach their health and fitness goals but here’s the secret – I’m really the person who benefits most from this! I want to be fit and strong (really strong… it’s a short person complex I think) but I’m not super motivated on my own. When I’m helping others, it literally forces me to “practice what I preach.” I don’t think I would be obese if I wasn’t a coach, but I certainly wouldn’t be in great shape… and I wouldn’t have energy… and I would probably be a little depressed – because that’s how I feel when I’m not staying accountable to my goals and to the things I’m “preaching” to others. If I get nothing else from coaching besides the fact that it keeps me accountable to my own health and fitness goals, I’d stick with it for 7 more years.

  2. It Literally Transformed Blake: Of course I have a “transformation” story… Beachbody helped me lose the 12 pack of beer I carried around my midsection and helped me gain a 6 pack (although I’m still working on getting that back after baby #2) BUT Blake has an amazing transformation story. He went from being an overweight, pothead, smoker (sorry babe, it’s true) to a smoking hot fitness fanatic (see… I made up for the overweight/pothead/smoker thing there 🙂 ). I didn’t make him do it (we weren’t even married yet… barely even dating)… he saw me working out one day, asked what I was doing and then made the change on his own. He literally swapped super unhealthy habits for the healthiest of habits. I knew Beachbody fitness programs worked after they helped me but it wasn’t until I saw what they did for Blake that I truly believed in how much they could literally transform someone’s life. If I get nothing else from coaching besides the fact that it allows has given me a healthy husband, I’d stick with it for 7 more years.

  3. It Helps Me Set The Best Example: As a mom of 2 girls, I know it’s my responsibility to show them how to respect their bodies and to feel strong and capable of doing anything they want. My mom was a yo-yo dieter – she never seemed completely happy with how she looked or felt… I paid attention to that and while there are a TON of things I want to do exactly like my mom did, yo-yo dieting is not one of them. Carter is not even 2 years old yet but she gets that mommy and daddy work out. Health is never something that should be taken for granted – Beachbody Coaching lets me show that to my girls. If I get nothing else from coaching besides the fact that it allows me to set a great example for my girls, I’d stick with it for 7 more years.

  4. It Pushes Me: I know this is going to sound a little cocky but I feel like I can do really great things… like BIG things. But I have a lot of self-limiting beliefs that keep me from even trying sometimes. My biggest fear in life is not realizing or reaching my potential (I know… kind of deep, right?). Beachbody Coaching has pushed me so far out of my comfort zone but in doing that, has taught me how to overcome some of those self limiting beliefs (I’m still working on some). With Coaching, there is a HUGE emphasis placed on personal development… something I’d never heard of before becoming a coach. Learning about myself and learning how I can be better and accomplish those BIG things is one of the greatest blessings Beachbody has given me. If I get nothing else from coaching besides the fact that it pushes me to be a better person, I’d stick with it for 7 more years.

  5. It Allows Me to Help Others: Helping other people is one of the greatest feelings ever! Outside of coaching, I have a full time job as a sales and marketing manager… not exactly a position of “service.” I want to serve others. Coaching gives me an outlet for that desire. A lot of people have a negative view of multi-level marketing business because their representatives pressure/hassle/push them into buying something they don’t want or need… a very fair assessment. I try really, really hard not to do that. I always want to come from a place of service, of helping. Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. HealthCare costs are absurd. I feel like everyone can stand to invest a little more in their own preventative health care by exercising and eating a little bit better. I want to help others find a way to stay accountable to their own preventative health care and for it to actually be FUN! If I get nothing else from coaching besides the fact that allows me to help others feel better and actually BE better, I’d stick with it for 7 more years.

  6. Shakeology: Yo, Shakeology is legit. Shakeology alone can be transformative in your life…it has been in mine. I don’t have any health issues… it’s not because I eat well (I don’t!! I lived off Ramen noodles for years!),  I swear it’s because I drink Shakeology. I’m not going to make this a sales pitch on Shakeology, but it is hands-down the best health decision you could make for yourself (unless you’re a smoker in which case… stop smoking first). It has the highest standard in ingredients – you would be amazed at the crap they put in most protein/health drinks to make them taste like ovaltine or fruit punch or a milkshake… Shakeology doesn’t have that crap. The integrity and quality behind it is unmatched. If I get nothing else from coaching besides the discount I get on Shakeology, I’d stick with it for 7 more years.

  7. It Helps Takes the Pressure Off Blake: When I started coaching, I didn’t even know Blake so this reason didn’t become relevant until the second half of my coaching life. We’re now a family of 4… we have 2 kids (and 2 pups) to support! It’s expensive. I have a great, full time job which I love. Blake has a growing landscape business. BUT still finances are TIGHT. Blake has done an amazing job growing his landscape business but when the cash flow isn’t… flowing, finances become stressful. Coaching provides that extra boost to take some of the pressure off of Blake. As our girls get bigger, they will undoubtedly get more expensive. We don’t live an extravagant lifestyle but we both want to provide a good life for our growing family. With a growing family and a growing landscape business the stress over finances could get out of control. Thanks to the income coaching has provided, we can usually keep the financial stress in check. If I get nothing else from coaching besides the ability to take some financial pressure off of Blake, I’d stick with it for 7 more years.

  8. BONUS REASON- I Get To Go on Peddle Taverns: Ok, I’m going into a bonus reason only because I came up with 8 reasons in about 5 seconds so I felt like it should be included. Coaching is FUN and I get to hang out with FUN people and learn from FUN people. I’m a natural introvert so it’s hard for me to “bond” with others but coaching has given me a team of like-minded people to bond with and more importantly learn from. (One of the ways our team bonds is to go on Peddle Taverns in Nashville… I like our style!).

Sometimes coaching is a struggle for me. Sometimes I’m unmotivated. Sometimes I go months without working out (see: the past 7 months). Luckily you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic or a constantly motivated/positive person to be a coach. I’m looking forward to what the next 7 years of Beachbody coaching brings to me and my family. I know it’s going to bring BIG things.

I’d love for you to join me if you can relate to any of the above or if you just want to start some preventative healthcare (a regular/fun workout & nutrition program)… that’s a “salesy” as I get. I promise if you stick with it, you won’t regret it either!! If you’re interested at all (even just a little tiny bit) – shoot me a message or an email!

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Marriage Isn’t Hard – Reflections on 4 Years of Marriage

About a week ago, Blake and I were in the car after church and Blake asked “Do you think marriage to me is hard?

My first thought: “That’s a loaded question”

My actual response: “No.”

I still stand by my response, here’s why: Marriage is a promise..no, a covenant I made to Blake (and to God) on August 4, 2012. Promises and especially covenants aren’t made to be broken.

Making the decision to get married was hard. There were multiple times while Blake and I were dating and even while we were engaged that I seriously considered not marrying him; but when I did marry him, I was sure of my decision. In my head, once I made the decision (and promised before him and God many things including “until death do us part”), I would never reconsider.

Marriage isn’t a decision I make every day… it’s a decision I made once but one that I won’t change. Really, that’s a freeing thought.

If I had to “decide” on marriage EVERY day, I wouldn’t stay married long. I don’t think anyone would.

When we were in the car that day, Blake asked for further explanation on my response. This was my further explanation: “Marriage isn’t hard. Getting along with you everyday is hard.” Luckily Blake is a guy and the didn’t ask for further clarification there. The conversation ended. He knew what I meant.

Getting along with each other is hard. I’m hard. I’m hard on him. I’m sarcastic and harsh sometimes. Blake would probably have a gentler life with someone else but he chose me. He probably doesn’t choose me every day, but he doesn’t have to… he chose me once and he committed to that decision. Even when he doesn’t like me, he loves me and he is married to me. And vice versa.

Full disclosure: Blake annoys the shit out of me sometimes. We don’t agree on a lot of things (namely: how to assemble anything – crib, bookshelf, kegerator, Dr. Browns bottle…anything). But we made the decision to get married and we both honor that decision. No matter what we say to each other, how harsh we are toward each other, or how much we annoy the shit out of each other – we are married. We have to figure it out. If we don’t agree with each other, we figure it out. If something about him annoys me, I usually let him know… why? I’m married to him. If it annoys me now, it will annoy me more in 1 year or 10 years or 50 years so I better go ahead and let him know now. Every argument is worth it. Every disagreement is worth it. Every hard conversation is worth it.

The covenant we made to each other and to God is worth it.

We’re only 4 years in, so this whole blog could be naive, but I really hope it’s not.

(pic above is from our joint bachelor/bachlorette party…still one of my favs!)

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When the Phrase “Agree to Disagree” Doesn’t Sound Hostile Enough

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There are a lot of ways Blake and I differ in personality. To name a few:  I’m calm under pressure, Blake is… less calm; I’m not great at showing emotion, Blake wears his emotions on his sleeve. In most ways these basic personality differences complement each other and make us stronger as a unit.

While we definitely have differences in our personalities, our view points on most major issues align. We share the same religious, spiritual and political beliefs. We have almost identical priorities. In fact, off the top of my head I can only think of two areas of disagreement (although I’m sure we will stumble upon more throughout life).

The first point of contention is relatively minor. It involves the importance of condiments to overall food taste.

I am not, and have never been, a fan of condiments. No ketchup, mustard, mayo, dressing or hot sauce for me… ever. Recently I’ve accepted barbecue sauce in limited circumstances but generally speaking I’m not a “dipper.” I don’t need the flavor enhancement and I don’t want it. I can taste a hint of mayo in the cheesiest of pimento cheeses.  I cannot handle the hot of hot sauce.

Blake, on the other hand, puts sauce on EVERYTHING. A $50 steak NEEDS ketchup. We buy hot sauce by the gallon. In my opinion, it’s a little ridiculous BUT we agree to disagree. No big deal… very little impact on our relationship.

The other point of contention is substantially larger.

Blake is a UNC fan, I am a die hard Duke fan. Still to this day I don’t know how we’ve made it work.

I was born and raised a Duke fan. The walls of my childhood bedroom were literally covered in Duke memorabilia and posters. One of the my biggest disappointments in life was when I found out it actually did make the most financial sense for me to attend UNC-Chapel Hill for college (gasp!)… yeah it was dramatic. Throughout my 4 years at UNC I stayed strong to my roots and continued to pull for the Blue Devils. I will NEVER change.

Blake moved to NC when he as in elementary school. Unfortunately, his russian roulette method of choosing a NC team to pull for landed him with the Tar Holes Heels. Tragic. While he hasn’t been a life-long fan, he does have a solid 20 years of fandom under his belt and seems uninterested in changing his allegiance. Sadly, he most likely will NEVER change (although I haven’t given up total hope)!

When we started dating, we were aware of this glaring difference in opinion. We found out quickly we could not hold a calm conversation where either team was involved… if the conversation was about both teams it ended in a heated and unresolved argument every time.

When college basketball season starts I can feel the tension build. Duke and UNC are guaranteed to play each other twice per year… sometimes three times (thankfully they have yet to meet up 4 times in any given year).

When we got married we knew this huge point of contention needed to be addressed.

I promise to honor and embrace our differences as I do our similarities/ even if that means we have to watch the big game in different rooms. ~ Excerpt from our wedding vows

We do have to watch “the big game” in different rooms. We’ve tried to watch it together, all attempts have been unsuccessful.

We are both logical and fairly grounded but when it comes to The Rivalry, neither of us are graceful in our disagreement. The phrase agree to disagree doesn’t seem hostile enough.

Tonight will be tense. I will watch The Game upstairs, Blake will watch The Game downstairs. If it’s a close game we may not speak until morning. But we will stay married… after all we love each other more than we love our respective teams (most of the time 🙂 )

Go Duke!

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My New “Go-To” Lunch

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This burrito bowl has been the only lunch I’ve gotten excited about in a long time. I’m not sure if it has to do with being pregnant, but I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what I WANT to eat lately – Blake suggests this isn’t a “new” thing for me but he’s at peace with the fact that I blame all ailments on pregnancy at this point.

My top three priorities when choosing a great meal are these: ease of preparation, nutritional content, taste.

The burrito bowl does require some prep but the prep usually makes 3-4 lunches so it’s worth it. Also, it nails the other two priorities. I count it as a win.

This was my prep process –

The night before:

  • Open a can of organic corn, drain, place in container.
  • Open a can of black beans, drain, place in a container.
  • Have husband prepare chicken. Tell him it’s for a burrito bowl so to season it appropriately (I have no idea what this would entail which is why I delegate)
  • Contemplate buying pre-made pico de gallo at walmart ($3.00) or make my own. This time I made my own with Roma tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalepeno and lime juice. Cutting the onions makes me cry EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Next time, I’ll probably buy it pre-made.
  • Buy an avocado… hold off on cutting it as long as possible.
  • Make some brown rice. Easy peasy.
  • Grate some cheese because we don’t have shredded cheese… wait, what?? Normally I would just buy shredded cheese. Freshly grated tastes better but a’int nobody got time for that – plus I eat more than half of it in the process of shredding it.
  • Buy lettuce. image

The morning before leaving for work:

  • Frantically search for additional containers to re-portion all ingredients just for lunch. Realize after doing so that I should have just taken all the ingredients to work as is and then portion out throughout the week as I actually make lunch (the perks of an office fridge!)… clearly there is room for improvement here.

At lunchtime:

  • Spend half of your lunch break meticulously organizing all ingredients for an instagram-worthy lunch (see pic above).
  • Devour the entire bowl in less than 5 minutes.

There you have it… my new “go-to” lunch. It’s good, you should try it.

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19 Week Update… Do I have to workout? Yes, Yes I Do.

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I’m officially 19 weeks today which is almost halfway to the end- assuming she comes on time which is never a safe assumption. According to AlphaMom the little peanut is actually 5.5 in long and about 7 oz so not the size of a peanut but more like the size of my iphone (including the case). I could carry literally carry her around in my back pocket although clearly it’s advisable for her to stay put exactly where she is. It’s funny though because I often tell Carter I wish I could carry her with me all day in my pocket – which actually sounds really weird so I’m going to stop saying it.

It’s interesting that the AlphaMom 19 week analysis talks mostly about pregnancy fitness. I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t been at the top of my fitness game over the past few months. I’m tired. I’ve heard this excuse from people before: I’m too tired to workout. I hate that excuse. I know it sounds logical but really it isn’t. To lift yourself up off the couch and away from the TV seems like it takes a TREMENDOUS amount of effort BUT once you get past that initial very, very hard part and actually start the workout it’s amazing how quickly the fatigue goes away and the energy starts to flow. It is really easy to use pregnancy as an excuse not to exercise. Most people (including my husband) won’t argue about proper fitness routines with a pregnant lady (he’s a smart man). But here’s the thing, we all know we should do it. It’s hard. We’re tired, We want oreos (is that just me)? BUT in the end we know it’s worth every bit of effort to get our growing rear ends off the extremely comfy, inviting, and non-judgmental couch and go get the blood flowing to our disintegrating muscles.

I’m looking for some accountability partners (who are not my husband) to help keep me on track. I’ll reciprocate the gesture and keep you on track too! If you’re pregnant and tired and don’t feel like working out but know you need to get back in the groove so you aren’t completely out of shape as you attempt to push a baby (who will no longer fit in your pocket) out of your body- please message me or email me. I need your help and I can help you too! Yay for camaraderie!

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