Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Yes, I do know that I am telling on myself and maybe embarrassing myself a little by titling this blog with lyrics from Vanilla Ice's runaway hit "Ice, Ice Baby". (It was cool back in the day!)  So be it...there is some good truth in these three little words even if Robert Van Winkle a.k.a. Vanilla didn't intend to preach.

I missed posting last week because I was running crazy with a laundry list of things that kept me on the go, on the phone and out of the gym.  This week I am back in the gym, not on the phone as much but close, and still running around with a laundry list of things to do.  This is why, when I stopped to a take a deep breath this afternoon, the deep thoughts of Robert Van Winkle came to mind, but my mind didn't linger just on Robert's poetic words.  I thought about Psalm 46 especially verse 10 where the psalmist tells us to "be still and know I am God," from the New International Version.  I like my New American Standard Version which reads, "cease striving and know I am God,".

Regardless of the version the point is still clear.  We need to give up (stop) we have to willingly cooperate with God (collaborate) and we need to know Him (listen).  Not always an easy thing to accomplish, but it is oh so good for the weary soul.  This same chapter of Psalms reminds us of other great truths about God.  He is...our refuge, is available to help us when we are in trouble, is present, is our stronghold or protection, he will be praised.  Now, that is the God I want to stop, collaborate and listen to!

With Easter upon us, I have started listening to a podcast series called the Incomparable Christ by Nancy Leigh DeMoss with Revive our Hearts Ministries.  I have only listened to the first one, but it was a great beginning to help me focus on what is most important in my life.  In the podcast she played Dr. S. M. Lockridge's 6  minute sermon "My King".  If you need a reminder of who Christ is, you should follow this link.  When you get to the site click on the mp3 or ra (real audio) version.  I don't know anyone who could say it any better or with any more passion than Dr. Lockridge who was an African-American Baptist minister in California for over 50 years.  His enthusiasm is contagious. 

My goal this week and the week after and the week after is to stop, collaborate and listen, but not because Vanilla Ice says so.  I hope you will do so too.

The three things I learned or was reminded of this week:

My doctor thinks I am a idiot.  Okay, maybe I misunderstood him.  What he actually said is I have a condition called Idiopathic Urticaria.  Now, you see why I think he called me an idiot.  I felt like an idiot sitting there in his office today after he explained it.  The issue is I have developed lots of allergies in the last few years, but in the last 6 months I keep having unexplainable reactions (itching, hives, swelling).  This condition means I can have a reaction for no reason at any time without an allergy triggering it.  Solution, keep lots of Benadryl and hope I "grow" out of it. 
I have hit a plateau.  One definition of plateaued I read recently is "reach a state of little or no change after a time of activity or progress".  It seems after I lost over 6 lbs in one week that my body doesn't want to let go of anymore, but I have news for my body.  I am not giving up!  I have increased my strength training this week and am keeping up my cardio and am ever trying to keep down my calories.  Hopefully, in a few days I will see some progress and we can say bye bye to the plateau.

Sometimes things do not go the way you planned and there is nothing you can do about it.  That's all I have to say about that!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Setting Goals

I decided before starting Arrow Meltdown and Pounds for P.E. (A Junior Auxiliary project) that I needed to set goals for myself during the program and even after.  The truth is I have more weight to lose than what I can accomplish in this three month program.  I felt like a reasonable and attainable goal would be 10 lbs. a month which would mean a 20 lb. weight loss for Pounds for P.E. (March 31st) and a 30 lb. weight loss at the end of Arrow Meltdown (April 29th). 

As I thought further about my goal for Arrow Meltdown, I decided I needed to add to it to try to push myself during the three months so I actually set three goals:

1.  My reasonable and attainable goal= 30 lbs.
2.  My wishful thinking goal=40 lbs
3.  My only in my dreams goal=50 lbs.   

The first month I lost 8.9 lbs and the second month I lost 10.5 bringing my total to 19.4 lbs.  This week alone I lost 6.2 lbs.  I am just a little shy of my goal, but I feel good about my progress.

Today was our last Arrow Meltdown boot camp.  We are on our own until our final weigh in on April 29th.  Someone asked me how I was feeling at this point?  Was I encouraged, discouraged, or what?  This was before our weigh in and my response was that I was encouraged!  I had set a 10 goal for each month.  I thought I might be shy of that today (never dreaming I would lose 6.2 lbs this week), but I was ready to press on. 

Arrow Meltdown is just a jumpstart for me.  I have a long road ahead, but I feel better equipped and more motivated than ever to work toward my ultimate goal.   I am not quite ready to reveal that number, but I will eventually.  I just need a little more time to work through it.  This blog is called Revealed because of my effort to be transparent about my journey so that you can be encouraged on your journey.  I will share that number soon enough, but cut me a little slack for now, if you will.

I mentioned above that the JA, Pounds for P.E. weigh in is today.  As I told you last week this is the Junior Auxiliary of Clinton  special 25th Anniversary project.  Created by JA member Christi Salassi, Pounds for P.E. is where we JA ladies along with other friends in the community commit to lose weight and strive for a healthy lifestyle.  We each seek out sponsors for our weight loss either a per pound pledge or simply a donation toward our cause and all the money is used to purchase physical education equipment for Clinton Public School District elementary schools.    Our fundraising goal is $2,500 and if you are interested in donating, please send your gift to Junior Auxiliary of Clinton, PO Box 593, Clinton, MS 39060 and write Pounds for P.E. in the memo of your check.  My loss should be around 19 lbs, but I will post the total numbers for the group next week.

The three things I learned or was reminded of this week:

Special stars shine the brightest.  This weekend I worked a Junior Auxiliary of Clinton project, Shining Stars.  This project provides respite care for parents of special needs children.  We babysit the special needs child along with their siblings for the day and then provide a casserole or two for each family's dinner that night.  The idea is to give the parents a break to do whatever they want to do for the day and not have to worry about their children.  The children were precious.  Truthfully, it was hard work.  I was only with them for 4 hours which gave me a great appreciation for these amazing parents who care for and love them along with their siblings day in and day out.  It was a true blessing for me to spend a little time with these kiddos.   
Raise up a child in the way they should go.  Sunday, I was the official photographer for the baby dedication at Morrison Heights.  What qualified me as official was the fact I was available this Sunday when others were not.  Nevertheless, it was a touching experience.  I have attended baby dedications before, but this one went above and beyond.  The parents had met together with our children's ministry staff on several occasions, read recommended books and even wrote a letter to their child outlining their hopes and dreams for him/her.  The parents stood before the congregation with their children and made a pledge before the church to raise their child in the admonition of the Lord and the church pledged to support them in their efforts.  Afterwards, there was a reception for the families and their guests with a further challenge to the parents.  As we closed the event, the parents read their letters to their children aloud to their family and guests for further accountability.  My eyes whaled with tears, as I listened to my friend read the letter he and his wife wrote to their son.  What a precious letter this boy will receive from his parents one day about how they pray for him and hope for him to know and follow the Lord.   In my work at The Baptist Children's Village, I meet children who do not know what it means to have this love and support.  How wonderful it is that there are children who do and will!

Time flies. I remember when my nephew was born, he was the pride and joy of our family.  Still is, along with his two younger sisters.  I loved cuddling all three of them as babies.  Laughed at them trying to say my name Aunt Eee-Yes instead of Celeste.  Now, the youngest is turning 4 years old this weekend, the other will soon be 5 years old and starting kindergarten this fall and my 8 year old nephew is nearly wearing a man sized shoe.  Stop the madness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Think I Can

I Think I Can...

My mother always read to my sister and I as children.  It is a tradition we continue with the addition of grandchildren to the family.  One book I vividly remember is The Little Engine that Could.  It made an impression on my life with the simple story of one who doubted and was doubted and yet overcame what seemed like insurmountable obstacles.  (Side note: My favorite young childhood book was The Three Little Pigs.  My sister and I drove my mother crazy asking her to read it twenty times a day until she hid it from us.  Never fear, we found it and continued torturing her.)

My mention of this simple little children's book has a two-fold point.  First, we all face what seems like insurmountable obstacles in our lives.  Reaching a "normal weight" is mine and has been for most of my life.   This simple little lesson that was taught to me along with my trust in God's word that nothing is impossible with Him is what keeps me pressing on especially when the weight doesn't melt off as quickly as I hoped.  I am down 13.5 lbs (2.0 lbs this week) and the journey ahead at times seems impossible, but I want to finish well and to do that I must remember..."I think I can...I think I can...I know I can...I know I can...I will...I will and eventually...I did...I did!" 

Secondly, the purpose of the Arrow Meltdown is to impact and change the lives of the children we all influence, not just produce weight loss for each participant.  The lessons of good health are just as important to teach impressionable children as is the lesson of overcoming difficult circumstance.  In fact, lessons of good health may prevent them from having to face some difficulties.  I don't have my own children, but I do have influence in the lives of children both through the Junior Auxiliary of Clinton, my church, my work and my family.  I want all of these children with whom I have responsibility to experience good health and learn to maintain it on in to adulthood so they never have to fight the battle I now face.

With the mention of Junior Auxiliary of Clinton, I want to make you aware of our special 25th Anniversary project that is underway.  Created by JA member Christi Salassi, Pounds for P.E. is where we JA ladies along with other friends in the community commit to lose weight and strive for a healthy lifestyle.  We each seek out sponsors for our weight loss either a per pound pledge or simply a donation toward our cause and all the money is used to purchase physical education equipment for Clinton Public School District elementary schools.  We have our final weigh in March 31, 2011.  Our fundraising goal is $2,500 and if you are interested in donating, please send your gift to Junior Auxiliary of Clinton, PO Box 593, Clinton, MS 39060 and write Pounds for P.E. in the memo of your check.   All gifts are tax deductible.  I will update you next month on the outcome of our JA project.

The three things I learned or was reminded of this week:

Practice makes perfect.  That might be a bit of an exaggeration in this case, but this morning in Arrow Meltdown boot camp we went back to the spinning room.  You will remember we did this about a month ago and all nearly died in the process.  However, today after weeks of exercising and weight loss, we all saw a tremendous improvement on the bike.  For me, I was not winded and my endurance was much greater.  It is obvious that these lifestyle changes we all are making are changing us.

Red means STOP and Green means Go.  It is a lesson that any 3 year old who watches Barney can tell you, but for some reason adults across the state of Mississippi don't have a clue.  Okay this is where I am going to take just a minute to rant about a pet peeve of mine.  People, please hear me, a stop sign is not a suggestion, not a do-it-only-when-you-feel-like-it, and not a-take-it-or-leave-it .  No, no, is the law and a good.  I can't even tell you how many people have pull right out from a stop sign in front of me and in most case never even slowing down as I have traveled across this state these last few months.  Monday morning the offender was riding his motorcycle and thankfully I didn't hit him or him me.  I guess I have my daddy to thank for this pet peeve.  When he was teaching me to drive, (because my mother would not because I scared her too much) he made me pull up to every stop sign and stay there long enough to spell s-t-o-p before looking both ways and pulling out.  It aggravated me at 14, but now at 30-something, it isn't such a bad idea.  Be careful out there!

You are reading my blog, not sure why, but you are just the same.  I need to apologize for not posting last week.  Arrow Meltdown took the week off and so did I.  I intended on letting you know Revealed was on hiatus, but it just slipped my mind until you all started asking me about it.  I truly appreciate you for caring and reading.  I hope in some small way my transparency will be a blessing to you. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Disciplined Life that is a word that has been needed in my life for a while.  What about you?  Lately,  it has been rearing its ugly head more and more especially as I try to incorporate all I am learning through Arrow Meltdown.  There is great benefit in living a disciplined life especially when your submission is to God.  What has surprised me most as I practice disciple in many areas of my life, not just in the physical things, is I am finding the beauty in it.  I think that is because I am seeing the evidence of God at work in my life and that brings me great joy!

Speaking of great joy...Oh happy day...I finally overcame my first weight loss goal and passed the 10 lb. mark this morning with a total weight loss right at 11.5 lbs.  I am very excited!  There are some Arrow Meltdown contestants melting down much faster than I, which only disappoints because I could really use the prize money, but never fear, I will press on and celebrate their success, contest or no contest.   

Boot camp this week was probably my favorite so far.  We did body sculpting using a stability ball and free weights.  I really enjoyed it even though now my knees are hurting a little from the squats which says more about me than it does about the class.  These last six weeks, I have found it difficult to make time for both cardio and strength training during the week and since these body sculpting exercises can be done at home, I am hoping to put them into practice.  The Healthplex offers a couple of body sculpting classes throughout the week and I have gone to one.  I need to really look hard at my personal schedule and discipline myself to make more time for exercise. 

Nutrition was very informative today.  With Springbreak coming up next week, we talked about overcoming the obstacles of eating out and basically it all comes down to discipline.  I don't get a springbreak, so worrying about vacation is not on my radar, but I do travel often on weekends, in fact I have been out town four of the six weekends since Arrow Meltdown began.  There have been obstacles to face which has required discipline.  I have had some success because I have still been losing weight consistently even while I have traveled, but Mrs. Mascagni had great tips that will help me do better and I hope they help you. 

1  The battle is won in your heart and mind before you ever get to a restaurant or vacation destination.  Make up your mind to choose healthy before you ever go and stick to the plan.

2.  Always order sauces and dressings on the side and dip your fork tongs in them with each     bite.  You will still get the great taste without all the calories and fat.

3.  Only eat out with people who support your effort and don't let other's talk you into something you know is not the right choice for you.  e.g. your waiter

4.   Do not be afraid to ask to make changes to your order, but remember if you have them running back and forth to the kitchen to ask the chef questions be sure to tip them well.

5.  When all else fails, tell them the waiter you are allergic to butter!  He, the chef and the manager will do what you ask of them because they will be afraid you will sue them.

The three things I learned or was reminded of this week:

Listen to a good word.  Hebrews 12:11 says: "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained in it.  A friend from college that has survived this journey I am now on sent me that verse.  She also recommended me reading Candace Cameron Bure's (Kirk Cameron's little sister and star on the old ABC show Full House) book "Reshaping it All".  I haven't read it yet, but hope to soon.  You might want to check it out and let me know what you think.

I have an unofficial fan club.  This blog has connected me  and reconnected me to people in ways I couldn't have imagined.  I have been surprised that folks enjoy reading what I have to say.  I consider myself a mediocre writer at best and I know I need an editor because I am a terrible speller, type too fast and have too many errors.  Nevertheless, there are people who are enjoying this blog and I am enjoying sharing this experience with you.

I talk (write) too much!  This is no revelation to me or to most of you.  It is in my genes!  Therefore, I am going to shut up for once and I bid you adieu until next week.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Phase Two

I usually wait until further down in my posts to announce the weigh in news, but I am just too excited to wait.  This morning in our 4th weigh in, I lost (drum roll please...) 3.2 lbs bringing my total to 8.9 lbs for the month (applause).  I am just shy of my monthly ten pound goal, but I feel very good about the results.  With one month down, I will just keep pressing on as I enter phase two of the Arrow Meltdown contest.

This week I had the opportunity to put some of what I have learned from our nutrition classes with Mrs. Vicki Mascagni into practice.  Over the weekend, I went to a women's retreat sponsored by Morrison Heights Baptist Church.  I must say it was great fun and a tremendous blessing in my life to connect and reconnect with friends.  However, being away at camp meant my meal choices were limited.  Friday night was a seafood buffet which consisted of mostly fried foods.  I found some baked fish on the buffet and I heard Mrs. Mascagni's sweet voice in my head reminding me that a portion size of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards as I served my plate.  I also remembered her saying that at least half of my plate should be fruits and veggies.  All weekend I followed that plan, plus I stayed away from the dessert table which had, picture this,  cobbler with ice cream and lots of pie, but I chose the green Jello with fruit.  I must admit I felt a little deprived, but I tried to think of the bigger picture.  My only splurge there was a handful of Chex Mix while staying up talking with the girls.

My exercise was nonexistent this week except for boot camp.  I am not proud of it, but wanted to be honest about it.  I was not well for several days and with that and the retreat I just missed out on the gym.   I will be back at it this week because I am beginning my training for the Clinton FireFly 5K on Friday, April 29, 2011.  I will have to walk most if not all of it, but I am going to do it just the same.  All the Arrow Meltdown contestants will lead the way at the event and this will be the final weigh in where the winners will be announced.  I have built up my endurance this month and now it is time to focus on the 5K.  The registration information is not posted where I can find it, but when it is I will post a link here.  It should be great fun so plan to join us. 

The three things I learned or was reminded of this week:

I have no rhythm.  This is no joke!  This morning in boot camp we did Zumba.  I knew it was coming eventually and I was dreading the week we did Zumba because I knew I had no rhythm, but now everyone in the Arrow Meltdown and the few people who walked by the window can attest to this fact.  You would think I could put this big hips to use and shake them a little, but instead I looked more like I was having a seizure.  I did best at the African Rhythm dance, but that is not saying much.  I think the failing arms just come a little more naturally to me than some of the other moves.  The instructor was really good and if she is reading this post, I want to apologize for being on the front row and her having to watch me be a total spastic.  I am sorry you came to work at 5 a.m. to witness this crime against humanity!

Mrs. Vicki is serious about those food logs.  Mrs. Mascagni called us out about our food logs this morning.  She meticulously reads them and give us individual advice on how to improve our meals.  Her goal for us in not just weight loss, but it is a total lifestyle change that equips us for weight loss and healthy living.  I appreciate the investment she is making in us and I hope I can make her proud this week.  I stocked my refrigerator with salmon, tilapia, spinach, sweet potatoes, parsnips, brussel sprouts, grapes and greek yogurt last night.  Hopefully, that will do the trick.  I will let you know next week about my adventures in cooking fresh parsnips and brussel sprouts.  This could get interesting.

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways.  I love Morrison Heights because for the last 18 years (my whole adult life) it has been the perfect place for me to call my church home.  I love it because of events like the women's retreat where relationships are built and God's word is taught.  I love opportunities to serve and influence the lives of others especially the pre-schoolers I see every Wednesday night.  I love our staff and their dedication to the Lord and our congregation.  I love, love, love, my pastor and his family.  They serve so well and Dr. Greg preaches God's word with such boldness and humility.  I enjoy his sermons so much that I go back and listen to some of them throughout the week.  I am really enjoying this study in Exodus we are doing now on Sunday nights.  It is good stuff and I love it!  If you want to listen, you can search MHBC Podcast on iTunes or go to  You are also welcome to visit us anytime. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting a Grip

It has been a week!  I feel like I have squeezed a month into this one week and the truth is if I gave you my "to do" list you would probably think what is the big deal.  I finally had to get a grip after awaking early one morning nearly having a panic attack.  There are very few things in life that require that level of stress and my little life over the course of this little week certainly does not qualify as a big deal, but I made it a big deal.  It was my fault alone and I had to say ENOUGH! 

I have been reading through Psalms over the last couple of weeks and God brought to mind a verse I read recently.  Psalm 46:10a in the NASB version reads, "Cease striving and know that I am God".  Some of you may be familiar with the NIV version that reads "Be still and know that I am God".  I love that the footnote for the NASB teaches that ceasing to strive means to relax.  That is exactly what I needed to do this week!  I needed to relax and think on God, reflect on His Word and remember who He is and what He is doing for me.  It is hard to be stressed when you posture yourself before the throne of grace and call out to the Lord for His help.  After I got a grip and basically got over myself and began to focus on God, my stress faded and my joy increased.  I can truly say this week has ended well thanks be to God!

It is rather interesting to me that with my journey this week as described above, that at Arrow Meltdown Boot Camp this morning our exercise was Tai Chi.  I can definitely see how there are  benefits from this exercise and while I did enjoy the experience today it must be said that the roots of this ancient form of martial arts do not reflect my belief system.  I doubt that Tai Chi and I will be a match beyond the experience today.

The three things I learned this week:

Good things come to those who wait...and wait.  After such a low weight loss last week, only .20 lbs., I just did not know what to expect this time.  However, I took the advice of our dietician, Vicki Mascagni, and lowered my daily caloric intake and increase my cardio exercise by 15 minutes.  I am pleased to report I lost 3.0 lbs. this week bringing my total to 5.7 lbs. over three weeks.

I (we) already know what to do, be we just don't want to do it.  Mrs. Mascagni said this to us this morning at boot camp and you know what...she's right!  It is not that I am ignorant of what it takes to be healthy, but I have resisted the idea of change.  I have been unwilling to exercise self-control and self-sacrifice until now.

One size doesn't fit all.  When it comes to dieting and healthy living, opinions and methods are in abundance.  I know people who would get up in the early morning and exercise from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., others who quit eating carbohydrates, others who would only eat 800 calories daily and so it goes.  The truth is we all have to find what works for us.  The only commonality is we all need to eat healthy foods and we need exercise, but how that looks like in my life will be different from how it looks in your life.  We are all journeying towards good health, but our paths to it cannot and will not be the same.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Let us go with the good news first.  My new challenge this week was to venture back out into the world of restaurants.  It can be hard to make good choices in these environments, but I made very good choices at least this time.  Being the social butterfly that I am, I don't want to miss opportunities to socialize with friends, but at the same time I do not want to sabotage myself.   I need to find a way to merge my social and health lifestyle into one.  My very important first step is to make healthy (though sometimes difficult) meal choices.  I decided to share the restaurants and my meal choices in hope that  the you are out and about maybe they will help you.


Burgers & Blues- Portobello Burger with a side salad.  A Portobello cap only has 25 calories

Subway- Turkey and Ham on wheat with veggies and mustard which was approx. 350 calories

Cracker Barrel- Grilled Lemon Pepper Trout with green beans, carrots and a side salad.  I skipped the yummy biscuits and cornbread muffins.  

Newk's Express Cafe- Shrimp Salad with the dressing on the side.  The salad has about 250 calories, but the dressing has 120 per ounce.  I used the dressing very sparingly.

No one wants bad or ugly news, so let me put it to you quickly and simply.  I only lost .20 lbs.  this week.  Your eyes are not deceiving you and no, it is not a typo.  It is the truth!  I know some of the other contestants found themselves at this disappointing place, too.  I am sure not all, but some.  We were encouraged to press on and we will.  The silver lining is that I know that I made the effort this week with my meal choices, calorie counting and regular exercise.  I feel better and I can tell in my clothes that my body is changing.  While the numbers were not what I wanted them to be, I will not give up.

The three things I learned (or was reminded of) this week:

1.  If the shoe fits, wear it.  You ladies will appreciate this so much more than the men.  I bought some shoes at Macy's (my favorite store) and after I got them home they hurt my feet terribly, therefore, they were thrown into the shoe abyss in my closet until I would give them away.  On a whim,  I decided to pull them back out this week and they fit comfortably and there is no pain.  Apparently, my healthy lifestyle has shrunk my feet.  No complaints here.  Yea, for cute shoes that don't hurt your feet.

2.  I can take least when forced too.    Saturday while at the Healthplex for my workout, I saw a friend in the aerobics room.  I smiled, waved and kept walking.  The next thing I know, she is holding me at gun point forcing me into the room...okay, I exaggerate, but she did come out and invite me into the class.  Of course, my first reaction and I quote, "Oh, no, I don't think I am ready for this.  Really, I don't think I am ready."  Linda Collins is a tenacious one and would not take no for an answer.  A few minutes later she had my mat and weights out and I was ready to "body sculpt".  Yes, me!  I survived.  It actually was fun and I could feel the results for days and days and days.  She is a good friend to encourage me to try something new.  In addition, this week at boot camp we did spinning.  It was hard, but as is always my goal, I did not fall out and die.  My legs were like noodles afterward and I nearly had to crawl down the stairs to go home.  However, I must admit it was kind of fun and I could certainly feel the burn.  I predict I will be feeling this workout for days and days and days. 

3.  Good health and exercise have limited value.  "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.  That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:7-9 NIV 2010