Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jump for Joy in February!

February is just around the corner! Usually we think of candy hearts and homemade love notes.. But this month I am participating in my own Jumping Jack challenge! I would love to have you join me!

Why jumping jacks?

"Jumping jacks are an effective aerobic and strength-building exercise and their simplicity makes them versatile." (Thompson. LiveStrong)

Below you will find the challenge I have created for the month.  Every fifth day is a rest day.  As the number of jacks increase, you may choose to split them up over the course of the day.  For instance, on the 100 jacks day, do 50 in the morning and 50 in the evening.  It's up to you! 
Let me hear from you if you are joining me for this challenge! Post a comment here, and/or share your #jumpforjoy pics on the Simply Sole Searching facebook page!
Here is the challenge: (please note that I recommend that you consult your Doctor before starting any new physical activity.) 

Feb 1: 20
Feb 2: 30
Feb 3:40
Feb 4: 50
Feb 5: rest
Feb 6: 60
Feb 7: 70
Feb 8: 80
Feb 9: 90
Feb 10: rest
Feb 11: 100
Feb 12: 110
Feb 13: 120
Feb 14: 130 (Happy Valentine's Day!)
Feb 15: rest
Feb 16: 140
Feb 17: 150
Feb 18: 160
Feb 19: 170
Feb 20: rest
Feb 21: 180
Feb 22: 190
Feb 23: 200 
Feb 24: 215
Feb 25: rest
Feb 26: 230
Feb 27: 240
Feb 28: 250 ( You did it!)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

You've Changed

"You've changed!" 

There was a time in my life that if someone uttered those words to me, I may have been offended.  But now, it's one of the greatest compliments I could ever receive!

Now, it is my personal mission to be better than I was the day before.  Let me say that again, I want to be better than I was.  Not better than anyone else.  Just me.

What do I mean by this?

More than anything, I am specifically talking about how knowing and having a relationship with God has changed the way I make choices as I live my life.  My relationship with Him affects every single thing I do or don't do.  And therein lies the change.  I am aware and conscience of Him and how I want to honor Him and His love for me with all that I do.  I want to react out of love not anger or bitterness.  I want to choose wisely based on what I am called to do, not what feels right at the time.

There are many days when I feel that I fail in doing this.  Again, how I respond to that failure has changed over the course of my lifetime.  Long ago, I would beat myself up for mistakes.  Now, I am more forgiving of my mistakes, but also proactive in trying harder next time and learning from them, prayerfully seeking guidance.

Scripture tells us that when we invite Christ into our lives, we are renewed.  We are not the same.  We are changed.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun! -2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

Your Sole Searching Sister,

Monday, January 19, 2015

Crossing your finish line

On Saturday I participated in and completed my 9th Half Marathon.   I will be honest, I did not prepare the last 6-8 weeks like I should have to feel physically prepared for this race.  I did it solo, and created my strategy the night before.  I knew I was not ready to run the entire race (I have been using the walk/run method for years.) However, I really want to beat my best time of 2h49m.  So I decided I would run for 2 songs, walk for 1.  If I felt stronger and could go farther at any given point, I would do so.

That strategy served me well.  I was so happy to see that the first 6 miles were done in under 1h 10m.  At around mile 10, my calf muscles began their usual behavior of tightening up.  I stopped to retie my left shoe (as my toes were going numb too,) and stretched for a moment on the curb.  It did not feel like it helped my calves much, but I know it probably did.

I got a little lost on the race route after passing mile 12.  I wasn't alone, two other women were just lost as I was.  But we found our way back on the route.

Soon after, I came upon a slight curve in the road, and there was a race volunteer there yelling, "after you pass the curve you will see the finish line." Sure enough, there it was... waaaayy down there! :)

I was approaching the 13 mile marker, when a man in running clothes (but no medal around his neck,) approached me from the curb and said, "You've got this! You can do it." I yelled, "Thanks so much!" But inside, I was really hurting.  My right quadricep was shaky.  I have never felt that before.  It made me nervous to even take another step for fear my leg would give out.  But I kept going.  Slowly.  The man did not give up on me.  He asked me, "Want me to run it in with you?"

I blinked.  I looked at him.  I sized him up.  I figured if he had just run this race, he finished a long time ago, since he did not even look sweaty any more.  Or, maybe he was a running coach.  Who knew? But I sure did appreciate his kindness and offer.  So I said, "Yes! But I cannot run all that fast right now." I told him about my leg.  He told me to hang in there, and that once I crossed the finish line, I could give in to the pain.  That boosted me up, and we ran towards that line.  Once I was within 20 yards of the finish, I spotted my sweet hubby just to the right of the finish line cheering me on, and taking photos.  I told the man, "Oh, there is my husband!" My finish line angel said, "I will let him take it from here," and he was gone.

I crossed the finish line in 2h42m57s, 7 minutes off my best time.  I was/am thrilled! But what really touched me and stuck with me was the kindness of that stranger.  He didn't know me from Adam.  But he probably could see the struggle I was experiencing in my face when I rounded that curve.  He could have easily ignored it, or just felt bad for me.  But he didn't.  He stopped, and offered to help.  In doing so, he inspired me and helped me dig deep to cross that finish line strong.

I guess there is a part of me that still does think of myself as a "runner." I don't know why.  I try very hard not to compare myself to others.  I know I am not all that fast.  I know that to many 2h42m seems super slow.  But, five years ago, I could not even fathom running for 1 minute, let alone running over 75% of a half marathon.  I am so happy I chose to try.  I am happy with this pace, this experience, and this lifestyle.  The people that I have met have proved time and time again, that running is for everyone.  Everyone belongs and is welcomed.  Runners get a thrill out of seeing others meet and surpass their own goals.  Runners specialize in support and encouragement of other runners, no matter what their pace.

I want to be like that man was to me for you.  I want to "run it in with you," even just virtually, here through this blog and on facebook.  I want you to know, that I believe in you and your capability.  Will there be struggles? Oh yes there will be.  But if you have ever overcome any obstacle in your life, you know how great it feels when you have accomplished something you never thought you had the strength to do.  It's the same with crossing a finish line.  There is nothing in the world like it.

I know that God calls us to step outside of our comfort zone.  Jesus did not play it safe.  He lived a life of extravagant generosity, friendship, forgiveness, and love.  God is calling us to do the same.  He wants us to experience great things.  But we have to take the first steps and put in the work.  He will guide us, supply us, strengthen us, and fortify us.

I want to hear from you.  Do you have a health/fitness related goal for this year? I want to know, so I can support you and cheer you on as you cross your own finish line.

Your Sole Searching Sister,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Becoming Fear-Less

What do you fear? 

What causes you anxiety or stress? 

 I believe we all have something or someone that we allow to dig into confidence or faith, and cause it to waver. After all, we are imperfect. That being said, let's think about how our lives would be different if we made the choice each day to focus on our Hope in God instead of allowing "the little things" to rob of us it. 

Fear=the absence of Trust. 

That may hard for us to read, but think about it.. I suspect you will see it's true. Perhaps there is a situation that you are in that is causing you fear or doubt of the future. 

What steps could you take today that would provide you with a stronger Faith, trusting in God's plan and His provision during this trial? 

Here are a few of my personal suggestions: 

-Pray. Always start here. Pray out loud, pray silently, or even write our your prayer. But take some time to intentionally express yourself and listen for His wisdom. Read the Word. 

-Call a friend. Confide in him/her. Seek counsel, invite him/her to join you in praying for the situation. 

I am praying for all who are reading this that are experiencing fear or doubt today. I don't know what the situation is, but I do know that I will be praying that you experience God's peace and comfort right now. May His wisdom and guidance be your focus... 

Your Sole Searching Sister, Julie

Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's all about "ReNEWal"

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

2015.  A new year.  A blank calendar.  

God's mercy, God's grace, God's love... it overflows.  If we knew just how much He loved us.. it would boggle our minds.  His grace and love never ever ends.  No matter what you did or didn't do yesterday, when you repent... He forgives.  He wipes the slate clean.  He gives you His mercy.

Why is it often so hard to extend that same grace to ourselves? Today, I woke up with the distinct feeling I needed to write these thoughts down.  I felt the nudge deep in my spirit, that there would be someone, somewhere that needs to read these words today.

Whatever you did or didn't do last year, it's ok.  Yes, learn from it.  Take it in.  But do not let it define you or block you from setting new goals, new dreams, or a new vision for this year.  

I want to encourage you today to set your sights higher for yourself than you ever have before.  Whatever you dreamed of doing last year, dream even bigger.  Wake up each morning, and acknowledge, receive, and thank God for His renewed Mercy and Grace.  But then, don't waste it.  Use it.  Make positive changes in your behaviors and choices.  

Choose to make 2015 a year of ReNEWal.  Accept and receive the gift.

I would love to keep encouraging you on your journey this year.  I invite you to post a comment below, so that I can do just that.

Your Sole Searching Sister,