Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Boxing, Life Funks and Jesus

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A friend of mine rejoined a UFC gym that I had been wanting to try for a while.  So, she invited me to join her at a class.  

It just so happened that the week she invited me to go was probably one of the hardest weeks of my life.  You know, one of those times where life gives a sucker punch. The kind that takes your breath away....but you know that there are others around you who need you, so you put on your "oxygen mask" and keep moving. 

Anyway, because of the type of week it was and the deep funk I was in, I didn't get much sleep or work out or eat well at all.

Despite my tired, sleep deprived and nutrition deprived state, I decided to show up that Saturday morning.  I told her I was glad she was a paramedic because it was the worst possible time I could do something like this. To which she replied, "it's the best time you could do this."  Oookkkay!!!  She's my challenging and encouraging friend.  Not afraid to push me to be better.

Although it was a challenging class and I was very focused on finishing strong, I had some major revelations during that 60 minutes while punching a bag.

We've all been through some kind of funk, whether it be physical, spiritual, financial, relational or emotional. Unfortunately, they are a part of life.  

Here are a few things that went through my mind during that sweaty hour:

Who's in your corner?  
Every fighter has someone in their corner.  Sometimes, it's people that you wouldn't expect as well as the ones you expect. Friends and family, we can all let each other down.  We're human.  During the funks in my life, I've been so blessed to have so much love and support.  I felt like my corner was full.  I also know ONE who has always been and always will be in my corner because He promises to never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:6)  He promises the same for you.

Who are you really fighting against?
Have you ever seen someone focus on a target and work a little harder because they picture someones face on that target?  I'm sure none of us are guilty of that?! [insert sarcastic laugh] Although that's somewhat of a good motivator or technique, we must ask ourselves, "who's really the opponent?" So often, we blame shift or blame ourselves.  Many times, it's neither.  It's true that relationships (marriages, friendships, family) can be challenging, but so often, we really are not fighting who we think we are. It's deeper. (Ephesians 6:12)

Training before the fight
When it comes to any sport, it's not just how you perform, but what you do before you even show up that matters.  This is also true when we face the challenges of life; and there WILL be challenges.  How well we manage in the challenging time depends so much on how we've prepared our hearts before it hit.  It's easy to be happy, positive, optimistic and strong when life is smooth.  True colors our real character, however, always presents itself during the hard times. (Matthew 7:16)  Do we have what it takes to get through?!

You have more strength than you think. 
I kept thinking that particular week was one of the worst weeks I could have done this (i.e not eating well or building endurance).  During the class, however, the coach kept yelling, "Come on! You guys can do anything for 30 seconds."  Although I wanted to sucker punch him [ha ha], it's true.  It felt like I was dying at times throughout the workout, but if I just focused on the next few seconds at a time, it wasn't as overwhelming. I got through. I know where the true source of my strength is. (Phil. 4:13)

At the end of my class, I had throbbing scuffed knuckles, my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was a sweaty mess and sapped of energy.  But you know what... I made it through the class. I had the victory, to which I almost raised my glove in the air like the real UFC matches, but I thought the dramatic effect of that might not go over too well. I was doing it INSIDE though.  I made it through!!!!  

I hope this inspires someone.  For some, it may inspire deep thinking about how you "fight".  Others, you may just want to go workout?! Both are great ideas!!!

P.S. I'm a regular at this gym now and am loving every minute of it.  It's a super challenging workout, yet fun and therapeutic all at the same time. You should try it!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

2 Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Salad

There is nothing worse than wilted or sopping wet lettuce in your salad.  OK, so there are a lot of things worse than that, but who likes to eat salad that way?!

Since revamping our eating habits in recent years, one simple change we made is to add at least one big salad per day to our diet.  This was one simple yet very healthy suggestion made by one of my favorite doctors, Dr. Joel Furhman, in one his books. (Check out his books Eat to Live and Super Immunity.)

Our family truly loves salads, and like most people, we like them fresh and crunchy.  I've found two ways that have made that possible every time.

1. Use a Salad Spinner.  

Using a salad spinner has made it SO much easier to dry the lettuce (romaine and/or kale) after washing. It's much better that using a whole bunch of paper towels.  The girls think this is pretty cool, too. They take turns spinning and spinning. 

2. Store salad in Mason Jars.

I have found that storing the lettuce in glass jars after drying makes it last so much longer. I'm amazed that a week later, the lettuce is just as fresh as when I put it in. 

We also like to add a gazillion things to them for additional nutrients such as: white beans for protein, olives, avocados, hearts of palm and all kinds of veggies.  You can even add these toppings to the jars, as well, to take on the go or have for a healthy lunch away from home. 

Happy Salad Prepping!