New Posts, New Year

Well. It’s the end of 2011, and it’s been a great year for me. The one resolution/goal I set for 2011 was to get healthy, and I did. I’m not done just yet, but after weighing in at 193 lbs compared to the 275lbs I used to weigh, I’d say after about a year and a half, I’m much healthier.

I had lots of help along the way, from friends and from God. During my sophomore year at Clarkson, one of my friends told me that if I didn’t change, because of my weight my knees would eventually fail me. That summer, working with Upward Bound I met two students in the program who proceeded to inspire me to become healthy, and we became close friends. One of them told me how when he was in sixth grade, he saw where he was going, heading towards being fat, and changed. At first I was skeptical, was it really that easy?

Turns out it is. Only a little over a year later, I now weigh 193lbs, and my goal weight, unless I reach some point where I begin to feel unhealthy, is 165lbs. But I’m done with the massive caloric burns and high intensity exercises. I set myself a goal date of June 13, 2012 to reach my goal. It seems healthy as I still have a sufficient spare tire, even though no one would believe me with the way I look now. I’m very happy with my weight loss. But that’s not the only thing that’s happened.

During my junior year at Clarkson, a kid transferred in, and my first glance, he was a total health freak. Like legit, exercise every day, protein shakes, really healthy foods, humus, carrots, apples, bananas, whole grains, everything. The whole shebang. He never drank soda, I don’t think he even drinks juice. It’s protein shakes, skim milk, and water all the way.

Me? I was soda, water when I had to (mainly in classes cause I didn’t really want to bring soda in), milk with breakfast when I ate it, and juice when I didn’t want soda or water or milk. I was fries and tater tots, burgers, quesadillas, tacos, pasta, and grill foods. Just about anything unhealthy I ate, and if I ate anything healthy it was in unhealthy amounts.

Looking at me now, I’m surprised myself! I gave up soda September 2010. Cold turkey, as they say. I tried it in December 2010, and after just that short time of not drinking it, I was about ready to throw up. It tasted nasty to me. Repulsive. I have not drank it since.

I began to change my diet. Now when I say diet here, I mean what I ate. At no point did I go on a diet. I never restricted what I could and couldn’t eat, I simply changed what I ate. One step at a time. Choosing to go with an apple instead of chips. Something like that. And slowly I began to like healthier foods. How did that help? Well, I no longer felt obligated to choose the healthy options. It wasn’t like I felt guilty about what I ate because I didn’t give myself any restrictions. I just made a choice to eat better things.

Then after those things were in place, I began to exercise. Notice that. I didn’t start off exercising. That was the “last” step. Many people fail on their goals and resolutions to lose weight because they think that if they just start exercising it’ll all come off. I thought so too! But thanks to the health freak kid, I realized that I needed to change my diet too. And you know what happened? He doesn’t seem like such a healthy nut anymore.

I haven’t gone as far as protein shakes, but there is one shake that I tried and still have, it works. It’s Shakeology from Beachbody, and it really does work. Plus it tastes good. Besides those shakes though, whole wheat bread, skim milk, water, less beef, more fish, more chicken, it all works together and I feel fantastic!

When I really began to exercise, I did Insanity. And it was insane. I hurt, and I got stronger. It worked. I have actual definition on my arms. Albeit a small, small amount, but definition nonetheless. I have stronger legs, a better torso. I can see what I’ll look like without an absurd amount of fat.

I have more energy, actually want to play sports more, and can actually play sports. People actually tell me I look good from the amount of weight I’ve lost, some say I’m disappearing, some girls look at me again. All things that to me, have never really happened before. And I like it. I like not being the overweight, no, fat person I used to be. I was obese. In fact if you put any stock in the BMI, I wasn’t on it. It goes up to 35, I was somewhere above it. I was labeled severely obese.

But I took a leaf out of a close friend’s book. I saw where I was headed, and I changed.

Am I out of the woods yet? Not by any means…just yesterday I was talking with a close friend, and said something along the lines of

“Let’s go to American Eagle, mainly cause I can fit in the clothes now.”

And he reprimanded me replying, “That’s not even cool. That’s like a diss on yourself in the past. Not even cool.”

Whoa. Was not expecting that. Not from him. I suppose it just goes to show that I still have things to learn. I may not like my past, but I need to respect it because it’s made me who I am today. Without my past I would be where I am, nor who I am. And it goes to show that my close friends that I met in the summer of 2010, they keep inspiring me, and keep me in line. Those two are lifelong friends to me. After all they sorta helped save my life in respect to this health thing.

All this brings me to my goals/resolutions for 2012. And I only have two of them. I’ve noticed it’s easier to keep them if you only have a couple…makes sense right? I think it does.

  1. Become healthy – my journey here isn’t over by any means, that and I’m looking to make it a lifestyle change so I’m going to keep working on this one.
  2. Finish a first draft of a novel – I’ve had the idea for a novel that’s been bouncing around in my head for at least five years, I think it’s about time to get serious, plus I love writing.

That’s it. Just those two. Oh and I promise that in the next few weeks the new posts will be rolling out. Most likely on Saturdays. I’m going to begin scheduling them until I finish the Hist Story in Me series, the Songs that Mean Something will probably become a monthly series, and the Finding God in Harry Potter will probably roll out around February.

I love the people in my life who have helped me in this journey of becoming healthy. It’s not over, and I don’t think I would want it to be. So to those of you who helped me out, thank you Jamie, Jake, Nick, and Patrick. You guys are all awesome.

But this entire endeavor would have been in vain had God not been orchestrating this. He’s the one who led me to Jamie, the one who led me to Upward Bound way back when I was just an ickle freshman in high school, the one who led me to Jake (especially when I was still a real introvert). He’s behind it all. And for that I cannot thank Him enough, he desires us to be happy and healthy, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Ciao! And Happy New Year’s! Enjoy the rest of 2011 whilst you can, and I will see you all in 2012!

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It’s Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone!

It’s been an exciting day, I cooked almost the entire meal, with a lot of help from family of course! Actually, it was more like I tried to coordinate everything, and then we had a wonderful meal. Pretty much everyone who usually comes came, and joy was had.

When I woke today there was a small dusting of snow, not a lot, but a dusting, and it was great. Of course that means we will have a lot more snow soon. I didn’t get a lot, but then again I didn’t ask for a lot. Just gift cards, why? because I didn’t really have anything that I desperately wanted, nor anything that I vaguely could think of. As I woke up this morning I realized that I should have asked for Bananagrams. I particularly enjoy that game.

My family did however get me a season of the Big Bang Theory, a show that I am very much addicted to. The clever puns and witty science jokes, plus the quick-witted humor and strange quirks of Sheldon Cooper make me laugh every time.

Between laughter, and joy, I think we begin to catch a glimpse of love. We also receive bad news sometimes. Two people that I know passed away today, and while I am sad, I know that I’m not the only one who had friends pass away. For that, I’m truly sorry. I cannot explain such things, but only say that the Father is still in complete control. He is completely sovereign and all knowing. He has some greater story that we all play a part in. That being said, today is the day we celebrate remembering the birth of the Son. And we know that it was in the fullness of time that the Son was born.

Love came and rested on earth for approximately 33 years. And Love has been around ever since, it has always existed. Time is inside of Love. Be blessed knowing that Love is here…and never will leave. Let us treat our friends, family and even strangers with the love they do not deserve, for many do not deserve it, but to them it has always been given. Let us not discontinue that, let us carry on with full confidence that Love can change the world…and someday we will see that with our own eyes.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and enjoy your family today. Namaste, because you are worthy to be recognized.

Fireworks in December

We’re all supposed to be the same right? Transformed into a mini-Christ right? The whole “What would Jesus do?” thing…hmm I have a slight issue with that.

We shouldn’t be asking “what would Jesus do?” because we can never be Jesus. He is very much on a different plane than we are. We are so very different from Him and from each other, would there be any interest in millions of Christ followers who are exactly the same? I’m not so sure that that is the Father’s desire. I’m quite sure that the Father’s desire is to have a very varied family. A family that is different in all aspects, after all are we not made completely different, and yet from Genesis  labeled as in His image when a collective body?

Individually we are not in His image, but as a body, as a group we are certainly in His image.

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

One thing that I’ve realized is that we shine brightly on our own. When we traverse on our own, we can do great things. We can help people out of dark places. We can bring people to new levels of intelligence, trust, and life. We are as individual as the alleged myth of the snowflake. That each snowflake is completely different and individual. No one flake is the same as another. Somehow, people are exactly the same. God is such a brilliant creator that he is able to make every single person completely individual.

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

Every person is called to play a part in His story. None but Him can tell you what that part is, but it is essential. But at the same time, we are all called to bring a specific part to His body, to the family. We are an essential part of history. Completely essential to His story. A story that is beyond anything we can ever know. And we can only play that part by being exactly who we are. The thing is, when we follow Him with all we can, and everything we are, he will “change” us. He will make us more like ourselves than we ever were.

When we fall in love with Him, we become ourselves even more. We truly become who we were meant to be. We begin to shine even more brightly when we know God. We are given the capabilities to truly transform the world. He shines through us, and then spills out of us in waves and tumbles to refresh the world and pour warmth and light into his creation.

Constant

Day in and day out. His love is a constant. It is the one thing in this world that will never change.

Always there, it is already a love beyond limits, and yet we can discover new aspects to it every single day. We see the effects, but never the source…after all, isn’t that a better way?

I think that if we were to see the source, we may be taken aback. He’s plain…and yet extraordinary. He’s commonplace…and yet takes first place in everything. He is man…and yet He is God.

His love, is vast as the ocean…deep as the ocean…wide as the ocean…and the ocean hides secrets. Places that no man has ever seen, let alone even dreamed of. His love, is constant excitement.

It will be a constant journey, let us remember that. For when we humans arrive at the end of time, there will still be more…for time is in Him. His love we will never fully comprehend it, and so we must settle to constantly learn more, because that is all we can do.

Just the Way You Are

Jesus is obsessed with the Church.

We know this or should know this deeply. But all to often do we realize just how much? I don’t think we ever do. When He looks at His bride, His eyes are for her alone. He sees her as holy and completely perfect in His eyes. He sees absolutely nothing wrong with the Church. And we, as Christ followers, are a part of the Church. What a blessed opportunity.

Oh, her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they’re not shinin’
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday

I know, I know
When I compliment her she won’t believe me
And it’s so, it’s so
Sad to think that she don’t see what I see
But everytime she asks me “Do I look okay? ”
I say

We are completely perfect and beautiful in every way. Blameless and perfect in His sight. Is it even possible to explain just how beautiful we are to Him?

When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl you’re amazing
Just the way you are

You see, when the Church is truly functioning, she is the most beautiful thing in the world. She reflects the glory of her bridegroom. She is and will be the most beautiful thing the world has seen. When we love Him deeply, we come to fall in love with the Church, we begin to see her as a beautiful being that the whole universe will become enchanted with…second only to God Himself.

Never Say Never, Really?

Justin Bieber’s song, “Never Say Never” is a mega hit. Millions of girls fawn over the teen sensation, and I’m sure he enjoys it. Many people claim that they hate the boy, I don’t see why…he’s just a nobody who rose to success and fame. It could happen to anyone you know and you probably would feel the same way. But you know what…I like his music. He’s got a good voice, and some good songs too, say what you will, but I like him.

In his song the bridge and chorus are below,

And there’s just no turning back
When your heart’s under attack
Gonna give everything I have
It’s my destiny

I will never say never! (I will fight)
I will fight till forever! (make it right)
Whenever you knock me down
I will not stay on the ground.

This bridge and chorus speak almost explicitly about the journey of a Christ follower.

We are called to follow no matter what. We are called to continue on with everything we have, and when we’ve given it all that we can, we let God carry the rest. We are called to give it everything we can because once we become a Christ follower, it is our destiny to go higher up and in God.

We are called to never submit, to rely on the strength of the Son just as He relied on the strength of the Father. Whenever we are knocked down by the Enemy, we are called to rise from the ground by the power of Him who dwells within us.

See I never thought that I could walk through fire
I never thought that I could take the burn
I never had the strength to take it higher
Until I reached the point of no return

I never thought I could feel this power
I never thought that I could feel this free
I’m strong enough to climb the highest tower
And I’m fast enough to run across the sea

We have been promised protection as we pass through the fires, given strength to believe in the Father when all else seems lost, and the power of His name has been given to us. As a Christ follower, we are more free than we have ever been before. We are free beyond what we can conceive of. We no longer have to worry, for he already knows of our needs. He knew of them long ago, before he even spoke the words, “Let there be….” It’s remarkable really, the splendor of his story. And I think that Justin Bieber captured that without realizing it…or did he mean it?

Home for the Holidays!

Well, now that I’m home for the holidays

…posting should resume!

…family fun shall be had!

…laser tag shall be played!

…friends shall be hung out with!

…stories shall be worked on!

…exercising most likely will begin again!

…cooking shall be done!

…rest shall be acquired!

…grad school stuff shall be worked on!

…24 shall be completely watched! (only two seasons left!)

…minecraft shall be built in!

…things shall be recycled/thrown out/cleaned up!

…life shall be lived!

…and He shall be loved.

I have quite the to-do list I think…but I’ll accomplish most if not all of it!

Also, a sneak peek at some posts that will be coming up,

  •      a series of articles on pop songs that have a meaning towards Christ followers,
  •      a continuation of the “His Story in Me” series,
  •      finding God in Harry Potter,
  •      most likely something else that hasn’t quite dawned on me yet as well.

For now, ciao, and enjoy your holidays!