Exercising, Eating, Stewardship, Lent...How are these related?

Four sons...Cars. Cars. Cars. Cars. A common topic at our house.  Throw in some beach walks contemplating stewardship combined with hearing an excellent sermon and here is what happened:

Exercising, Eating, Stewardship, Lent...How are these related?

My friend bought an old, but low mileage, cute Volkswagen Bug. But this car had sat. Almost immediately, the car’s fuel pump failed. Next the water pump failed. Soon the belts failed. And so on. Our bodies are very much like that little Bug. If we don’t use them, we lose them, so to speak.

Continue reading here:

This article first appeared March 9, 2017 on the CPH Blog

Decluttered Delights

Is your heart and home cluttered?  

With 4 boys and a husband, who must get about 1500 pieces of mail a month, not to mention living in the same home for a while (no cleaning out for moves), the accumulation of stuff seems overwhelming to me at times.  When we moved into our home, our basement was almost empty, filled with a few boxes and several tricycles! Many winter moments of fun, while my then 2 year and 4 year old, and sometimes their friends, rode around and around the 1500 square foot  basement.  But after many years, this box and that table and the old clothes and the treasures that came from our parents' homes and so on settled in our basement. The basement bulged with belongings galore...As did many other rooms in our home.

Throughout the years I've been briefly motivated by different articles and speakers to fight the clutter battle.  A few weeks ago, my husband and I listened to a radio broadcast that has spurred us on to ardent action. Listen here to Focus on the Family Radio Brodacast with Kathi Lipp http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/clearing-out-the-clutter

The key points that helped me:
*Ask these questions;
  1. Do I currently use this?
  2. Do I love it?
  3. Would I buy it again?
*Your unused stuff could be someone else’s treasure. Kathi shared a story of finding an $8 pair of “perfect shoes” for her son at the thrift store at a time when her budget was tight.  Someone else may love the unused stuff clogging your drawers. (Kathi J Miller, another excellent speaker and author on clutter-free living, describes this as passing our stuff onto our “family members”-other brothers and sisters in Christ.)
My goal was to rid my home of 2000 things by spring break.  “Oh Mom, you will have that done by the end of January, “ declared my son, Daniel. Well, Daniel was right!  Easter Seals called about an hour after I listened to the Clutter-free broadcast and asked me if they could do a pick-up the following Monday. Six days later, with the help of my youngest 2 sons and my husband, we had already cleared out over 700 things.  After a few days of taking care of “regular business”, I thankfully felt motivated to get back to work.  Since the days of January have been dark and dreary, I figured the basement was my next target.  Oh what a wealth of stuff to throw out or pass onto to my “family” in Christ.

In the meantime, a favorite blogger of mine, Sara Borgstede’s blog is also running a clutter-free series. Here’s a great one on how to go paperless. http://www.saraborgstede.com/5-easy-steps-to-start-going-paperless/
And if you have school-aged children, here is a must read (many of these ideas I have used to try to keep sane with four boys) http://www.saraborgstede.com/5-helpful-tips-for-organizing-kids-school-papers-and-schedules/

Here are my CLUTTER-FREE DELIGHTS so far:
*In December I could not find my Christmas rug buried in the depths of my laundry closet.  Thankfully after I attacked the closet, I have found the rug along with other missing items. Every time I open the closet I breath I sigh of relief that I can now easily put my hand on whatever I need.

*My tupperware and plastics cupboard overflowed; I’m sure you know what I mean.  After clearing out over 75% of it, I am so happy that I have room a handy shelf for my favorite crystal bowl wedding presents that were kept in a cupboard too high to reach.

*The once overstuffed drawers now easily close minus socks and other clothes that I should have ditched years ago.  Let’s face it. I want to wear my newer thicker running socks and those old thin ones make better rags than socks. Everytime I open a cleaned-out drawer, I smile with delight.

*Having college-aged kids brings up questions, of which I can’t remember the answers. The unanswered questions of “What did I pay for college?” or “What did I earn during my internship?” are no longer unanswered... Answers found in boxes that I am sorting through!

*As I read old cards and letters, I am blanketed in the warmth and love of family & friends. So many fun memories. How blessed I am with the love of grandparents and parents, and even though they are now in heaven, I am still learning from their example and expertise as I read their words of wisdom and advice.

*Family reunion entertainment abounds. I am gathering old letters and cards to read at our family reunion this summer; I can already hear the laughter.

*I have found treasures of special family history. Now  I have them filed where I can find them as opposed to a buried box in the basement.

*Money. Buried in cards or boxes, I have found a $50 gift card to a favorite restaurant, several brand new $20 bills from Christmas 2013, a jar of coins, and a Kwik Trip card.

On February 11, Orphan Grain Train,  another of my favorite charities, has a collection date and I will be ready to deliver more gems!  I’m starting on my second “2000 Thing Challenge”.  Do you want to join me?

A New Year's P.L.A.N.

Christmas calories have caught up with me. And I don’t want to carry them along in the New Year, especially not in the year I’m going to be the mother of the groom! Typically I eat too many sugary calories the last half of December. But unfortunately this year, I also ended up with a bad cold and sinus infection, which temporarily curtailed my exercise minutes. Yikes. I’m happy to say I’m slowly cutting back on the calories and today couldn’t resist adding a short run to my exercise walk.

This is the time of year when many people make a variety of resolutions, including weight and other health issues. What is your plan? Here is the P.L.A.N. I wrote about for CPH and frequently use with my patients to help them succeed. Utilize this P.L.A.N. to help you get back on track, “flee from evil” and use the “magic bullet” to your advantage:

Don Your Exercise Shoes

Don your exercise shoes and hit the shoveled sidewalks, indoor mall, or exercise club—any place you can exercise! It’s December, and although the Exercise ON Challenge is over, hopefully your daily exercise is not. (Read previous posts  here, here, here, and here to learn more about the Exercise ON Challenge.
What are some follow-up take home points from the Exercise ON Challenge? Continue reading here http://blog.cph.org/everyday-faith/don-exercise-shoes/

Energized by G.E.M.S.!

Although this is the most merriest of seasons, it can also be the most exhausting. Oh it is so busy...the shopping, baking, decorating. But for this Christmas time, here are some G.E.M.S. to energize you! 

I wrote this article for WLI, Women's Leadership Institute.  You can read more about WLI at  http://wlicuw.org/

As I pondered the words of advice I wanted to write for my eldest son heading off to college twelve hours away from home, I considered the stresses he would encounter at college. What words would truly help him?  

As I pondered the words to share with my exhausted friend who was mothering a newborn, I considered the words that would encourage her through this exhilarating, yet exhausting, time.

As I pondered the words to express to women leaders who want to build energy in order to serve in their churches and in their homes, I considered the priorities for their valuable time.

The words I’ve found for all three of these scenarios, and for many others (such as Christmas time), are real gems!

Everyday include these G.E.M.S:
Continue reading here: http://wlicuw.org/energized-by-gems/

Consider marking  your calendar for Gifted to Influence 2017, the WLI National Conference set for Sept. 29-Oct 1, 2017 and join us at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee, WI to be educated, encouraged and equipped for exemplary Christian leadership in your home, church, workplace and world.

TAHNKFULNESS...Exercise ON Challenge

"Count your blessings," Mom always proclaimed! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as you exercise and count your blessing with thankfulness. 
This blog post written by Karen Sue Murdy first appeared on Concordia Publishing House blog. When Christmas shopping, check out Concordia Publishing House for excellent gifts!  Two of my many favorites include  Living a Chocolate Life by Deb Burma https://www.cph.org/p-27469-living-a-chocolate-life.aspx and House of Living Stones by Katie Schuermann https://www.cph.org/p-26189-house-of-living-stones.aspx
Exercise is a privilege not a punishment! Appreciate the fact that you are healthy enough to move your body. During November when we turn our eyes to Thanksgiving, start a thankfulness journal, and as you exercise each day think of five things for which you are thankful that you can write down. Thank God for healthy bodies, strong legs, feet, and toes; for comfortable shoes, hats, and warm jackets; for colorful autumn leaves, rich harvest, and gorgeous sunsets; for exercise bikes, sidewalks, YMCAs, shopping malls, and other places to exercise; for a spouse, children, and friends with whom to exercise; for God’s love, grace, and peace.
When thinking of exercise barriers, often “not enough time” comes up, but by combining it with other priorities and making exercise enjoyable and a time of thanksgiving, overcoming the “not enough time” barrier becomes easier.
Make your exercise time fun and relaxing.
  • Give THANKS!
  • Turn your thoughts to creative ideas or problem solving.
  • Recall sweet memories.
  • Walk with family or friends.
  • Listen to the Bible on your iPod or iPhone.
  • Download and listen to a CPH Bible study or book.
  • Exercise functionally: walk to the library, school, work, or other places you need to go.
  • Memorize Bible verses or other information. (In college after many laps around the track, I memorized the periodic table. My children often memorize spelling words, English or Spanish vocabulary, etc. Memorizing while exercising is great for cognitive recall.)
Memory challenge
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 ESV
Remember, to more easily memorize a verse write the Bible verse on an index card. Read it before and during exercise. Keep it with you and read it throughout the day.
Have you joined me for the Exercise ON Challenge for the months of October and November? It’s never too late to exercise! In November, take the challenge and exercise at least 150 minutes per week or 675 minutes total for substantial health benefits! That averages to about 22 minutes per day. Keep track of your exercise minutes on a calendar, app, or some sort of log sheet. Rally your family, co-workers, or church members to take the challenge with you. Hold one another accountable.
At the end of the month, I will post  a follow up about our Exercise ON Challenge.  Please feel free to send me stories of your Exercise ON challenge...the successes, pitfalls and the benefits!

Benefits and Barriers for EXERCISE

Election day angst = STRESS!!
Exercise = stress management!
Today is a great day to exercise.Begin the Exercise ON Challenge  if you have not already started.  Continue reading to find out more. Today I will definitely be exercising (and continuing to pray for our nation!)  I love to exercise functionally so I will be walking with my husband to the polls to vote...killing three birds with one stone: Exercising, voting, sharing time with my husband.
Here is a blog post I wrote for the Concordia Publishing House blog. Hope it is helpful for your exercise success.
Research shows that identifying benefits and barriers is statistically significant for maintaining an exercise program longer.
Make a list of ten benefits of exercise. Place the list on your refrigerator or mirror.
Here are a few exercise benefits:
  • Exercise positively affects almost every part of the body: the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, muscular system, circulatory system, digestive system, and endocrine system.
  • Exercise can help reduce many of the risk factors (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stress, overweight, lack of exercise) for heart disease, the number one killer in the USA.
  • A financial benefit of exercise includes lower costs or reduced medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Exercise also reduces healthcare costs overall as a nation.
  • Exercise improves concentration and alertness.
  • Exercise promotes a healthy complexion.
  • Fit heart and lungs are more efficient and function with less strain.
  • Exercise promotes sounder sleep.
  • Fit muscles look better and are stronger.
What are some other benefits you experience? What are your favorite benefits?
God has richly blessed us with so many benefits, an intricate and amazing body is just one of those many benefits!
Identify five personal barriers to physical exercise. Write them down on a piece of paper. Brainstorm ways to overcome your barriers. Ask a friend for ideas on how you can overcome your barriers to exercise if you are stuck.
Feeling sweaty and icky while exercising can be a barrier to exercise. Comfortable exercise clothing can make exercise more enjoyable. Often the clothes are made of special materials that wick moisture away from the skin. These days, you can find exercise clothing at almost any price. Check out Walmart or Target for prices that will fit any budget.
In a similar manner, make a list of ten benefits and identify five personal barriers to your spiritual exercise (reading your Bible, praying, worshiping in church) and brainstorm how to overcome these barriers.
Are you taking the Exercise ON Challenge with me for the months of October and November? In the almost nine weeks (sixty-one days) of October and November, can you exercise a total of 1,350 minutes? For added benefits, take the Exercise ON Challenge PLUS and add weight training two days per week. Keep track of your exercise minutes. Rally your family, co-workers, or church members to take the challenge with you. Hold one another accountable. While exercising, connect with your friends and family. Download and listen to a CPH book. Listen to your Bible on an app. Memorize Scripture. Give thanks. Pray.
Memory challenge:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good,  so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103:2–5 ESV)