One Day at a Time

During the month of January, I lost a total of eleven pounds and seven inches. Wow. Core De Force did a number on my psyche. That’s a good thing. I’m happy. I’ve always loved working out, but before Beachbody came into my life, I merely took to the treadmill. Sometimes I’d do weights, sometimes Pilates. treadmillBut I usually try to run my weight off. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, any little bit does work…but I’ve come to learn that variety is key. This is why Beachbody offers you workout schedules. Each day of the week, it gives you a different style to the program with the intention of targeting every single muscle in your body in different ways. Depending on the program, one day could be thirty minutes while the next is sixty. The third day could be your rest day, and the fourth may only take twenty minutes to complete. Variety is key to your fitness, as well as keeping you motivated.

An hour on the treadmill at the gym five days a week = BORING! For me, anyway.

So for February, my program of choice is my beloved 21 Day Fix. I both love and hate this program. It’s a great program to start off with if you’ve never done a workout before in your life. Twenty-one days of working your muscles with the help of weights. Twenty-one days of thirty-minute workouts. Twenty-one days of challenge and change. I love it. It has something for everybody.

On the eating front, I’m thrilled on how well I’ve been doing. There are foods that I’ve been wanting to splurge on, but I’ve set myself on a schedule of what to eat and when. It’s food I like, so when my hungry mind wants something not good for me, I grab what I already have planned. No thinking required!

On Sunday, I had McDonald’s. At first, I declined it when my mom had called and offered me some, but then I decided why not? Normally, I don’t like McDonald’s, period. It’s just rarely very good to me. The fries are the best thing about it, and often, those are cold and stale. But I went ahead and agreed to it. For the first time in a long time, McDonald’s was one hundred percent yummy. Quarter Pounder (no cheese) and fries alike. My first cheat meal was a success.

8340656814_1ea6da9a32_zBut I find I still have to train myself not to beat myself up when I eat food that’s essentially not good for me. It’s not easy to do. That’s for sure. Anybody else have that problem? It’s frustrating because you want to reach your goal, but you still want the unhealthy food that you love. It’s not very encouraging when you start feeling deprived, now, is it?

So, what is encouraging?

Progress.

That’s what keeps me going. If I see the scales go down, that’s progress. If I don’t see the scales go down, but I do see my inches going down, that’s still progress—a non-scale victory. Or, if nothing’s happening, I have the peace of mind that I’m still getting my workouts in. I’m still eating the food that’s good for me.

And in the long run, it will work.

It’s all about keeping a healthy mindset. 

One day at a time. Cliché, I know, but still very true. I’m proud of how far I’ve taken myself. After all, that’s the ultimate goal.

Do you have a goal? Share below! Also, share a few healthy recipes if you have something.

Progress

f3602fd5ff8b3ae0475451c09ad4906fd8bb450aI failed to catch up with my progress from last week, so I’ll do it now. The scale did go down a little more, so during the first three weeks getting back on the health wagon, I lost a total of ten pounds and several inches off my waist, hips, and thighs. While that may sound a lot to some people, there were several factors in play. One, most of it is more than likely water weight. Second, part of it is muscle memory. I had returned to the weight I was last summer, before I allowed myself to slide. I’ve been eating each portion of my daily meals, logging everything I put in my mouth onto my Fitbit app, as well as exercising regularly to Core De Force and Country Heat.

I was proud at the progress I’ve been making, and the consistency I’ve kept. I’ve done it before, and I know I can do it again. It just takes mindset to want to change the way you eat.

My mom, a couple weeks ago, said to me: I just wish you wouldn’t focus too much on what you eat. What’s going to happen when you get to where you want to be, and you go somewhere that’s not how you’ve been eating? You’re just going to exercise it off?

My answer? Yes.

I went on to tell her the point of 21 Day Fix is that it’s supposed to change your life. You exercise, eat correctly and keep on going long after the program ends. Yes, there will be times when I want to eat something that’s totally unhealthy. Don’t we all? But I informed her that’s why the cheat meals are so important. It’s not a cheat day, but it’s a cheat meal. I love French fries, but according to the eating plan, it’s a big no-no. But they are so yummy! However, allotting myself one cheat meal a week will help me to stay on track while eating the foods I love.

I told my mom this wasn’t a diet for me to quickly lose weight. At least it’s not supposed to be. It’s a lifestyle you choose to be healthier and fitter. She seemed to understand where I was getting at.

So, my third week went by and I did extremely well.

Now, fast forward to this past week.

It’s the end of the Beachbody health bet. When I weighetumblr_mbtm6plvdk1rx7gjso1_500d in last Monday (January 30), the scale didn’t go down, but I did lose inches off my waist and hips, and that’s what I’m aiming for. After all, I’ve been building lean muscles. We all know that muscles will throw the weight on you.

In the past, I’d want to lower my calories for a few weeks without working out. I felt that way I’d lose the weight quicker. But truthfully, that doesn’t really work for me. Working out and healthy eating goes hand-in-hand. I don’t know what it’s like for anyone else, but for me, one without the other throws me off balance and I’m faced with the temptation of falling off the wagon more easily.

The way I figure it: I awake, had a healthy breakfast of complex carbs alongside with some fruit and maybe some protein, then I would exercise my heart out. After that, I’m happy, knowing that the day and I started off on the right foot. So why would I want to screw it up?

The other day at work, I got so hungry, I came close to buying a box of Goldfish crackers and eating it like crazy. Funny how my mind works. I get hungry, so Goldfish comes to my mind. Man, I love those little crackers like crazy. But I fought against the temptation. I knew I would be getting off soon and then I could make my healthy protein shake. So, that’s what happened.

That’s another victory under my belt.

Because I post these blogs on Mondays, I won’t be able to share my final progress until next week.

But.

Whether I lose pounds or not. Whether I lose inches or not. That doesn’t matter. Good things are worth waiting for. Good things are worth fighting for. So, no matter what happens, I’ll keep pushing through my desires and temptations.

My workout plan to finish out the month of February is 21 Day Fix. It’s a different level of intensity than Core De Force or even Country Heat. Actually, I feel as though it’s in-between the two. Because this past month has been such high intensity with punches, kicks, and countless abs work (never using weights), 21 Day Fix will “confuse” my body. If you do only o6283842322_793c2c8f2e_bne particular workout, my belief is that not only will you start feeling bored, but your body will grow accustomed and you’re fitness level will slow, or even stop moving. 21 Day Fix will be a refreshing change of pace.

Want to know another non-scale victory? Remember a few posts ago where I mentioned I had arthritis in both wrists? Well, my whole food eating and consistent workouts have once again made my wrists strong enough to perform—without modification—Core De Force’s “Ground to Fighter’s Stance,” which is the same thing as burpees.

No pain in my wrists makes it all worthwhile. After all, I’m a writer, so I need my wrists to type!

Are you going strong? Are you just beginning? What’s your fitness goal?

Stronger Every Day

The first week of a healthier diet–I’m not just talking about a diet to lose one or two pounds in a few weeks, but more of a lifestyle change in order to become a fitter, healthier you–can often be hard, especially if you’ve never tried to change your eating and workout regimes.Image result for working out can I do it

A good many give up. Either they think it’s too hard to not give into the food temptations they love, or they’re discouraged because results aren’t as expected.

The second week can be even harder. You’ve exercised daily, you ate correctly and didn’t even cheat once. However, oftentimes, you may start to crave those desired foods. We all have them. For me, I love Goldfish crackers. I always want them. In the past, I’d go to the grocery store and buy a big $8 box and eat the whole thing in one day. Thankfully, it never put unwanted pounds on me. But is it healthy? No. On a healthy diet, is it healthy, even in moderation? Image result for cheat mealEh. This is why you hear about the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80 percent of the time and 20 percent of the time eat your “cheat meals.” However, Autumn Calabrese, trainer of the infamous 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme suggests the 90/10 rule if you want to dedicate yourself to the healthy lifestyle and reach your fitness goal and stay there. I agree with that rule. One meal a week (not one whole day a week), you should allow yourself a meal where, if you want a McDonald’s hamburger (eww, by the way), then get it and eat it. However, eat healthy the remaining of the day and week. As long as you keep it up and continue working out, you won’t regret cheating. Because in the end, you actually won’t be cheating. In fact, as the results come along, it’ll make you feel even more confident knowing you can step outside your new lifestyle and enjoy a night out with friends while not worrying about what you’re eating. And allowing yourself one day’s meal of cheating, you’re more inclined to stick with it.

The second week of my fitness and healthy eating has ended yesterday (Sunday, January 22). I have to say I’m quite proud of myself by how it’s been for me. I haven’t yet had a cheat meal. Haven’t wanted it. Sundays after church would normally be the day I step out, but it didn’t work that way. And the other day, we had steak fajitas at home. The only unhealthy part about it would be the packet of spices and the enriched tortillas we had. I decided that while I will allow “cheat meals,” I’d still continue eating 100% whole wheat bread, rather than enriched. So, if it’s enriched wheat, it’s a no-no for my plan. Unless that is, I’m at a restaurant where I don’t really have much of a choice. But, of course, that’s my decision.  When we had the fajitas, I declined the tortillas. But I allowed myself not to worry about the spices that went with the mixture. The last few times I did this, I’d get so flustered when I’d have to eat meals that weren’t 100% of what I “needed” to do. And that’s what forces me to lose motivation. I stop caring about what I eat, and I ultimately stop working out.

Not this time.

With this brand new year, I decided to allow myself less stress. That’s one reason I became a part of the Beachbody health bet challenge again. I was hoping it would help me alleviate some of the pressure I put on myself because I never seem to reach my goal before giving up. The challenge group I’ve joined has been amazing. We encourage each other because we’re sailing in the same boat. I don’t know how long these ladies have been doing Beachbody, but whether they’ve just started or have been doing it for years, it doesn’t matter. The endgame results are the same: we all want encouragement and success for one another.

I mentioned last week that I’ve had trouble sleeping at niImage result for sleepingght in the past. I usually have so much on my mind, my brain just won’t shut down. And when it does, I wake up several more times, if I even manage to get back to sleep. However, it’s the end of the second week, and I’ve eaten healthy, exercised with two programs a day (not needed, but my choice), and made sure I drank 75 oz of water. I’ve been sleeping through the night like a baby. With the exception of waking up with a full bladder. Because I know that will happen, I cut off my liquids by seven. And so I happily fall asleep by nine or ten and wake up around six or seven. At that time, I move around to wake myself up, stretch sore muscles I may have, then eat my oatmeal by eight. After that, exercise time!

Image result for  autumn calabrese quoteWith it being the second week of exercising, I push myself to be better than I was yesterday. If it’s a program where, before, I wasn’t at my peak because it was early in the morning, then I’ll go ahead and wait until later in the day when I have more energy and strength. Though I do prefer morning workouts, there are just some programs, or even some sluggish days where it’s better to wait for the afternoon, or even the evening. Doing something is better than nothing. But. It’s not very helpful slugging through a workout that could prove beneficial in the long-run, don’t you think?

The good thing so far, is I haven’t had any cravings. Fruit Loops have been brought into the house. Did I want them? No. Cookies have been made. Did I want them? No. Diet Coke’s always around–a good friend of mine used to joke that I have Diet Coke in my veins. But have I craved even a sip? Nope. And I don’t drink alcohol. Why not? Because I’ve been envisioning my results by the time its swimsuit season. That’s the long-term goal I made with myself. My short-term goal is to take it one day at a time.

Health and fitness is a journey. On the long and winding, sometimes bumpy, road, you discover a newer, stronger, more confidence version of you. Results can come by slow, or they may even be surprisingly quick…which I have to point out that it’d be more water weight in the beginning. But after you keep doing whatever it is you’re doing, you’ll see change in your body.

At the beginning of my second week, Monday, January 16, I weighed myself and found that I lost eight pounds (water weight). I tried on a pair of jeans I’ve been wanting to fit into for a while. I couldn’t. A few days later, I tried again and finally managed to pull them up my hips and fasten them. But they still looked really tight. A few days later, I tried again. They now fit more comfortably. So even though the third week of my journey is en route, I’ve noticed major changes in my body and my confidence.

I think this week deserves an A+.

How are your fitness and healthy eating life going? What are you doing that helps keep you going strong?

Going On Strong

On Sunday night, day one of the Beachbody health bet that I mentionedhttps://i0.wp.com/lh3.ggpht.com/-82hA2iTLfH0/UZB92YEd2RI/AAAAAAAAHv4/wL_g7XfcR74/insomnia%252520woman_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg in my previous post, I didn’t sleep at all. Not really surprising, because I tend to get insomnia quite often. More than I care to even admit. I fell asleep around nine Sunday and woke up around three early Monday morning. I managed to fall back asleep around five thirty, but I woke up an hour later. So throughout the day, I felt like a zombie.

If you look at a list of reasons to start working out and eating healthy, you’ll find “sleep better” is on the list. Last year when I was consistent, I rarely woke up during the night. So, I’m looking forward to putting it to the test and really pay attention to my sleep habits. Doctors suggest waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. However, when you’re working retail, it’s not that easy. Your hours hop around like an ugly little frog.

But the lack of sleep didn’t prevent me from starting day one of healthy living. Not like it would have in the past. After all, I did make a commitment with my Beachbody health bet group. I wouldn’t fail them, but I would fail myself if I chose to quit before I even started.

When I’m on track, I usually wake up, workout, shower, then have a breakfast of eggs and oatmeal mixed with a teaspoon of honey, chia seeds, anImage result for strongd peanut butter. Yes, the concoction of my oatmeal may sound weird, but when you’re on a healthy eating plan, you want variety. Plain oatmeal is just blah to me. At least if I had only plain oatmeal every day. But after I tried the mixture, I fell in love. Then after that, my workout is over and done with, and I had a healthy breakfast. All I would need to do now is keep it up and finish the day strong.

This time, I tried something a little different. Nutritionists recommend you eat an hour (preferably complex carbs) before working out in order to give you energy, then eat soon after your workout to replenish your nutrients (some type of protein).

So in order to gauge if that works best, I started eating my oatmeal first, one cup of coffee, then slipped in my Core De Force. After that, I’d eat my eggs and either half or an entire serving of fruit, depending on my desire.

Image result for healthy foodFood can become a no-brainer. To me, anyway. I can easily talk myself into eating healthy. However, it’s the consistency in the exercising that throws me off. If I’m not consistent, I eat badly out of guilt (dumb, I know!) I prefer morning workouts because then I don’t have to worry about it later on. But sometimes, morning makes me sluggish because I do it right away for fear of not doing it later or even a couple of hours. Although I’d be doing something, I want to make the most out of what I’m doing, wouldn’t you?

Of course, sometimes I have to go to work at six, which means I wake up at five. And I don’t like the idea of waking up at four, and I certainly don’t like eating that early. It only results in a hangry me later on in the day. But like everything in life, there are some things that need to be trial and error.

Image result for taking healthy backThroughout the first week of getting my healthy back, I did pretty well. I ate what was consistent with my 21 Day Fix eating plan while doing Core De Force. I even opted to do another workout, which is low-impact, and only 30 minutes: Country Heat. I wanted to commit myself to finishing the month doing both workouts every day, but if there comes a day when I missed one, I have the other to fall back on. One of the workouts in Core De Force, I’ll admit forced me to do a lot of modifications from both the modifier and my own. It required a lot of pushups. And I mean A LOT. That’s pretty much what we did for 45 minutes. Just several different kinds of pushups. And I hate pushups! Almost as I do burpees. With my wrists in the shape they are, I just couldn’t do it….yet. Maybe by the end of the program, because as long as I do something, I’ll just be getting stronger. However, there is absolutely zero shame in modifications. You’re just training your body for the real thing, whether you end up able to do it in the future. It’s up to you how far you want to push yourself. You know your own limit. BUT! The key is pushing yourself just a little more each day. Before you realize it, you’ll be able to do the workout without the modification. And you’ll be proud at how strong you’ve become. Inside and out.

Confession: On Saturday, I was in such pain from working on my feet all day, that when I got home, I ate some chips. A little too much. I was starving because I haven’t eaten all day, and I wasn’t able to take anything (well, I did, but it spoiled by the time I could get to it.) My carb eating didn’t end up with the chips that day.

This happened to me in the past, just as it does to most any other human being. We slip up. But, unlike in the past, I went to bed that day thinking “so I messed up today. One day won’t derail me, and tomorrow is a brand new day.” Normally, my mind would be thinking, “it’s not worth it, so why bother?” I don’t know why I or so many of us think that way. It’s possibly just laziness. We’re so busy with day-to-day activities that we talk ourselves out of whatever’s healthiest and dive into whatever’s easiest. I decided that night to follow my eating plan to a T, but if I did “mess up” one day, then the next day, all I have to do is “start over.” While one off day is allowed, I need to work on being consistent in watching how much of the bad food that goes into my mouth.

Most of us have that desired food: chocolate, ice cream, cheesecake, chips, pizza, whatever. We all have it. Eating healthy isn’t about depriving yourself of something you love. It’s about making adjustments so you can eat something you love and not hate yourself for it.

But as I’ve said, eating healthy and working out work hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. If you can’t do an actual program, then jog in place during commercials on TV. If you can’t jog, then lift weights while sitting. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing and how much…it only matters that you’re doing something other than being a couch potato.

Are you taking your healthy back? I’ve not, I encourage you to do so. Write in the comments below how you plan on doing so. And if you have a favorite healthy recipe, do share! I plan on compiling a bunch of different recipes and posting on this blog. Let’s take healthy back together in 2017!

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Taking Healthy Back

This post is going to be different than my usual posts. For the most part, I’ve written about inspirational or Christianity sorts. While some of them have gotten good feedback, I feel that I need to up the game a bit. After all, it is a new year, so why not try new things? So, now, my desire is to encourage all of my readers to be the healthiest they can be from this point on.

Today, January 9, Beachbody is starting a new health bet, where thousands of challengers all have the same goal: to get healthy. The health bet runs from January 9-February 5…that’s just thirty days. I’ve done the health bet before, and I’ve been a major fan of Beachbody since February of last year. The last time in the health bet, Beachbody pooled together $1,000,000 dollars and if we’ve made our daily allotment of workouts and shakeology, we get an equal share of the portion. This time, however, the potluck is $2,000,000! Wow!

A little about me and my healthy: I love to exercise and I love to eat healthy, whole foods. However, sometimes—ok, ok…often—I fall way off the wagon. I eat junk food like I’ll never be able to have it again. And when I sayImage result for sick of eating that, I mean, a brand new bag of potato chips can be finished off in twenty minutes.

WOW!

I’m of average weight and height. If you could see my eating habits, you’d wonder why I’m not actually obese. I’ve got only God to thank for that one! If I went to the doctor today, they’d tell me that while I should exercise more, I’m at a healthy weight.

But here’s the deal.

As a woman, it’s easy for us to feel uncomfortable in our skins. We’re just not happy with the way we look when we’re out of our clothes. Well, most aren’t, anyway. So, what do we do? A good many of us (me) sit on the couch or in bed and stuff ourselves with greasy, definitely not good for you, potato chips.

While we can be considered “healthy” at first glance, there’s a lot of things going on on the inside that even doctors don’t see unless they’re running all kinds of tests.

Here are my issues: I’m 33 years old with knee problems, back problems and I have arthritis in both of my wrists. I’m a writer, so arthritis in my wrists is a major deal to me. I’m afraid I’ll one day become incapacitated and won’t be able to use my hands and type. While there are other options to work on my novels, I get things done by hand much quicker.

Speaking of writing: I sit down at my computer and type whenever I’m not working. Or if I’m not writing, I’m watching TV. I don’t get up and walk around (I don’t even pay attention the 15 minutes per hour rule). Image result for mcdonaldsI tend to get too engrossed in writing my novels, or I can be just plain ole’ lazy. And it’s easy to spend less time cooking healthy food and just grab takeout or cookies and eat while being a couch potato. This is why on the one hand, I don’t mind retail. I walk around and pick up heavy stuff. But four to six hours a day four days a week doesn’t help the healthier me.

The reason I mention my issues is because I had them last year when I consistently worked out (give or take a few weeks or a few months due to lack of motivation—more on that in another post). Image result for autumn calabrese 21 day fixMy program of choice is 21 Day Fix, instructed by Autumn Calabrese. As the name implies, it’s 21 days of hardcore workouts. It’s a good beginner program if you’ve never worked out before, as well as a good intermediate. If you want intermediate to advance, check out 21 Day Fix Extreme. It’s the same deal, but pushes you to the limit. I love it, but wow, all that jumping!! 

While a lot of people prefer low-intensity workouts, I opt for high intensity. I feel as though I’m getting more for my buck, if you get my drift. And typically it takes 21 days to break a bad habit and start a new one. You use these cute, color coded containers to stuff your veggies and your fruits and protein, and so on. It makes meal planning a little bit easier. After doing the program twice, I realized that my wrists, which were killing me to the point of tears, weren’t hurting me at all. I even did the evil burpees without mortification, and without realizing what I’d just done until after the fact. I cried tears of joy. I found myself getting stronger every day without even realizing it.

The sad part of it all, I got out of the habit. I live with two other people who enjoy their carbs and their fried foods, I just caved in. Then came the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (how on earth am I supposed to turn down pecan pie?!) It’s been months since I’ve worked out. And my job working retail is also tiring. I actually consider that working out because I’m walking around all the time and I’m lifting very heavy boxes and totes…excuses!!! On top of it all, my knees are killing me, my wrists are unbearable, I can’t fit into clothes I was able to wear last summer, and summer 2017 will be here before I know it!

My New Year’s resolution was to get back to my healthy eating plan and stick with it, whether I have support from people around me or not. It’s all up to me (and ultimately you if you’re in the desire of getting into shape).

It won’t be easy, but the things worth it are never easy. Case in point: my novel. I wrote that bloody thing for seven years trying to perfect it. I almost gave up many times. But I was determined to finish it, and now I’ve published it. I’ve gotten nine positive reviews on Amazon, and a couple from Barnes and Noble. Good things are worth fighting for. And good things are worth the wait. After all, no one can achieve the body of their dreams overnight. It takes a good many months. This is a mindset I’m currently teaching myself of.

Back to the health bet.

I’m dedicating the entire thirty days of this Beachbody health bet to focus on getting my mojo back on. This month I will choose to do Core De Force. I love karate, so this will be perfect for me. And I hear it’s much like Les Mills Combat, which I’m in love with! That said, I’m excited to welcome the new year with a new, healthier, determined me. Each week, I plan on giving you the results of the previous. But after this health bet ends, I won’t stop what I started. One month doesn’t make a difference in your life if you don’t keep polishing it.

Even if you aren’t involved with this health bet, or even Beachbody, I encourage you to take thirty minutes to an hour each day to do some working out.

Be warned,  you’ll regret doing it…said no one ever!

Image result for healthyWho’s with me? Comment below on what you plan to do to take healthy back. Feel free to share healthy recipes or healthy tips. Who knows? I just may give a shout out to you in one of my future blogs! And if you haven’t already, ‘like’ my blog so you can keep up-to-date with my progress.

On a different note, if you enjoy reading, ‘like’ my author page on Facebook by clicking here: Angela Kay’s Books

Blogging, Readers and Topics. Oh My!


I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m not the best of bloggers. I don’t know if it’s the topic of choice, or the way I write my blogs.

The truth is I’m a much better mystery writer than blogger. As worried as I get about what people really think of my book, The Murder of Manny Grimes, I find I am actually a good writer of mysteries. The reviews says so, which sends me a sigh of relief that seven years of writing and rewriting has not been in vain!

However, I don’t want to stop with the blogging. Most of my blogging derives from Christianity or Inspirational.  BUT if there’s a topic you enjoy and you’d like to see me write, let me know in the comments below! Or if there’s a certain aspect of Christianity you’d like me to explore, I’m all ears.

Throw some suggestions at me. Help me excel in this area of writing. I’d like to grow in my blog exposure and give you what you want! 

Also, speaking of writing mysteries, please mosey on over to my author page on Facebook and “like” it, as a way to support me as a growing author: Angela Kay’s Books. And follow me on Twitter: @angelakaysbooks.

Thank you all for your support! Comment down below!

New Year, New Beginnings, New You

The year 2016 has now come and gone. With a brand new year peeking over the horizon, we’re all bound to experience something that’s new to us. President Obama will turn over the reins of this country to President-elect Trump. A good many of us will be welcoming the new year without loved ones. Maybe it’s a change of jobs. Or maybe it’s the decision to spend just a few minutes of each day serving the Lord. Now I’m not talking about just on Sundays, or even Wednesday nights. I’m talking about reading one or two chapters a day in the Bible or finding an interesting devotional on the YouVersion Bible app.

Let’s talk about life. Or, rather, death.

This past year, we’ve succumbed to a lot of losses. I mean a lot! Prince, Lady Chablis, George Michael, Alan Thicke and now Carrie Fisher and her mother?! And that’s just a little bit of well-known celebrities. But then there are a few of us normals who had to deal with death that’s even more personal. During the summertime, my grandfather passed away at the age of 89. A few months ago, a dear friend and former coworker lost her battle with her third bout of breast cancer. She was 38. A friend of mine recently told me that a friend of hers from high school died a few weeks ago. She was in her early thirties. My publisher lost his cousin, who was the closest thing to a brother he had growing up.

The future can be a scary thing. Unless you have a crystal bImage result for crystal ballall handy, we don’t know what’ll happen along down the road. After all, we’re mere humans–mortals. And what’s even scarier is that even the Bible tells us it’ll get worse before it gets better. With each ticking second, we become closer to when Jesus decides it’s time to bring His children home.

I have a challenge for each of you if you’re willing. If you haven’t already, I would like for you to start finding ways to grow closer to the Lord. If you have begun to do so, search for ways to take the next step to grow even closer. After all, there is no such thing as being too close to Him. In this messed up world, we need more of Him and less of us.

Agree?

I think reading His Word is the best place to start. Going out and serving others is the next step. You’ll not only be discipling for Him, Image result for bible but you’ll feel good about yourselves. That’s the easiest and most rewarding resolution you could make. It’s something that takes little effort each day. If you’re too busy to sit in a quiet room and read a few chapters of His Word, I can give you a suggestion of a wonderful audiobook to listen to in the car.

There’s no excuse to not grow closer to Him. There are ways, even if you make a point to sit around the dinner table and read the Word as a family as you eat the food He gave you. He’s the One who created the animals and plants that you’re eating!

A few years ago, I made a decision based off of David Platt’s book, Radical. In the back of the book is an experiment.

Image result for radical experiement

During the course of one year, do the following:

  • Pray for the entire world
  • Read through the entire Word
  • Commit our lives to multiplying community
  • Sacrifice our money for a specific purpose
  • Give our time in another context

    For more information, click on the link to visit his website, The Radical Experiment.

    I did each of those things two years ago and it helped draw me closer to the Lord. I felt his spirit within me, stronger than I ever did. Especially when I used the last on the list to go and serve at YWAM in Heredia, Costa Rica.

    If you’re unable to do all on the list, then I recommend you pick at least one or two. It’s a very powerful experiment, as well as enlightening.

    Let’s make this year the best one yet. We will have more losses in 2017. It’s a given. We’re born, we live, then we die. That’s the cold hard truth of the circle of life. However, there is hope in the Lord. And hope is something we all need.

    Are you with me?

    Write in the comments below how YOU plan on spending time with our creator.

    Thanks for reading and have a blessed and wonderful new year!

    Much love,
    Angela