Real Love In Action IS Action

I’m just sayin’…

Real love makes you pan fry fish on a weeknight at your spouse’s request.  Without grumbling.  Or rolling your eyes…at least not a lot.  After you’ve worked all day – and he has, too.  When you were excited that there was already a meal prepared during your massive amounts of weekend free time (NOT!) and waiting in the fridge.  So you were planning to kinda chill out after checking homework, facilitating bath time, reading bedtime stories, and tucking children in.  And you’re on Weight Watchers and you know that you don’t need to have fried food.  Even though you put some fish in the oven to bake it for yourself.  Because it’s healthier.  And you didn’t get to exercise today because you forgot about the lunch meeting with co-workers on your calendar during your workout time.  And you “treated” yourself to french fries then when you didn’t really need ‘em.

But you’re a southern chef (sort of) and naturally, you taste while you cook.  So at least you eat more baked fish than fried fish once it’s all cooked.  And you’re happy to serve your spouse with a smile. Because you’re grateful that God has blessed you with this particular spouse.  Even though it would’ve been a little (okay, maybe a lot) easier to make a healthier choice if your spouse had asked for baked fish.  But you love your spouse and you want them to have what they ask for.  With hot sauce, of course.  Did I mention that the baked fish was really good, but the fried fish was slammin’?

Real love in action.  Know what I’m sayin’?  Yeah, that also includes my workout tomorrow…

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

(I Corinthians 13:13, NIV) 

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

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Appreciating the Beauty of Routine

So this is maturity, eh?  Let me back up.  To understand the significance of this epiphany, you’d have to know that I grew up as one of those über-creative types who thrived on new, unique, and exciting experiences – always something different.  I thought a person who adhered to a schedule was a boring stick-in-the-mud. Quite frankly, predictability was not appealing to me.  But that was then… 

My dad is retired from a 20-year Air Force career.  I believe he’d have blown a bugle to get us up every morning…if he’d had a bugle (I shudder to think!).  I could set my clock by him – and probably still can – because he’s regimented.  But that routine helps him.  And after I left off living under his roof and went to college, I became aware of how much his routine helped me.  So when I got married, did I walk into a leisurely free-for-all?  To the contrary – my wonderful husband was also an Air Force man with a strong foundation of consistent daily habits.  Sigh…obviously, God’s trying to tell me something, right?  Yeah, it boils down to that inescapable “ingrained discipline is a forced habit that’s good for ya” thing…

Allow me to share my “I could’ve had a V-8!” moment from last week.  I was talking to a co-worker who’d spent a lot of money on a personal fitness trainer a year or two ago, but had recently gained more weight than he wants to carry.  I encouraged him to start walking (a mere 15 minutes) during his break just to get moving.  He nodded and asked genuinely, “What’s your workout routine?”  When I didn’t immediately scoff at him, but instead chirped enthusiastically, “I take classes at the gym during lunchtime because I need to be around other people while I’m exercising!” I knew I’d turned a major corner.  I admit that I actually like knowing what I was gonna do on my gym days!  Conversely, when I get out of routine, I tend to lapse back into old, not-so-healthy habits – and it’s not worth breaking my momentum.  Now, I look forward to my fun fitness classes (and hanging out with the people in them) with joyful anticipation instead of loathsome dread.  “Yeah, I need to start again,” my co-worker agreed.  You go, buddy!  Start again indeed…

Routine helps in our spiritual lives, too.  What spiritual discipline do you commit to work on this week?  Start again indeed!

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

(Philippians 1:6)

 “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

(I Timothy 6:19)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

When the King Calls You, What’s Your Response?

Too often, we take for granted our positions in God’s Kingdom; we think we’ll never be moved, no matter what.  Because we’ve been “called, chosen, appointed, established, and crowned” with a particular role or set of responsibilities, we believe that we’re irreplaceable.  Well, here’s a news flash:  we’re not irreplaceable.  There’s always a David being equipped to take the place of a disobedient Saul, and there’s always a Joshua that God will raise up when Moses gets old and tired.  Why?  Because He is committed to having His will and His Kingdom’s purpose fulfilled.  And He’s a God of order, so when we get out of order, He re-establishes order – sometimes without us!  Imagine that…

I admit, I don’t always respond immediately (like I should!) when I feel those gentle nudges from the Holy Spirit…and then I have to repent because everything is out of order until I get in alignment with His will.  However, the stronger that nudge gets, the tougher it is to resist.  So why don’t we just yield to the Master from the beginning and walk in obedience and humble submission?  After all, He is the Potter and we are the clay, right?

Remember: there’s always an Esther (who’s younger, more beautiful, and willing to please the King) being prepared in the wings to replace a stubborn, cantankerous, rebellious Vashti.  Gauge yourself – would you be wearing the crown today, or would the King’s servants be prying all of the ex-Queen’s benefits from your clenched fists?  Like a bad reality show, I can picture Vashti remorsefully ruminating, “That was my royal house (operative word:  was), and now somebody else is living in my place, wearing my clothes and my title, and receiving all the perks from the man who was my husband!  Ain’t that a cryin’ shame?  But I brought it on myself because I didn’t answer when he called me…”

No one wants to get replaced.  Let us make wise, obedient choices (evidenced by our actions) so we don’t find ourselves in that position.  The King is serious these days…have you noticed?

“If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.”

(Esther 1:19) 

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Reflections on My Fitness Journey

A trainer at my gym recently asked me to submit an article for the monthly newsletter; I’m sharing it with you and hoping you’re doing something each day to stay healthy.  If you’re in the Charlotte area, I invite you to check out a free workout at Elements for Women – tell ‘em Kayren sent ya!
 
Special thanks to Kevin Mills (my fellow Paper Polisher) for his expert editing of this piece! 🙂  

I’ve encountered my share of speed bumps on the road to personal health and wellness in my lifetime.  Admittedly, many were self-imposed.  When I finally got serious about making some positive changes for a healthier lifestyle (instead of desperately grasping at the latest weight loss scheme), Elements was there with a support system designed to ensure my success. 

Since I started working out again (after my long hiatus), Elements has been like training wheels on a bike, bumpers at the bowling alley, and safety scissors – all rolled into one.  The staff helps me celebrate my small victories, challenges me to set goals, and pushes me straight out of my comfort zone.  Truthfully, I look forward to seeing other class participants on a regular basis.  It’s become so much more than just a gym – it’s a community.

Before joining Elements, my weight loss plan basically consisted of getting my wisdom teeth extracted.   Today, however, I understand the importance of incorporating physical activity into my schedule at least 3 times a week.  And after sweating non-stop for a full 45 minutes, it’s much easier to choose to eat a more balanced diet!  🙂

Since joining Elements and starting Weight Watchers in June, I’ve lost over 16 pounds.  But I’m prouder of the fact that I can actually jump rope for 30 seconds; I couldn’t do THAT 2 months ago!  I was winded during my first Walking Boot Camp Club session, but now I can keep up with the best of them.  In a few months, my posture has improved (thanks, Pilates instructors!), my muscles are getting stronger (my abs are somewhere between a 6-pack and a 2 liter), I’ve lost half of my double chin (good riddance), and my shadow is actually shrinking. 

From sedentary to simply spectacular… I’m on my way!  It’s all about making progress, being consistent, and staying committed – one step at a time, one day at a time, and one healthy decision at a time. 

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

(I Corinthians 6:19)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart