Testing. Testing. Is this mic on??? [Pattern testing.]

Last week, I felt like a celebrity.  One of my blog posts was featured on a really nice website that I follow (without my prompting the blog owner to please-please-pretty-please feature me) and I was selected as a tester for a new pattern from an indie designer called 5 Out Of Four patterns.  My husband pretended to be my paparazzi and took all of these pictures of me.  They came out great!

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Loving lately.

1.  Yoga.  Specifically YogaStudioApp.  I got this app as one of the free downloads from Starbucks but it’s worth it to purchase it, too.  Why? Because I’m much too competitive to go to a regular yoga class.  When I’m in a legit yoga class, I feel like I need to be able to do all of the things that the old people are doing but better.  Except that I’m not bendy.  And I can’t do it better.  And yoga isn’t about competition…or is it?  I totally want to kick people’s butt at yoga so I must do MY yoga at home where the only person I can compete against is myself (and Laila Grace.  She has a pretty solid downward facing dog).

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2.  Walking.  For some reason, the thought of going running makes me feel nauseous.  I don’t know why.  It’s really strange.  I want to love the exercise that I choose to engage in so I’ve been choosing to walk lately.  I usually carry Laila Grace on my back in the mei tai (so she can see everything) or on my hip in the ring sling baby carrier but since she’s bigger now (a whopping 21 pounds…almost) I sometimes put her in the BoB Revolution SE (stroller) and take her for a stroll to the end of the street and back.  She loves being able to see everything.  And I love sharing something that I love with my girl.

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3.  Eating In-N-Out.  Yep.  It’s like my new favorite thing.  I wish I never tasted those delicious burgers because now I am most certainly hooked.  This is NOT a good thing.  And their french fries.  So yummy.

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4.  Sewing.  I have always wanted to learn how to sew.  Last year, my mom bought me a vintage machine and had it serviced at a reputable shop.  I just recently got around to using it.  Let me tell you, sewing in a straight line is not nearly as easy as I thought it would be.  So far, I have made two bibs for Laila Grace.  Sewing is kind of fun when I’m not making a crap ton of mistakes.

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5. Quality time with my little family.  I don’t know if it’s just because I’m a stay at home mama and wife now but, man, do I crave QUALITY family time. It is nice to go for a walk with Wes and the baby.  Wes and I just talk and joke and laugh.  There aren’t any distractions like the TV blaring in the background or the computer or the iPad or phones.  Just us.  Enjoying one another.  That is my favorite.

sam

{Guest post} Why I don’t diet.

Have you ever met someone and instantly clicked with them?  That’s what happened when I “met” Sherry.  I say “met” because we met on MyFitnessPal and realized that we were so similar.  She was the first friend that I had that shared my love of running.  I didn’t love running when I met her, but over time, I grew to love it and -dare I say- NEED it.  

Sherry inspired me to stay on top of my fitness goals and to push myself when I really just wanted to quit.  She is an amazingly inspiring woman who has a lot of life experience and wisdom to share with the world.  You can find Sherry on YouTube.

-sam

For so much of my life, dieting was supposed to be my refuge, my fix-all plan to extinguish every miserable piece of fat on my body and turn me into some all-star beauty queen who was free of hurt, shame and embarrassment. Dieting would turn me into the girl who was courageous enough to stand up to any task. Dieting would turn me into the girl who didn’t get pushed around. Dieting would turn me into the girl whom everyone wanted to be, rather than the girl I was: the girl who no one wanted to become. Continue reading

Don’t look up to me.

A lot of people have been telling me recently that I inspire them to be fit.

“If [Sam] can do it, I can do it.”

“I can’t believe you’re still running [while pregnant]!”

“Seeing your posts reminds me that healthiness and activity are a part of a lifestyle… thank you for leading by example.”

These are such huge compliments.  Like, really though, I don’t “deserve” it.  I’m not saying I don’t deserve the compliment because I have some sort of reverse pride issue.  I’m saying this because I really don’t deserve it.  Let me explain:

I’ve been doing this exercise thing for a while now.  At first, I wanted to lose weight (see my post about that here) and then -when I wasn’t losing weight no matter how much I worked out- I changed my mind about my motivation (I posted about that here).  I decided that I wanted to see if I could stay committed to something even when I don’t see results.  I wanted to break this habit of quitting things when they weren’t going my way.

But now that I’m pregnant (30 weeks, 3 days as of today) my motivation for working out is kind of selfish: I don’t want to be fat.  Yep, you read that right.  I don’t want to be fat.  I run; I eat healthfully (most of the time); I do yoga; I don’t indulge every time I get a whim.  All for one reason: VANITY.  It snuck up on me out of nowhere.  I’m pretty sure vanity has been in mind heart for some time now but I’m only just now being honest enough (with myself and with you all) to talk about it.

Yes, there are articles about the benefits of exercise while pregnant.  And then there are all those birth analogies about birth being a marathon- I wonder why “they” never compare birth to a HALF MARATHON??? I know what that actually feels like.  But, basically- besides the fact that I need to exercise for my sanity- many days, I only exercise because I don’t want to be fat.  It’s so freeing to admit that.

So, don’t get me wrong, I love the compliments but I just want you all to know that you need not look up to me.  I’m vain.

 

sam

Because everyone has a story.

anomaly [uh-nom-uh-lee]- a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form. Synonyms: abnormality, exception, peculiarity. 

“Anomaly.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 05 June 2014.

 

A very clichéd way to begin a work of writing is with a definition.  In my opinion, doing this means one of these things: 1) you have no idea what you really want to say, 2) your piece of writing has a length requirement that you a struggling to meet or, 3) you think your reader is stupid.  As a rule, I NEVER allow my students to begin their essays with definitions. It’s a rule. But I digress…

There is a social media movement going on right beneath our noses. A movement where people tell a snippet of their testimony using the hashtag #anomaly. This hashtag has been seen on such platforms as Instagram (you can find me here and Dee here), Twitter (you can find me here) and even on Facebook. Go ahead, look up the hashtag and be blessed. Well, that is if the sharers did it right.

How can the sharers do “it” wrong? That’s probably what you’re thinking. There’s no way a testimony can be wrong…right? Well, actually, there is. In the Christian world, testimonies are supposed to point the hearer back to God. For example, “This and this and this happened…but God.” The testimony is not supposed to glorify the person giving the testimony; the testimony glorifies the one Who changes everything: God.  So, yes, we can do it wrong.

The Lord has revealed our righteousness.  Come and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God. Jeremiah 51:10 (NKJV)

Come and hear, all you who feared God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16 (NKJV)

And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon HIs name; decree His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted.  Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth…” Isaiah 12: 4, 5 (NKJV)

So, why did I start this post with a definition that seems to have nothing to do with what I’ve written about thus far? Well, I had a little trouble deciding which portion of my testimony to share with the #anomaly movement. Should I talk about being healed from the repercussions of the sickness that nearly cost me my life? Should I talk about my little miracle baby (even though I’m pretty sure you all are tired of hearing about my transformation to #mommymode)? Should I talk about the journey that God is walking me through to become the best possible wife to Wes? What should I talk about?

I looked through the hashtag and was really blown away by so many of the stories.  As of right now, on Instagram, there are 12, 931 postings.  Some are perfect and others are either 1) very self serving (personal ads for people’s startup businesses, radio shows, even for blogs… don’t worry, I didn’t do that.  It would be SO hypocritical!), or 2) they don’t actually talk about something that is an anomaly… (which is kind of the point).  I was slightly annoyed and I talked to Wes about people “doing it wrong” and THAT is the reason that I began this blog entry with a definition.

Here are some of my bloopers and out takes before I decided what to share. I wanted to make sure that my #anomaly story didn’t glorify me instead of God…even if it doesn’t blatantly say that God did it (my readers are smart).  And, yes, I had trouble with the correct spelling of anomaly. Kind of embarrassing.

First, there was the brainstorm:

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Then I had to make a decision as to which one to keep.  But, first, I had to figure out how to spell “anomaly.”

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I finally figured out how to spell “anomaly”…

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but then I decided that I could do a lot better than talking about Valley Fever AND I didn’t want to talk about running because I felt that was self-serving like, “Look at me!  I’m a Black girl who runs!  Did you know that Black girls don’t run?!  I’m so freaking cool!” (I’ll save those posts for Instagram.) … – and isn’t my testimony supposed to be ALL about me? … [that was sarcasm]…

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I’m still not sure why I scratched the previous one but I plowed forth!

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…and forgot how to spell, again.  I need to read more books! And, then I hit the mother load:

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But I decided that I didn’t need to say that part about marriage and interventions… So here’s the story I decided to tell:

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I think that about sums it up.  I’m still attempting to write the post about how this all came about (here’s a good place to start).  The miracle baby.  The running.  The Valley Fever.   I really don’t know how God does the miraculous things He does.  I just love to hear the stories about His greatness.  #ANOMALY

 

sam

Liar, liar. Pants on fire.

personality

Lies are one thing I can’t stand.

Have I ever told a lie? Yes. Many times. Do I regret it? Yes. The thing is that once a person hears something over and over, they start to believe it. Growing up, my mom always told me how smart I was and I believed it. This worked out for me since I’m a teacher now and I’ve got some education under my belt but the issue I have with this is what about the other good qualities that I possessed that she didn’t highlight?

Did she tell me I was pretty or cute or even beautiful? No. Did she tell me that I was giving and generous? No. As far as I knew, the only thing that I had “going for me” were my smarts. I can’t really say that I blame my mom. I think she was trying to find something, anything positive that she could point out to me to make me feel special…maybe there weren’t very many good things about me from her perspective.

Was she attempting to scar me? No. Did she know she had the potential of scarring me? Probably not. But I gave my mom lots of power because she was the most powerful person that I knew. So whatever she said, I believed because…why would she lie to me? I didn’t set about writing this post to talk about parents. What I wanted to touch on was lies. How they impact people.

Another thing people lie about?   Being happy for others when they accomplish something.  Am I guilty of this one?  You’d better believe it.  It’s not really that I’m lying, it’s that I’m happy with a twinge of jealousy.  So, that may be lying but I’m not entirely certain yet.  I’m in this really weird place where I’m not accomplishing any goals.  But I’ve been trying not to have any goals so that I can give myself a break.  That’s a story for another day.  The stories that I’m most jealous of are my friends who are accomplishing lots of fitness goals.  I’m happy for them and the cool, new things that they are finding that they are capable of but I’m also jealous.  I’m jealous that they’re doing all of this cool stuff while I’m just here pregnant and trying not to eat every single thing that I can get my hands on.  Haha!  Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way feeling sorry for myself but I feel the need to just sort of let this out.  What better way than in a public forum that holds my vulnerability up for scrutiny?  Isn’t that fun?!

It’s nice to end a blog entry with a nice, new piece of wisdom that I’ve discovered about the topic that I’m covering but I don’t have any wisdom.  I just know that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be completed within me so that I can truly be happy for people (including my friends) without being jealous.  And I don’t want to feel as though I am lying when I congratulate them on their accomplishments.

 

 

 

sam

Not impressed.

Dos Natural Sistas

I’m one of those people who thinks, “If I don’t post it on Insta, Twitter, FB, etc. then it didn’t really happen.”  The “it” is exercise.  I post just about every run on social media.  And every time I practice yoga.  And every time I do ANYTHING fitness related.  It’s just what I do.  I just want everyone to know that I’m exercising.  I do it partially for accountability and partially for the glory…

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Yep.  I said that.  For the glory.  I didn’t realize about the glory part until today.  Crazy but it’s true.  I saw a picture on Insta and it strung a chord in my heart.  My friend, Liel, always talks about examining our hearts for our ambitions in life.   Am I exercising to get fit?  Or to look good for Wes?  Or to gain some other external satisfaction?  What is the point of it all?

When…

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Thirteen point one. After.

I feel so awesome!!! Sore.  But awesome.  Today, one of my kids asked me, “Why people are so crazy to run THAT far.  Like, what’s the point?”  I have the perfect answer.  I run because I can.  I never in a million years thought that I would enjoy it.  Thrive on it.  Need it.  I run because it makes me happy.  Literally.  I push myself to do things like running 13.1 miles because it’s so awesome to see what my body can do.  I can run 5 miles.  I can effortlessly (almost) run 2 miles in 22 minutes.  I did that yesterday.  Seriously.  I. can. run.  And I love it.

Yesterday, I met a guy on the shuttle home who was 76 years old!  Yes, 76!  He said that he didn’t start running until he was 50!  He ran the half marathon in two hours and five minutes.  Like… what?!?! That’s crazy swift.

The break down:

My goal was to run the whole way… and to finish the race (but that’s kind of a given). I also wanted to start off in the back of the pack.  I wanted to run my own race.  I needed to run my own race.  As my sister-friend, Priscilla, said, this race was God confirming that I had what I needed within me.  He’d already placed it there.

Mile 1 (13:10)  This isn’t so bad.  I think I can do this.

Mile 2 (12:22)  …

Mile 3 (12:50)  I think I’m hungry.  How is that possible?

5k time–>(35:17) Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Mile 4 (11:09)  I wonder if that was my fastest 5k.  I hope so.  That would be awesome.

Mile 5 (11:07)  I’m glad they gave us GU.  They taste like butt but they do the trick.  I’m kinda getting tired.  I’m thirsty.  Holy smokes! I’m doing this!  Thank you, Jesus!

Mile 6 (11:53)  I have way more miles to go. I may have to walk some.  No… I think I can just slow down a little so that I can make my goal of running the whole time.

10k time–> (1:12:28)

Mile 7 (12:38)  I passed someone who had been running the whole time and I smiled.   “You’re doing a great job!, ” I said, “We’re halfway to the finish!”  I’m HALFWAY TO THE FINISH!!!!!!!

Mile 8 (12:44)  It was right around here that I started melting down.  My legs were getting heavy.  Really heavy.  I had to concentrate on picking up one foot and then the other like my big brother told me.  I read my sister-friend, Liel’s morning text message: “Good morning sunshine! Here’s my prayer for you: Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young (wo)men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).

It was at this point that I also called my brother for some encouragement.  It was so cool to hear him and my sis in law and my nephews cheering for me.  I needed all that I could get.

Mile 9 (14:11)  ThankYouJesusThankYouJesusThankYouJesus.

Mile 10 (13:35)  There was a HUUUUUUUGGGEEEE hill somewhere around here.  I thought it was gonna be all downhill and it was not.  That’s okay.  I came up with a strategy: run down the hill and speed walk up the hill. Now that I see the numbers, I don’t think I was speed walking!  Hahaha!

Mile 11 (13:29) Almost finished!  I also picked up a mate around this point.  There was a guy that I kept passing but he started to walk.  I needed him to run!  So I encouraged him to keep going, “I’m trying to keep up with you! Come onnnnnnnn!!!!” And he actually came with me.

Mile 12 (15:08) Here is where there was a girl who looked to be younger than me but she’d run out of steam.  She would jog for a couple of steps and then stop.  I encouraged her to run with my mate and me.  She stayed with us, too!  At the finish line, it was the three of us.

Mile 13 (12:31)  I wanted to run the entire last mile but I didn’t make myself do it.  I thought I had enough power to get me through but it felt soooooo long.  I walked some.  I walked more than I should’ve.

Mile 14 (11:38 min./mile pace)  Run it in!!!

Now that it’s all said and done, I think I really want to do the Tucson Half Marathon in 2014.  I will have the same goal of running the whole time but I will also add in another goal: to beat my time from this year by at least 10 minutes.   I think I can do that.  With God’s help.

p.s.  After yesterday, I think I am a REAL runner.  I think I finally earned a Black Girls Run! shirt.  #justsayin

 

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sam