The Road to Spain, Update 3 ~ Physical Readiness

I often refer to my trip to Spain as a pilgrimage.  But what does that mean?  Dictionary.com defines a pilgrimage as a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion.

My Pilgrimage

Why do I consider my trip a pilgrimage?  The connection I have to my Spanish family was influenced by events that were deeply personal and spiritual in nature (as referenced in Journeys to Mother Love).  It is on this trip that Rosa and I will personally meet face to face for the first time—three years after having hosted her son, Pedro, in our Seattle area home.

Santiago de Compostela, the final destination for "The Way of St. James", a pilgrimage in Northern Spain visited annually by 100,000 people.

Santiago de Compostela, the final destination for “The Way of St. James”, a pilgrimage in Northern Spain visited annually by 100,000 people.

How do you prepare for a 6-week pilgrimage 5,300 miles across the globe?  It is not that much different than preparing for a marathon or any long-term goal, by pacing yourself over time and with lots of discipline.

My goal is to be ready physically, mentally, and spiritually to meet the demands of this trip.  When I think of my trip and preparation in this context, the scripture that most readily comes to mind is Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)

Getting Healthy

Body, mind and spirit—even in my normal everyday life I struggle with keeping a balance between these areas, so I knew this would be a challenge for me.  My first area to tackle was getting my body physically fit for the trip.

I’ve been making changes to my lifestyle in phases.  Phase 1 was to get my body clock back on a more normal circadian rhythm.  That basically meant I switched from working second shift to first shift.  (My most creative writing time is late at night.)  Phase 2 was to start a daily video workout routine, Slim In 6, at home.

A simple step-by-step approach to weight loss and heathy eating.

A simple step-by-step approach to weight loss and heathy eating.

The next layer of fitness, Phase 3, was to change my eating habits.  I heard about the AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge (cleanse and weight loss program) through my friend, Linda Reed, who had great results.  She was so sold on the products that she signed up to be an AdvoCare distributor and fitness coach.

I had wanted to do a cleanse for several years.  However, it always sounded like such a difficult thing to do.  But this time I was highly motivated.  With Linda’s step by step coaching and encouragement, I completed the 24-Day Challenge last week.  I eliminated foods from my diet after years of trying to do it on my own.  I feel great and my energy level is much higher.

I won’t reveal my official results here (or yet), but suffice it to say, I am very pleased with the progress I’ve made in losing pounds and inches after five weeks of exercise and healthy eating.  I am continuing on with all of my new lifestyle changes at least until I leave for Spain.

The Temple of Our Bodies

The recent steps I’ve taken to prepare physically for my pilgrimage have reinforced my belief that my body really is a temple—a temple that houses the Holy Spirit.  I am making sacrifices to treat my body like one by making it a priority in my overall health.  The result not only affects my physical health, it is affecting my emotional well-being, although that is not what I intended to do.

40 daysI hope my physical preparations have inspired you to eat healthy too, and treat your body like a temple.  All it took was 24 days and an AdvoCare coach like Linda.

Now that I have Phases 1, 2 and 3 in place, I’m moving on to my next area of readiness—preparing my mind—with only 40 days to go.

Goal Setting 101

As I worked on my 2013 goals, I had a sense that it is time for me to slow down.  But how can I do that?  I have a big year ahead of me.  I am traveling to Spain this summer for an extended stay. I need to continue my memoir writing to be prepared for my visit.  I need to study Spanish.  I need to promote my book so I can earn money for the trip.  I want to publically speak about how God turns our healing into hope.  I want to continue blogging.  While all of these things are good, I cannot do it all.  I need to trust that God is going to point me in the direction of what is most important.

Realistic Goal SettingGoal Setting

On my first pass at writing down my goals, I came up with a very long list of tangible and measureable things to get done this year.  I also came up with a list of areas in my life to improve on.  Right off the bat, I can admit that I’m not going to blog once a week like I planned (witness my first post of 2013 is dated January 12), get the number of Facebook ‘likes’ I want or sell the books I need to cover my trip.  (I’m not being pessimistic; I’m just realizing that I’m not going to push myself so much to make it happen.)

With the addition of my physical exhaustion over the last few weeks, I’ve been running around with a critical voice in my head.  It’s been telling me I shouldn’t have pushed so hard to write for NaNoWriMo, I shouldn’t be blogging, and worst of all, I shouldn’t go to Spain.  Ouch!  Where did that come from?  D-O-U-B-T!  It creeps in so insidiously—especially when you are exhausted.  And it’s a sign that I really do need to slow down and refocus on what God wants me to do.

In setting my goals for the year, I want to make sure that they align with His will for me.  I expect to continue blogging; I know I will work on my memoir, and I will most definitely be traveling to Spain.  But I am letting go of making measurable goals around them and trying to be hyper-vigilant about meeting them.  I have to be realistic about what my mind and body will allow.

Renew and Restore

Last month when I started to realize how burned out I really was, a friend and mentor, Tamara J Buchan, reminded me that without a season of rest, we lose our effectiveness.  That is exactly how it feels to me right now.  I need time to renew and restore physically, emotionally and spiritually.  In light of that I have made a positive decision to attend her “Reclaim the True You Identity Retreat” in a few weeks (based on her book).  It will be the perfect opportunity for me to get in touch with God’s direction for my life and this year in particular.  Identity Crisis Book

Goal Collaboration

I’m still a work in progress and trying to find the right balance for my life.  In the meantime, it helps me to be reminded of the following Proverbs (TNIV):

  • Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3)
  • In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
  • Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

When I collaborate with God to set my goals for the year, I know this next season will be fruitful and that He will direct my path.  How about you?  What goals are you collaborating with God on for 2013?

Naughty or Nice in the New Year?

 As the year comes to a close and I start to think about 2013, I have been pondering what I need to change in my life.  The question that keeps coming to mind is have I been “naughty or nice” this past year.

Naughty or Nice?I had a good Christmas with my immediate family and friends.  2012 was an amazing year which fast-tracked me into the publishing industry.  There is no room for complaining.  All of this points to being “nice”.  (There are times I certainly don’t think I deserved it.)

However, my body is telling me otherwise.  It is fatigued.  It is sore.  My mind is mush.  I am emotionally and physically spent.  I can’t seem to bounce back like I thought I would.  I have been “naughty”—to my body—and it won’t cooperate with me.  A quick review of the past year brings the whys glaringly into my face.

A Busy Year

In January, I took on the role of trainer on the launch team of my church’s Celebrate Recovery ministry.  A few weeks later, my manuscript was accepted.  I continued in my ministry role despite significant obstacles for much of the year.  I also stepped down from my part-time responsibilities at my husband’s business.

I worked with the publisher to edit and market the book.  I launched my website, created my own marketing materials for the book and held an Open House in the fall.  In November, I devoted my time to NaNoWriMo and writing six chapters and over 30,000 words on my memoir.  On top of all this, I dealt with the passing of my father, the start of menopause and the search for answers to my son’s academic struggles in school.

I Am Not Invincible

What I tend to forget, because I hide it so well, is that I also have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and fibromyalgia (FMS).  I’ve had them for years and am pretty good at keeping it a bay, if I listen to my body and take precautions.  (I went on medical leave from my job five years ago due to an environmental exposure and haven’t worked full-time since.)

With the physical drain comes mental fatigue and hence, my writing is also suffering.  I don’t want this blog to become my random thoughts on my life.  I want it to be a place of inspiration and transformation.  But in order to model vulnerability, I also need to acknowledge this bump in the road.

What Now?

I haven’t lost sight of who is in control of my life or that I have free will in it.  I know He is going to use this to help me refine my character and look to Him for answers on how He wants to use me.

Self Care Reminder2013 has so much potential for me with my trip to Spain and hopefully a side trip to speak in Paris.  Those are things I never dreamed possible.  For me to do them I need to re-evaluate my lifestyle, return to my spiritual and recovery disciplines and invest in some self-care.  I know God will reveal to me what is most important and He will transform my heart to accept His will in all this.  I am a grateful Believer and a recovering workaholic who struggles with pace of life.  (I needed that reminder.)

What about you?  Have you been naughty or nice this past year?  Which will you choose in 2013?  What are you going to do to change and move forward?

  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

  • Returning to Spain

    Arrival on Spanish SoilApril 29th, 2018
    Vamos a España!
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