Thursday, June 20, 2013

Personal Athletic Mission Statement

Under Armour What's Beautiful Challenge - Mission Statement:

Live Fit For Life

I strive to live fit for life. I eat to live, and to have energy to get out and do things with family, friends and especially my niece. To train hard to be a positive role model for my niece.

Exercise is the one thing you can do that no one will ever take away from you. Own your workouts, and your run. Notice how you feel during, and after.

Always have fun training. Sure, it does get hard from time to time, but be sure to enjoy your time in the gym, in the pool, during your run.

Whatever your sport is, work hard, train hard!

Exercising doesn't solve your problems. Believe me, if I had a nickel for every time I went for a work-out, I'd probably be rich by now.  But, I can tell you honestly that exercising has helped me find my focus, and helped me find my positive attitude.

Here is the Bible verse I quoted in the video on my Under Armour page. 

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize! Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get the crown that will not last, but we do it to get the crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly, I don't fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday morning time-out

This morning I woke up needing a time-out.

Time-out from stress, and anxiety. There's a lot on my plate, and taking it all in alone is overwhelming.

First, I have to tell you about the funniest thing has been happening. My Pandora is possessed by Pat Benatar. Every time I log on to Pandora, Pat Benatar plays, no matter what station I was listening to last. So, I decided to delete the Benatar station. I logged on just before starting to write this, and guess who is playing on my Pandora? Pat Benatar!

Reality though, the stress I'm going through is not that funny, I wish it were.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us not to worry. To cast our fears, anxieties and stress onto him. I think that's easy to do when it comes to exercising, cleaning the house, putting up with drama with the neighbors, family or friends,  and even when you need to fall asleep at night but what happens when the problems you face are far to great? What happens when you're facing a challenge that is so much stronger and more serious? A problem that is so strong it can't be solved with prayers, or with an exercise routine.

God, and Jesus (to me they are two different people) are not in the business of creating miracles. If they were, I'd be stress free right now! Faith without work is dead- but my work isn't enough, nor is my faith.  I say my prayers, okay maybe not often enough but in a practical world, I've exhausted realistic approaches and there's no give. I'm on the losing end and no matter what I do, I don't think I'm coming out of this with a success story anytime soon.

One group of people tell me to exercise when I feel stressed. Well there genius, you are preaching to the choir considering how far ahead I am of you on that one. Sometimes, I just want to  scream, "Really? So if my four mile run didn't solve the problem, neither will a noon time yoga class, an afternoon, swim or an evening weight session. I mean seriously, how many times a day do I need to exercise anyway?"
But I don't have to be hateful, I can just say, 'Bless your heart!'

The only way it'll be reasonable for me to workout all day is if I'm either rich, or getting paid to exercise. I may be single, and living alone but I'm not rich. If I were rich, then I wouldn't be going through this anxiety because I wouldn't be faced with this (fill in the blank with a swear word of your choice).

Skipping a morning workout was a wise idea considering I needed to sit still and really focus on some practical solutions. Secondly, I'm sick of using exercising as an escape from stress. I prefer to focus on the workout, so don't worry, I do have a date with my dumbbells, yoga mat and running shoes tonight. I'll probably be stronger, and more effective later anyway.

Participating in the What's Beautiful, Under Armour Woman's challenge is the best decision I've made this year. It's keeping me focused, and driven. My goal is to run a 5K in less than 23 minutes, sounds a little lofty right?
 My long-term dream is to be a certified trainer, and yoga teacher. Sounds like a practical dream to have right? To have both, it would open up doors not only in the gyms and studios, but in writing. However, I need about $3,000 to achieve both goals, and that is not practical as of now. To spare myself time, and to keep this blog short, I tend to believe not being certified is both a blessing and a curse.

My wish is to have a stronger network group because the majority of people I know in my every day life don't want me to live athletic. My wish is that the people who (say they) support me to stop telling me to go in a different direction, and to help me with what I've been working so hard to achieve. I'm often advised to go in the opposite direction of doing what I want to do- and to do the opposite of what genuinely makes me feel happy, complete and worthy. It breaks my heart, my soul and my spirit to know that the people who claim to be my friend, who claim they love me always try to curb my goal. I have to do this alone to get it done, and in the end when I do accomplish my goals, I'm alone. Not because I pushed people out of my life, but because people pushed themselves out by doubting me.
I'm sick of negative comments being the source of my drive, and the reason for getting it done.

I do put exercise on the top of my priority list, right alongside writing. I'm so passionate about the two it scares me. Since I've accepted Jesus at Christmas, I've decided to treat my commitment to living a Christian life like I treat my exercise goals, it's worked for me. But I wish that it were easy with all the other obstacles. With work, with finances, with friendships. Learning how to be an entrepreneur with zero over-head in a field where I probably need a couple hundred dollars to get started- not to mention a few hundred for personal cost of living expenses is difficult. I digress.

 I'm thankful that Sunday's service was about "What to do when unforeseen circumstances derail me!" Because right now, that is my biggest of all big problems. I'm  so derailed - that it'll take a lot to get me back on the right tracks.

In John 21, Jesus does  not tell the fishermen who have been sitting for hours waiting for fish to get out of the boat to go to another lake to find fish. He tells them to throw the fishing net to the other side of the boat. Soon, the net was filled with fish.

Today, I will not get out of the boat I've been in but I guess I will throw 'my fishing net' to other side of that boat, and see what happens.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

From derailed to reconnected

I decided to stay home this weekend and take advantage of watching a sermon online. Uptown Charlotte is about 12 miles or so from where I live, so there are times I need to be conservative with my gas mileage and today was one of those days where I had to keep the car parked.

Elevation Church is sending their campus pastors on a road trip, and they get to preach at different locations. That also means a preacher other than Steve Furtick will lead the main sermon; today's sermon was preached by Pastor John Bishop, he is the one that relocated to Toronto, Canada to open the newest campus.

I personally believe it was fitting for P. Bishop to preach about what to do when your life gets derailed. He has first hand experience from having dealt with infertility with his wife- and the fact that he was relocated to Canada when he was happy living in Charlotte. So the question is,

"What do you do when unforeseen circumstances derail you?"

It seems that my life struggles are so weak compared to others, but the reality, my problems are not less significant because I don't suffer from cancer, or that I didn't lose my house in a storm, or that I don't have to raise kids alone. We have become a society where people love to compare their problems to others, as if it justifies your situation may not be so bad, and it's okay to ignore it.

Living single puts you in so many situations where you have to deal with financial responsibility alone. Living within your means takes on a whole different meaning, Some people think it's easier, others think the solution is to get married.
As a society, we need to stop treating the single life as it is a disease, and marriage is the cure.
Sure I did make the conscience decision to be single for so many different reasons, and I know it's the right choice for me. Living single, not dating seems to be the only thing in life I am in control of, besides my work-out routine.
Every relationship I've been in - I've been derailed and re-routed in to a different direction than I planned on. And not for the better either.

That's what this blog is about, what do I do when I have a passion to live my life as I see right for me- single, with God, as an athlete and writer, and hold on to my friendships, and to maybe start a relationship.

It doesn't matter what I'm facing today, God is a good God and he'll see me through this path I'm on. I feel like I'm at a dead end from a detour that I was thrown in.
How do I convert the detour that derails me, into an engine that drives me forward? There are three answers.

 Realize my position.
Where am I? What am I fishing for?
The answers are a little bit personal to reveal online, but I can say that I strive to live a more stable, balanced life with boundaries that are respected. I need to make sure my boundaries are understood. I'm slowly becoming complacent,which is the place I pray to never be! Time to snap out of it, and reclaim my passion!

Reclaim my passion - and my passion with God.
Passion can make us act strange, and make wild decisions. Sometimes, being passionate makes us seem a bit, obsessive, and maybe insane.
I'm sure you now know that I'm passionate about a fitness lifestyle. I've often been accused of obsessiveness, and the reality is - that drives me forward and leads me to success. To be a strong leader, you have to be passionate, and effective.
As you can also see, I'm becoming more passionate about living a Christian lifestyle.
My passions include sports, and writing, and Christ. To be a positive role model to my niece, and other children.
The list of passions I have could go on and on and on- that I could write a novel about them. The reality is, I'm a passionate person and there's nothing I do without doing it passionately, or I won't do it at all.
A message to men, especially because I've been told this a million times, if my passion is to strong for you, then you are the wrong man for me. Just accept that.

Remember my purpose.
When I understand my purpose,  I can see my value.
Once I realize my purpose, and my value, I believe setting my boundaries and sticking to them will be easier. It will probably make my peers respect me more. Maybe, when I take a firm hold on to purpose, my friendliness won't be misunderstood, taken for granted, and abused.

Bible verses this sermon was based around: John 21

Monday, June 10, 2013

Failing to meet my expectations

Sunday's service at church was really powerful, and it spoke directly to me. What an awesome time for a service to be about what to do when you fail to meet your own expectations.

It was planned that a guest Pastor named Johnathan Martin from Renovatus Church would deliver the sermon. I was impressed with his message, I can see why my Pastor Steven Furtick looks up to him.
I could talk about this topic and how it effects my own life in a variety of ways. This is how I interpreted the message for two areas of my life.

 I set my expectations of myself rather high! In reality, I'm a dreamer like all other Pisces women!

I've recently set my athletic goals high for an amazing competition with a sports brand. I hope this time, I at least reach my own goals, if not win this "What's Beautiful" competition with Under Armour. In the past, I've unfortunately failed to reach many sports goals. A lot of that is of my own doing- other times it's because I didn't have the best competition day.

Training isn't always easy- nor is training always fun.

I take that back. Training is always fun, that's why I do it. If I didn't have fun, why would I do it?

Same for my walk with Jesus. Making the sacrifice to follow Christ's ways isn't easy- and there are a lot of people who have their eye out on you just waiting to see you fail. People love to call Christians hypocrites.

How coincidental- a lot of people have this sick hope that an athlete does fail. Or worse, quit.

I've met some of the most disrespectful men when I trained at my best. Some guys do like to kid around when they see a woman lifting weights, I know the difference between a joke and an insult. Especially when the comment comes from the man you're living with.

Who needs enemies with boyfriends like the ex from Upstate?

What I've experienced has led me to where I am today. My failed relationship with Mr. Upstate led me closer to God. Again, that upset him. Wow, how about that! He didn't like that I was a jock, a writer, and a Catholic.
I was- still am- embarrassed that I allowed myself to live with someone so opposite of me. He preferred to encourage me to give up on my good habits then to encourage my athletic and Religious goals. I feel like I wasted a year of my life - one that I'll never be able to get back. God saw me through those days though, somehow. Sunday's message taught me that maybe I needed to be in that "waste space" so that I could get to my best space.

God may not approve of all the decisions I've made in life. I've sinned more often than I care to admit. But that's why Jesus died on the cross- to forgive us for our sins. He may not condone my actions, but he won't condemn me either.

I don't believe that God controls my life. I believe he gives me a choice. I never know which choice is the right one- but God will be my guide.If I lift my heart, and sights on things above, he will work with what I give him.

Pastor J.Martin's made some points that will be memorable for a long time.

Your greatest failure, and disappointment is an opportunity for greatest encounter with God!
Don't be quick to assume that means it's okay to sin, or fail on purpose.
My relationship with Mr. Upstate started with a good friendship and we had both hoped to build a long amazing life together. Unfortunately, when we lived together our differences stuck out like daggers and kept hitting us in the heart. I knew early on he was wrong for me- but I worked with him until I could no longer try. I don't wish to discuss the details of our relationship- but I can say that I was becoming the woman I never wanted to be and failed to live up to my own personal beliefs and gave into fear, as opposed to ending the relationship when I first saw the red flag.
The good news is, I was able to move on and I hope that I am getting stronger. Since then, I've experienced some amazing days- and some pretty bad days. I've sinned a lot too- but never on purpose- only because I have a weakness. Oh and, I'm human. Imperfect human at that.

Accusations will keep me from an encounter with the advocate!
This message was based around John 8 in the Bible

This is the point that struck the hardest with me. I can't blame anyone else but myself for my failed relationship with Mr. Upstate. I can't blame anyone else but my failures in running, and fitness competitions, and in my sports goals. Nor can I blame anyone but myself for my struggles that are too personal to publicize.
I can't accuse others of wrong-doing when I know I do wrong. Sometimes I feel that I try to hard to please others- and that is where I find myself failing the most. When I worried about rejecting Mr. Upstate because I didn't want to hurt him, or that I feared that I was judging - I ended up making the biggest mistake of my life, and that  led to a lot self-destructive behavior and depression.
Accusing others for not being able to reach my goal is a sign of my guilt. It's my fault I choose to spend time with people who are so opposite of me. I fear trying to play God by judging others- so instead of standing by Him in His ways, I disappoint Him more by hanging out with the wrong crowd, and give the wrong man a chance. (Sidenote: I still believe I wasn't meant to meet the right guy until later in my life, so no, I didn't miss Mr. Right!)
I'm thankful Pastor J. Martin said that there is nothing more satanic then accusing others. I wish I understood that then. I should've never blamed or accused Mr. Upstate for my life failures. I moved in with him- with an intuitive feeling that I should not have done so.
Had I known who God really was in 2008- I would've never moved out of my gorgeous home in Boston to live with an evil New York Jets and Yankees fan. OKAY- I kid I kid about the latter part...but he was the wrong guy and I didn't see that because I didn't live in the will of God. I was lost, and confused and that seemed to be my only option.
I need to learn that when I stand with God, I'm not judging anyone because I am doing what He called me to do. Not allowing someone to have my heart because he is not choosing to live in God's way is not judging.
I'm thankful God comforted me for making the wrong choices.

Another point to bring up would be that it is satanic for Christians to go around pointing out other Christians faults. So don't get caught throwing rocks.

Our sin doesn't change God, it changes our perspective of God!
How awesome is it that I am now able to learn God's ways by leaning on him when I feel my weakest. How awesome is it that I can now pass my worries on to God- pass my fears and problems on to Him and He will be there to comfort me. I don't have to wait until I'm free of sin to go to church or read the Bible. I can learn to over-come my bad habits while learning the ways of God. The more time I spend in church- the easier it is to break my bad habits. There are a few times when I thought it would be inappropriate to pray because I had made big mistakes- and I didn't want God to think I was using Him to guide me through the bad times ...seeing as though I didn't praise him in my good times.
The good news is, it is okay to meet God half-way; instead of trying so hard to fix myself before I pray. I should pray with thanks, and pray for forgiveness.

I'm fully seen, fully known and fully loved even in all of my brokenness! 
You can run, but you can't hide from God. I believe God proved that in the book of Genesis when Adam tried to hide from God after he ate the forbidden fruit because he was naked, and filled with shame.
God knows when I'm acting deceitful by depending on the ways of man (and women for you politically correct types)- and on the ways of immediate satisfaction. God may not reject me when I pray to him when I ask for forgiveness for making a bad decision. But I will pay the price of failure when I try to run a 5K after drinking too many beers.

I need to remember that I'm human and I'll make mistakes tonight-tomorrow and in the future. If I continue to train, to write, and live by Gods ways as an aunt, a  single woman, a daughter, a sister,  a writer and as an athlete- it will become easier to accomplish my goals and will probably make it easier for God to respond to my prayers with a solid, loud booming yes.

Yesterday concluded the Expectation Gap series.  I look forward to the summer project Elevation Church has prepared for us followers!
I hope that you one day join me in visiting my Church, even if you watch online at

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Sacrifice

What are you willing to give up to reach a goal?

I have five months to train to run a 5K in less than 25 minutes. I do have a lot of work to do to reach that goal considering I run a 5K in 31:27 on an average. I also have some sacrifices to make ...and the sacrifice of choice is to quit drinking beer ( and booze) for five months. This should be a  breeze.

For you photog fanatics like me,
I promise, next time I'll have better focus!
You might think that it's a bit steep, but I have a few good reasons to quit.

I'm not a big drinker, nor am I an alcoholic. Being single, and living alone means that I tend to go out more often. Having a drink with dinner doesn't hurt your running goals, but in my personal opinion, alcohol is a treat that I can live without.

This will be a challenge because it is summer time, and there are a few exciting events that are going to happen from now- and October 13th.

*  For starters, I live on a lake. There's something about going out for a boat ride, or chilling out with friends by the lake and cracking an ice-cold beer at the end of a busy day.
*  In a month , we'll celebrate the 4th of July. As of now, I have no big plans. So I guess I have nothing to worry about then, do I? 
*  In the middle of the summer,  my parents are celebrating a major milestone for their 40th wedding anniversary. I'm not sure what the final plans are- but I'm pretty sure that I'll be tempted to have a celebratory drink- or two- or three.
*  Then it's Labor Day. No big deal- just another excuse to go out and drink with friends. Right?
*  My father is celebrating a special birthday in September. I know he doesn't want me to make a big fuss over it because it's a number he can't believe he's reached- in other words, we're probably going to throw a pretty big party for him. So there will be more temptation to drink a beer with him.

There's something about non- drinkers that  makes people uncomfortable. I don't know what it is. It's the same thing about healthy eating. For some reason, people have a problem with those of us who choose healthier meals, and stay sober to exercise more often. I've never understood their logic.

When I change my eating/drinking habits to reach an athletic goal, I tend to feel the peer pressure. That's pretty sad considering I'm 37 years old- you'd think by now I'd have more respect from my peers but - I have more pressure instead.

So today, Friday June 7th- is the first day of my journey to living booze free!

What's Beautiful? 
Five months to a better body for the Five Kahne 5K! I'm excited!

*My secondary goal is to get you to register for this 5K- check out this website for more details!!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Under Armour What's Beautiful Challenge - Beating Kahne

Good Morning ladies!

I've declared a goal for the "What's Beautiful" Under Armour Woman's Challenge. My goal is to run a 5K in 22 minutes! This is a very personal goal that I take seriously. To make this fun for myself, I've decided while I'm in training, I'd like to inspire woman to run with me this October 13th!

 If you are a NASCAR fan, this is going to be even more meaningful! The 5K is hosted by Kasey Kahne- they call it the Five Kahne 5K. Proceeds raised go to his Foundation- and they donate to The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, Make a Wish Foundation, the NC STEAM, and other children's charities. Check out the Kasey Kahne Foundation website for more information.

Today is the first day of training, and guess what? It's "National Running Day" !! So it's only fitting that we head outside, or on the treadmill for a run.  If you are new to running, you have five months to get your body in 5K shape, that is more then the required time you need, so lucky you- you've got a head start!

This goal to beat Kahne might sound a bit over-zealous to you. Kahne can run three miles in under 23 minutes! That means I have to shave (at least) 10 minutes off of last year's run time- which was 31:27! I have a lot of work to do- but I have no fear! This is realistic because I've been running, and participating in sports for at least 14 years, so I'm sure if I set my sights on things above, and have a lot of faith, I can, and I WILL achieve this goal. Whatever excuse I have to not reach this goal needs to be thrown away.

My biggest fitness accomplishment was competing in Bikini Fitness Competitions in Boston, MA, East Haven, CT, and Toronto, Ontario Canada. I've made my lifestyle be all about fitness, and I know how to 'get in the zone.' I consider a 3 mile run, my short run!

It's time to get started. First, log online and register now for the event. Registration is $25 until June 12th, after that day prices go up. Go to and click on the 2013 FiveKahne banner. You'll be able to find more details about the event - including the link to register.

When you're registered, get outside for a 10 minute run! Why? What's Beautiful? You're running!

What's Beautiful?
Donating to children's charities!

What's Beautiful?
Running with your friends!

What's Beautiful?
Living a healthy, athletic life!

What's Beautiful?
Beating Kahne!

Be sure to follow me on twitter- I will be posting about my journey! You can find me at @FitnFaithful.
Use the hashtag #whatsbeautiful to follow other athletes in their challenges. Who knows, maybe you'll score some cool tips, and tricks on becoming a better runner!

Thanks for joining me- and I look forward to connecting with you this summer!


The first 5K in 2010
Kahne meets my niece when handing out
award to Kathleen for winning her age group. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

Review: The Expectation Gap Series

Yesterday's church service at Elevation Church was really powerful- so much so- I can't keep it to myself. Nor do I want to condense what I want to say in a short status update on facebook- or twitter.

It's been awhile since I've 'blogged,' - and I may start writing my thoughts, idea's and opinions about becoming a stronger Christian in my journey as a writer, an athlete, an aunt, and a single woman living on Lake Norman. I'm hoping to add some humor in the mix of the messes I'm living through.

In the last three weeks, our Pastor has been talking about "The Expectation Gap" - and what to do when our experiences don't meet our expectations.
Before I tell you about yesterday's service, I have to bring up the last two weeks.

The first week was powerful because Pastor preached how to deal with people when they don't meet our expectations. He broke it down into five "tweetable" points:

We can't expect to get what we don't express.
If' we're not willing to express our wants, needs and desires no one can deliver. People are not mind readers, and we shouldn't expect them to just give.If we are not bold in our prayers, we may not get the answer we want from God.

I am not authorized to negotiate anyone's relationship with God.
I believe that point is self explanatory.

 I must resist the temptation to draft others into my dysfunction.
As an athlete, I learned a long time ago that what I love to do in the gym, some others may not like it. Not everyone wants to train to run a 5 or 10K, or a half marathon. Nor do people want to lift weights, or practice yoga- and most importantly, no one wants to wake up early to workout. It's a life-long lesson to be patient with others who do not share my passion to exercise. It's difficult to do when other's have really strong, and negative opinions about my passion, my motivation, and my commitment.  More importantly, I've yet to understand why I don't meet more athletes- and why do I meet more nay-sayers? Living healthy is a lifestyle, just like being a follower of Christ. Living in his will, and living in his ways is a challenge- as is living like an athlete. I have to admit, I do not get along well with lazy people. But I must remind myself to be patient and to not bring people down to my dysfunction.

My greatest source of my frustration with others is my confusion of God's expectations of me.
When was the last time I evaluated what God wants of me? Do I know my calling? Do I know my purpose? How can my purpose be a person- when we really shouldn't set goals on other people?
Trying to meet the expectations of others is my flawed vision of what God wants from me. I need to set my sights on things above and let go of the opinions of fickle people.

Don't let what I expect keep me from what God wants me to experience. 
It's simple. Don't let what I thought life should be stop me from experiencing the life God is giving to me.

In the second week, Pastor preached about the challenges we face when God's does not meet our expectations. We sometimes feel as though God ignores us, other times, God's answer to our prayers is no.
It is hard to pray when we have to experience the death of a loved one. In the past five years, I've been to more funerals than I've been to weddings, or baby showers. I've experienced more heartache, then happiness. My "joie de vie" has been sucked out of me and I've almost disconnected with life altogether.
However, I've come to be thankful that I didn't get what I deserved. I've made a lot of mistakes; I've made a lot of bad decisions- but in reality- my decisions,and mistakes were not so repulsive that I'm beyond forgiveness from people, and from God. I must remember, I'm a good person and I try to the best of my ability. I do what I can with what I have. I'm thankful that God has protected me when I probably didn't deserve it. I should be thankful that some of the brightest days of my life these past three years were that I got to do what I've dreamed of doing. I got a taste of what it feels like to make my dreams come true- I just need to figure out "how" to keep living that dream.
 I must also remember that if God always answered my prayers with a yes- and I got everything I asked for- then I wouldn't be learning anything. I can't leave God, or stop praying because times are tough.
I do not know why my grandfather committed suicide; or why my niece died in 2008. Why did my aunt die from a rare cancer six months after being diagnosed? Questions without answers- but I guess I can't quit praying.


Yesterday, Pastor Steven Furtick preached on how to never be controlled by the expectations of others.
It's important to first realize that they disappointments we face may be a direct result of our own doing. But there are people who will never be happy- not matter how hard we try or how often we tell them we care.
I know that I've always had to struggle with other's opinions of me. Like everyone else, I want to fit in; I want to be liked...and when choosing a life in the entertainment business such as modeling, sports, and writing- other's will have a lot of opinions. There's a lot of negativity when you put yourself out there for the world to see.
It's amazing how people perceive a fitness model- and how so many people don't realize the connection there is between training hard- disciplining your diet and  lifestyle. Success in the gym starts in the kitchen, and at home. How you live your life will determine how strong you are as a runner, a weightlifter, and in your general health.
People will always have an opinion of you when you compete as a model in a bikini, and when you train to run 10Ks, and train to participate in the sports.
I could write a 500 page book on the journey of a writer- especially when you choose an elite sport like NASCAR. I'll leave you with that, and I won't bore you with all the details of the challenges a writer faces. As a matter of fact, that 500 page book has already begun and is in editing phase three.

I learned that I need to renegotiate my relationships with people- and my priorities. I need to stop giving in to people who do not deserve me. I need to remember that I am living to please no one but God, and I need to set my sights on things above and let go of the opinions of fickle people.

I must remember that when someone has a negative opinion, I must respond with "Thank you, and yes you are entitled to your opinion BUT I am entitled to ignore you and to continue my journey. Unless you have the power to raise me from the dead, you do not have the power to judge me."

I must remember that when I put Jesus in the seat of honor, the objections of others lose their weight.

It is important to look beneath the insult- and look at the insecurity of the one bringing me down. It's also possible to look beneath the insult to see the pain the antagonist is going through. Because the insults from others is not about me.

Remember, where I choose to go to church, how often I pray, how often I exercise, and train for a 5K, how healthy I eat - is what I'm doing because that is what God called me to do. I'm not doing this for anyone else.

I must remember I'm a Christian- that does not mean I'm perfect. I'm not above others. I will make mistakes, I will contradict myself. I will experience pain- and I will eventually, one day experience happiness again.

My journey is an everyday process that is both painful and beautiful.