Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homemade Salad Dressing

I've started making my own salad dressing.

Why would I go to the trouble of doing this, you ask.  There are a few reasons.
  • I like to control the quality and ingredients in the food I eat as often as possible.  
  • I think the flavor of homemade dressings are better, fresher, richer, etc.  
  • Having good salad dressing on hand ensures that I eat more fresh greens. Sometimes I will just snack on a big bowl of fresh greens with a nice dressing on it.
One of my favorite dressings is a Simple Mustard Vinaigrette. I've made this tons of times using many different kinds of mustard: yellow mustard, dijon, honey dijon, honey mustard, country dijon, spicy brown, etc. You get the point.

Personally, I like all kinds of mustard, so, in my opinion, this dressing made with any kind of mustard is equally delicious.  But, most of the time, I make this dressing with country dijon, if you want to know. 

I also use a food processor to blend it up.  The food processor blends everything together nicely, making a more finished product.  I've made this dressing without a food processor lots of times, too. I've just whipped it all up with a fork and it's good that way as well.   

I just store it in a salad dressing container like this and keep it at room temperature on the counter. I eat it so fast, it doesn't spoil.   Sometimes I make a few batches at a time.

Here it is drizzled over a bed of fresh greens, carrots, cucumbers, and roasted chicken.  Delicious!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Quick Visit to South Carolina

My husband Dwayne is getting his Masters Degree in Business Administration online from our alma mater Charleston Southern University.  He had one, mandatory meeting last Saturday on site, so we enjoyed a quick and I mean quick trip to South Carolina last weekend. 

We drove down Friday, stayed Saturday, and came all the way home again on Sunday. We listened to some C.S. Lewis on audio: The Weight of Glory and a portion of Mere Christianity.  I also did a lot of silent reading on my tablet while we were in the van. I finished the Wingfeather saga by Andrew Peterson, my nine year olds favorite books, and I started the Divergent series.  Note: Those are for me. My nine year old isn't reading those till she's much older.

Whenever we are in South Carolina, we usually stay at the Wingate by Wyndam on the CSU campus because it's close to my family and it is always nice to be on campus again. That's where my husband and I lived while in college, met, fell in love, worked during and after college, etc. This time, we visited the bookstore and got some CSu swag.

We went Chick-fil-a, of course. We don't have any Chick-fil-a in Connecticut as of right now, so we always eat it when we travel.  (One is being built about forty-five minutes from where we live, however, so I am already thinking of excuses to go to Brookfield once it opens.)

And we enjoyed visiting my parents and siblings for a whole day. We had breakfast together and then my mom and I swam in the hotel pool with the girls while Dwayne was in his meeting. My dad and brother came a little later and sat in the shade by the pool and visited until we all went our separate ways in the hot afternoon to cool off and let the kids nap. I forgot how hot it can be in the south. Then we got together again and had dinner enjoyed some time together at the hotel before bed.

Here's a photo of my kids with my mom and dad.  Notice my dad's hat. We bought him some CSU swag as well. 

My kids came home with tons of gifts: clothes, stuffed animals, school supplies, etc. as usual.  My family is very generous.  I love the life God has given us in Connecticut. We are confident the Lord has planted us where we are.  But sometimes, I really miss being closer to family.  It was a nice, albeit quick, visit. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bodypump Certification- Update

I thought I would provide another update for those of you who are following my Bodypump journey.

Since I was certified in June, I have been subbing Bodypump classes for other instructors at the gym where I was trained. I subbed a class yesterday, actually. I did a mix of 89 and 90 that I call "I Love Pain."  (You can read more about that mix here.)

And I got to team teach a launch for 90 with a coworker who helped me a lot during my certification process. Launching was really fun. I felt sort of like a rock star up at the front of the room next to her as she taught.  I felt kind of guilty because it was so easy.  Until it was my turn to teach, then I had to come back to earth and get to work for real!  

I have been waiting to see if there would be an opportunity for me to get on the fall/winter schedule at the gym where I trained, but I knew it was not likely. They already have a full Bodypump program and staff in place (which is why I asked them if I could be trained there in the first place), so I am not surprised they don't have a ton of need for me this fall/winter.

However, their Saturday morning Bodypump class is on a rotation and instructors who want to teach on Saturday take turns.  I jumped on that.  And I got word today that I will be teaching some of these Saturday Bodypump classes on the fall/ winter schedule!

I was thrilled to write the words "Teaching Bodypump" on my calendar about half a dozen times. And those classes, though there are only handful, will be my classes.  So that feels nice, like another step in a forward direction. 

I have also been calling, emailing, and visiting gyms in the area that have Bodypump to see if they need instructors.  But, so far, most of them are also fully scheduled and staffed. So it looks like I may need to go on their sub rotations, too, and then work my way into a class if/ when one comes open somewhere at a time when I can teach it.

The process of getting my own class or classes may take a while. I imagined it would, but now I begin to see it may take even longer than I imagined.  Somehow, though, I don't mind. I think I'm just going to keep working toward a class of my own, no matter how long it takes. 

I have friends who sing and act.  I never understood what kept them going to one audition after another in hopes of getting a part, any part. Until now. Now that I have found my passion, I begin to understand theirs.  I don't mind that I am "lining up," so to speak, for the same jobs as tons of other talented, experienced people.  Do you know why I don't mind?  Because while I am in that line for the same jobs everyone else is in line for, I get to talk to other people who love what I love!  And that is so much fun!

Just yesterday, after a Bodypump class that I subbed for another instructor, I got to have a long, lively conversation with another Les Mills enthusiast. She has been teaching Combat and Bodyflow for a long time. (I think Bodyflow may be my next certification). And she just submitted her video for a Bodypump certification as well, so we had more than enough to talk about. 

Talking to her was like taking a cool drink of water after being in the desert. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes I feel like I am on an island because I have all this enthusiasm about Les Mills group fitness programs and not very many people to share it with.

Don't get me wrong, I have close, supportive friends and they often listen to me go on and on about Bodypump or Les Mills, etc. because they love me and they let me talk about what I love.  But yesterday, it was really nice to talk to another Les Mills enthusiast. 

I know it will take time to meet other instructors and then go on to build friendships with those instructors, but I am hopeful that that will happen. 

Yes, it is also my goal to have Bodypump classes on a gym's schedule somewhere someday.

But now I begin to see that as badly as I want to teach Bodypump on a regular basis, I think I also want to build relationships with other Les Mills instructors/ enthusiasts. I think that is where the fitness magic really is.  

It makes me think of one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes. He says, 

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man (or woman in my case) says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”

That's how I felt yesterday when I was talking to that Combat and Flow and soon-to-be Pump instructor.  "What! You too?  I thought no one but myself...

loves Les Mills like a crrrazy person!"

And before I could even ask, she asked me, "Are you going to the Quaterly??!"

Ha ha ha!

It was then that I knew I was not alone in this world.

Now I am beginning to think it's only a matter of time before I can go to coffee and discuss my first impressions of the next release with a real person.  

So as I work toward the goal of a Bodypump class (or two or three) of my own, I also want to build relationships with Les Mills tribe members, too.

I am just thankful to be on this journey and "in line" with inspiring people who love what I love, too.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bodypump Organization

I am new to teaching Bodypump and I am having to figure out how to organize my choreography notes and playlists.  I can already see that keeping the notes and playlists organized might get confusing once I have a ton of releases and start mixing tracks from a bunch of different releases together in a bunch of different ways.

I have been printing out the choreo notes from each release and putting them in a three prong binder.
When I only had one or two releases, I didn't need to write the release numbers on the front of the binders because I could just remember which was which by color, but now that I have three releases and a mix of 89 and 90, I've started labeling them as you can see in the photo above.

I thought it would be a good idea to give my mixes names so that I don't end up using number like "89 and 90," "90 and 89," and "89, 90, 91."  Even calling them by the date I use them "8-18" and "9-20" is going to get confusing to me, especially when it comes time to find a playlist that goes with the mix. 

After adding up the length of the songs to make sure my first mix wasn't going to be too long, I printed out all the tracks from 89 and 90 that I would be using (instead of taking the choreo notes out of my original 89 and 90 binders. I want to keep a binder with each release as it comes). After printing, I put all the tracks in the mix in a binder and I called the mix "I Love Pain" in honor of one of my favorite scenes from Sponge Bob...

I also named the playlist that goes with this mix "I Love Pain" so that I will know which playlist goes with that mix.

Sometime in the future, maybe I will feel comfortable enough to put all my warm ups in a file folder, all my squat tracks, all my chest tracks, etc. and then just pull them out and rearrange them in all sorts of way and quick, make a new playlist before every class... 

But, for now, I still have to review the notes for an hour or two in order to remember every detail of the choreo and counts (even for the release I was tested on) and what equipment and what exercises to demo and to get a grip on what order the tracks are coming, etc.

Every time I get more experience teaching, I am gaining more respect for the experienced Bodypump instructors I have seen in action.  They remember choreo and counts for ever track on every release, of course, but not only that- they also remember which tracks are coming in their mixes and what equipment to use and which exercises to demo before each track for so many different tracks.  That's a lot of information to store in your brain!  

I wonder if it will get easier.  I love every bit of it, but it will be nice if it doesn't take so long to prep for classes. Perhaps the time will come when I barely even need to think about counts, choreo, equipment, and demos after I have been teaching the same tracks for a few years...??

If you teach Bodypump, I'd love to know how long it takes you to prep for classes. And how do you organize your notes and playlists?  Please feel free to comment below!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No More Talk of Darkness

For as long as I can remember, I was afraid of the dark. So naturally, I was often afraid at night in bed.  I had to sleep totally covered with blankets.  I could never let my hand hang out over the empty space next to my bed. My arms had to be tucked into my blankets, my blankets up over my shoulders, at least. I was never quite sure what I was afraid of, but nevertheless, I was always afraid. 

After I left home in my late teens, I began feeling much less fear at night. Looking back, I believe my parents' home was a place where their spiritual condition prevailed, not my own.  But, once I was out of their home physically, I was also out of their home spiritually.  When I was in my dorm room or under another roof, especially when I was under another Christians' roof, I discovered that I could sleep without blankets. I often fell asleep sprawled out flat on my back with no blankets, no pillows, arms and legs wide, in perfect peace with a smile on my face.  For someone who had been terrified of the slightest noise at night since I was a very small child, this was a significant change. Even then, I knew something remarkable was happening to me, but I just enjoyed it. 

But not too much longer after enjoying this new freedom, interestingly, I started having spiritual nightmares, nightmares more potent than any I had ever had before.  Looking back, I believe the nightmares started at this point in my life because I was enjoying so much freedom from fear for the first time.  The enemy of our souls does not like it when become free from fear (or anything else), so I think he began trespassing into my dreams to terrify me and keep me in bondage. 

In these nightmares, I would be visited by a dark figure who would walk into my room, up to the side of my bed, paralyze me, stroke my hair, breathe in my face, and sometimes even try and touch my body against my will.  It was like the demon or phantom or whoever it was adored me, but in a dark and sinister way.

At first, I would just lay there, terrified, totally still until the specter went away.  But as the years went by, I began to resist these nightmares, try to get up and fight back. I would protest, pray, and ultimately cry out to Jesus. My resistance actually made the nightmares worse.  Instead of one visitor, there were many. Instead of one set of shadowy hands trying to touch me, there would too many to even count. After years of this, I came to realize the demons hated the name of Jesus.  They tried to cover my mouth so I couldn't say his name, but even as they did that, they had to shield themselves from the power of His name as it came out.  "Jesus!" was the only thing that made the nightmares disappear. 

After each nightmare, I complained to God, asking Him, "Why?"  If He was with me all the time, why did these things happen to me?  God was faithful to me. Though he never caused the nightmares, he used them to teach me more and more about the connections between the physical and spiritual world, to reveal sin rooted in my life that I needed to get rid of, to show me how pursuing holiness made a difference in the deepest parts of my heart and mind even when I was unconscious and dreaming. I grew closer to God through the years. You can read more about my journey here

In the last few years, my dreams have taken a turn and they have become much more heavenly.  I want to share one of my most precious dreams with you now. Even though I believe it was a gift to me from the Lord, I think it will encourage you, especially if you know Jesus, too.

In my dream, I opened my eyes and I saw above my bed the most beautiful color of blue.  I was amazed by the color.  I thought I was looking out at the sky above my room, but I had never seen a sky that blue and when I looked again, I could still see the ceiling of my bedroom, so it was like the ceiling of my room was being wiped away so that I could see what was behind it.

Note: I've come to discover that the color blue that I saw in the dream is the exact same blue as lapis lazuli. Interestingly, that color is mentioned in the Bible.  One Bible verse says, "Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank."  Exodus 24:9-11 

I admired this beautiful blue for some time. Then I realized I heard music, stringed instruments. It was a symphony!  It was the most beautiful symphony I had ever heard!  I had no doubt that I was hearing music from Heaven.  Music that beautiful could only be the music of Heaven! It was breathtaking!

Then I felt a wind blow gently across my face and then it blew stronger and stronger until it swirled all around. I was still lying down but somehow I could feel the wind on every side of me.  The wind and the music seemed to be one. I realized that what the music was expressing, I could actually feel in the wind. As I listened and marveled at the music and the wind, the wind grew more and more compact like it had substance, like it had arms, and then the arms held me in the most amazing, pure, loving embrace. I knew these were the arms of God.  I laid my head back on the arms and totally relaxed.

Next I heard a melody on a piano in the distance and a beautiful, deep, male voice singing.  At first, this voice and the love it expressed for me made me uncomfortable because I'm married.  But almost right away I knew that it was the Lord singing to me. His love is precedent to any other love in my life, so I knew He had every right to express affection to me and I relaxed and I enjoyed His song. 

Unfortunately, I could not make out any of the words He sang, but they touched my heart more than any words I have ever heard. The words were the most beautiful, kind, loving, pure words that anyone has ever spoken to me. Then part of the song He sang me reminded me of a song I had heard before... 

what song was that... 

My mind wandered and I wanted to figure out which song His song reminded me of. And then, as if realizing my mind was wandering, He paused in His song and seemed to understand what I was thinking. I didn't see Him, but I thought I knew that He smiled at me.  Then he began singing again... 

At this point, I knew I had heard something like that earlier part of His song before... but I couldn't place it... not quick enough... so I decided it would be best to forget about trying to place the song and just enjoy the moment. 

How amazing! His song, the wind, the music, it all released a potent, yet refreshing fragrance into the air. I breathed in deep and relaxed and enjoyed being loved upon by the Savior.  Even as it was happening, it was quite unbelievable. 

And that's how I woke up with a smile on my face. I swear I could still hear the music as it faded away. When I realized I was actually awake, I gasped.  Immediately, I woke up my husband, breathless, pushing on his side, saying, "The music!  The music! I heard the music of Heaven!"  

My poor husband!  He sleeps next to me, so whether he has ever wanted the privilege or not, he's been through every nightmare and heavenly dream with me.  I told him about the entire dream. He doesn't understand everything that happens to me. Neither do I, actually. But he loves the Lord and he loves me, so he is always willing to pray with me, at least.

Later that day, I was praying about the dream again.  I was overwhelmed by it.  Was it a dream?  Or was it more?  I felt like so much more

Did I really hear music from Heaven?  It certainly sounded like it must have been heavenly music.  It was so beautiful! No music on earth is that beautiful.

And it wasn't just the music. There was the voice. Was that actually Jesus singing? Come on!  

Then I wondered again about the song He sang.  I didn't make out any of the words, unfortunately, and I knew it wasn't a song I had ever heard before. But that one part of the song, there was a certain tone in His voice or a certain phrase definitely reminded me of something I have heard before... in a song... a dark song...

Oh no.

What was it?

I thought about it. I even prayed about it. And that's when it came to me...

The Phantom of the Opera!  

I realized that there was a song in Phantom of the Opera that has a part like the song He sang.  But I was afraid. 

At that point, I didn't remember the play well.  I knew it had really dark elements and I was scared of being scared again.  I had had enough of darkness.  Why would God sing a song like that? But I had to know.

So I did what any one else would do at that point...

I Googled it. ;)

I found a few videos from The Phantom of the Opera on You Tube, so I clicked on one and it didn't sound right.  I clicked on another and it sounded eerily familiar, so I listened to a little more...

And as I heard the words to the song, I grew more and more breathless and I started weeping for joy. 

Now before you press play on the song below, please keep in mind all that I have told you about my nightmares and how often I cried out to Jesus about what was happening to me in the dark.   

When you hear the lyrics to this song, I hope you will understand why I took them so very personally and why, even now, every time I think of this song, I am blessed to remember the dream I had. 

The song tells my story so well. I cried out to God for freedom from the darkness. And Jesus, literally, drew me out of darkness into His light.  

He loves us all like this.  He calls us all to Himself. 

"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."  1 John 1:17

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lessons From My Garden

I learn a lot of spiritual lessons from my garden.

One time, in the spring, I asked my husband what he thought about our flowerbed. "Well, it looks better than it did last year," he told me.  I was hoping for more than that, but what he said got me to thinking.  

My garden isn't what it could be, what it will be. (I still have a lot to learn about caring, pruning, controlling pests, and fertilizing.) But when you consider what my garden looked like when we moved in several years ago...

it is easy to see that every little bit of work I have ever done out there, even if it was just wedding, really has made a difference.

My garden is not the same garden it once was and even if I don't lift another finger to care for it this season, it will never be the same garden again because of everything that has been done up to this point.

It's not the prettiest garden in the world, but at this point, the flowers, though they aren't extravagant, have taken over most of the space and it's actually quite hard for any weeds to get the advantage. 

A few years ago, I planted several seed packs of Black-Eyed-Susans. A few years later, I still didn't have very many Black-Eyed-Susans in my garden.  There was no real evidence that the seeds were ever going to thrive in all the places where I had planted them.  Every time I passed a garden, field, or roadside with Black-Eyed-Susans back then, I was reminded of what I didn't have in my garden. But now, as you can see above, this year my garden is filled with Black-Eyed-Susans!  This alone really helps to build my faith!

I was just given a few Rose of Sharon seedlings for my garden. They are nothing to look at yet.  But in time, from experience, I know they will grow. Like the Rose of Sharon I hope I will have in a my garden in a few years, I want new virtues in my life, in the garden of my soul.  So I am looking to God, planting the seeds of those virtues, practicing them, praying, seeking Him.  Will those virtues ever take root?  A still small voice tells me, "Yes. You will always harvest what you plant."  Galatians 6:7


Consider my flower bed when we first moved into this house. We may come to God like that, with a barren landscape, ground filled with weeds. (We all have weeds. Even healthy gardens need to be weeded constantly.) But He is the master gardener.

If we keep coming back to Him daily and we let Him do His simple work in our lives, little by little, the way He does His great work, we will find that season after season, portion after portion of our lives have been changed and we aren't the same person. And praise God, we will never be the same person again.

By the grace of God, before we know it, we will look around and realize that our entire life is definitely under God's good influence, careful attention, and tender care.   That is glorious place to exist.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bodypump 91- First Impressions

Though I am a professional, this is my personal blog, so these impressions are personal. They're what I'd say to a friend over a cup of coffee if we were discussing this release. So if you love Bodypump and if you love coffee, too, grab a cup of coffee and read on if you are interested in what I have to say about Bodypump 91.

I woke up yesterday morning to an email that said I could go online and download Bodypump 91.  I was certified on 89, purchased 90 myself since I wasn't on autoship at that point, but this, this, is the first time a release came to me automatically. So I can't tell you how excited that made me.  I bet those of you who love Bodypump will understand.

As soon as I saw the email, I needed to figure out how I could fit an hour into my day so I could, at the very least, watch the new release once. I didn't get to just sit and watch it, but as I did my housework yesterday, I carried my laptop around room to room and watched as I cleaned. I thought I would record my first very impressions of Bodypump 91 here. Keep in mind. I haven't done the workout yet.

Also note, this is only my third Bodypump release, so I am still learning so much about myself as an instructor. But I think I am definitely a music person as you will see when I dissect the lyrics to songs below.  I love when I can enjoy the lyrics to songs and think about the lyrics as I work out and sometimes I even try and use the lyrics to coach and motivate my class whenever it is appropriate, etc. 

Warm up-
I think the song, "Ten Feet Tall," is going to be very fun to sing along to.... in my head, because I actually try not to sing into the mic. Sometimes I just can't help myself and I sing into the mic, but I am not a gifted singer, so I keep that to a minimum.

I especially like the lyrics, "You build me from nothing into something..."

That is what Bodypump did/ does for me. If you are interested in my very personal fitness journey and how Bodypump became a part of my life, read here.  

I think I'm going to enjoy the long sets of singles in this track- and switching from mid to wide stances looks like it will be fun. 

This one looks tough. I can't wait to try all those pushups. Notice I said try.

The female presenter on this track is so inspiring. She can go as fast as she needs to and keep a full range of motion. That's very impressive. 

I also like the song, "Goodness Gracious." The lyrics are heartwarming and sweet and catchy- oh, so catchy. 

I think I'm going to like the repetition in this track.  You do one set. You pause. You do it again. You pause.

And the best part is probably going to be the triple clean and press followed by the dead row.  I like how well that section goes with the music.

I usually love all the compound body weight exercises in tricep tracks because they are so challenging, so I am happy to see this one has dips and pushups.

The transitions between body weight and weight work are fast. I have at least enough experience to know that will add a real challenge level to the track.

I actually really like the song even though the singer's got twang. "If the sky comes falling down for you, there's nothing in this world I wouldn't do."   Sometimes, when I'm not teaching and I am doing it at home and I can just focus on the workout, I get kind of weepy during Bodypump. The message in those lyrics will probably bring a little tear to my eye.

I love the rock and roll in this song and grit in the singer's voice.  And I think Imma love doin' those quick combos of singles and mid range pulses. Grrr. 

Yes. Everything about this track is just, "Yes."  The song is so sing-able. It makes me want to mooooove!  I love the quick transitions from lunges to squats to lunges...  And squat presses on your toes?!  Yes!  I can't even wait to try those! My heart races just thinking about it!

I'm starting to fall in love with upper body work because my upper body is changing so much lately. My medium shirts don't fit the same anymore, they don't come down as far as they used to because my shoulders, chest, etc. are rising up and stretching out.  Say what?! I may actually need to start buying larger shirts because of my upper body and I am actually totally okay with that even though I'm a girl. 

I love the song.  Does it say, "Eat. Sleep. Raise. Repeat?"  I don't know what it says, but that's what I hear. I love picking up the bar, putting it down, picking it up again...

I actually enjoy this song "Trumpets."  I haven't watched the video to this song because it looks a little pornographic and I don't like having images of anyone else's sex life in my head.

Nevertheless, the song makes me chuckle. To me, it's playful, humorous, but oh, so revealing.  Sex is incredibly fun! God meant it to be enjoyed in marriage.

"May your fountain be blessed and my you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer- may her breasts satisfy you always, and may you always be intoxicated with her love."  Proverbs 5:18-19

Lyrics aside and back to the workout that goes with the music, I am excited about all the hovers that are in this track.  I love hovers.  I could do hovers all day.  Well, I couldn't really. There's no way I could hold hovers that long, but you know what I mean. 

Cool down-
Another great song! The singer asks his beloved to burn down the bridges he builds between them... That's beautiful imagery.  And while I don't often feel this way about my relationship with my husband, I do sometimes find I feel this way about my relationship with God.  I definitely want God to pursue me, to burn my bridges, even if I become afraid of all that might mean for me, a mere mortal. 

I told you I do a lot of thinking about the lyrics. I am definitely a music person. And I am a person of faith, so that certainly influences how I, personally, interpret and enjoy the lyrics to the songs in each release.

These are the kinds of things that go through my head as I work out and as I hear these songs. The music makes the workout transcendent for me since my body and my mind are both fully engaged in the workouts.

Of course I don't share any of my thoughts about the lyrics in my classes. I coach the workout and I work my butt off. People in my classes get to enjoy their own thoughts about the songs because I leave silence for the music to speak to them in their own hearts and minds.  

Anyone else out there a big fan of the music?  It's definitely one of my favorite things about Bodypump.  I think the music might be why I have always been drawn into group fitness classes.

Well, that and the people, I love people, too. So group fitness really works for me.     

What a joy and a challenge Bodypump 91 is going to be, I am sure.  Now, if I can find the time today, I am going to lace up my sneakers and try this workout with some weight!

What do you think about this release?  Are you a music person or people person? Or both?  Feel free to comment below. 


Monday, August 4, 2014

Words of Scripture Became Words of Praise

I woke up early this morning and the Holy Spirit was prompting me to pray about something that is going on.  I felt the power and presence of God as I prayed about it and then I found that I was just enjoying the presence of God and I really wanted to just spend some time praising God and worshiping the Lord.

"Lord, thank you... thank you... thank you..." I couldn't think of anything else to say, anything fitting enough to speak in God's holy presence.  I considered what else I wanted to say, what else I could say to a God so holy, and that's when the words of Psalm 103 started coming to my mind.

"Lord, thank you...  You forgive all our sins. You heal all our diseases. You crown our lives with love and compassion. You satisfy our desires with good things..."

It was great to have beautiful, true, and most of all, fitting words to speak to God in His presence. The words poured out of my mouth like jewels pouring out of a velvet sack.

Interestingly, Psalm 103 is the portion of Scripture I decided to start memorizing after I went for a hike and realized that I really wanted to start memorizing Scripture.  Here's a blog post about that.

This morning was the first time that I had the opportunity to use that Scripture I memorized.  I had considered some of the ways I might use the Bible passages I put to memory. Perhaps I could quote them to my kids as they went to sleep or to myself as I went to sleep, or sat in a waiting room, or walked in the woods. It never even occurred to me that I might be able to use the Scriptures I had in my memory to praise and worship God in my private prayer and worship.

That seems obvious now.  And it occurs to me that the time we spend with God in private is precious Him, more precious than it is to us since He loves us so much more than we love Him.  So now I see that of course He would equip us with the words, the language, we would need to reach out to Him and to praise Him fittingly.  

I can't think of a better motivation for memorizing Scripture now.  I imagined that I might be using the words I memorized in front of human audiences, but no, at least, not yet.  This morning, I was able to turn the Word of God into praise for the audience of God Himself.  It was a surprising joy, a great privilege, and it will be the truest and best motivation to memorize even more.