March Challenges! and Jan-Feb Challenge Follow Up

Three months into the year 2013! In some ways I feel like time has past us right by, and in other ways it feels like it’s dragged on. But that’s how times and seasons work; either way, we should cherish the time, here and now.

Before I move on to January and February’s reflections, I want to go ahead and talk about March! You’ll find January and February’s Challenge results at the end of the post.

March Challenges!

Today is the 1st of March! I am so ready for Spring-like weather!! I’m itchin’ for some sunshine, dirt, and even insects! But, from the looks of it, March will be more Winter, with jut a tease of Spring. Basically no different from the Winter we’ve been having. To keep the anticipation at bay, here are some things that I plan to keep myself busy with!

March of Men – Ladies, are you ready for this?

The topic of the month over at “For Unmarried Christian Women” is Men. Specifically, from what I can tell, our relationships with men. It can be a hard topic to approach, since there’s no clear cut answer in the Bible, according to most people.

You’ll see girls flaunting themselves in front of other young men carelessly, trying to be one of the guys. You’ll see they won’t be acting very discreet, nor chaste. But the other side is the girl who has a very close and personal friend who happens to be a buy. What’s right? What’s wrong? What do you do?

The answers are so out there, going in so many different directions, that it can leave many young ladies sitting there, left to fend for themselves. (Save the young ladies who are blessed enough to have fathers and mothers who will gladly create the boundaries for them, haha.) Vision Forum just recently released a book called “It’s Not That Complicated“. Obviously from the title, they say that it’s really not that complicated of an answer, and to be honest, I have to agree to a point. I haven’t read the book, but hope to get the chance sooner or later to see their take on the issue.

We as young women are to be discreet, chaste, and sober. (Titus 2:4-5) To follow the righteous, faithful, charitable, peaceful, and pure of heart. (2 Timothy 2:22) Our business is to be of the Lord, not of the world. (1 Corinthians 7:32-35) To practice patience and longsuffering, avoiding all covetousness. (Hebrews 13:5-6, Galatians 5:22) And we are to also guard our hearts. (Proverbs 4:23) And that’s NOT just limited to the theme of romance!

(All these thoughts are mentioned in my blog post “All the Single Ladies (and Gents)“.)

Adding all this, there should be a difference when we talk and fellowship with those of the opposite gender. But then again, it’s not clear cut enough for some people.

Which is why I am excited to see what Chelsea will bring to the table on the theme of Men on her blog! There will be a weekly post on the subject.

In the mean time, she asks us to think upon these questions.

~ Do I have guy friends?  Christian or not?
~ What am I communicating to them in our relationship?
~ Are there boundaries I may be crossing?
~ Is it appropriate to be alone with them?
~ What does God’s Word say about how I should be conducting myself around guy “friends”?
~ Does this mean I can’t talk to any men?  Ever?
~ When is it appropriate to communicate with a guy?

March of Books!

I wasn’t able to participate last year, but I DEFINITELY plan to participate this month! I completely forgot about their March of Books, and just recently I was thinking about how I need to get some major reading done. Such great timing!

With so many distractions in every day life, it can be easy to forget to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. For me, one of those things is reading.

It may be surprising to those who know me, but it’s true. During the majority of my teen years, all I ever really did was read. If I look back and evaluate how I managed my time, I cannot ignore the fact that I did, at least, spend a very large amount reading. But in recent years, I have slacked off. (This was actually mentioned in an article posted on Kindred Grace regarding just this!) I want to get back into the habit of sitting down and reading, separate from the Bible! The Bible belongs its own category; it’s not just pleasure reading.

So, what is March Madness?

“All month long we’ll be here talking books, books, books! As we’ve done for the past three years, March will be a month of reviews, giveaways,  link-up and general bookishness. Oh, and something extra this year which I am particularly thrilled about: author interviews with some brilliant writers you’ve been waiting to hear from! Coming up with questions has been so much fun and the brains behind our favorite books have been kind enough to indulge us.”

The bookworm in me is getting so very excited! I’ll be making a “Hit List” of books I plan to read, consume the books with a fiery passion, and I plan to write reviews and post them here, giving them my approval or disapproval.

I’ll also be keeping an eye on Kindred Grace, to read their reviews, participate in the giveaways, link up in their link ups, and nerd out about the general bookishness! I advise all book lovers out there to do so, too!

That’s all that I have for March thus far. It’s in a very different tone compared to the last two months, but I like it. I see it as that last month I nourished my body with nutrients and physical activity, filling my mind with information. This month I will focus more on Spiritual nourishment, and feeding my mind with knowledge and wisdom.

January and February’s Challenges were;

I worked out for an average of three times a week with a 15lb kettlebell. I followed different YouTube work outs, such as this one following the Tabata method, and this one that utilized more Kettlebell Swings, which I liked. I believe I have fairly good form, and learned many different exercises and techniques using the kettlebell.

With Kettlebells, I managed to get a full-body workout in a short amount of time. There’s no need to work out every single day of the week, to grueling proportions. You want to avoid putting too much stress on your body, because while you may be working out every single day for an hour or two and seeing results, the added stress can have adverse effects to your health.

There are many benefits to strength training, and some unique qualities to strength training with kettlebells specifically. I also enjoy the cardio aspect of using the kettlebell, and the natural stretching I get from it. In-between the days I work out, I typically will try to hula-hoop, walk, stretch, or do some Pilates. If I just don’t give myself the day off completely. 😉 (I walk 20 minutes a day regularly, regardless of what else I am doing.)

Halfway through the challenge, I believe I reached a plateau with the weight I was using. Swings were not very challenging, and I became comfortable with my presses and squats. So, I gave myself a break after the challenge was over. It’s been about two weeks since I’ve used the kettlebell. Last night, I tried again, and it was still fairly easy. I plan on moving up to a 25lb kettlebell. If all goes according to plan, I hope to move up to 25lb kettlebell, then doubling up on the weights.

So, what were my results?

I lost an inch and a half off of my waist and two and a half inches off of my upper thigh. Every where else stayed the same, however I did gain an inch and a half around my hips. I figure this is a consequence of building muscle. Other than that, the results I saw from working with kettlebells was improved posture, stamina, and strength! I felt better, and felt like I could do more. I’m taking a break from Kettlebells until I increase my weight, but once I get back into the hang of it, I’ll be creating my own personal challenges to keep myself motivated!

I would also like to make note that I did try to keep a pure heart when using Kettlebells. My goal with them were not for vain reasons, although my mind did turn to them from time to time. I desire to improve my posture for health reasons, wish to become more stronger so I can work more efficiently, and keep my body health to help it fight against things like osteoarthritis.

Just recently “Daughter of Vision” wrote an article called “Not as Man Seeth“. She shared a very personal story to help encourage the young ladies around her, in which she considered me to be since she tagged me in her post on Facebook. :] Consider giving it a read! It is a great encouragement, and inspiration.

To find some more information and workouts regarding Kettlebells, check out my YouTube Playlist for Kettlebells, and my Pinterst Board about Physical Health.

I am going to admit, that after three weeks, I totally forgot about this challenge. I managed to eat gelatin so often, and so regularly, that it would just slip my mind to record it.

The ways I would try to consume gelatin is through drinking broths, eating jello, and adding it do different foods and drinks. I even began to use it topically, as described in my last post about Water Only Hair Washing!

The benefits I saw from consuming Gelatin was better skin health, hair health, joint health, and overall wellness. I managed to drink a gallon of broth over the six weeks! I drank MORE than that, because I do dilute the broth, and add more gelatin to it. I probably managed two gallons! A favorite of mine, and the kids at church, is jello. Granted, you don’t get a lot of gelatin from consuming jello, but it is a very healthy, fun, and delicious snack to consume regularly! Every little bit counts!

I’m going to keep this short, sweet, and to the point:

The Wellness Challenge was impossible for me to follow, and I felt it was way too restricting.

The Anti-Diet Challenge was so easy, that for myself, it wasn’t a challenge, and I forgot that I was even participating. The only rewards were personal rewards and victory.

In the end, I ate what was good for me. I still consume some sugar. I still consume white flour. At times, I feel good when I do. Others, I do not. There’s a time and season for everything, so just listen to your body, don’t become so dogmatic about it, and work to do it for the glory of God, and not for the glory of yourself. (Ecclesiastes 3; 1 Corinthians  10:31)

Thank you for reading, and I hope that you benefit from any information I have shared!

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