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Posts tagged ‘weight loss’

Monthly Physical Challenge

Hey everyone!

In a continuing effort to better myself physically and make sure I’m getting the necessary nutrients in my daily diet, I have renewed my dedication to http://www.myfitnesspal.com (it’s free to use) and plan on using it on a regular basis. I love it because it not only has tons of items already in their system, but it re-adjusts every ten pounds you lose to keep up with how many calories you should be taking in each day based on your weight loss/maintenance/gain goals and level of physical activity.

Yesterday I weighed myself again and had lost another 1.6lbs (woo hoo!) and if updated onfacebook. Luckily for me, one of my friends noticed it and invited me to join a group called the Monthly Physical Challenge. Every month they have exercise challenges that start off easy on the first of the month and get progressively harder. Today’s exercises are 5 Burpees and 5 Single Leg Reaches (per leg). I’m excited to continue in this challenge each day (started today) and would like to invite anyone on facebook to check it out. Their site is at https://www.facebook.com/groups/452762524771365/

What about you? Anyone interested in these useful tools, or have any other great ideas to share with me? I’d love to hear from you!

Peace,

Paul

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Happiness and Hmm…

Hey everyone!

Well this year has definitely started off on a good note! I finished the last year and began this one at home in De Pere, then returned back to Dubuque in the evening of the first to get back into my normal routine before classes begin.  I love my family dearly and truly enjoyed the ten or so days I was able to share with them. It was great having a chance to see everyone in person, to hear their voices, shake their hands, and hug them tight. That being said, it has been great being back in Dubuque as well. I’m always happy to come home, so with two homes, it makes for a lot of happiness. I’m hoping the happiness can and will continue.

Amid the joy and happiness welcoming in yet another year has brought, I’m still left with several questions. Nothing too serious or urgent, mind you, but questions nonetheless. I’d say the biggest remains how God will continue to shape my life. I recently wrote about how amazing these past three years have been since I stopped running from God’s calling, but it doesn’t mean I know what the future will hold for me. It’s both incredibly frightening and comforting all at once. While it would be great to just say “Okay, God. I trust you completely, so I’m not going to fret,” I wouldn’t want to lie so boldly to God. Because the fact of the matter is, I’m still left with doubts and concerns. I can and always try to rejoice in the moments where my worry proves unwarranted, but hindsight is 20/20.

Another major question, or pondering, that I’m still chewing over is whether or not to become vegetarian. While I know a lot of people make this choice for ethical reasons, such as in protest of the cruelty to animals or because they feel the slaughtering of innocence in all creatures to be horrendous, my pondering is for another reason. I don’t really crave meat, hate the thought of going anywhere near raw meat, and wouldn’t want to slaughter an animal or even just butcher one to get said raw and icky meat. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing meat-eaters, either. I’m just wondering if it’s fair for me to eat something I’d never actually want to prepare myself. In my meals here in Dubuque, I rarely use meat, and even then only if it’s pre-cooked, like in soups or lunchmeats. 90% of the meals I prepare for myself are already vegetarian, so why not simplify things and make it 100%?

In any case, I want to make sure this year continues to go well. I thought about what I could do to make my life better and came up with ten goals for myself. It started off with the idea of writing down a goal or two, but ten is what I ended up with. So without any further ado, here they are:

1. Weigh 266lbs or less

2. Pay down loans to less than $23,000 (currently at $24,364.34 and increasing about a dollar per day. Still, with a stipend while on Internship, I’m hoping this can be a reality.)

3. Be more assertive.

4. Eat/Live/Feel healthier.

5. Be closer to God.

6. Be less reactive with others.

7. Stick with spiritual practices.

8. De-clutter your life.

9. Do something wild and crazy. (For me, of course. Being the fairly conservative person that I am, it wouldn’t have to be anything too out there.)

10. Be happier with who you are.

I think #5 and #10 are the most important of them all. If I manage these two, the other eight will undoubtedly happen as well. I’m hoping that at the end of the year I’ll be able to come back to these goals and tell you that I’ve managed to fulfill all of them. If not, oh well. I just hope the journey is a good one.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with an idea that’s currently going around on the internet. It suggests making a jar for the 2013 year, and sticking positive thoughts and notes from each day into the jar. Then, on New Years Eve, you can open up the jar and read all the wonderful blessings you’ve had over the year. I’ve started mine, and I have to say it feels really good to think of the positives each day and focus on them. The other day, after shoveling out a friend’s driveway with other great friends, I was invited to share in a truly delicious meal. Between the bites of delicious breads and warm, tasty soup, we shared stories and enjoyed one another’s company. Afterwards, it felt so great knowing that the memory of that day would be kept safe in my jar.

So what about you? Do you have any New Years Resolutions or goals you’d like to share? Are you thinking maybe the jar idea is pretty cool? I’ve already seen another one with the beginning of what is sure to be a treasure trove of positives. The family is working on one together, and even decorated the jar. Definitely a good idea for families of any age, or for individuals as well. Let me know if it works out for you.

Until next time!

Paul Johnson

Recharging Batteries: Time at home!

Hey y’all!

Wow, I can’t believe yet another semester is done! I am now officially halfway through my academic courses for Seminary and over a third of the way through Seminary as a whole! It feels like just last week I was starting Summer Greek and now, a blink of an eye later, I’m finishing my third semester and getting ready for the fourth. Then it’s off to a year of internship and a final year of schooling before (I hope) I’ll graduate and get my first call. Where DID the time go?

This past week has been a great time of rest and relaxation. I managed to finally slow down on Thursday (because the Seminary closing MADE me) and then on Friday I made my way home to join the family. I’ve played some cards, chatted with family, gotten a ton of hugs from loved ones, and recharged my batteries at home and at church. It has been a truly amazing time, back in De Pere and celebrating Christ’s birth with my fabulous family and the amazing people of St. John Lutheran in De Pere! Once again, this time of the year has left me in tears, but in a good way. I have been so moved by this season and the wonderful message of Christ’s coming, knowing that it has already happened and occurs each and every day.

I was actually joined with the family; mom, dad and Jim, at St. John Lutheran in Ashwaubenon when I thought of something truly amazing. It had been three years ago, at that Christmas Eve Service in 2009 that I finally stopped running from my call and let God into my life. I used to think I was saying “yes” to God at that moment, but I’ve since realized that I merely stopped saying “no.” In actuality, I do believe my words to God that evening were “Okay, God. You win.” And ever since that moment, my life has been changed so drastically. I look back now, Three years wiser, three years closer to God, 70+ lbs lighter, and can’t help but shed even more tears this Christmas Season in thanksgiving. I am so thankful that God so loved us that God sent Christ as a child to us, and that God–for whatever reason–has chosen me to spread this Good News and is preparing me to administer the Sacraments. What an honor to be given an reminded of every year, and all I had to do was stop fighting with God and let the Holy Spirit work in my life.

If these past three years are any indication, the next three are going to be a wild and crazy experience! Thanks be to God!

Losing it!

Well it’s official, folks! I’ve lost it! But fret not, because not all of it is bad!

First things first, I think I’m losing it mentally in these last few weeks of the semester. I only have a few assignments left to finish, but they seem to be growing exponentially harder by the hour. Perhaps once my Hebrew Paper is finished I’ll be able to take a few cleansing breaths and start on the next assignment. Only two papers, a fieldwork report, two exams, one reading and a few translations left. I can do this!

The other part of losing it is absolutely fantastic! For those of you that don’t know, when I first felt the call to ministry in late December of ’09, I was 369lbs. Yes, you read that right. YOWZA! I’ve been working on eating healthier and exercising more and am happy to report that for the first time in my entire adult life, I am down into the 200s! I slipped under the 300 mark this morning and plan to keep going! When I looked at a picture of me from first semester at Wartburg, I could definitely see the difference! I’m hoping that by the time this seminary journey is done I’ll be a much healthier, much skinnier and hopefully much wiser person. As it is, I think I’m on the right track 🙂

I would ask for your thoughts and prayers in these next two weeks of classes and the next few months of holidays and food-induced comas. And for all you amazing people in the greater green bay area, watch out, because I’ll be home from the 21st of December to the 1st of January. I can’t wait to see you again!

Blessings,

Paul Johnson

From left to right: Mary, Deb, Me, Kelly
From left to right: Mary, Deb, Me, Kelly
Picture of me when my aunt and mom visited. I was making it rain!
Picture of me when my aunt and mom visited. I was making it rain!

Endorsement is on its way!

Well folks, yet another hurdle has been cleared since I just finished writing my endorsement essay. I’m getting it peer reviewed for clarity and then I’ll make any corrections needed before sending it off to the synod, my adviser, my contact person in the synod, and the registrar’s office. It feels good to be done with yet another assignment, and knowing that I now have a few days to just sit back and relax. Or study and prepare for prologue week. I’m thinking that’s what’s really going to happen.

That’s about it for now, just felt like I should update and let everyone know that I’m finally out of the woods now. I hope everyone is doing okay and not missing me too much 😉 I’m going to try to keep in better contact this semester, but it all depends on how crazy my schedule ends up being. I have five classes on Mondays, three on Tuesdays and Thursdays and two on Wednesdays. The rest of the time will be dedicated to studying, writing papers, completing assignments, catching up with friends, exercising, eating, sleeping and hopefully visiting back home every once in a while.

Until Next Time,

Paul Johnson

Surprise, surprise!

Good afternoon all you fine people (or night, or day, depending on when you read this)!

I just wanted to share some amazing things from yesterday with you all! First off, the better eating habits are still paying off! I’m nearing a new goal, and I couldn’t be happier. Yesterday I thought I had really *ahem* sabotaged myself. I kept snacking because I felt hungry. I was sure I’d step on the scale today and see that I had gained an extra five or ten pounds. Turns out I lost two instead! How, you might ask, was this possible? Well, I had changed the type of foods I keep around me.

So while I may have been “snacking” all day, it was by eating a small(ish) slice of carrot cake with a scoop of ice cream (it was at a birthday party, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICHOLAS!!!) a can of tuna (make that two), a banana (and then another) a bowl of brown rice, a spinach salad with mandarin orange slices, an orange, half a cup of cottage cheese, a bowl of cheerios, and finally a goldfish cracker (yes, just one). Well when I tallied up all the calories this morning, I saw that I was indeed under my caloric goal. So even though I was “snacking” all day, it was on good foods. (minus the delicious cake and ice cream)

Another positive is that I had an amazing chat with mom last night, and was informed that she is planning on visiting me at the seminary within the next couple of months. We still need to schedule a definitive date, (looks like April’s pretty busy for me) but I’m excited to have a visitor again! And, since Molly in admissions tweaked the housing rules, she can stay with me instead of having to rent a hotel room or Mendota room (on campus housing).

Finally, I have an update on my little seedlings! As of last night, over half of the seeds have now sprouted, with the strawberry and mint seeds being the last to show. I know they take longer, so I’m not worried about them. I now have four more tomato seedlings ready to be transferred to new containers. It was definitely a good idea to start them in egg cartons and move up to the bigger cups (and finally to big pots or garden homes) instead of planting all the seeds in the cups and just hoping for the best. I’m still shooting for 100 % success, but even if I don’t get any more plants I’ll be happy. There’s something exciting about seeing something grow from just a seed to a fully mature plant!

Keep coming back for more updates and pleasant surprises!

Update on Goals!

Hello all! If you’re new to the blog, thanks for joining! If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember that I posted 17 goals at the beginning of February and promised to post an update. Just a reminder, the goals were:

1. Lose Weight

2. Take a close look at finances and spending

3. EXERCISE!!!

4. Study my brains out

5. Build up my self-confidence

6. Sing. Loudly.

7. Sleep ;-)

8. Grow more plants

9. Write a hand-written letter and mail it

10. Honor the Sabbath

11. Get outside more!

12. Pray more often

13. Make a stranger a friend

14. take my bike out for a ride

15. Tell them I love them

16. Thank others

17. Get (and stay) organized!

I must definitely say it has been an amazing experience, and I’m proud to say I accomplished many of my goals.  I’m very proud to say with #1 that, since the start of the year I have lost over thirty pounds. Unfortunately the last week and a half haven’t been very productive, since I not only didn’t lose any more weight an even gained a pound or two back. Still, I’m hopeful that I’ll soon be going in the right direction again. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been this weight. I’m sure it was probably well before College,probably some time in high school. It was extremely embarassing for me when I had to buy a 4x shirt for a wedding, so it makes me so happy that I now fit into 2x shirts and have already lost 4 inches from my waist since coming to seminary. I’ll definitely need continued support, and thank all who have been doing so. It really means a lot to me. How exciting when people see you and go “Paul, are you losing weight? It really shows!”

#2 has been going well for me as well. I’m spending within my means and was even able to turn down a portion of government loans for this semester. Most of this is due to the amazing support of my congregation back home, and I can’t thank them (you) enough for all that you have done! I have definitely been wowed. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

#3 Exercise is still in the works. I can’t say I’ve figured out a routine yet, but I’m going on a lot more walks and even started asking others if they wanted to go on walks instead of the other way around. I am so confused and surprised by this weather lately and hope that it stays nice. I can’t believe I’ve been wearing shorts for the last week! It’s not even April yet! I am also proud to say that I’m able to do more crunches and pushups than before (which is still woefully inadequate) and hope to get even better at them. This is definitely going on the “continued goals” list.

#4 I am proud to say that this semester seems to be going really well. I am up to date on all the reading for all but one class (which is…interesting) and definitely feel like I’m gaining a lot of information and knowledge that will be great for the future.

#5 Whew, this on still needs a lot of work. It’s getting better with the whole weight loss bit, but I still have a ways to go. These days I seem to be in a constant struggle with wanting a significant other in my life and feeling like I’m not good enough for one. It’s also still hard for me to take a compliment in academics. Part of me wants to hear more, and part of me feels like they’re “just saying that”. Another one for the “continued goals” list.

#6 Wow. I may not have a very beautiful singing voice, but I’m definitely getting better at singing. I’ve even caught myself singing in my room and not even realize it. It’s definitely easier when the other people around me are singing, but even at church services where others aren’t singing, I’ve been doing my best to still sing. Is it perfect? No. But then again they never said you had to have a good singing voice to be a pastor.

#7 Hmm. Sleep has been…interesting. I’m getting better at going to bed at a more decent time (which I’m sure makes my neighbor Tammy happy) but I’m still feeling a bit sleepy during classes. I may have to start pouring the coffee on a more regular basis.

#8 I have been rocking this one! I have some spider plants in water that are about ready to be planted. I also have some tomato, lettuce, spinach, strawberry, mint and zucchini seeds started. I have two lettuce plants that are already getting big (mmm, homegrown lettuce) and plan on sharing a majority of the plants with the parents for their garden this year. I just feel better having things that are green and growing around me. I guess I have a bit of a green thumb. Who knew?

#9 I’ve written the letter, I’ve even put in an envelope, but I haven’t sent it yet. Gotta work on that. It’s just that I’m usually in such a rush that I forget. Hopefully I’ll remember after writing this update to go mail it. But hopefully it won’t be too long!

#10 Boom! If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that I started fasting for the Sabbath and am loving it. I feel that it definitely helps me feel closer to God than I have in the past. Last Saturday (a day and a week ago, not yesterday) I forgot and I think it threw my whole week off. It’s definitely a bit more interesting now with the longer days and the springing ahead in time, but I’d say it’s still going well. I’m sure there will be more to come.

#11 Bingo! I am rocking this one! I’m loving the weather outside, and can’t wait to get out there! I think I may have to take a stroll outside after this post (and mail the letter of course). I can’t wait until the thunderstorms start rolling again though, the snow storms was, though pretty, too peaceful and quiet. There needs to be Thunderbolts and Lightening (very very frightening) to light up the sky and drench the grounds. I love a good thunder storm, so I say bring them on! I’m definitely looking forward to running out in the rain(NOT when there’s lightning) and jumping in puddles! (Mom would be so proud!)

#12 This has been going along (as Dr. Persaud would say) quite smartly! Connecting with God over the last month and a half has been really important and helpful with all the questions and problems. For one, I’ve gotten a lot better at praying before meals. I’m hoping this is another thing that will continue to grow over time.

#13 and #14 definitely need work. While I’ve met some lovely people and had nice chats, I don’t know that I would call any of them a “friend” yet. As for the bike, I need to get out there with it again and feel the wind! Someday soon. Maybe Wednesday. I’m thinking that sounds good. Unless it’s thundering and lightning. I don’t really want to be riding a big piece of metal in that kind of weather.

#15 and #16 I think are going along well. In fact, after calling up my Grandmother and telling her I loved her, she made sure on Valentine’s Day to call me bright and early (6:39 in the morning, Early) an wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day and tell me that she loves me! It was so great to hear, and I’m told it made her day to tell me. I know it always makes me feel better to say it to others, or even just to thank them. Despite how good it feels to hear the words, I think it’s an even better feeling to say them!

Finally, #17 is halfway there! I did update and fill in my huge binder of cards and letters (It’s a monstrous 3″ binder) but I found a new problem. It’s Full! I love that the binder didn’t even make it a full year! I love looking through it and seeing all the thoughtful words and notes of encouragement. As far as the rest of being organized, I’m still in the process. I have my books organized (in a very OCD fashion from big to small, with books of the same size ranging from older to newer) but my desk in my room still needs a bit of attention. My room is clean (woo!) and my laundry is up to date, but my papers and desk drawers still need some TLC. Maybe after sending the letter and taking a stroll outside, I’ll be able to tackle that job. Then again, maybe not.

WOW! That was a LOT of writing. Thanks for sticking it out to the end. I am so thankful for all the people who are supporting me through this journey, and I want to make sure I do right by that. I really do appreciate each and every person who sends me letters, calls me, reads my blog posts, posts on my facebook, prays for me, encourages me, and everything else! Thanks for all that you do, and thanks for reading!

God Bless!