Fasting from the Book of Faces

In efforts to have more vision from the Lord, my mentor suggested we all do a 3 day fast. I immediately heard God say, “Yep, do it! You know what I’m talking about.”

Facebook….fast from Facebook.

Now, along with everyone else, I agree. It’s a huge waste of time, filled with a bunch of crap from other people’s lives that I don’t give $.02 (2 cents) about…(that reminds me, whatever happened to the “cents” sign? I remember writing a small “c”…or backwards was it (?), with a vertical line through it in school. Is change really that unimportant now?) Anyways, I don’t care that people are going to bed, and I REALLY don’t care that people are going to the gym. BUT when you’re living in the desert (a.k.a. China…there’s more to it but that’s another story) there’s things you find interesting that wouldn’t normally tug at you…pics of Hawaii, someone’s kid’s tooth fell out, people having the sniffles…I’m already starting not to care. If for nothing else than the pure fact that you have a pseudo-connection with people to keep you sane and make you falsely feel like others care about what YOU’RE doing. That’s me.

Because when I turn off Facebook it’s just me and God…hmmm, a novel idea. No distractions? Why don’t I want more of this? (God usually doesn’t give instant gratification that my generation has been raised to expect, and I, for one, hate that I’m a victim an addict to it just as much as the next person.)

So, at 7pm (Hawaii time, because that’s what my computer’s time is still on) yesterday I “x”ed out of Facebook, not to be turned on until 1pm Sunday (China time). [Oh yeah, and speaking of fasting; aren’t you, like, not supposed to tell anyone?…Well, this preacher’s-kid has never been one for rules and regulations. It just brings out the rebel in me, and I DO NOT need anymore of THAT lady.

So naturally, I immediately log into Twitter. “You specifically said Facebook, God. You didn’t say anything about Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.”

I went on to “tweet” something stupid that no one cares about and will never see…No, wait, that’s wrong too. I attached Twitter to my blog so people will see it now. WHY DO I DO THESE THINGS?! “The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, Emily.”

I can remember a time when the only time I checked Facebook was in the computer lab at school because I didn’t even own my own laptop and Tweeting just sounded dirty. (It may have come out the same time as that song with the “skeet skeet skeet”.)

So, this morning, while doing my devos I committed to fasting from ALL social media. I figured, if nothing else, it’ll inspire me to write more and hey, look, here I am! I told God in my devos today “I don’t even know what I’m looking for.” To which he reminded me of Romans 8:26. Then I just simply said, like I do everyday “What would you have for me today, Lord?”

English AND Chinese…double whammy!

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9

That’s it! We fast for discernment, to know what’s best. And isn’t it true that we make better decisions when not distracted?! Thanks God!

I prayed this over my sisters in my Bible study group. For me, yes, I struggle with wanting to know details, but I’m always reminded to keep it simple. Seek HIS will, not my own. Bring glory to HIM, not myself. Build HIS kingdom, not my own. The rest is gravy!

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

Worship

Best day ever. I got so high today!

This morning I met one of my students to go to church. When I arrived she said we were waiting on three more girls. She said they were my students, but she didn’t know their English names. So we waited and when they showed up, it was like Christmas. I was expecting more of my current students, but it wasn’t! I was so surprised! My immediate thought was, “I KNEW there was something different about those girls!” Two of them were freshman I taught last semester, and one was a junior I had in a class from the Preschool Education Department. She’s currently in her internship, getting ready to graduate. All of them are so filled and I could see it so clearly last semester, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Now I know why, the joy of the Lord.

We showed up to this hole-in-the-wall church about a 20 minute walk away on the other side of one of the campuses. It had about 100 students from all the different universities in the area. It was so awesome to see this younger generation coming to church on their own. I know for me, college was such a time of testing to see how committed I was in my faith. My parents weren’t forcing me to go anymore. Would I stay faithful to serve alongside a fellowship of believers? It’s such a crucial time in realizing you need that weekly fellowship and encouragement so you’re able to give back and pour out to your own community during the week. Church fellowship is, however, second to daily nutrition; time with the Lord, praying and reading His word.

Fill up everyday with His truth, not the world's.

Worship had already started so we filed into our seats and joined in the singing. I could read some characters on the projector here and there, but didn’t understand it. Most of the songs were contemporary, but I did recognize the ancient hymns of How Great Thou Art and Because He Lives, to which I hummed along. I watched these kids shamelessly raise their hands pouring out their thanks and praise to God. I listened as my students sitting next to me belted out the lyrics as though they were alone with an audience of one. It was such a touching sight. Tears welled in my eyes as I thought about how beautiful these joyful noises must sound to the Lord and how precious he finds his children clothed in humility. All the drab seemed to fall away, hearts glowing with pure light.

Lately, every time I get on Facebook, the part on my info that says “Languages You Speak” stares at me and I always reply back, “One of these days I’ll be able to put in ‘Mandarin’.” But as I listened and watched these kids praise God, I thought “I am bilingual. I don’t speak Chinese yet. I never fully learned German while living there, no Hawaiian. I certainly didn’t learn French in high school, but I do know the language of worship.” I know what it means to raise your hands in surrender and bow your head in reverence, not worthy of His grace but in acceptance of the free gift of salvation. I understand the feeling to raise your chin with eyes closed as the Son shines down on you and your palms are open ready to receive His goodness.You feel so small and unworthy of such blessings, yet so thankful the Lord found you adequate. In worship you don’t just know the victory God has won, you feel it. You know the battle has been won for your soul and your heart overflows with joy.

This language is universal among Christians. You don’t have to manually follow a protocol or list of postures. There’s no right or wrong way to worship, it’s the attitude of the heart. No one teaches you, “Ok, now, in church, or when you sing church songs you gotta do like this.” No, this is the natural posture taken on by one in awe of the King of kings, giving adoration to the One who set him free. The greatest thing about it was that these students weren’t hindered by the suppression of their government. They were free and freely expressing it, and not quietly. I loved it. I may have a huge language barrier between myself and my students, but one thing these girls and I have understood between the few of us is the love of Christ, and the love of Christ has no barriers.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to encourage these girls in their walk with God. These next few years will be filled with some of the most important decisions they’ll ever make. I pray God uses me to lead them in the right directions when they’re looking for help along the way.

FitCross

Just like I have no excuse, neither do you. I have a few jump ropes, a rotting broom stick and my own self-generated mass of 63.5kg. Go get 'em!

I’ve been back for a little over a month, and have been so blessed to have my friends at FGB Hawaii Kai post new workouts almost every day on my Facebook page. Yeah, I could figure it out on my own (I did get a degree in exercise physiology!), but, man, I love not having to think about it. And, since it’s on my Facebook page, it’s there for the world to see how I did, if I did. So, needless to say, I have a serious reporting-back-to on my shoulders, and I love it. Here’s a review of some of the workouts I’ve done. I’ve only done a couple more than once to see progress, but will soon start from the beginning to see if I’ve gotten lazy and fat or progressed. I hope this encourages more people to get off their butts and move! (And on that note, I’ll continue to sit on mine while I write this.)

*Disclaimer: I realize a lot of you may not care about my training, but keep reading, it’s funny too!…Well, and hey, there’s pictures. Come on.

Today’s WOD (Workout Of the Day): (Thanks to Outfitting My Life for the idea)

20 min AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)

5 burpees

10 push-ups (on my knees or it would take me 2x as long and I was going for speed)

15 sit-ups

20 squats

3/11/12: 9 rounds + 43 reps (Only 7 reps away from 10 rounds makes me wish I didn’t linger in the middle!)

 

WOD for time:

7 wall walks (there are pics of me doing a wall walk, go find them if you care)

21 sit-ups

5 wall walks

15 sit-ups

3 wall walks

9 sit-ups

2/9/12: 7:57

3/2/12: 5:31 (What did I do the first time, take a cookie break?)

 

WOD: 4 RFT (Rounds For Time; Pay attention, I’m only putting this on here once.)

25 walking lunges

10 burpees

2/11/12: 6:42 (Make sure you start lunges with each leg twice. If I do it over again I’m going to do 26 just to make it even for both legs.)

 

WOD: 5RFT

533m run

20 box jumps

2/12/12: 20:40 (I’ve GOT to try this again, sounds über slow. It was originally 400m, but we used our court area outside and it’s 800m 3x around, so we did 2 laps to have a measurement. The only thing I have to jump on is a 68cm ledge [26.77in], 3.23in shy of my usual.)

 

WOD for time:

Rest

2/13/12: 24:00:00 (I’m so good at this one!)

 

WOD: 4RFT

400m run

90 sec rest

2/14/12: 1) 1:33, 2) 1:30, 3) 1:33, 4) 1:31 (Not too shabby for a 30yr old! Doing these brought back so many memories and jitters of high school track and field. I used the track at the university across the street for this one. Saturdays are the best time since there’s not many students out, thus less likely for me to be seen crawling through the hole in the fence. This was also the day I wrote my thus-far favorite post, “Who’s Yo Daddy?“, a special V-day gift to my dear ole dad.)

Here's the hole I climb through to get to the track I use. (as if my white skin and light brown hair didn't attract enough attention)

WOD for time:

100 jumping squats

400m run

2/17/12: 7:21

 

WOD for time:

Eat a Dark Chocolate Bar

2/16/12: in:a:flash (I even felt a little nauseous after. Crossfit for life!!)

My fingers don't work that fast on a stopwatch. I couldn't get the time.

WOD: 5RFT

20 sit-ups

20 box jumps

2/19/12: 12:50 (That’s lame. Stay tuned for an update on this one real soon.)

 

WOD: 5RFT

24 walking lunges

5 wall walks

2/20/12: 11:28

 

WOD for time:

100 burpees

2/21/12: 8:58 (Again, I must’ve taken a cookie break somewhere in there because later, 2/26/12, I did 95 burpees in 7min.)

 

WOD: 5RFT

20 OH (OverHead) squats

10 long jumps

100m sprint

2/24/12: 8:25 (I should get seconds taken off for rain, cold, slippery track [I almost ate it during long jumps], seeing my breath, my butt getting dirty from kicking water/dirt during sprint, my toes being frozen, and my nose running, just sayin’. Oh, and I’m currently using a rusted broomstick for OH exercises.)

A great way to recover the feeling in your hands, feet....and crotch, I guess? I don't know, maybe my brain was frozen too.

WOD for time:

2mi run

2/27/12: 15:09 (I mapped this online and ran 20 steps past just to make sure.)

 

WOD for time:

100 pull-ups

100 push-ups (knees for me)

100 sit-ups

100 squats

2/28/12: I jacked this one all up. I wasn’t for sure whether I was suppose to do all and THEN move to the next exercise, or just finish 100 of everything however I want. Here’s what happened: 1) I realized that it would’ve said 20 reps (of everything), 5 rounds, if that’s how it was suppose to be done but it didn’t, so I then assumed I wasn’t suppose to move on to the next exercise until I finished 100 reps. B) I broke it up anyways (stupid!) 3) Even though I broke it up, I counted ALL wrong. I did 21 reps, 21 reps, 20 reps and then decided “I’ll finish off 100, so that’s…48 reps, ok, here we go!” (????) Idiot! 21+21+20+48=110. So, needless to say, I will redo this one on another day. The good news is that I did finish the “Retard” WOD in a slothful 25:46. (I have to use the bottom of a high fence for pull-ups. My feet touch the ground, but I can’t do a pull-up anyways, so I assist and then all-arm it on the way down. I’ll have to get a pic of this, hard to explain.)

 

WOD: 5RFT

20 DU (Double-Unders, the jump rope goes under your feet twice in one jump.)

10 lateral hand-stand walks against the wall (5 to the L, 5 to the R, both hands must move to count rep)

3/3/12: 7:58

 

WOD: 5RFT

20 squat jumps

20 sit-ups

30ft hand-stand walk

3/5/12: 24:40 (I was pleasantly surprised that I gained back my hand-stand abilities so quickly. I definitely didn’t rush walking upside-down, so it took me forever, but what fun!)

 

WOD: 8min AMRAP

5 inch-worm push-ups

12 walking lunges

7 burpees

3/6/12: 5 rounds + 3 reps

 

WOD: 5RFT

11 Odd-object squats

5 wall walks

3/7/12: 10:31 (The heaviest thing I could find was a bottle of water, 18.5kg [40.7lb], but I also tried a potted plant and the fire extinguishers. This day, tragically, I was a victim of WOD junk. WOD junk is when you’re so fatigued and tired, you can’t think straight and you definitely can’t remember how many you just did. I “finished” at 8:05 but REALLY felt like there was no way I did 5 sets, so since the clock was still running, I did 1 more set at 8:39, finishing (a possible 6th set, but I think only 5) at 10:31. Lesson learned: COUNT.)

Nope, not heavy enough.

The fire extinguishers weren't heavy either. Can you imagine if they needed these? "Hold on! I only got 5 more reps!"

I'm way too excited about all this. What a nerd.

WOD: 4RFT

20 jump squats

200m sprint

3/10/12: 6:28

This is precisely why I bring my camera EVERYWHERE with me. It's almost more important to me than money. You never know when you'll find gold!

Me to random student: "Qing wen! Ni *makes picture noise* wo ma? Zhe ge." *points to button* (Translation: Excuse me! You *makes picture noise* me? Here." *points to button*

Well, there you go. That’s what I like to do. I’m so glad I have all this down now. It really helps me keep track.

Who’s yo daddy!!

A lot of single women seem to drown in their own self pity on Valentine’s Day. They want it to be over as soon as possible. They vomit upon hearing of others’ romantic dates and flowers received. I even heard one woman say she’s going to stay off Facebook in order to not to want to kill herself after reading about everyone else’ love lives. And don’t get me wrong, many a times these same nauseous feelings come over me when reading about how one’s husband “is the best ever! *giggles*”, but it’s usually because I’m wondering why this woman needs to tell the world. Sounds like DE.NI.AL! What’s he like on February 15? Huh, honey? Flowers shmowers! Does he help around the house and with the kids? Is he uplifting and encouraging? What’s his reaction to stress and feeling overwhelmed? I’d take honest, humble and self-controlled any day over romantic. Talk is cheap, people. (and money can only buy so much)

Flowers will always make a girl smile (I do enjoy!), but you definitely don’t get an “E” for effort in my book. (more like “E” for easy) The GOOD stuff is when a husband/boyfriend thinks outside the box, goes out of his way, puts her interests before his own, and creates (or buys) something that he knows she’ll love because he pays attention to her. He knows her depth. He knows what will completely melt her heart. Now THAT’S romantic! And I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve learned to love the finer things in life, but usually it’s the simplest of things that convey the biggest messages of “I love you.” No exclamation marks needed. No ulterior motives hidden behind lustful eyes. Just a simple three-word phrase that almost comes across as, “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life.” Sweet, yeah?

Now, you may be saying, “Wow, I had no idea you were such a sap!”, but let’s not get crazy here. I’m way too practical and realistic for that. But I have seen, first-hand, this kind of relationship. I’ve lived among it as an eye-witness to the truths that a marriage can not only last, but can flourish with every passing year, only to become stronger and stronger as outside forces rage and battle against it. I have been an investigator for 30 years now of a household where people raising their voices was only toward the annoying children and not between the 2-man crew that so effortlessly (seemingly anyways) worked together. I’ve witnessed a man only have eyes for his wife, cook dinner when she’s working, clean the house (even better than her), and better yet, pray on a daily basis for and with his family. It’s true! No facade, no veil, no glasses, no bologna. My parents have been madly in love for over 35 years now. And while it’s so tempting to buy into what society tells me is acceptable and ok, I know deep down, deep deep down in the pit that refuses denial and justification that it’s a crock. So today I give thanks!

To my Daddy of 30 yrs, 8 wks, and 5 days, no breaks, no walk outs, just always there: Thank you for showing me what’s right. Not because it “worked” for you guys, but because it’s how God intended it to be all along. In fact, you went against everything the world says is ok and proved it undisputed. You’ve been nothing but a leader, provider, and warrior for my mother (and even spoiling her on occasions). How COULD I settle for anything less when you’ve proven time and time again that having Christ as the center of your relationship will keep you humble and respectful to serve one another in love. Thank you for your prayers over my fragile heart, for I know no man could ever desire to protect me like you. Until my prince comes for me, you remain my knight in shining armor. I love you, Dad. You really are the best. XOXO

Em

Happy Valentine's Day! I'm headed off to love on my little sisters.