Sharing a pic from TobyMac

28 Oct


Irony in baking zucchini bread

22 Aug

A few moments ago I had just tucked myself into bed and turned the light off and was so excited to settle in for a good night’s sleep.  But as most of us do, I took a few moments to think about the day and reflect on what happened.  The first thing that popped into my head was my zucchini bread experience that almost ended up in the garbage can.  Then I realized that the reason why I even had the great zucchini bread fiasco was because of a lack of focus….and how ironic that my last blog had the topic of focus and the word was even in my title.  Needless to say, I severely missed the mark of focus during my moments baking in the kitchen today.  On my defense, I was quite sleepy today…..I am taking care of my uncle’s dogs and staying at his house every night, and he lives almost one hour from my house.  By the time I arrived at his house last night, it was around 11 and didn’t get into bed until after midnight; then the alarm went off at 5:45 this morning so I could get back to the studio and teach my morning fitness classes.  Even coffee wasn’t doing its job with helping me to be alert .

After a full morning and afternoon, I decided to bake two loaves of a new zucchini bread recipe from a cookbook, Against All Grains.  But first, I decided to slice up my sweet potato and get the pieces into cold water because I was making oven-baked sweet potato fries for my dinner.  (this little piece of info will make sense in a moment!).  I set the oven to 425 to pre-heat and begin prepping the zucchini.  About 15 minutes into slicing the zucchini, I heard some crackling sounds coming from my oven.  For a moment I was perplexed and then I decided I better see what was making the noise.  Well, I had left two skillets in the oven and they were pretty hot…I’m not sure what would have happened if I had not decided to investigate the noise – hopefully, it would not have involved any kinds of flames, smoke, fire extinguisher, etc!!!

I continued following the recipe – greased the pans, mixed all the liquid ingredients, mixed the dry ingredients and then added them to the liquid ingredients.  I was getting ready to put the batter into the bread pans and noticed a bowl setting off to the side with a plate on it.  (Oh, yeah….I failed to mention that I soon discovered that I did not have enough almond flour to make two loaves of bread so had to make a quick run to the grocery store.  I did turn the oven off; I covered up the dry ingredients that I had been measured and covered up the zucchini.)  I realized that under that plate was the vital ingredient to making zucchini bread….the zucchini!!!! I quickly added it to the batter and then put the pans into the oven to back for the recommended 45 minutes.

About 20ish minutes into the bake time, I really began to smell the incredible aroma of the bread.  I decided to glance into the oven to see how it looked, and I quickly noted that it was looking way toooooo dark to have only been in the oven for 20 minutes.  Here’s where the sweet potato prep comes to light….you see, in order to bake the sweet potatoes, the oven has to be set to 425 degrees – that was in the back of my mind when I turned the oven on.  Zucchini bread, on the other hand, only requires 350 degrees.  That’s quite a difference in degrees.  I hurriedly pulled the bread out and let it settle for a few minutes.  It still needed just a little bit more time in the oven.  I turned back the dial to 350 and gave it some time to cool off and put the pans back in.  I intended to leave them in for 5 minutes.

By this time my dinner was done so I sat down to eat…..yep, you guessed it!  5 minutes turned into 10 minutes before I looked at the clock for another reason and then jumped up and ran to the oven expecting to pull out charcoal crisp bread.  Thankfully, it was good, and I did not have to throw it out.  But there was definitely a lesson to be learned from all of this mishap in the kitchen.  You see I was not truly focused on what I was doing.  Yes, I was reading the cookbook but I was also thinking about other things, had the radio on, was doing laundry. and answering texts.  Also, the lack of sleep was not helping me be at my best mental clarity.

I write all of this to say that when we decided to focus on those three to five things that I wrote about in my last blog, we have to make sure we truly are focused.  We can write down our goals and how we are going to focus but putting it into practice is another thing. Sleep can effect our ability to be laser sharp and at our best mentally.  Multi-tasking can diminish our ability to produce first-class work with excellence.  We have to practice being aware – being mindful – being in the moment.  When we practice those things, it helps us stay focused and ignore all the distractions that are around us.  You can guarantee that the next time I am in the kitchen following a recipe I will be totally focused on the directions for that recipe.  A quest for focus and excellence begins with the small things…..and in the kitchen.

And now I must end the blog so I can be in bed before midnight…I have five minutes🙂

Focus and Choices

20 Aug

It’s been a while since I’ve made the time to sit down and write.  I can’t use the excuse that I’ve been too busy because we all are busy and we all have the same amount of time to get things accomplished.  It all comes down to what I have chosen to do with my time; and, obviously, I made other choices and let others things take priority.  In my life, when I see that I have not done something in a while that is important to me, I know it is time to pause, reflect, and see where I need to focus and what I need to let go.

Letting go of things is not easy, but I have to remind myself that I can’t be scattered in various directions.  I can do many things with mediocrity but that is not what I want to do.  I want to focus on 3-5 things and do them with excellence.  I have to be aware of what distracts me and know those distractions, recognize them, and then ignore them.

This became clear to me when I was lying in bed for 10 days with some kind of bacteria that got into my digestive system.  I was so ill that I couldn’t do anything…read, listen to the radio, watch TV, etc.  Nothing gets you thinking more than not being able to do anything or go anywhere.  I kept thinking “what if I had an illness that would leave me like this forever?  Have I done enough with excellence that I would be satisfied with what I have accomplished up until now in my life???”  I decided to take the three weeks of illness and the forced “pause” in my life to reflect, think, and focus.

I know that I will fall once in a while and get distracted but it doesn’t matter how many times I fall down….it matters that I get back up and get right on track again.

Do you feel like you are being scattered in multiple directions???  Are the important things in your life getting the attention they deserve?  Are the choices you are making today taking you in the direction of your goals, values, and vision for your life?

Don’t wait until an illness forces you to slow down and have to get off the merry-go-round.  Schedule one day or a weekend retreat to re-visit your vision for your life.  See where you need to focus – what you need to let go of – and the choices you need to make in order to do this.  Write it down. Put it in several places.  Remind yourself on a daily basis of what you need to choose to do and not do that day.  Every choice in each moment does matter.  I wish you all the best, and I will be right there with you making choices to get me to my goals!

Is there a better time of the day to workout?

3 Apr

Is there a better time of the day to workout?

People ask that question because they’ve read somewhere or heard it somewhere that a certain time of the day is better than another time to workout. And, there’s always research and a study that will confirm that morning is better, that afternoon is better, that mid-morning is better, etc. All of the information that is out there can be confusing and/or make you feel guilty if you can’t fit in a workout during the time that is supposed to be optimum according to the article, the book, the author, etc.

Here’s my opinion – the best time to workout is when it works for you and your schedule as long as you get it in during a 24-hour time frame.

As a fitness instructor, I’m glad that everyone doesn’t get up at 4 a.m. to do a workout because that means no one would come to my morning classes, my noon classes, my afternoon classes, my evening classes!!! I’m glad that people can find what works best for them and that they have a choice as to what class they can attend.

Is it better to do a workout in the morning? In my opinion, it is only because you know you have done it for the day and don’t have to worry about something unexpected happening to keep you from your workout later in the day. But some of my best workouts happen in the afternoon or evening. Some of my worst experiences running have happened while running first thing in the morning and then I’ve also experienced great early morning workouts. It just depends on the day.

You know what works well for you, your body, and your schedule. That is what should determine the time of your workout. You should never feel guilty because you can’t workout at a certain time that an article said you should workout. If you read something or hear something that makes you wonder if you would see different results if you could workout during that time, try it for a week or two and see what happens.

If you read or hear that working out on an empty stomach does “such and such,” try it and see how you feel and how your body responds. I, personally, cannot workout on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. I get very nauseous and can’t give 100% to the workout and it ends up being a waste of my time. Also, if you have low blood sugar or diabetes or other health issues, it may not be the best choice for you to workout with nothing in your stomach. You might pass out. (Also, you should always check with your doctor and/or pharmacist if you are taking medications.)

Listen to your body and know how you respond to a workout at a certain time and then make it happen. When I’m working with my clients, we always look at schedules and lifestyles and then we make a plan. I’m happy as a trainer/coach when my clients are working out and it doesn’t matter to me what time they do it as long as they get it done. And this would be my advice to you, as well….just get your workouts done…..and have fun while doing it!

Here’s to fun fitness and fabulous workouts!!!

It’s how you finish that matters…

11 Sep

We have just entered the last quarter of 2014; I know I find it difficult to believe that three-fourths of this year is behind us. But so it is, and the reality of the matter is we still have three months to finish this year strong. Many people started 2014 with a bang and lots of goals and dreams and plans of what they would accomplish this year. As the year has progressed, they have slowly lost momentum and enthusiasm has waned. My challenge to you is to remember that it’s how you finish that matters. It doesn’t matter if you finish fast and furious…what matters is that you cross the finish line. I always think of the famous fable of the tortoise and the hare….slow and steady won the race.

So take a moment and reflect on what you had wanted to achieve in 2014. I submit that it isn’t too late to do it. You have the rest of this month and three full months to go for the finish line. Finish strong! Don’t quit; don’t moan over 9 months being gone. Begin today. Start in this very moment. It is not too late to continue to the finish line and cross over.

I’m with you!

Do something that scares you!

14 Jul



Stay tuned….

28 Apr

Stay tuned....

A picture say a thousand words – this one truly does. This is just the beginning #lebertfitness #lts #leboot #lehip #lebarre