Tuesday, May 31, 2011

new post/old post

Hi friends!
I tried to post this on saturday and for some reason its just now letting me post!

Happy holiday weekend! I have been so excited for this weekend for
weeks. No, I don't have any special or fun plans. I just am SO EXCITED
to sleep in for 3 days!!! Haha! I have already started this weekend
off really well. Andrew and I went to a great Thai restaurant with
some frinds last night. I got a fantastic veggie dish with eggplant
and soft tofu. It was spicy and served with brown rice. I saved half
of it for lunch today and it was just as good the day after! I also
went to my first Zumba class today! It was great! I have been to
similar classes many times and regularly attend an aerobic dance class
on Monday's. But today I went to a legit Zumba class. It was called
Zumba Toning. It was awesome. It was basically Zumba, but you hold
hand weights and just kill your arms the entire class. It killed me
and I loved it. I was just telling Andrew that I feel really good with
where I am right now with everything with my health. I feel...in
control. I know that might sound weird. But I feel in control. I feel
like I am in a good place mentally with my eating and working out.
Here is why:

The last time I blogged, I blogged about my fast. It was an amazing
experience for me. I think it freed me. I had really struggled lately
with compulsive eating. I was just eating and not even really thinking
about it. Mostly, it was with the girls I watch. I would find myself
unable to resist the food I made for them (grilled cheese, bagel
bites, taquitos, pb and j). I literally could not resist eating bites
of what I made for them. Sometimes what they were eating was kind of
gross to me...but I just was in a bad place and would eat it! Well,
when I fasted, I didn't eat their food! I literally ate nothing. I had
water and really kept my fast all day until the planned time to break
our fast together with my Bible study. It was really empowering to me
to have a day where food was not an issue for me. I was able to
realize my self control. So, since then, I have been in such a healthy
place. I think while I fasted and sought the Lord, He revealed to me a
huge idol in my life and that I let it consume me-food. So I was able
to ask God to take that idol from me and I'm serious that I have felt
different. I just have. I have exercised more, eaten less, and really,
thought less about food. All this to say, fasting was a great thing
for me. I might make it a regular thing for me. Obviously, it would be
in a healthy way-but it really helps me maintain perspective.

I am so glad to share these things with you all. I hope this doesn't
seem too weird. :)

I am just kicking back and thinking about my weekend ahead of
relaxation. Ahhhh!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

disciplining your spoiled child

Hi friends!
Happy wednesday! Today is a sad day...Oprah's last show. NO!!!!!! I cant handle that. Too sad. Love love love her. The girls and I will be watching and crying!

I am excited to blog today and tell you about what is going on today. My Bible study that I am in has been reading a great book called "celebration of discipline" by Richard Foster. It is all about Christian disciplines. I love it because I have really been revived by how honest and forward he is. It is very refreshing. Well, this weeks chapter is on fasting. So as a bible study we are all fasting today and breaking it together tonight (over mexican food :). I have definitely fasted before, but it has been a while. The best experience I had while fasting was when I went on a mission trip to China. We fasted for 3 days while praying for a specific meeting the team was having with local government officials. Our whole team did it together and it was just an amazing experience. I remember just being so mindful of praying and seeking the Lord. I have not fasted since then. As I was reading the chapter this morning about why we fast and how we fast a few things really stuck out to me....
1. Fasting happened all throughout the Bible and is practiced by so many in our biblical history. It is a time to set aside the indulgences of the world and to have an open heart and spirit with God.
2. It is also a way for us to clear out distractions. Honestly, I probably think about food more than most people. I love food and have a constant appetite for all things food. BUT, even when I am doing well with eating, I am still thinking about it all the time. Counting points, planning meals, logging it into my food journal. It is a big deal for me. This is a chance for me to find freedom from that. To just let go and feast on the Lord.
3. It is not ok to fast for weight loss purposes. Our goal in fasting should always be in worship to the Lord. As a rule, fasting is something that is private. It is not something to boast about. But, since this is something I am doing with a group, i decided to share it. But, I like the idea of sharing it so I don't abuse it. So I don't use it for any other purpose other than to worship and spend time with Him.
4. As Richard Foster is talking about what to expect when fasting, he talks about how in your first time fasting, even if its just for 2 meals, you will experience hunger pangs. Here is what he says about it...."You will probably feel some hunger pangs or discomfort before the time is up. This is not real hunger;you stomach has been trained through years of conditioning to give signals of hunger at certain hours. In many ways the stomach is like a spoiled child, and a spoiled child does not need indulgence, but discipline...You must not give into this "grumbling". Ignore the signals or even tell your "spoiled child" to calm down, and in a brief time, the hunger pangs will pass. " Obviously I know that if I'm not fasting, I should not ignore hunger and eat when I'm hungry. But I just really like that analogy.

I am excited to fast today. Honestly, I am already feeling "hungry" but just have to remember to seek the Lord. To see what he may be teaching me. I look forward to giving a full report of my day tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy birthday, dear Andrew!

This is us in Spain in 2009. So cute!
A sweet photo from our wedding. An amazing day!
This is us when we got engaged!
This is us when we were just dating. But i think it portrays us pretty well...

Hello friends!

I hope today is a great day for you! It is a special day for us because today is my husband's 27th birthday! I wanted to take sometime to share about how great he is in this blog, so here goes!

Andrew and I met in 2002 during our freshman year of college at Texas Tech. I thought he was kind of weird. The first time we met, he was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Ralph Wiggam picking his nose (a character from the simpsons. I want to clarify, the cartoon was the one picking his nose. Andrew was not picking his nose). So cute, right? No. We were acquaintances for a while before we really became friends. His sophomore year of college, he moved into a house with some of my best guy friends, so that is how I got to really know him. Andrew was not the funniest or most outspoken boy in our group. He tended to quietly be in the back ground, but over that semester, I got to know him more and more. By the fall of our junior year, there was a strong group of us that were friends and we did everything together. It was super fun hanging out in a group setting. I remember thinking about dating Andrew, but just not being sure about it...Well, that spring, he told me he liked me. I nearly had a heart attack. We had never heard him talk about girls or anything along the lines of dating. When he told me he liked me I told him, "I'm not sure I can date you now. I need sometime." His response was, "Thats fine, I dont really have any money. I'll need money to date you." So true. Ha ha. We went on a mission trip to China that summer and it was there that Andrew really went after me. Our friend Dillon was his roomie in China and Dillon gave him all kinds of advice on how to woo me. I wish Dillon would remind Andrew of those ways...Anyway, we kind of started dating there and after we got back, decided to go for it. Since then, we have been in love. We dated all through our senior year of college. Got interships at Westlake Hills Pres here in Austin and while working there, we got engaged. Got married in August 2007 and are still loving living life together. I am so blessed to have Andrew as my best friend. He is so calm. He is clear headed. He listens. He is patient. He is clean. He is so funny. He is silly. He is good with money. He loves Jesus more than he loves me, which is key. He has an amazing family. He has incredible friends. He seeks to serve me and love me. He admits when he is wrong. He likes hugs. He encourages me in every aspect of my life. He is such a gift.

I don't mean to be mushy here. I just really lucked out with him. He is precious and walks with me through everything. Literally through thick and thin. He thinks I am beautiful no matter my size, but also encourages me to be my healthiest. He has been great in my journey to health. He himself has been incredibly disciplined with exercise and eating and has lost like 15 lbs! So, yay for Andrew and Happy birthday to him!

I am doing really well right now. I am working out, eating well and feeling really good. I am down 1 lb this week and was down 1lb last week. So I feel like I am back on track and doing good. Seeking health!!!

Love to you all!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Mercies Every Morning

Good Morning!
My girls and I have spent all morning sitting on the porch or looking out the window at the rain!!! It is such a glorious sight for a very thirsty hill country! It has been fun watching the wonder in the girls eyes...caitlin keeps saying, "water??". So funny!
I had an amazing experience this morning. My weekly Bible study has been reading "Celebrating Discipline" by Richard Foster. Our chapter we studied this week was on meditation. I think when some people think about meditation they think about eastern religions and maybe even are a little weirded out by meditation. But, as Richard Foster describes it, Christian mediation is about being filled. It is about seeking time to let the Lord fill us. I think the entire discipline of meditation is pretty foreign to western society. The thought of sitting in silence, hearts open, minds quiet seeking to be filled by the Lord seems like a waste of time. BUT, i decided to try it. This morning I got up 30 minutes earlier than usual. Made my coffee. Then I sat on my couch closed my eyes and meditated. I started off just in my heart asking the Lord to quiet my soul and speak to me, to give me the desire to just be with him. Then, I picked a phrase to think upon to help get my soul quiet. Today it was, "I am my beloved's and He is mine." So i just kind of kept repeating that to myself. One of the ways Foster encourages meditating is to have your palms up as if you are ready to receive something. If something comes into your mind-like a concern, a fleeting thought, a worry, anything, turn you palms over and identify that thought. My first thought was about breakfast, so I turned my palms down and said, "Lord, I give you my desire for food." and then I turned my palms over to release that. It was amazing because as soon as I prayed that, I was reminded of the scripture where my "mantra" had come from- I am my beloveds and He is mine...part of that Scripture is "He brought me to his banqueting table". I just was reminded that we are called to FEAST on the Lord and HIS goodness. It was such a loving reminder of what it means to delight in the Lord. I just kind of sat in His presence for maybe 15 minutes. But it was so amazing. I can't believe how great my first experience back doing this was for me. I used to do things like this often in college, but am glad to have a taste of it again.

I also wanted to share a recipe for an amazing cobbler I made this week. It is a weight watchers recipe that is so easy and sooo good! Here it is:

Berry cobbler

1 cup fresh blue berries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh black berries
1 cup fresh cut strawberries
3/4 cup flour (i used whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar (you can use the splenda blend)
1/2 stick of butter (I'm sure you can use other things, but i just used the butter...)

mix all the berries together in a baking dish sprayed with butter flavored Pam.
mix together flour and sugar and then remove 3 table spoons of that mixture and sprinkle in berry mixture and mix together.
Combine butter with remaining flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Then spread over berry mixture in baking dish. Bake in oven at 350 for 45 minutes. then to get the crust crispy, broil for 1-2 minutes (really watch it!). Let cool. great with light vanilla bean ice cream or fat free cool whip. Cut into 8 pieces, each piece is 4 points plus!!!

I also made a healthy dinner that Andrew LOVED!

I made an Asian marinade with Hoisin sauce, low sodium soy sauce, siracha sauce, garlic salt and pepper. I marinated chicken breasts in that for an hour and then poured it all into a baking dish a baked it for an hour at 350. It was sooo good. I also marinated some fresh green beans in the same mixture and then sauteed them with a tiny bit of olive oil. So awesome. And then I made a healthy amazing rice. I boiled brown rice then I toasted 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut and sauteed some bell pepper and then combined it all to make yummy rice. Andrew has LOVED this meal (minus the green beans...but I have loved those!).

Anyway, that is all I have for now!

Seeking to feast on the things of the Lord today!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

feeling good!

So last night 2 of my favorite friends joined me at my cardio dance party class. Here is a picture of Sarah Brents, Emily Rice and me before our work out. Looking good!

This is us after an amazingly fun work out! We were all really sweaty, but glad that we had fun and got a great burn!

We really had a GREAT time! Exercise is so much more fun when you have friends with you :). There was an amazing class participant last night that was literally like the episode of friends where Rachel is embarrassed to run with Phoebe because she runs with her arms going crazy...well, there was a Phoebe in our class. You had to give her lots of room-otherwise you will get hit by her flailing arms! Haha. It makes it so fun!

I kind of have to take some time to brag on my friend Emily. I spent lots of time with her last weekend and was just really encouraged. Emily has been working really hard lately at eating healthy and taking good care of her body. She is so inspiring to me. I am amazed at her discipline and her success. She is just really committed to taking the best care of herself. I am so lucky to have her as an inspiration to me and am now trying to get her to join my gym so we can work out together ALL THE TIME! I just had to give Em a shout out!

I kind of have a mantra for this week...When I eat I say to myself, "Is this good for my body?". I get so wrapped up in calories and points that I forget to think about my HEALTH! So when I start to take a bit of caitlin and Isabel's Mac and cheese, I think to myself, "Is this good for my body?". It has really helped me make better decisions!

I made an awesomely easy dinner that is good for me and that my picky hubby likes! I also made a healthy cobbler! Recipes and pics to come!

Happy tuesday!

Friday, May 6, 2011

mother's day

This is an old pic! She is going to kill be because since this pic, she has lost a ton of weight, but this was the only one I had on this computer :). Sorry mom!

As we all know, sunday is Mother's Day, so here is post all about my awesome mom!

I wanted to make a blog that was dedicated to my mom. I almost feel bad doing this, because I don't want all of you to be jealous of how awesome my mom is. But, I think most of you already know it, so I thought I would write it anyway! Here are a few reasons why Melinda Shanklin is the best...
1. She is beautiful, has soft skin and always smells good. I love my mom's smell so much. I even stole a pillow from their house about a year ago because it smelled like my mom. I just love how sweet and clean she is. Haha. I also love how pretty she is. I think she really looks like she did 30 years ago. Her beauty has not faded. I hope I inherited that!
2. She is THE best friend you could have. I think if I asked 100 people who the top person they would call if they were in a pinch would be, 100 of those poeple would say, "Melinda Shanklin". She is selfless and giving and will get WAY too commited for her own good to ensure that you are taken care of. I hope I have learned that from her. I want to love people like my mom does. I want to be a friend like my mom is.
3. She is funny. I laugh so hard with my mom. And typically it is about inappropriate things. She is my favorite person to sit and sip coffee or wine with and just chit chat about life!
4. She loves my dad more than anyone. I am thankful to have their example of a marriage that is loving and most of all centered on Christ. She is dedicated to loving and serving my dad. To being a helper and a joy to him. I love it.
5. Above all, she LOVES Jesus. My mom is one of the most beautiful pictures of a Christ follower I have ever seen. Her life refelects Jesus in every manner. She is dedicated to seeking Him in all she does. I have learned SOOO much from her about what it means to be a woman who seeks to walk in holiness.

I could go on all day, but I have to do my job at some point! I hope you all take some time to think about your moms. If your mom isn't as awesome as mine, its ok. She is always open to taking in new children!

Love you, Mom! You are THE BEST!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

back on the wagon

Hi team!
Well, Emily Rice gets really mad at me when I take too long between blogs. Needless to say, she is mad at me. Haha. Sorry, Em!

I have just had such a hard time getting back on track with EVERYTHING since Easter. But, I am feeling better and am slowly returning to normal. So I hope to get back on track asap. I have this mentality sometimes of all or nothing. I have just been thinking things like, "Well, since I didn't work out, I guess I can eat whatever I want." How crazy is thinking like that? It doesn't even make sense! But I see that I am in this pattern. I am trying to be more mindful about my cravings and eating right now. I feel frustrated. But I know that each day is new.

I am in a bible study that meets on Wednesday nights. We just started going through Richard Fosters book , "Celebration of Discipline." We met last night to go over chapter one. It was almost comedic that as we were there studying this book, I ate 3 chocolate chip cookies! But I am really so excited to read this book...I love this quote, "By themselves, the spiritual disciplines can do nothing;they can only get us to the place where something can be done. They are God's means of grace." I understand this book is far from being a book on food and weight loss. But, it is about practicing Gods disciplines. Walking in that should help me to honor Him by not using food as an idol. I'll be excited to share my gleanings from this book!

Happy cinco de mayo! Or tomorrow, as billy streu would say, cinco de seis! (I realize that means 5 of 6- that is a college inside joke...but it happens to be inside with like 30 people...)

Monday, May 2, 2011


Hi friends!
Sorry it has been so so long since I blogged. I have had a rough couple of days during the past week. I last blogged that we thought I had kidney stones. Thankfully, it was not kidney stones! We are not sure what caused my pain, but my scan came back clear and normal. So I am thankful for that. My pain has improved...so I am really glad for that. I also developed a cough last week during this and turns out, I have bronchitis! Ahhh! I am so annoyed with all of this sickness! Thankfully, I have not missed any work! So that is wonderful. I am just trying to not cough super hard and break a rib!

Since I have been sick, I have not done much exercise. That has been really hard on me. But I am just working really hard to focus on my nutrition and eating the right thing. I have to start trying noticing my hunger cues. I find that I eat when I am bored. So I am just trying to really pay attention to my body and hunger. It has been good for me to be mindful of that. I am ready to get on the mend and get back to cardio dance party and boot camp!

I also have had so many thought on this day that the United States is celebrating the death of one of our enemies. I really am struggling. Now, I want to make sure you hear me say that I am thankful that Bin Ladden is no longer able to harm others. That his hate is over. That he is gone. But, I have had a really hard time with the response I have seen from people-especially those who claim to be Christ followers. I have seen posted all over facebook, "burn in hell." It is hard for me to hear this. I realize Bin Laden was an evil man with the blood of many on his hands, but the truth of my soul as a sinner is I am no different than he is apart from the blood of Jesus. I am just as deserving of hell out side of the blood of Jesus. I want to proclaim my joy in Christ's sacrifice for me. Without that, I too would be condemned. Because of that, I can never rejoice in the death of someone or in their burning in Hell. Instead of running in the streets and chanting "USA, USA, USA" I urge you to fall to your knees and beg to God that we would continue to seek His mercy for our nation. That his Gospel would go forth to other nations.

I know everyone will have an opinion on this. If you have a hard time with what I've said, you can for sure email me whitbell25@gmail.com. But please dont post anything. I dont want this to be at all political. I just am kind of explaining my own journey and thoughts as a christian.

"remember, beloved, God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked."
Ezekiel 18:23