anticipation

Pope Francis

"But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant." --Matthew 20:26

Read: Matthew 20

You don't have to be Catholic to appreciate the election of a new Pope. Before he was named, I joined leaders in praying for whoever it was to be, as well as for the 1.2 billion people who will look to him for leadership and guidance. And like many of you, as the moment came close, I could feel the anticipation as the name was read.

If you watched the coverage, the first thing the experts did was defend his reputation -- who he was, his strengths, what he's done, and why he will make an excellent Pope. And then it hit me...

As chilling and exciting as yesterday was, there will never be more intense anticipation than the day we bow before Jesus. But friends, it won't be His reputation that needs defending, it will be ours. And even if we string together our best moments and grandest days, we won't have anything acceptable. Nothing worthy of Heaven. Not who we are, how we looked, our strengths, or what good we've done. But in divine irony and grace, His reputation will be our defense, as our lives are seen through His blood.

So we want to wish a heartfelt congratulations to our dear Catholic friends. May God bless Pope Francis and give him wisdom and courage. May he teach grace above all. His name was read, and it reminded me that someday ours will be too.

–Jimmy Peña

P.S. You know, of all the traditions the Catholic church has, the use of smoke signals of alerting the world of news (and not modern technology) is one of my favorites. It certainly would be easier to Tweet it or post it on Facebook. Reminds me of something Max Lucado once wrote in the book "God Came Near." He said, "Jesus could have come back as a man in another era when society wasn't so volatile, when religion wasn't so stale, when people would listen better. He could have come back when crosses were out of style."

NUTRITION TIP: Dark Chocolate It may sound like the most counterintuitive performance training advice ever, but having dark chocolate with approximately 70 percent cocoa pre-workout, can actually make your workouts more productive. Click here to learn how.

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Worth the Hurt

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." --Philippians 1:21

Read: Philippians 1

Standing amidst the growing crowd at the finish line, you could feel the anticipation as runners began coming in. The elite were sprinting through in record time, while the majority of warriors were still battling the elements along the course. A lot of the people I stood near weren't real sure when to expect their loved ones, but because of my Master's degree, I was confident I could predict Loretta's pace and arrival time. (Well, that and because of my nifty marathon GPS that Loretta installed on my iPhone.)

It was awesome. I knew where she started, her pace, her location and when to expect her. Not only did I have the best seat in the house, but I was locked in on her, and she knew it and ran with confidence.

Isn't it comforting to know that the good Lord knows our beginning, our today and our tomorrow? Like so many of us, are you struggling in business, with your health or at school? Let's remind each other that each step is one closer. Each step is gain. He's got the best seat in the house and He's locked in on us. And did you see the bottom of my marathon GPS? Our race is worth the hurt; especially when we consider who we're running to and for.

--Jimmy Peña

WRITE THIS WAY

Learning the finer points of effective journaling can make the difference in reaching your fitness goals

Accountability -- a singular concept that can define  you as a person. It can also determine just how healthy and fit you can become, which is why keeping a detailed fitness journal is a must. And while there are no hard-and-fast rules for journaling, there are a few things that you can and should keep track of in order to maximize your progress.

1 EXERCISES/ACTIVITIES: If you have taken the time to dedicate yourself to an exercise program, it should have some structure. Keep a careful and consistent list of which exercises or activities you are performing on a workout-to-workout basis so that you can have a gauge on what is and is not working for you. If you're in the gym, scribble down the exercises you perform. If you're hitting the trail, note the route you took. Swimming? What stroke did you work on today?

2 VOLUME/INTENSITY: Think distance, sets, reps, time and weight. Dutifully charting each of these variables will not only give you a baseline by which to set future goals but it can also prevent overtraining.

3 FEEL: It's important for you to journal how you feel, both at the start and conclusion of physical activity. How good  (or bad) you feel can point you to other key factors, such as what you've eaten, how you've slept or other emotional stresses that can play into your progress (or lack thereof).

Again, workout journaling can be very subjective. For a look at how some other PrayFit members are building accountability, visit our forums by clicking here.

NEW JOURNALS Here's a look at some of our newest members keeping journals >> Hoopcoach

>> Amosqueda66

>> Mikkirobinson

OUR DAD ROCKS

October 19, 2011Read: Revelation 21

God will take away all their tears. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All the old things have passed away.”  --Revelation 21:4

Recent business took my husband half way around the world to Hong Kong and Singapore, and after two weeks, my three young children missed their daddy. While he was gone, it was business as usual -- homework, projects, bath times and bedtimes -- but there was a huge part that felt empty. Though we were doing our best, I knew the kids missed those special moments that only a father can provide and I missed the comfort and security I feel when I lay in bed with him at my side. We had a few incidents including, but not limited to, rain storms, tornado warnings, power outages, falling from a tree and crashing a bicycle. Part of our well-oiled machine was missing, and we felt it.

The day finally came to pick up dad at the airport. Two full weeks of stumbles and bumbles and he was finally home to put us back together. The kids made signs saying, “Our Dad Rocks” to make sure anyone and everyone knew that our dad, in fact, rocks.  My daughter even had her favorite stuffed animals to help greet him as he arrived. I told them before we left, “Now, when you see your father, don’t drop everything and run. Give him a minute to get through the doors.”  But as we looked down the corridor and finally spied his blonde hair walking swiftly toward us, all three kids dropped everything and took off at lightening speed to tackle him. Home at last. Hugs, kisses and tears of celebration. In a moment, all was right again.

I wonder if that's how we'll be when we finally get to meet our Heavenly Father.  I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that we will drop all of the things we carry -- all the stuff that seemed so important -- in a millisecond and run with wild abandon to embrace Him. In that moment, all will be right (for good). After all, He not only keeps us from falling apart, but He's the only one who can put us back together. So, while we await His return, may our lives be a sign that says to anyone and everyone, "Our Dad (our Abba) Rocks."

--Allison King Earnst

PrayFit's newest executive team member is a fitness expert, motivator, competitor and mother of three. She's been featured in numerous magazines including FitParent, Natural Muscle and Oxygen magazine. She has shared her fitness story on Good Morning America, Extra TV and Lifetime's "The Balancing Act."

PRAYFIT NUTRITION TIP by Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

A salad before dinner is a great way to fit one or more servings of vegetables into your day. Try using bagged coleslaw mix (it usually contains shredded green and red cabbage and carrots) or broccoli slaw as an alternative to bagged lettuces. Cabbage and broccoli are packed with nutrients, provide a satisfying crunchy texture and are almost always cheaper than the bagged lettuce mixes -- you can often get the same amount of coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw for half the price of the bagged lettuces! Some of my favorite add-ins are chopped tomatoes, a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette, which contains plenty of healthy fats.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

YOU'VE GOT MAIL

May 24, 2011 Read: Philippians 1

"Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." --Philippians 1:6

I bet Noah spent a good deal of time at the window when he was on the ark. If nothing more than for some needed fresh air, something tells me he often kept his eye out for land. After all, he built what he had to, and he was ready to deliver. So I'm guessing if he wasn't caring for his precious cargo, he could be found watching and waiting.

If you're like me, you spend a lot time at your window. Oh we're not at sea, per se, but you may often feel like you're drifting as you wait for that offer letter, that e-mail, that phone call. You've done everything in your power, but what you need most -- to land something -- seems nowhere on your horizon.

As for Noah, hope in the form of an olive branch finally arrived. The dove on the window sill was Noah's "You've Got Mail." No more waiting, no more watching, no more send/receive. Land was nigh. Yours just might be too.

--J.P.

COLORADO SLIM

It's not just a cool Old West poker name. In one of the most recent surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Rocky Mountain State was found to be among the leanest in the nation, with a prevalence of obesity below 20%. Only the District of Columbia joined Colorado below the 20% mark. Louisiana weighed in the heaviest, with a 34% obesity rate.

>> EXERCISE CENTRAL: Find out how to properly perform many of the key exercises presented in our workouts by clicking here.

>> SHOP: Looking for a good Father’s Day gift? Visit PrayFit’s online store to pick up a hat, shirt, wristband or book for the dads in your life!

 

 

ROAD TO EMMAUS

October 21, 2010Read: Luke 24

"He asked them, 'What are you discussing together as you walk along?'" --Luke 24:17

I can just imagine those two disciples walking toward Emmaus together.  It was late in the day, their heads hung low as they kicked up dust with each reminiscent step. After minutes of silence, one would remember something Jesus said, bringing a grin to both their faces. After all, these two heard and saw things not written in the bible.

After another quiet mile or so, the other would bring up "that time when," and the two would smile, shake their heads, laugh and cry. Who would blame them? They missed their friend. Not the miracle maker or the water-walker, but just Jesus. The Jesus who would tell a good joke at bedtime, sending all the guys to bed laughing. And the same Jesus that listened to their stories with the anticipation of one who didn't already know the ending. Jesus was easy to miss.

Even when He was walking right next to you.

--J.P.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Sautéed Kale

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 2 bunches kale, trimmed and chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add kale, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; reduce heat to medium and cook, turning frequently for an additional 5 minutes. Add vinegar and continue to cook until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes more.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 103 Total Fat:  3 grams Saturated Fat: 0 grams Carbohydrate: 15 grams Protein: 5 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 125 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian and is currently a nutrition expert for the Food Network, and has worked as a media spokesperson for Cooking Light Magazine. She has appeared on Good Day Street Talk, Food Network.com, Access Hollywood and GMA Health. Visit her at Dana White Nutrition.