Climbing walls takes a change of address sometimes

2 Samuel 22:25-30 
“To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
27 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. 
28 You save the humble, 
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. 
29 You, Lord, are my lamp; 
the Lord turns my darkness into light.
30 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall."

I almost didn't stay. I almost walked away from the metaphorical wall. I have walked away from walls many times before. And I always end up feeling failure, making excuses and then it becomes a theme in my life.  What say You?? Well I will be brutally honest.  I am tired.  Shut- I am beyond tired.  I am always trying to find a way to take a nap these days, even in the car at the red light!! :) 

When my husband decided to not up hold his vow till death do us part, I was in total break down mode.  I believed him when he told me I would never accomplish my goals. In the in between spaces in my heart, his lies about me where lodged in, even though I kept moving forward, there was always this voice in the background saying, "you suck, you're just lucky, this is all going to end someday when someone figures out you really don't GOT IT!"

I could say it was from emotional abuse, physical abuse and those excuses could be my address of sorts, where I live from and how I make my choices and then what?? What happens to my children and their future, what happens to mine, what will I miss out on? Where does all that get me except a backpack full of excuses and a permanent address in the town of You-Suck-Ville.  

I made a decision, well many many decisions to change my address, not because I am just that good :). But because I have a God that cares for me and met me where I was living, He came to my "hood"!  He didn't ask me to get my act together before He offered his love, grace and mercy to me...He didn't ask me to be someone I am not either, He just said, "Come" "Move" and "Trust"....there is more, but that is where we started.  He knew. He knew Leslie and all that she was and all that she wasn't  and all that she could be.      (sorry I stole that format from  a verse! But its a great format!) 

The verses in 2 Samuel remind me that God met me where I was, showed me that He is a God, who shows Himself, He is who He says He is and keeps His promises...that's what my break down was about...is there any good one left LORD?? Any one who keeps their promises?? Then He showed me.  I wanted someone to be who they say they are to me. He is that One for me. And through that He showed me the way with His light unto my path.  He doesn't say He is a stadium light, either, He says He is a LAMP unto my path.  
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" Psalm 119:105.  That is where I was able to see Him keep His promises to me, as I had to trust Him without seeing the entire way before me, only where my next steps needed to go. 

So the walls?? Yeah...they just keep coming up on my path of life....Many a wall, many a fear to overcome.  He won't let me rest in my laurels.  Shock! I know!! He continues to ask me to keep moving and trusting  more. I could relate this to Cross Fit again when one of my coaches told me just the other night when he saw the look of fear in my eyes over the workout..."you got this Leslie".  Or I could relate this to the new job He has given me that seems like a huge wall to climb...And maybe while you are reading this, just maybe you are thinking of your personal walls you have walked away from and are considering maybe climbing over them and not believing or accepting the lies or misconceptions of what you can or can't do and then move forward in fear and hope of what you will do. I don't know. I do know this.  I am going to climb more walls with Him, make more mistakes, trust and and do it all again. And change my address.   

New Address:
You-Got-This, USA. :)


The places in higher education are few and mighty

" A daughter of Love,
Who sits in a field of grace,
Grateful for promise."

I wrote this Haiku in my Multi-cultural literature class last night.  A Haiku has to have 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 in the last.  We were ask to write about who we are and where we come from.  It's ironic that I wrote this in this class, because of the path the professor has taken this class. My heart has been so stirred up for our children, our students and next generation because of the readings and discussions.  I am concerned for our students and grateful at the same time that professors don't have access to our children at such young ages.

I feel more alone in my pilgrimage of sorts in education and my classroom. I wonder what Jesus would do in this case.  I think He was with similar people who had high thoughts of themselves and simply wanted to get more on their side in order to make their ways the norm.  And when power is involved it's easy to mask the discussion as "open" and "good".


What happened when I gave myself 10 weeks...

10 weeks ago I signed up for a challenge. The Fit Club Challenge at my gym, Ohio Fit Club.

We were awarded 1 point for:
Completing a workout (WOD)
Eating a Paleo, zone meal or a combo of both at each meal
Sleeping 8 hrs/night
Drinking 2L H2O,
Drinking a recovery shake within an hour after work out
Getting 2 hrs. of sunshine/week

Negative points included:
Cheating meals that were not Paleo or Zone
Smoking (-5)
Drinking >2 drinks/week
Chewing tobacco

My personal results:

I changed the way I eat. The way I shop for food. The way I cook for my kids.  Yes I cooked!

I feel stronger, better, healthier, and more coherent with life.  I learned what I needed to do for my own health.  It matters.  I matter.  My choices matter.

My Body composition went down 4% in fat, I dropped 15 lbs.,  Fat free mass went up by 5%.

Week 1: Dead-lifted 207 lbs. Week 10 Dead-lifted 218 lbs.

Mile time decreased by 1:10; I can jump higher, but not high enough; I set personal records with two Olympic movements, the snatch (75 lbs.) and the dead lift (218 lbs.).

I raised the roof at the Arnold Classic in the Convention Center snatching like I never knew I could with my strong and beautiful friends!  I hung out at an athlete after party as an athlete! Yeah!  You heard that right! Insanity!

My Family results:

My kids are asking to eat less junk and more protein and green things.   My kids noticed my physical changes and told me! :) They began to ask me not IF but when I was working out every day! We are much more focused on the good stuff instead of everything else.  They have been drawn into the fit mindset instead of coerced!  The way everything should be. Caught!

What I have learned from this gift of 10 weeks of hard work, discipline and results?
I am so very worth it all.  I am worth even more.  My kids and their future are worth beyond it all.

My reflections: (A good teacher always reflects!)

I could have done better and become stronger, even though this is the first time in my life -I can remember anyway ;) staying on track with diet and exercise with the goal of changing my lifestyle not just losing weight.

Regrets: Why did I wait so long?? Who knows the answer to that except me...I know what my excuses have been in the past and what wasn't there before.....

Determination and Community.

I can't say it enough, without community we are not going very far...we can't do it alone.  We can only get so far and then we need a hand, a leg up, a push, a smile, a hug and a word. Or in my case one more band on the pull up bar! Innovative ideas for things to jump on! Someone to run alongside me to keep my mind off the bricks I am carrying or the sled I am pulling or the mile I am about to run...in order to get me out of my head, "it’s a bad neighborhood in there" :)

And the END is nowhere in sight:

This challenged me; the mom, the daughter, the teacher and the friend...the switch flipped and I realized what it feels like to fight for me, my health and my families’ health.  Similar to the Israelites when they crossed the Jordan into their new land; God did not do all the work for them; they had to fight for their new beginning.  Yes, there were many days when I thought diet coke and carbs were the answer, I wanted to head back to Egypt where it was easier to just accept mediocrity; seems to work for many in our world today, why not me, this hard work is taxing, and time consuming! And it takes so much personal energy and commitment, is it really going to be worth it?

And like the Israelites, this is my pile of rocks, my results.  After they crossed the Jordan they made a pile of rocks to remember how far they had come.  This challenge is a pile of rocks for me to remember what I have accomplished, what I can do, and how God helped me to stay committed without giving up, not perfectly, but not quitting. He gave me an amazing community, coaches and friends on the sidelines!  He doesn’t expect perfection, He just wants me to fight for what He has led me to and He fights with me, while I step into it, afraid, but doing it anyway.  Every time I hear 3-2-1- GO I am afraid! Afraid of leaving what I know works and moving into something I am not sure of, but need deeply in my life.  What good is it if I can’t be a part of the fight for my new beginning of sorts? What good is it if we simply get handed our successes and never meet failure? Strength, growth and results come from these things, we know this, but when it comes time, OUR time, we balk at the open door, the breakthrough and back off for numerous reasons.  “Life is working pretty well right now, why change it?” “People may see me fail and I don’t want them to see my weaknesses”, or “I just don’t think I have the time to put into it the way I need to and if I do this I am going to go all the way”!  

So I have crossed my “Jordan” of physical fitness, so to speak, I am building my pile of “rocks” results and I don’t want to go back.  Even as I type this I think oh man....did you just put that in writing!?!?!  Yeah! I did....I am committed and part of commitment to me involves community.  If my friends don't know what I am trying for then they can't share in my struggles or my triumphs!  And they can’t help me!


That nagging feeling inside you that just won't go away that says, “It's time!” Listen to it...and make the time.....

No matter what the “IT” is -that it’s time for….if it’s challenging you to make change  - letting go of things that are comfortable but not helping you become a better stronger version of you- do it!

You are worth the fight, the struggles and the triumphs. 

Get with community; make your commitments and start to cross into your new “land” knowing this:

You aren’t expected to be better than everyone else, just to be a better version of you!  

Leave mediocrity behind.  Change your address. Cross your “Jordan”.   I am already here and the view is amazing! We are in this together and I need you with me….

No.  Matter.  What.  


WE were born into the fight…..it is never going to be easy (moving into 2012)

My life has two things in it because of the obedience of others to their callings in their lives. Brian Hardin and Mitch Potterf and the communities surrounding them. So many times I have heard this metaphor of working out compared to heart work. I can honestly say I am doing both as of 2011. In 2008 I began a journey in a dark time in my life. I began reading God’s word in community every day and completed my first year of reading the Bible cover to cover. I had no idea what was happening to me. I didn’t recognize myself anymore, things were changing in the landscape of my heart and I couldn’t get enough. In 2011, I began working out in community. Again, I had no idea what I was in for; so much more than a workout. Just like reading the Bible cover to cover is more than just words, working out in community is more than just getting your heart rate up!

I wouldn’t be doing either one in the same way if Brian and Mitch would have brushed off obedience to their callings. Brian heard God’s voice to podcast the Bible in 2006. He started without knowing where it was going or what God was up to. Mitch was tired of coaching people who didn’t want to put it all in! So he answered his calling and built a community where people don’t settle for easy anymore.

Both men’s obedience has made a difference in my life and countless others. I am now blessed with two communities I can call family. Both are global and both are close to me in my everyday life. Both challenge me in my life. Both are good for me and keep me from staying in a comfortable way of life. I don’t want to be the same me tomorrow; I don’t want to be numb while I am here on this earth, physically or spiritually. I desire to be a new and better me. I never want to settle.

I have now read God’s word four years in a row, cover to cover, by opening it up daily with Brian Hardin, a record producer, leading the way as the Founder of the Daily Audio Bible. He and all of the DAB listeners are now my family. It isn’t always easy to carve out 30 minutes a day, but it’s always worth it, because God speaks to me and I have clarity of mind. I am a better version of me every day.

I have been a part of Mitch Potterf’s Cross Fit community at Ohio Fit Club since June 2011. It is not always easy to show up to the workout of the day (WOD). The WOD always pushes me to places I never thought I would go in my physical abilities. It is Me vs. Me. What I bring to the WOD matters. I need to be all in for me and my community at Fit Club in order to succeed. I am a better version of me after every WOD.

Today I can say I honestly don’t recognize myself in the mirror anymore. This is because God’s word every day for 4 years has changed deep agreements I had about me that were lies. I was living out things I had been told about Leslie. Things that were not true. Through God’s word I realized these agreements needed to be rejected and I needed to begin to replace them with God’s truth about Leslie and God's truth about God. During 2011 I could hear God asking me to give Him more of me. My community at Ohio Fit club was the next thing. God reversed the negative agreements in my life, exchanged them with truth, so I could walk into Ohio Fit Club ready to act on more healthy changes in my life. These are the pieces of Leslie being changed from the inside out.

I pray that you will not settle. I pray that you will get out of your own way in order to be the best you, you can be. It’s a process, a journey. Always obstacles, challenges, defeats, victories and all the rest in between. These are not excuses to give up on the better version of you, these are reasons to be on the journey, wide awake! I extend an invitation to you to listen to the Daily Audio Bible. Just give it a month and see what you think. I can promise you won’t be the same. I hope you can hang around for the 12 months and then you can say you finished the Bible with the community. We need each other.

I also extend you an invitation to my Cross Fit community, if you are close by and if not look for one in your area. There truly is nothing like working out with a group of people that are like minded and never settle for easy. We need each other.

We are all in different spots in our lives. We are at different physical health and different spiritual health. This year in our Daily Audio Bible Community our word for the year 2012 is Shift. In our Cross Fit community we have a saying, “Make Shi(f)t happen”. God wants to Shift things on the inside. It’s not a promise for rainbows and happy endings all wrapped up neatly in a present with a red bow. It’s a promise of shift happening. He will make it happen, but He needs us to be a part of the process. It will be gritty and messy. It will be a battle, because nothing worth having is easy.


We are worth the fight. You are worth the fight. Act on it in 2012.




You are now a part of.......

"the most influential societies of the world. What kind of power you ask?" And can you guess where I saw this? I joined the blizzard club at DQ! Yea they got power, advertising power. How many times have I driven past a DQ withOUT stopping for a blizzard? In the winter, but they are CLOSED!!

Today I find myself reading this in my email because I really just joined last night. I was headed out to get blizzards and gas and was hoping to find a coupon if I joined. NOPE! So then I listen to Dailyaudiobible podcast today and Brian is talking about the Windfarm and how it is part of a global movementt of the most powerful prayer movement in history. He said that is very cool, we need to keep our eyes on the ball. Hellow the ball, not the blizzard. The ball would represent God in this situation. ;The blizzard represents food. Obeying, focusing on Him, not the food, not the next thing that may or may not make me feel good. BUT GOD!

Funny isn't, it, how we buy into this whole idea of being influenced by food. How can food run our lives? How can it this thing with no ability to fling itself into our mouths, run our lives, run our minds amuck and convince us without it or with it, THIS IS THE only way to our destination of being accepted. We won't get there. Not on that path. We know this. I know this!!

So I guess I am speaking to myself. Wake up Leslie. Get a grip. Where do you want to go and which path is the best way there. I believe choosing to seek His face, walk humbly with Him, pray on my face, confessing along the way, not staying in confessing, but accepting his forgiveness in order to move on and live in Freedom. I want my "land" healed! I want to claim the "land" of my body again.

So another new beginning in the last second.....maybe and that is totally cool with Him. I hear Him saying....NICE!


Hebrews 5:7

Hebrews 5:7

"In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety."

I love this about Jesus. He is so real, crying out asking God for everything, even in the midst of going to the cross. He never turned His back on His Father. He knew God His Father was going to allow great suffering in His future. Suffering we can't begin to imagine, and yet He modeled how to stay close to God in the midst of such great circumstances that would look like God isn't there and is turning His back on Him. He continued on in communication with His Father. He didn't develop an attitude or change His direction or decide to just give up. He stayed close to His Father and waited for Him to guide Him through every step of the way. All for us, undeserving of so much, but yet He did it anyway.

He models this beautifully and lovingly as if to say, "I understand my dear child, your suffering hurts, you circumstances are difficult, but I love you so much I went through and walked out my own suffering so you could see you can do it and you will claim victory when it is all said and done. Walk victoriously, as if you already have come through the fire, do the next right thing, while you are crying out to Your Father, Abba Father, the One who loves you so much, it is indescribable."

I love Jesus and how no matter what my life looks like, He knows and He shows me how to navigate it all!