The Heart Issue

Another shooting took place last week.

Friends and Family are grieving.

I am angry. I am saddened.

And social media is flooded with anger and sadness.

And what has become platitudes.

Thoughts & Prayers has become the throw away line. Something an intern can tweet out quickly when a tragedy occurs.

Following it is this is a heart issue. I don’t disagree that this a heart issue. From the accounts of Nickolas Cruz he had a history of disturbing behavior. Several times over the years tips and complaints were placed on him. Investigators from DCF cleared him.

Absolutely his heart lead him to take his gun into the school last Wednesday. Evil exists and it will rear its ugly head no matter what is done.

But by posting or saying it’s a heart issue, it then negates any examination of our own hearts. Of the things that we seek out for security. It points to the other instead of facing the truth of our own hearts and motivations.

I too am also examining my heart as I walk through this anger and sadness. It hasn’t helped watching things unfold, as details emerge from that day.

There is so much anger. Comment sections devolve into name calling and dehumanizing each other. Our words matter. The heart behind our words matter.

When it’s said this is a heart issue, I too believe we must also examine our reactions. The things we post, the comments made reveal where our own hearts stand. How we care and treat each other . What is it we want to believe about the other side? What will be lost if we learn we aren’t entirely right or wrong.

As I work through all of this I pray. I believe in a big God who can do anything. I believe in the comfort He can bring to us . In the Hope only God can bring.

I also believe in action. In calling for change in our laws. In having real discourse with each other to really understand our fears on either side. Because This doesn’t need to happen, this isn’t inevitable.

That Reading Habit

Ever since I learned to read, books have been my constant companions. Reading was the usual, constant habit in my house growing up. Books, newspapers, boxes of cereal EVERYTHING was read!

I have gone through periods of consuming books ravenously, one after another. Reading has taught me so much, exposed me to different ways of thinking and taught me how to think.

But last year I realized that my reading habit had diminished. I wasn’t reading quite as much as I once had. A lot of different factors contributed to this for me. Busyness was one, lack of interest and my diminished attention span.

Last year I decided to change this, I had to be more intentional with doing it. As with working out or eating well, this too needed to be part of my daily routine.

I have been somewhat successful. I mean after all I still haven’t finished the Alexander Hamilton biography in almost two years .

I still can get distracted by Netflix (too many good shows! I’m looking at you Stranger Things & Black Mirror). Sucked into social media or am just too lazy to engage.

A friend recommended the Hoopla app ( found on google play or the App Store). Connect with your library card and you get access for fifteen downloads a month! Audio books, E books, music and videos available for free!

Utilizing this app has helped keep me on track with reading! Audio books have become my commuting habit and I often listen as I workout or clean up the house.

Some days I have to fight harder past the distractions to read.

I also have gotten into a podcast by Levar Burton Reads where each a new shirt story is read aloud. They are usually thirty to fifty minutes long. I mean it’s Levar Burton reading a short story!

Reading helps to give me perspective. It is far more nuanced than tweets or blaring headlines. It gives me the needed break from daily stresses and allows me to rest.

This year I will finally finish that Hamilton biography.

How do you keep up your reading habits?

Behind The Why of Fitness

This time of year is a boon for the fitness industry. People decide to take care of their health and in droves join gyms, subscribe to a new eating plan and at some point in the month all enthusiasm is lost.

If you feel stuck or discouraged right now, take a moment to reassess. Find out your Why behind wanting to do it. Understanding the reason behind wanting to be healthy will help you succeed. Write it down, tell a friend. Doing so will help to stay on track.

It’s something I didn’t think through when I began my health journey six years ago. Though I had lost weight and achieved many goals physically I was still searching for my Why. As the years go on it keeps evolving. At the heart of it I want to avoid the health issues that my family tends to have.

But there are other things playing out. I believed that being thin would equal happiness. But instead it lead to an obsession with the amount of calories consumed or freaking out about getting workouts done.

I wasn’t able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I had believed the lie that being thin would mean acceptance. My Why had been skewed.

What I had missed was that God made it possible for me to be healthy not for my own glory but His. I still miss it. Losing weight was needed, dealing with the compliments and attention was hard to get past. Because then it becomes all about the outside. The pressure I placed on myself then became I need to maintain this weight for acceptance. To not disappoint others.

I had to admit that a lot of my motivation was external. In hopes of being the right kind of person that would be loved. I longed for the compliments about losing weight. When I didn’t hear them as much it meant I had failed somehow.

In this journey I had to confront these motivations. As I did so, the pressure to be perfect began to fall away. My Why today is different from my Why if yesterday. Today I try to workout consistently and eat well not to gain admiration but to care for myself. Plus it’s a habit that keeps me balanced, physically, mentally and spiritually.

The Why is just as important as how one goes about being healthy.

Click on The Thingy

I recently moved my blog back to WordPress. A few weeks ago I made the leap to move my own domain along with it.

Now I’ve come a long way in dealing with technology and websites.

For instance, I’m no longer terrified that I’ll destroy my website simply by clicking on something.

Now clicking on a few somethings may blow the whole thing up.

I shall see….

However, it did take me over a week to realize why I couldn’t reach my website. I kept coming across the internet version of a dead end.

I had forgotten do to the very technical thing of CLICKING ON THE BUTTON TO MOVE THE HOSTING!!! Or as I texted my friend, the thingy, I didn’t click on the thingy.

So I say all that to say you can definitely reach this blog at lindasharonconnelly.com

And I’m planning my first vlog soon!

Thanks for reading!

A New Year, A New Word

It’s hard to believe but 2017 is about to end. 365 days that have been good, great, sad or bad culminate in a countdown breathlessly screamed out. What is it about the end of one year and the start of another?

It’s the clean slate idea. All that happened in these last 365 days is over and done. As the new year comes upon us all, we all have the chance to be different. This is the year of (insert declaration here)!

Then the list of resolutions begin to accumulate. This year I will do this instead of that. In years past I too made a list of resolutions. A list I would soon forget or walk away from altogether.

About five years ago I discovered One Word 365 while reading through my favorite blogs. The concept appealed to me, choose a word in which to live through as a lens for the next year. That’s it. Nothing else is required but to meditate, lean into and grow into this word.

Sounds weird right?

I mean we’ve been conditioned to make those lists! And that you can only do this at the start of the new year. Lies! By focusing on a word for the year, I find I’m more apt to accomplish goals. That as I lean into the word, it’s meaning only begins to evolve and expand.

I hadn’t given much thought to my word for 2018. In fact I completely forgot about it. Life had become busy with work and preparing to move. Until that is ,I began to journal the other night. Then there it was, written several times over in my entry. My word for 2018 had chosen me.

The word that repeated itself was Hope.

Hope

HOPE

HOPE

HOPE

Hope in the impossible, hope in good, hope in love, hope in all circumstances. Because I confess I have lacked hope at times. Because I don’t always trust what can happen. I’ve even stopped hoping for certain things because it’s too painful. Hoping means caring and caring means there is disappointment.

I have at times pushed aside the true hope I have in Christ. Because the lie(s) know how to whisper to me in just the right ways. I have chosen to not hope because it hurts. When what is hoped for doesn’t come to fruition, it leaves me bruised and untrusting.

Outside of myself, there is much need for Hope throughout the world. Hope that only Christ can deliver. If one is willing to believe that good can come from trial.

I don’t think this will be an easy word to lean into. I long to walk through the beckoning doorway to have a greater understanding of Hope.

2018 is the year of HOPE.

Wholly Reintroduction

In my previous post I wrote about my Whole 30 journey. After thirty days of pulling back from dairy, legumes, sugar and grains it’s time to reintroduce it all. I learned from my friends to not go out and stuff my face with ALL THE FOOD!

My stomach would not respond well to that to say the least.

So I began the process of introducing each of the foods one by one. The better to see how each of them affect me. I began with legumes, the next week were gluten free grains, dairy and finally grains.

I reintroduced dairy and grains in the same week. I had gotten away from as much meal prep and my job got busier. What I noticed most is that I feel heavier when I become full. These foods especially grains tend to sit in my stomach. Making me feel uncomfortable. There was one morning where I bought a breakfast sandwich. It felt like a brick sitting in my stomach.

Doing Whole 30 taught me a lot about food and my eating habits. The reintroduction showed me that how sugar sneaks into my diet. Whole 30 gives me a base to return to again and again.

As the demands of my job and life have increased I have fallen off the wagon so to speak. Once my life settles down a bit I plan on another reset. I now have the tools to better what triggers me ( HELLO STRESS!) and choosing the easy options.

I have struggled with my relationship with food most of my life. Whole 30 isn’t a cure all but it has given me the tools to use in the future.

Yet Another Whole 30 Post

I first heard about Whole 30 from friends who were doing it. And I thought it was nuts! Why in the world would anyone WANT to do this thing? Removing all grains, legumes, dairy and sugar from your daily diet. How much work is that?!

You know what? It is nuts. I admit that. It is alot of work to put into food. Where usually there is minimal thought put into what goes into my mouth. The time I learned about this program I was not in a place to participate.

Fast forward a year later and I find myself joining a group of friends in a FB group. The intention was to encourage each other through the group and meet weekly for a pot luck. Well, we managaged one pot luck at the start of September. Then Hurricane Irma blew through my hometown and my Whole30 Journey.

Promising myself that I would finish what I started, I began again ( somewhat on my own) in late October. I finished my 30 days just before Thanksgiving. It was a great experience, I learned a lot about cooking ( that my skills in this area have come a long way) and I enjoyed eating it. This was crucial to being successfull. Food is meant to be enjoyable.

Thanks to my friends who are veterns at Whole 30 I got some great advice that helped me along the way.

1- Figure out the Why behind doing it. Everyone has a different reason for trying it out. My why was to see if I could do it but also to better understand my relationship with food. This is an area that I have had trouble getting a handle on.

2-Figure a time that works for your life. This is 30 days of a lot of cooking, planning what you will cook, how you will eat. Seriously, if you wake up each day not knowing what Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be then you will fail for sure. Double up on recipes, you can portion it out, freeze some for later etc.

3- Prepare to stock up your pantry ( I suggest start getting things a few weeks out so you don’t end up having to spend a lot all at once). Some of the items can be pricey but worth it, especially the Light Tasting Virgin Oil, Coconut Aminos, Dates. I did not buy all the oils because I could not afford it. For instance for some recipes I substituted apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar. Ghee I used a few times and hardly used the coconut oil.

4- Prepare your loved ones. They will need to understand there will be some limitations to what you eat ( especially for family gatherings). But also let people you live with know whats up. You will need space in the fridge and pantry for your food. You do not however need to tell everyone. Face it when the work place donut, cake, pizza comes around all I had to do was say No Thank You. Or as my boss persisted in offering me food I found saying I had eaten sufficed.

5- Get a support system. The FB group fell apart after the craziness of the storm but I still had a few friends I checked in with through out my journey. For other questions I googled Whole 30 forums. As always accountability helps to achieve goals. Having to report where I was at made me want to succeed even more.

6- Read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig. This helped prepare myself mentally.

7- Have grace for yourself. You will forget to read all the ingrediants, realize that meal planning was only enough to get to halfway through the week. OR life will happen and you aren’t able to continue.

I am by no means an expert on Whole 30, and I am sure there are those out there who would say I did this or that wrong ( which I am sure I did). But I did my best, I enjoyed cooking and trying new things out. I am now in the reintroduction phase ( more on this later). But I now feel as if I have a foundation to return to when I find myself getting off the rails. That to me is the most important thing.