Aiming for B+

clip_image001[4]I have a friend who is trying to maintain healthy eating habits and the other night when she went home and tried to figure out what she was having for dinner, they decided on pizza.  She justified it by saying, “Mike and Katie eat pizza all the time and they’re in good shape.”  I laughed when she told me this story, not at her but at her justification for enjoying a pizza slice or three. =)

Here’s why:

We aim for B+ (seems better than saying A-)  eating habits.  I read an article recently that explained it well:

Aim for a B+: This is basically my nutritional motto.  Inspiring, right?  Seriously, I’ve found I just can’t maintain an A or A+ diet and be happy and healthy.  So I don’t focus on a number on the scale or a specific amount of calories/carbs/protein/chocolate chips.  Instead, I aim for sustainable, mostly healthy eating habits.  Consistency is king, so I put healthy routines in place to help me: fairly regular breakfasts, lunches, snacks, exercise nutrition, etc.  But I also realize that pizza, ice cream, brain hunger and Friday Night Binges are a part of an emotionally and socially normal – and healthy- life.  A plan that doesn’t allow for them is unsustainable, and ultimately flawed.  Ironically, when I took the focus off the scale and the numbers and instead on being consistently healthy, but flexible when needed, I became a happier, more confident and better athlete.

I really liked what he was saying because it tracks right along with our “plan” for healthy eating, and living for that matter.  It’s the same concept as building margins into your life, allowing for flexibility, allowing for down time, allowing for the opportunity to say YES to something last minute. 

So for those curious about what we do and how we do it… here’s the breakdown (and I’m do not claim to be a health expert of any form or in any way, these are just things we’ve found to work well).

Plan for success.  Plan the meal/menu options for the week and stick to your grocery list.  Make a large batch of _________ (you fill in the blank, for us its granola bars) at the beginning of the week so you have good snack options all week long. Here are a few  Great resource. And Another. on meals, portions, planning, etc.

Enjoy being active!!  This is probably one of the best things you can do.  Your ideal activity may not be running, it may not even be a cardio classes.  Find something active you like and DO IT!!  If you don’t enjoy doing it, the likelihood of keeping up with it is slim.

#34471 Clip Art Graphic Of An Orange Guy Character Riding A Mountain Bike by Jester Arts#35949 Clip Art Graphic Of A Sky Blue Guy Character With A Yoga Ball by Jester Arts#37788 Clip Art Graphic Of A Yellow Guy Character Exercising With A Barbell by Jester Arts

Enjoy what you eat!!  Find some good snacks that stick to your ribs – hummus and veggies, cheese and Triscuits (we like this cracker b/c it has only 5 ingredients and they are things you can read), greek yogurt and fruit/granola.  Make a sweet potato instead of a baked potato.  Try things well seasoned instead of salted.  Cook a good piece of meat and pair it with some nice veggies.

royalty-free-pizza-clipart-illustration-1046322Enjoy freedom: Enjoy 1-2 meals a week of freedom.  Have pizza one night or enjoy a night out with friends.  Just keep it reasonable.  You don’t need to eat the entire pizza yourself but enjoying 2-3 slices is perfectly fine!

Don’t freak out about the scale.  Yes, we own a bathroom scale and weigh ourselves occasionally.  I try to use it more as a guideline than a rule- just keeping my number within a certain range.  Nothing drastic, just a check point. 


Polska Pack–the Monster Hike

Mike calls the last hike we took in Poland the


It was super intense, long and very rewarding.  It began at 5am when a small group of 12 of us boarded the bus to drive about 1.5 hours to the entry point.  We then hiked up about 4 miles to the lower lake which has a beautiful view of the huge mountains around and was breathtaking.  We grabbed a quick bite to eat, cheese sandwich again, and continued on a path skirting the lower lake.

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The trail continued



up beside a water fall to the “upper lake.”  This lake is the deepest in all of the Tatra mountains, bigger than the first and clear as can be and looked to be freezing cold!  Its 80M deep.  Pastor told us that in the wintertime, the snow falls down one side of the mountain and has so much speed that it skates across the whole lake and builds up like crazy on the other side. 


We continued around this lake and started the next portion of our ascent.  It felt similar to being on a  stairmaster for maybe like forever.  Sometime along this section I said that I wished we could beat our spiritual bodies into submission as “easily” as we were our physical bodies on this trip.  Too true.  We took the “trail” up to a helicopter landing point (at least that is kind of what it felt like) and took another snack break.  But Pastor wouldn’t let us rest for long, saying the weather could change at any minute and we needed to press on.  So we did!

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We finished the “stairmaster” portion and began the hand over hand foot over foot rock climbing part.  We literally were on our hands and feet climbing and pulling our way up the rock face, sometimes there were chains to help us over certain sections.  I’m pretty sure in America we would have signed waivers and worn harnesses and helmets.  It was crazy mentally challenging (not to mention physically)

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Close to the top (probably 12 meters or so below the summit) I completely panicked.  I wasn’t necessarily afraid to go down I was just terrified to keep going up, so I planted my tush on the rock and said, I’m not going any further.  One of the other students did the same thing too.  I had a few moments of panic with a few tears, and Mike (convincing himself too) said I had to finish, so I got my butt up and continued the hand over hand ascent.

*sorry no pictures to document this part*

The top was fascinating.  There wasn’t much room at all to wiggle around, ok no room at all, but it was amazing to see how far up we had climbed and see what seemed like the whole mountain range.  Pastor pointed out to us which mountains we climbed in our earlier hikes and we took lots of pictures.



Our summit was short lived as we were again reminded that the weather could change quickly so we got our butts down the mountain.  The descent was a crab crawl, butt slide combo.  A few of the students started praying out loud.  It wasn’t for the faint of heart.  I was thankful for the “all mighty guarantee” of the Lord to be with us as well as the “all mighty guarantee” my backpack has as I was using it to help me slide down the mountain. 

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Close to the upper lake we stopped at some ice glacier kind of thing.  From the bottom of the mountain it looks like snow, but when you get closer it turned out to look dirty like parking lot snow and had some really cool shapes.  It reminded me of a dried up lake bed in the desert, pitted and wrinkly.

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On we pushed and sure enough just as we rounded the upper lake (after about 14 miles and 3,ooo feet up and 2,000 feet down) it started to pour rain.  So we slipped and slid down the rest of the way counting our blessings for being off the mountain face and on “solid” ground.  We waited at the lower lake to meet up with the rest of the group who only hiked to the lower lake.  It did finally clear up, so we finished our 4 mile walk back to the bus.

That evening we were physically exhausted and completely spent.  It took about 2 hours to get home on the bus and shortly after showers (for some, not me) and a hot meal, we had our evening service.  I had to give my testimony too!!  I ended up reading it because literally my knees were shaking from having hiked 20 miles and I could hardly think.  But the Lord blessed in spite of my weaknesses and allowed me to share it that night not only once but twice.

Here is sort of a glimpse of what we did.  Mike was able to track our hike, well some of it.  Tracking the ascent worked, but the descent is a bit broken up due to the butt sliding and how slow we were going it kept thinking we were stopped.  We hiked about 18-20 miles to the Rysy point at the bottom of the picture.  You can even see the lakes in the picture which is pretty neat.


Polska Pack–Beautiful People

We didn’t go to Poland for the fun, hikes and the stamp in our passport, we went for the people.  We had the amazing privilege of meeting of getting to know a small group of students while we were there.  The students we worked with ranged from about 12 years old to 20 years old, most from an orphanage.  Our own students did an amazing job befriending them, learning Polish, getting out of their comfort zones, sharing their stories and living it up because …

camp is for the camper

Here are just a few of their beautiful faces




We shared laughter, language barrier, miles of trails, tears and time together.  Some of these students have families.  Most of them are from dysfunctional and broken homes and the country has removed them from their parents for their own safety and protection (similar to our foster system).  Some had no parents at all.

We heard their stories of abuse, alcohol, brokenness and more.  More importantly we saw the power of God break through the barriers.  We saw healing.  We witnessed two students accept Jesus!  We saw hours of conversations between our students and the Polish students with some deep questions.  I personally was able to share my story to the entire group and then later one of the girls asked me to explain it again!  So I did and it was amazing to see how God used my story to speak even just a little truth into her life.

It was so hard to leave.  We felt like we had done so much during our 9 days with the students and yet we felt like we had not even begun to scratch the surface.  Our hearts broke for them as we boarded our planes and headed back to our lives of luxury and they headed back to only God knows what. 

Sometimes I struggle with how to process all that we saw and heard and were a part of, but I know that God has a plan for each one of our stories, whether it is that you are raised in a Christian home or that you came from a broken home, you struggle with addiction or not, you have a perfect family or none at all… I think what I’ve found from my own story and the students in Poland is that

God is still God, he is always good and he is faithful


Polska Pack – Mt. Baba Gora

This was one of my favorite hikes.  Baba Gora is the ridgeline hike that took us into Slovakia and to 3 different summits.


IMG_20120727_121302  After the initial hike that looked like the picture on the left for the first few miles – a rather steep ascent, the trail “leveled” out and was very enjoyable. 



You can sort of see the 3 mountain peaks we climbed in this picture.  First one is right over our heads, second peak is off to the right, third peak is past that in the clouds.


It was neat to be able to see off both sides of the ridgeline into two different terrains and areas of the world.  It was overcast a lot of our hike but we enjoyed the complete change of scenery from some of our other hikes.



This is us at the top standing in both Poland and Slovakia.