It seems odd to share a fun, family health challenge in light of this past weekend’s sobering events in Orlando, FL–a popular singer/songwriter murdered for her faith and a mass killing at a bar. My own heart hurts for the families of the lost ones and for their communities. Such senseless tragedy has the power to unite or tear apart a town and I hope this one unites our towns, our states, even our nation.
Nevertheless, change doesn’t start with others. Change begins with ourselves.
I’ve looked to an expert authority on the heart for Day One of our 14-day Challenge. The Bible. And here’s what God’s Word has to say about the heart:
- Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
- My heart and flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
- Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
- Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8
It hasn’t been 24 hours yet since social media blew up with news of the biggest mass shooting in America and already hate spews from fingers flying across keys, typing out their vengeance from behind the safety of their computer screen. Someone must be held accountable for this heinous crime and we are quick to proclaim our expert authority on safety, gun issues, and blame everyone.
I’m with you. The mass shooting–proudly claimed by knife-wielding, gun toting, God-hating Isis terrorists–makes my blood boil and anger seep from my pores. How dare our country continue allowing these terrorists flood our borders?
I have to be quick to curb my anger and guard my heart because everything I do flows from it. It’s easy to lose sight of things if our vision is clouded with anger. Stewing on the injustices and hate of the world isn’t good for our hearts so here are 5 Ways to Improve your Heart Health:
- Get moving. Sitting for hours on end increases your risk of heart disease and the lack of movement may affect blood levels of fats and sugars and we don’t want that so get moving. Even if you only have time to stand up and stretch, try to keep your arms over your head for a few minutes to keep the blood flowing and increase your heart rate. Take a 5-10 minute walk on your breaks and pump those arms back and forth. You’ll be glad you did!
- Stop stressing. You cannot control everything so decide what is the most important to you and let the rest go–at least for a season. The anger from last weekend’s shootings? Direct it in a healthy way to the government to petition stronger, stricter borders, harsher sentencing, gun safety and awareness, sign petitions. There are healthier ways to make changes than stirring up strife and hostility on social media.
- Start laughing. A friend of ours said he and his wife have a loose policy to talk positively at the dinner table because there’s so much negativity in their day at work, they don’t want to bring that home. So they focus on being positive and finding ways to laugh together all the time.
- Skip the sugar. A few years ago, I decided to cut out sugar cold-turkey despite warnings from well-meaning friends. It’s just sugar, I thought. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that sugar is as addictive as drugs and the withdrawal is no joke. Severe headaches. Lethargic. Shakes. Anger. I’m not kidding you, I almost passed out but it probably had to do with participating in a 5k the same weekend. Sugar is bad news for your health and should be cut out of your diet, but don’t do it cold-turkey like I did or you can prepare to feel like death.
- Focus on your faith. The Bible is full of wisdom and application so make studying it a daily part of your health challenge. Try a topical study on the heart during this 14-day challenge and see what all God has to say about our hearts.
FOOD: Day 1 Menu
Breakfast: Yogurt parfaits. Yogurt is a great source of protein and most kids love it but try it today layer in a parfait with diced fruit and a sprinkling of granola.
Lunch: Chef Salad. Our kids LOVE creating their own salads from a wide variety of toppings, especially if they are pre-cut or shred and in easy-to-reach bowls. Try these favorite toppings of ours–diced lunch meat, chopped boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded cheese, olive oil and vinegar, and salt and pepper.
Dinner: Mexican Quinoa. This is a huge hit with our family and simple to make. I love it because it’s a healthy meal and the family likes it because it tastes delicious. Win-win for all of us and those are my favorite kinds of meals! The recipe is at the bottom of this post for you. 🙂
FITNESS AND FUN: Outdoor Obstacle Course and Frozen T-shirts
Your kids are going to love this and so are you, especially if you’re a frugal mama because this fitness challenge is FREE! Get your kids and gather odds and ends from around the house or shed. Things like sticks/branches or brooms, ladders, plastic milk crates or sturdy boxes, ropes, hula hoops, tin cans turned into mini stilts, tires (because everyone has those laying around, right?), and anything else you can find to create your own backyard obstacle course. While your kids are finding creative content, wet some t-shirts, fold them carefully and freeze them. Invite over some neighborhood friends and let the fun begin! Try out the course and get the feel for it and then once you’re comfortable, time yourselves! This isn’t a kids-only event, mamas. This is for you too! Get out there and get moving with your family. Let loose with some laughter, get your heart pumping and have fun! When the heat is too much, grab those frozen t-shirts and let the kids have fun trying to open them! Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Don’t forget to share pics of this awesome challenge on social media using the hashtags #farmwyfefresh or #14daychallenge and tag me @thefarmwyfe. Looking forward to seeing all your amazing pictures!
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
This is our memory verse for the challenge so be sure to memorize it as a family. We want to see how you guys memorize Scripture together–post-its around the house, singing the words, flash cards, etc–so share pics of you guys memorizing it and tag @thefarmwyfe!
Wondering what’s going on? Maybe you missed our 14-Day Challenge for Busy Families but you can read the Intro right here and sign up so you don’t miss another awesome post!