Just a few follow up thoughts to yesterday’s post…

on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

  1. According to John, my thinking that my pants felt tight is all in my head. He also told me that he, too, has “fat days” (not exactly in those words, but essentially the same meaning). Both comments made me feel a little better.
  2. I worked out last night and this morning and I feel great! I definitely need to keep it up. I love to work out in the mornings…it gets my day off to such a great start and makes my evenings much less rushed and much more relaxing, leaving plenty of time for a long walk with Bailey (which doubles as extra exercise!), cooking dinner and quality time with the hubby.
  3. In my reinvigorated efforts to be healthy, I have been drinking a lot of water the past few days, as recommended by many nutrition and fitness professionals. And I’ve now figured out why they recommend drinking water to help you lose weight…it’s not the water that makes you lose weight, it’s all the calories burned running back and forth to the bathroom a thousand times a day. Holy moly!


on Monday, July 21, 2008

I am officially recommitting to my workout and healthy eating regime. Normally, I’d give myself an A- for my efforts in healthy eating and working out, but lately I think I’m performing closer to a B-/C+.

A deadly combo of summertime factors has led me down this path of mediocre performance. I’ve been way too indulgent at the many summertime BBQ’s we’ve been attending - there seems to be at least one every single weekend, if not more! Then, in addition, I’ve been letting the unpredictable weather ruin my workouts. If there’s even a chance of a thunderstorm (which there seems to be every single day), I won’t go out for a run or bike ride. I say that I’ll work out in the gym instead, but then there always seems to be a reason not to - some excuses are valid and some are, well, lame. My normal 5 – 7 days of working out each week has turned into 3 or maybe 4 (and…gulp…some weeks even less). Usually, if I let up on the healthy eating temporarily, the exercise will make up for it, and vice versa. But, with poor performance in both arenas, things are quickly going downhill. Bad, bad, bad!

I’ve been fully aware that my performance has been less than stellar lately, but the scale has been steady and my clothes have been fitting just fine…until now. I think my body is fed up with my behavior and is trying to alert me to this situation before it gets too late. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I swear that my pants are fitting a little tight today. Of course, when I felt this tightness this morning while getting dressed, I immediately ran down into the gym to weigh myself. I haven’t gained any weight thank goodness (in fact, I was down half a pound since Thursday), but as much as it pains me to admit this, the tightness in the pants is real. I’m sure I’m the only person on earth who would notice this change in my body, but that provides me with no comfort. I don’t like this one bit! But, on the positive side, I think this is just the kick in the pants (no pun intended!) that I needed to get back on track, so in a way I am thankful for it.

Here’s what I am going to do…

I am going to get back to my traditional workout regime, which usually looks something like this:

Monday – Total Body Weights and 30 minutes cardio
Tuesday – 45 - 60 minutes cardio
Wednesday – 45 - 60 minutes cardio
Thursday – Total Body Weights and 30 minutes cardio
Friday – 45 - 60 minutes cardio
Saturday – Optional weights and/or cardio
Sunday – Optional cardio

And, I am going to be very cognizant of what I am eating. I am going to watch what I eat, limit my snacking, and I am going to behave at any BBQ’s that we attend.

I am going to refocus my energy on taking the best possible care of myself and get back on track…starting today! I am in control of my life...and I choose to be healthy!

Three Years Ago Today...

on Friday, July 18, 2008

My husband proposed to me.

It hit me this morning in the shower. Sadly, my husband is away for a “Man Weekend” with his friends, so I could not share my morning revelation with him.

I remember it so clearly. Three years ago on this day (which was a Monday), I was at work when John called me to ask what time I was coming home because he was going to make dinner. This was nothing out of the ordinary, so I explained to him how I had to go to the mall after work to restock some of my beauty supplies from Aveda. He didn’t want to give anything away, so he played it cool, but he later confessed that he was dying to do it and wanted me to come home right away. But, clueless me went to the mall after work for a little shopping. After my planned trip to Aveda, I decided to pop into Express and Gap to see if there were any new must-haves. Finally, I decided that I’d better get home because I felt bad that John was waiting for me to get home.

When I got home, John was already cooking dinner and there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me on the counter. I didn’t think too much of it, as this wasn’t that out of the ordinary either. Regardless of what was going on, I couldn’t focus because it happened to be one of the hottest, most humid days of the year that day (ironically, much like the weather today!). The first words out of my mouth (after thanking him for the beautiful flowers) were about how flippin’ hot it was and how gross I felt after having walked home in it. He suggested I go change out of my work clothes and get ready for dinner, so I did.

As I was doing this, John walked into our bedroom and gave me a card. This card had a sweet note about our relationship and little clue on it that led me to another card with another clue and a rose, and then that led to another, and then that led to another, and finally that led to a ring box. At this point I still didn’t realize what was happening. I never even remotely suspected a proposal, especially considering the fact that he had just given me a ring (I guess you could call it a promise ring) a few weeks before. He later revealed that this was all part of his master plan and he had given me that ring as a decoy (still to this day he calls it the “decoy ring”). Anyway, when I found the ring box I just picked it up and then looked at him with a confused look. John took the box from me and then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was one of the most wonderful and exhilarating moments of my life. And it was completely private and unexpected…just the way I wanted. It was heartfelt, honest and happened in the middle of our living room. It was so "us".

It’s hard to believe that three years has passed since that incredible day. And what a three years it has been! We got married, bought a house, moved across the state, changed careers, took up new hobbies, traveled, bought new cars…the list goes on and on. So, so, so many changes, but through all of these changes, we have only grown closer and our love for each other and connection to each other has deepened even further than I knew was possible.

So here's to you John, the love of my life. Thank you for being everything I've ever wanted and more. I've never been happier.

World's Best Juror

on Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yesterday I received notification that I have been summonsed for jury duty. One might think that this is no big deal, but in my case, it is. Why? Because I get called for jury duty more than any other person in Massachusetts. Seriously! I am 26 (ok, ok…I am going to be 27 in 17 days, but for now I am still 26!) and have been called for jury duty 6 times! Yes, 6 times. And, three of those times have been in the past 2 ½ years. I’ve been called more times than both of my parents…combined! Thankfully, I can get out of it this time (and did as well last time) because I served on a jury in December 2005 (drug deal in McDonalds gone wrong…Guilty!) and as a result, I am excused for three years. I thought it was rather comical when I was called for jury duty only a month after my juror service, but now here we go again and the comedy has turned into ridiculousness. I guarantee it won’t be long before I’m called yet again…and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s immediately after the three year anniversary of my juror service this December. Ugh!

Do you think this is the universe’s way of telling me I should have been a judge or something? Or, maybe I was a criminal in a past life and this is karma’s way of getting me back.


on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I usually try to keep this blog positive. I am, by nature, a positive person and I try to live my life with an optimistic outlook. But, today, I am upset. I don’t want to get into specifics, but let’s just say that sometimes people aren’t what you think they are. My husband always says that I give too much and get too little in return from others. And in response, I always tell him that I won’t play games…I’m not going to treat someone in a certain way just because they have treated me that way. I will always try to be the best that I can regardless of others, because I am the one that has to live with my actions. I know that if I were to treat someone poorly it would eat at me for a long time. I really do try to be a good friend, but the cold hard truth is that not everyone extends that same courtesy to me.

There is a particular person in my life that I’ve finally accepted is not a good friend to me. There have been little incidents and occurrences over the past couple of years that have hurt me and made me feel uneasy and upset, but I tried to brush them off and tell myself that I’m just being paranoid. Why would someone do these things to me when they are supposed to be my friend? Well, I am now convinced that I was not imagining these things…they are real. And it is quite clear that this person either doesn’t value my friendship or doesn’t want to be friends with me at all. I don’t know why that would be the case…why would anyone purposely blow off someone that wants to be a true and genuine friend to you? I am not perfect, not even close, and I haven’t always been the best friend, but I feel that I have grown, matured and changed a lot in the past few years and I have a much different outlook on friendship. I love and cherish my friends and do not take them for granted. I try to be the best and most loyal friend that I can. Distance and life in general sometimes make that hard, but no amount of time or distance would ever change the way that I feel about my friends. I will always try to do my best, and I know that those that are true friends will recognize this fact and try to show me the same courtesy.

The bottom line is that I can’t allow this situation to hurt me anymore. I have to accept the truth of the matter, make peace with it, and move on. I have way too much good in my life to let this situation bring me down. I have recognized the fact that this is not a true friendship and that this person has hurt me, and with this knowledge I now have to move forward. I am not going to dwell on this, or even think about it, anymore because I've already wasted too much time doing so and it is not worth it. Friendship cannot be one-sided. Friendship is not a title, it is an action. This is not a friendship. And, as much as I wish that things could be different, they are not.

This is what life is all about.

on Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some of the best things in life are so simple and so unexpected. I experienced this first hand yesterday.

Let me give you the back story…my mother has been a yo-yo dieter for as long as I can remember. After reaching her highest weight (except for when she was pregnant with my brother 18 years ago) around the time of my wedding, she lost nearly 75 lbs. in 2007. Of course, she deserves all the credit for this amazing feat, but I’d like to think that my encouragement and assistance played a role. You see, I am sort of the health advocate for my family. Regular exercise and eating well are a huge part of my life and I have tried to impart a little of my drive and knowledge onto my family in hopes of helping them live healthier and happier life. And, in many ways, my efforts have worked…until recently. My mother has slowly started to put some weight back on. She is nowhere near her highest (not even close, in fact), but she needs to put a stop to it now for her own health and well-being, both physically and mentally. She has been getting very depressed about the fact that she is not maintaining her weight, but she also manages to have every excuse in the book about why she can’t. Well, I am not willing to accept her excuses. There is no excuse good enough to justify not making your health a top priority. So, in my efforts to assist her in getting back on track, I have offered to open up my schedule anytime she wants to work out together. And, she took my up on my offer yesterday. She asked if I would go up to her house in North Hatfield for a bike ride. I did want to work out yesterday and I do love to bike ride, but the drive up there after work was not appealing at all and I seriously did not want to go. But, I sucked it up and went, and man oh man, I am so glad that I did.

We (we being my mom, her boyfriend, my brother, and myself) went for the most wonderful 16 mile bike ride through Hatfield and Whately last night. Yes, it was a great workout, but that is not what made it so wonderful. It was so fantastic to do something like that with some of the most important people in my life. And, it was also fantastic to ride the roads of my childhood. See, my mom lives in my grandparent’s house (they left it to her when they passed away). I was incredibly close with my grandparents when they were alive and I spent the majority of my childhood with them at their house or around town. I’ve been down the roads that we biked a million times before, but not in many years. Going down those roads yesterday brought back so many wonderful memories and warm feelings. It made me immensely happy to think back to times with my grandparents when I was just a child. Going to the Hatfield parade on the 4th of July, going to elementary school (I went there through the 3rd grade), playing tag out in front of town hall with my girl scout troop, playing ping pong with my cousins at the community center, going to the only store in town to pick up milk, etc… My mind is filled with these memories, but I had not thought about them in so very long until yesterday. Also, it was really neat to see the sights that seemed so familiar to me from a different perspective. Usually, I just get a quick glimpse of them as I drive by in a car, but being on a bike and getting to see things slowly and up close was really fun. I got to read signs and look and houses and enjoy the view of the mountains, the Connecticut River, and of all the farm land that Hatfield is known for. I got to look at the cute libraries and post offices and town halls of these small towns. It brought me such a sense of peace and contentment to be out in nature with my family enjoying the country roads of my childhood. It was absolutely perfect.

I am so glad that I forced myself to go because it wound up being a truly wonderful night that I will treasure in my memory for a very long time. I am so thankful to be living close to my family now, enabling me to see them and do fun things like this with them anytime I want. I absolutely love spending time with them, and being able to do so while getting exercise is even better. We chatted it up about life, reminisced about days gone by, all while going something good for our bodies. I can think of no better way to spend my time. We are so fortunate to be able to do these things and I hope to do it many times more. This perfect evening was a clear reminder that this is what life truly is about. I can’t believe that I even contemplated not going because I didn’t want to drive there. What ever what I thinking?

Where did the weekend go?

on Monday, July 14, 2008

Seriously, where did it go? I cannot believe it is already Monday. How did this happen? It is just so unfair that beautiful summer weekends go by so darn fast. We did manage to take advantage of it a little bit, though.

On Saturday, John, Bailey and I took a drive up to Mohawk Trail State Park in Charlemont, MA for a little afternoon hike. Ha! More like killer hike! We thought that the walk from the car to the trail was tough, until we got to the trail. We should have known better when the trail marker said 1,711 ft. to the top. The trail seriously went straight up! All three of us were dying by ¼ of the way up. Bailey even laid down at one point right in the middle of the trail! But, if you know us, then you know that we were not about to quit. We pushed ourselves so hard, but we made it to the top! It was only when we reached the top that I realized that I forgot my camera in the car, so sorry…no pictures :-( But, let me just say that it was the most amazing view from up there. It made the hard hike totally worth it. Being on top of that mountain gave me such an exhilarating feeling! I felt so alive and so at peace. It was just another reminder of how amazing life truly is. We sat on this huge rock and just talked and enjoyed the beauty and the wonderful time together. Then, of course, we had to go down. I swear it was even steeper on the way down…very treacherous! But, thankfully we made it down safely (although John did take a bit of a spill at one point). And, as a reward for her hard work, we let Bailey go for a swim in the river to cool off, which of course she loved (she’s like a little fish in the water…a very talented swimmer indeed!). After the hike, we went over my mom’s house where we BBQ’d and drank margaritas (yuuuummmmm!) on her new patio. A wonderfully perfect summer day, if I do say so myself!

Yesterday was slightly more productive. After a great workout in the morning, I took my girlie (Bail, that is) to the park for some fun. After running around at the park, we went for a nice long walk. She loved it, and was totally exhausted by the time we got home. I managed to be rather productive as well. I went grocery shopping and did quite a bit of cleaning around the house. John had to take care of a few mini-emergencies at the house. Our toilet flusher broke and our washing machine was leaking (not a good weekend for plumbing at our house!). My Johnny is so handy though and he totally fixed both problems himself! I was a little nervous when I left for grocery shopping…our toilet was completely dismantled and spread out across our bathroom floor. I was even more nervous when I returned and saw the sawzall out. But, I should have had faith in my man, because our toilet flushes like a dream now! It’s funny what being a homeowner will do to you…it makes working toilets exciting! The washer is also now fixed. Although I wasn’t able to do my normal Sunday laundry (and will have to get it all done this week), I am relieved that we do not have to buy a new washer. All in all, a successful day of home ownership!

On another note, John is going away this weekend for a long weekend with the guys. I am already getting a little sad :-( I hate when he is gone, not only because I miss him terribly, but also because I am such a scaredy cat when I stay home alone. Thank goodness I have Bailey. Even though she wouldn’t hurt a fly, having her there makes me feel a little safer. I do have a little fun of my own this weekend. Friday night will be some quality time with dad (perhaps a night out on the town in Northampton) and Saturday is my best friend Crystal’s “Hat Party”. Yep, you guessed it…everyone has to wear funky hats. I know, it’s a little strange, but it’s totally Crystal and it will be so much fun. Plus, this Wednesday is her 27th birthday, so we’ll get to celebrate that as well.

Well, I’d better get this Monday morning going. Lots of work to do! Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Performance Anxiety

on Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I had my mid-year performance review yesterday, and let me tell you...I rocked it! My new manager absolutely loves me and had nothing but extremely positive feedback. She even went as far as telling me that if I continue on the same path for the remainder of the year (meaning, continue performing as I have for the past 3 months) then I will definitely receive the highest performance rating, an honor reserved for only a very small percentage of employees throughout the entire company. And the higher the rating, the higher the raise and bonus. I better stay on top of my game!

This wonderful feedback only reminds me of how thankful I am for having gotten this incredible opportunity. I will continue to work hard to prove that I am worthy of it!

Picture Post

on Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I haven't posted many pictures on my blog lately (mostly due to sheer laziness), so I thought I'd post a few of my recent faves...

First, our trip to the Cape...

Nick and Elaine's wedding...

And finally, tailgaiting at the Brooks and Dunn concert...Woo Hoo!

Long Weekend Recap (and more thoughts on babies)

on Monday, July 7, 2008

Long weekends are usually so hard to come back from, but for some reason I feel refreshed and invigorated today and I am ready to take on the world. I have already been very productive this morning, and I am only taking a short break to write this blog post while I eat my mid-morning snack. Maybe my motivation today stems from the fact that I have been inexplicably unmotivated for the past few weeks, which is very out of character for me, or maybe it's because I had a great long weekend (more to come on that), but whatever the reason, I am so glad to be feeling fabulous and I feel a renewed desire to tackle any challenge that I face.

The long weekend recap...after being very disappointed about the cancellation of the fireworks and subsequent cancellation of our annual BBQ last Thursday (and then being very angry at the local weathermen when it was COMPLETELY DRY at fireworks time), I was very happy to wake up Friday morning to the realization that I had three glorious days off!

Friday consisted of a great workout, a lazy afternoon with the hubby, and then dinner and a comedy show with my in-laws. We had dinner at Carabba's (so super yummy!) and then saw a show at the Funny Bone Comedy Club in Manchester, CT. The headliner was Theo Von (I vaguely remembered seeing on MTV's Road Rules) who was surprisingly very funny. In fact, the host, opener and the headliner were all very funny, which is rare. It was a great night and a fun and different way to spend the 4th of July. We did manage to see a bit of the Springfield fireworks on our ride home, which was a nice way to end the evening.

Saturday was a friend-filled day for us. After having brunch with John's parents and grandparents, we headed over to one of John's friend's houses to watch the baseball game. After a few innings, we left there and went to our recently engaged friends house. Yes, that's right...Steph and Andy are engaged! It's so exciting for them...a baby on the way and now a wedding to plan. We spent the afternoon and early evening just chatting and snacking and having fun. John was unstoppable on the ping pong table as well, and went undefeated the entire day! I have to say, though, that the day gave me wicked baby fever :-) We spent the day with Steph and Andy, who as previously mentioned have a baby on the way, and with another couple, Joe and Christina (who is also pregnant), and thier 3 year old daughter Brooke (who was absolutely adorable!). Steph is about 14 weeks along and Christina is about 21 weeks and they spent much of the afternoon discussing pregnancy, labor, babies, parenthood, planning for their next, their growing families, etc... I was so engrossed in the conversation, even though I had very little to contribute, and I found myself a little sad that I was not experiencing the same excitment that these two pregnant (and glowing!) women were experiencing. I know that only a short while ago I posted about not being ready for that step, but I find myself quickly changing my tune. I am feeling more and more ready with each passing day. Although I still want to wait a little longer before taking that step, I feel confident that I am ready to be a great mother and I look forward to starting our family. Anywho...enough about that! We capped Saturday evening off with a movie at home (we watched "Untraceable" with Dianne Lane...not that good).

Sunday began with a hard workout, but that was only the beginning of my hard work. I don't know what got into me, but I spent the entire day cleaning the house like I've never done before. Laundry, dishes, sweeping, vacumming, mopping, scrubbing, washing, dusting...I deep cleaned the house top to bottom! I even cleaned and disinfected all of our gym equipment! In addition, I went to Walmart for some needed household items, I went grocery shopping, I cooked a fabulous dinner, and I took Ms. Bailey for a great long walk. What a fabulously productive day! I felt so good about all that I accomplished...our house is spotless (although it is always very clean, but now it is especially clean) and now I can start this new week with virtually nothing on my home to-do list. I love it!

On a final note for this Monday morning post...our city's fireworks have been rescheduled for August 3rd, my 27th birthday! How perfect is that?!?

Severe Thunderstorms = No Party :-(

on Thursday, July 3, 2008

Well, the festivities planned for this evening have been cancelled due to the threat of severe thunderstorms. Boo!

I was really looking forward to tongiht...having a party, seeing the fireworks, etc...but it really makes no sense to have everyone over just to be cooped up in my house while the weather rages outside. I am hopeful that they will reschedule the fireworks for next weekend...the rain date was originally supposed to be this Sunday, but the weather for Sunday is questionable at this point, so they haven't committed to holding the fireworks then either. Grrrr!

So, now I have a refrigerator full of BBQ goodies and no BBQ to serve them at. Guess Johnny and I will be eating A LOT over the next few days. *Sigh*

Learning Self-Discipline

on Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I wanted to share an article that I recently came across that I found very interesting and insightful, especially for someone like myself who has embarked on a journey and of continuous self-discovery and improvement. I think we could all benefit from following some of these simple suggestions...

Learning Self-Discipline
by: John MacArthur


For many years, I have had the privilege of knowing the renowned classical guitarist Christopher Parkening. By the time he was thirty, he had become a master of his instrument. But such mastery did not come easily or cheaply. While other children played and participated in sports, he spent several hours a day practicing the guitar. The result of that self-disciplined commitment is proficiency on his instrument that few can match.

Self-discipline is important in any endeavor of life. It's best defined as the ability to regulate one's conduct by principle and sound judgment, rather than by impulse, desire, or social custom. Biblically, self-discipline may be summarized in one word: obedience. To exercise self-discipline is to avoid evil by staying within the bounds of God's law.

I'm grateful for my parents, coaches, professors, and the others who helped me develop self-discipline in my own life. People who have the ability to concentrate, focus on their goals, and consistently stay within their priorities tend to succeed. Whether in academics, the arts, or athletics, success generally comes to the self-disciplined.

Since self-discipline is so important, how do you develop it? How can parents help their children develop it? Here are some practical tips that I've found helpful:

Start with small things. Clean your room at home or your desk at work. Train yourself to put things where they belong when they are out of place. Make the old adage "A place for everything and everything in its place" your motto. After you've cleaned your room or desk, extend that discipline of neatness to the rest of your house and workplace. Get yourself to the point where orderliness matters. Learn how to keep your environment clean and clear so you can function without a myriad of distractions. Such neatness will further develop self-discipline by forcing you to make decisions about what is important and what is not.

Learning self-discipline in the little things of life prepares the way for big successes. On the other hand, those who are undisciplined in small matters will likely be undisciplined in more important issues. In the words of Solomon, it is the little foxes that ruin the vineyards (Song of Sol. 2:15). And when it comes to a person's integrity and credibility, there are no small issues.

A famous rhyme, based on the defeat of King Richard III of England at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, illustrates the importance of concentrating on small details:
For want of a nail, a shoe was lost,
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost,
For want of a horse, a battle was lost,
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost,
And all for want of a horseshoe nail.

Get yourself organized. Make a schedule, however detailed or general you are comfortable with, and stick to it. Have a to-do list of things you need to accomplish. Using a daily planning book or a personal information manager program on your computer would be helpful. But get organized, even if all you do is jot down appointments and to-do items on a piece of scrap paper. The simple reality is that if you don't control your time, everything (and everyone) else will.

Don't constantly seek to be entertained. When you have free time, do things that are productive instead of merely entertaining. Read a good book, listen to classical music, take a walk, or have a conversation with someone. In other words, learn to entertain yourself with things that are challenging, stimulating, and creative. Things that are of no value except to entertain you make a very small contribution to your well-being.

Be on time. If you're supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time. The apostle Paul listed proper use of time as a mark of true spiritual wisdom: "Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15-16). Being punctual marks a life that is organized. It reveals a person whose desires, activities, and responsibilities are under control. Being on time also acknowledges the importance of other people and the value of their time.

Keep your word. "Undertake not what you cannot perform," a young George Washington exhorted himself, "but be careful to keep your promise." If you say you're going to do something, do it—when you said you would do it and how you said you would do it. When you make commitments, see them through. That calls for the discipline to properly evaluate whether you have the time and capability to do something. And once you've made the commitment, self-discipline will enable you to keep it.

Do the most difficult tasks first. Most people do just the opposite, spending their time doing the easier, low priority tasks. But when they run out of time (and energy), the difficult, high-priority tasks are left undone.

Finish what you start. Some people's lives are a sad litany of unfinished projects. In the words of poet John Greenleaf Whittier,
For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

If you start something, finish it. Therein lies an important key to developing self-discipline.

Accept correction. Correction helps you develop self-discipline by showing you what you need to avoid. Thus, it should not be rejected, but accepted gladly. Solomon wrote "Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days" (Prov. 19:20); and "He whose ear listens to the life giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding" (Prov. 15:31-32).

Practice self-denial. Learn to say no to your feelings and impulses. Occasionally deny yourself pleasures that are perfectly legitimate for you to enjoy. Skip dessert after a meal. Drink a glass of iced tea instead of having that banana split that you love. Don't eat that doughnut that caught your eye. Refraining from those things will remind your body who is in charge.

Welcome responsibility. Volunteer to do things that need to be done. That will force you to have your life organized enough to have the time for such projects.

These practical suggestions may not seem to involve any deep spiritual principles. Yet you cannot split your life into the secular and the spiritual. Instead you must live every aspect of your life to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). And self-discipline cultivated in the seemingly mundane things of life will spill over into the spiritual realm.

Adapted from The Pillars of Christian Character by John MacArthur. © 1998 by John F MacArthur, Jr. Used by permission.