Tuesday, February 25, 2014

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee 2Cor 12:9

 Today has been a very reflective day of sorts as I take in the totality of my recent season which came as no surprise  for the signs of a shifting were eminent but I elected to ignore them.  And it definitely was no surprise to God as He carefully orchestrated every aspect of my being before I was.   Yet it was the lack of knowing the outcome that made way for fear, doubt, disbelief loneliness and abandonment but I see now that He was much closer than I had ever known.  I was simply held captive in a pit I had erected that hindered my ability to recognize His grace, mercy and even  correction for this was not a time of punishment or chastisement but preparation and elevation therefore some gains had to suffer some loses.

So what caused me to put a Selah in the middle of my day?  Two weeks ago today I sitting in the mist of strangers fully clothed in every weight that so easily beset me that even my stride was slow and sluggish I sat prepared to work putting in my ear buds to silence the voices inside and for the first time in a while I slowly began to come undone, I lacked the strength or ability to control my unraveling.  I no longer cared how I looked who was looking or the thoughts that may be passing through their minds it was like a dam that couldn’t be contained.

I quietly excused myself and made my way to the bathroom that in the natural was just that, the bathroom but to a weary soul it was the entering into the hallway.  See I neglected to see its importance  much like that of a lock -  a short confined section of a canal or other waterway in which the water level can be changed by the use of gates and sluices, used for raising and lowering vessels between two gates.  It was time to rise for the water levels were higher than the place I was last in.  One gathers much revelation in the “short confined section”…  

My time in the bathroom was short yet it felt like eternity for there was much I needed to take care of.  It was critical that I talk to my Father I needed Him to hear the loud booming noise that held me hostage in the midnight hours of each passing day.  The words “I can’t do this any longer” rose up shattering the silence deep within but as I went to open my mouth not a sound came forth.  I was quicken to a heighten awareness to take note of my poster, my feet were slightly parted and planted as one bracing for a strong wind, my hands were raised high above my head like that of a criminal captured by the police “stop where you are, hands above your head”…coming to full arrest.  My head tilted towards heaven and with eyes wide open I saw a host of beings demanding my spirit to join in the reverence of the Most High God.  I had succumbed to His presence and there I worshiped.  

It was in this time of weakness that I was made strong.  No great faith like those I read about in His word but just enough to sustain me and in a night, God’s night that is joy was entering in, hope was making a comeback, and belief was soon filling the void that doubt had left.  

I don’t know when He will move I just know that He will.  I don’t know how He’s going to move, I just know that He is.  I don’t know with what He will bless me I just know that He will bless me.  So until the breaking of my new day, I have my arsenal of praise and I’m not afraid to use it.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Data dump

The Diary of _______. 
I have been journaling since I was able to take pencil in hand and string together words to form a sentence.  Such practice has helped me to talk things out, keep from hurting others, make light of ish that mattered to no one but me or even act as a tool to measure my growth or lack thereof.  Getting the feeling it’s time to do a major data dump.  Dusting off old blog

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A FALL FROM GRACE (6 wks in the land of IDGAS)

 Ok after today’s accolades and acknowledgements I’m coming clean about an issue that has been seared in my heart to the point that I was slipping into the land of shame.  I last competed Nov, 2011 in the company of close to 1000 of the best bodies the earth had ever produced just to be in the mist of that was worth every hour of training, comp diet, missed social event and other matters associated with being a mom.  Even greater than the experience was the ones who made it possible not only in their tangible contribution but one simple stated sentence…”I (We) believe in you”.

I have been and still remain my own self appointed “clean eating” advocate and would back away from the temporary pleasure of “indulgence” post show.  I think the main contributor to that was as soon as one show ended I was gearing up for the next.  Looking back I had been in competition mode for 17 months (diet included) and while I wasn’t prepared to exit from the sport of competing I had reach a physical, mental and spiritual wall that had you asked me to take one step forward I would have come completely undone.   So before the passion and excitement and the thrill of what I do turned sour I committed to taking time off and when I say off I mean OFF (food, gym and everything in-between)

Jan 2, 2012
 Enter 6 wks of IDGAS…you’re smart you will figure it out.  Now I did not go out and cruise BK/Micky D’s or the like, no pizza or fries not even a fried wing and I make boss wings Imjustsaying.  No I OD’d on clean food…had to laugh at that myself.  Made clean chocolate chip cookies and ate them all, purchased 1lb tub of greek yogurt, 1lb bag of granola and not just your everyday stuff no it was organic and high in protein would eat it in one day too…I think there were in 6 wks  8 jars of peanut butter, 4 jars of almond butter and sugar free jelly for each flavor smukers makes.  And lets not talk about bread….damn Kroger’s had Ezekiel bread on sale $2.99 now you know that’s a bargain…can you say 8 loaves.  Blue Chips with whole avocado became my midnight snack and during the holidays played with creating some semi clean deserts well I had to make sure no one would get sick….well they didn’t wasn’t much left to share.  Not a fan of candy but a few late nights in the office no food packed for working past 6 so one trip turned to two turned to three.  Even as I write this I’m feeling a bit discouraged in myself and wondering if others should I tell…hell they can see it, what would they think and or say “the rise and fall of PJH, it happens to the best of them”.  Yet on the other side of the spectrum I enjoyed ever stinkin moment in my land of IDGAS.

It was planned that I return the middle of December which I did but just walking in the gym brought on a weight of heaviness that I could not shake.  Missed my friends/trainer but the thought of pulling it all together all but made me sick to my stomach.  My heart was longing for it, my body was dying for it but my mind was not on board and I know better than to go anywhere if I’m not mentally prepared for the journey.  I set a date for the 1st of Jan and my coach agreed adding that he didn’t want me back unless it was ALL of me. 

It’s hasn’t been but 10 days and it’s a slow start I’m not going to lie.  I’ve had to reach back to a box that I had marked been there done that for I now needed a larger size.  I think my daughter was quietly rejoicing I had to return the clothes I had borrowed from her closet.  Got new meal plan, working everything into my brain until it is converted to auto pilot, updated outlook, gmail, notification on phone to remind me to eat, what to eat, getting use to packing clothes, 4:00 a.m. wake up, getting to bed early, being more productive at work so I can leave on time for training.  Oh guess this is where I tell you change of plans…rather than take the year off as originally planned I’m going to put my efforts into sealing a pro card this year.  So it’s back to business and then some. 

Recently brushed my toe against a pebble it looked a bit like doubt maybe more like fear I knew enough not to pick it up but I also knew I could not ignore it so I kicked it took a step and kicked it again took a step and kicked it again…I was moving forward yes, but it remained ahead of me visible for me to see.  I was playing with it vs taking care of business.  Yesterday I got some news from a dear friend a/k/a Bro n Law and something deep within rose up in me that force a verbal response I stood caught a glimpse of the pebble and gave it one hard kick sent it into the air I did.  I have my first measurement/BF reading tonight and I’m not going to lie I’m a bit apprehensive but it’s not going to show anything that my coach hasn’t already seen since my return.  I’ll take it for what its worth I know it’s not the death of me but a new place of greater beginning.

So this is me, real, raw and FREE. 

Most people achieved their greatest success one step beyond what looked like their greatest failure.
Brian Tracy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

As told by JOURNI

There were times when circumstances were less than what I had desired would cause me to reach for food or deny myself of it’s simple pleasures but now as my relationship with food has changed I take pen and paper or in this case keyboard and Windows and I allow the storm to fall upon the pages as a reflection of the depth of my being the place where life really begins.

I’ve but a few more pages to go and had I known the last chapter would be so intense I’m not sure I would have bothered to read…thinking I may have waited for the made for television version. I credit this story to the greatest of all writers my heavenly Father for it was He that saw my ending before my beginning and it’s in His loving care that I can say I have experience three birthings of sort, first in the natural then in the spirit then after what felt like a lifetime of death where existence was a chore, notice I didn’t say living for in living one must feel and I was void of feelings, vacant, completely emptied out. Were there not pictures I would have very little remembrance of such time guess that’s why it was necessary to capture in time that I may go back and reflect on such for it allows me to see where I was and celebrate where I now stand. My former way of “being” robbed me of much; precious time with my daughter, joy in being the apple of His eye and a self value and love that no matter what was unwilling to bow down to anything that was contrary to His word.

Not sure of the precise moment of manifestation but it came and it declared its self to be courage followed by will, drive and determination…my valley of dry bones were visited by these. I did not debate or deliberate its coming, I surrendered to its moving force that wherever I was going was surely better than where I had been. Every scab, scrape, dead tissue, tear, bruise and damaged good was under the watchful eye of the Creator who moved, shifted, took away, presented, replaced and finally restored. It was done in a process of reshaping spiritually, mentally and lastly physically. This permitted me to take the newly fashioned vassal to stand before love ones and strangers alike. I likened the days leading up to this moment to nesting, much like an expectant mother does in preparation for the arrival of the life she carried inside. How ironic that within me was LIFE and the instant I my water broke (tears) and harnessed my feet in prep for delivery (strapped on my heels) I stepped on stage and gave birth to JOURNI

Stay tuned in as JOURNI continues to shares the conclusion of the first read.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Dream Deferred, by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet?  Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
Interestingly yesterday’s decision prompted me to recall one of my favorite poems.  Albeit a bit on the dark side it caused me to think about what life was like before I thought it possible to dream and more importantly what could happen should I release my dream/desire due to its delay. 
I knew about three wks ago that I would be forced to make a decision and it frightened me as it felt like sand passing through my hands limiting me the control to contain it…it rendered me powerless yet at the same time it was well within my realm of capability I needed only to follow the agenda as prescribed.  I shared that the first phase of training to compete in Women’s Physique required that I change both diet and training to gain some muscle.  Learned that you have to eat to grow and I do mean eat.  It was much to wrap my head around watching my body expand and the weight to remain in post comp range about 10lbs up from stage weight.  Add to this the measure of focus needed to take into account that I was not returning to a state of obesity seem to reek havoc on my mental stability.  I also had quite a challenge in fueling my body with carbs it made me lethargic to the point after consumption I would find myself resting my eyes past the standard millisecond blinking.  I felt bloated weighted down and most uncomfortable.  I didn’t seem to get enough sleep which made it hard to get up and make my 5 a.m. cardio obligation that required me to rise at 4…just thinking about it makes me woozy.  The irony is I did it before so why was it such a challenge this time around.
Well rather than tell my trainer I opted to take a peek at what was going on in another’s competitor’s camp.  “She’s not doing cardio and she looks fab”…humf…with arms folded across my chest and my lip slightly poked out I pulled the plug on cardio.  I went from doing it sometimes to no times in a matter of days.  Not smart not smart at all
So here I am three weeks into dieting down and the only thing that’s going down is the air that seemingly has been let out of my dream balloon.  But no need to fret, I’m not out of the game just sitting out until my body is better sculpted to effectively represented the type of competitor I am one who doesn’t want to live with regrets, I don’t want to simply do a show for the sake of doing a show contrary to my thoughts and feelings before and lastly I never want to sell myself short looking good is the standard I set for exhibiting healthy living but looking stellar is the standard the stage has set and it’s this level that I must rise not because it pleases man but rather it pleases me. 
See you in September

2011 IFBB

Bodybuilding |  Figure |  Fitness |  Bikini  | Physique
Canada   Mexico   USA
* IFBB Pro Qualifier *

September 2/3, 2011 Cleveland, Ohio

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mental games

It wasn’t my intent to experiment but a very valuable lesson has been learned… coach has changed competition prep from top to bottom (nutrition & training).  Needing to maximize the time allotted, less than 16 wks out from first show of the year; moving to new uncharted territory, not sure what you are trying to accomplish but instinct tells you you will know it when you see it…well when he sees it as I’m really trusting him on this one.  So with the physical changes required I thought I would mentally adopt with great ease.  Boy was I wrong.  While my food intake was nothing more than approximately an additional 300 calories, my mind went instantly into panic mood thinking that I would gain an incredible amount of weight and or that the contour of my body would change to an unsightly pile of mush.  I had allowed this mind trick to invade my day to day existence that I would gag when it was time to eat or feel unbelievably full to the point that I could not eat all that was required to even skipping meals and or lacking the desire to eat all which is counterproductive to the mission at hand.  Goal; to gain as much muscle in small window of time, not gain fat so when time comes to diet down ideal BF% can be reached possibly surpassed.  I furthered this train wreck with pulling all cardio.  The change in training required 45 min cardio which was to be done in the morning.  I’m sure if I gave more thought I would have come up with a doable solution to an already packed schedule or even if I talked further with coach we would have worked something that was more manageable but I did neither.  I took the 24hr test…work hr = 8 training = 2  sleep =6  prep/transportation = @4 to 5.  As you can see I’m left with 4 maybe 5 hrs.  and I’ve not included time needed to parent, run my home, think, chill (disclaimer) I do not train for 2 hrs but there is a 2 hr time frame that I’m in the gym due to travel arrangements.  So where am I to fit this 45mins at the top of my day?  Well this requires that I wake at 4 a.m. do any morning prep needed, take bus to gym at 5 a.m. wait for bus on return route (this is where I lose valuable time WAITING) home at 7 prep/out the door to office by 8….4 hrs down only 20 left and I need 6 of those for sleep).  This kind of mental derailment all but took me over the edge.  While I was successful in doing as prescribed for one week I could not mustard the strength needed to recover from my weekend stroll down memory lane (college reunion) to strapping on my S for Super competitor so I pulled the plug on cardio.   Such a decision netted me 7lb weight gain….no it’s not muscle. 
I now sit with 10wks to go, trainer on vacation and my S staring me in the face asking me “what you gonna do?”  Natural instinct says I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, this may be way the way out of my league, so what it’s a new division it will still draw the best of the best and if I keep thinking, keep writing I will do what feels good to my natural self I’ll back paddle this right off my to do list.  So I’m going to put a gag on my mind, stop listening to my thoughts and just do.  How I come out on the other side I don’t know just that I will be there and not here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Better late than never…right?

October 2010 I successfully reached my goal by competing in my first figure competition.  What an experience it all was the preparation which included hours of training (Dave Uhlman of Elite Personal Training and Sports Nutrition); nutrition plan also under the watchful eye of Dave; supportive managers and co-workers (manager always introduced challenges to keep my cardio from going stale…I will never look at the stairs at work the same way  :0); my dear co-worker who would remind me of my 3:00 p.m. feed.  Even the Staples delivery guy acted like my pseudo conscience reminding me to drink my water. It was indeed a group effort and a support team I don’t think I would have made it without. 
In time the months turned to weeks and the weeks quickly tuned to days.  With each passing moment I don’t recall doubting the outcome in fact I felt unbelievably confident more intrigued at the thought of finishing then the act of getting on stage.  My mom arrived Thursday before the show so that gave me much time to prep her for what was to come…me three shades darker and practically butt necked.  Speaking of Mom she said something very interesting about me.  She commented that I was an easy read as she could tell where along my journey I was traveling based upon the reading materials in my home.  She said I had a season of self identity where all materials were exclusively by black authors, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison or intended for black audiences Ebony, Jet, and Black Enterprise.  Then there was a season of self help with materials on meditation and the like followed by my season of spiritual exploration and subsequent acceptance of Christ.  And now, all things fitness everywhere you turn Oxygen Fitness Rx; workout journals; nutrition journals and supplement pamphlets LOL…yeah easy read for sure. 
Friday was packed with prepping…hair, nails, tanning and a few stops in between.  I was told to remain off of my feet which is like telling a kid not to run.  I tried, I really really did.  I put off getting my makeup until after my tan to make sure I matched up nicely.  Smart move you would think well having not tanned before or talked to someone about the experience I found my decision to wait to be one of the most liberating experiences ever.  See after you get sprayed you can’t put on your undergarments.  So after dressing in my sweats I walked to the car laughing at the fact that I was going to hit the malls “free”   Yep this was the best.  Got to bed early as directed for the new day was dawning and it had my name all over it.
Got up before the birds, checked out my color…I look mighty good golden LOL  Double checked my checklist, bag and cooler one last face book post and off to the venue  went.  Funny it’s been almost two months and I can close my eyes and I’m able to recall everything about that day from the chatter of the competitors, the quick but direct instructions of the exhibitors, the joy of the spectators and the sound of my own heart that seemed to beat at a pace of a confident warrior…I had reached my journey’s end.
 I’m currently gearing up for show two and having checked the NPC schedule there are about another three of four I would like to participate in.  I’ve had dreams of competing in the Masters National and at the Arnold.  I’m laughing because we all know what I do with dreams right?