How I Exercise While Traveling

I have gotten a lot of questions about exercising while traveling.

Today I am going to share with you what I’ve found to be true about exercise and travel.

First of all, if you travel a lot and are struggling to fit in exercise, I’m right with ya! There have been times when I just gave up and said, “It’s too hard to exercise on the road. I will get back into a routine when I get home.” There were all sorts of excuses:

-Exercising on the road is too hard.

-My schedule is different every day.

-There aren’t always good places to workout or run.

-Traveling and exercise just don’t fit together!

-I can get back in shape when I get home.

The problem is, I spend almost half of my life traveling. If I go with the excuses, I automatically will exercise only about half the months of the year. That’s really no way to build good habits, is it?! And it doesn’t make for very effective fitness, either!

I have finally realized that it is possible to exercise on the road.

Yes, some days it is hard. It takes more creativity than at home. It isn’t always convenient, and sometimes it’s very inconvenient. I have to think ahead and plan or it won’t happen.

If you’re trying to make exercise happen while traveling, here are the top tips that have helped me (they could apply for exercise at home, too, for that matter!):

Make it as convenient as possible.

One way I do this is to keep a set of workout clothes hanging up so that I don’t have the excuse of “I can’t get more clothes dirty”. Even if we don’t get to do laundry for more than a week, with rotating my small stock of workout clothes, I won’t run out this way.

Don’t give yourself a choice.  

I have decided that I will exercise no matter how hard or inconvenient it is. If you make it an optional part of your schedule, it won’t happen.

Set goals.

On this trip, my goals look like this: Walk, run or hike 2+ miles three times per week. (I try to do much more than this when possible.) Workout Mon-Sat, at least 300 repetitions of SOMETHING. Some days that might be squats, pushups, crunches, and tricep dips in a church sanctuary. Other days I get out my mat and 10 pound weights and workout for longer beside the bus (sometimes with a family member). Sometimes I do an ab and bodyweight workout in the bus. Yes, IN THE BUS! There isn’t much space, but there is enough.

Look for opportunities for additional exercise.

I usually take Rebecca out to bed directly after the concert, and occasionally we do stretches together. This isn’t my exercise for the day, but just something extra that’s good for me! Sometimes Liz wants to go on a quick run, and I’m in! A walk to a coffee shop (like today) is welcome extra exercise above my goals. I have been known to jump platform steps in the front of churches in time with the music during soundcheck with my mother or sisters. Again, this is just a fun way to fit in some more exercise! 

Welcome accountability.

One trip I set goals and voxed with my future sis-in-law to keep each other accountable. This trip we are doing a family accountability/competition program that is fabulous and fun! While I need to be disciplined to exercise whether or not I am reporting to someone, it is very fun to have an accountability partner, and something that I fully enjoy doing from time to time!

Measure your progress.

Right now (in addition to short workouts), I am doing quite a bit of running, as well as hiking and power walking. I am enjoying keeping track of my total miles and trying to reach certain mile numbers weekly/monthly. It’s kinda like competing against myself! 

For strength work, it could be fun to track how many pushups you can do at the beginning of a trip and see how far you can bump that number. The same goes for lifting weights. If you are just starting to run, track your farthest distance at the beginning of a trip and work at lengthening it. I did that on our winter tour and was thrilled to see the progress! You could also set a goal for increasing your speed. 

Invite others to join you!

The picture at the top of this post is from an amazing 5 mile power walk with my brother’s fiance, Cassidy just the other day. The day after that, I went on a run with my sister, Liz, and a walk later in the day with my little brother, Hudson. This morning my mother and I enjoyed 4 invigorating miles of power walking and sprinting together.

I personally love the quiet time when I exercise by myself, there’s no doubt it’s pretty fun to do it with someone you love spending time with! Especially if you’re struggling to exercise, this can be a great added boost to your morale.

In my family, we’re pretty competitive, so doing wall sits, planks, and other exercises with one or more others is usually a sure way to make us work harder than we would alone!

If you exercise while traveling, what are your tips? If you don’t much but want to start/do more, was this post helpful in giving you ideas for how to make exercise work with traveling?

much love,

Allison

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Hard Workin’ Gals: Should Christian Girls Have Jobs? (Part 1)

I have heard a number of questions from girls about work and money, and I want to address several in this post.

Some are wondering if Christian girls should even have jobs?

If so, what kinds of jobs should they have?

Should they be spending 100% of their time on household and church work, or is it ok to pursue other work, as well?

Is earning and saving money a bad goal?

Is it Biblical to have a job and save money as a young woman?

To start with, there are  a few fundamental truths about work, money, and women that we need to understand:

#1. Work is created by God, and as women, we should thrive upon hard work and productivity.

There is a problem in our generation of laziness and selfishness. Work is often seen as a bad thing, and many, especially in their youth, do everything they can to spend the bulk of their time on “feel good” entertainment and the least amount of time necessary on work.

On the other hand, when women choose “careers”, it is sometimes with selfish motives. We need to get back to the fundamental practicing of good stewardship.

Work is not a bad thing, but neither is it something we do just for ourselves.

God has given each of us the privilege of stewarding the time and talents He has blessed us with. We can waste them, or use them well.

Read Matthew chapter 25 to see how Jesus feels about our use of what He has given us. He obviously want us to multiply it, not go dig a hole and bury it.

Many girls don’t realize the potential they have. Unmarried young women have incredible amounts of time and talent that should be put to use!

There are hundreds of ways to spend this time, but some girls get stuck without a vision or plan.

Some wonder what they should really be doing. Others just go with the flow and don’t give it a second thought.

Today my goal is to encourage you girls to do this:

THINK BIG.

Don’t sit there saying, “I wish I knew what I’m supposed to be doing.” or “I wish I had more money.” or “I don’t think ___ is ever going to happen for me.”

Get a vision, write down some goals + how you are going to achieve those, and go do it!

If you’re wondering if you should have a source of income or not, and if you should really even have “work” goals, I want to encourage you with this:

#2. Earning income and working hard is not only practical, but Biblical.

The Proverbs 31 woman is praised for her virtue, but take a look at her business savvy and income earning, as well.

“She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hand she planteth a vineyard…..She maketh fine linen, and selleth it, and deliverth girdles unto the merchants.” (Prov. 31: 16+24)  

Here was an ambitious, diligent business woman! She clearly took good care of her family, honored and helped her husband, and had some serious business skills to boot! She was productive, and thrived upon serving others and working hard. 

Being business minded is Biblical, and earning money is, too.

I think God smiles to look down and see girls getting creative about using their time and talents TO THE MAX!

He wants us to delight in working hard.

God is a Creator (look at everything He made!) and He wants us to create with our hands (that He formed), and to figure things our with our brains (that He intricately knit together).

Some of you girls are concerned about finding the right work to do. You may be wondering how your work will fit in with a possible future of being a wife and mother (a high calling) and your current job titles as daughter and sister.

#3. It is entirely possible to work hard + earn money while still loving home + family and embracing our femininity.

There are so many opportunities for work that fit beautifully with home and family. Working hard and even earning money does not mean we quit being the nurturing + feminine women God created us to be. 

Earning an income will not somehow turn a girl into a full blown feminist who will struggle to be content with being “just a mom” someday.

I believe that the struggle with contentment now or then is a heart issue, and an identity problem that needs to be dealt with by finding our security, identity, and fulfillment in Christ.

Finding satisfaction in a job well done and money earned is NOT A BAD THING! 

I would argue that earning money and working hard now is actually one way for girls to prepare for the rigors of motherhood.

It is my opinion that the discipline of learning to earn, save, and budget money, as well as the discipline of keeping a demanding yet balanced schedule will make for a more sturdy, capable woman in the long run.

Whether a girl ends up being a single missionary in Africa, a wife and mother, business owner, or a cook at an orphanage, her younger years spent learning discipline and hard work will be a huge asset later on.

(Disclaimer: There some things a girl should keep in mind when choosing her work, and not just every job opportunity is a good choice for young women. I will be exploring different ideas for work/earning money in the next post in this series.)

 I look forward to continuing the discussion, and would love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

-Allison

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The Sandwich Principle: How to Deliver Criticism to Your Siblings in Love

The Sandwhich Principle

A sweet friend shared this with me awhile back, and in light of my recent post about our character as sisters, I wanted to share this amazing idea with ya’ll!

As a sibling, their will be those times when we HAVE to point out things in our siblings lives- weaknesses, something they did wrong, etc. Our hearts are to help them grow.

Sometimes figuring our how to give admonition in a kind way can be tough! Enter The Sandwhich Principle! Here’s the idea:

You need to give a little constructive criticism to a sibling.

Instead of “Hey, Johnny, I need to talk to you. Do you have any idea what you just did (insert whatever mistake or action that needs to be corrected)? Why do you keep doing that? You need to stop and change! That is such a bad habit.”

Try this:

So first you sweetly take the sibling aside (always give criticism in private). You point out something in their life that is sweet + good. It may even be related to the issue at hand. For example, maybe your younger sis is bossing the littles kids around. You say something like, “Hey, I’m really blessed by the time you take with the younger ones! They love when you play with them!”

Then you insert the criticism, “You may not realize it, but you are taking charge and telling them what to do a lot, and being kinda bossy. I know you want to be kind, but sometimes when you treat them this way, it makes them feel sad.”

Top it off with another affirmation such as, “The younger ones look up to you so much! When you are sweet to them, they will want to act the same way.”

See what just happened? You “sandwiched” a criticism in between two sweet affirmations! Your sibling will be much more likely to listen and not be hurt by your instructions when you deliver it in such love!

The formula is:

praise + constructive criticism + praise = instruction/criticism given in an edible way! (We don’t want our siblings gagging on our “help” because it’s so harsh and sour!)

-Allison

ps. the photo above is my sweet sis-in-love to be, Cassidy, and I, with some of her siblings and mine on a lunch/play date at the park this summer. She is actually the wise soul that shared the “Sandwhich Principle” with me awhile back, and I am so grateful for her example in cultivating sweet + affirming relationships with younger siblings.

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Happily Single: Interview with Priscilla

Girls, I am so excited to introduce you to my sweet friend, Priscilla! She a close friend, mentor, and sort of adopted older sister to me, and I have gotten to see an up-close view of the practical living of a poured-out, vibrant single life in Priscilla. She is 32 years old, and although she would welcome marriage and motherhood, she is fully engaged in the life God has given her now.

I asked Priscilla to do an interview for this post, and I’m so excited to share with you all a bit of her story and heart. I think you’ll feel her sweet spirit emanating as she shares. My hope is that you will be inspired to live to the hilt whatever life God has given you TODAY!

Without further ado, here’s the interview! (My questions in italics, her answers in bold)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Allison: Have you ever struggled with being single?

Priscilla: Yes, I struggled more so in my late teens early twenties. Now, I’m at a point of total bliss and contentment. Praise Jesus!

What has helped you to reach an attitude of delight and gratefulness for this single season?

Delighting in Jesus instead of my desires, dreams, or wishes.

Flexibility-embracing God’s best for each day.

Anchoring my life in God’s Word and in Truth.

Living a dynamic life with purpose and passion, to the full.=)

Lovingly, Joyfully surrendered to Him.

What skills have you learned as a single woman?

Friendship

Interpersonal relationships

Nursing

Gourmet cooking

Personal finances (understanding how adopting a frugal lifestyle will earn me pennies)

Maintaining a budget and investing dollars

Leaning about other cultures

Physical activity/sports

Organization

Developing a sense of fashion with modesty

How have you actively pursued serving God and embracing His mission for you as a single woman?

I have made myself available to God first, my family and others. I’m willing to serve wherever God opens a door.

Eight years ago God opened the door for me to study nursing. God is using this career in mighty ways. It’s a blessing in my life and with that I want to bless and serve others.

I believe hard work is foundational to being a successful women.

Hard work is a good and godly thing. Ecc 9:10a….”Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”

I love participating on the family farm!

I did some volunteering and serving in foreign countries…..and look forward to more in the future.

What things have you done to further the Gospel and serve the least of these (poor, widows, orphans, sick, etc)?

In 2013 I had the privilege to serve (for a brief time) at a food bank in Israel. I helped with packing food boxes and food distribution.

Showing love by baking or cooking for disadvantaged families/widows, sick neighbors/friends.

Sitting down and giving a listening ear to someone that is discouraged/not well and needs to talk.

Going out for ice-cream or coffee with co-workers.

In 2015 God opened the door for assisting my friend with her vision for young womens retreats in Iowa.

2016 Mexico– young womens retreats.

2017 volunteered/served 2 weeks at Kaplan Medical centre in Israel and 2 weeks at the Rehovot congregation in Israel.

Have there been any times in your single life thus far that have been especially challenging and why?

One thing that I find challenging is balancing independence/freedom and at the same time honoring my parents. Let me explain….at a certain age in life parents should pull back and allow freedom to “responsible adults” (age can vary).

Ultimately, me as a single adult must give an account to God, with my actions and how I live my life. In my case, with living at home well into my 30’s, I had to make a serious commitment to God. I respect and honor my parents and still live an independent life, with my Saviour and anchored in God’s Word.

What is your favorite thing about being single?

No stress! =)) not true.

It’s an AMAZING adventure!

Spending time in the Word. Prioritizing my time with the Lord.

Embracing mentorship and accountability.

Giving God the first fruits of my day.

Spending quality sibling time!

Building friendships.

Living the adventure.

Getting busy serving others.

Meeting and learning new cultures.

Stepping out of my comfort zone.

And just living a vibrant and zestful life to the full…..it just gets better and better!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned during the last ten years?

WAIT and SURRENDER.

There is a God who makes “everything beautiful in HIS time.” Eccl 3:11

I had and still have many visions (not limited to marriage) and I am witnessing first hand the fact that life-changing ministry can only happen when I lay down my own agenda and surrender to His. God has a purpose and a plan and God gives visions, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience.

God had to shape and batter me and is still working on me. My story is being written right now, and the choices I make TODAY will affect how it ends.

I want to finish strong with the Lord’s help.

He is worthy of my everything.

These final six words should be the goal of every Christian’s life. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matt 25:23

I will close with two amazing quotes….

“Be inspired with a vision for what is possible when you leave the pen in God’s hands.”

“Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.”  —  Elisabeth Elliot

My dear friend… God is for you. When we can’t, He still can.

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If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment (top of post) letting Priscilla know you were blessed! 

-Allison

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5 Ways to Encourage Your Brothers

1. Pray for them.

Make it a point to ask each of your brothers for specific prayer requests from time to time, and then write those things down and pray for them regularly. I recommend praying for each of your brothers on a daily basis.

In addition to praying for them faithfully, be sure to follow up and ask them how it’s going in the specific area you’re praying about for them. There may be something new or different, and if so, make a note of it and start praying about that.

You will be amazed to see God answer your prayers for your brothers! I can’t count all the specific answers and provisions God has given for things I’ve prayed for my brothers over the past year. It’s so awesome to see Him working in their lives, and my faith has been built incredibly through praying very specifically for things in their lives and seeing God answer and provide!

2. Write them notes.

This one is so fun! You can use Scripture verses, or point out things in their character, or just tell them how glad you are to have them for a brother! I often end my notes with something like, “I’m so blessed to be your little sis!”, “You’re such an incredible man!”, or “I’m so proud of you, bro!”.

3. Learn their love languages.

I wrote a guest post here on this topic. Learning about love languages and applying that knowledge has revolutionized my relationships with my brothers. I’m still working on consciously speaking their love languages on a regular basis, but it’s definitely a practical way to make them feel loved.

4. Take interest in their lives and the things they like.

Your brothers will often feel cared about to the extent that they can tell you truly care about them. If you are thinking of something else entirely and giving an absentminded “hmm” as they tell you something, they will likely notice. If you are always too busy to talk or do stuff together, they won’t want to keep “bothering” you. Girls, our brothers are smart, and they know if we truly care to hear their 10 minute recount of the football game they just watched, or if we wish they would just go fly a kite already!

To my shame, I have been guilty of brushing off my brothers and not taking interest in them far too many times, but it is something I am working on. I want them to know that I ALWAYS want to hear about whatever they want to tell me. I want to be the kind of sister that they know is available to do things with them if at all possible. This includes when it is an inconvenient time, or when the activity is not my favorite.

5. Treat them like men.

My post on “Nurturing Your Brothers’ Manhood” goes in-depth into this topic. I am passionate about girls treating brothers like men! You have more power than you realize over your brothers. What are you doing about it?

Maybe the Lord has convicted your heart about an area you need to work on in your brother/sister relationships. I am cheering you on as you strive to be the sweetest, kindest, sister your brothers could every hope for!

much love,

Allison

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