We have our final birthday of the year today. And it’s a big one. It represents 17 years of life and an ongoing journey with God.
Story time... I remember 17 years ago as a fresh 18 year old senior in high school telling my parents I was pregnant.
One of the hardest conversations I have ever had in my life.
That’s what I saw in my dads face and what I felt in my heart. I had disappointed myself, God, and those around me. What would people say?
I was an A student, on the honor roll, athlete, youth group attender, stay out of trouble kind of kid. But, you see, the enemy doesn’t care about any of that. In fact, he doesn’t even really care about me. He wants to smear the name of Jesus. And he uses people to do it.
How did I even get there? Well, I believed a lie, that turned to thoughts that turned to actions. And I made some choices that eventually left me pregnant. At 17. Unmarried. Still in High school. That wasn’t my plan or God’s.
The lie I believed? “I am not good enough. No one will choose me. I am not worthy.” I guess there were several. And so when someone did pay attention to me, well, I didn’t want to miss out.
The lie I believed gave way to fear. And I let them influence my decisions instead of running to the Truth, which would have set me free.
But I chose. I chose not to.
Despite my wrong beliefs + choices, His heart towards me never changed. His will for me was to walk rightly with Him again.
But I had to choose. I had to repent. I had to stop believing the lies and change my thoughts which would lead me to changed action.
His mercy + compassion. Wow. So grateful. And His grace (His empowerment through the Holy Spirit) to help me make those changes. Humbled that He would see me as worthy to fight for. Worthy to send His Son to redeem me + worthy to leave the Holy Spirit as my guide + helper.
There were consequences for believing the lie. Those first three years of being a mom were not easy.
But praise be to God + His prayer warriors. We made it. And here we are. Celebrating this 17 year journey. Celebrating the life of a young man who has brought peace + laughter to many hearts.
Listed below are some of the most often asked questions and their answers. Should you have a question not listed, please feel free to ask!
1) When are the classes?
Mondays & Wednesdays @ 9:00 AM, Friday & Saturdays @ 6:00 AM
2) How long are the classes?
Classes range in length from 40-50 minutes. This includes an extended cool-down and stretch (which happens to be some of the students favorite part, so be sure to stick around)
3) How much are the classes?
Class price will vary depending on how often you will attend. There are usually 13-16 classes/month, but I realize not everyone will be able to attend them all. We created the Pick-Your-Price Memberships for you to choose what will work best for you based on your availability and budget.
4) Is there childcare?
Childcare is only available Mondays and Wednesdays. Please refer to the Membership information on the ACE Fitness tab for cost. Feel free to send along a snack if you desire.
5) What type of workouts do you do?
Each class is a total body workout. We do upper body, lower body, and core exercises. The class begins with a 5 minute warm-up, moves into the conditioning phase, and finishes with an extended cool-down.
6) Who are your classes for?
ACE Fitness classes are open to all ages and fitness levels. Each move has modifications to scale back on or increase intensity. ACE Fitness is designed to be a place for you to be you. There may be days you walk in and nail every move. There also may be days you walk in and modify every move. Or perhaps, some days, you will find yourself somewhere in the middle. We were created as unique individuals, but also designed for community. At ACE Fitness, you will be encouraged to move together, but at your own pace and strength!
7) Do I need any equipment?
If you have dumbbells you are currently using, please feel free to bring them with you. You will only need one set. I do have extra of varying weights if you do not have any or forget yours. You will also need a mat or towel to lay on during cool-down. It is important to stay hydrated as we move our bodies, so a water bottle is also a good idea.
8) How do I sign-up?
You can signup for class on the ACE Fitness Tab. Class size is kept small (6-8) to ensure you get a more personalized experience and the freedom to move safely. Grab your spots early. If you need to change your signup, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
9) How will I know if the schedule changes?
Be sure to like and follow the Vibrant Fitness Facebook page to stay up to date with any schedule changes. Changes will also be posted on the website.
As some of you may know, God has moved on my heart to start teaching group fitness classes right here in our town of Ephrata, PA. What a journey the last year has been! God has moved quickly and Vibrant Fitness has been birthed. I was asked to share some of the story for a recent ladies retreat and decided to record it to share here. This is only a snippet of what transpired over the last year. If you want to ask more questions, lets get together over coffee and chat! You can also check out the Vibrant Fitness tab above to find out more information on these classes. We just finished up our first month of classes and are excited to move into a new month fully expectant to hear from the Lord and of course laugh our way through exercising!
Josh and I will also be leading and hosting a home group for the next 14 weeks. We are eager to see all that God will do in and through those who will be attending. I am most excited to watch my husband dig deeper into the Word as he spends time with the Lord to prepare to lead our group. There is something so attractive about a man seeking diligently after the Lord. :)
Our hearts have been moved in a mighty way over the last couple of years to see the church body walking in unity and true freedom with God and each other. We would covet your prayers as we take each step of obedience to walk out this call He has placed on our life. We will post more about this exciting adventure we are on over at our Team Shuman Facebook page. Thank you for all the encouragement from our dear friends and family!
School is coming to an end and Team Shuman is excited for summer break, which brings changes to our family's normal schedule. And of course, we are ready for cookouts, vacations, swimming and NO HOMEWORK! Normally, I (Alisha) have not had a summer schedule ready before school ended. We enjoyed sleeping in and slowly working towards a summer rhythm, but that also left me more frazzled than relaxed (and halfway through June without a plan). Summertime means fun, but it also means more mouths to feed during the day, more bodies to clean up after, and all my day to day things to get done.
My 16-year-old cousin (from Indiana) is living with us again this summer, my sister is getting married in just a few weeks, round 2 of Crockpot Community is starting June 19th and I am studying for my group fitness instructor exam (August 10th). Lots of fun and exciting events going on, but after listening to a she works His way class on preparing for summer productivity, I knew I needed to have a plan this year BEFORE school ended. This would give clear expectations as well as create a smooth transition into the summer months.
Here are some takeaways from the class that may help you be productive as well:
It is easy to "work" throughout the day from my phone and lose track of time. Before I know it, I have gotten distracted and moved onto something "non-work" (ahem...social media scrolling) or have worked beyond my scheduled office time. During the school year, I work in the afternoons. This is prime pool time over the summer months and we certainly can not miss that. My new plan is to rise and shine at 5:30 am to knock out some office work before the kiddos are even out of bed. This is to make sure I am more present with them without sacrificing productivity in my business.
We had a family meeting this past week to discuss how everyone could help with the household chores and even meal times. Three of my four kiddos can make one or several breakfast meals on their own. My husband and I made a list of all the chores they could choose from and which day of the week they could choose to help with breakfast. I also asked my cousin (16 years old) and oldest son (14 years old) to take charge of making supper 1x/week, which will help me out immensely! All mini chefs must give me their menu and list of ingredients two weeks in advance when I sit down to meal plan. This will ensure we have all the ingredients necessary.
After breakfast, morning routines (get dressed & brush teeth), chores will be completed before free play and pool time. Any office work I did not get done will be completed in the first hour of pool time (after having an open conversation with my kids if they would mind me working during this time) and the second hour is studying for my exam. After those first two hours, the phone and books go away and playtime for momma commences! If you are looking for a way to plan your day to day, check out the free printables from Day Designer! I printed the Ideal Week planning page and put it in a frame on my desk. It serves as a daily reminder to stay on schedule. Click here to see all the beautiful options!
Feel free to download our schedule and make it your own too! We have ours in a page protector on the refrigerator where it is in plain sight for all to see (right above our meal planner).
May is known for spring flowers and showers. It signifies the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. May also includes one of the top 5 highest grossing holidays: Mother's Day. Over the years, this special day's meaning has evolved into different levels for me.
Up until the age of 17, this day consisted of me giving handmade and eventually bought cards and/or flowers to my mom. At the young age of 18, I became a part of the mom club myself. I continued giving cards to my mom, but now I was on the receiving end as well. Given the fact that "receiving gifts" is one of my top love languages (didn't know this at the time), I grew fond of this special day. After getting married, I gained another mom to celebrate.
Over the years, I started to have an expectation when May rolled around. You see, Mother's Day weekend is also my anniversary weekend. (Double whammy for Josh) How was I going to be made a big deal of? What was Josh going to do for me? I began to set myself up for disappointment and Josh up for failure.
I learned a difficult lesson a few years ago after Josh's mom had passed away. It was May. Mother's Day/our anniversary weekend was upon us yet again. And my expectations were not met. I was upset. Angry. Bitter. It was then, God spoke to me sternly. He said two things to me that wrecked my heart and forever changed my perspective.
1. Are you the only one who got married that day? Did you stand at the alter and marry yourself?
2. What about Josh? He doesn't even have a mom around to celebrate anymore? Have you ever thought about asking how he handles Mother's Day without his mom? Without having the ability to hug her?
Ouch! I know, right?! I was so consumed with selfishness, I ended up neglecting the needs and well-being of my spouse! I know I am not alone when I share that I was waiting for Josh to serve me. Put me first. Surprise me. Alone or not, my behavior was wrong.
Now, when May rolls around, I remember how special our wedding day was and how blessed I am to have Josh by my side. I am also reminded that his momma played a very important role in molding him to be the man he is today as well as the woman I am today.
We need to honor those God has placed in our lives, deserved or not. Husbands. Mothers. Fathers. Friends. All of them. Allowing selfishness in my life prohibited me to honor mine. Not anymore.
Humble yourself before God; let Him show you any hidden place that needs the Light. Allow the darkness to be overcome and shine bright with Light. Then be intentional to honor and serve.
Our family traveled to Ocala, Florida over Easter break with some very special friends of ours. It was wonderful. Simply wonderful. I use that word simply because that was life for 5 days. Simple. There was chaos at times (given that there we 16-19 of us at any given time), but it was simple and easy chaos. Like who is getting in which car? Which beach do we go to first? How do we get 19 people showered? How many Easter Eggs do we need to fill? Should we really tell the older boys we licked their jelly beans and sprinkled Cayenne Pepper on them? Simple.
Somehow, after returning from vacation, that simplicity and ease left. Everything seemed so much harder. Keeping up with the dishes. Finding joy in the difficult situations. Getting OUT of bed on time. Going TO bed on time. Spending time with Jesus. Exercising. Working. Why had everything become so complicated?
For me? Two reasons:
Vacations are meant to be a time to get away and disconnect. A time to breathe, unplug, let go, and relax. We totally did that and it was amazing. But life doesn't run on vacation time. You have to start using your brain again. Transition back to your normal routines and habits.
2. I unplugged.
Let me share a cute story to help paint a picture for this point. My 8 year old's job is to vacuum the office, kitchen, and dining room. After he finished the first room, he unplugged the vacuum and left it sit in a corner. I reminded him of the other rooms he needed to finish. After a few minutes I heard his voice call out,
"Mom, the vacuum's not working again." (There is a broken latch and sometimes it will not start if it is not properly connected.) I went over to him and after some minor investigating, responded,
"Buddy, the vacuum only works if you plug it in."
Smiles and laughter broke out and then BOOM! God smacked me right in the forehead and said,
"Alisha, you only work when you are plugged in."
I had unplugged from my Power Source for too long and was unable to function in the most basic of things. I like to say, I was stress paralyzed. It is not a fun place to be. I was tired. Grouchy. And not very fun to be around. (Ask my hubby and kiddos)
You want to know what's worse than unplugging from Jesus? Knowing the solution is to plug back in and you don't make it a priority to do so. *Sigh* I decided enough was enough and this week was not going to be a repeat of last week. So, here I am. Sitting at my desk at 9pm on a Sunday night, making the choice to re-engage and get my power back on.
That's all it takes, folks. A simple choice followed by simple actions.
Open His Word.
I anticipate a much better Mom/Wife/Life-tude when I wake up tomorrow morning. Life will NOT magically be all unicorns and rainbows, but it will mean the Joy of the Lord will be my strength to power me through whatever the day throws at me. New week, I welcome you.
There many reasons to eat, but my top 3 are:
1. Nourishment: something (as food) that causes growth or health
2. Enjoyment: a feeling of pleasure caused by doing or experiencing something you like; the condition of having and using something that is good, pleasant, etc
3. Honor: to regard or treat (someone or in this case, something) with admiration and respect : to regard or treat with honor
We know that what we eat affects how we feel and how our bodies work: nourishment. We also know how to enjoy food. So let's talk about honor.
Imagine taking the time to make something so beautiful, so amazing, so complex and then gifting it to someone. How would you feel if they threw it to the ground and jumped and spit on it? Broke it? Abandoned it?
Friends, that is exactly what we are doing to God when we don't take care of ourselves. God created YOU. Remember our verse? We are masterpieces! What we think, say and do is to bring honor and glory back to our Creator. Have you ever thought about honoring God with the food you eat/don't eat? And even the attitude you take towards caring for your body? Some would say that is ridiculous. Or that it doesn't matter to God. But I beg to differ.
I believe that we as Christians are to surrender EVERY part of our lives to Jesus Christ. Yet, the enemy has deceived many of us at times (me included) that God is only interested in or needs to take care of/be a part of the big or spiritual stuff. Satan has convinced us that we can handle and control our daily "small" decisions and actions.
Look at the mess we make when we do. I know it may sound ridiculous, but God wants total surrender. He wants to be a part of every little detail of our lives; all the nooks and crannies (even what we eat). We need to be like Elsa and let it go. "It" being the need to "control" and surrender.
To honor means to treat something/someone with respect and admiration. Let's shift the mindset of eating and exercising to lose weight and inches towards honoring the gift of life God has given us. Let's choose to surrender WHOLLY to Him.
Josh and I believe in cultivating a strong marriage. This is not something that happens overnight or with little effort. Having this kind of relationship with anyone, including God, requires invested time and communication. As you unselfishly spend time seeking the heart of the Father, you soon experience the rewards of your efforts. So, it is with dating your spouse. When you make the decision to unselfishly sow into your spouse WITHOUT expectations, you WILL see the rewards of your efforts. They may not come as quickly as they do with the Lord, but in time, you will see them!
Galatians 6:9 "And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."
Colossians 3:17, 23 "And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him. Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,"
However, if choosing to be selfless or sowing without expectations is new in your marriage, there may be some hurts that need to be addressed, forgiven, and forgotten. (But that's another blog post!)
Setting up Date Night:
1. We chose Thursday night for several reasons:
a. There were no recurring events on Thursdays
b. We knew weekends tend to fill up with family or other social events.
2. NOTHING gets scheduled on this evening.
3. First & Third Thursdays of the month are at home or close to home (do not require a sitter). We explained to the kids that this night is for Mommy and Daddy to spend together and they can play on their own. (Family Nights are Wednesday nights, so we will have just spent an evening with them.) If you have little ones (under 5), date night in may have to happen after bedtime (and perhaps bedtime is a little earlier this night.)
4. Second & Fourth Thursdays of the month are out of the house (will require sitter if no kids are of age to babysit). This does not mean we spend money outside of a sitter.
5. Set a monthly date night budget and stick to it. This may start out very small in the beginning depending on your season of life and finances. Ask for gift cards for birthdays and Christmas. Sowing into your marriage is more important than the other "things" you may want.
6. Schedule your date night details and line up a sitter (when needed). Plan out at least a month in advance. (We do it quarterly.)
20 Date Night Ideas:
Think outside the box, have fun and go on an adventure with your spouse!
1. Window Shop at your favorite home improvement stores (dream about future home or projects).
2. Coffee Shop/Mall/Book Store: (make & take your own coffee if needed) Share vision for your future as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. Talk about what God has been teaching you. Plan future date nights/days.
3. Try a new place to eat! If it turns out to be a dud, do not look at it as a waste of time or money, but as an adventure you took and time well spent together! Then head home for some better grub!
4. Take a day trip! Do some research (google and/or friends).
5. Go yardsaling/antiquing (is that even a word?!)
6. Brunch. Breakfast is a cheap date and (in my opinion) able to be eaten at any time of day or night!
7. Walk/Run together.
8. Motorcycle/Bicycle Ride.
9. Hiking and a picnic.
10. Try/Attend a teambuilding activity.
11. Test Drive a New Car.
12. Target Shooting at a Gun Range.
13. Create a scavenger hunt for the other person!
14. Send the kids away for the evening. Plan, shop for, and make a meal together.
16. Exchange massages.
17. Roller/Ice skating
18. See a local Play/Musical
19. Progressive Supper (Appetizers at 1 place, Soup & Salad at another, Entrees at another, dessert at another or home)
20. Wii Tournament
Recently, I got to share how God is transforming me from the inside out. (Notice the present tense?) I started a journey to (let's be honest) just lose weight almost 4 years ago. I did it. I lost the weight. Actually, I was the fittest I had ever been (on the outside.) I started the journey weighing 185 lbs and got as low as 128 lbs (a number I hadn't seen...well, since I was a teeny bopper).
But, want to hear more honesty? I was still concerned more about the outside than the inside. Consumed. Yes. That is a much better word. Everything I did...ate...didn't eat...consumed me. And the compliments I received from the physical transformation? They were probably genuine, but they were feeding the wrong part of me. They were feeding my flesh. My pride.
God decided enough was enough. He had work for me to do. If I was so wrapped up in myself, how was I going to fulfill His purpose? I wasn't. I couldn't. I needed a perspective shift. I needed to fix my eyes on Jesus.
He started orchestrating new people to enter my life and others to leave. The scales (no pun intended) started falling off my eyes and collecting dust in my bathroom. I experienced His passion for people in the depths of my spirit. My heart was breaking for what broke His....the lost (those who don't know Him or are living free in and through Him).
So, began my REAL transformation. I was now in a position to start really hearing from the Lord and moving forward in His calling for my life and that of my family. He filled me with fresh purpose and passion and showed me my next steps in the journey.
I am now in a place of true joy and contentment: body, spirit, mind. I love Jesus and can barely get through a day without being overwhelmed by His goodness and the opportunities of sharing that goodness with others. Each time lights a new fire within me to keep seeking, learning, growing, and sharing. I want EVERYONE I meet to find fulfillment and freedom like I have found.
It is possible. There is hope. And it starts with a man named Jesus.
Over the last several years, I have realized the importance of meal planning and the positive effects on my overall wellness. We have been able to save money while sticking to our budget, decrease stress and save this momma's sanity when asked, "What's for supper?" I have learned many useful tips would like to share a few of the basics with you. Meal planning is not meant to be torture (although, when you are first starting out, it may seem that way). I hope you will have a new found peace in this area after you have read through and implemented these tips.
Before you begin:
1. Grab your UPDATED calendar (yours, hubby's, and kiddos). This is important, so you know which nights need to be a crockpot/easy-throw-together meal with little to no prep or which nights you have more time to put into the meal.
2. Set and know your grocery budget. (God desires us to be good stewards of our resources and that includes honoring our finances.) There was a time that Team Shuman actually carried a calculator with us through the store and added up our groceries to stay within our budget. Seems silly, but was an instrumental move to get us out of debt!
3. Gather your favorite recipes that include ingredients and the amounts you will need.
4. Take inventory of your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. More often than not, you will come home from the grocery store with double or triple of something you already have because you did not check these places.
5. Have a visible meal planner!
6. Consider using a grocery list app. I am a pen and paper girl, but have on several occasions, forgotten the list at home or even left it in the van. I always have my phone and therefore will never be without my list again. Another perk to using an app is the ability for other people (your spouse) to add to the list as well via their phone. (Just remember to have auto-sync turned on.) You can check off each item as you buy them, but it saves your list for the next time!
Favorite Apps: Out of Milk (for Android), Any List (for iOS)
1. Meal plan based off the food you already have or meals that will require minimal items bought at the grocery store. This is a HUGE money saver!
2. We all have family favorites in our rotation, but sometimes they can get old. Instead of trying to make all new recipes, try starting with 1-2 new recipes per week. Ask friends or check Pinterest (Be sure to set a timer, so you stay focused and don't spend your entire evening "meal planning.").
3. Ask the family for suggestions. Any complaining at mealtime will be quieted with the fact that you gave them an option to have input for the meals! :)
3. As you choose meals and place them on your planner, be sure to place ALL needed ingredients and amounts of each onto your grocery list. When you are done meal planning, you will know exactly how many pounds of chicken you need or how many cans of beans you need, etc.
Understand and recognize your current season of life. Can you realistically plan for a whole month or do you need to start small and plan 3 days ahead? 1 week? 2 weeks? My husband gets paid bi-weekly and therefore I plan 2 weeks at a time.
I hope this was helpful for you and can relieve some stress and help save you tie and money!