Like Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition in the early 1800s, Sex and Jesus is a journey of exploration. The territory, like the newly acquired western United States were, is vast and mysterious. I want to map, if I can, sexuality and spirituality and perceptions on both as they interconnect for typical American citizens of diverse ages, genders, weights, sizes and religious or non-religious affiliation. I’m asking a lot of questions about a lot of different things, some easy to talk about, some taboo and some, quite honestly, deplorable. I’m not necessarily seeking to answer questions as much as to explore different thoughts, preferences and rules (written and unwritten) about sexuality and God so that I can chart the land. Where are the fault lines we all ought to avoid building on? Where are the waters we gather around for life and gratification? What are the highest peaks of orgasmic pleasure and the lowest valleys of sexual depravity? What is the shape of sex on God’s canvas of humanity? I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but I’ve got my bags packed and now I’m out to assemble a crew… and I want YOU!
Of course, I’ll be the captain of this grand adventure. I will be as honest as I can possibly be in sharing what I find, but I’m far from objective. I’m admittedly and unashamedly a conservative Christian. I’m comfortable and confident in my faith in Jesus Christ. This is the cornerstone of my life and also, obviously, the catalyst for this expedition. Additionally, I’m a fitness fanatic, a small town woman with minimalist tendencies and a dark past. I’m an advocate for abused and neglected children because I’m an adult survivor of sexual abuse. All of these “hats” and so many more influence me and leave me less than neutral.
I want more than my own paradigm and voice. I would like to collaborate with some of my dearest companions as I make this journey, and do so hope a few will volunteer to join me. I respect and value their opinions more than anyone’s… that’s why they’re closest to me; but I also want to supplement their input with the opinions of others I might not be as familiar with. I need more than the perspectives of a handful of select individuals I know well. If I only ask and trust my friends for data I don’t think I’ll see the true topography with all the gritty bits that may be left out as they shape their answers because of the complexity of human interaction and our personal relationships. In order to fully explore the territory, I need the rest of my crew to be a trustworthy but diverse mix.
That’s why I’m coming to you!
I have a vague vision for this project that resembles the Lewis & Clark expedition. My core team will be small enough for me to listen to with focused intensity but large enough to provide a broad view of the landscape. I’ll be asking a sexual question of the day several times a week as well as a lot of survey questions. These will help me define the forum topics and questions I’ll ask others along the way. Ideally we’ll meet a number of times this year in one-on-one or forum type settings (either online or in person where time and distance permit). I hope to talk openly and candidly about sex and religion.
Of course ‘along the way’ I’ll interview the natives, foreigners and fellow sojourners on their own adventures. From this group of people I’ll explore different cultures, traditions, beliefs, perceptions and mindsets than what may be the accepted norm within the corp. As different as these perspectives are, they have a right to be heard and I want to listen.
So today I’m asking for brave volunteers to join my Corp of Explorers or honestly represent the natives and fellow sojourners. There will be lots of sex and Jesus talking and definitely some exploration along the way. I promise, all data and feedback will be treated with the utmost respect, and information within the book will be presented anonymously. If you want to participate completely anonymously you can, I’ll respect your privacy, but I need you to be honest no matter what! If you are intrigued and want to actively participate in this adventure with me, will you please email me at: LucyHDelaney@gmail.com
Some but not all of the topics I plan to cover are:
Climax and multiple orgasm
Biblical history of sex
Libido, sexual appetite and dysfunction
Monogamy and multiple partners
Church traditions, rules and taboos
Purity and depravity
Breast and penis envy and size
Pornography and artistic nudity
Biblical laws regarding sexual practices
In last week’s post I alluded to a project I’m undertaking with a number of local gyms and fitness minded individuals. This week marks the launch of our: “2018 Health & Fitness Improvement Series!”
I’m inspired by and attracted to individuals who are determined, motivated and focused on making their lives better and dreams come true. As a writer I’m fascinated with people and learning what makes them tick and act and react to life and how to build believable characters in my own stories. As a fitness enthusiast I’ve met and interviewed several people over the last few years who have dramatically changed their bodies and lives by focusing on improving their health and fitness levels. Their stories are inspiring, and quite honestly HOT! Their pictures look amazing and the interviews are always big hits. I’ve even had one interview with Ed Henley turn into a front page feature story in our local magazine, The Good Life.
Because of my fascination with determined individuals, the popularity of the Before & After Interviews, a desire to grow my readership, and my personal passion for fitness, I decided to do a year long series on local people actively pursuing impressive physical goals. I’ve partnered with several local fitness facilities and found an admirable and courageous group of men and women who are willing to share their journey with you and me this year.
Please meet the 2018 Health & Fitness Improvement Series participants!:
Ace Bollinger from my own dearly loved gym, CrosSport:
Weight goals: drop at least 50 pounds (currently 275)
Nutrition goals: Eat good food with a Paleo slant – reduce alcohol intake
Other goals: Get back in the gym regularly (3-5x/wk), gain back strength and muscle
Ace admits that the demands of running his own high-stress business, Bollinger Custom Home Builders, and the joys and life changes that came with marrying his wife, Amber, a couple years ago took their toll on his fitness regime. Ace used to go to the gym regularly for a lunchtime WOD (Work Out of the Day), but his attendance had become spotty at best. Mike Toigo, one of the owners and trainers at CrosSport, sat in on Ace and my first meeting and helped Ace set some realistic and attainable goals he could achieve if he is determined to do it. Mike reiterated, it won’t happen if Ace isn’t committed. Ace looked us both in the eye and affirmed that he’s committed to living a better, healthier life that includes getting to the gym 4-5 times a week for WODs and cardio workouts, cleaner eating and drinking – seems Ace and I are both a fan of the wine & whiskey and he also digs a good beer… or three with his buddies.
The changes won’t be easy, but the benefits will be worth it. Ace is sure the progress and improvements will come, “I know what I have to do. It’s like when you get up in the morning and have to get dressed. I need to do this... so I will.”
Jorge & Daniella – brother & sister team extraordinaire from Anytime Fitness:
Weight goals: to get down to 240 (currently 270)
Nutrition Goals: Eat more of the better kinds of foods
Other Goals: Build endurance
Jorge is no stranger to losing weight or setting high goals and achieving them. Seven years ago he was the Gold’s Gym Weight Loss Challenge second place winner after starting at nearly 320lbs and dropping to 247. He admits the weight came off too fast and he didn’t learn how to keep it off. After the competition was over, and he moved away from the valley to Seattle, he slowly fell back into old habits and the weight started to creep back up. After moving back to Wenatchee and watching his sister make a decision to get to the gym and be consistent with it, he decided to go too. Jorge’s starting weight when he started at Anytime Fitness was around 290, but this year he feels confident he’ll drop all the extra weight he’s been carrying far too long.
Jorge knows consistency and nutrition are key for him to not only get to the weight he wants, but to keep him healthy and fit and in a position to build his strength and muscle mass. He has been going to Anytime to work out four to six times a week and often does two-a-days, with a cardio focus for morning workouts and lifting focus later. He plans to work with his trainer Chris to find out what the good foods to eat are and in what portions to help him perform at an optimal level. He’s excited to drop the extra weight and really see what his body can do when it’s at its best.
Weight goals: to get down to 140 (currently 205)
Nutrition goals: To eat better
Other Goals: Not obsess over the scale number – look at the scale less
At 215 pounds, Daniella, decided she was tired of feeling bad about her body, tired of diets that didn’t work, and weight that kept hanging on, and ready to change her body and her life. Like her brother, Daniella is no stranger to the gym or slimming down, just to gain it back. She says she’s gotten down to as low as 160 before but just can’t manage to keep the weight off. She started going to Anytime Fitness consistently and has dropped some weight, but more than that has increased her strength considerably.
When I spoke with Rachelle, manager at Anytime Fitness, about the 2018 Fitness Improvement Series, she said Daniella’s body was right at the verge of dramatically changing. Daniella has established great routines and set her mind on some impressive, but achievable goals for the year. For her, variety is key to remaining consistent and keeping active. Once she established the habit of going to the gym, she started encouraging her brother to go with her and also mixed up her workouts to avoid boredom. She likes to watch videos on new exercises and routines and tries them out to keep things diverse. She works out six times a week, often twice a day, and plans to learn from Chris how to develop better eating habits. Daniella knows she really needs to get a hold on her nutrition this year, and once that’s in place her body will really start to change.
Jasmine Hutchinson – the bouldering beauty from Riverfront Rock Gym:
Weight goals: Nothing specific but wants to fit into a super small bikini this summer
Nutrition goals: Drink more water
Other goals: Improve overall hard sport climbing with a focus on: hard bouldering, campus board work, hang board work
Improve flexiblity (yoga once a week or more)
Jasmine, mother of two year old Ryder, is ready to get her climbing life back. She is grateful for her son and husband, Ryan, and with his support, has worked hard over the last several years to get through nursing school because she wanted a career that allowed her the opportunity and time to climb. Ironically, it came at a cost. With all of the demands on her time, she just didn’t have the freedom to climb when she wanted, like she wanted. But now that Ryder’s older and she’s a licensed nurse, she’s ready to get back to it!
Jasmine comes from a rock-climbing family and has been climbing since she was a child, something Ryder will do as well. She remembers participating in some competitions when she was a kid, but was more attracted to the lifestyle and culture than the competitive part of climbing. She spent a lot of time as a young adult climbing for fun and socializing with others, especially with her best friend and climbing partner, Ilah. Recently, though, Jasmine did participate in RRGs first local competition and won the women’s advanced division. To start off the year, Jasmine is participating in a fourteen week, elite training called Let it Burn. She is sure to improve her climbing strength and over-all skill level. Once the training is complete Jasmine plans to re-evaluate her goals and see where to go for the rest of the year.
Ceci – student, full-time employee and gym devotee of Crossfit 791:
Weight goals: Nothing specific just wants to fit in clothes comfortably and cut weight until she’s comfortable with her weight
Nutrition goals: eat better in general, snack on healthy foods, start a different way of lifetime eating
Other goals: 4 pull-ups and a continuous run of 400 meters or more
Ceci, a former co-worker, has been singing the praises of Crossfit 791 since she joined. Knowing that I was a gym enthusiast, she encouraged me to go and check it out. As soon as I stepped in the door, I knew why Ceci was hooked! The 8:30 AM class was gearing up and several people waved and smiled and welcomed me as they warmed up. Ceci gives the people, from the owners; Kim, Dawn and Lindsay, to her brother and sister-in-law (who originally convinced her to go), to the crew of gym-mates that she sweats with, credit for her enthusiasm and determination to continue. Even with all the different directions life pulls her as she balances family, school and work, she’s made a concerted effort to get to the gym three times a week.
Ceci admits that she never considered herself a fit person but has always been confident in her own skin. After high school, though, she gradually put on weight and got to the point where she just didn’t feel as confident with herself and how she looked. When her sister-in-law joined Crossfit and invited her, Ceci immediately felt welcomed and fit right in. Ceci knows the WODs will help her lose the weight she’s not fond of but she’s especially interested in building her strength and endurance, which has already improved dramatically. With a routine in place and a great gym and youth on her side, Ceci’s sure to see her body change this year.
Jamie & Morgan – work wives, gym-mates and The Gym LLC’s cheer squad:
Weight goals: Nothing specific but wants to be able to feel comfortable in a pair of shorts this summer
Nutrition goals: Eat better food in smaller portions
Other goals: get muscle mass up and more muscle definition
Morgan, a married mother of two elementary school-aged children, credits the start of her fitness journey to two primary things; a woman named Andrea Johnson and a change of perspective. “I was done feeling bad about myself. It was time to do something. I had watched Andrea and I knew what she used to look like. I knew if she could do it, I could do it too.” Morgan’s known Andrea, owner of The Gym LLC, for years and watched her metamorphosis from fat to fit. Tired of her negative body image and inspired by Andrea, Morgan joined The Gym last spring and feels more confident than she’s ever felt before and knows that with consistency over time even more changes will happen.
While we visited, Morgan re-iterated how Andrea’s encouragement and her best friend, Jamie’s parallel journey, help to keep her focused on her long-term goals even in the cold, dark winter months when motivation is low. She’s tired of people saying she has a pretty face as if the rest of her is unmentionable and looks forward to building a body she can be proud of this summer. One of Morgan’s biggest goals this year is to feel confident in a pair of shorts. It seems like a little thing, but neither she, nor Jamie can ever remember her wearing them. “I’m ready! This is my year!”
Weight goals: to get down to around 150 or to a weight that matches the image of she has in her mind
Nutrition goals: “Make more healthy choices than bad ones”
Other goals: 2 minute plank, get more toned overall
I met Jamie and Morgan at Agave Azul in Cashmere and all of us felt slightly awkward about meeting to talk about year-long health, fitness and nutrition goals while eating in a Mexican restaurant. But Jamie summed up all of our sentiments quite nicely, “I’m not going to stop eating or completely change how I eat. I make more healthier choices than bad ones, but if I come home and my fiance made me a delicious dinner… I’m eating it!” With that we all ordered our food, ate what we wanted while we chatted and left plenty of food behind when we were satisfied.
During the course of our meal and meet up Jamie confessed that she couldn’t ignore it when her best friend and co-worker decided to change her lifestyle. She knew she too had weight to lose and could make better, healthier choices about her activity level and food choices, so instead of resisting, she decided to get in on the fitness journey. About a month after Morgan started at The Gym Jamie joined and fell in love with Andrea and her training approach. “She’s a perfect combination of cheerleader and drill sargent! She knows what it’s like to do it the right way.” Jamie’s starting this year within in fifteen pounds of her “goal weight” but stressed that she’s not looking for a specific number so much as to get her physical body to match the image she has of it in her head. With her friend and fabulous trainer by her side, she’s sure to get to her goals.
Debbie & Riley – realize their goals with Actualize Sports & Fitness:
Weight goals: to get down to 150
Nutrition goals: nothing specific – simply to maintain current nutritional plan to eat with balance & moderation and better choices in mind
Other goals: to get more agile & build muscle and strength
Debbie came from a heavy family and never learned about fitness. With the pregnancies of her four daughter’s came pounds she couldn’t keep off. Debbie was a yo-yo dieter and knew how to work each fad diet ferociously. She was often “successful” but gained back weight when the diet ended. “There was no program to teach me how to maintain.” That’s where she hovered, “Not unhealthy but quite heavy,” for years. Then she and her husband bought the Express Employment Professionals business and she sat behind a desk every day. “That’s when the weight really added on.”
Debbie knew she needed to do something. She and a neighbor started walking but Debbie landed on her foot wrong and broke her ankle. “That was pivotal for me. I wondered if I was stronger or lighter, if I could have prevented it. I went on a journey. It was never about losing weight as much as being fit, strong and able to keep up with my grandkids. I am forever grateful for Blaine and his team Actualize Sports & Fitness and the support of my amazing husband and of course my amazing Lord. I marvel at where I am today. I feel great! Exercise and good food is now something I crave. I did not give up anything foodwise, just created balance. I feel healthier and much happier too. I [even] ran with my granddaughter at the beach this summer. Me! I ran, and it feels good! Here’s to continuing my journey!!”
Weight goals: to be up to 230 by September and reevaluate from there
Nutrition goals: To eat 5000 calories a day of healthy food, particularly veggies and lean protein
Other goals: position himself to be selected for collegiate football upon graduation
After switching his athletic focus in school from basketball, which the 6’ 3” freshman liked, to football where he found out he was a great tight end, Riley wanted to do everything he could to improve and get even better. “My goal is to play college football.” He knew Actualize Sports & Fitness and owner, Blaine, was the ticket. “I watched a couple guys at school get really good on the field and they said it was all Blaine, so me and my parents checked him out.” Blaine sat down with Riley and his parents and put together a plan to build Riley’s strength and speed and add on weight to better position him to achieve the goals he set for himself.
Already Riley has noticed significant changes in his agility and ability. He achieved his January bench press goal even before we met for the first time on January eleventh. He admits that even though the nutrition plan and eating nearly five thousand calories a day was a chore at first, he’s gotten used to it and is seeing the desired affects. His weight is increasing in a realistic manner and everything else is progressing nicely too. Riley has the world at his fingertips and with Actualize and Blaine by his side he’s sure he’ll build his body into its best possible version this year.
Goals, objectives, resolutions… whatever you call ‘em it’s time to put up or give up! Some are gearing up for the best, most productive and successful year of their lives so far! These are the people I plan to be associated with this year and to that end I’ve made one of my biggest goals… to follow several people from different local gyms, studios and fitness facilities as they work for their health and fitness goals (more to come on that next week!). I believe this series will be one of the most rewarding goals I achieve this year, but I do not think it’ll be considered the loftiest goal I set...
I’m a goal oriented person and New Year Goal setting gets me giddy for weeks leading up to January and, though I don’t always attain all my written goals, I make commendable progress that I wouldn’t otherwise achieve if I didn’t have my goals written down.
Last year I approached my goals differently. Usually I write and post them where I can see them & read them every day, or at least quite often. I didn’t do that in 2017, instead I made my goal more of a directive. I wanted to “Settle down & Focus.” Whatever aspect of my body, mind, soul or spirit I was working on, I wanted to ask myself two questions and be able to answer “yes” to one or the other. The questions were:
Will this settle me down?
Will this give me/help me focus?
2016 had been a year of carefree living. My publisher went out of business so I lost my drive to get books out. I was still “choosing” a church in Wenatchee and didn’t feel connected anywhere. To avoid the loneliness of being single; I went out A LOT, I spent A LOT, I raced A LOT, I dated A LOT. It was a year of hedonistic pleasure and soothing the pain of The Leaving.
I knew, however, I was made for more than living carelessly for simple pleasures. I was made to honor God with my body, mind, soul and spirit. I was made to love and help others and serve my fellow man. I was made to write. I was made to be a productive member of society, not just a greedy soul looking for what the world can give me… I knew I needed to settle down & focus.
I didn’t not anticipate the settling down to happen the way it did. If 2016 was about living carelessly, 2017 was all about him. The Mountain Man. He who built me a snow cave and melted my heart!
I planned to put an end to seriously dating at the end of 2016. I was not opposed to it, I’d just spent so much time entertaining so many men (without sex of course!) that I was literally exhausted. Yes, their attentions and affections kept me from being lonely but it didn’t meet my need for a partner or companion, and the flirting, the figuring someone out just to realize they weren’t into me or I wasn’t into them and having to start all over again… or have two or three ongoing pursuits at the same time wore me out. I knew I wanted a life-long partner, I knew God made me with a companionable soul, but it was too much. I needed a break.
Just before I closed down my online profile I met a guy. He was nice enough, definitely had the physique, wit and personality I liked, but he wasn’t a Christian, a gym rat, or a hiker so there were too many things dissimilar that I figured it wouldn’t work out. We built a friendship on that mutual understanding. I’m not gonna lie, there was chemistry too so we were friends who also kissed, but that was it. Then somehow, maybe it was the because I had mentally prepared to settle down and wasn’t really entertaining too many other men, maybe it was because his cadence through life was something my feet could follow easily, maybe it was because no matter how hard I tried to shake him off, he still showed up in all his brawny, ‘simple-man’ glory that was so attractive to me, maybe it was that unbelievably amazing snow cave he dug out...
Whatever it was… Jeremy Worley somehow became me focus in 2017. In July we decided to settle down together for the rest of our lives! We got married, I moved onto the chicken farm and we have thoroughly enjoyed all the pleasures of newlywedding!! With the settling in came a whole lot of firsts and new revelations and filtering through our rubbish and salvaging treasures from our pasts. We’ve each had to let go of old news and bad habits and are learning how to honor what we once had, while celebrating this new life together.
My 2017 goal was to “Settle down & Focus.” I achieved it; even if it wasn’t the way I planned. I settled down with a partner for life. I focused on getting all three of my books in the Road to Love series re-published. I got my credit card debt paid off. I did try to make a career move into a job that filled my soul, but that didn’t pan out the way I wanted, so I’m currently job hunting, but what’s life without risk, right?!
In keeping with the theme idea, I gave myself a word for 2018: GROW! I want to grow in all areas of my life. I have my SMART goals written down and now that I’ve settled down with the Mountain Man and he’s given me a place to call my own, by his side, on his mountain, in the safety of his belief in me… I’m confident this year will be an astonishing year of growth for us both.
So cheers to a 2018 full of growth & success from the Chicken Farm to you!