Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It's Not Nothing...

Today marks exactly 9 months until I'm standing with my husband on a stage to hand our son his high school diploma.  It will mark the end of a 17 year journey of homeschooling for our family.  And it will mark the culmination of a walk that began 18 years ago this coming Friday, when we walked into the birthing center for that unexpected blessing to be born.

I mentioned on my Facebook today that this is like pregnancy, in reverse.  And I've thought about that all day today, as we worked through division problems together and one of us had tears trying to get the concept across!  And then there was laughter as we realized how terribly we communicate. :)  

How many things have I taught him?  
He learned to eat.  He learned to go potty.  He's walking because of our instruction.  He rides bicycles, drives, reads books, showers regularly, talks, does math and science.  He prays and serves the Lord.  He loves to work with his hands and he loves to serve others.  
He can do laundry and has basic cooking skills.  
And so, I'm looking at this 6'3" baby of mine that will make that important walk in 9 months and I'm realizing, "There are only 9 months left, but there's still so much I wanted you to know!"  

When you're expecting a baby, you have 9 months to get prepared for their COMING.  

When you're graduating your child, you have 9 months to prepare for their GOING.

I distinctly remember feeling this way with my first son; not ready, so much that I still wanted him to know before he went off to college or the military or got married, all of which he did within 4 years of graduating high school.  

So, this concept isn't new, but it just seems more final today.  
Maybe because this is my last child?  
Maybe because this means I'll no longer be part of the amazing homeschool support group that we have, where I get to see all my friends when there's a function?  

But maybe it's because I really don't know who "I" am without kids, without homeschooling, without being needed?  
And maybe I'm just a little scared at the next chapter in life?

I'm sitting in that thought.

But I've made a decision to pull back from everything else that I've been involved in over the past few years and just pour myself into my family, particularly my senior, and make sure that I've done the most that God can possibly help me do to turn him loose into this world to make a difference!  

He is an amazing kid, and I don't say that just because I'm his mother.  
He seriously is just a wonderful, delightful, incredible man and I am so very blessed that he calls ME "Mom."

So, as one lady said on a blog I read, but cannot find to link here, 
"It's not a death.  It's not a birth.  But it's not nothing, either.  It's something that deserves to be celebrated, to be grieved over, to be recognized as a passage of time. 
 It's different, it's hard.  
But it's not nothing."

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Is Going On?

I have been making lots of changes over the past 18 months or so, and more recently had given up eating out.  And now I'm realizing that my body is really, really changing.

No, my weight is not dropping, unfortunately.  I actually weigh the most right now that I have in a while (260 lbs the last time I stepped on the scale.)

But other things are going on...like I can't handle taking vitamins and supplements anymore.  As soon as I do, I get a headache or start retaining fluids, like I'm being overloaded.  The same thing is happening to my husband, as well!  The best we can figure, we're getting so many vitamins and nutrients from our food and protein shakes that we don't NEED to take those extra things.  Woo-Hoo!

I have realized in this first week of August that eating out doesn't taste good anymore.  Can you believe that?  I went to lunch with my mom last week and had half a sandwich and a salad, and while it was ok, I really felt bloated and so very thirsty the rest of the day.  Not a good feeling.

Fruit is really all the sweet I "need."  Now granted, chocolate is ALWAYS going to be my vice, but if I'm hungry for something sweet, I find myself turning to fruit with greek yogurt more and more often.

I'm in love with fresh veggies.  Not necessarily raw veggies, but fresh vs. frozen.  I've been grilling squash and zucchini from my garden all summer, and it is just so stinkin' good!  I still struggle with salads, though.  Something about the lettuce just doesn't sit well with my tummy.

And so, while I'm discouraged on the one hand about my weight being UP rather than down as I prepare to fly to Kenya on Thursday, I remain ENCOURAGED by the progress I've made in being more in tune with my body, in realizing that fresh, whole foods are so much more satisfying, and in knowing that we really ARE making progress, even if it isn't reflected on the scale.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Top 5 Fasting Lessons Learned

It's the end of the month of July and I'm looking back over the past 31 days and marveling at what has happened.  I wanted to give you an update.

1. We saved right at $400 this month by not eating out.  
Can you believe that?  I was shocked.
I kept track on my phone of all the times I wanted to eat out, but didn't, and then also all the times that I/we would have eaten out if it had been "business as usual."
My husband and son didn't abstain in the same way I did, but they cut back quite a bit.
There were 2 times that I purchased food, once where I sat and ate a burger with friends, and once where we ran through the drive thru to grab a chicken dinner for the drive in movie.  But there was also 2 times where I met friends at a restaurant and sat at the table and didn't eat!

2.  There are opportunities for food EVERYWHERE!
I guess you're never more aware of something until you are "giving it up."  But I had never realized how readily available food was until this month.  Grocery stores have soup and salad buffets.  Gas stations have hot and ready pizza.  Convenience stores have 2 ft. sub sandwiches and hot corn dogs at the counter!  And it can all be bought with food stamps if you have 'em!  So, it's no small wonder why America is dealing with an obesity epidemic!

3.  It's not about the restaurant/eating out.  
It's a heart issue.  Always has been.
I've learned again that everything I do, EVERYTHING I do, proceeds from my heart.
You could put me in a foreign country where there was extreme food shortages and I could/would still desire my own way, still want to draw comfort from something other than Christ!  It's the constant battle that I fight, and I don't think I'm alone.  My peace, my comfort, my satisfaction MUST be in Christ alone!  So God has once again shown me that it isn't about the food, or the restaurant, it's about the motive and position of my heart.  

4.  God will answer your prayer.  And He's willing to do what you ask Him to.
I've been asking Him this month to really make me SICK of my sin, and even if it means literally making me feel sick to my stomach when I eat the wrong things.  And guess what?  He has done that!  I have been tempted, and one day I gave in to purchasing some rich, sweet chocolate cake slice at the Kroger bakery.  One bite was good; 2 bites was a bit much, and the 3rd bite I really thought I wasn't going to keep down!  I ended up throwing the rest away.   I actually laughed and said, "Very funny, Jesus!  Answer to prayer noted!"  :)

5.  He is enough.
This is the theme that kept repeating itself over and over this month.  It is something that I've been trying to teach my heart to remember.  I cannot do anything to add to this salvation.  There is nothing else I "need" outside of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Anything that I would try to substitute for peace or pleasure is rubbish!  I do not need to work harder, or try harder, or be anything other than the completely adopted and loved daughter of the King.  
He is enough.  
And that makes me enough.

So, it's been a month of reflection and learning, growth and discovery.  I can feel the stirrings of big changes coming on and I'm not exactly what that's going to look like but I'm excited.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Month - New Challenges

Today is the end of a month, and the 6 month mark of my "No Taco Bell or McDonald's" challenge that I embarked upon on December 31st.

183 days ago.

It's been a very LONG 6 months.

I have learned some things about myself, and I have listened to the Lord speaking to my heart about some things that need to change.

One of those things He is asking me to do begins tomorrow morning.

He wants me to give up eating out.

At any restaurant.


For the entire month of July.

It may seem trivial to some people, and it might seem totally reasonable to others.  For me, it is a difficult thing to surrender.

The fast food hasn't really been "hard" to walk away from, as long as I had the option of still going to a restaurant.

And that's where the idolatry has been revealed.

There is such pleasure in the eating out, so much comfort and familiarity to me.  An unhealthy sense of refuge, a place of peace and joy that comes over me when I go inside an eating establishment.

These are things I should be deriving from Christ.  From devouring His Word.  From spending time in His presence.

But instead, I get more excited about planning a lunch date with a friend.  Or thinking about what restaurant has lunch specials. Or searching for coupons so we can all go out to eat.

And so, as I prepare my heart for my trip to Kenya in 7 weeks, I will be spending the month of July fasting from restaurants.

It is not going to be easy.  Not at all!

Because, once again, it reveals that while I have stayed away from fast food, it wasn't the "food" that was the issue.  It is my heart.

What's the old saying, "You can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl?"

Yeah.  You can take away the food that she loves, but you don't take away her love of food.

Rules, regulations, fences, legislation, all those things do not 'fix' problems.  They merely serve to identify how wicked a heart really is.  How rebellious and determined a person will become, and how quickly they will find a way around them.

My desire in this time of fasting is for the Lord to really break my heart.  (I know those are scary words to type!)  I want Him to be Lord of my entire heart.  For Him to be more appealing to me than anything this world has to offer.

And so it begins.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Where Am I?

I've had lots of people ask me, "How are you doing?  Where are you at in your weight loss journey?"  So I thought today might be a good day to bring everyone up to speed.

To update my last post (before the picture story of my son), it's now been 131 days since I've walked through the doors of my 2 former hangouts.

But walking through the doors is just a formality.  In my heart, I desire to return.

I find myself in some dark, uncharted territory.

I am struggling.  Vacillating.  I always seem to be somewhere between desiring to do what God wants me to do, and driving around and around the McDonald's parking lot.

Our church is currently studying through the book of I Samuel and we're in the chapters where Saul is becoming impatient of waiting on God.  And I am SO DEEPLY identifying with Saul!  And I HATE that!  I want to be the "man after God's own heart," the one that is constantly searching and running after God, who despises their sin and hates anything that God hates.

But I'm not that person.

I'm lazy.

I am rebellious.

I love quick fixes and fast food and easy answers.

I think I have the answers, that "I can handle it."

It's so easy to raise my hands on Sunday morning, to cry tears and confess sin and pray prayers of repentance.

But then it's Monday, and the house is a wreck, it's time to go grocery shopping, and everyone's rushing to meet the demands of the outside world and I find myself turning to the wrong things to meet the needs that arise within me.  

Or using the excuse that "I'm exhausted from the weekend" to stay in bed and not go to the gym.

I've allowed the first anniversary of my father's death and memorial service to overwhelm my thoughts and though I've TRIED and striven to keep control of where those thoughts take me, I have found myself being drawn into places of darkness again.

Honestly, I'm scared right now of the place I'm in.  I don't like it.  I want to get out.  I feel lonely and weak...so very, very weak.

I know that it's a season.  This will not last forever.  It could be hormonal or physical or emotional issues at play.

But for now, today, it's where I am.

There are a few things that I'm going to do to try to help myself; I'm going to get dressed.  I'm going to leave the house and get out in the sunshine.  And I'm going to meet a friend and have some adult conversation over a yummy lunch.

If you're reading this, and you know that prayer works, I do ask for you to pray for me this week.  I need it.

I want to get back on top.  To find my will power.  To be in close communion with God.  To desire to care for my health.  To count the reasons that I SHOULD care for myself.

Can you remind me?  Not just platitudes and canned answers.  Be firm with me.  Be in my face.  Help me lift up my arms.  Because today, I have no strength.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Ripple Effect

I'm sure that everyone knows what the "ripple effect" is, but just in case, I'll explain it a little bit.

When you toss a pebble into a pond, there's the initial point of contact, but once the stone hits the water, there are ripples, almost like rings, that go out from the center point.  What you did by throwing the stone now has a bigger effect on the water.  

And so today I'm talking about the ripple effect that my health has on my family, and one POSITIVE effect that has taken place in our house.

My eating habits do not affect me alone.  No, sadly, with ANY addiction, whether it be drugs or alcohol, gambling or pornography, the choices of the addict affect EVERYONE that is in their lives.  And such is the case with my eating.  When I shop for groceries, since I am the only one that does that, my choices of what comes into the house greatly affect those that will be consuming this food that has been purchased.  

Enter my young son, who has a predisposition just like me to struggle with weight issues.  And one day I wake up to realize that he's rapidly gaining weight.
(Me and Clayton on his 12th birthday)

I knew I didn't want this life for my child, but I had not had that crisis experience yet.  And so we continued to eat out of control.  And he, and I, grew.

(Age 13)
(Age 14)
(Age 15)

And then I went to the doctor and had that "Come to Jesus" moment when I realized that I was headed straight for diabetes and kidney failure, heart attack and stroke if I didn't turn around!  
And my older son entered the military and challenged us to get fit while he was gone.  And we began the journey together as a family.  And changes started happening.

(Age 16, at his brother's graduation)

(after he got his license and was headed to prom)

(celebrating his 17th at the shooting range with dad and bro)

(fitting into a size medium shirt!)

(Celebrating Easter together)

My encouragement to you today is this: you CAN change the course.  You CAN make the ripple effects POSITIVE.  What you DO in front of your kids is MORE important that what you say.  That old adage says, "Actions speak louder than words."  
I can tell my son to exercise and eat right because it's good for you, but if I'm saying that while eating a pan of brownies, is that effective?  
Or I can say, "Let's go to the gym together!" and change both HIS life AND mine!

I'm so thankful for how God has given me a chance to reverse the ripple effect.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The First 90 Days

Today is finally here...day 90 that I have managed to not step foot inside a McDonald's or Taco Bell.  I'm overwhelmed by the goodness and the grace of almighty God for keeping me!

I did want to clarify that this journey has not meant that I've not eaten out at all.  I HAVE eaten at Subway a few times, and at a local place here called Cook Out where I like to take my low carb pita and place the hamburger and toppings inside that.  I've also been to Chick-Fil-A and absolutely LOVE their Super Food Salad with grilled nuggets on it.

So, I do not feel that I've been deprived at all.  Making good choices is exactly that...a CHOICE.  There are certain places where I feel like I can eat as healthy there as I can at home.  There are other places that I just know I should totally stay away from!  Like Pizza Hut.  Man, how I dearly love pizza.  But I can never stop at just one slice, so it's just not good for me to go into that place.

Over the last 90 days, I've been able to consistently work out, and have an amazing partner that is right there with me, 3 days a week, at 6:30 in the morning, cheering me on, or yelling, or whatever it takes to get me motivated!!!  And my boys, Justin (who writes out all our workouts) and Clayton, and my husband are my biggest fans.  They are faithfully at the gym every single time with me!  What more can you ask than for the entire family to be working out together?!  I mean, seriously, how often does that happen?  And yet that's my reality.

But the weight loss has been slow.  Very slow.  And I've been discouraged and wanted to quit.  Lots of days I just really think, "This is useless, stupid, not worth it!"

And I was feeling like that over the weekend, when the scales said that I'd stayed the same.  Again.  But then I walked past my fridge and caught a glimpse of a photo that I have on there from 10 years ago.  Back before I really cared.  Before my heart was interested in giving this struggle to the Lord.  Really before I even knew how deep this sin went in my life.  And I posted the photo as a "throwback Thursday" thing on my Facebook page.

Then a friend suggested that I take a current photo and place them together.  So I had a friend snap a picture on Easter Sunday, and I put them together on Instagram...

So, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then THESE 2 pictures represent at LEAST 2,000 things that I've said out loud or whispered to myself.

Every single day I struggle with being tired of fighting this battle!  When I wake up in the morning, the first thing that I have to think about is what I'm going to eat.  As someone who is addicted to food, that is almost more than I can bear!


Constant thoughts about food.

Make menus.



Put away.









It's a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute "thorn in the flesh" that becomes overwhelming in a HURRY.

There is no "spur of the moment" allowance to a friend's request of "let's have lunch."  You have to plan and prep and be strategic in every single detail.

And it gets exhausting.

But seeing these photos side by side has renewed my commitment to stay the course.

Ten YEARS is a long time to be battling something, anything.  But I have to remember how far God has brought me.  Lots of tears.  Lots of push ups and squats.  Lots of failures.  Lots of accomplishments.  A lot of learning!

So, here's to day 90 of a countless number of many more days to come.

God is Good.

All the time.