Monday, February 6, 2017

Sometimes, it's not spiritual...

I have been in a dark place for a while; nearly 6 months, to be exact.  
And I've not been able to figure it out.

Years ago I heard a sermon by the late evangelist Albert Barr, about how he went into depression and began to feel so badly that he questioned if he was even a Christian!  Ultimately, he ended up in the hospital and they found he had been hemorrhaging inside and once he was given blood, his head cleared, his spirits lifted, and all was right with the world.

Over the past 6 months, I've tried all sorts of things; doctor visits, antibiotics for infections I was dealing with, counseling, prayer and anointed with oil.  
I've cried out to God.  
I've talked to friends.  
I've read Scripture.  
I've cut out sugar and carbs, increased vegetable intake.  

And I continued to feel bad.  
I've lived in a fog.  
I've retreated from fellowship and friends.  
I've pushed my husband away.  
I quit going to the gym. 
 I gave up on diets because I was ALWAYS hungry.  
Always.  
I craved sugar like a crack fiend! 
 Eating candy bars and chocolate like my life depended on it.

I couldn't figure out what was going on.  
The scales tipped at 270 pounds last week!

So I called a friend who is an herbalist, and she finally was able to see me.  
I poured out my symptoms to her, telling her I was certain I was crazy.  Couldn't go to sleep at night; couldn't wake up in the mornings and had to take a nap to make it through the day.

She assured me that I was NOT crazy.  
She did some testing and found that I have a parasite...at least one.  That's why I've been hungry!  Also found my adrenals were completely depleted.  So, I'm tired!  
I've got a leaky gut, and have wiped out my good bacteria and am overgrown with bad.  
I'm not making serotonin, so my emotions/hormones have been all over the spectrum!  

I began taking the things she recommended, drinking a tea that she made for me, increasing my vitamin B intake along with some other things, and from Wednesday to Sunday I could NOT believe the difference!  
I mean it was like I was experiencing my first sunny day in 6 months.

Someone in the congregation at church even commented that I looked like a burden or a cloud had been lifted off of me.  And that's exactly what I felt like.

During the worship/singing portion of service, I was able to truly worship and lift my hands and really feel the Lord's presence for the first time in so long!!!

And the more I'm taking the prescribed vitamins/herbs, the better I'm feeling, and the more I can see clearly to walk this thing out.  

My appetite is back under control.  

I'm still tired, but I know that's going to get better.  

I even mentioned to my husband yesterday that I think I'm ready to start going back to the gym!  

Life is looking better, and it's because I'm feeling better, physically.

The enemy most definitely wanted me to believe it was all spiritual.  His lies were intense during this past 6 months.  He even had me wishing I had never gone on my mission trip!!  Which is INSANE!  
He uses whatever he can to attack us, and when we're at our weakest, most vulnerable, he swoops in and kicks us when we're down!

But I'm so thankful for God being right there through it all with me.  
He never left me.  
He directed me to my dear friend so that she could find the problem and give me some help.  
He gave me a faithful husband who didn't abandon me when I got angry and clammed up and pushed him out.  
My friends were faithful to remain my friends when I was at my worst.

And I'm so grateful to be on the mend!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New...


It's January 1st, the first day of a new week, new month, new year!!!!

I love it when a new month starts on a Sunday, but to also have a new year begin on the first day of the week just seems perfect.  Like I've just gotten a brand new note book or journal and cracked open the pages and stuck my nose in there to smell the freshness of NEW paper!!!  
Anybody else enjoy that?!

Hallerin Hilton Hill, a local radio show host, always begins his show saying, 
"Today is a BRAND NEW DAY!  It's a blank canvas.  If you will it so, it can be your masterpiece."  

So, where do you find yourself today?  Or maybe last night?  Making a list of resolutions?  Or plans, things to change, things that need fixing or organized?  

Was weight loss on the list?  Exercise?  Dieting of some kind?

I'm approaching the new year full of mixed emotions.  

Today, I weighed the most I've ever weighed in my entire life!

268.8 lbs!
(I have a picture to prove it, I'll send it to you if you want!)

It was depressing to see those numbers there this morning.  
I've undone everything that I worked hard for from January to June last year, which is when I began gaining weight.  I've put on 30 POUNDS in the last 6 MONTHS!

I'm ashamed, embarrassed, wanting to hide and never ever speak to anyone again.

But also I realize that those feelings have very much contributed to the weight gain.  The desire to hide, to wallow in shame, to run from God because of that shame...all those things have driven me to food.

There are a million reasons to be discouraged, and yet I find myself reaching up out of the pit of sin that I've been stuck in for 6 months and longing for Christ to pick me up and carry me out.
There is no life here. 
 No light. 
 No hope.  
And I need those things to survive.  
We all do!

Someone mentioned to me this week that I have no idea how much of an inspiration and encouragement I've been to them through this blog and my response was, 
"Ha!  I've certainly not been inspiring lately!"  
But my desire is to always point people who struggle to Jesus, who is the PERFECT example of inspiration and the ULTIMATE encouragement!

We sang this song in church today (scroll over the link and click on it to go to the video), and I want to post it with the hope that it will bless you to remember, as we begin 2017 with NO IDEA what is ahead, that Christ is before us, Christ is behind us, His loving kindness has NEVER failed us!


I'm committing to healthy eating once again (food prep began yesterday and continues into today!), to blogging more, to going to the gym consistently beginning tomorrow morning, and to not hiding from friends and Jesus, as if I could!

Bring on 2017!!!




Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Of Statues and Idols

It's been a while since I last updated here on my health and the journey that I've been on, so today's the day to do that!

I have kept my commitment to stay away from Taco Bell, but I have eaten at McDonald's 3 times since December 30th, due to traveling, etc.

I ended my experiment from July to not eat out, but we have continued to try to limit our dining out to once or twice per week, particularly as a family.  My guys eat out together as a routine business thing on Mondays, and I may do it once during the week.  It's amazing how much money we've saved and have been able to use for other things.

I had blood work done a couple of weeks ago, and the greatest news EVER is that my A1C is now in the normal range!  I'm no longer pre-diabetic, THANK YOU, JESUS!  I have been so excited about that, you don't even know!

I still have work to do on my cholesterol, but that's something that I'll probably struggle with because it's hereditary.

My weight, on the other hand, is the highest it's EVER been in my entire life, 263.4 on Sunday, October 23rd.

I cannot seem to get a handle on getting my eating back under control.  I've tried to evaluate my life, my schedule, my shopping...

I've taken time to evaluate everything except my HEART.  Probably because I already know that THERE IN lies the problem.

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to visit New York City, something I hadn't done since I was a teenager way back in 1981.

I captured these pictures of the beautiful Statue of Liberty.


Did you know that the Statue is 305 ft tall from the base to the flame?

That's how big I feel this idol of food has become in my life.

I often vacillate between feeling overwhelmed by this "burden," and feeling like King Kong, larger than life itself and able to conquer anything.

There are days that I swear I cannot get out of bed because the weight of this "thing" has me buried.  I can't breathe, I can't think, I honestly cannot take another step because I'm exhausted from fighting.

I have all the answers to any question I could ever have on how to eat right, how to exercise, how and what to prepare, shopping lists, books, dvd's, resources out the ying-yang!

It isn't a head knowledge problem.

It keeps going back to my heart.

I'm less than 3 years away from being 50 years old, and almost daily I ask myself, 
"When are you going to grow up?  When are you going to be a mature adult and do the right thing?"  

Because, honestly, it is a choice I make to not exercise.

It is a choice I make to eat sugar and carbs.

I make the decision to not purchase the healthy snack options.

Really, sin is a choice. 

Because after all, scripture is explicitly clear when it says in James 4:17, 
"Remember, it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." (NLT)

Today is November 1st, a new month, again, and I'm thinking about starting over, again, like so many times this past year.  But today is different somehow, because I've learned a lot over this past year about myself, and I feel more ready.

I had a dream last night in which I was talking to one of our pastors that preached this past Sunday, and I told him, "I feel like the past 10 years my brain has been a giant puzzle, trying to figure out who I am in Christ, what my position is as a believer, how God sees me as His child, and today it felt like the last piece of that puzzle got put into place." 

And that thought has stayed with me all day today.  I DO feel like something has clicked; some pieces finally came together about how I have been viewing God as my father, and using food as a substitute for comfort and security.  I don't quite have a handle on it all, but something has definitely changed.

And so I begin this month of thankfulness feeling grateful for what God is trying to teach me, thankful for His answer to my prayer that I wouldn't become diabetic, blessed with the loving support of my husband and children and countless friends who desire God's best for me, overwhelmed with the amazing church family and pastors that He has given that never cease to speak the truth to me in love, who are faithful to preach God's word and call sin "sin."  

I confess my rebellious heart to God and to all that read this, and repent of my sin, asking for God's help in turning away from this idol of food, idol of control, idol of fear and lack of trust in God's provision for me.

And I take a new step into letting go...again.  
Scared, but excited.  Nervous, but ready.  Trembling, but trusting.

Clinging to the promise, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

"Let's Eat! But first, take a picture!"

So, I've traveled a lot lately and had a chance to taste some amazing food.  Of course, I always have to take a picture.  And I thought I'd share those here.

Kenya has a wonderful thing they call "chapati."  Similar to a tortilla crossed with Indian fry bread, it is amazing!

We ate lots of rice and beans in Kenya!  Rice is one of their "staples," along with something called "Ugali," which would be similar to our grits, only thicker, and then is cut into slices.

Chai!  Every afternoon we would "take tea."  It is delicious.

We threw a surprise birthday party for our team leader while in Kenya, and it was the kids' first time to have hot dogs, which they called "sausages."  Very fun to teach them how to eat them with ketchup and mustard.

This is the Kenyan version of cheese puffs, only they don't taste like cheese at all.  They're vegetable flavors, and without the nasty high fructose corn syrup that is in EVERYTHING that we have in America.  They have a very different taste than what I was used to or expecting.

A black forest cake from a local bakery.  Very delicious.  Not overly sweet.  Kenyans don't eat a lot of sweet things, which is awesome!  

We picnicked with chicken and fries one day.

And I had my first roasted goat!  They boiled it first, then grilled it, called "choma," meaning "roasted meat."  It was different.  Such a great experience.

In New York City, I enjoyed a place called "Sugar and Plumm," where we had these Lemon Ricotta pancakes for dessert.

This was my "Plumm Burger," which was ground chuck, blue cheese, jalapeno jelly, baby arugula and bacon.  Beyond yum!

Does it get any better than New York cheesecake from Junior's in Times Square?

Authentic New York pizza at the Staten Island Ferry.

Serendippity 3 has always been a place I wanted to visit, and I was thrilled we got to go.

They're famous for their Frozen Hot Chocolate, which is amazing!

My cousin got this 3 scoop hot fudge sundae, which was the best hot fudge I've ever tasted.

Chicken chili nacho appetizer to help with all the sweetness.

And my cousin's boyfriend got the "Bi-Sensual Burger," a beef patty topped with bacon, cheddar, chili, raw onion, lettuce, pickle, and tomato.  It was insane!

My pre-Broadway meal was a NY Hot Pastrami sandwich, which was something totally new for me.  I'd never had pastrami before, but it was very good.

I had my first visit to a New Jersey diner, attending a birthday party there, and had great Thanksgiving food.  Diners are EVERYWHERE in New Jersey!

And the day we left, I got to experience THESE bagels...oh, my!  Let's just say that Panera has NO clue how to make a bagel.  I brought some home and enjoyed them for breakfast for 3 days in a row.  

And so, there you have it, my food travel journal.  I didn't get pictures of the yummy Garrett's popcorn we had in the Chicago airport, or the best eggplant parm that my wonderful Italian friend made for us in New Jersey, but I think we covered everything else. 

You got to enjoy it without gaining any weight!!

I, on the other hand, need to head to the gym!

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!