Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections on 2010

I woke up praying this morning. Not an unusual thing, pretty normal, but today it was reflective prayer, the closing of one year and the opening of another.

Everyone I know wants next year to be different. Some had an amazing year, others had an awful year and many had a year with ups and downs and everything in between.

I want next year to be different too. I liked this year. It was good. It wasn’t easy, I can’t remember any time when I thought I just sailed through a year without regrets or at least reflection on what was and what I wished would be different.

This past year was a turning point, a major transitional year for me. I transitioned from feeling like a frumpy, mediocre housewife and mom into more of who God created me to be. I chose to make some big changes.

Earlier this year He showed me these verses from Habakkuk 3:17-19
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
   and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
   and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
   and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
   I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
   he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
   he enables me to tread on the heights. 


What this passage continues to speak to me is that tangible things do not have to be in evidence to rejoice or to be strong and courageous. Knowing He is my Savior, He is my strength and that is what makes the difference in my life choices.

In 2010, I grew spiritually, I pressed in to God for more than I could ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20) and He gave it to me. I chose to respect and admire my husband more and not spend as much time indulging in self-pity over the things I wish he did differently. I chose to see my children in a fresh light, as brothers-in-Christ, works in progress, just like me. I heard the challenge of my God and His strategically placed friends to rise up and become the athlete He designed me to be. And finally, I chose to put the melancholy and negative self –talk out of my heart and mind (this, I have not mastered, but it is very different than what once was) and hear the Words of my Savior for my identity.

My hopes, dreams and desires for 2011 are to keep up what God asked me to change in 2010. I also want to believe Him for more. By His grace, I will let you know how it goes!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Adjustments Progress...

Well, I set the bar low for my expectations on my eating and exercise plan and I will say, I am meeting them! :) I am doing better than I thought in many ways; not as much "stress/busy" eating as I thought I would do, eating my yummy veggie soup for meals when I can, water intake pretty consistent, sleep, well, that remains a work in progress...

I feel good. I feel covered by the Lord and settled in His Season being about Him and not me. I have a peace about the family events happening and I am thankful He has already made provision for every need in my "nest" so I only need to hear from Him on my responsibilities and let Him take care of the rest.

I am so thankful for all of you who consistently cover me in prayer. I am soaking it up and savoring His presence with deep gratitude for who He is and all who He has put in my path, cyber or otherwise!

Merry Merry Merry Christmas! May you find yourself rejoicing every minute knowing your Savior came to give you all you could ever need or imagine! Much Love from cold, snowy, wet Idaho!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making Adjustments

Ok, I must admit, I am moderately horrified that I have had nothing much to say in the past couple of weeks.

Well, I have had stuff to say, but no time to really sit down, type it out and share it. It is hard to know where to begin now, but I will try.

I have had to make some real significant adjustments to my stronger, faster, healthier me plan.

First some good news and some bad news... I have seen the endocrinologist and found there is not a single health issue going on besides my weight which is an awesome gift from the Lord I do not take lightly. However, the insurance company is rejecting my claim and so I will have to spend several hours typing, arguing, appealing, etc to try to get them to pay.

My adjustments:
1) I am taking some time off journaling my food. The additional tedium of entering every bite is adding more stress to a very busy time of year.
2) I am not setting any major goals for the next month or so. Again, trying to reach goals in the midst of stress, busy and or sick kids, family visiting, etc, is just not reasonable.
3) I am going to continue to focus on what I need to do to take care of myself including making wise food choices, working out, drinking enough water and getting good sleep.
4) I have seen my family practice doc and on his advice began taking anti-depressants. My hormonal fluctuations and the darker days are taking their toll on my mind and emotions. He assures me that this tool is not permanent and he sees many people this time of year that just need a boost to make it through our cold dark North Idaho winters and by spring I should be ready to resume life without them. I am relieved.
5) I am focusing on my family and our celebration of this special holiday with an attitude of freedom and not restriction. I am on this journey for life. No fancy food or diet is going to last forever. Only daily choices to walk in the new path I have chosen.

So, there you have it. I hope to write again this weekend as I have been sitting on a lot of different stuff to share, but haven't had time to process it thoroughly. God bless you and thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Growing Beyond Myself

I think one of the reasons I am in a dry patch of writing is I am getting tired of so much introspection. Wandering through the maze of my heart and mind grows old when some of the same issues and dilemmas keep popping up.

Do I eat this?

Should I do that?

Is this going to bless my progress or slow it down?

I don't like having a bedtime, why is sleep so darn important? (Don't get me wrong, I happen to LOVE my bed, and I do wish I could spend more time in it, I just like the quiet of my house when no one needs me too!)

I look forward to the day when these aren't a part of my daily thoughts... but I can't imagine when that would be.

I did see the endocrinologist yesterday and he says that he sees no secondary cause for my being overweight, but genetics make it harder to take off. I need to keep up the hard work. I lost 5lbs since I saw him last. That was good news too.

In the midst of all the introspection God keeps calling me to come out of it to walk freely in the ministry He has placed me in - a free-style, listen carefully and obey immediately type ministry. Call someone when He says call, pray for someone else when He says pray, speak what He puts in my mouth and trust He has prepared the heart listening to hear it, and other things along those lines. I keep my eyes out and heart open for those divine appointments. I ask for them. I expect them. I don't need these moments to somehow fuel my value, like I used to. Now, I feel driven to speak Life to those God has put in my path. To declare purpose and peace. To draw others toward Him (certainly not to me- yikes!) knowing they will find all they seek in Him. 

This is how He keeps my focus beyond myself and directly onto Him. He is WAY cooler anyway! :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A prayer about my writer's block

It has been ages since I have written, or so it seems. For a daily blog I am certainly way behind!

But, here's what's up:

I am not entirely sure. I have opened up a "new post" several times only to draw a blank or write something that upon reading it over, doesn't seem worth posting. I was sharing this with a friend and she suggested I write a prayer about my inability to write.

Here it is:

Lord,
I try to write but words evade me.
Lost in the tunnel of the day.
I see Your Light, I am not despairing,
I just can't seem to say

That my heart is processing,
contemplating,
dreaming,
 imagining a me I do not yet know.

I feel a bit lost
Wondering what to say
When it comes time to
articulate the day.

I do not cry
or feel in a muddle,
But deep deep down,
I feel a bubble.

Like expectation and labor pains
it seems, rising from the
low places.

Nitty gritty day to day
Food choices and sleep held at bay
I feel like a success and failure
Both leaping with excitement
and sluggish doldrums contrast.

I keep plugging along with
Hope in my heart,
Good sense in my head,
Knowing that right now
I need to go to bed!!!

I love You Lord and I know at least You get a chuckle from my musings as well as feel compassion for my challenges. Thank You for loving me and coating me with grace to keep me warm in this season of exposure. Amen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Other Choice

 When I posted the short stories I wrote yesterday on my blog: The Journey Begins Today - SHORT Stories I kept pondering this one:


Title: The Other Choice (Based on Luke 9:61-62) © JJ Bogdanowicz
 He left without saying goodbye.  Stunned, she took a deep breath. Eternal purpose had been chosen, trusting the Master’s provision. Destiny called them both.

Here is the scripture that gave me that concept:

Luke 9:61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

I have been pondering those words much like those from Luke 14:25-27  I wrote about in my Blog called Hating Others?
I wrote that blog over two weeks ago and the scriptures are resonating in my spirit like I am supposed to do something with them, only I am not exactly sure what. 

That brings me back to the short story. Looking at the verse through the eyes of a wife with children to take care of, I put myself in the shoes of the wife (assuming he had one) of the man who asked Jesus that question. What if he decided to follow Jesus? It doesn't say that he did, but since we are all forced to make similar decisions based on our willingness to obey Christ, the question is worth asking I think. 

I can't imagine my husband going into town to see this man everyone is talking about and then never coming home. Why would God do that? 

We value family to a certain degree in this culture. Some populations more than others, for sure, but I have seen many Christian families "circle their wagons" and put their "family" as their primary focus and calling. I am NOT saying that our families are not important priorities. They are! But as I have struggled with prioritizing my family life with the things God is asking me to do with my time, and sometimes I have been challenged to consider what is more important. 

The answer is not always clear, but for the most part, I have leaned on the Bible (wherever I seem to be studying at the moment is usually relevant to the issue), my discernment, and the wisdom of my husband. He always seems to have a consistent understanding of what God is doing in my world and how to help me prioritize, even when it makes him or me uncomfortable. I also consult other people that are involved in my life who will tell me the hard truth if I get off balance. 

So, again, back to the story. If he chose to walk away from his family to follow Christ, what about his wife? Their children? Their income? 

What I know about the character of God is that He can provide for needs we didn't even know we had. He faithfully releases encouragement, support, finances, employment, wisdom, gifts, to name a few, for our benefit and blessing. You can't convince me that his wife was off of God's radar. If he had made "The Other Choice", she would have been taken care of. Because that is who God is. I am not saying her life would be easy. I can only imagine the heartbreak, the loss, the confusion, the embarrassment of judgment from others who did not understand, but God would have been there. 

I want to remember that always. Whatever He asks me, or my Love, or my children to do, He will be there. For all of us.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Well, Here I Am!!


There I am! Highlights and all! It's not the very best picture ever but it works to show you what my final "gift" looks like.

I love it. I REALLY do. I look in the mirror now and I see the brightness of my youth and the little touch of gray at the top of the part on my hair to indicate there might be a bit of wisdom contained in my newly colored hair. I actually like that the gal who does my hair, KJ  Russel (let me know if you want her number), left the gray in. She knows I prefer a more "natural" look after doing my hair for over 6 years. 

This week I started my strength training routine again as well as consistent cardio (run, bike, swim) to keep me in shape for the triathlons I plan to do next year. Yes, I plan on doing more than one! 
My Monday workout was 10 min on the bike, working hard to get a good "warm-up" before my strength training exercises (about 30 min) and then another 15 minutes on the treadmill, working on increasing my speed on my running. I did intervals, fast walking, running my regular speed and then picking up speed for a few minutes. It was a great workout! I told the Lord that if He would help me keep the kids healthy, I would keep up the hard work. 

Also, for my goals for the week, in case you are curious, I will be IN BED by 10pm, drink my water, and continue to eat as "clean" as possible. I thank you for your prayers if you feel led. Blessings!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Receiving A Gift

I am going to fillet myself open here, so hang on and hang in for this one!

Just a few days ago my husband offered me the gift of getting my hair done. Not just the usual haircut by my favorite stylist and the removal of all things caterpillar from my eyebrows, but have my hair colored too!

I was thrilled for about 10 seconds.

Then my head started spinning - all the things I see as needs MUCH greater than having my hair colored started piling up and entangling my ability to receive this gift my husband wanted to give me.

Guilt washed over me like a tidal wave as I considered the luxury of the experience. I thought about all the people who know our regular budget is super tight and I wondered what they would think of me if they see me somewhere with the extravagance of having my hair colored.

I began to cry and I asked him if I could just have the money that he would spend on the coloring part of getting my hair done so I could spend it on meeting at least SOME of the needs racing though my mind.

My Love told me to not worry about how the needs are going to be met, but to receive his gift as a reward for all the hard work I do; working out, eating right, etc. I couldn't stop crying and so I just told him I would pray about it and get back with him.

I did pray. I talked to some other sisters-in-Christ about it. I prayed some more. I read my Bible and listened to His voice.

The wisdom of the Word, the women who know and love me, and His heart whispers to me all said the same thing, "receive the gift".

As if to confirm all that was happening in my world; this weeks study in "Lord, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur on the names of God, the name is Jehovah Jireh- The Lord Who Provides.

Also, since my body is finally changing into a smaller size I have needed some new clothes. Last week I received a $10 gift card for one store, a $25 gift card for another and yet another for $15. I was able to purchase two sweaters and a vest for $28 with the sale prices and gift cards. The balance of the money I used for grocery needs.

WHY do I question His provision EVER????

He promises it, He delivers it, AND He also meets "wants" too.

Another thing about getting my hair colored - I don't hardly ever talk about it. I sit in the chair at the salon and wonder what it would look like if I could. The woman who does my hair is an artist. She sees my hair as a canvas and she always wants to do it, but we don't have it in our budget so I say no. It is a whispered desire from my heart to the Lord. That's all.

Apparently He whispered into the ear of my Love about giving me this gift. So, as soon as we can coordinate our schedules,  I will have an appointment to remove the fuzzy eyebrows, trim the shaggy edges, and paint the canvas of my hair into something differently beautiful than what I normally wear.

I will receive this gift with a happy heart knowing other needs are provided for trusting my God and my Love to work it out together. I look forward to posting a picture when I am done!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How He Loves Us

We don't get to pick how we are loved. We just don't. God didn't design life that way.

We can choose our spouse, we can choose our friends but really, in the end, we can't choose how they love us back. We make the best choices we can, and as long as there is commitment on both sides to stay in the relationship despite pain or hardship, we can continue to choose to love them, but we still never get to choose how they love us in return.

There are zillions of movies written about love affairs, I am fresh from watching The Notebook and I have been pondering the really great love stories I've seen. I love the movies Moulin Rouge, Never Been Kissed, 50 First Dates, Princess Bride, Fools Rush In and countless others. Why?

We were created to "love and be loved in return" to quote Moulin Rouge. God designed us for relationship with Himself first and then others.
1 John 4:15-17
15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
   God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

This song has been a favorite of mine from the first second I heard it. We don't get to choose how God loves us. But, oh how HE loves!

Here are the lyrics to How He Loves by John Mark McMillan below is the youtube video of the song, but I really wanted you to see the lyrics first. Read them, soak up the words, then let the music pour over you, sing along if you can. There is something powerful about singing out loud that He loves you. Your head hears it, your heart hears it, your ears hear it, it is a very powerful thing. God bless you. May you be enveloped by His presence as you read and listen with your spirit, heart, and mind.

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree
Bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these
Afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize how beautiful You are
And how great Your afflictions for me

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

Yea He loves us
Oh how

We are His portion
And He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart beats violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way
He loves us

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who I am compared to who HE is


I fail,
But You fail not.

I sin,
But Your kindness leads me to repent.

I forget You
But You never forget me.

I run from You,
But You pace my stride.

I get angry with You,
But Your compassion never fails.

I feel lost,
But You know where I am.

I feel unimportant,
But You value me.

I am rocked by my life,
But You remain unshaken.

I look for You
But You always see me.

I reach for You,
And You are right there.

O LORD, Your existence cannot be changed by me.
You remain unchanged for eternity.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Trying on Clothes

This morning I headed off to Kohls at 7:15am. A crazy time to be shopping, sort of. They were having a huge sale. They have lots of sales, but I had a $10 off coupon, a 15% off (in addition to sale prices) coupon, and my money from the consignment sale to spend. About $30. I knew it would still take a miracle to find upgrades to my wardrobe for that much but I knew from past experience God would show me exactly the best items to get.

I looked though the racks, praying as I put my hands on items I liked, I dismissed many, put a few in the basket to try on, and worked my way through the "womens" department. I LONG to shop in the "regular" section.

Someday.

But for now, I will tell you about what it was like to try on clothes.

I knew that I wasn't going to buy a single 3x item. It was the first time in ages.

When I was flipping through the racks of jeans on sale, I felt like I was supposed to get a size 20. I dismissed it thinking that would be depressing, and picked up the 22s and went to try them and the rest of my stuff on. The jeans fit fine. Nothing exciting. I tried on some shirts, eliminating the ones that were between marginal and awful. But I couldn't shake the feeling I should try the smaller size in the jeans.

Now a note about how I shop. I am not a fan. I like to go in, make a pile of things I am going to try on and then pay for the ones that were great and leave. To get dressed and undressed twice in a store is VERY unusual. But, I couldn't shake the feeling I should try on the smaller size, so I did. They FIT!!

It was great!

The last few weeks I have been working hard at not beating myself to a pulp for not eating right ALL the time. I have written about my struggles with it. I know my body needs quality fuel to do what I am asking it to do - shed the pounds it has been holding onto for the last 18 years and become the athlete I was meant to be. I need much less sugar and I am working the gluten out of my eating habits as well. But it is such a process!

I often feel like I am going two or three steps back for every one step forward I take. Turns out I am making more steps forward than I thought. Amazing!

I want to be perfectly clear here, this is a work God is doing in me. He has told me it is His priority for me to focus on this and He would help me do it. And HE is. As I wrote in my last blog, I am trying to hear "yes", "no", "stop" etc. and for the most part, I have obeyed.

Obeying always blesses us. Always. Today He told me to try on smaller jeans. It took a while but I decided to obey, and the blessing - WOW! They aren't even tight! 

I feel energized and ready to obey better this next week. And then, maybe, I will get on the scale! It has been a while for that too. About 3 weeks since I experienced the discouragement I found there.

It appears my kids are healthy (I asked God to make sure they were if He wanted me to keep up this hard work He's asked me to do!), I am getting there, and so this week  begins another phase of my workouts. Back to strength training!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Progress?

It has been a week since I have been to the gym.

I have however, practiced eating like crap, being careful about what I put in my mouth, and then, retreating to my old ways, eating like crap again.

I hate that! I continue to ask the Lord, "WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME?" as if there is something hideously wrong with me that prevents me from putting healthy life affirming food in my mouth instead of processed sugar and flour products.

He hears me, He understands me, and His grace is sufficient for me. He sent me an angel yesterday. Her name is Jennifer.

Now before you close this, believing your worst fears are true, that I have made up an imaginary friend to survive this trip to health and wellness, I assure you she is very real.

I shared in my Tuesday morning Bible study that I felt like the Lord was asking me to make Him Lord (Adonai - Lord and Master) over every bite I put in my mouth. He is not Lord in this area of my life. I know this because almost every single time He asks me to stop eating, or not to eat "that", I disobey. Nice huh?
The woman who "obeyed" herself into completing a triathlon still hasn't managed to "obey" herself into eating right.

As I shared my struggle with eating right I locked eyes with another woman in the room. I smiled and finished what I had to say. Later, as I was walking out of class, she stopped me. She said she felt like the Lord wanted her to tell me what she was doing in that area of weight loss. Her name is Jennifer.

I looked at the thin, lovely, kind woman in front of me and thought, "I wonder what she's selling, which healthy weight loss product is going to 'help' me according to her." I tried to focus on what she was saying instead of anticipating the sales pitch I have heard a zillion times from a zillion people. Except she didn't.

She told me how she had submitted her eating to the Lord. She told me of a heart condition she has that ANY extra weight she carries can be VERY harmful. She told me that when she is eating something she doesn't really want to eat but is good for her, or she passes on something that she wants to eat but shouldn't, she offers it to the Lord. She says, "I don't want to do this, but this is for YOU God." She chooses to see it as a sacrificial offering to her God.

I could see by the clarity in her eyes and the peace in her countenance that she truly has walked this road for God's glory. She wasn't trying to gain anything from me, but rather give, freely and openly, what God had given her. My eyes welled up with tears and I said "Thank you" at least a dozen times.

There are so many great people out there selling wonderful products whose hearts are in the right place to love and serve others into wellness. But I knew that none of them or the fabulous products they offer me would provide what I REALLY need.

I REALLY need to submit my food consumption to God. Forever.

He has called me to this. He has asked me to give up ownership of myself and call Him Lord in one of the last areas of my life (that I know of thus far) I have not turned over to Him.

As surely as someone may choose to write a deed for their "stuff" to God acknowledging Him as owner, asking Him what to do when His washer or dryer or ? breaks down, I need to see Him as owner of me.

Lord, my ability to choose GOOD healthy life giving food is severely compromised. YOU are God over all of me. In this moment, right now, I submit every bite to You. Because I am Yours, I must listen and obey when You tell me "stop" and "no". Please give me strength to walk this out every day, every bite. Thank You for making provision for support again with someone intimately familiar with my struggle.

This is progress. I have been in the house with a huge bowl of Halloween candy for a day and a half now and not had one bite. I actually have not had sugar since Monday night's candy binge.

I gotta start somewhere! :) Hopefully I can get to the gym on Friday. I really miss that place!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Traveling Companion

When we did Financial Peace University we learned a lot about ourselves, how we handle our money and what we need to do differently. The second year, our group decided to make folders of all of our pertinent financial information, insurance plans, etc. This was the cover I made for that notebook.

The pictures remind me of why we work so hard to stay on our budget. But the quote that I want to highlight today is the one in the top left.

I have a great traveling companion. The road is a long one for me. Tonight he didn't say anything when I sucked down several pieces of Halloween candy like a starving vacuum cleaner. He quietly provides prayer and support, encouraging me in every way he can without making me feel as flawed as I am.

The even better traveling companion, who is less comfortable to live with, depending on the issue is the Holy Spirit. He comes with me always, sees what no one else sees and brings conviction in perfect timing, along with grace as I grow into the woman I am called to become. He wants more for me than I want for myself. He longs for me to arrive at my destination in this season with my eyes on Jesus walking, skipping and even running in the abundance He has provided for me.

The last weeks have been consistently challenging to my resolve to continue this journey to health and wellness. I continue to work on it, daily.

I know it is a process. I want to enjoy the process. I can't say I am, YET. But I am glad I am in process... I think. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am a desperate woman!

Based on Luke 8:40-48 (Re-Post from June with art included this time)

I may not have walked her very same road, but I find myself reaching out for Him, the same way, needing Him, desperately. Today I drew the picture He showed me when I wrote this. It is in pencil on a sheet of copy paper. It didn't scan great, but you can still get the idea.

A Desperate Woman
My desperation for You leads me 
From my enforced solitude out to the mob.
My heart cries out for Your attention
Stretching for Your hem I land in the dirt.


The chaos around me is overwhelming.
The stench of the filth and dirt fill my senses,
Yet I reach out with all I have 
Knowing You are my only hope.
You alone contain what I so desperately need.

I catch You...

Your gaze upon me is exciting and terrifying at the same time.
You have now exposed me to the others but Your attention,

It alters me...

The look in Your loving eyes enfolds me
And the knowing words from Your lips revive me
Both confirm the healing I feel at my core.


As You turn and move on I know I will never return
To the place I once thought I would never leave.


I am healed.



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Processing...

Having been an avid Star Trek:The Next Generation junkie for years, one of my favorite things said by Data, the android character was "Processing..." The robot who could make a zillion calculations per second still had to take a second or two to process.

Me too. And I am not nearly that efficient!

Today I saw the endocrinologist. I have waited about 6 weeks for this appointment.

They measured me, apparently my 5'7" frame has shrunk, since according to the nurse I am 5'5" now, great, as if my Body Mass Indicator needed any MORE help with calling me obese. And today I weighed in at 277.5lbs. I have gained 7.5lbs of my 25lb weight loss back in the past 3 weeks or so. Ugh. Of course I can excuse myself and say, well, I am neck deep in my menstrual cycle feeling bloated and icky, I was wearing jeans and earrings (lol - I am sure they weigh at least 5lbs :), and well, I haven't really worked out hard for 2 weeks.

Excuses and all, honestly, I am eating crappy, not working out the way I want to and not journaling my food like I should be to keep my caloric intake in check. 

I told you, the new me is hear to stay. So what the heck is the deal with the OLD habits running the show?
Will get back to that, but first, what the doc had to say...

He looked at the blood work results that he had done, he asked me a hundred questions or so, and said he was going to do some more in-depth blood tests to rule out a few things, but overall he didn't see any secondary issues behind my being overweight. He actually said that 25lbs of weight loss over 5 months is great.

One of the 100 questions was if I had ever had a consultation about weight loss surgery. I said no, and that I had never really considered it as an option. In my mind, I got myself into this mess and I need to do some good, old fashioned hard work to get back out of it. I asked him if I should be considering it. He told me that with my health being otherwise really good, I had a window to try to lose weight through diet and exercise but it wasn't going to get any easier over time.

I have felt pretty emotional about it ever since. Teetering on tears for hours now, I feel like I have to just let them fall. To help me process my sadness and turmoil, I baked whole wheat, oatmeal chocolate chip and pecan cookies. And I ate several, a few several. Ahhh, can you say meltdown?

My health coach from my insurance company will be reading this at some point. She suggested we focus on the "Stress Management" booklet last week. No doubt. Stress. Yup. I got some of that. In the process of working through the beginning part of the booklet I had to write my low stress vision. This is what I said:

I will function daily with clear purpose, emotional stability, nurturing and nourishing myself and my family with healthy food and activities. I will provide consistent consequences and training for my sons. I will fulfill my destiny to bring encouragement and motivation to others through my writing and through quality healthy relationships. I will be balanced in my personal and family schedule. I will be relaxed, timely in completion of tasks and arriving for events, clear and peaceful directing my sons and with a good balance of rest and activities on my calendar.

Not bad huh? Now how in the HECK to I get there? Well, I haven't read further yet. Will have to let you know later.

But here is the issue for me:

I KNOW my life will look different 2 years from now, just like 2 years ago it looked totally different than today. How long does this transformation, healthy choices healthy living thing take????? Forever as far as I can tell. That does not exactly fill me with hope. It doesn't derail my hope. I just don't feel terribly inspired by that.

What are the roots of these insane drives for using food for comfort, satiating my nerves and my body. The days I eat too much are the days when I feel like there is not enough of me to go around. Why isn't God enough? It isn't like I have barely spent time with Him. I spend hours with Him, every week. Do I lack faith in the transformation He is designing in me? Do I really want to look like I do forever, even if I can lug my huge self through a triathlon?

Why does lap band surgery feel like a cop-out? Why can't I just get down to business and do the work?

As you can tell, I am fresh out of answers, that is why I am processing. Tonight I am hurting over this. Not discouraged, really. Just in pain.

I KNOW this is a life long journey. I know He has called me to step it up and get busy walking in the NEW me. However, I have NO idea how to do that!

I have to start with what I know:
Count my calories
Put good clean food in
Drink my water
Exercise
Don't get discouraged
Just keep going
Cry if I have to but don't stop making small changes.
Get over myself - dessert may not kill me, but it isn't going to help me either 
Quit leaning on food
Lean more on God
Sleep

For now, that's all I got. I have been cooped up with the kids for days and desperately need to reconnect with my friend Motivation. Especially since I have 2 little boys who began their pink eye today, so it will be another 4 days of confinement.

Oh Jesus, help me process all of this!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Weekend to be Thankful For

The fall variety pack of "crud" has come to our house.

I really have nothing to complain about. We have food, laundry supplies, disinfecting supplies, even a couple of candles to enhance our fall "crud" experience. I did the shopping before we became confined. The kids got sick in a variety of ways Friday evening. Should I blame it on the fact I shopped at WalMart for the first time in a month? Probably not. But I should have known something was up when they were all fairly good, only getting into one play fist fight in the aisle that got out of hand. They lost their Hot Wheels toys I was going to get them for great behavior but they retained their video game privileges.

They haven't left the house since we got home from grocery shopping Friday after school. So if I feel a little stir crazy, I am sure they are going nuts.

Erik and I managed to get out of the house Saturday. I had coffee with a friend a 7am. Once I returned home, we had a few hours of focused family time, then my Love took off to the woods with friends and four-wheelers to ride in the rain and mud. Later that evening, precious Nana came over to play with the boys so we could have dinner with a couple from church who have oversight of Missions at our church. We talked about our relationship with Urban Outreach and our recently formed New Life MOPS ministry. It was a great evening full of sharing our hearts about the the Great Commission and brainstorming ministry outreach possibilities. It was a pretty great day for the grown ups. Mostly.

Saturday evening wasn't so fun, my Love had dry heaves like I haven't seen since pregnancy,  my 5 year old's head cold dropped into his chest causing a horrible scary croup cough that took until 2am to get him settled back to bed, an hour later I was awakened by my 2 year old fussing and unsettled with a slight fever. Another hour after that, my oldest son needed a wash cloth to soak his eye open so he could see to go potty. A wild night for sure!

Sunday morning dawned a bit early for all of us. We declared it a jammy day and began our movie, cartoon marathon. I made Pumpkin French Toast (just add 2-3T of pumpkin to regular french toast mixture & oil your pan well) and slacked off on all my usual duties until time came to feed everyone again. We decided to borrow the Star Wars trilogy and show it to the boys since my 6 year old has become obsessed with all things Star Wars. It seemed like a great idea at the time.


But, as you can see by the picture, I did not fully consider how an eye/mind-full of Star Wars would do for my two year old. I would have NEVER let my other two watch the movie at that age, but it totally escaped my protective mommy radar. And I paid for it, not as badly as he did, but I was up in the night several times helping him get past nightmares from visuals he was not prepared to deal with. I felt sad for him. So many things I was so diligent with about his brothers have just slipped through the cracks of my attentiveness. Lord, help me!

After the Star Wars movie, we took a break and carved pumpkins. It was so funny watching each fella be squeamish about sticking their arms into the pumpkin. The older two wanted my help and the youngest, he just went for it! After the boys had enough "pumpkin goo", I finished cleaning them out and got busy carving to order (based on the stencils in the kit I bought).






All that said, today has felt anti-climactic. Sofa surfing, Netflix, breaking up a fight or two, snuggling, tickling, reminding that they need to rest to get better, and trying to excavate the mess that crept in yesterday when I did nothing but cook the required meals. A conversation with the Doc today confirmed tomorrow will look the same as today. Sigh.




How can I complain? I have really healthy kids that come down with an occasional round of "crud" from the places they go. It has been gray and rainy outside so there is no longing to go out to play, our big picture window looks out to our neighbors amazing maple tree that is currently about four different colors, and concentrated snuggle time with any one of my fellas, day or night, is priceless time.

Thank You Lord, for a chance to put the brakes on in life to rest together, play together and enjoy being a family.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Wellspring: The Beauty of Mucking Through

The Wellspring: The Beauty of Mucking Through
Reading this today put words to some of what I am processing right now. The transitions of seasons, of life, of relationships.

Today I will let my cyber-friend speak for me, eloquent and deliberate in the wisdom of her words. I treasure this dear one's journey and praise God for our connection.

I pray her words will minister to you as they have me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wondering...

Wondering what this next season is about
I feel so off kilter and disjointed.

I think I am past the anger at the discomfort
Now I wait, for revelation and purpose.

Easily overwhelmed by small things
Jittery and tense about petty details
I wonder.

I don't see the point in asking why
I know He is working out His plan in me

He told me to go about life
Knowing He is present and don't fear.

Still I wonder, how long will the "out of sorts"
and disorientation in my days linger?

Only He knows.
And, for the most part,
 I am okay with that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Here it is... edited

A friend gave me some advice about editing and I have found myself having trouble just typing away my thoughts and not having much concern about the clarity of my content and such.

Recently I read a different friend's writing (not a blogger) and was not impressed by the massive amount of words, unclear references, slightly off-putting style and spelling errors. I realize I sound a bit snooty, but after my editor friend's advice, it made this other person's writing all the more unsettling.

I am far from perfect in my clarity, "preachy-ness", and typos. And I have been suitably reprimanded. My editor friend talked about respecting your readers enough to be very clear and focused in your writing. Like the difference between coming into a messy house or a clean one.

You may not feel badly about the people who live there (maybe you do, I don't usually mind the mess), you just notice the difference. A clean house is refreshing to walk into. Clear spaces to set your eyes on, fresh smells (not sterile, mind you ;), and it is inviting to come in and take a load off. Messy houses (I know, I've lived in one for years - only recently have I started changing my ways) cause you to work a bit harder to focus on its occupants and the words being spoken. There is "rest" in a messy house, but it isn't as easy to really "settle" in. That has been my experience. Especially in my own space.

This is why I haven't blogged much this past week. I have been processing what my writing should really look and sound like. I don't want it to be a cluttered mess of words, hard to understand and difficult to find relevance in.
 
I want my writing to be crisp and clear, bringing refreshment and joy, like a walk on the beach at sunrise.

I am SO thankful for my friend enlightening me on this important part of writing. I truly respect those of you who take the time to read what I have to say.

Please forgive me for my past "preaching" and I will be working hard to edit and clarify these writings from now on. Blessings!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Something to Say

I LOVE this song! Written by Matthew West and Sam Mitzell it really has "Something to Say". Will you listen?

I posted a music video a student made with this song earlier today, so if you want to hear it, just scroll down to my last "post" and you will find it there. But here are the lyrics:

Something To Say lyrics

Wake up, 7:32 a.m.
Can't believe it's time to do it over again
Yesterday it took all that you had
And you're wondering if you'll ever get it back
But the whole wide world is waiting for
Waiting for you to step out that door
Come on and let your life be heard today

you got something to say
If you're living, if you're breathing
you got something to say
you know if your heart is beating
you got something to say
and no one can say it like you do
God is love and love speaks through
you got it, you got it
you got something to say

Listen up
I got a question here
would anybody miss you if you disappeared?
your life is the song that you sing
and the whole wide world is listening
well, the answer to your question is
you were created, your life is a gift
and the lights are shining on you today

I love that! It is right on! So many times I hear people say, "I could never write like you do", "I don't know how you do that", etc.

I agree, you aren't supposed to write like me. You are supposed to be you. God picked YOU. For this time, for this season, for this place, for the people you are surrounded by. Listen to Him and then respond. Respond to Him and then obey.

Follow His lead, kindness, truth, justice, love, peace, hope, it's all there in His Word, we are important to those He puts in our path. If you think you aren't, I am quite comfortable telling you that you are wrong. You matter. He wouldn't have made you if you didn't.

SO - in keeping with this "something to say" post, I am going to ask you to COMMENT on this post with something YOU have on your heart to say. You may post anonymously, that is fine, but post something. Listen for a minute, then type.

What do YOU have to say? What do YOU want someone to know? What matters to YOU?

I honestly look forward to what YOU have to say!

Matthew West - Something To Say - Music Video

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Sacrifice of Praise

Something neat happened last night.

I was worshiping at one of my favorite locations, listening to the deep rich tones of a beloved friend belt out from her core her love for God and the songs that she felt led to sing, only a few chairs along the edge of the wall, an open expanse of floor, it beckoned me to come, open up, release all to my King, and move however I felt led.

I released my feet from their shoes, looking forward to what was to come.

As I began to dance with the beat of the drum, bouncing, swaying, lifting my hands, I felt the sweetness of His presence, heard the cry of His heart for me, "Rejoice, my Beloved, Rejoice!" "Enjoy this open plain that I have drawn you into, feel the freedom in your step, in your heart, in your mind. I have released so many bonds you have held and have held you. Celebrate my Beloved! Celebrate!"

I smiled, I laughed, I cracked up at my rhythmically challenged motions. Then I saw them. Angels. Lots of them. Dancing with strength, clear forceful motions as if sweeping freedom about the room or trying to spread a fragrance in the entire space. I saw them weave and move between each worshiper. I did not see faces, only silhouettes and impressions of their radiant "bodies". I moved with them, watching their motions and moving with them. It became effortless.

And then,
I started getting tired.

I wanted to stop and just soak, resting in His presence instead of moving in it. The words that came crisp and clear into my heart, "You are built for endurance. I created you for it. Endure my love, offer your weariness and desire to stop, to Me as a sacrifice and keep dancing. You did your triathlon for my glory, two hours and twenty-two minutes, you can do this. You move for My glory, pour it out for me Beloved, we both know you have it in you." I sensed His tender smile and I kept dancing, and started chuckling again because my challenged rhythm was even worse in my weariness. But I danced, and danced, and danced, and just like in my training, I found more of me than I thought I had and I danced some more. It was wonderful!

Again I found myself in awe of how refreshed I could feel at the same time being so physically exhausted. Obedience to God is like that, not all the time, but it definitely seems to work out that way a lot lately.

I drove away, grinning. Refreshed, celebrating, and happily looking forward to coming home to my Love awaiting my return.

We had a wonderful evening together. So thankful, yet again!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

For HIM

I have had a hard time posting the last few days but I am not exactly sure why. It's like my whole mental world has gone on vacation. My mommy-self is still hard at work, the housewifey-self is busy too, but Jennifer, the "me" that writes these blogs, well, I think she just checked out for a bit!

When I prayed about my inability to write I felt nothing really. No conviction. No insight. No nothing.

Well, okay then... :)
But today was different. Today I knew I needed to write. I knew I needed to just start typing and let the words fall out.

My number for my triathlon was 1151. Cool. I have a number from being in a triathlon! Yes, I still have to go back, read my blog, look at the pictures, and really REMEMBER that I did do THAT! Seems a bit silly I bet!

Anyway, a few weeks after my race, I was thinking about numbers. Often I will be praying and a Bible  "address" will come to mind. So, I look it up. Sometimes its a Ahh Haa moment, other times I wonder why that number floated to the surface. But, since my race number was "randomly" assigned I decided to look it up in the Bible. Weird huh?

So, I looked up different chapters and verses - Ch 11:51 - there aren't many of those, but I did find one that seemed pretty cool... Psalm 115 verse 1 (in the New International Version)
Here is what it says:

Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to Your name be the glory,
because of Your love and faithfulness.

HOW COOL IS THAT???!!!

This whole blog about my health, the physical pursuits God is asking me to take, the challenges of taking really great care of myself so I can take really great care of my family, THAT IS IT!!

Not to me  --- but to you O LORD, not to me
but to YOUR name be the glory
Because I know that without YOUR Love and YOUR faithfulness, I would have NEVER made it this far. Ever.


The Message says it this way:

  Not for our sake, God, no, not for our sake, but for your name's sake, show your glory.
   Do it on account of your merciful love,
      do it on account of your faithful ways.
   Do it so none of the nations can say,
 "Where now, oh where is their God?"

He is all about doing this in me. I have been meditating on a few verses lately that have to do with God's glory being revealed. Here they are in the Amplified version:


John 9:1-3

 1AS HE passed along, He noticed a man blind from his birth.    2His disciples asked Him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?
    3Jesus answered, It was not that this man or his parents sinned, but he was born blind in order that the workings of God should be manifested (displayed and illustrated) in him.

 When I was in the spring of my 9th year wanting to have a baby, having been through a whole assortment of crazy events and circumstances, God showed me this passage as if I had never seen it before. I love the gospel of John and have read it many times, but I had never seen this passage as it applied to me in my situation. A few weeks later I was visiting my parents and my Dad asked if I was willing to hear from him on something important. I, of course, said, "yes".

He then brought up this same verse and said, "Jenni, God wants to reveal His glory in you. I wonder if that is why you have had to wait and why you have walked through so many painful trials in this time." He had tears in his eyes, he knew how long and painful the season had been, it was so awful for he and Mom to see me hurting so bad and wait with me. My eyes welled up and said, "yes Dad, I believe that is true. What you are saying to me now is confirmation of what God just spoke to me a couple of weeks ago, I am not waiting for no reason, or because I am not "enough" or "ready". I am waiting so His glory will be revealed." We cried for a few minutes as we soaked in what God had shared with us both. It is truly a treasured memory. Only a few months later, and I was pregnant. Someday I will write about how His glory was revealed in that season.

But for now, this season, this journey, this process of becoming a stronger, healthier, wiser, fitter, faster, leaner, spectacular, amazing, inspiring, delightful, ok, I am getting carried away here, this process is about HIS glory being revealed in me.

Now, I don't think for a second that I haven't sinned in becoming overweight. I certainly have, but because He is so good, and I am so - not, He is using even my sin to show His glory.

It is NOT me! I am not good at this and I am not "strong". I am HIS. And He is mine. I don't want to be some super star - super fit - super hottie woman on my own. I want to be all HIS. My sin and its consequences done away with, my strength coming from Him to make new choices and to walk, run, bike, swim, or lift weights, not my willpower which is not exactly proven itself to be reliable. Ever. Yikes!

Only walking every day in obedience. Living for Him, writing what I am learning, eating what is good for me, loving my family and loving myself, those are the things He is calling me to do - For HIS glory and for only Him.

Thanks for joining me on this wild ride!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Awesome Day!!

Awesome is such a wonderful word.

You can communicate so much with just that word...
The definition:

awe·some

–adjective
1
inspiring awe: an awesome sight.
2.
showing or characterized by awe.
3.
Slang . very impressive: That new white convertible is totally awesome.

Origin:
1590–1600; awe  + -some1
awe·some·ly, adverb
awe·some·ness, noun
awful, awesome, offal (see usage note at awful).

See awful.

See! Even the dictionary understands  so here is my AWESOME, Awesome, awesome. day!


I put on jeans today I haven't worn in two years!

AWESOME!

I put healthy food in my body most of the day and felt really good about how the day was progressing!

AWEsome!

I wrestled my two year old at a Cross Country race for the school district (about 800ish people) and endured glares, kicks and screaming, aching arms, sore ears, sweaty, grumpy, etc for almost 2 hours.

awesome.

Then I took the gang to McDonalds for dinner though I was tempted to feed my little tantrum man crackers and water, he got nuggets instead. I ate a Quarter pounder with cheese and french fries and half a Sprite.

awesome.

After wrestling my little guy again in front of my friends at AWANA group at church and dropping off my big guys, I had to use a good portion of my weight to strap my little screamer kicking into his car seat AGAIN.

Awesome!

Then, I find myself in the Dairy Queen parking lot, contemplating a Peanut Buster Parfait. I buy it and eat it in front of said screaming 2 year old explaining that he has been too naughty for ice cream and mommy worked super hard today dealing with his grumpy attitude.

awesome.

So, the little temper-master throws another one in AWANA when it's time to pick up his brothers, my head is aching, my arms and back are tired from holding his kicking screaming self once again, and everyone is looking at me, at least sympathetically this time.

AweSome.

Finally, I get my grumpy angel into his jammies, little chompers brushed, and we rock together singing, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Awesome.

We pray, me first asking God to wash away the residue of the day, the grumpy looks from strangers, the crabbies from him and me, and we thank God for sleep and feeling better in the morning. Awesome!
I tuck my exhausted angel into bed, saying sleep good and Mommy loves you! and he says, love you Mommy.

AWEsome!

Big guys, my super star racers, memory verse learners, school lovers, they are tucked in too, after working out a small squabble over who knows what. Prayers said, songs sung, "I love you Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship You, Oh my soul, rejoice. Take Joy my King, in what You hear, may it be a sweet, sweet sound, in your ear." Good night boys! I love you! Good night Mom I love you... 

AWESOme!

Tomorrow is another day. A chance to start again, enjoying the precious ones I live with, loving the life I have, and celebrating the healthy life I am working and walking out, one day at a time.

AWESOME!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

For God my Creator - Elohim


Let all of us declare the glory of Your name!
Your infinite design transcends all fame.
Unending creativity inspired Creation
How we celebrate Your astounding provision!

I’m revealing Your glory through
My thoughts, words and motions
My evident desire to display You
Completely in all my interactions.

I ask for Your Light to shine
Declaring to all that I am Thine
In this day and all that come
May all Your sovereign Will be done.

Your Will revealed declares my best
Within Your presence I choose to rest.
Not striving or in pursuit
But walking, thriving, believing, it.

I commit my all to You
Obeying your Word in what I do
Meditating, Your thoughts exchanged for mine
My flesh submits to being refined.

My purpose revealed each day I dance
Intertwined with You in divine romance.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sweet Release

This past week has been a hard one. There have definitely been highlights, but overall, the constant head pain has been a perpetual drain on my mental and emotional energy.

This morning, after church there were the prayer teams up front as is our custom at New Life. I told my Love that I wanted to go get prayer and asked if he would join me. He agreed.

The women standing up front were two spiritual moms of mine. Each has led me, or walked with me, through different challenging seasons of my life in prayer, encouragement, and consistent support. I was so thankful to see them this morning.

My Love stood behind me with his hands on my shoulders, a stance he takes when I go up front for prayer. It is his tender place of authority over me and I find great comfort in it. The women anointed me with oil and prayed for me.

As I listened to their prayers for me there were words that brought a deep response within my heart.
Rest.
Trust.
Release control.
Release fear of headaches.(I once had the same headache every day for 4 years - I was concerned that was going to happen again - they didn't know this)
Release anxiety.
Tension be gone.
Fear be gone.
Supernatural exchange - God's power for my strength.
I could feel the Lord draining the stress from my body. When my Love leaves town I shoulder the responsibility for all of our home, family, activities, etc. I do this automatically. Without even thinking. These past few weeks when he has been traveling so much, the burden, instead of releasing upon his return, just stays because he is leaving again soon.

This morning, with these dear women, and my Love, enfolding me in their arms and hearts, I found release. I found His grace, His power, His healing.

They were speaking of heat in their hands, sensing His presence touching me. I felt only a slight heat, but the outpouring from my eyes and my body made it obvious I was releasing the anxiety and tension I had been stockpiling for weeks.

Then, a prayer for...

Breakthrough.

For the weeks following my triathlon I have been struggling with a fear of being stuck. That my body will always look this way, that I will always struggle with being an athlete in a fat body that doesn't look anything like the health that resides within me.

Today when they prayed, they saw a brick wall. I told them about my fear of being stuck. I told them I know it is not Truth but I haven't been able to shake it. Or pray through it, or get past it.

They prayed and we asked God to demolish the wall and that the crushing of the wall would bring about the fragrance of Christ, as surely as when one crushes flower petals their scent is released even more. I saw, in my mind's eye, the wall demolished with a wrecking ball. There was a path where the ball struck that went all the way to the ground. The bottom bricks of the wall on either side of the path were all that was left of the wall itself. I asked the Lord about those and believe He told me that I might trip on them if I don't walk the path He has laid before me. But if I stick on the path, my stride will not be interrupted.

The word DEMOLISH is a strong one. It leaves no question in what it means. Neither does this passage:
"3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Wikipedia says "A stronghold is a strongly fortified defensive structure."

There are many "strongholds" in my heart and mind that I have demolished in this season of my life. The pursuit of health and wellness has brought about all kinds of  healing as the bricks turn to rubble as I choose to go in a new direction.

The thing is, there is always something new God wants us to release to Him. Once we demolish one stronghold, another place where we have put up our defenses reveals itself. He doesn't make us demolish them all at once because He knows about process. He knows what we need to learn, when we need to learn it and how long each demolition will take.

So, as the residue of my tension fades in the quiet ache remaining in my head, I know that the full healing comes as I continue to REST, TRUST, exchange my strength for His power, and release the tension/anxiety to Him.

This has become quite long, so I will continue some more on this topic in another post tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thankful! - This is VERY intense... just warning you...

How often we compare our lives to the lives of those around us!

It really is kind of a habit we just get used to. I see my sons comparing themselves, what they have or don't have already at the ripe old ages of 5 & 6. It seems I am constantly talking with them about being grateful. I guess it can't ever be said or taught enough. Certainly when the culture is filled with "you need... you should... if only you had..."

I have felt that way lots. I have fallen prey to the marketing, the unspoken suggestions, the bold face merchandising that minimizes who you are only to maximize their profits.

I had a rather troubling experience happen just after my miscarriage about 3 1/2 years ago. One month to the day after I had lost the baby I heard one of those hideous news stories about a baby found in a trash bag outside an apartment building. There was a fire station (a drop off point for babies where "no questions are asked") just down the street.

I was enraged. How could the kind, loving, promise fulfilling (based on God's promise to me I would have a baby) God make me give up a baby and then give a baby to a Mom who would literally dump it in the garbage!! Crushed and angry I cried hard while my Love tried to console me. I was so mad at God for allowing that! But, as I do, out of habit and the knowledge of who He really is - GOD, I took it to Him in prayer.

It wasn't one of those polite, "Dear Lord, please..." prayers. It was more like "WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING??? HOW CAN YOU MAKE ME GO THROUGH MY BABY DYING WHEN I WANTED HER SO BADLY AND GIVE THAT HORRIBLE WOMAN A BABY THAT SHE PUT IN THE GARBAGE!!!"

He, like He does with me (and many others I have talked to about such things) whispered into my spirit, "I know you don't understand. I love you. You know I weep with you over your baby and the one that his mother chose to dump. I know what lies ahead for you. I know what lies ahead for her. Trust Me with My plan for your life, even when it hurts. Even when you are angry. I promise I am in control. Do not judge her or me by the sin of this world. I am working out a different plan in her life. I was there. I held that baby. He is with Me. I hold your baby too. She is with Me. Do not try to fathom the sin of the world and how My plans and My blessings will unfold. Just be who you are, trust Me and I will be who I AM." 

I know that is not word for word, but as I felt led to write this I asked Him to refresh what He told me that night.

My point in sharing this is: We have NO idea what He is working out in our lives or in the lives of those around us. That is why He tells us in scripture not to judge others. We don't have any way of knowing His plan for our lives, let alone His plan for theirs.

This is why we must be THANKFUL. The path God is asking us to walk, one day at a time is unique to us. Our path will never be the same as another, even our spouse.

I am thankful for our baby girl in Heaven. My sons asked me just the other day if she was still a baby or if she was growing up in Heaven. I told them I have no idea. We will find out when we get there. They miss her too. She would have been three this month (her due date was the day I ran my triathlon). I am thankful for the short time I held her in my womb. I love that I will see her again someday. I praise God for letting me know He holds her since I cannot.

I am also very thankful for the guys I share my life with. My three sons and my Love are true gifts and I wouldn't trade my third son for anything or anyone.

Being thankful for what we have been given, hard times and all takes practice, discipline, and focus. We must practice thanking God, thanking others, and being thankful for all we have been given. We must be disciplined to be thankful when the circumstances around us are awful, finding the small joys even in the midst of great pain. And we must focus on being thankful when we seem to have huge needs that threaten to overtake us, choosing to see the blessings that exist already.

Even as I continue to battle my old habits, create new ones and reinforce good ones I have to remain thankful for all of it. It is not my place to compare another life with mine. It is my place to see and use what I have been given. I can move. I can cook my own meals. I have money for groceries. I can teach my sons how to take good care of their bodies to name just a few... There is A LOT to be thankful for, even when it is a hard day. 

Praising the Lord, putting my headache to bed, and praying you received what God had for you out of this INTENSE bit of writing.
God bless you!

Monday, September 27, 2010

State of Mind...

Clint Black is one of my most favorite Country Western stars. I even liked him on the Apprentice!
I fell in love with him and his music twenty years ago, working at my first job ever at the local feed store in the town I grew up in. The handsome cowboys, the wrangler jeans, the assorted country music tunes floating through the dust and fragrance of hay, sweet feed, and shavings. To this day, that season of my life remains a treasured time.

Today, when I went downstairs to workout while my youngest napped (he was sick - so no going to the gym today) I found the only music in the downstairs cd player was Clint Black's Greatest Hits. Now, this is the first time I have worked out, yes, this whole time, without a background of Christian music. But, as I prayed, I felt led to just listen, workout, even dance a bit and listen. Listen to the memories. Listen to the sound of his voice and the feelings that well up from my soul of days gone by...
This song came on, seriously one of my all time favorites - EVER:
Here is a link to the video -
State of Mind video

State of Mind by Clint Black
Got a big leather suitcase, all I own's inside
Seems I've been walkin' for days, can't even bum a ride
Try steppin' to a tune, with the rhythm of a walkin' man
Mind drifts like a big balloon out of my situation at hand

Ain't it funny how a melody can bring back a memory
Take you to another place in time
Completely change your state of mind

Walkin' down a lonely highway not feelin' alone
Thinkin' back when things went my way and not the road I'm on
Well, I've been down a time or two, but it never lasts long
I can always make it through on a wing and a prayer and a song

Ain't it funny how a melody can bring back a memory
Take you to another place in time
Completely change your state of mind

It can make a right from a wrong, it can make you fall in love
It can get you singin' along

Chase the clouds away and make the sun shine above
A melody can bring back a memory
Take you to another place in time
Completely change your state of mind

A melody can bring back a memory
Take you to another place in time
Completely change your state of mind

I love that! That is what God did for me today. A fun tune from my past drew me back to a place I loved and a season of joy and peace in my life.

As I was exercising and listening to this song today I was so thankful for that season and so grateful for the one I am in now. I don't have a clear vision of where I am headed physically on this path to health and wellness, I just know I am not alone in it and God is providing for me, treasured memories to remind me of the wonderful places I've been and what is yet to come.

I am headed to bed now, looking forward to what He has planned for tomorrow. Treasuring the memories and knowing that the best is yet to come!
I Believe it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Process of Life...

This picture is of my Love and I before the wonderful wedding we attended yesterday.

Someone asked me if it is hard not to "create my own reality" writing my blog. I told her no, I prayerfully consider what I write and do my best to be as real as possible.

SO - in the spirit of reality I share the following:
  • This morning I woke up dreading my Love's departure later this afternoon. I switched laundry, tossed some on the couch downstairs (it's still there by the way), and got in the shower. 
  • I wanted him to feed the kids but when he did, I interrupted and he was annoyed. 
  • We were almost 30min late to church because I had to apologize and we had to work out our various grievances 
  • Then we were asked to serve communion after a well-preached message on forgiveness. Whew! So glad we worked out our junk BEFORE we got to church! 
  • He helped me load everyone up and he headed off to the airport and I took the troops home. 
  • My oldest wished for a bow and arrow to fight the enemy. I told him he really needed the sword of the spirit and memorizing his Bible verses will make him a powerful warrior. He believed me. I am thankful. NOTE to SELF - FOCUS on scripture memory, for them and for me!!
  • I think I had a turkey burger with cheese on sourdough bread for lunch. The kids had pasta and milk. 
  • We ALL took a nice long nap.
  • I was crabby, dreading the week ahead without my Love.
  • There were several opportunities for me to respond with significant correction to my sons and instead I yelled or blew it off. NOTE to SELF - DO NOT make a habit of that... it will not go well in the long run!
  • I apologized. In front of them, first to God and then to them. They all forgave me. Again.
  • I rocked, prayed for and sang with my youngest and tucked him in. Refusing him his 3rd drink and telling him there would be trouble if he threw a fit. He chose wisely.
  • I read the "real" Bible without pictures per my oldest son's request. We read about Nicodemus in John 3. They liked that their AWANA verse (3:16) was in the "real" Bible. Well, I suppose eventually they will make the connection - NOTE to SELF - SHOW them in the "real" Bible where their AWANA verses come from!
  •  After tucking the boys in bed I decided I needed something yummy. I proceeded to cook black beans from scratch (starting with dry beans) and then make it into turkey chili. Yummy, except I burnt it. Not so yummy on the bottom... bummer.
  • Then I decided I needed something yummier :) Yes, I am sure that is a word since there is no squiggly red line under it. I made myself chocolate frosting from scratch. Only to find there was NOTHING (because I have been so careful to keep junk out of my house) to put it on! I settled for a bag of pretzels and swiped them through the frosting. That and a big glass of milk finished me off. 
  • After some guilt ridden feelings I console myself with the fact that I am in process. Every day. My goal to be healthy and fit is going to last for the rest of my life. For every unhealthy food choice I make, I am making at least 3 healthy ones...
  • My kitchen looks like it exploded and now I am going to go to bed. After I put the homemade turkey and black bean chili in the fridge!
So there you have it. My life in process. Some good stuff, some not so good stuff, but all a part of the process.
Sweet dreams!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Enchanted Evening...

I follow a blog/website called Adding Zest to Your Nest and it has given me great tips, pointers, and insightful information from godly women about the marriage relationship. But we didn't need any extra help tonight! I encourage you to check it out some time. It will likely bless you!

On the way to a dear friend's wedding tonight I announced to my Love that my love tank was full (old Gary Chapman analogy from The Five Love Languages) and I was happy. I warned him to be careful not to pull the plug... we both laughed.

We enjoyed watching the bride and groom exchange their vows amongst their friends and family. Their tenderness for each other, the blessing of their parents, and the wise words of their Pastor refreshed our memory of our own precious day, now almost 19 years ago.

Then we headed to the reception. Good friends, old friends, visiting, laughing, a couple of drinks, more laughing, celebrating, sweet toasts, jokes and memories told, and then dancing! We danced and danced and laughed at how awkward we felt but didn't care! We bounced around enjoying the other dancers, some we knew and some we didn't. It was, the only word I can think of, exhilarating. So amazing to be uninhibited by what others might think of me. I even was told by a good friend how beautiful I looked - and I BELIEVED her!

This is the new Jennifer - I know I am not perfect or even where I want to be physically, but I want to LOVE every moment right NOW. There is no reason to hold back. REALLY. Why? What time should I waste wondering or worrying about others perception of who I am instead of living who I KNOW I am???

Wow. I hope that revelation sticks... It's a good one. I believe it will - It is God's heart for me. I am sure.

Friday, September 24, 2010

This time last year...

I have been pondering how much has changed since then.

September 2009 found me sending off my oldest son to Kindergarten, having 2 little guys still at home and calling on my Mom to come and watch all 3 while I went out of town to the MOPS Convention in Nashville. I had an amazing time. God fed me in the training, the encouragement, and most specifically the confirmation that I was to bring a MOPS group to New Life for working and single moms. It was a wonderful time of celebration and savoring a new vision for the coming years.

During my time in Nashville I had an evening out with a woman I knew from years past. We had connected a bit on Facebook, but since I was going to be in the area, she packed up her four kids and came and took me out to dinner. We had a wonderful dinner at Rainforest Cafe and really precious deep heart conversations. Several times we both broke into tears of empathy, gratitude for God's bringing us together, and laughter. That long weekend in September was a turning point in my life.

My friend and I continued to talk occasionally, but when October rolled around and I looked at this picture of me, I knew SOMETHING had to be done. I felt alive, beautiful and full of joy the day this picture was taken, until I LOOKED at it.

It is actually a pretty great picture of our family if it weren't for my Love's head being cut off and me unable to look past the shape of my body to the joyful smiles of my family.

So, I called my friend in Tennessee (yes, I have other friends closer but she was the one I felt led to call), who, by the way is a health and fitness focus person. She jumped online and sent me two books to get me started. They were a great help and so was her telephone and email coaching. I cried a lot. I felt embarrassed a lot. I felt like everyone in the gym was staring at me. I felt like I was trying to remove my fat, one cell at a time. It was REALLY hard the first few months. I had almost forgotten how hard it was...

UNTIL TODAY.

I told you yesterday about my being nervous about going into the weight room. Well, it was worse, I didn't even REMEMBER to be nervous about what it feels like to start a new workout routine!

I did my warm up confidently. I walked back to the back corner of the upper level which is often pretty quiet and opened my book with the exercises in it. ALL NEW ONES! Ugh! I had read through them 2 or 3 times before but that didn't make DOING them any easier.

I felt awkward and unsure of myself. Some of them hurt and so I stopped. Others I could do and felt the fresh burn of carving new muscle out of puny flesh. When you work out for even a short time you quickly discover the difference between "good pain" and "bad pain". I experienced BOTH today. I didn't hurt myself but I was terribly self conscious of my body, my movement, and the people around me (who of course could care less what I was doing!).

Once I got through the ones I could figure out, I headed downstairs to the weight room. I walked around a bit, trying to figure out what piece of equipment resembled what I was supposed to use according to the book. I finally found it and there were 3 men in 4 spaces using it.

I walked out of there. I chickened out, whispering a prayer asking God to forgive me and knowing I would have to confess to all of you that I bailed on my workout today. He told me to just wait. So I did. I talked with the trainer I know and he brought me back into the weight room and showed me how to use the equipment I needed. He also adjusted some of the exercises I was trying to do and made them more "do-able" for me. I was so grateful! God knew I needed help and provided just the encourager and coach I needed. Again!

As I continue to reflect on the sedentary but content me from a year ago to the active, energized, NEW me today I find myself at a loss. Yes, I am serious.

Because, like I said at the beginning, I am doing something new AGAIN. I forgot how hard it is to chart new territory. A few months ago I wrote a blog about a painful workout. Again today I was in pain. Charting new territory emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Funny thing though, not once did I consider not going back and doing that workout again. I will be there. Monday morning. Working out. Pushing through the good kind of pain, letting go of the anxiety of transition and reaching out for the new places God has put ahead of me.

The verse that has resonated in my spirit during this season of incredibly slow weight loss, not hardly any changes in clothing sizes or fit, and barley a noticed change in the mirror is this one:

Habakkuk 3:17-19
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
       and there are no grapes on the vines,
       though the olive crop fails
       and the fields produce no food,
       though there are no sheep in the pen
       and no cattle in the stalls,
 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
       I will be joyful in God my Savior.
 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
       he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
       he enables me to go on the heights.

It translates to me this way:

Regardless of the outward evidence I see of my inward transformation,
no matter what size I continue to wear,
Despite the fact that I expected to have changed more by now,

I rejoice in the LORD, my joy is in God my Savior,
HE is my strength
HE makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
HE enables me to go on to the heights - the path HE purposed for me.

You see, it doesn't matter what the evidence is - according to my eyes. What matters is my heart obeying Him. Walking the path He has laid before me. Yes, there are a few changes, and I have lost 25lbs. I do look a little different


I press on and keep at it, because I KNOW He has called me to this, He is equipping me for this, I am walking this out, one step at a time. For Him alone.

A new season is just uncharted territory waiting to be discovered. Awesome!