Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Baby Step

I'm all about the little things..
Todays little thing..?
I'm going to get myself back on the scale.  Then I'm going to update my weight on MFP.  THEN...I will indeed track every bite of food that enters into my mouth. :)
It's actually 3 baby steps, and one baby blog.  But, I'm happy about my decisions! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012


I miss writing.
I miss sharing my soul with you.
I'm not really sure why I stopped.
Maybe I stopped because I wasn't making progress with my weight loss as rapidly any longer.
Partly I think I stopped because we went though a season of intense busyness.
But, mostly I think I stopped because being vulnerable, so intensely vulnerable is uncomfortable.  Seriously uncomfortable.
I love being real.  I like not having to hide the real me.  But, so many of the changes in my life are so deep that I wasn't sure I could let everyone in on them.  
All I know is that tonight, I saw a link to my blog on my twitter page....and I couldn't help but click it. And then I got the twinge and the next thing you know, there are words on the page, helping me get started saying things that I've been meaning to say for 4 long months now.

We've been changing at the Humes' household.  This summer took us on the most amazing and wonderful adventure of hosting a foreign exchange student.  Her name is Elena.  August 2012 was such an amazing month for us...Elena will forever be a part of our family, part of our joy, and part of our world.  I can't wait to see her again.

Because our experience with Elena went so well, we decided that we love opening up our home so much that we would begin pursuing it in other ways.  For us, that meant picking up the phone and dialing a local foster care agency.   We are now pretty much ready to go with that and for now we wait anxiously for our first placement.  We eventually hope to adopt from the foster care system.  Because of the strict confidentiality of the foster care system and our protection and the protection of the children in our home, that is one subject I will never be able to write about.  Those are just things I'll have to ponder in my own heart.

This has been a year of slow but steady spiritual growth for me.  I have been studying 1 and 2 Samuel with my Wednesday morning Bible study.  I can't believe the things I can learn from the Old Testament to apply to my modern day life.

As I mentioned before, my weight loss has kind of stalled out, which to be quite honest, really bums me out.  I'm not sure what to do with myself.  I know that with my sweet husband, my amazing kids, and whatever blessings God brings to us through foster care or adoption, I have a lot on my plate.  And I know the old oxygen mask adage that in order to care for others you have to care for yourself first.  But, I'm kind of at a loss of the next step.  Although, it was kind of funny...today I emailed my friend Mary Beth asking her to pray about a speaking engagement tomorrow...that I could share the heart of Christ through it.  Instead of her getting that email, she received an email about a fast I did back in June.  I wonder if that is a sign? 

See, already, just writing about it, makes me want to feel motivated.  Why?  Oh why?  I should have never waited this long just to share a little about life and wanting to be better...not just to simply be better, but to make myself healthier so I can enjoy life more.  I will think about this and process this, and commit myself to writing about a few goals later on this week.  Those baby steps can really bring it back for me!  

So, how about you friends?  How are your goals coming?  How's your walk with the Lord?  How can I pray for you?
Looking forward to rekindling our writer/reader relationship!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Not perfect...still loved...

I love the written word.
Whether its the Bible, a blog, or a card from a friend, words that are written down are a great way to heal, to encourage and to learn.  That's why recently in our marriage David and I began writing down things in a journal that we share.  It's an intimate way to communicate in our lives that sometimes gives way to no privacy or time together...or at least too little time.  It's so nice because even if we have only seen each other a minute here or there, we still feel connected by the time we can finally settle down next to each other.  Most of the time, the words are spiritually centered: Bible verses, prayers, and praises to God, but sometimes they are practical things like to-do lists and our schedules for the next couple days.  I think it is a great habit, I encourage all of my married friends to start a journal of sorts with your spouse too.
Anyways, here is the point I'm really getting at...this morning in our journal David had written some words that were so beautiful.  He wrote,
"I'm glad I do not have to be perfect to be loved."
That phrase settled deep in my heart.  It made me smile because David and I are pretty good at forgiving each other.  I actually love forgiving him, because I know when I offer David forgiveness, it helps him understand God's love better.  And he's been so gracious with me recently as I'm going through a tough emotional time with some issues out of my control.  He's been encouraging and forgiving and at times when he could have stormed off mad, he held me.  He comforted me.  Because I don't have to be perfect to be loved either.
This love is not limited to my husband either.  First off, it began with a God in Heaven, who loves us even thought we are sinners.  "But demonstrated his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for our sins."  Romans 5:8  I'm thankful for the all powerful, eternal love of salvation!
Lately, I've been struggling with feeling love other places though.  Like even though I have lots of friends, most of the time I just don't fit anywhere.  It sounds weird even writing it because I know I have lots and lots of friends...loyal people, who help me and do wonderful things with and for me, but I guess I realized that I don't have a "group" I belong to.  I have my friends Adriane and Robin (edit: I also think my friend Lareina falls into this category of always making me fit, but unfortunately we live several hours apart and only see each other a few times a year..) who always make me feel like I fit, and of course my mom, but at just about any social event lately (especially if they are not there), I've felt so out of place.  Where do I belong?  And even then, I need to remind myself that I do not have to "fit."  Also, in the last year, I've been officially "kicked out" of two groups because of my imperfections...both of them online groups, but still groups that were dear to my heart. I just need to rest assured of my standing with Christ and praise Him for my husband, my mom (and dad too!) and my sister-friends who always have a place for me.  And I guess by not really fitting into a group, I get to know a lot more people right?  See, there are blessings even in feeling sort of like an outcast.  Even if you feel like you are a well like outcast, it's still hard for a social person to feel like they are on the outside looking in.
I think most of this outcast feeling has started occurring because lately I've felt like I'm a smudge on certain people's lives.  I hate feeling like this.  I'm a people-pleaser.  But, I can only do so much.  Feeling like a black sheep or the rebel (even though I'm not trying to be one...) is not a natural feeling to me, and I've been losing sleep and I'm sure developing an ulcer over worrying about this situation.  I'm trying to remind myself of Scripture, of God's truth, and that the need for human approval should not be my motivation.
I will keep reminding myself, "I do not have to be perfect to be loved."  And because of that I will just keep going...keep loving...keep forgiving...keep hoping...and trying to live by example, despite my own numerous imperfections.
And to wrap things up: another thing that is beautiful about the written word...perspective.  As I've written this, I really am already feeling much better about not fitting anywhere.   Really, it does provide me the opportunity to get to know a lot more people, many more perspectives, and gives me the chance to appreciate every single friendship on a personal level.  And seriously, God has given me the most amazing friends...even if none of them belong to the same group...and even if that means I'm the one floating around at church or a party or picnic...that ok!!! :) God is just so good!
So, I guess I will just need to keep writing too!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Evening Update

This evening I'm experiencing something I do not feel very often.  
Peace.  Calmness.  And a feeling that this week will not "kick me in the butt."  (Sorry, I hope no one minded that I used the word butt!)
I can not remember the last time that a Sunday evening felt so calm.  Normally, I'm bordering on an anxiety attack.  I guess that is what happens when you actually take time for yourself.

Over the last four days, my children were in the care of my dear friend Adriane and then in the care of my parents.  I spent four days with my husband.  We prayed.  We read.  We did devotions together.  I slept.  We dated.  We double dated.  We hung out with friends.  We played video games.  We watched TV.  We ate.  And then we ate some more (this was not a good weekend for my diet!) I exercised.  We laughed.  We even talked about big family decisions.  Essentially, we were man and wife.  And it was amazing.

I'm working on trimming my schedule down bit by bit.  But, for now I have things that I do not want to bail on because I have not yet completed them.  So, to get four days off from work, without children, and without obligations to anyone else...well, you can see what a blessing that was!

Seven years later, I'm still a giddy, smiling bride....I kept telling David over and over how glad I am to be married to him!

Switching gears a little bit, I wanted to tell you all a little bit more about the exercising end of my life.  I think I may have mentioned about joining the YMCA in Edinboro to you all one time before.  And I will admit, it took me a couple weeks to figure out my schedules and how to acclimate myself to the Y, it's classes, and all that it offers, but I'm really starting to love it!!!  

I'm so excited about it.  You all know I'm a people person, so getting to workout with other people is fun, albeit intimidating.  I'm writing a blog specifically devoted to that called "The Great Y Experiment" which someday I'll figure out how to link for you, so you can read too if you would like!

On another note, I haven't weighed myself since the end of bootcamp.  I'm pretty sure I'm up some.  I'm not sure how much, but I'm afraid of the psychological issues that will arise as a result of the number.  I'm not sure if it will be a motivator or a hindrance.  I know I can decide for myself, but I haven't been feeling the strongest lately.  Anyone have any thoughts or encouragement in this area?  

Well, I just wanted to check in with my beloved readers!  Hope you all are doing well!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

7 years...

Tomorrow marks 7 years.
It was the hottest Saturday of the summer of 2005.  I had just survived the 7 worst months of my life...my engagement.  David proposed in early December of 2004.  I excitedly bought my dress, sported my ring (just perfect for me!), and began planning.  Christmas came and went, and the in early January, I began feeling incredibly ill.  I came down with a bout of pneumonia that knocked me down for about 3 and half weeks.  I was sick off and on througout the rest of the winter, but my Gramma was gracious enough to care for me on the weekends at her home, so I could be strong enough during the weak to go to school and work.  Spring break rolled around and I was still weak, but all excited to start planning my wedding again!  However, the middle of March, my sister unexpectedly died.  About a month later, my dad had a heart attack.  And shortly after that, I had to have a tooth pulled.  During the procedure, I fell asleep (what can I say, the dentist was awesome!) and my tongue came down on the saw blade which cut my tongue, and required many stitches.  About 8 days later I graduated from college.  Oh, and a month later, I was in a car accident, eight days before my wedding.  And I found a bandaid in my hamburger while eating out that same day too! (hahaha!)
What an engagement!  What a prelude.
So, anyways, back to that hot, humid morning in June of '05.  Despite a series of events that would have landed most people in a mental rehab facility, I pressed on, and somehow planned a wedding in the midst of that.  I remember being so excited the day I married David.  I remember his tears rolling down his cheeks (there may have been snot too!) as I stood there just smiling.  I smiled so much that day that my jaw hurt.  I was giddy.  I was beaming.  I felt exactly the way a bride should feel.
For the last seven years I have felt that same love and happiness most days. However, as I've eluded to before, David and I have had a season that has been very rough at then end of 2011, beginning of 2012.  But, just like those hard times during our engagement, we have tried to remain joyful and hopeful.  We've tried our best to trust in our God.  We have believed in miracles and known that God could take our sins and wash them clean, we knew God could take our hurts and heal them, and we still hold tight to the fact that God will bring good out of everything we have been through.  
This anniversary that we are celebrating tomorrow is so sweet to me.  We have survived events that would have caused most people I know to throw in the towel.  We have battled hard and we have prayed even harder.  
In the process, I've seen tremendous spiritual growth in the two of us.  God is infiltrating every area of our lives: our morning radio programs, our wallets, our eating habits, our parenting habits, even our cell phone!  I'm sad that it took sin and misery to draw us close to God, but I'm so grateful that closeness to God was the result!
So, in summary, this anniversary is not only a celebration of our love for one another, but it's a celebration of God's love carrying us though.  Whether it is through times that are out of our hands (like all the bad things that happened during our engagement) or during seasons of sorrow caused by our own sins.
God is good.  Because of Him my marriage is good.  And I praise Him every day because He gave me my Dreamy David.  We are not perfect, but God created us to be best friends, lovers, and supporters for the rest of our lives.
Romans 8:28 tells us that "In all things God works together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose."  I hope you can see how loving God doesn't make life perfect for us, but it reminds us of a God who is in control, who has our backs.  I also pray that you have that hope in your own life as well!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

One week. Two goals.

God's word and His people...
What a powerful combination.
Whether it's my pastor and a sermon....
A friend and a verse...
Or a Bible study gal and a testimony...
The power of His word and His people change my life.

Tonight, I was working through by Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst and I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer.  Both of these books are written by women that are involved with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  (Check them out at www.proverbs31.org .)

My heart is pretty heavy tonight, as I know I have made choices over the last few days that have grieved not only my own heart, but the heart of God.  I have made unhealthy choices.  Unwise choices.  And I've frustrated myself beyond belief at certain points.

I'm wavering between beating myself into submission and cutting myself some slack since it has been a vacation of sorts.  

Nevertheless, thanks to my reading of these books, I have some plans for the week.  Plans that help me climb back into the arms of Jesus, reverently and in awe...full of love for a Savior who is so full of grace.  Also plans that can help me achieve several goals I'm working on.

The first step is to spend tomorrow fasting.  As I think of my Bible study group, my heart is filled with joy.  I know this is only our third time meeting, but I love these women.  They are encouraging, edifying, and a wonderfully diverse group, which just enthralls me!  But, anyways, back to fasting...thinking about this group causes me to desire to fast and pray for them.  I want to make sure my heart is fully aligned with God's heart as I share truth from His word with them.  I also want to remind myself that God words provides clear warnings for those who teach in James, and I need to remember that I will be held at a higher standard because of accepting the call to lead.  I also am hopeful that by fasting I will be taking the first steps back into very disciplined eating. I can't wait to eat my fruit and veggies and to feel so refreshed because I'm caring for my body that way!  I LOVE the way that feels! :)

My next step comes from Glynnis's book.  It is about putting into practice a very practical step.  Simply, I am committing to finishing what I started this week.  I am specifically committing to completing each chore on my chore list for each day this week.  If I can simply do that, things go very smoothly around the house.  I have a stressful week with Micah having swimming lessons every single night this week. I also have Bible study, several meetings at the gym (which I'm still not sure how all that will work out!), a doctors appointment for Lydia, a day at the beach with my MOPS friends, along with returning to work after a week and a half off, plus the daily tasks that Mom's and Wives everywhere do every day.  Whew!  So being diligent and mindful of accomplishing what is expected of me each day is imperative for me to stay on track in every area of my life.

I plan on beginning my day each day with a prayer like this, "Dear God.  I have a lot to accomplish today.  I know these tasks that go along with my mothering, my "wife-ing", and my job are blessing from you.  You have entrusted them to me.  I ask that you will give me resolve to complete them.  I also ask that you will help me be very mindful of what I am fueling my body with.  Please help me feel the need to "eat to live, not live to eat."  You are the God of me, my schedule, and my nutrition.  Please let my life reflect that." Amen.

Your prayers and encouragement would be so appreciated as I tackle these two specific goals over the next few days.  Thank you for reading, as always.  I feel so blessed by your comments, your prayers, and you taking your time to share in this part of my life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Dishwasher

Until two years ago, I never had a dishwasher.  I always wanted one, but money, or living in a trailer, or not living somewhere very long had always prevented me from having one.  But, I'm closing in on my 2 year anniversary of having a dishwasher (June 17th, 2010!).  
Sometimes, I forget what a blessing it is.  Sometimes I take that blessing for granted.  
But, not this morning.  This morning, as I listen to the whirls and the swishes and the humming of my favorite kitchen appliance, I am filled with gratitude.  I am blessed that I have a dishwasher.  I am blessed that God has provided that want.  I am blessed that I live in my pretty yellow house.  I am blessed that my pretty yellow house is pretty much rodent free (except for those darn chipmunks!).  I am beyond blessed that my pretty, rodent free yellow house has not one, but two flushing toilets (believe it or not, I lived in two houses in my life that lacked a toilet that would flush on its own..).  And, this pretty yellow house that has two flushing toilets that lacks rodents is situated in a neighborhood that includes my church and also an amazing group of neighbors.  Truly, truly I am so filled with gratitude that God has provided all He has for me and my family.
There is no deep lesson here....just simply I'm taking time to give thanks to God today.  Often my house is filled with chatter and non stop activity (which I am also grateful for!).  But, today, with my kids at their Gramma's, I can actually hear the birds, my typing, and the dishwasher, and it filled me up with a deep respect and love for our God, who provides all kinds of things for us to enjoy!  Even time alone! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bootcamp Before and After Pics

Here are the before and afters for boot camp for anyone interested!
A big thank you to David for figuring out the technical side of things that overwhelmed me! :)

More life lessons....

Psalm 91

If you have a Bible, I want you to stop reading my blog for this moment and turn it to Psalm 91.  Trust me, this is worth it.  Even if you live in a household that just has a Bible because its a good thing to have, and you've never read it...just turn to the middle and find the book entitled Psalms.  They are divided up into numerical chapters.  Flip through until you find chapter 91.  And, just in case you do not have a Bible, you can go to Bible Gateway and type in Psalm 91 and read it there! :)  (I'll wait!  You go do your assignment!)

Okay...are you back?  Are you ready to go on an amazing journey with me today?  This could be a lengthy blog today...or it could be short...I'm not sure.  All I know is that God wants me to process everything I just took in by sharing it with you today.

So, I have mentioned before that my beautiful sister Lisa died in 2005 at the age of 20 because of a heart attack.  My dad had a heart procedure done at the ripe age of 38.  I'm 29...which is right in between those ages.  (I've written much more about this in my blog post entitled FEAR in March if you are interested in reading more about my history.)  Anyways, as I have mentioned before, my fight to lose weight is more than just a vain pursuit...it's life or death.

Hence, the reason for the last four weeks of boot camp.  I praise God for the last four weeks.  I've learned I could live with a lot less than I ever imagined, food wise.  I've also learned a lot about my priorities, my motivations, and who I am.  But, nothing sums up boot camp ending for me like Psalm 91.

See, when Lisa died, my friend Jen was in the backseat of my pretty blue Dodge Neon reading the Scriptures from Psalm 91 to me as we drove to the hospital.  I doubt if she even remembers that, but I will never forget it.  Even in those first bitter moments of realizing that my sister was gone, Psalm 91 comforted me.  

I loved Psalm 91:4, "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and your rampart."  At that very moment, I imagined God protecting me with a soft, bountiful pile of feathers.  I could feel his love for me.  Whenever I use my down comforter, it reminds me of God's promise there!

Then, as I read on the promise of God's protection for me encouraged me.  Even if the worst things that we think of on earth happen to me, God is still my protector.  What a relief!  And if I die today, tomorrow, or in 70 years, God is still my God, and he will protect me by saving me from the pits of hell for eternity.

I have turned to these Scriptures literally over a hundred times.  

But, today, at the end of boot camp, new life was breathed into these Scriptures for me.  

This morning at my weigh in I weighed in at 313.8.  I measured 1/2 an inch less around my belly than I did two weeks ago.  And I took pictures.

While David marveled at my pictures, I was secretly crying inside.  "Only 6 pounds?  After all those intense workouts?  Seriously?  Only another 1/2 inch?  You've got to be kidding me!!! THIS IS RIDICULOUS!"  I felt defeated.  When I looked at my pictures, I could see how my body had changed, but mostly I still saw fat.  I know things are 23.8 pounds better than they were 4 weeks ago, but really?  I still have so far to go.  I feel doomed to die fat and that was that.  

So, my smile was hard to come by.  Until I stepped foot into church and Pastor Rod started preaching from Psalm 91.  Okay, truthfully, at first I lost 
my breath and started to cry, because I wasn't sure if I could handle listening to these Scriptures on a day I felt so defeated.  But, as Pastor Rod preached, something inside me clicked.  

I want to visit another couple verses that hit the very core of my heart as Pastor Rod spoke this morning. The first is verse 1 "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."  The second are the last verses in the chapter, verses 15 and 16.  "He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."  

As Pastor Road spoke about dwelling in the Lord and resting in his shadow, he talking about how so many times we go on about our day to day tasks without asking the Lord for his input. We think we've got it all under control.  That's when the beauty of my struggle really hit me.  Without boot camp, without being 200 (and then some) pounds overweight, without having to be aware of every morsel of food that goes in my body, I would have never drawn so close to the Lord.  What a humbling thought.  That without these struggles, I may not rely on the Lord like I do now.  Right now, I whisper prayers constantly and rely on the Lord in ways most people will never know, just because I have a BIG FAT LIFE OR DEATH STUGGLE.  And to that I say..."WHAT A BLESSING!!!"  Thank you Lord for drawing me close by...near your shadow, helping me dwell in you.  I've had this realization earlier this year, during my online Made to Crave study, but this time, it just struck me as even more beautiful!

And then, verses 15 and 16...they offer all the promises a girl like me needs.  God's going to answer me.  He will be with me in trouble.  (Please, notice it doesn't say that trouble will not come, but simply that God will be with me!)  He will deliver me.  Honor me.  And this last promise I cling to desperately..."With long life will I satisfy him and show him salvation."  Oh, the sweetness of those words.  I am just letting them linger...with long life...satisfy....salvation...ahhh.  God's word is refreshing.  

Now, I can't say that God will let me live until I'm 99 here on earth...I can't even promise the age of 30...or even tomorrow...but I know that my life with God is eternal.  I wish I had a hammock.  I would lay in that hammock today, and look up at the sky, and just let God's words float in my brain.  Because they have soothed me.

So, to wrap this up...yes, boot camp is done, with 23.8 pounds off in the last four weeks and 45.2 pounds total down.  But, I still have so much more to do.  And I want to continue on my journey with the correct mindset.  I want to take today to recommit myself to my goals: Getting healthy so I can serve the Lord in the ways He has called me.  I want to continue to dwell in His Shadow...be close by him.  I want to continue to serve the people I know and love by sharing the things God is teaching me.  I want to live life the way Jesus meant us to...to the fullest (see John 10:10).  I want to be full of joy...not fat!  

So, I will continue to plod on!  Maybe the weight loss will not be as rapid as it was the last four weeks, but it will be steady, and I will be building habits that will last me a lifetime! 

Thank you God for the lessons you've shown us today!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pants fall down and my praises go up!

Ah, I'm down to under 48 hours for my final weigh in for my bootcamp!  This morning, I woke up, after basically crying myself to sleep last night, not in the greatest mood.
Despite wrapping up bootcamp, and being on stay-cation from work, I still feel completely overwhelmed.  I feel badly even feeling overwhelmed, since God is working details out in every area of my life...from weightloss...to finances...to teaching me about saying 'no."  But, you know, our emotions are what they are, and it should come as no shock that I'm a bit raw right now.
Anyways, that was a bit of a digression...
So, this morning, I woke up with my nose still stuffy, and my eyes still burning from my tear-filled sleep.  And, I just knew, that despite how I felt I needed to pick up the Bible and read.  
Here's what I think is awesome about God's word.  Sometimes you need to read 3 or 4 chapters to understand what God is trying to teach you for the day...but then other times, all you have to do it look down and BOOM!  There it is!  One sentence...it wasn't even a full verse...but it was the truth I needed spoken into my life for today.

"Get up and pray.  Otherwise temptation will overpower you."  Luke 22:46b.  God knew about how I've been fretting over my desired "309."  He knew how much I've been longing for a s'more.  He knew how badly I wanted to stay in bed today.  But, instead, through His word, He told me to get up and pray!   Now, as of yet, I haven't spent a significant amount of time in prayer...but I've been whispering quick breaths of prayer to help me stay strong.  "Please, help me enjoy these carrots I'm eating for breakfast...Please, help me bike this last mile...please send encouragement my way Lord."  Little prayers, said through huffs and puffs of exercise, or groaning as I move on to my next task of the day...

So, the Lord has sustained me today.  
And for the last 26 days.
And really for the last 29 years.

I think, maybe, just maybe, this was the BIG lesson I am going to take away from boot camp.  The Lord sustains us.  He keeps us strong when there is no other way.  It's a really amazing thing when you think about it.  There's no way I would have been successful at Garry and Debbie's wedding without the Lord.  I do not know anyone who could resist Debbie's amazing dishes without help from the Lord!  I know there is no way I can bike 15 miles on my recumbent bike (especially after a bootcamp workout!) without the Lord's help.  I know that without the prayers Missy and I prayed last Thursday that biking Ernst trail probably would have been a disaster!  

So, I'm so grateful for the Lord walking beside me each step of the way!

I've said it once...and I'll say it again...I HAVE NO IDEA HOW PEOPLE DO BOOT CAMP WITHOUT GOD'S HELP! :)

Well, to close this post out, I just want to share one awesome thing that happened today.  Today is my last day to work out before my big weigh in!  I need to take tomorrow off so I am not retaining any water in my legs from heavy workouts.  So, anyways, I'm planning on doing  15 miles on my bike today.  I broke them up into two 7.5 mile segments so that I can keep my metabolism revved up today.  But, I thought for a warm up, I would do a workout tape that does some light lifting and cardio mixed.  So, I was really going at this workout, doing shoulder presses, and all of the sudden I realized that my pants were down around my ankles!!!  I thought they may fall off Tuesday when I was working out, but they stayed put, so I figured I was good to go today.  I was wrong!  And here's the best part...I was so determined to get a full set of shoulder presses in, I kept working out until I finished my set! So, there my pants were, at my ankles, and I was just busting those presses out!  I'm sure it was a sight to see, and I'm thankful that no one except Lydia came into my room while I was working out.  I'm also thankful that our DVD player broke and I had to work out in my bedroom, because who knows what could have been seen through our downstairs windows! HAHAHA!

I'll probably check in on Sunday or Monday after my weigh in to let you know about my final results.  As always, thanks for reading.  I love reading your comments, so if you've been toying with leaving a comment, please do!  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Last Seven Days...

Well...last time I wrote I was weighing my boot camp continuation options.  It was not an easy decision for me, but I decided to take a break and not continue on with the next four weeks of boot camp.  I'm not ruling them out forever, just not right now.  
As much as I love pushing myself, and seeing myself do things that I never thought I could, I've also been learning a little bit about being gentle and kind to myself, and cutting myself a little bit of slack during more stressful times in my life.
I want to assure all of you out there who consistently cheer me on, that I'm not giving up.  I'm just continuing to pursue my weight loss at a more moderate rate right now.
See, as much as I love the progress I've seen with boot camp, I know that I can not continue to work out over 6 hours a week and still be productive while being a wife, a mom to two, a "nanny" to two, working a 3rd shift job on the the weekends, plus juggle responsibilities for church, caring for two households, and still have time for friends, family, and rest and relaxation...and maybe even a little summer fun.  
I plan on continuing to cut more and more extras out of my life so that come fall working out can be my job again.  I have been saying "no" left and right and zeroing in on what I feel are the most important things in my life...but I'm telling you even cutting things down to the "bare bones" I'm a busy gal, with a lot of responsibilities.
I am thankful for how much David has stepped up and picked up my slack around the house the last few weeks when I had nothing else to give.
So, I'm confident I made the right decision!  I'm so thankful for the four weeks of boot camp that I have, and how it has jump started me and definitely moved me in the right direction, but I know that I'm wisely setting limits for what I can handle right now too.  And I think, in my mind that qualifies as growth too.
See, when I think of the root of my obesity, the root of my food addiction and my eating disorder, it always was centered on me taking a back seat to whatever other people wanted, and then me consoling myself with food.  I *think* I'm getting stronger than that now.  I know it will be something I will always struggle with, but I've found it to be very freeing to be able to say, "I'm sorry I can't do that, but thank you for thinking of me."  And then, I'm not stressed about what I just agreed to, and I am not soothing myself with something fried, greasy, and loaded with everything bad for me.  Does that make sense?
So, here is my next thought: I would have never been able to name those triggers without Made to Crave by Lysa Teurkerst.  If you are local to my area, and are interested in studying this book with me and many other amazing women, please consider coming.  We are meeting on Mondays at 6:30pm throughout the summer.  This is one thing that I felt God was encouraging me to say YES to!  This one book has highlighted the things God has said about food in the Bible, and about our cravings and has condensed them in a way that I can apply them to my life.  I've grown so much in my two times studying it before, and I've loved the way I've grown, so I'm going back for a third time!  
So, for now, I'm going to go and pedal for another 5 miles!  I'm then going to go read and pray.  And I'm going to thank God for the next seven days...my last seven days of boot camp.  I'm planning on working as hard as I can those days...I have a goal in mind of where I want to be at the end. (309!)  But, when those days are finished, I will resume a healthy eating pattern (that includes many more veggies, since my love for them has grown!) with a nice active lifestyle, but I'm toning down the intensity just for a bit, so I can regroup.  
I still have a pretty aggressive goal for the summer.  My first MAJOR goal is 299, and I'm hoping to be there by the middle of July!  So, friends, thanks for being amazing support, and please, continue to uphold me in prayer and cheer me on.  I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm ready to get the job done! :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

10 Miles with Missy

This morning I want to take some time to write about my morning with Missy.  Ah, Missy Shaffer.  I love that gal.  Missy is intense.  She's amazing.  She loves the Lord.  She works hard to be in shape.  It doesn't come natural to her.  She busts her bootie to stay in awesome shape.   I have been amazed at her growth in the Lord, especially over the last year or 18 months.  
Missy and I are very different people, but that is what makes me love her all the more.  I think our inner motives are the same, but our outward handling of them are very different, which made serving with her on our MOPS ministry team amazing.  Some people get annoyed when people are different than them.  Me, I love it!  I know if the world was full of softy, scaredy cats like me, we would get nothing accomplished.
That's why Missy was my perfect match this morning.  
We decided earlier this week that we would go bike riding this morning.  Missy decided for me (See...I LOVE THIS GAL!) that today would be the day that I finally finish the trail I've been riding for a total of 10 miles.  I agreed, but I was feeling pretty strong when I said yes.
Earlier this week, David and I had rode 6.5 miles.  It was tough on me, but I figured how hard could another 3.5 miles be?  Well, the thing I forgot was that when I rode the 6.5 miles I had rested from bootcamp exercise for a full 48 hours.  Yeah, I hadn't even had a 12 hour break from bootcamp workouts when we started out at 5:50am.  And, when David and I ride, I set the pace.  If I can go fast, we go fast, if I need to slow down, we slow down.  With Missy, she was setting the pace.  (Even though she did slow down dramatically to accommodate me.)  
As we began, I realized that my bike was not shifting the way I needed it to.  And for some reason my bike just seemed like torture to pedal.  By .75mile in, I was spent.  I kept thinking, "Lord, if I'm going to do this, you are going to have to push my bike!".  I kept thinking of my friend Julie telling me the other day to "Just keep swimming..." like Dory from Nemo.  I was doing the best I could until mile marker #4.  That was when THE HILL started.  Missy had warned me about the hill.  I had never gone past the 4 mile marker.  I had only rode out that far and turned around.  But, that hill was the entire 5th mile and it was brutal on my body.  At one point I was pretty sure I was going to heave.  I was crying because my legs hurt so bad, but I wasn't about to let Missy (OR MYSELF!) down.  So, a couple of points I had to get off and push my bike, but I made it all the way up that darn-blasted, meanie head, poopy-butt hill.  (Pardon my French! hahaha!).  I was just at the top of the hill at mile marker #5 when I reported, "Missy, we have a problem."  My pedal was lose.  
Now, here's the thing about me and biking.  I love it.  But I'm "un-eloquent" at it.  I still have terrible balance and it's hard to get over 300 pounds delicately balanced on a thin two wheeled object.  So, when something is wrong with my bike, something is wrong with ME!  
Since we turn around at that hill and ride back, the first half mile or so I was able to coast downhill without a ton of pedaling.  Missy was able to use her mechanical geniuses, and tighten the pedal a bit with her finger, but I was still unable to pedal correctly.  Well, this is when Missy steps up and takes on the amazing ROCK STAR status even farther (she had well earned her stripes by then!).  She offered to let me ride her bike, and she would ride my rickety, hard to pedal bike home.  
So, I was terrified to say yes to this, but I did.  I was afraid I would break Missy's bike.  Or that I wouldn't be able to handle how high her bike was.  But, Missy was offering, and I knew the only other alternative was me walking the next 5 miles, and I had to be home within an hour!  So, I get myself hoisted up on her bike...and LET ME JUST TELL YOU....I LEARNED SOMETHING THIS MORNING.....I'M RIDING THE WRONG BIKE!!!  
I never knew what a difference the right bike could make.  Suddenly, on Missy's bike, my knees didn't hurt, my posture was better, and her bike actually shifted (after I learned how!).  So, while Missy was being tortured on my bicycle, I was enjoying the best 4 mile ride of my life!  Let's just say my dreams of a Kindle Fire are right out the window!  I WANT A NEW BIKE!!!
I still feel bad that she had to endure the torture of my bike, but I'm so grateful she let me experience a new lease on biking.  I wonder if bike shops offer lay-away-programs? :)  
So, for the rest of today, I'm taking it easy.  (I don't say that very often!)  I'm celebrating my victory!  Thanks for journeying with me through 10 miles!  Thanks for celebrating with me!  And, as always, thank you for reading about this roller coaster ride with me!
And Missy Shaffer...God has made you so amazing. You blessed me immensely today!  I hope God rewards you amazingly! :)  THANKS AGAIN CHICA!!! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sorting out my plans...

I'll admit it.  Today, I'm struggling. 
I know that boot camp has produced amazing results.  I know that I'm seeing myself do amazing things.  I'm thankful for the relationships that starting, deepening, or blossoming because of boot camp.   I am happy to know that I'm shrinking..even if I can not see it yet.  Even at the 40 pound mark, I still "feel" as fat as ever.
When I committed to boot camp, I told myself I would give it my all for four weeks.  And, 16 days in, I have.  It took me a while to get what exactly was expected out of me, but, I've hung tight and I'm staying strong.  But, I must admit, knowing the end of boot camp was only 12 more days away has had a certain allure to it.  I like knowing that 12 more sleeps, and boot camp will be a part of my history.  Something that I have done.  Something I'm proud of.  But, something I can say I don't have to worry about anymore. 
However, after my weigh in happened on Sunday, I began to think about what was next.  What is my meal plan for when boot camp is done?  It was Sunday that I learned that bootcamp can continue for another 4 weeks.  I began to wonder if maybe I should consider that.
Then, as if to confirm my thoughts, I received an email from sweet Marcey, challenging me (with rewards!) to think about the same thing.  Let me pause here and tell you a little bit about Marcey.  She is the one who told me about NGPT's Melt Away program in the first place.  She also believed in me enough to sponsor about 1/3 of my price for this boot camp.  She's supported me emotionally, intellectually, and financially.  She's a big deal to me.  She's pretty much amazing.  
So, I am going back and forth in my mind.  Where's the line for me?  If I don't do this, am I going to let myself down?  Will I regain everything?  Will Marcey, Hannah (my coach), David, and all my friends be disappointed in me?  Will I have healthy enough habits on my own to keep on fighting.?
Then, on the same side, I wonder if I choose to do it again...how many more social events will I sit there and watch others chow on ice cream, cookies and pizza, while I nibble on my sweet bell peppers and almonds.  (On the converse, how many times have I wished I could do something, but couldn't because of my size...)
I'm actually on the verge of tears.  I know that common sense says that if you have the opportunity basically right there in front of you, that you should take it.  I just do not know if I'm strong enough for another 40 days of this.  I do know that somehow if I can stick it out the rewards will be great though.  
I also know that each one of you is going to have an opinion on this.  And that's why sometimes it's hard to write and be real and vulnerable.  But, I'm risking it, because I have to sort this out.  And this blog to me is like my "memoirs" of this journey.  This is an important decision.  
Adriane told me today, and I know she's right, that this is a LIFE CHANGING decision.  
I need prayer.  For strength.  Decisiveness.  Encouragement.  Steadfastness.  Joy.  Hope.  Discipline. And for answers.
Thanks for reading my jumbled mess, where I feel hopeless.   I know tomorrow I will probably feel brand new...but today is today...and I'm feeling how I'm feeling...and I'm learning, if I don't own up to those emotions, than I'm more tempted than ever to eat because of them.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I want YOU to feel empowered!

My emotions are high at the halfway point of my 4 week Melt Away Bootcamp.  I have had about a million people ask me what exactly bootcamp entails, so let me tell ya first off!  Bootcamp is an exercise and eating regimen that is optimal for burning fat.  So, I'm not just "losing weight."  I'm actually getting rid of the fat in my body (and replacing it with muscle!!!)  I eat a very strict diet and I work out at least 300 minutes a week, 3 hours of those being actual boot camp workouts, which push my body in the most amazing ways.  

Anyways, 2 weeks of following that schedule, the last 8 days following it to a "T" and I weighed in and measured this morning.  I couldn't believe it!  My belly measured a full 4 inches smaller!!!  And my weight was down to 319.8, which was a total of 17.8 pounds lost.  (Disclaimer: the last two weeks before bootcamp began, I ate a lot of "last meals" so my weight had shot up a decent amount.).  I WAS AMAZED!  I had taken "before" pictures the night before bootcamp started, and today I put on the same exact clothes, and made David point out all the spots on me that made me look smaller! :)

The numbers have been amazing!  The results have been great.  But, let me tell you what has amazed me even more...THE SUPPORT!

You, my friends, have given me more support than I could ever ask for on this journey!  I have had people praying for me, exercise along with me (even if they live hundreds of miles away...Sheila!), let me cry to them (Mary Beth!), and my friend Adriane even lets me call her when I'm on my recumbent bike.  I usually just say, "Talk to me.  I have 3 miles left," and she will talk until she hears the bike beep.  That my friends, is amazing stuff!  She listens to me huff and puff and even let out weird exercise noises when I can't believe I still have another 1.25 miles to go! :)  And so many of you just make sure to check my daily boot camp updates, and encourage me with the "I'm proud of you's!"  Please, don't ever underestimate the power of them! They help me keep going when it's almost too hard!

Just like at the race (see the blog post, "I finished last"), there is a verse that keeps coming to mind.  It's Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race set out for us."  I love that beginning part...

Now, I know when that verse talks about the great cloud of witnesses, its referring back to chapter 11, when the Bible talks about all the great people of faith like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and so on.   But, I think also of the believers that God has put around me to encourage me.  Everywhere I turn, there is a neighbor, a friend, a family member, a MOPS mom, a church friend, or a Facebook friend cheering me on.  I want to lose weight for me, to break the addiction that food has had on my entire family, but I also want to do it to make YOU all proud of me.  

I know this struggle is not just isolated to me.  I know many of you struggle with your weight, with food addiction, or maybe just with lack of physical activity in your life.  I just want you to see a used to be a 360 pound woman (whose wiggled her way down to 319.8 right now!) can do boot camp.  And not just "do" bootcamp...but "DO" bootcamp...that you feel like you can do it too.  I want you to not be afraid to give up foods you never thought you could live with out (chocolate, anyone?).  I want you to sweat like me!  You know what I mean...the kind of sweat where your kids are not sure if you just stepped out of the shower or exercised!  It breaks my heart when I hear people say, "I could never do it myself."  YES!  YES YOU CAN!!!  I"M DOING THIS!  SO CAN YOU!  I want you to feel empowered.  Because this last week, when I traveled on a road trip for 4 hours with my kids, I was able to stay on my plan.  Because yesterday, when my sweet mother-in-law got married, I stayed on plan (that's right!  I said "NO" to wedding cookies!).  Because, when I felt like I may pass out from all my physical feats, I STILL stayed on plan!  Because, I have found a way to stretch a non-existent grocery budget and been able to buy healthy food to stay on plan.  (Ok, that one is all God's doing, but still...I STAYED ON PLAN.)  Those things are empowering.  "Impossible situations" are no longer my excuse.  Next Generation's (my bootcamp home) motto is "Make progress...not excuses."  My prayer is just that for each of you.  That you will find a way to feel empowered in your own life.  And that you can see how your situations do not have to limit you.  
I pray that you will feel blessed tonight.  The support of all of you has made this first two weeks bearable.  And celebrating with you all has been fantastic!  Thank you for loving me, for supporting me, and for cheering me on.  Love, Sarah

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bootcamp Update: Week 1

I've started writing two other blog posts that I was never able to finish this week...but, to sum up what they said...BOOTCAMP IS NOT FOR WIMPS.  Unfortunately, I think I may fall under the wimp category.
I thought I was ready for this. I am used to being self controlled, active, and disciplined.  But, as the name implies, BOOTCAMP is HARD!  Way harder than I imagined it to be.  I just want my coach to be proud of me, but it seems every day I make one or two mistakes, and I miss out on the goal that she wants for me.  I feel like BOOTCAMP sets me up for this incredibly hard line of perfection that I do not reach very often when it comes to my eating.  It's difficult to stay positive when you feel like you are failing, even if you are failing only by not reaching perfection.  I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but it does to me.  (It actually reminds me of the Old Jewish law, and how it reminds us of our need for Christ, because we can not be perfect on our own.)
Really, if you, or anyone else besides my accountability coach looked at my diet, you would think I'm a rockstar.  I'm eating almost all veggies, with a serving or two (depends on the day) of carbs, and a decent amount of protein.  It's a healthy diet, and its a good things I like vegetables.  One day, I ate so many vegetables, I thought my brain and my belly were going to strike up in a revolution.  The thing that gets me is that my "oopsies" are always little.  Like a bite of dry stuffing mix (I really wanted bread! lol) or a spoonful of lasagna filling I made for my family.  It's not like I'm downing a Reese's cup or anything...but, the plan is the plan, and I really struggle sticking to this plan.
The good news?  The diet has helped curb any real cravings for sweets or chocolate.  However, this diet has not conquered the mental connection.  Last night, all I could think about it how I wanted a campfire and a s'more.  Normally, on my diet, that would be allowed.  I would work it in my calories, and indulge in one.  Not during BOOTCAMP.  Is it a veggie?  Chicken?  Fish?  Occasional fruit?  NO??? NOT EATING IT!!!
   Oh yeah, let me tell you about BOOTCAMP workouts. Normally, I love to workout.  I crave it.  It makes me smile.  These workouts not only make my fat cells cry, I'm usually in tears too.  I have no idea how I'm supposed to get my 330 pound body to do "bodybuilders" or "mountain climbers." I just chug along doing the best I can.  At least I can survive a 60 minute workout now.
Oh, and did I mention, I have a sinus infection to go along with all of this fun.  So, my head feels as if it is filled with concrete, and that it has expanded a foot or two!
So, to say the least, it's been  a hard week.  I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity of BOOTCAMP.  I know it's a blessing, and its a great way to boost my weight loss.  But, I have to say I'm literally counting the workouts and days left.  9 more bootcamp classes, and 21 more days.  :)
My friend Sheila has committed to boosting her workouts in support of me, and I really really appreciate that.  It's helped knowing that someone else is out there pushing their limit too!
Next Sunday, I will be able to report my two week measurements.  And, I am planning on being able to say I'm stronger, and more mentally stable, because let me tell you, this last week almost did me in.
I'm also planning on finding a way to spend more time in the word.  I forget time and time again about how much strength I draw from God's word.  I am planning on doing the Made to Crave devotional every day this week too.  Both of those will probably make a huge difference in my success!
Thank you for cheering me on, for asking about bootcamp, for sneaking peaks at my plate and for praying for me.  I appreciate my team!  Love you all!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I keep wavering between gratefulness, trepidation, irritation, and low morale lately.  Have you ever been to the point where you are just not sure what you need?  Or how to snap out of a funk?
I'm feeling a bit "funkified" the last few days.  I think weeks with high expectations always leave me that way.  Tuesday was my birthday, Thursday was the anniversary of David and I beginning our relationship, and today was Mother's Day.  None of those special days were spent in marital bliss with David or spent harmoniously mothering my children, or relaxing at a spa, or even sipping tea.  No.  They were chaos.  And sometimes lonely.  And I've cried a lot of tears the last few days.
I'm very grateful for those who helped me acknowledge those days.  They just were not ANYTHING like I had envisioned.  I had also planned on spending the last week planning for the beginning of my boot camp. Yeah, that didn't happen...  I'm so afraid of failing that I almost backed out and didn't even try.  I also thought about sending an email that said, "Send me a refund!"  But, deep down, I'm not that kind of girl.  I refuse to give up, especially before I even tried. I kept trying to convince myself that there are better, more ideal times in my life to attempt such a feat at four weeks of utter and complete discipline.  But the fact of the matter is, my life, right now,  is pretty chaotic.  And I know that when it comes to my health the race is against the clock.  So, it's time to whip myself into shape.
I am praying that the next four weeks will help me be more willing to give up the food that I hold so dear.  I'm wondering how I will make it through 28 days without a chai latte?  Or yogurt?  Or chocolate?  Seriously?  No chocolate?  What in the world was I thinking?

It's  a really good thing I have the promises of God holding me up!

I'm also nervous about all the cardio.  I feel like it's a miracle when I accomplish 10 miles on my bike.  That is going to be an "easy day" feat...*sigh*  

Feel free to send prayers up to Heaven for me. I'm not trying to be dramatic here, just real.  I'm nervous. I'm scared.  I've never felt less organize nor more weak in my life.

I usually try to have words of wisdom tucked into my blog.  But, tonight I'm so tired and so preoccupied that the only thing I'm going to close with is..."Yes, I'm tired and disorganized and weak...but somehow, I'm going to dig down deep and find a way to do this!" THE END.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rights vs. Blessings

I'm in a very contemplative mood today.  I don't think I've stopped thinking for the last couple weeks.  Words like RIGHTS, FREEDOM, BLESSINGS, DESERVING, POVERTY and many others have been rolling through my head.

I talked about it a little bit in my last blog.  Freedom isn't really what we think it is.  True freedom is loving to do what is right!

I want to address a topic very carefully here.  RIGHTS.  My generation especially is all about demanding rights.  Now don't get me wrong, I do not think a person should be mistreated.  I do not think that because of someone's skin color they should get paid less, or that a woman should be beaten for not being respectful.  Please do not misunderstand me.

But, rights, most of what we consider rights, are not "rights."  They are blessings people.  We think we have the right to come home to the house we've worked hard to get the mortgage for.  We think we have the right to eat (and then throw away) large amounts of food.  I, as a mom, think I've earned the "right" to some alone time every now and then.  No, folks...those are not rights.  They are blessings.  I'm calling it like I see it from now on.

I am begging God to transform my thinking.  Over the next four weeks, due to bootcamp, I'm giving up my blessing to eat what I want, when I want.  I'm trading up the blessing of sleeping in until the last minute for the "blessing" of working out. (Maybe someday I'll be able to take the quotation marks off that blessing! hahaha!) I'm giving up a lot.  But, I must transform my thinking.  I'm not giving up rights.  I'm giving up blessings.

But when did we, friends, become so self-enamored that we began to think we deserve these things? This shocked me when I realized how much I thought I deserve...

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Philippians 2.  It talks about Jesus, gave up his RIGHTS as the Son of God.  He left Heaven to serve us.  He gave up everything.

I'm seeing this whole new side of living that I want to pursue.  It's a radical side of living.  Where I give away more than I consume.  Where I am willing to give away prized possessions and the coat off my back.  I want to meet needs.  I want to cheer weary souls.  I want people to turn to Jesus.

This is part of my "WHY" for this bootcamp. I can't accomplish these things with very much effectiveness at 330 pounds.  I'm tired.  I can't fly in a plane.  And there's no homeless people my size out there for me to give my clothes to.  I consume so much food on my own in one day that I often wonder how many people could eat on the money I waste on restaurants, pizza, or the occasional ice cream cone.

It sounds radical even to me...but I can't help but wonder what is on the other side of consumerism.  The other side of demanding what I think I deserve.  Do I have a chance to raise children that are not entirely self absorbed with personal gratification?  Do I have moments ahead of me to live like the real Jesus would have?  Healing, meeting needs, living prayerfully and intentionally. I HOPE SO!!!

Please pray for me.  I feel like God is stirring my soul in a brand new way lately.  I want to see success at boot camp and get ready to serve God in a whole new way.  Giving up my blessings, forgetting about what I think are rights, and loving him with my HEART, SOUL, BODY, and MIND!

Monday, May 7, 2012


"Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long."
"Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws."
"My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end."
"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."

These are verses from my time with the Lord this morning.  They all come from Psalm 119.  If ever you are struggling with falling in love with God and His word, I think this is a great place to look.  It makes me want to please God with all that I am just because of all the love He put into His Word.

I've been thinking about FREEDOM a lot lately.  And how the American ideal of freedom is so messed up.  For some reason our culture has boxed freedom up in an odd shaped package, and then filled it with toxic gas.  Freedom is not doing whatever we want, whenever we want it, saying whatever is on our minds and however it benefits us, and making sure the world revolves around ourselves.

For me, God's words tie in with freedom.  See, true freedom is desiring what is right.  Let's think about this.  If I began my life early on desiring what was right, I would have began desiring fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water.,  Instead, I began my life desiring what was wrong.  Pizza, cookies, soda, and chips, all in too large quantities.  I thought I had freedom because I could eat what I wanted when I wanted it.  It was "my body" and I could do whatever I wanted with it.  But, now, I know that living in obesity as a consequence to my decisions...that is no where near freedom.

The same comes to debt.  We think because we have "earned the right" to have these little plastic cards that we can purchase whatever we want, whenever we want it.  We go on trips, buy movies, buy extra little things for around the house, buy a new wardrobe, and basically spend what we want, whenever we want, all in the name of FREEDOM.

I bet, if you ask anyone who has "maxed out" those cards, and now has a house full of stuff they do not need, and the word that comes to mind is not freedom. Perhaps bondage.  Or oppression.

TRUE FREEDOM IS DESIRING TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT.  Think about it.  When we choose to do what is right, we are not only pleasing God, but we are avoiding the consequences of sin.  The temporary hard decision to do what is right is often hard to do, but well worth it in the end.

The phrase "delayed gratification" comes to mind.  I remember in psychology class were we watched a video about a study where they left kids in a room with a bowl full of candy.  They told the kids that if they could stay in the room and not eat any of the candy, they would get twice as much candy than what was originally in the bowl.  Sadly, most of the kids could not hold out.  They gobbled the candy up quickly, and missed out on a future reward.  But, there were a select few who held out.  They were successful because not only did they not eat the candy, but they actually ignored it, knowing it wasn't the proper time.  Those kids who demonstrated delayed gratification were shown in a later study to have higher IQ's and higher success rates as adults.

This is kind of where I am at in about a half of dozen areas of my life.  I'm seeking delayed gratification.  And for me, the only way that can occur is by relying on the strength of God, through His word.  I'm working on weight loss, rebuilding my marriage, memorizing Scripture, parenting during a rough season with my children, trusting God with our finances, and trying to figure out just exactly what God has down the road for us in a few months with my employment situation.  I want freedom.  I'm tired of being held in bondage by my sin.  I desire holiness, a sweeter disposition, and trust in the Lord that is unending.  That for me is freedom.

How about you?  Where are you seeking freedom?  Are you trusting God?  Or is your hope placed in the material things of this world?  I pray that you will open up His Word and find the true freedom there.  Oh, how encouraged I was as I spent time reading from Psalm 119 today.  How amazed I was as I spent time in prayer listing everything I had to be grateful for.  How hopeful I am as I trust God to meet all our current and future  needs.  How free I feel as I begin to let things go...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


God's provision is sometimes so surprising and humbling!  Last week, I was crying out to God, feeling like He had forgotten me.  But, wait...wait...wait, I'm getting a head of myself.  Let me start over....

Ok.  So, I've written a lot about my weight loss struggles, and I've also shared about my faith.  But, I'm just not sure if I have shared enough about how much God has been growing my faith.  I can't help but think about a year ago, how frozen with fear I was.  How disobedient to my precious Lord I was.  How, "self-sufficient" I thought I was. Y'all, my life has changed.  God is redeeming me.  Step by step, choice by choice, He is redeeming me.

One of the ways He has been asking me to be obedient is in my finances.  Now, whether we like it or not, one of the great spiritual disciplines God asks us to commit to is to tithe.  When David and I were first married, we were good little tithers.  We were committed to giving whenever we could.  I look back and I'm amazed at the faith we used to have to give rather large amounts, when the income we had coming in was a rather smallish amount.  And somehow, as we've grown "older and wiser" giving became harder and harder.  Simply put, we began seeking our will, buying what we wanted, when we wanted, by whatever means was necessary (including racking up a sizable credit card debt).  I am ashamed at how we've lived our financial life the last two years especially.

The Bible is very clear when we are not giving to God, and when we are pursuing our own interests, and earthly treasures that we are robbing God.  I was robbing God.  And, as I've realized that awful truth, I just began wanting to give everything back to God that I could.  I felt so sorry.  (Even now, Lord, I hope you know how badly I feel, and how sorry I still am.)  But, I can not control what I've done in the last two years.  I CAN control what I do now.  And I'm so thankful for God's forgiveness and His redemption!  And for the last four months, I have been trying very hard to give to God what is His, and to even take steps to give to other people whenever I could, whether it's my time, a meal I have cooked, or an encouraging Word.

Well, as April came, things began to get really tight.  I was asking God if maybe He had forgotten the promises to provide for the things we needed.  I was wondering if He knew how much of a sacrifice tithing was at this point in my life (yeah, as if God doesn't know about sacrifice...).  What's worse was that with my 3rd shift weekend job, I would come home Sunday morning, barely awake, get my self prettied up from church, and accidentally leave my money that I sat aside for tithe tucked in my wallet.  It was so tempting to spend that money on our families necessities or to buy a new shirt to fit my shrinking body.  But, I left that money safely tucked where it needed to be until the next week.  And then, I did the same exact thing a second week in a row.  Last week I determined that NO MATTER WHAT I was not going to forget that money!  I was going to give to God what was His and I wasn't looking back...

Until I counted the money.  It was a little more than I had anticipated.  I still think maybe an extra bill got stuck in there somehow, because I know how much I make, and that did not add up to 10% of what I had made the the last three weeks.  But, I figured if that money had ended up in my tithing wallet, safely tucked away, well, I guess it belonged to God.  But, as I thought about the amount I realized it was the remaining amount that I needed to pay for my summer bootcamp that I so badly wanted (and needed) to join.

I went back and forth in my mind...but I knew in my heart, I just needed to suck it up and somehow I would pick up some extra hours to pay for bootcamp.  I had enough of robbing God and wasn't about to start again.  Well, after church that day, David started talking about how our water bill would have to be paid out of my paycheck, along with a couple "small" medical bills.  Well, there went that plan to pay for bootcamp.

So, anyways, enough lamenting over those crazy money troubles.  I figured bootcamp may have to wait a month longer than I had anticipated.  I was sad, but knew that was the reality of our life right now.  UNTIL...I walked into Bible study.  My dear sweet friend Barb handed me an envelope.  It had a sweet note tucked in there that really encouraged me AND it had the exact amount of money I needed for bootcamp...also the same exact amount of money I had tithed last weekend.  HOW AMAZING!!! COINCIDENCE?!? NO WAY!!!

I just do not know how people can not believe that God exists!  His provision!  His mercy!  His forgiveness!  The friends He gives us!  I hugged her so hard, and I still feel bad about hugging her because I had just worked out so hard, and I'm sure I was a bit "ripe!"  But, how grateful I am that she followed God's leading!  And how excited I am to be encouraged to listen to God's leading for how I can give too!  It's just so amazing!  I'm so encouraged!  I feel like God is telling me I just need to keep being faithful..whether it's in giving, or losing weight, or just daily disciplines of my faith.  

So, what do I hope you get from reading this?  First, if you are not a Christian, please know that God sacrificed everything for you!  Jesus died on a cross to pay for my sins and yours.  If you want to know more about that, please email me at rosieflo@yahoo.com.  I LOVE telling people about how precious they are to the God of this universe.  Secondly, if you have already begun a faith journey with God, and haven't committed to the discipline of tithing, can I encourage you to start?  It's awesome to surrender "our" possessions to God!  What a way to live out your faith!  And maybe you are already doing that...well, just listen to God, and be faithful to His calling.  I have so much growing to do in this area, but let me tell you, I'm loving what I am seeing as I grow closer to Christ through obedience.

And, as for bootcamp...I plan to start May 14th.  Between a "scholarship" from my sweet cousin Marcey and Barb's gift, bootcamp is not the financial strain I thought it would be, and I can focus on "MELTING AWAY!" I'm sure I will be giving many updates about progress, as I anticipate it being a very lucrative time for weightloss and obedience as well!

As always, thanks for reading!
Sarah Rose

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I finished last...

The moment I opened my eyes today, I remembered this is a big day.  I was actually a bit hesitant to get up and put my exercising pig tails in.   As I put on my pretty pink running socks, I wondered if I was making a mistake.  As I sipped my protein shake, I prayed that today would not be public humiliation.  As I scribble Scripture on an index card, I begged God to let His words sustain me.

Today was the Thunder Run 5K.  Thankfully, for me, they had a 2 mile walker option.  But, even with the modified course, I was hesitant to sign up.  I wanted to do this.  To accomplish something I hadn't before.  I can "mosey" 2 miles and do ok.  But, there is something about  competing in a race, and finishing last, if I finish at all, that brings back all these terrible high school memories of me not being able to finish the mile for the physical fitness test.  But, with the support of my friends from church, and my amazing husband, I decided to go for it.

It was not long into the race when I realized that things did not look good.  By the time I was a 1/4 done with the race, I was far behind anyone else.  At the 1/2 way point, I could no longer see another race participant.  It was about that time that I began to sob.  My muscles hurt, and I couldn't  believe I had only done a mile.  I was all by myself, and I felt despair.  

I clung to the Bible verses that I had written down earlier.  "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." I prayed verses back to God from Psalm 51 and asked him to give me a steadfast spirit, and to remind me of the joy of salvation through this.  I even one time said outloud, "Ok, God, You are my Walking Buddy."  

As I had to stop and stretch out my muscles that were cramping, I was feeling like I was going to vomit.  I did my best to rely on God, to not cry too hard, and to be proud that I made it over half way, and that each step made me closer to the finish line.  

As I turned a corner, I noticed another person walking towards me.  It was my friend Crystal.  She did an amazing job, and finished the race in 22:10!  She came back to finish the race with me.  I saw her and just began crying because I was so embarrassed, but yet so relieved to have another person to walk with. As we continued, my friends Brian and Bethany appeared as well.  Would you believe they came and walked with us too?  

I felt so supported.  As we began the downhill trek to the finish line, Cameron, Tenae, and Paula all showed up to cheer me on for the last few minutes of the race.  I was just overwhelmed by the love and support I saw.  Then, when the finish line came into sight, I could see David and Daren gathering a few people to bring to the finish line so I would have a cheering section as I crossed.  I couldn't help but sob with relief, excitement and the overwhelming sense of love I had from my friends.  People were cheering and clapping as I RAN to the finish line.  My friend Misty has a young boy Logan, who I think is 6, who handed me a cold bottle of water.  I remember hugging so many people, but the ones I remember most are David, who just held me for a few minutes after I finished, and then Cameron, who I think was crying just about as much as I was, and Lynette, who when she hugged me, made me feel like I had won first place.  Oh, what an amazing feeling.

As I reflect on this day, there is a lot that floods my mind.  The first is, I finished last in this race.  But, I finished!  And I improved a lot.  My personal best for 2 miles before this was 55 minutes.  This time I finished at 49:53 (The clock said 50:53, but walkers started 1 minute late!).  The next thing is, not everyone can say they have an entire brigade of people WALKING WITH and CHEERING FOR them.  I am so blessed to have the people in my life that I do.  

All I can think about is a verse I had written on my card this morning.  Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  How awesome does this verse describe this race, and my journey with weight loss all together?

The humiliation of finishing last (like not just kind of last, but so far back in last place that they would have never know I was coming, without people telling them)  could have been terrible.  I could have wanted to crawl in a hole and die.  But, I actually forgot for a second I was last, the way my friends were at the finish line, cheering me on, supporting me.  

I could never accomplish the things I have without the support of the people God gave me.  What an amazing and humbling day.  To God be the glory...for my friends, for my perseverance, and for my victory...even if I did get last place!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I'm feeling very inspired this evening!
I think it is because I made those goals.  There is something about having a concrete plan on how to achieve your goals that makes them so within reach. 
I was so excited and encouraged today by my progress on the scale that I allowed myself to start dreaming about goals and rewards.  I hope you don't mind my "notes" on my goal weights and the rewards that are connected to them.

Okay, as of today I weight 328.4 (that's 31.6 lbs lost, if you are counting!).

325: Exercise ball (to do P90x)...and this will be the day I've lost a "full Lydia!"
324: This is my first 10%, meaning I will officially have lost 10% of my body weight!!!  David will be planning a special reward!
320: (I hope to be here by May 17th) 40 lbs!! I will be getting a new dress and shoes!
318: This will be the day I've lost a "full Micah".   No reward, just kind of cool!
315: A day all to myself!
310: 50 lbs!!! (Hope to be here by June 15th) David will be planning a special celebration!
305: Some sort of fitness reward
300: 60 lbs lost! This is an overnight date  reward. 
299: UNDER 300!!!  That will be reward enough!  I want to be this weight by July 19th.  

I have a lot of other exciting goals in mind, including a big party when I hit 100 lbs lost.  I love being with my friends, so what better way to celebrate?  I also hope to have a food collection, and donate at least 100 lbs of food to the food pantry at Crossroads Community Church for that!  

It's hard to let myself dream so big.  It actually creates some anxiety in me, I think mostly about failure.  But, I have to remind myself that really it comes back to making good choices each day. Reading the Word, seeking God, doing consistent cardio, journaling my food, strength training...all those "little" things are going to make those big goals happen.  

Last night, during a study of Ephesians 5, I read that we are to "Be Imitators of God."  We are to try and replicate what God does.  God is so faithful.  He is consistent.  He's not moody.  He remains committed to His plans.  He knows what His ultimate point is.  I want to imitate God that way.  Whether it is in weight loss, relationships, or service.  And I can not tell myself enough that faithfulness is indeed long term, but once again, it occurs in the day to day choices we make!

Someday, when I get to Heaven, how amazing it will be to hear "Well done, good and FAITHFUL servant!"