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 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 .)

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'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 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 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 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 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 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! :)