Friday, May 24, 2013

The Physical Benefits

Earlier this week, I wrote a statement that said, "I wish I would have made more time to write last week."   Well--I certainly did not want to feel that way again, so I've carved out several slices of time to write over the past few days.

Writing makes me so much more aware of what is happening in my heart, in my life, and what is going on around me.  Taking what you see around you and putting it down on paper (or computer screen!) takes observation, reflection, and insight.

I'm thankful that God is teaching me through writing how to be more in tune with my family, friends, surroundings, and even God's prompting in my life.

By wearing my "writing cap" most of the time now, I am aware of things quicker than I used to be.  And I'm more likely to pay attention to my body and how I'm feeling.  Yesterday, I noticed that I was not feeling well.  I was dizzy on more than one occasion yesterday.  I felt weak.  By the time I arrived home at 5:00pm, I noticed I felt feverish.  These are all things that I would have ignored before my writing days, or I simply would have pushed through them.  But, instead, I paid close attention to my body signals, and I laid down.  Not only did I lay down, but I slept.  From 5:00 pm until 6:30 this morning.

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed.  My fever was gone.  I didn't hurt anywhere.  And I felt joy from knowing I took good care of my body last night by giving it exactly what it needed.  Sleep.  13.5 hours of it.

I'm thankful for how writing heals my soul, helps me accomplish goals, and how I can use writing to really tune into my world.  But, now I'm seeing even greater benefits of penning my thoughts and observations.  I firmly believe my observant view of the world as a writer helped me avoid what could have been days of sickness just by paying attention to my body's signs early on and getting the rest I needed!

Another physical benefit?  This morning, I weighed in at my lowest weight yet in 2013!  I still haven't reached my 320 that I was aiming for on my birthday, but I weighed in at 322 today.  I know that writing what and why I eat is helping me.  I know that getting my goals on paper is leading to success.  And I know that by learning to take in all details of my life is really helping me get to the root of my issues once and for all!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WAG #3

It's Wednesday.  I've been forgetting to "WAG."  For those of you who may be new to my blog, or simply don't remember...WAG is Wednesday's Attitude of Gratitude.  I missed the last two weeks, just because life have been a little crazy lately!  Today, in honor of my 30th birthday two weeks ago, I thought I would list 30 little things I'm grateful for.

  1. Homemade laundry detergent
  2. Our two pet fish
  3. Iced tea
  4. My bikes
  5. My new apron that is really, super cute
  6. Swimming
  7. Optimistic people
  8. My community
  10. My jobs that God has provided
  11. The love note that was on the seat of my car this morning from a certain dreamy man
  12. Cameras
  13. Showers
  14. Razors
  15. Pandora
  16. Mouthwash
  17. The Holly Trail
  18. Weather radars
  19. High fives
  20. The ability I have to make children laugh
  21. The chance to read to Micah's class today (and utilize my ability to make children laugh!)
  22. That I get to talk to my parents almost daily...and that I feel we have just the right balance of closeness and separateness.
  23. My pastors and the fact they preach the Word so boldy
  24. The way my Bible feels when I hold it in my hands. 
  25. Iced coffee
  26. Spain
  27. Election day
  28. My porch swing, even if it is rickety, torn and about the fall over
  29. Budding friendships
  30. The friendships that are still rich after years of change!
I know that list went fast, and it was all over the place, but that is kind of what I want the Attitude of Gratitude to encompass.  Gratitude over every little detail of our lives.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful...Whether its a lesson learned or a blessing that is evident, every circumstance (and I do mean every) has the opportunity of praise tucked in.  

Please, share a list of things you are grateful for!  It will make you smile...I promise! :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Cue the hissy fit: Seriously?  Why in the world would someone choose to BEGIN mowing their lawn at 8:45 p.m?  SERIOUSLY?  The street lights turning on is not your signal to start mowing, neighbor.  This point is proven by the fact that your noisy mower just prodded my resting child downstairs to complain about the "loud air."  *SIGH*


Oh, I bet any mother in the world would say that little hissy fit I threw in my mind was completely justified.  We all know how hard it is to get rowdy four year olds tucked in, snuggled up, and asleep.  The defeat of Lydia coming down the stairs just added to my own frustration about my inability to sit on my porch and enjoy the clouds rolling in and enjoy the quiet of dusk.

However, as I reflected on my own thoughts and my attitudes, I couldn't help but realize that my attitude was not gracious.  It was bad.  It was filled with hasty judgments and not a lot of compassion for my neighbor.

God began to challenge me to think outside of my "Sarah box of Quick Judgement" and deep dig into my "Benefit of the Doubt Bag."  

And to be quite honest, I had some fun!  Let really think about why in the world someone would choose to begin to mow their lawn at 8:45...

  • You know, it was really hot today.  Maybe they needed to wait until the sun set to beat the heat.
  • Maybe the neighbor had to work odd hours today.
  • Perhaps they were waiting for a family member to fix the lawnmower or get gas for it before they could begin.
  • Maybe they saw the rain clouds rolling in and figured they better get to the mowing before it rained.

Whatever the reason, I knew I had to drop the bad attitude.   Maybe, just maybe they were mowing that late just so the Lord could teach me a lesson.  

And really, I guess I should just be thankful that the neighbor was mowing their lawn in the first place...since that can be an issue for that particular household. :) 

As I'm learning these lessons, my heart rolls back to a sweet friend who is feeling judged.  To me, it makes no sense at all why everyone in the world would not just adore her like I do!  (It's not like she mows the lawn late and keeps her neighbors' kids awake!) She's kind.  Compassionate.  Generous.  Redeemed.  Flawed?  Yes.  But, then again, my own flaws are pretty obvious to anyone who knows me by name.  Well, actually, my flaws are pretty obvious, even if you don't know my name.  One glance at me, and you see one of my "biggest flaws."  And, I'm pretty sure most of us would agree we fall pretty short of any standards we wish we lived up to.  Oh, how I wish I could mend her broken heart myself...but I can't.  So, instead, I will use her pain and the lessons I'm learning tonight to continually check myself, my attitudes, and my judgments    It's easy for me to say I'm not a judgmental person (and by comparison, I'm probably not), but I still have those moments.  How about you?  Are there moments like that in your life?  Is there room for improvement with your attitude towards others as well?  I can only hope we can embark on this journey together!  Together, we can shed some hopeful light instead of dark judgement.

I'm thankful for a God who has given me a second chance.  I'm so relieved that God is teaching me even more about giving others the benefit of the doubt.  And, I'm hopeful that sometime soon, my friend will experience acceptance, not judgement.  I'm praying that she will see the green light to be herself, and to experience life in the fullness of God's grace.  

Let's let our lights shine, friends.  Starting from the inside out, taking our cue from the Lord and not the world.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Significant Work

Today I worked hard.  
Actually, I've been in a season of hard work lately.  
Maybe I should find a way to rephrase that...

God has impressed on me the importance of my daily work and as a result, I've been going at it harder than ever, and with a renewed fervor.

God's showing me that all the little things I do in a day..even if they seem insignificant, can be a ministry.  After all, those little tooshies that I'm wiping?  They were entrusted to me by God.  That handsome man that is walking through the door after a hard day of work?  He's a gift to me, straight from the Lord.  What a special ministry it is to welcome him to a clean home, with a tasty dinner to nourish his body.  And all those countless phone calls I need to make: returning phone calls to friends, scheduling appointments, lining up VBS helpers, and keeping in touch with family---that's my opportunity to shed kindness to a world that often deals with rude, curt people on the other end of the phone line.  

I'm learning day by day that my family, my neighborhood, my friends, even my Facebook page are chances to connect, encourage, and bless people.  I believe I'm here, right now, doing what I'm doing because God has appointed me here for such a time as this.

I am really finding my role as a homemaker.  I take joy in cleaning our home.  I love blessing people with home-cooked food.  I love praying for those who are important to me while I focus on the task at hand. It seems old fashioned.  But, God is showing me that my "insignificant" work is important.  I am centering my ministry out of my home, using hospitality and relationships as my springboard. 

And while cleaning the toilet may seem menial at the moment, if God gives me the chance to entertain angels, I want to make sure the bowl is ready for them!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What's on my mind.

Each day, I log in to Facebook, and I see the light gray question: "What's on your mind?"

What a loaded question!

Oh, only about three and a half million things. Shall we discuss?

David's Gramma is recovering from open heart surgery.  I just wish she didn't have to suffer like this.
I've taken on 3 part time jobs--I hope I can please all three of the people I'm working for immensely.  
I wish I had carved more time out to write this last week.
How am I paying for the next tank of gas?
Is it okay if I am only able to visit Gramma Humes one time this week?  
Will I be able to be all I want to be for my children this summer?
Should I start laundry tonight?
I wonder what Lareina's up to?
I wish I could ride a bike without my tush hurting.  I would pedal for miles.
How can I grow closer to the Lord without printing out a legalistic "to-do" checklist each day?
What can I do to make you smile today?
Does my husband understand the depth of love I have for him?
Have I prayed with my children enough today?
Did I smile at them more than I chastised them?
Will I be able to make my Gram's kitchen look as beautiful as I want for her?
How will riding a bus with 60 first graders go on Tuesday?
Will I be able to do all the walking that I need to at the Deer Park for that field trip with Micah?
I hope that the other kids do not make fun of Micah for the way I look.
I need to write my menu plans out for the week.
I wish I couldn't hear a rodent scurrying around in between our walls at night.
How do we rectify that situation?
Am I doing enough to impact this world?
Am I taking enough time to just relax?
Where is that balance?

That right there, friends, is a true story.  

My mind is racing.  So, as much as I like all of you, I believe the right thing for me to do now is to close the laptop, and open my prayer journal.  I'll be writing pretty much the same list, but this time, I'll be devoting those thoughts and worries of my heart to the the Lords care.  I pray you can do the same.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Weekend-end

I heard somewhere that more heart attacks occur on Sunday nights than any other time of the week.
I will admit to you I did not fact check that.  I simply believe it.  Just because it makes sense.

Even for me, as a stay at home mom, the "weekend-end" can be daunting.  Monday morning comes with a not-so-gentle way of reminding me of the to do list that can consume me.  The list that I could wrap around the perimeter of my home at least three times.

Sunday evenings are also full of thoughts of what I learned in church that morning.  How much I long to be closer to my Lord and more like Him.  And how far I have to go to attain those goals.

I also prepare for those good-byes on Monday mornings.  Oh, how I love my sweet weekend time with David.  I love the way we chat while I'm working in the kitchen.  I love how he will come up behind me and put his loving hands on my shoulders while I'm working on my writing.  And there is just something divinely rich about a Sunday afternoon filled with one INTENSE game of FARKLE as we all sit gathered around the coffee table in our tiny living room.  As the children climb in their beds for Sunday night sleep, they are peaceful.  But, as their momma, I deal with the thought that for seven hours tomorrow I send them out into the world.  Some moms can't wait for Monday mornings, and while I'm always thankful for the way my productivity rises, I know that there is so much more to life than productivity.  Sunday nights always make me doubt the very hard decision to put Lydia in preschool.  I know I made the right choice for her.  It's me I worry about.

I often find myself goal setting on Sunday nights.  And while I enjoy that goal setting, and it's benefits in my life, it is quite anxiety provoking for me.  I'm getting better at biting off small, attainable pieces.  But, writing down all that I need to accomplish in my spiritual growth goals, adding in my physical goals, constantly adjusting my spending habits, my communication goals, AND my writing plans...well, you could see how a girl could get nauseous   Sometimes, I wish I was a normal American, and just could forget goal setting all together! (No offense to my non-planning fellow Americans...just a trend I have observed.)

But, I'm not normal.  God has a rich calling on my life.  I recognize it---and I plan to live it out. JOYFULLY!

And, I will take that "unnormalness" to the next level.  I will choose, right here and right now to make my Sunday night tasks a beautiful thing simply by adding an element of praise to my life.  See, I spend so much time focusing on what *I* have to do in the next 5 weekdays, that I forget to praise *God* for what he has done in the last 30 years of my life.

And besides, in Colossians 3:2 It simply tells us "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."  Doesn't that sound like the perfect key to let go all of the things that weigh us down on a Sunday evening?  It sure does to me! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Tea Party

The cutest little smile, the chubbiest little cheeks, the messy red hair---the things I want to cherish forever...

I think a lot about legacies---the things I want my children to remember about me.  I think even more about the moments I always want to remember about my children.  This morning, I experienced one of those moments with Lydia.  She's home from preschool this week, because she has a very bad stomach virus.  Her diet has been limited to saltines and water.  Today, she had been begging me for a tea party and "brown crackers."  For those not in the mommy world, brown crackers also go by the name of Graham crackers. :)

Against my better judgement, I decided to go for the brown crackers and tea.  I know that in an hour I will probably be scrubbing more carpets, bathing a little girl and probably doing another load of laundry of both of our clothes...but the poor kiddo just needed a little variety.  Most likely, she will throw up the saltines just as quickly as the graham crackers.  Might as well add a little joy to her life, right?

  As soon as I made the choice to agree to the impromptu tea party, I knew I had made the right decision.  Lydia's eyes were sparkling, just because she knew I loved her enough to treat her to this special little moment.  She picks up my new (unlit!) coconut vanilla candle that my friend Tammy gave me for my birthday.  Lydia smiles as she breathes in the rich fragrance.  I smile too.  It's a reminder of friendship, and a welcome scent in our home that quite frankly is not smelling its best after days of sickness.

When her tea and my cup of coffee were poured, I grabbed my Bible and opened it up to a passage in Deuteronomy that talks about passing down God's truth to our children.  In the background, the song, "Oh How He Loves Us" is playing.  I realize how much better I understand God's love for me by the way I love Lydia and Micah.  I can never comprehend it completely, but it gives me a richer glimpse into God's deep love for us.

The melody in the background...the deep realization of God's love for us, the beautiful smile on her face, the freckles dancing on the bridge of her nose, the way her little voice thanks me for her brown crackers...and then begs me for more.  When I calmly remind her that only one cracker is allowed, she says, "Momma, if you give me another brown cracky, I will give you a kissey."
I reply, "Oh, baby..Mommy's protecting you.  Your tummy can't handle any more."
She insists, "I don't need peetected."

My heart melts.  She thinks she's all grown up, and she's got this.

I know better.

Just as I start to think about that thought, I hear the door open in the other room.
In comes Lydia's hero.  Her Daddy.  He just stopped by to say "hi" and check in on his girls. He didn't have to stop by, but he did, just because he loves us.  Hugs and kisses all around for everyone.

I wanted to freeze frame this moment.  The richness of it.  The pure love that was evident.  I dislike that Lydia is sick.  I'm weary and worn from scrubbing, and washing, and worry that comes along with  viruses, but oh, how I cherish every minute of our short lived tea party.

I hope Lydia remembers this moment as party of my legacy.  I will hide it in the Mommy Treasure section of my heart, and I know that it will be part of her legacy in my life.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Every time I'm "almost there" IT happens.

The "almost there" is in reference to a goal.  Sure, many times the goal can be an actual goal weight.  Sometimes, the goal can be related to cleaning.  Many times, it can be a healthy habit that I'm trying to squeeze into my life.

And then there's the "it."  The 'IT" I was referring to is self-sabotage.

As I mentioned, I do "it" all the time.  I'll clean a room, but somehow I never finish the last 2 or 3 tasks to finalize the cleaning, which would allow me to just sit and enjoy the room.  Or, I will just stop doing a healthy habit that is doing me a world of good.  Or, as in the case of my birthday goal weight...I blow it in the last few days.  

My goal was to be at or below 320 by Wednesday.  When I set that goal 3.5 weeks ago, I was at 324.  That was a very acceptable and attainable goal.  Well, I had a weird setback, and I went up to 327.  That extra 3 pounds made the goal difficult, but it still could have happened.  Infact, by yesterday morning I was at 323.4.  5 days, and about 3.5 pounds was not beyond complete reason, if I would do everything by the book.  HOWEVER---I'm not sure who I am, and why I have been eating the way I have been over the last 18 hours.  It's almost like the pressure of that goal weight was weighing me down.

That's right.  My self-imposed, no one else cares goal weight was indeed wreaking inner turmoil and personal havoc on my life.  Yeah, I would call that a serious case of self-sabotage.

Somehow, some way, I need to pray my way through this.  I know that losing weight has to be a goal of mine.  Not weighing in is just not an option for me.  My body needs me at a lower weight to get healthier.  However, somehow I have to avoid this particular form of defeat.  

It reminds me that as far as I have come on this beautiful journey of surrender that I have so much more to attain.  I have to also remember those daily goals are essential for me to be I'm revisiting my food journaling yet again.  This goal is my "make it or break it" point.  I had an extremely successful two weeks when I was journaling what I ate.  So, I am committing one day at a time for the next seven days to write down what I eat.  If I was really brave, I would attach it to my blog...lucky for you, I'm not that brave yet! :)

This leaves me with the game plan:  I will still weigh in on my birthday.  But, I will not let that number determine my self worth.  I will hit my 100 miles on the bike by Wednesday. 16 more miles to go!  I will be drinking 100 ounces of water each day.  And I will design a workout plan to be done 3 times a week that is a full body workout.  I will reset my goals on Wednesday and start my 30's in a new mindset...a good mindset.  Maybe, just maybe, I can break free from some of this sabotage, even if it is a little at a time!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Goodbye, Patsy

You all know how much I adore my husband.  Dreamy is my name of choice for the man God has given me.  I feel I may not do a lot well in this world, but loving my husband is the one skill I possess that I'm most confident of.  I have loved my husband through thick and thin and I feel that in eight years of marriage I have served God by loving this man deeply, passionately, and in a forgiving manner.

Just like any good skill---I had to learn it from someone.
Of course, I have my parents, who after 30 years of marriage are still in love.  I have taken many great things from their relationship.

But, there is one woman who forever molded me in how to love my man.

Her name was Patsy.  Patsy's husband name is Bob.  The love they exude for one another falls into the categories of "eternal," "real," "inspiring," and "adorable."  Everyone around them would tell you how much they adore one another.

I remember early on in my relationship with David, Patsy did something very out of the norm for her...she came to visit me alone.  My friend Marion was there too, and the three of us sat on my dorm room bed, where I served hot pocket cooked from my low watt microwave and we talked about many things.  But, Patsy said something that night that has stuck with me.  I can't remember the exact wording but it was along the lines of, "This has been fun.  But, I really enjoy my time with Bob.  I don't feel me when I'm apart from him for too long."

Both Bob and Patsy gave David and I many, many pointers those early years of dating, engagement, and marriage.  I remember them encouraging us to not be afraid to kiss in front of Micah (he was our only child at the time.)  I remember them telling us to keep our passion and love alive.  She encouraged me to praise my husband whenever I could.

Patsy taught me how to love my husband.  She invested in me.  She made me want to serve my husband and make him the happiest man alive.

It pains me to say that I learned today of Patsy's departure from earth.  I  know she's in Heaven.  I also know she has not been a daily part of my life for some time now, since we've both changed churches, but oh, to imagine an earth that is void of Patsy is a hard feat for me.  Her passion for Bob was great, her love for God even greater...

Patsy---I hope you know that you have made an eternal impact in our home...and I'm sure countless others.  I'm so thankful that you invested time into me as a young lady.  I know Heaven is even better than you imagined.  See you there someday, sweet friend.  Love, Sarah

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WAG #2

It's WAG time!
What are YOU thankful for today?

I will be completely honest here...I am not feeling very typical of myself today.  Even though the sunshine is brilliant, my emotions are a bit on the cloudy side.

I felt it coming on yesterday, with the end of Imagine You Renewed.  Just a recap, in case you do not remember, Imagine You Renewed was a 12 week course that I joined.  It dealt with all aspects of healthy living...spiritual being the most important, with the physical and emotional health heavily addressed as well.  The end of the sessions has been tugging on my heart strings.  I have been learning things that change my life, and I've been learning such things from people who have become friends, friends who deeply understand the spiritual connection of my weight loss journey.  And it just so happens that my body revolted at working out last night.  I started the workout with an awful cramp in my leg, but I kept pushing through, sometimes with tears in my eyes.  I was happy with my hard work, but just felt so frustrated that my body is still not over this cramping situation.

Anyways, so I knew from the workout last night, and my gloomy kind of mood that I most likely needed some extra rest.  I did get up with the kids early this morning, sewed a hole in a pair of shorts for Micah, assembled Lydia's hair as princess-like as I could, gave the family a round of hugs, kisses, and I Love You's, and headed back to bed.  My sweet husband drove the kids to school, and I collapsed, drifting very rapidly back into the DreamLand.

Even after my extra sleep, and waking up to a beautiful, sunny, warm day, I still feel a little down.

But, I guess that is where my Attitude of Gratitude comes in.  I am exceedingly grateful for GRACE.  Grace from God that makes allowances for my sinful nature, and covers me with a righteousness that I could never achieve on my own.  But, I am also grateful for the GRACE that those around me show for my short comings.  My husband was willing to rearrange his morning schedule a bit, just so I could take what I needed for my own mental health.  I'm thankful that even though I am usually very perky and bouncy, that my friends and family have enough grace to accept the fact that sometimes my life is not all bubbles and rainbows and sugar drops falling at sunset!  I'm grateful that those who read my blog share support much more than they share criticism (although, sometimes a little constructive criticism is necessary).  I'm so thankful that my readers understand that even though they may not be 326 pounds this morning, that I am.  And sometimes waking up with that reality is hard to swallow, even though I've been fighting this reality so hard.  And I'm also thankful that I'm learning to give myself a little more grace.  I am learning my limits.  I'm putting those limits into practice.  And I know that deep down my heart is still overflowing with gratitude, even if my mood is fogging up the view...but sometimes you just have to accept the fog is there for the moment.  And trust the Son to burn it away throughout the day.

So GRACE is the word for the day.  Making allowances for other's shortcomings.  Appreciating the beauty of someone despite their faults.  Learning your own limitations.  Letting God wrap his righteousness around you, simply because He loves you.  May GRACE overflow abundantly in your life today.