Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cracking the Closet Door...

Day 2 of getting to know me a little bit better has come.

I try to hide this part of me...but what I'm going to show you is basically a major hub of my life.  So, even if the door is closed, chances are if you are at my house for more than ten minutes, you will see into the heart of my home.  My power station...

My downstairs closet.

It holds EVERYTHING!  Go ahead...play I Spy here.

Can you find...

A crock pot?  How about 4?
At least 20 Pyrex dishes?
Painting supplies?
A dirt devil?
A vacuum?
My preschool supply box for the kids I babysit?
A tool kit?
Old family photos?
A power drill?
About 7 Thirty One bags that I use for grocery shopping?
Extra table cloths?

Yeah, you name it, it's in this closet.  I sort through it about four times a year.  I even have had friends clean it for me.  But no matter how hard I try, I can not keep this place clean!  It drives me crazy, because as mentioned before, this is the HUB of my home.  This closet is where everything important is stored.

Believe it or not, I am selective about what goes in here.  And truthfully,  I'm pretty awesome at purging or throwing things out.  (Except for crock pots and Pyrex dishes...because they are awesome and I use all of them...sometimes all at once!)
So, who has advice for me?  How can I tackle this closet?  How can I improve my usage and storage.  I need this place to be functional so that I can be my best.
Also...do YOU have a place like this?  Please, tell me I'm not all alone here!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Little Birdies

Today, we are celebrating my 150th Blog Post!  Yay!  Thank you for journeying with me!  

To celebrate I am taking on a five day blog project.  Each day I'm going to take a picture of something in my house, and tell you the story behind it.  I share a lot about my life, but there is still so much to tell you.  :)

Today's item is a little one that is probably overlooked by everyone else that comes in to my home.  Honestly, I don't even know if David even notices it.  But I do. It sits right about my kitchen sink...and always has in the three houses we've lived in since were were married.  

Mr. Bluebird.  He was a gift from our dear friend Erin when David and I wed.  He's simple, beautiful, and classic.  And, because of the wedded bliss promised from a legend about bluebirds---he's always been a symbol of my love for my husband and our life together.  

My marriage is  a priority for me, and this little fella reminds me of that daily! 

So a couple of follow up questions---if you have been to my home, have you ever noticed this little birdie?  And, what do YOU have in YOUR home that reminds you of your priorities?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Where's Sarah

I am a mess.
I will never deny that.
That's why yesterday's blog about Jesus' love was so important.  Because, Jesus loves me even when I mess up.
And, as it turns out, so do my friends. :)
Let me tell you a little bit about this morning.

I babysit S & T.  S is two years old, soon to be three, and T is 6 months old.  They are the cutest little guys, and on Thursdays they are my only kids that I watch.  So, on Thursdays, we get to do things we would not normally be able to do, like go out to breakfast.

The night before, my friend Natasha, had texted me and we made plans to meet at the cozy little breakfast place in town.  It's her favorite restaurant, and it has become one of my favorites because of her.  The boys were coming later today, so we had planned on leaving my house at 8:30.  It was going to be a perfect morning.

UNTIL---she shows up at my house.  My car was in the driveway, but no one was answering her knock at the door.  There was no noise or movement coming from the inside and she started to worry.  Assuming I had walked to the diner with the boys Natasha leaves to go check the diner.  That's when Justin, the boys' dad, arrives to drop them off.  He finds the same thing...a quiet house with no Sarah.

As Natasha realizes I'm not at the diner, and Justin realizes I'm not answering the door, the text messages and phone calls begin. They met each other on my front porch and tried to think of where I could be or what may be happening.   Phone calls to my cell phone, the house phone, my closest friends, my mother, my grandmother---they blew up those phone lines in my area.

Automatically, their minds drifted to the worst.  Obviously, I was dead somewhere, and someone was going to have to find me.

Except, I wasn't dead.  Just dead tired.  And deaf in my left ear.  And the owner of a cell  phone that had a drained battery.  Yup.  I was upstairs in my room, peacefully sleeping, on my right side, with my deaf ear up.

 I had no idea I was even missing.

I slept through all the phone calls, all the people in my house, everything...
I was in dreamland.  To make it better, I was dreaming about finding T's missing binkies---which I'm always on the search for!

The world had never been happier for me to wake up.  I had never been more humiliated.  I really hate messing up.  Especially when it comes to messing up for people I really love and cherish.

I can't believe God blesses me with friends who love me even when I sleep like a rock when I'm supposed to be up and productive.  I can't believe they were not irritated at me, but rather, just so thankful I'm alive.

So, it turns out that maybe, just maybe there are people in our lives who reflect Jesus' unconditional love.  Like my friends.  They rock.  Even when I don't!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Last weekend I attended the MOPS International leadership conference, which has affectionately been named "MomCon."  While I was there, I heard from amazing speakers, bought life changing books, and felt a rekindling from God that I so desperately needed.  But, as I reflect over my weekend, the most powerful moment was in the car ride, on the way home.  The entire ride home was such a blessing to me...each woman sharing their reflections and their take-home points.  We poured out our hearts about sin, struggles, encouragement and hopes for the future of our ministry.  But, THE MOMENT came for me out of one simple sentence from my friend Jenny.

I do not know what we were talking about or how it came up, but Jenny simply said, "Oh I love Jesus so much."

Now, back when I in high school, while most girls were scribbling their boyfriends' names on the front cover of their notebooks, I was writing my Lord's name down.  In fact, I remember one time in tenth grade health, the student teacher looked down at my nerdy front row desk with my notebook covered in hearts and the name of Jesus and asked me who "Jesse" was.  I was horrified, because an upperclassman named Jesse was in my class, and I quietly responded, "It says Jesus, not Jesse."  Oh, I was so in love with Jesus.  I would write his name, daydream about him, risk public humiliation for him.

When I heard Jenny proclaim her love for Jesus, it startled me.  When was the last time I had proclaimed out-loud with the passion that she had  that I desperately loved my Savior?

Fast forward a couple days later, to a typical Monday night at our house.  We were eating dinner, and my Papa Pete was spending time with us while my Gram was at Bingo.  Papa loves to talk about the past and his horses and the work he did logging the woods when he was young.  He was telling me that once he had built a loving and caring relationship with his horses, they were so easy to keep in line.  He said, "It was like their love for me made them want to please me."

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Somehow along the way I went from a girl passionately obsessed with Jesus, the man, his character and his love, to a woman who was stuck in the rut of obedience. Obedience does not earn love.  In a slow, quiet change, I went from experiencing Jesus  and his love to trying to earn it.  I had forgotten that, unlike the people in this world, Jesus will love me no matter what I do. I traded in simply loving and being loved for the feeling that I had to earn God's love. What a bum deal! I had quit allowing myself to be swept away by God's love and just letting me proclaim for the world how much I love Jesus.  And the thing is, I forgot that when you are completely smitten with your Savior, obedience just pours from you...not because you feel like you have to obey God, but simply because your love makes you want to obey him.

I'm going to be really honest here and say that I'm not sure what my next step is.  Should I just grab the nearest notebook and doodle Jesus' name like a school girl?  Maybe?  Perhaps I should just sit quietly and meditate on the love of Christ.  It probably wouldn't hurt.  I truthfully am so caught up in "being good enough to be loved," that I'm not sure how to "just be loved."

The next steps for me, just like most things in my life, will require bravery, trust, and faith.  I desperately long for Jesus to sweep me away in His love and I want to lose myself in the wonder of it all.  And, I'm pretty sure, just by the way I feel right now, that's all Jesus needs me to do...is to want to love Him more.  I don't have to do anything else.  "Doing" is how I got in this mess in the first place.

I'm interested in  hearing from you---what do you do to increase your intimacy with Christ?  Do you feel loved no matter what?  Or, like me, have you been felt trapped in the "earning God's love trap?"  Please, feel free to share and we can discuss, encourage, and pray for one another.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Callings, plans, and prayers

It was about a year ago that I had a great idea placed in my lap from my dear writing group friends.  "Hey, why don't we all try to write  50 thousand words and form a  novel for National Novel Writing Month?"  I threw myself in completely and wrote with a passion that I had never felt before.  Each day, I would ignore house work, drink ridiculous amounts of coffee, and write until my vision blurred and my fingers bled.  I was a writer.  Even more than that...I was an author.

Within months, I had a publisher, and shortly after that I had a book.  It was so fast, so miraculous, and to be quite honest, even though the days felt hard, it was easy...really easy.

So, here I sit with less than a month before "NaNoWriMo" starts, and I'm committing to writing again.  I am not delusional enough to believe this time will be easy.  I know I'm working this year and my schedule is tighter.  I know I'm more intimidated this year (especially as I've learned more about the publishing process).  And truthfully, I'm just simply more"in the know" this year.  There is truth in the old adage "ignorance is bliss."

Last year, NaNoWriMo was blissful for me.  This year, I'm fully anticipating a battle.  But, I'm a strong person and a brave writer.  I have a message welling up inside me that I need to share.

But, the question I want to ask you is are you supposed to be joining me?  One of my favorite quotes is from Crystal Evans, "Some readers will only hear, understand and accept certain things when they read it in your words, from your perspective, written in your voice.  We were each created by God to do our part.  And if we fail to do it because we don't think it's valuable enough, great loss will be suffered.  Someone, somewhere, needs you---in all of your uniqueness---to step up to the plate of your calling."

Powerful stuff.  Things to pray over.  I'm asking God to clearly lead you to your voice, you mission---because he may just have a story stored up in your heart.

Please, leave a comment if you are considering writing for the month of November.  I want to pray with and for you.  And, if you are not feeling that calling, will you please partner with me in prayer?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I want to be an awesome neighbor.
I love my little town and I feel a passion for living in a purposeful way to connect with my neighbors, friends, and loved ones.  I want to know my neighbors' favorite dinners, their dogs' names, and their birthdays.  I want to encourage them, wave at them, cook for them, and help them have happier days.  As soon as someone moves into a house I can see from my front or back porch, I develop an automatic affection for them.  They become "my people."
But, I'm learning as time goes on that being a good neighbor is sort of...weird.
And the last thing I want is for my neighbors to call me the "weird lady in the yellow house."
When we first moved into this neighborhood, we had an automatic connection with two other families.  We were all homeschooling, stay at home moms.  Our kids were all around the same age, and they played together for hours a day, and since the children were so young and needed adult supervision, we three moms usually had many hours of summer chit chat in a day. 
Now a days, those neighbors live in different houses, and my status as a homeschooling mom has changed.  Most of the houses around me have new occupants, and I'm not even sure I really know some of my neighbors names.  And while I'm still at home, I'm a working mom, spending 10 hours a day caring for other people's children and the rest of the day caring for mine  (oh, and writing at naptime!).  Physically getting outside of my home with two toddlers and a baby takes work and planning, and everyone else has work and plans too.  Life is hard.  Being a good neighbor is tough.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is...I wish being friendly didn't seem so foreign in our culture.  I wish that being kind and inviting someone into your home didn't seem like such a risk. 
But, I'm a pretty brave girl, and I don't mind taking risks.  So, in a few weeks, I'm going to take a big one---I'm having a block party!  I tried it once, and it went okay.  I'm attempting again, and I hope that it will be awesome!  (I'm an optimist, what can I say?!)  So, my dear readers...I need input...If your neighbors were having a block party, what would you want there?  Any ideas, suggestion, and input are welcome and valued!  I just want to be a blessing to those we live around! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Be You Bravely

                It’s not a metaphor.  I quite literally will not take the plunge.  At least a half a dozen times I’ve stood at the side of the pool, imagining what it would feel like to let myself step off the edge, and plunge deep into the waters.  I know logically, I have nothing to fear.  My body, naturally buoyant, would float.  Anyways, my husband or my friends are always there, ready to help me if something should happen and I start to drown.  I let me own children do it, over and over again, yet there is something about it holding me back.  I have thought about the fact that it may hurt, just physically jumping off the side, but pain has never held me back much.
                Even though there’s a part of me that is ashamed of myself for not allowing myself to just go for it, there is another part of me that says---if this was a metaphor, it would be a lie.  I am brave, fearless, heroic, and courageous.   I take risks.  I do dive in, metaphorically, anyways.
                I am living a transparent life, where I am in no way pretending I’m perfect.  Anyone who reads my blog or follows my Facebook page or comes in contact with me knows that I’m just a girl who loves Jesus very much who is trying to do the right thing, while being unsure of myself and how to overcome my sins.  I’m someone who tries to boldly extend grace, just the way it has been given to me.  Deep in my heart, I know my own convictions, and I do my best to live the way God has called me to.  That is rare and few people are honest enough to live life this way.  I am brave.
                Every morning, I wake up a woman who is prone to anxiety.  I get worked up about everything---from mice to nuclear bombs and spiritual warfare.  One of my first thoughts every morning is “I can’t believe I made it alive to live another day.”  I constantly wonder if I may die and what would happen to my children and husband and parents.  Who would ever love them the way I do?  I feel my heart race and my palms turn clammy and cold as my mind imagines what it feels like as death overtakes your body.  Yeah, I know I’m morbid, but these are my thoughts.  This is my reality.  I face and refute these fears every day, with the truth of God’s word.  So, even though I face fear nearly every moment of my life, I am indeed fearless.
                I love people.  I risk getting my heart broken everyday by juggling many valuable relationships.   I try to encourage, help, and hug whenever I can.  I overlook offenses that cause others to demand worldly justice. I also care for other women’s children day in and day out.  I keep those babies safe, hug them, love them, wipe their spit off of me, and carefully clean their bottoms.  I comfort them while their mommies are out changing the world in their own particular ways.  I’ve taken what most would consider a menial job and made it a passion, my mission.  In a world that often gives way to isolation, I’m committed to befriending, loving, forgiving, and caring for people.  Because of this, I am heroic.
                So, maybe the next time I go to the pool, I’ll jump off the side.  But, chances are, I never will.  And I’m mostly okay with that.  Because, I’m no coward.  I’m a bold woman who faces one risk after another day after day---and let’s face it---I can’t do everything.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Bear and The Crow

Yesterday, on the radio, I heard this amazing story about a grizzly bear rescuing a crow from drowning.  (To confirm the story, I looked it up, and sure enough on YouTube, you can watch the story unfold.)  The crow is cawing, loudly, frantically---and the bear calmly swoops the bird out with its big, powerful paw.  He then walks away and eats an apple.
When the announcer finished telling the story, I shut the radio off and processed what I had just heard. I felt my eyes swell with tears.  A grizzly bear is an animal prone to aggression.  A crow is an annoying bird.  But, the bear had enough compassion to save the bird. 
A bear.  A bird.
But what about people?  
We were created to love and be loved.
How can you help someone today?  Maybe hold that critical tongue of yours in check? Maybe, without making a judgement call, you give that man standing outside of Wal-Mart with the sign a bag of bananas, crackers, cheese, and water?  Perhaps you can call and pray with a friend who you have been overlooking lately.
As Christians, we are called to be compassionate people.  Has your compassion be hidden?  Life is fresh when you live compassionately.   It's the antidote to selfishness.  It's the demonstration of love.  And I know if a grizzly bear can be kind to a crow, that you, a child of God empowered by the Holy Spirit, can encourage...possibly even rescue...one of your fellow humans today. 

From Colossians 3:12-14
12 Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. 13 Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.14 Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Return from a Non-Eternal Summer

Oh, my blogspot---how I've missed you!
It's been a summer full of foreign exchange students, VBS, two mini stay-cations, the summer reading program, the release of my book and playing with my kids.  It's been wonderful.  Happy.  Messy.  Fun.  Exhausting.  Yeah, all of those.

Thankfully, a well timed "Grammy Camp" has arrived.  One week.  I have one whole week without children to refuel my mind and body, to make my house look like a home again, and to start diving head first into writing book #2.

A week feels incredibly long today.  However, on Friday afternoon, I know I'll be wondering where all the time went.

I have so much more to say, but I have my list sitting next to me...begging for completion.  I hope to blog every day this week...just to get back into the habit. I miss this. It's part of who I am.

Post a comment and let me know how you've been!  I've missed you all!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Truth and Bravery

Over Memorial Day weekend, my family and I joined a group of wonderful people for a picnic.  While we were there, the topic of my phobia of animals came up.  I no longer hide behind my fear of rodents (specifically) and other animals.  In fact, sometimes I openly broadcast it, so as to avoid any incidents of me all but blacking out because of a chinchilla (true story!)  Anyways, as the banter continued about what animals would send me into a frenzy, one woman shared how she had to be the one who would capture the bats that would come into their home.  Her husband would tuck the covers all around himself in their bed, while she took a flyswatter to stun the bat and then release him back into the wild.
The entire time she was recounting her various escapades of bat conquering, I stared at her in amazement.  How did she do it?  How did she become so brave?  I felt like such a weak woman compared to her.  Honestly, I felt that all my fears that have paralyzed me for years made me feel incomplete.  I felt shame and I felt that my husband was shortchanged ending up with me as his wife.

Looking back at that reflection, I'm confronted by many truths.  First of all, I'm only judging myself.  I have no problem with that woman's husband being scared enough of bats that he wraps himself in a blanket.  I expect more of myself that I would ever expect of anyone else.  I'm not very kind to my sensitive spirit at times.  I've decided I'm going to work on that.

The other truth didn't hit me until just the other day.  I was explaining to an acquaintance about our summer schedule.  We are hosting back to back students---teenagers---from foreign countries.  When I share with her our summer plans, her eyes began to grow larger.  Her head shook back and forth, as if I was crazed and delusional.  And I recognized the open mouth stare---it was the stare I had given to the woman who was not afraid of bats.

The woman shaking her head at me was amazed that I would even considering doing such a thing.

The other truth I'm confronted with is that while full of trepidation in some areas, I'm fearless in others.  I know some people who struggle to even invite someone over for dinner---and here I am opening my home to people from foreign countries for weeks on end.  

I never realized that makes me brave.

But, it does.

I may not be able to see a rat without my heart racing, or touch a stray kitten...but I'm not afraid of putting my heart on the line and opening my home.  I am brave.  

And I'm not letting my fears define me anymore.  I'm learning to pet dogs, admire cats, and I even watched a chipmunk for a few minutes the other day---just because I knew it was good for me.  To top it off, I traveled to Wagon Trails park with Lydia's class the other day and I rode through herds of animals.  I did it bravely, happily---because I refuse to let my fears control me.

Here's some proof-----

The lesson behind all this is not for me to brag and tell you how I've conquered my fears.
No---the thing I want you to pull away is that God is working through me---even though I've limited myself for years.  He wants me---YOU---to enjoy life abundantly.  You do not have to live captive to your fears. 
I'm learning to let them go, step by step.  Each day, I wake up and I find myself challenging myself a little more.  I want YOU to experience that joy as well!

And I want you to remember, that no matter what you may be held back by...you probably have something in your life that other people think you are incredibly brave for too! 

This week has been a very encouraging one for me---and I hope that you will be encouraged as well!  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


God is so good.  I can not say that enough.  Seriously.
Despite the fact that I'm on day 12 of the never-ending cold---God is so good.
Even though my five year old is still crying when I drop her off at preschool---and it's almost the end of the year---God is so good.
God is so good---though my husband is working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and I miss his face like crazy most of the time.
For every problem I'm facing, every struggle that is perplexing me, and every hardship around the corner, I'm consistently reminded of the goodness of my loving Father.

And I'm finding those reminders in God's Word.

Last week, I needed energy---I needed hope---in the worst way.  My friend Tammy and I sat on my back deck (while people from the gas company were in my house detecting CO and trying to locate a gas leak...what fun....) and God gave me the most amazing verse to get me through the week.

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."  (Isaiah 39:29)  HELLO!  AMAZING!!!  I give God's powerful word the credit for getting me through some tough times last week!  Hallelujah!

This week---and the weeks ahead---we face the unknown diagnosis of our five year old.  Test after test---and specialized doctors and traveling to a city nearly 80 miles away just for some answers.  But, I remember that  God's word tells me in Psalms 118:8
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man."  And just a few verses before that---"In my anguish I cried to the Lord and he answered me by setting me free."  (v. 5)

God is good.  His Word is my strength.  I will call on God...I will cry to Him...and He will be our ultimate answer.  It's devastating not knowing what is going on with Lydia and it's worrisome not knowing if or when she will have another seizure---or what is causing them---but I trust God.  I know he will carry us through.

And I know this post sounds repetitive.  But, right now that is what my life is.  The same battles every day.  And the same answers each day too...God's word.

I'm not writing this to preach to you.  I'm writing this to remind me.  Because some days I wake up, and I think I have to do it all on my own.  But, I don't.  God's there.  His Word is ready to speak to me. and I just need to listen.  That is where I am today.  And I'm guessing since I'm feeling led to write this---that I'm not the only one.  I believe the answers we need are in the Bible.  What situations are you facing?  Do you believe that God's Word is powerful enough to help you get though?  I hope so friend!  Because God loves you, he cares deeply about what ails you, and the truth is waiting in that thick, often dust covered book.

Friday, April 25, 2014


My exciting news is.....


 I've been working with a new company called Fulton Books and I'm so excited to tell you that within a couple months Transformed by Sarah Rose will be available for purchase! Both physical copies and Ebooks will be available.  

I've been in disbelief ever since the whole process started.  I can not express the gratitude I feel that they chose my book and how smoothly the process has gone.  God really seems to have smoothed this path for me and I'm completely grateful!  :)  I can't wait to feel the book in my hands and read it, remembering the hours of writing blitzes and getting to know my characters---even dreaming about them.

I thank God daily for Dusty and Lauren Roberts---who thought of me and my hard work and asked me to come along side them in this journey.  I also thank God for my writing group---Kristine, Betsy, and Jackie.  Without them, I would have never heard of NanoWriMo and I would never be living out a life long dream.  And I'm just so grateful for the support everyone has given me.  From my husband and my best friends to people who barely know me, the support has been phenomenal and encouraging.  I strongly believe that the success of this book is rooted in the fact that in November, while I was feverishly writing, every day I had at least one person committed to praying for me.  That made all the difference friends.  God heard your prayers and I'm so humbled that he is giving me this opportunity!  So, thank YOU for all YOU have done.  Because, while I love to write, I know the true power was in the prayers of my praying friends!!!!  HALLELUJAH!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Boardwalk

David and I walked, hand in hand, watching our two children run up ahead of us on the path made of wooden planks.  I have clear memories of watching Lydia and Micah run two years ago, down the same favorite path---and, oh, how did they grow so tall?  Where did Lydia's chubby toddler legs go?  And when did Micah become so capable, climbing trees skillfully?  I made sure to make a mental note of the way Lydia's braid bounced with her step and the way Micah noticed things that we would normally overlook.    As we walked along, David and I discussed deep matters of the heart, things related to God and our faith, matters we normally can't dive into at home.  When you are in the woods there are no phones, chores, or menus to pull you away.  It was just the four of us, surrounded by God's creation---and a man made bridge in the middle of the woods.
Last summer was so busy---too busy---that we never made it to our spot---not even once.  This year, I was determined not to make the same mistake twice, so we went yesterday---Easter Sunday for a sweet family walk.
The sense of gratitude I felt for that walk was so intense.  There's something about the "Boardwalk" as we call it, that makes me feel closer to the Lord.  When I'm stressed, I imagine what the end of the trail looks like, and I listen to the creek at the end babble over the rocks, even if only in my mind.  It's my favorite place to be on a Sunday afternoon.  I love nature---and without a ceiling pressing down on me, I feel like I can share my heart more clearly with God.  Yesterday, when we reached the end of the trail, we sat on some big logs and the four of us "popcorn prayed" and thanked God for hundreds of blessings.  Ah, there's nothing like praying out in the open, where it feels like your prayers get to Heaven faster.  And when we prayed yesterday, we didn't even ask God for anything, because when you are sitting with your beautiful family, in the middle of the woods---who needs anything else?  We just lifted up praises---our hearts were so grateful to our RISEN KING!
This was the sign that greeted us at the beginning of the trail.  I'll admit I was pretty jumpy on the trail at first. :)

See that black blob in the middle of the photo?  We were convinced that was a bear---or a gorilla---or maybe bigfoot! :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Last night, I sat in my friend Beth's living room.  My leadership group from MOPS had met for a planning meeting.  As we studied 2 Corinthians 12:9 together, tears began rolling down my cheeks.  As hard as I fought to keep them in, they demanded an escape.  Because, sometimes you have to cry to cleanse your soul.  And, it became quite evident to me last night, and off and on the days before that, that I needed a cleansing.

More than that---I needed to believe that God loved me enough---despite my short comings---to still want to cleanse me.

Let me start with an email I had sent to my friend Sandy the other day....I keep struggling with the LIE that God loves me more the less I weigh.  Or that somehow the lower my weight the higher my level of spirituality or something.  I know those are lies, but they creep in and sabotage my heart.  Thank you for speaking truth to me.  

Sandy had sent me a beautiful excerpt from Made to Crave about how God loves me no matter what I weigh.  Her timing had been impeccable and the words she sent me soothed my tired spirit.  When I responded back to her, I realized that truthfully, I felt like I had to earn God's love by adhering to a strict eating plan or the more I exercised, God would become more proud of me.  When I responded to her, I realized that I was toeing the line of living a life of phony self righteousness and not a life filled with beautiful grace.

Because life has been so hectic with Lydia's concussion and testing, I had not had a lot of time to sit down and ponder that.  So last night when we sat down to study the verse in 2 Corinthians that says in our weakness Christ is shown strong and how his grace and favor is all we need---it's enough, my heart was stirred.  

Should I strive to obey God and his calling to healthy eating in my life?  Absolutely!  It's God's best for me.  That's the very best thing about life on earth---living sacrificially to demonstrate our respect for God.  But, I realized that somehow in my mind the wires had gotten crossed.  I was making my obedience to God the basis of His love for me.  And that, my friends, is a LIE!  

God loves me whether I eat a stack of bacon and pancakes for breakfast, a hamburger for lunch, and an entire pizza for dinner.  God loves me when I eat an egg white omelette in the morning, a salad at noon, and grilled chicken for dinner.  He LOVES me no matter what. 

And despite how I feel, God's grace isn't going to dry up.  I often feel as I ask for forgiveness that God will say, "Well, Sarah Rose, you have used up your last chance.  No more grace for you."  I'M SO GLAD I DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT HAPPENING.  God's word tells me his grace is enough---it's sufficient.  It's abundant.  And while I would never want to abuse that grace, I can rest assured that it's waiting for me when I need it.

And here's the great part.  The grace, forgiveness and acceptance that I've been writing about is waiting for YOU too.  God has so much grace that He's waiting to pour out on you.  He wants the BEST for your life too!  What kind of friend would I be if I didn't share that this grace is for YOU TOO!!!  

On a final note, I want to thank YOU---my readers---You all have been so supportive with my admission of my scale woes.  In fact, the grace that was demonstrated from my readers was earthly proof of the grace of God.  It's been amazing and freeing to be honest about what happened in January.  Since I wrote about that, my weight has dropped down to 313.  Apparently, sometimes, holding on to an emotional weight like that can literally add pounds on in real life.  But I know, that God's love for me did not grow just because the scale dropped six pounds.  No, he already loved me the most he could!

In conclusion, I pray that you will ask God to show you just how abundant his grace is---and how it's all you and I need.  His grace is enough.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quieting my Soul

It was 6:50 this morning when I first stepped out my door to begin walking.  The songs of the birds are so beautiful in spring, and while the morning was cloudy and gray, the balmy temperature created its own kind of sunshine.  As I walked down the alley, I lifted my hands to heaven and asked God to use me.  "God, please, use the words I write, the words I say, the people I come in contact with...please use me."  As I walked, I prayed for my church, for my neighbors, and just for peace.  I saw two red breasted robins, and they reminded me to pray for my friend Robin.  She's been growing in her faith so much, stepping out and serving God in new ways.  I prayed for my Gramma as I passed by the apartment she will soon be moving in to.  I lifted my wonderful mother in law up in prayer as I saw her jeep in her work parking lot.  I thought of friends who helped me get through this tough weekend---Adriane, Leah, Bettina, and all those who had been lifting my daughter Lydia up in prayer as she recovers from a concussion.  When I arrived back home, it was time to go for another walk...to school.  The path to the school takes us through the cemetery.  

Some people may be disturbed by a daily walk that includes headstones, but my children and I always enjoy the flowers, birds, and wildlife we see there.  This morning, hand in hand the three of us walked.  We praised God out-loud for protecting Lydia and for helping her heal.  The praise soon turned into Micah and Lydia talking about how dumb concussions are, but I didn't mind.  I felt the same way.  The weekend had been full of turmoil.  Testing, waiting, pain, doctors, and vomiting, followed by more vomiting.  Once Lydia had been on the mend, I was struck with a migraine (I'm guessing caused by stress) that caused me to sleep from one in the afternoon until 6:23 this morning.  Oh, except when my migraine caused me to throw up too.  So, the walk, the peace of the outdoors in the morning was just what my heart needed.  Calm, serenity, and refreshment.  
Maybe your heart is troubled?  Perhaps you feel overwhelmed?  Maybe you just feel like you have too much to do.  I encourage you, lace up your sneakers, and head outside.  A quick ten minute walk---especially one where you talk to God---can do wonders for your soul.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Talking about "it"

If there is one thing I'm keenly aware of, it is the fact that my life depends on the weight loss journey I'm enduring.  Now, most of the time I would never write the word enduring, but rather I would say, "enjoying."   However, reality has been quite harsh and there is no denying that right now I'm enduring.

Remember the "it" I referenced a few blog posts ago?  Well, today, I'm talking about it.  I'm letting you in on my little secret.  Back in January, I noticed the scale was going down rather fast.  I chalked the success up to finally getting my anemia under control.  However, one day I stepped on the scale and instead of the 280's it said 234!  I knew I had not lost fifty pounds overnight and instantly, the truth hit me.

My scale was broken.  I consoled myself saying, "Well, at least I made it below 300."  But, then doubts crept in.  Just how long had my scale been broken?  What was my true weight.  Gathering up money that I didn't really have to spend, I went to the store and purchased a reliable brand of a scale.  When I stepped on that night, nothing could have prepared me for what it said.  315.

Yes, that is correct.  Three hundred and fifteen pounds.  I was furious!  How could this be?  I was working so very hard.  It was so unfair!  All my milestones that I believed I had accomplished were stolen away from me.  No more fifty pounds, no more sixty or seventy pounds lost...and I was back over 300 pounds in an instant.

That's a hard mental battle to fight.  Instantly weighing more that twenty pounds more than you thought you do.  And friends, to be quite honest, I have not recovered from that yet.  I feel defeated, deceived, and discouraged.  Trying to stay on this journey has started to feel pointless.   Even hopeless.

Then I remember the things that God has called me to...raising my family, loving and encouraging my husband, my friendships, MOPS, VBS, babysitting the children I watch, reaching out to my neighbors----those are the things that keep me motivated.  As I mentioned before, I know my very LIFE DEPENDS on this journey.  And I plan on making the most of every day I have here on Earth to serve the Lord and love the people around me.

Part of loving those people means caring for myself.  So, please, I'm begging you, pray for me.  I've been struggling...struggling very hard to eat well.  Since my day I weighed in at 315, I have gained another four pounds.  I'm up to 319.4.  I'm trying so hard to reset my habits, but I need the power of prayer and friendships behind me.

So, there's the true story of "it."  I know "it" could have been worse, but most days "it" feels like the most awful thing that could have ever happened.  I'm never giving up on this battle, but your prayers will most definitely help me fight harder.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


The following is a piece I wrote to enter in a writing competition.  I didn't win, but I sure had a great time writing it!

“Wabi-sabi, wabi-sabi,” I chanted to myself as I stepped into the shower.  It had been three days since I had been able to bathe, and the water wasn’t hot enough to cleanse me of the build-up of germs and grime.  I tried turning the faucet so the temperature would rise, but apparently it was as hot as it would get that morning.
It was sometime around five, an hour, pre-motherhood, I used to consider the middle of the night.  I chided myself for the jealousy I harbored for my still-sleeping husband.  Once again, I spoke aloud the words “wabi-sabi.”  Reminding myself of the Japanese art form that embraces imperfection helped me relax amidst the streaky bathroom mirror and the toothpaste gobs left in the sink.  I tried ignoring the dirty clothes on the floor, some of them, shamefully, were left there from the weekend.  Even more appalling, some of them belonged to me. 
I sighed deeply.  Optimistic by nature, it was unusual for me to feel this defeated before sunrise.  I tried remembering all the great mommy blogs I had read recently.  They were writings that focused on clever quips similar to, “Please excuse the mess. We are busy making memories.”   I negotiated with myself that no judgment would fall if my house was not perfect.  I am, after all, a mother of two young children, and a babysitter of eight regulars.  As if tending to ten children wasn’t enough, I am responsible for encouraging my husband, supporting my friends, serving my church, and reaching out to my community. Did I mention I’m also trying to lose one hundred pounds and launch a writing career?  To-do lists ran through my mind and my heart’s rhythm picked up pace.
“Wabi-sabi.” I found it necessary to speak the phrase out loud.  My panicked thoughts were taking over my mind, so with that soothing verbal reminder, images of the famous Japanese artwork, asymmetrical gardens and cracked pottery popped into my head.  What had my life become?  Was I so overwhelmed, overscheduled, and exhausted that I was now counting on cracked pots to offer me solace? 

All at once, I burst into teary laughter.  The not-hot-enough water filled up my mouth.  I swished the water around for a second, and when I spit it out, I sent my bad attitude with it.  Against all odds, I would make it through this day.  I would step over toys, scrape toothpaste off the sink with the nail of my pointer finger, maybe even do a load of laundry.  Armed with the hope of wabi-sabi, I would remember this crazy life, even with its many imperfections, truly is beautiful.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bye-Bye Facebook

I never anticipated saying goodbye to Facebook for Lent.  It took me by surprise, and it was a last minute decision, made quickly and with passion.  Had I thought about it, I would have probably not done it.
Originally, I had planned on juicing for Lent.  However, day one cost me approximately $18.00 in produce.  Just for me.  And, since my entire month grocery budget is $140.00 (give or take) and that feeds my entire family, I quickly realized that it was not financially feasible.
I sat down at the desk and prayed, "Please, God, show me what would draw me closer to you."  As I was praying that prayer, I typed in the letter "F" in the address bar on my browswer.  Trusty old facebook.com popped up and my heart was pricked instantly.  I knew what I had to give up for Lent...Facebook.
I feel that I really do use Facebook in a wonderful way.  I pray about who I can encourage, I do not complain too often, and I try to share the truths and humor that I come across in life.  I try to make Facebook a happy place.  I look at it as a ministry tool.
But, the fact is, many people do not share my passion for Facebook being a joyful part of life.  And, within a couple days, I noticed  that I was feeling free of the burden that Facebook complaints and drama were continuing to pile on my sensitive soul.  I was lighter.  I was less worried, and anxiety levels had dropped significantly.
My day also seemed to have a few more hours.  I remember saying, "I'll just hop on for a minute" and watching that minute turn into thirty.
I will be returning to Facebook after Resurrection Sunday...but I think that Facebook has lost some of its power over me.  I look forward to emailing with friends, posting uplifting status messages, and praying for people who seem to need it....but I also look forward to limiting my Facebook time, not re-installing it on my phone or my Kindle (who needs 24/7 access to FB?  NOT ME!) and setting a timer while I'm on, so I don't get sucked in for too long.
I'm thankful that God called me away from Facebook for this season.  I do miss it, but I love the freedom I'm experiencing more!

ONE ADDITIONAL THOUGHT:  I have logged in to Facebook to check my emails and to check in with a couple groups that I need to communicate with regularly.  So, I'm occasionally still on, just not daily, and when I'm on, its for a very specific reason. :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I promised you I would be back!
Here I am.
Today, I am going to tell you all about my FitBit Flex.  For those of you who are wondering what a FitBit is, it's basically a fancy pedometer.  It automatically stores your information on the computer for you, helps you compete with friends, and even tracks your sleep quality on certain models.
First off, you should know that there has been a voluntary recall on FitBit Force's.  This is not the same model I have, nor have I experienced any rashes on my arms from my Flex.
Secondly, you should know, that in my opinion, I think that FitBits are pricey.  To buy a Flex new, it would have cost approximately $100.00.  To me, that is a huge investment.  So, I began scouring Craiglist-like listings on Facebook.  Finally, I found a woman who did not like wearing it on the same hand as her watch, and wanted to sell hers.  I bought it for $50.00.  I still considered that to be a big investment, but I will say it's already paid for itself!
The very first day I had it, I walked 5,000 steps.  I did not put it on until nearly 3:00 pm but it motivated me to get stepping!
The goal is to have your weekly average steps over 10,000.  Right now, I'm hovering right near seven thousand. I have a ways to go.  But, I can't imagine what my average was before I slapped my FitBit band around my wrist.
I have already noticed a trend.  The nicer it is outside, the higher my steps!  I've taken to some creative methods of trying to increase my steps total on the dismal days.  I march while brushing my teeth, washing my hands, cooking dinner and standing in conversation.  I walk around the house while I fold laundry.  I set my timer and do five minute sprints.  All these little changes make me more active.
I like being active.  I really do.
And I'm really thankful I have this little tool to remind me of that. Because, since I've been in a funk lately, I need reminders.
To prove my point, a quick antidote:
Last night, I had a rough night.  I ended up taking some Melatonin and some anxiety medicine.  Today, I'm sort of dragging from an "emotional hangover."  I'll admit, I've pretty much laid around all day.  Until about forty minutes ago, when I looked at my wrist, and my Flex dots blinked to show me that I hadn't even completely 20% of today's goal.
I'm so competitive, especially with myself, that I was not okay.  That was enough motivation to get me out of bed, into the shower, dressed, and functioning.
You can check out all the models at fitbit.com.  I'm not endorsing the product or anything.  I'm just a fan of what it is doing in my own life, especially in a time when I need some extra motivation.
So, if you are kind of in an end-of-winter-is-spring-ever-arriving-funk, maybe you would benefit from checking out a new tool!
For me, it's been a life changer, even if it's really small changes.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Blogger in Hiding

Here I am, crawling back, after six weeks of hiding from my blog.
I began my avoidance after a terrible discovery.  I call the discovery "it."
I continued dodging the blog-o-sphere because of anger, shame, frustrations and sometimes just pure depression.
Blogging then took a back seat to schedule overload, birthday parties, winter blues, other writing projects, and daily life.
But basically, I haven't written here, because, simply put, I did't want "it" to get out.

I'm still not ready to tell you what "it" is, so you'll have to wait for another blog post about that.

But, it's a Friday night.  I'm not really into watching Turbo with my family, and truth be told, I miss my blogging buddies.  Instead of talking about "it" I think I'll give you a run down of all the other new things in my life.  The following list is a summary of all the exciting things going on.  Okay, so maybe it's just a list of ten random things that seem important to me right now.  Either way, most of the items mentioned below will eventually get their own blog post.

1.  I bought a fitbit.  It rocks.   It really keeps me moving and motivated to be more active.
2.  I got my hair cut.  It also rocks.  This is the first time I've LOVED a haircut on the first day.   I can't stop touching it.
3.  I think I'm a Reese's Pieces addict.  I wish I was kidding.
4.  My daughter, Lydia just turned five last week.  And she's been saying the cutest things.  Which of course, I will blog extensively about.
5.  While Micah hasn't had his birthday yet, he also, has been saying hilarious things.  I will be compiling a post all about him too!
6.  I cleaned my car.  Like, seriously cleaned it. Trust me, this is blog worthy.
7.  I'm off Facebook for Lent.  This is worthy of about seventeen blogs.  Life is both awesome and weird without Facebook.  (However, I will still link this on FB since most of my readers end up here from there!)
8.  I've discovered that I LOVE juicing.
9.  My husband and I have been trying to actually go out on dates.  That's been pretty much amazing.
10.  I've rode 145 miles on my bike in 2014.  I'm actually behind schedule on that goal.  And according to my fitbit I've walked over 90 miles in a month!

So, I know this was not a poetic post, or anything deep...but I at least admitted that there's an "it."  And maybe I'll get brave enough to write about "it" soon.  And I'm excited that I have lots of topics to write about in the next week or so!  Here's to a new season...spring!  And here's to a fresh excitement about all the parts of me that need to get better.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I have peace---even though I look like THIS.

For the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study we were challenged to write about making peace with our bodies.  Along this struggle, this was one of the first challenges I had to combat.  After all, it's really hard to care lovingly for a body you hate.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  If you despise the way you look, is it not harder to care for yourself?  It is.  Trust me.

Now, I have a double edged sword to deal with here.  While I've never liked the way my body has been shaped, my body has never been shaped any differently.  I've always been overweight.  I remember a promise of a doll I really wanted if I could lose twenty pounds.  I think I was five at the time.  I never got that doll. Yeah.  Wrap your head around that one.

 Anyways, the tricky part about it is, while I've never known any different, and I don't like being fat, I've never experienced the freedom of a healthy weight.

So, before this journey began, I did not have peace.  But, I wasn't in constant turmoil either.

Well, I didn't have constant turmoil until my journey began.  Let's look at a few pictures that show my body at the beginning, middle, and now.
This is me at my heaviest.  360 pounds.  

And here is me about at 60 pounds lost.  (300 pounds)

These are bootcamp pictures.  They were roughly about 335 to 315ish in pounds.

I am down approximately ten more pounds since that picture around Christmas time.  But, obviously, my body is still large.  Do I look slightly better?  Yes.  I think I do.  But, the fact of the matter is that if I walk into a room, I'm still always the fattest person there.  And since I'm short, my fat is all out there.  You know what I mean?  There's no hiding it with the right outfit or standing at the right angle.  I'm fat.  Just plain fat. And there's no denying it.  

But you know what?
I'm okay with how I look. 
Please, don't try not to gasp.  You can.  Sometimes I can't believe it either.  
I'm not saying that I like the way my belly hangs over my legs.    I am not crazy about my tricep jelly.  And my feet will forever always be too wide for my liking.  But---I've truly made peace with how I look.

Here's why.  This journey is not about "not being fat" for me.  It's about being healthy and living long and serving God the best I can.

One night I told David that if I was healthier and as long as I could buy clothes from cheaper stores I would not fret about "looking fat" for the rest of my life.  I truly just want to be healthy.  And I know that my body is getting healthier. And that gives me peace.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Who I REALLY Am--A Thursday Morning Pep Talk!

God---If I'm your beloved, help me believe it.
When I heard those words last night in the song below, I think that my heart skipped about seven beats.
Before I write any more, please, please, watch this video.  Pay close attention to the signs they are holding.
WHO I AM by Jason Gray
Okay---did you watch it.  Did it move you?
It moved me.  So very much.

So, right after that song, another song came on.
OVERCOMER by Mandisa
Did you watch this one?  Do you feel like you can do just about anything now?  GREAT!  ME TOO!!!
I was so inspired by the truth of both of those songs that my heart began to stir.  I picked up my Made to Crave book that I had been ignoring the last few days.  I read it!  I finally picked an eating plan to follow.  I signed up online with Weight Watchers.  I paid for it and everything!  (Talk about REAL accountability!)  I stood in the kitchen talking excitedly with my hands waving all around.  David was grinning ear to ear as I voiced my passion about my journey with him.  I think I danced around a little.  I'm pretty sure I preached half a sermon to him!  I felt the fire of the Holy Spirit moving in me! Then---  I wrote this on my fridge.
Thanks Lysa TerKeurst for another GREAT fridge quote!
I texted a few friends and invited them in on my journey.
One of my friends asked me why I was joining Weight Watchers when I had been doing so well at losing on my own.  My answer was simple.  I want a plan that causes me to eat sacrificially!  Sacrificial eating draws me closer to God and helps break me out of this addiction cycle.

So, all these scattered thoughts to say---GOD REMINDED ME OF HIS TRUTH!  In Him, I am an overcomer.  I'm his beloved.  He wants the best for me!  I am made new!  I can be victorious through him!  I am set free!  I am declaring that now!  I can, through the power of the Holy Spirit, be set free from this addiction.  It's been a long time since I truly believed that!  

I'm praising God with all my heart that He reminded me of this.  And, friend, I hope you are reminded and believe this for yourself too!  

"That Number"

What do you get when you combine subzero temperatures, a 10 month old, three 2 year olds, and a 4, 5, 6, and 7 year old?  My morning of course! :)  Having my house filled up with eight children was, for a couple of brief hours a realization of my mommy dreams.  I always wanted eight kids.  Truth is---I still do.  (I just can't see me doing pregnancy, late night feedings, pumping, and no sleep six times over again...)  But, yeah, for a couple hours, my house was bursting at the seams and it was wonderful.
At one point, all of them (minus the baby) were singing a song that I may have wrote myself...
"If you love Sari (my nickname) and you know it clap your hands..."  The sound of all the chubby little hands smacking against each other made my heart so happy!  They all loved me.  And I love them.  What a blissful, crazy, head spinning morning!

So, having eight children around today got me to thinking about numbers.
Numbers, even though we say they don't, really matter.
Zip codes, phone number, area codes, bank account balances---they all matter.
And even though everyone says, "The number on the scale doesn't really matter," we all know it does.  Just ask about 99.8% of women who will never share with anyone---not even their husbands---what the scale says.  People who have anxiety attacks because they have to step on a scale at the doctors office.  Or a person who would NEVER go to a weight loss group simply because someone else would now know the secret.
One of my goals in writing this blog is to share with you boldly and honestly my weight loss battle.  And part of that is sharing what I weigh.  I can tell you with no hesitation that today I weighed 292.6.  I'm thrilled with that number.  I'm not ashamed.  When I started I was 360 pounds.  I wasn't afraid to say it back then either.
I want to empower you not to be held back by that number.
Is your weight important?
Yes, I daresay it is.  It's a refection of if you are taking care of yourself---but it's only a measuring device.
Your weight does not define you.
My friends don't love me any more because my weight starts with a 2 now.
My husband doesn't base his daily affection on what the scale reads each morning (PRAISE GOD!)
And, you are still reading my blog after I have openly admitted to all my readers several times just exactly how much I weigh.
Am I saying that you have to start your own blog and announce your weight on it too?  Absolutely not.
But, sweet friends, I hope to empower you.  Maybe you've been holding back on doing things that are good for you just because of a number.  Don't hold back any longer.  Go see that doctor and seek better health.  Join Weight Watchers and embrace the community support that will help you achieve your goals.  Or, maybe increase the trust in your marriage by sharing that number with your spouse.  Just stop making excuses because you want to maintain your secret.  Friend, let me tell you, that if I can admit how much I weigh today---and how much I weighed two years ago---you can do it too!  Let today be the day that "that number" loses its hold on you.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Today I did lots of cooking.  Mostly chicken.  But, I cooked chicken in a couple different forms---and before that chicken actually ended up in my crockpot and skillet, it spilled all over my kitchen counter.  I had gross raw chicken juice spilling everywhere!  It got underneath my utensil spinner which in turn meant that not only did I have a ton of chicken to cook, I had to sanitize my counter AND all my utensils and the holder.  
It made for a bunch of extra cleaning that I was not in the mood for.  By the time all my preliminary clean up was done, and the cooking completed, my kitchen was an even bigger mess.  Things were misplaced, ingredients were sitting on the stove top and counter, and dishes were heaping over my sink.  I was overwhelmed.  Infact, I was so overwhelmed that I just walked away.  I chatted on the phone.  I texted with a few people.  I even played Candy Crush during the day, which I never do.  Here it was, naptime, my prime time for getting things done---and I was doing NOTHING.
That is how I feel with my weight loss right now.  I'm in my prime time for losing weight.  It's never going to get any easier than this.  This season, I'm at home.  I've got lots of time to cook, menu plan, and make great choices.  Even with my babysitting clients, I can still exercise (they love watching me bike, and they giggle at me as I do the Walk Away the Pounds videos).  These kids are wonderful and actually make it easier for me to meet my goals.  Sometimes the little boy I watch will even carry over my resistance bands and tell me to get busy.  
Yet, I feel so overwhelmed, that I do NOTHING.
So, I'm going to try something new.
When I'm overwhelmed with my kitchen, I set a timer.  I work as hard as I can for 8 or 10 minutes.  I call it a cleaning blitz.   Afterwards, the kitchen looks much better.  It's not perfect, but it's better.
And truth be told, I'll usually continue for a few minutes after the timer because I just want to finish up the progress I made in those ten minutes.
So, I'm going to try this for weight loss this week.
From Tuesday until Thursday I'm aiming to try as hard as I can.  No desserts.  No skipping exercising or Bible readings.  I will plan out my my meals, prepare them properly and basically I intend on having three stellar days in a row.  I'm not going to think about what happens after Thursday.  Only that I'm planning on kicking butt from here until then.  It's like a 10 minute cleaning spree, except with weight loss.  And just like when I'm cleaning my kitchen, I'm going to focus on the next thing.  I walk my self step by step through...I will put away the poppy seeds, I will put away the sugar, let me put these dishes in the dishwasher.  Step by step.  I'll do the same thing.  Let me eat some yogurt and a clementine for breakfast.  Have some tea and lemon for a snack.  Let's enjoy some grilled chicken and broccoli for lunch.  I'm going to drink some water now.  Okay, I'm biking next.  Step by step.  Bite by bite.  And just for now, the next three days.  Instead of a cleaning blitz, I'm going to do a healthy eating blitz.  And I fully plan on rocking it!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Permissible AND Beneficial

Okay, let's start off today's blog post with some definitions from dictionary.com.

Permissible: that can be permitted, allowable
Beneficial: advantageous, helpful

Through the scope of those definitions, let's revisit the chocolate cake incident from yesterday.  (Here's a link, just in case you missed it)  Technically, is chocolate cake allowed?  Sure.  After all, a birthday party is almost always better with cake!  And, I've never seen someone thrown out of church hall because they entered with a Tupperware carrier full of chocolate cake.  So, permissible?  Sure.

Now, is it beneficial?  Well, let's see.  It has not helped me one bit with being healthier.  It did not draw me closer to my family or God.  And, it actually led me down a road of self sabotage.  So, I'd say it gets a "no" there.  Not beneficial.  Not beneficial at all.

But, we pretty much covered that yesterday, now didn't we?

Basically, the point that Lysa TerKerst makes in the first couple of chapters of Made to Crave is that really, this isn't about a lists of yes's and no's.   It's not about, I "can" eat celery, but I "can't" eat cake.  It's more about a thought shift...I could eat that cake...BUT...will it benefit me?  Will it help me achieve my ultimate goals which are to 1. Draw near to God.  2.  Get healthier  3.  Lose weight.

And by taking away the rules, and putting the choice in my own lap, it gives me power.  Realizing that I have the power to say YES or NO to certain foods should empower me.  Yes, I need the help of the Holy Spirit to make the right choices , but what freedom there is by knowing that it's up to me.  It's not up to Lysa TerKeurst, or the FDA, or my friends.  I know what will benefit me.  And I need to choose food that is both permissible AND beneficial.  And sometimes, that will mean, choosing to avoid that chocolate cake.  Lesson learned.  Off to apply.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chocolate Cake

Today I ate three pieces of chocolate cake.
I just feel like you should know that first off.
And one of those pieces was huge.  And, I took several bites of cake that are not counted in that cake piece count.
And you should also know that the cake was not just an average piece of cake.  (Or three pieces of cake).  It was a devil's food cake mix, with Hershey's special dark pudding mix and sour cream added in to make it extra moist.  I also added semi-sweet chocolate chips and of course a dollop of cool-whip on top.  
I thought I could handle that cake being in the kitchen.  And I could...yesterday.  Only because I slept from 5:00 p.m. last night until nearly 7:00 this morning.  But, I don't think I was downstairs more than 12 minutes when the green Anchor 9x13 pan began beckoning me.  At first I just popped the lid open to see if my family had enjoyed any of the sweet treat.  They had.  
I put the lid back on, trying to forget the way the cake had smelled so alluring.  I tried to remind myself that I have been sick and that sugar would in no way help my recovery. I tried to remind myself of my Bible study.  I tried to stay strong.
Before I knew it, a fork had ended up in my hand.  I had taken a bite.  I put the fork in the sink. I walked away.   Before I knew it, there I was standing at the stovetop again, armed with a new fork,(no need to be unsanitary...) and had a fresh bite dancing on my tongue.  It was delightful.
As the day went on, I was able to mostly ignore the cake.  Except that I didn't eat lunch because I wanted cake for lunch.  I fought with myself, agonizing over how I couldn't eat cake for lunch, but I didn't want to eat anything else but that darn cake.  
I eventually ate peppers, with a piece of cake, in the presence of my writing group. Who knows what would have happened if they hadn't of been there.
Oh, yeah.  Then, I ate a piece of cake after dinner.  Because, well, I reasoned in my mind, "Everyone else was having dessert."  (If everyone else was jumping off a bridge....)
Anyways...one thing about being someone who struggles with their weight is that you become so skilled at justifying that it's ridiculous.  Sometimes, all I have to tell myself is that it's okay.  And, today I did that.  "Yes, Sarah.  It's okay that you ate three pieces of cake.  You are doing well most of the time.  And you really wanted that cake.  So, it's okay."
And then I picked up my Made to Crave book.
And right there, in the middle of page twenty nine was a sentence that pierced my soul.
"God never intended for us to want anything more than we want Him."
My delicious chocolate cake turned in my too full stomach.
To some people, weight loss isn't a spiritual journey.
For me it is.
I can tell you that today, I wanted more cake more than anything else.  More than a hug.  More than a healthy lunch.  More than money (unless I was going to use that money to buy more cake ingredients).  More. Than. God.
That breaks my heart. 

My Father in Heaven---I have no idea how to take the next step in this journey.  God, I'm so sorry.  I'm so humbled.  Every time I think I have a handle on this, I realize I'm no where near close.  Help me want you more than I want chocolate cake.  Help me love you more than anything.  Please, break me free from these addictions.  Help me to repent.  Because, God, right now, I'm not so sure I have the strength on my own to repent.  I love you God, but help me love you more.  Amen.

I'm going to go and take my broken heart and tears and dive into Psalm 51...It tells me that a broken spirit is what God desires.  I'm going to rejoice because I think tonight's brokenness was just what I needed to really do this right.  Check in tomorrow as I'll be writing my blog hop about what permissible vs. beneficial means.  But, for now, if you could just pray for me.  It's hard to be this vulnerable.  It's hard to be this enslaved to food.  But, I know that with God anything is possible...even breaking free.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Humble Plea on a Monday Morning

It's Monday morning.  I normally embrace the beginning of a new week.  I love the fresh starts, and the excitment, and the planning of what will happen during the upcoming seven days.  So, yes, it's Mondays.  And I love Mondays.  But--- it's been a weird one.
For starters, my returning energy that I've been experiencing in 2014 has left the building as a very intense, and awful case of sinusitis has set in.  I feel like a zombie.  In fact, I'm sure there are people who think I look like one too.  Yesterday, my face was so swollen that I could see it.  Without using a mirror.  Folks, the fact of the matter is, you should NOT be able to see your own face!
It's also the official start of Made to Crave.  Well, yesterday was, technically...but I think that Mondays are a much better day to start. Usually.  
Unless you ate a 100% carb breakfast.  And you've drank two coffees that had more creamer in them then coffee.  And, you are not sure how in the world you will ever exercise again since you feel you will be sick until Jesus returns...
If that is the case, then Monday is pretty much a terrible day to start your new lifestyle.
So, I'm humbly asking my friends to pray for me.  Because, just when I needed a boat load of energy to accomplish my goals, the ship set sail and took my steam with it.  And I'm sitting here typing a blog about weight loss and spirituality, utterly clueless, feeling helpless and without power.  So, that's where I am at today.  I'm weak.  I'm sick.  I'm tired.  And I can't find my "Want To" (a phrase borrowed from Lysa TerKeurst) or my motivation right now.  I'm begging you to pray that it will all sail back to me and that I can do exactly what I'm supposed to today.  Because, this is not how I wanted to start my Made to Crave season at all.

But, at least I got to do make overs with this little cutie! :)  So, there's a high point to every day, I guess.  :) Lydia's Video about Makeovers

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Liebster Acceptance Blog

A few days ago, I got a surprise from my friend Kristine (You can click here to read her blog!).  Kristine nominated me for an award called a Liebster award.  

I've heard of the Liebster before, and I've actually discovered several of the blogs in my reading list by following the links of Liebster nominations to other bloggers' homes.  However, to be nominated for one myself warms my heart and makes me feel like my writing really does matter.  Especially since Kristine just happens to be one of my favorite writers.  She has a unique style, a well polished vocabulary (something I'm continually working on) and a sense of humor that tickles my funny bone very often!  So, yeah, what an honor!

The Liebster Award does come with a few rules..and here they are: The rules are simple:  Answer ten questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.  Link to the blogger who offered you the award.  Then pick five blogs with less than 1,000 followers to nominate, and provide them with questions of their own to answer.   Easy, right? (BTW: If you google the award, there are several variations of what the rules and requirements are!)

Here are Kristine's questions for me.  And, of course, here are my answers too! 

1)  How did you pick your blog name?  I picked my blog name because I want to always be smiling, shining, and shrinking!  And I want Jesus to be my reason for all three!
2)  Why did you start your blog?  My blog popped out of no where.  The very first time I was doing Made to Crave, I was writing answers to the discussion questions and before I knew it, I was discovering so much about myself and my weightloss journey!  Writing a blog and sharing this part of my life just seemed to be the next natural step.
3)  Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your teenage self?  It's okay.  You'll find true love.  And it's amazing!
4)  What are three things you cannot live without?  My Bible.  A toothbrush.  Showers.
5)  Of all the blog posts you have written, which one is your favorite?  (Link, please!) The Tea Party  This blog post just sums up how much motherhood means to me.  I love raising my children, and I remember how I felt as I was writing this post---flooded with love.
6)  Describe yourself in three words.  Passionate, Loving, Growing
7)  Who is your favorite author and why?  Okay, truth be told, I don't really have a favorite famous author.  I'm not just being an ear tickler when I say that my favorite authors are Kristine, Jackie, and Betsy.  They are the women in my writing group, and I just love hearing what they write.
8)  What single quality do you appreciate most in people?  Kindness.
9)  What is your favorite quote and by whom?  My favorite quote is, "I love you."  Whether it comes from my husband, my children, my parents, or other friends and other family, or whether it comes from me directed to them, I think those words are powerful and amazing.  
10)  What super power do you wish you had, and why?  A super power that would make people be decent to one another.  I wouldn't want everyone to agree, but just for people to respect others.

So, now I get to do the part that I've been waiting for.  I get to bestow my Liebster Award nominations on to five blogs that I read.  Please, take the time to check these blogs out.  
Two of these blogs I've just started following the last couple days, as a result of my Made to Crave Blog Hop, but I loved what I saw.  Most of them are newer blogs, but I still like what I read in them! I just love hearing about people, their challenges, passions, goals, and what they have to say about life.  

So, there it is!  My official Liebster acceptance blog! WOO HOO!