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

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....) 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!  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why I'm doing Made to Crave...AGAIN!

3 more days!  3 more days!
Yes, in 3 more days I'm doing my annual Made to Crave Bible study.  Some of you who have followed me for a while know that this will be my third time doing Made to Crave as the online Bible Study.  
Maybe you are asking yourself why someone would study a weight loss Bible book, not once or twice, but three time (and actually, this is more like my fifth time...I've done it with other groups besides an online Bible study!).  Let me share with you my reasons.
1.  The first year I studied Made to Crave it changed my life.
2.  Last year, I felt like I did not put my whole heart into Made to Crave, and I plan to rectify that this year.
3.  I've got goals, baby!  I want to hit 100 pounds lost this year, and I need to center my heart on Christ if I'm going to meet my goals.
4.  I LOVE learning from other women across the country and the world who struggle with the same battle I struggle with.  We could use this battle to bring each other down, but instead we build each other up!  There are over 35,000 women in this Bible study (some of them are probably men too!) who are committed to surrendering this area of their life to God.  Talk about encouraging!
5.  I love the Word of God.  And I love the fact that Made to Crave is not just a book of opinions about losing weight.  It's a book written to show us what the Bible has to say about it.  Knowing what God says, and learning His best for us reminds me of how loved I am and how much good He wants in my life.
6.  By participating in Made to Crave each year, it helps me not give up.  I realize that it has taken me 3 years to lose 65 pounds.   But, if I had not starting handing my weight issue over to God, I'm afraid that I could have been 65 pounds HEAVIER by now.  Praise be to God that I'm not!!!  

So, now that I shared my reasons, I want to invite you that if you are stuck in a vicious cycle of weight struggles and you want to join me, please, come along.  On Facebook, look up Proverbs 31 Ministries!  Join the Made to Crave Study!  And experience victory over these issues in a way you never have before!

Another exciting thing about the online Bible study is that on Thursday's they host a Blog Hop.  This year I've decided to participate, so each Thursday you have a blog hop post to read too!!!  And, if you ended up here from the blog hop, welcome!  I'm glad you stopped by!

So, 3 more days!  I can't wait to refocus, and keep achieving the great things God has in store for me!  (And YOU!)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A People Person

In high school and college I worked at a pizza place and Taco Bell.  I loved those jobs.  I loved running the cash register and engaging in light conversation with customers.  I loved smiling at them or complimenting them if I had a chance to.
When I tell people how much I loved those jobs I'm often told that I'm a bit eccentric and many people respond to me with the phrase, "I hate working with the public."  Or sometimes they will say, "I'm not a people person.
When I hear that, I get really, really sad.  Yes, working with the public is hard.  And it can be really frustrating (says the girl who once had hot enchiladas thrown in her face by an irate drive-through customer...).
Now, don't misunderstand me.  I know that there are introverts in this world, and believe it or not, I recharge like one.  I enjoy being alone to regroup.  So, I understand that sometimes that phrase 'I'm not a people person' is an introvert expressing the desire to be alone for a while.  And I understand that. 
But, every once in a while I will hear a person say it and they declare it like they mean it---like the existence of other people makes them want to hit their head against a wall.  It makes my heart ache, because first of all, I'm a people.  I want people to like me, don't you?  So, when someone makes that declaration, it stings a little.  
But, more than just my feelings are at stake here.  When a person declares that they do not enjoy other people, does that not suggest an air of superiority?  As if that person thinks they are better than all the other people in the world?  As if us other people are not worth devoting time, thought or energy into?
And, when I hear a Christian claim that, my heart shatters into little pieces. I can't imagine what it does to the heart of God.  As followers of Christ, we are called to be people people.  We are to love one another, we are to meet together, we are to encourage one another, and we are to give each other grace for our short comings.  That sounds like being a people person to me.
It doesn't matter if you like being the life of the party or whether you tend to be a wallflower, God can use your personality to love on and encourage another person.   So, if you are a brother or sister in Christ, let me encourage you to always think of yourself as a people person---because God has called you to be one.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


On Friday morning, I woke up at 5:27 am.  I contemplated getting back into bed, but I reminded myself that I had decided the night before that I would get out of bed when the alarm rang.  I made sure I thought about how little sacrifice after little sacrifice can make a big difference.  I took a nice hot shower, and headed downstairs.  There I put on a youtube video of Scripture verses that were being read to me while I stretched.  My lower back had been plaguing me (and still is) so I figured I better take a day off the biking and do some lower impact exercising that morning.
I spent 27 minutes allowing God's peace to relax me, and asking Him to use me and to fill me with the Holy Spirit.  After that, I did some reading for the Christ Project (it's a 60 day New Testament adventure...let me know if you want more details!).  Then, I made a cup of coffee, and cuddled with my Lydia who had come down stairs and fallen back asleep on our comfy green loveseat.
Not long after that, the two year old I'm currently babysitting arrived with his mom for the morning drop off.  I juggled getting him settled in and my kids ready to leave for school.  David made me a protein shake and I drank lots of water.
David ended up not having to go into work that morning, so we played with our two year old visitor, picked up, vacuumed, and then we played dominoes.  It was an intense game, full of laughter and phrases like "Boo-yah!' and "I can't believe you blocked me!"
Nap time for the little one rolled around, and I decided to do a walk away the pounds video where I did a one mile walk (David even joined me for some of it).  
I remember as I finished up the rest of my to-do list that day that if every morning was like that, I would be leading an almost perfect life.  I would be spiritual healthier, more relaxed, and probably the next fifty pounds would just fall off of me!
Except--- the fact of the matter is that rarely does a morning go like that. Usually mornings consist of hitting the snooze alarm, not getting my shower because I'm busy caring for someone else, and my Bible time usually means reading the devotional off my phone in the school parking lot while I'm waiting to pick my kids up from school (or sometimes in the bathroom, because, let's face it, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do sometimes!).  Many mornings David isn't there to help and instead of a protein shake, I either skip breakfast or eat something that is unhealthy for me (pop tarts, anyone?)
That's why Friday is sticking out in my brain so much.
But, because I'm me, and I choose to fix my mind on the good, I am going to praise God that he gave me an opportunity to have a morning immersed in His word, in relationships, in fitness, and in good choices.
Yes, it's true.  Very few of my mornings start out the way Friday did.  But, every morning has the possibility to be another Friday. Here's to the determination to making more "Fridays" possible!

Monday, January 6, 2014


This year, I had the unique opportunity to do something I've never done before.
I didn't have to start over.
As far as resolutions go, I did not say "I will start my diet over again."  Instead, I said, "I will continue on."
I weighed in on December 31st 2013 at 302 pounds.  At that point, it was the lowest I had ever weighed in my adult life.  (Well, there was a brief 24 hour period where I may have weighed less, but it was short lived and many, many moons ago).  It was pretty amazing going in to the New Year knowing I didn't have any extra baggage to lose to make progress in 2014.
And speaking of making progress, I just have to share, I have done just that!
This morning I weighed in at 299.4 pounds.  I started out at 360 pounds.  I've officially lost 60 pounds now!  And my weight starts with a 2 now!  (Back in my Weight Watcher days, we called that Twoterville!)
And, so that has made me even more committed to my goals for 2014.
My main weightloss goal is to keep working hard and shrinking.  But, more than that, I want to bring people along with me.  And not in the weight loss arena only.  I want people to grab ahold of the One who has made this journey possible for me.
I'm working with thousands of women across the country with a Proverbs 31 Bible Study called Made to Crave.  I've done it before, several times, and each time it changes my heart dramatically.  It pulls me closer to God and his love, so I don't have to try to feel comfort from a pack of oreos or chicken and biscuits.
So, I want to extend an invitation to you...If you desire to grow in God, or shrink in size, please join me on this journey!  It's amazing!  And through this journey I look forward to reporting all the milestones that are waiting for me up ahead!