December 30, 2011

Rehearsal Dinner

Goal=eat like a normal person. I'll check back in tomorrow to pat myself on the back... Or confess. In the mean time, gonna enjoy a fab night.

Yay for city lights... Again!

December 29, 2011

Workout Done, Cupcake Declined

I'm getting things together for a weekend wedding in the city! Look out Big D--here I come! As soon as I get my "matronly" (word my seamstress used :) dress hemmed up. I had to get it because it only cost me $4. But that's another story...

It's kind of hard to tell in this picture but this is a "slimming" dress. Much like the swimsuits with built-in support, this dress has some spanx built right in to it. Pretty handy! But it was a tad too long. Hence the matronly descriptor. The length paired with the criss-crossed ruching made the dress look a bit like...well, one of those slimming swimsuits (the ugly kind) only with a really long skirt on it. Matronly. Yes. Yay for alterations! And showing knees;) Hopefully with the right jewelry and shoes I can pull it off.

So I DID work out today! I did 90% of the 100 Workout.

It was a good way to come back from a ;). Tomorrow I will add the final 10 min of jogging.

Here's the photo, although there's no sweat so I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.


I was really trying to focus on being present in the moment today. This morning was tricky. I started off my day with a bowl of cereal and then a pig in a blanket from the donut shop. Whoops. I seriously had consumed it before I even realized. That's where I'm at. Then I headed to town and was drawn to a new coffee shop called Coffee and Cream. (sucker for a great name) I was excited to try "the best cup of coffee in town" but when I got in there I discovered that it was also a bakery. :-/ I quickly spotted what appeared to be the "best cupcakes in town" as well. I almost bought one. Almost. But I thought of declining as a small step in the right direction. I added some Equal and skim milk to my best cup of coffee in town and walked out the door.

December 28, 2011

Caution: This is Hard

Oh yeah. This is going to be hard.

Slowly but surely over the past few months or so I have gone completely astray from the lifestyle that I once embraced. No exercise. No tracking. No weighing. No eating healthy. And NO restraint. Apparently it was a mistake for me to think that it was going to be a piece of cake, so to speak, to return to the healthy and active way of living. It's not like riding a bicycle. At all. I am going to have to completely de-program  and then completely re-program. This is going to basically be like a nightmare.

I have just been sitting around waiting for the fire to ignite underneath me. It ain't happenin'. So. I'm going to have to work. I'm probably going to have to go to bed hungry sometimes. I'm going to have to hurt while I exercise. I'm going to have to watch people eat things I want to eat. I'm going to have to get used to getting up early again. I'm going to have to drive past my favorite drive thrus. I'm going to have to figure out how to change my scale from kilos back to pounds...

There is definitely some hard work on the horizon. But some of the best memories I have from the year I began to lose weight are of accomplishments that were a result of sweaty, teary, gritty hard work. That's exactly what's about to happen, so I know I'll be making memories. Hopefully these memories will serve as a reminder to never let myself go this far astray again!

It's all part of "the journey," right?

I'm going to post a workout update  with pics tomorrow. Someone hold me to that!

December 26, 2011

Finish Year

From Jon Acuff's blog:
I am amazing at starting things.

I start new books, new dreams, new projects, new ideas with an admirable amount of energy, enthusiasm and drive.

Finishing things?

That’s another story. Finishing is kind of a drag to me. I think it’s the hardest part of a project. It’s not nearly as fun as starting. Starting is sexy and easy and fireworks over the sky as we celebrate the possibility of where this adventure will lead us!

I hate finishing. I used to be horrible at finishing.
Unfortunately, though, I learned a secret about starting and finishing.

Starting a project doesn’t change the world. Finishing a project changes the world.
Read the full post here.

When I read this, I was thinking, "Yup, that's me." I was thinking of my weight loss goals and this blog. I was thinking about my family and the things I want for them. I was thinking about how good I am at starting things and how very, very bad I am at finishing them. I don't want to be a quitter. I want to be a finisher.

God willing, in 2012:
  • I will finish losing the weight that I set out to lose back in January of 2010. 50 down, 40 to go...
  • I will run and finish my second half marathon.
  • I will finish reading every book that I have purchased on my Kindle and only half read. 12 of them.  
  • I will finish each day in God's word and in prayer with my children.
Writing out this finish list is scary.

I'm going to share it here.

December 22, 2011

Messy Day

I finished our Christmas shopping today. Mostly. I was experiencing some anxiety due to that fact I was shopping for the majority of our gifts on Dec. 22 and my son hurt his ankle last night. I took Jonah to have his ankle x-rayed this afternoon and it turns out to be a sprain. Thank you, Lord. So instead of worrying about a broken bone in my 6 year old, I got to put bows on pretty little packages this evening.

And now for the messy. I did not think about the food that I ate today. I was kind of shocked at myself. Even as the food was going into my mouth (various fast food joints and an assortment of homemade candy),  I was so confident in my complete 180 yesterday and Tuesday, it really baffled me that the addiction took over today.

One day at a time.

I am going to focus on Emmanuel tomorrow. He came to us, He is with us.

December 21, 2011

I Forgot About NSVs

Haven't really posted about NSVs in a while. Here is one:

Yesterday was a Tuesday and I tracked my food and exercised for the first time in weeks. It was a Tuesday! This is huge. First steps never used to happen on a Tuesday. But now they do. This seems so monumental to me. I never even gave a thought to the fact that I could spend basically a whole week eating whatever I wanted and being lazy before the next Monday comes around. Not to mention a major food eating holiday would be included. These things didn't even cross my mind!

Until just a few minutes ago when fat-me thought, "Wow! What's up? You didn't consider waiting until Monday to get back on track! You wanna re-think that, right?"  But the answer is no. Because the self-discipline of the past two days has yeilded the most freedom and peace I've felt in months. At the same time, I am not freaking out about what I'm going to eat and what my strategies will be at all of the Christmas and New Year's gatherings I will attend over the next few days. Not that strategies are bad, but freaking out about them is and that's what I used to do.

As much as I may tend to think of my current state as "backslidden," the fact of the matter is that true and lasting change has taken place inside of me, inside my mind.  Thankful for this NSV!

Don't forget about NSVs!
P.S. For anyone who doesn't know, NSV stands for Non Scale Victory. :)

December 20, 2011

New Song, New Step

Today is a beautiful day. I ate oatmeal for breakfast with chopped Gala apple, apple butter and Natural peanut butter. I had coffee with skim milk. No, it wasn't quite the same as the cup I had two nights ago with the heavy cream, but it was strong and it gave me some energy. I went for a walk. Only about 3/4 a mile until I stepped into ankle deep water. Thankfully my Johnny-on-the-spot was there to pick me up within minutes. Although it is slight and only through one nostril, I am breathing. I can feel a new song being written in my heart.

I have been contemplating the comments that have been trickling in since I posted last night about how difficult is is to blog these days. Thank you. So many wonderful, thoughtful, insightful comments to uplift and inspire me. And many things for me to ponder.

"Blogging is easy or hard depending on its original purpose." Kyle's observation led me to recall why I began blogging about my weight loss, in the first place. I think there were 2 main reasons: 1)accountability 2) I love to write. Much like Kyle, I just wanted a place to journal through the process. Honestly, I didn't think it would last that long so I certainly wasn't anticipating any sort of following. It seems like I was learning so much, so rapidly in those early days. I was posting about everything I was finding out about my mentality, how emotions play into this whole thing and the ultimate high was having a huge loss to talk about every week. It was exhilarating. Like a drug. In hind sight, probably not so good. But over time, it's just not like that anymore. I can see how God has been chiseling, molding and reshaping me. So the question is, what is my purpose for this blog now? I think they are the same but with an addition of a 3rd reason--to bring glory to God. Now that I've identified that as being the only change in purpose, it is easy for me to identify the source of my confusion, frustration and lack of peace where the blog is concerned--satan.

Cheri challenged me to consider if there is something God has asked me to do that he is waiting on me to complete, for this could be holding me up. I think the answer is most certainly "yes." He has asked me to persevere no matter what my mind, body or emotions are telling me. And much like the Israelites I have been camped out at the Mt. of "I can't see where this is headed so I'm gonna stop." The calling of God is pretty simple for me at this point. Step. I am reading The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer and these words have been haunting me for several days: "Perhaps you still think you ought to think out beforehand and know what you ought to do. To that there is only one answer. You can only know and think about it by actually doing it. You can only learn what obedience is by obeying. It is no use asking questions; for it is only through obedience that you come to learn the truth." Along the same lines, a post I read last night encouraged me so much with this: "If you haven't taken your first step, take it." I love how God can weave all of this together.

I was reminded by one of the comments that I am more "me" in this medium that anywhere--even than I am with myself in my own head. There is something about it that allows me to peel and peel and peel away layers and just when I think I've gone all the way to the core--there is still more to peel. That's when the REAL happens. And the writing is what does the peeling. So just as others feel they know me more through this blog, I would say I know myself so much more because of it, as well.

Several comments made me realize that I am focused on the wrong audience. While I must keep in mind that people are reading this--after all, it is a WEB log and if I didn't want the element of readership I would just keep a private journal-- however, ultimately the audience of One I answer to is God. He always knows my heart and I trust that he will do with my words as He wishes. I trust that he is bigger than any mistake I have ever or could ever dream of making. Keeping that in mind should help avoid much of the reader-related anxiety :-) I did love the suggestion to have a spiritual mentor look over any posts that I am concerned about. Thanks, AJ T. Will do.

I just read a comment from Stacey who mentioned that as far as weight loss goes, she didn't know how she could accurately express in words all that God has done. A light bulb went off when I read that. I have mentioned several times on this blog that I struggle with perfectionism. Maybe not in the way that most people would identify perfectionism, but in terms of needing things to be "all or nothing." I agree with Stacey that God has done so much in my mind and heart that there is no way I could adequately express that in words, even if I spent the rest of my life trying. Particularly in the past few months He has done a great deal of work in me. I am so overwhelmed with His mercy and grace in my life. What if I can't get it all out? What if I can't make the world see what He has done?

But just as it is with weight loss, it can never be all or nothing. It will never be. I can never think that all of this rides on me and my ability to do it completely, perfectly. I can never think that--because it is not possible. And I can never think it is my job or ability to completely convey the greatness and vastness of God Almighty. That is the job of Christ alone.

So, in Him I will live, move, and breathe. And blog.

December 19, 2011

Blogging is Hard. Why?

SO many times I sit down and pour my heart out on this screen and then just close everything out without publishing. I have been asking myself the question, Why? Why does this not work the way it used to? I used to update my blog daily and sometimes twice daily! It was so simple. So I'm going to attempt blogging long enough to figure out why blogging has become so difficult for me...

For one thing...

I am afraid what I am sharing might be incorrect. Fear of being wrong, basically. I think it could be. The road of my weight loss has led me toward Jesus. Much of my thought processes, if not all, involve some type of theological assessment. Where is God in all of this....what does the Bible say...etc. So just about anything I am going write is going to involve these kinds of answers. Early on when this began to happen I was afraid people would quit reading because it was about God and Jesus. I worked through that and realized that I am not ashamed of the Gospel and in order to keep it real, that is just the way it would have to be, no matter what. Now I don't even think about offending in that way, but actually being a false teacher and leading someone astray. I know, and I know that everyone reading must know, that I am not a Bible scholar make lots of mistakes and there is grace for that. But what if the one time someone stopped by to read was the day I wrote about something I didn't really know about and was completely wrong about. Ah well, I guess that's already happened plenty.

And another thing...

I think about comments too much. Like right now I am predicting what comments will be left on this post and worried that people will not get what I am saying.  I am resisting the urge to close out this post and climb in to bed so I don't have to deal with that. Now I am afraid that people will read what I just typed and not comment because of how weird I am being about it. And I certainly don't want that. I love comments! ( Okay--now everyone is getting a taste of how ridiculous I am)

Huge problem...

Sometimes I think what I am writing is redundant and pointless. (ha--especially after the previous paragraph.) For instance, I have the strong urge today to write a post about gaining 20 pounds from my lowest weight and then challenging anyone else in the same boat to join me in a "getting back on track challenge." Like if I put it in a neat little package it will ensure success.  I want to come up with a fail-proof plan. But what if I fail with the failproof plan? And its on this blog for friends and family and complete strangers to see...and then I fail? And I almost always don't complete these challenges. Needless to say, I've decided to forgo a challenge for now, but then what do I write about? "Well, I'm just struggling. I'm just a mess. I'm feeling so blah. I'm eating so bad. Wah." Yeah...just can't bring myself to write posts like that, even when that is my reality. Perhaps that is exactly what I should be writing.


Maybe it's not as fun to write on your weight loss blog when you are gaining weight. Maybe? Hmm...


The state of mind I am in one day is the exact opposite the next. Sometimes it changes minute to minute. On the one hand weight loss seems so trivial to me today. I know people who are suffering, children who are dying, families who are mourning loss of loved ones...and I'm going to sit down and blog about how many calories I ate today? It just doesn't make sense. But at the same time, I'm sinking. Without the structure, the accountability, the community...all of it--I am sinking. I'm gaining. I'm fearful. I'm anxious. I'm not free.

What has happened!?

I started out 2 years ago wanting to be skinny. Then I learned that I should want to be healthy, not just skinny. Then I learned that I should want to be healthy to honor God with my body, not to be skinny. Then I began to want to honor God with my body, but I also still wanted to be skinny. Now I just want to honor God with my body and I don't care nearly as much if I'm skinny. So this is a huge shift that has taken place over the course of 2 years and I just don't really know how blogging fits into the new picture. Because in the beginning it was about being cutesy and it just gradually got more and more and more about being "real". Lately there hasn't been a lot of cute. But there hasn't been much "real" either.

Should I continue with this blog?

I have been reading the online journal of someone lately that has had a huge impact on me. She would have no idea the way that it has blessed me and I know that it must be a huge sacrifice for her every time she posts, considering her circumstances. For that sacrifice, I am so very thankful. And she has no idea. I just keep thinking that even though I don't know why I should write about this anymore or how it could possibly be beneficial, it feels like I should. Even though I don't know what He has in store, I know God is not through with me yet. The work that He does is always amazing. Right now I just feel like a big bum, but this is SO not about me.

That's it. I knew I would get to the bottom of this if I just started writing. I've allowed myself get in the way. My insecurities, my doubts, my fears, my laziness, my inadequacies, my imperfection....all of that is the cause for my writers block. If this was about me, then it woudl be pointless. But it's not about me. At least, I don't want it to be.

So now, I guess I just pray that he will move me out of the way.

I'm really tired and in an attempt to not over think things and in an effort to make sure this post actually gets posted, I'm just going to hit publish with out proofing. Please forgive the mistakes and non-sense.

December 15, 2011

I Heart NYC

Today marks 10 years of marriage for my husband and me. We spent last Friday through Tuesday in New York City to celebrate! We had so much fun. We kind of consider NYC "our city" so when we were trying to decide where to go for an anniversary trip at Christmastime, the Big Apple seemed like the perfect place. I dug up a photo of myself from the last time we were there a couple of years ago. Even with my big coat and many layers on you can see that there was much less of me this time! It's so much easier to go 90 to nothin' for 5 days straight at a healthier weight.

I had to take a mirror pick in our sweet hotel. It is a favorite place for us to stay--very cheap, clean and quiet. Here's a picture of the Chelsea Lodge:

So quaint.

We were in a restaurant in Harlem, Melba's, about to eat fried chicken and waffles. It was really good. We were a little out of control with the food we ate. Over the course of 5 days I ate: pretzel (street vendor), burger and fries (Burger Joint), nachos and hot fudge sundae (Serendipity), fried chicken & pancakes (Melba's), Pizza (Grimaldi's), Banana Walnut muffin (Murray's Bagels), 4 types of pasta, lots of bread, tiramisu (Carmines), Barbecue Potato Chips w/ bacon blue-cheese dip, Pork ribs and macaroni&cheese (Blue Smoke), Bagel w/ raisin walnut cream cheese (random bakery), Fish n' chips (A Salt & Battery), 1/2 burger and nachos (Ellen's Stardust Diner), bacon, eggs, hash browns, English muffin (Highliner Diner), 1/2 quesadilla (airport), buffalo chicken salad (Buffalo Wild Wings). The END. Needless to say I've been scared to get on the scale since we returned but I enjoyed every bite of everything I put in my mouth. So no regrets, but I am happy to return to healthy eating.

This is at the Top of the Rock (similar to view from Empire State Building but less crowded).  This was my favorite outfit of my trip. ;)

These are our travelling buddies having a hot fudge sundae at the famed Serendipity III. This summer we were sitting at the same table at a wedding reception of a mutual acquaintance. Not really knowing each other that well, we were making small talk when the topic of our upcoming anniversary came up. I'm not sure what exactly happened but before the night was over we were ready to book our trip for 4 to NYC. Our families have had fun spending lots of time together since that wedding and planning our trip. We look forward to making many more memories with them. I love the way the Lord brought our families together. You might call it "serendipitous." ;)

Lara and I drank A LOT of coffee. This was by far the prettiest Starbucks I have ever seen.

This is the new Freedom Tower being built near ground zero. It is already soaring higher than all the other buildings around it and it is only half way built! I can not imagine how tall that thing is going to be! This photo is kind of misleading--you have to realize that I took the photo from a 38th story window of another building. That is the roof of another high rise sitting at what looks like the base of the Freedom Tower.

You can see the Freedom tower in the background here as we are riding the ferry to Staten Island. It will be twice that tall when completed. Sorry to be repetitive, but WOW.

Looking forward to many more anniversaries with this guy.

A nerd eating Nerds.

I love NYC.

December 3, 2011

No Turning Back

This summer I became overwhelmingly convicted  to turn away from sinful patterns that were ruling over me. Serious. I was super-duper serious. And Satan knew it. Almost immediately after I had committed to repentance, Satan began to attack. 

He got in my head and convinced me that I could never walk in freedom over this sin of idolatry (looking to food to bring the comfort, security and joy that only God can provide.) He convinced me that I was being too legalistic in wanting to overcome this and that I didn't need to pursue putting this sin to death. (Read: "Eat whatever you want. It's fine." Sound familiar? Genesis 3, anyone?) Needless to say, Satan made a very alluring case and I bought it.

But tonight I've decided that I'm not buying it anymore. Nope. The promise of God is that He will set me free. FREE. No chains, no oppression, but freedom. I'm not trying to earn anything. I'm not hoping to please anyone. I'm not even trying to get into a pair of jeans. All I want to do, by His grace, is express the love that I have for my Savior by obeying him. If in that process I earn things or please people or fit into a size 6, then so be it. I probably will. But that is not why.

The Lord has shown me what is good for my body--what makes me feel and function my best. He has taught me how to plan and cook healthfully. He has provided money for my family to be able to buy food. He has granted me a schedule and a spouse that are both very conducive to allowing me a near-daily workout. He has blessed me with two precious bundles of energy to care for. He has given me the ability to learn scripture. He has promised to provide a way out of every temptation that I face. He sits at the right hand of the Father and prays for me without ceasing. Not only has He shown me what to do but he has explained to me why I need to do it. We all know parents don't have to do that, but He did. Grace.

There is no reason in the world that I should not walk in the ways that he has clearly made known to me. In doing so not only will I be protected and blessed, I will be loving Him. I will be abiding in Him. I look forward to the days ahead and pray that each one draws me nearer, ever nearer to my Jesus. Joy will abound.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

*I should mention, for any new readers, that my method of weight loss is simply to exercise most days and eat a balanced diet as suggested on This is the way that I should eat for the rest of my life--its not a special diet. When I eat this way, I lose weight. I imagine when my body gets to a healthy weight I will stop losing. So far I have lost about 60 lbs and have about 30 to go.

October 24, 2011


My hair is one thing that has always received praise. No matter how heavy I got, the hair was still "so pretty". The one thing that I knew was accepted and approved of by the world was my hair, so the longer the better. The more covered in goodness and prettiness I felt. Sad. What a false sense of self! That without my hair there was nothing of worth about me? I mean, that seems kind of dramatic, but that is the bottom line.

This weekend I went in for"just a trim", of course, but as I was sitting there these words that I had read earlier in the week about who I really am came to mind:

"You are a child of God. You are the Bride of Christ. You belong to the King--you are royalty. Dress and conduct yourself in a way that reflects your high and holy calling. God has called you out of this world's system--don't let the world press you into it's mold. Don't think, dress, or act like the world; inwardly and outwardly, let others see the difference he makes in your life." Nancy Leigh DeMoss

I realized that I would really like to cut my hair short, but the idea scared me because of the reasons I stated above. Going against what felt safe, I told her to keep cutting. When I had to close my eyes and cringe as the scissors began to do their work, I realized just how out-of-hand this had gotten. My hair had become some kind of false security. Cool thing? The more she trimmed, the more liberated I felt. The shorter and shorter it got, the more I felt that I was coming out of hiding. I actually left the salon, decided I needed more of it gone, went back and got the rest of it whacked off!

I can't really explain this experience. It was so refreshing. I'm not suggesting that everyone run out and get their hair cut off, that's totally not the point. The point is, are we hiding? Are we hiding behind things that we think are protecting us, but in reality they are doing no such thing.

I think its possible that what we need to lose more than anything else, are the ideas that have been etched on our hearts by the world. Be yourself and don't be afraid to be different! Don't be afraid to let go of something that you've been holding onto for a very long time. What if the truth is that it's actually holding you?

What false beliefs do we use to hide our REAL selves? Please share!

October 18, 2011


To the person who went through a Drive-thru after work then went home and had dinner, too...

To the mom who sat on the couch all day long watching TV and wishing she could wear her pre-baby jeans...

To the person who is so miserable at work they ate their way through the day...

To the person who woke up this morning and said, "Today will be the day!" and it wasn't...

To the person who just ate a gallon of ice cream while watching the Biggest Loser...

To the person who feels like no one likes them or wants to be around them...

To the person who is just so. very. tired.

To the person who's entire outlook on life for today was determined by what the scale said this morning...

To the person who wants desperately to make the right choices, but cannot.

If you are that person, just know that:

You are not the only one.

There is more to life than looking cute in jeans. (See baby)

We can ask for our desires and attitudes to be changed, the Lord can do it. Think miracle.

Progress is to always begin again.

The next second is the first second of the rest of your life.

Your worth does not come from the opinions and approval of others. You were created for a purpose. you are VALUABLE and dearly loved. Never forget that.

There is One who will provide rest for your weary soul.

In 30...40...50 years from now, what the scale says will not matter. What will? Think about those things first in the morning, not the blasted scale. Before you step on the scale, consider what truly matters in life. Give thanks. Then step on the scale if you must. :)

Life is war. Spirit of God vs. flesh of man. Spoiler: Spirit of God wins!  One spoonful of frosting at a time. Whatever. We have been given a spirit of self-control. I am choosing to believe it.

This is NOT over. We can do this! Keep fighting and keep believing. Never give up. I'm not.

Love to all!

October 13, 2011

Progress Put in Perspective

I've been getting bogged down. In the details and the requirements and the failures and the frustration of this stuff. I've been getting reeeeally bogged down. :)  Time to snap out of it!

For some reason I was prompted to graph out my weight over the past 10 years and get some perspective on this thing. So I did it. The graph below starts in 1998 when I was a senior in High School. I gained a few pounds between graduation and my wedding, but what began to happen after that is startling. I averaged a 10 pound weight gain each year. For nearly 10 years! Take a look:

Then in 2009, something remarkable happened. The gaining came to a halt, did a complete U turn and began a glorious descent back toward health. It is truly remarkable. To see it like this causes me to be so awestruck at the turn-around that a stagnant year doesn't really seem to matter at all. In fact, as one of my readers pointed out not to long ago--it could be worse...I could have gained.

I decided next, to create a graph that would show what it would look like if I had continued to gain weight at the rate of 10 pounds per year. Scary:

If this had been the case, I would weigh 250 pounds today (I weigh 170lbs). There is no doubt in my mind that is where I would be.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain...Corinthians 15:10

Creating these graphs has been so good for me! I SO needed to see this. We celebrate the victories as they happen, but we need to remind ourselves of them everyday. The victories have power when they happen--but they have power afterwards too. To remember that point where something clicked deep within me and there was no turning back--that is powerful! To think of where I was and to think of where I might be?! That is powerful. To be reminded what can happen when you string a whole bunch of "begin agains" together. Powerful!

There is a huge parallel going on here--I just can't ignore it. Can you see it?! First of all--this is what God wants to do in each of our lives. By grace, through faith (that he provides so that no one can boast) he literally lifts us up out of defeat and death. We become new. We are remade. The old IS GONE, the new comes in. A U-turn happens and life is never the same.

Second of all, those who are in Christ need to remember the power involved in the U-turn, every day. When I remember how miraculously that happened, how can I get bogged down in the details and the requirements and the failures and the frustration of not doing good enough?  I can't. This is the power of the gospel, not only in the moment of salvation but for all eternity.

It is the power to begin again every single day. To remember that He did what I can not do. That in Christ, there is nothing I can ever do to make him love me more and nothing I have ever done that will make him love me less. That if I never progress another inch, his spectacular progress all the way to the cross is enough for me. That my worth has already been established, when Jesus died for me, and it can never be changed because he said "It is finished."

Swimming deeper and into these gospel waters is the only thing that captivates me more than my flesh. Indeed, greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world! (1 John 4:4) When I think about these things, food seems so trivial. The way others treat me doesn't matter as much. How well I am doing isn't a huge issue. Stuffing my face seems pointless. The glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, shines so brightly that these things become dim and insignificant. Can you say freedom?!

Ironically, it is the food and the people and my lack of progress and the face stuffing that send me back to the edge again and again. But that's the point of it. To remind me who I am (nothing) and who He is (everything). I forget that. A lot.

In the gospel, there is power to overcome myself. There is power to do hard things. There is power to experience something better than I ever dreamed of or hoped for...and it hasn't a thing to do with the scale. It is the power to live, fully. It is the power to know what is REAL.

I need to think about it everyday so I can keep going. So if you keep reading, I'll keep reminding. I love you all and I pray that your progress is in Christ.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes...Romans 1:16

September 30, 2011

Touching Before & After

I love a good before and after story--here's a special one:

Lessons and Surprises

What do you tell yourself when the going gets rough or when faced when temptation? What are some lessons you've learned along your weight loss journey? Have there been any surprises? -Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie

When the Going Gets Rough
When the going gets rough I tell myself this is normal. Even though I may be spewing from the brain and mouth, deep down I know that this is the way it has to be. The ups and downs are just part of the whole process. I try to fully engage in whatever emotion/feeling I am having and then I pray that I can let it go after that. In the past, I would try to not experience the "rough-going" and hide from it. I try now to embrace it. It is definitely a process, but that's what I'm trying to do.

When I am faced with temptation...hmm. Sometimes I give in. Lately I have been giving in a lot. I don't like it. That momentary satisfaction does not even come close to justifying the nasty funk it puts me in. Sometimes the funk lasts for weeks. There are lots of ways to face temptation successfully. I recently wrote about that here.

Lessons Learned
Emotions are meant to be experienced, not suppressed
Encouraging others helps me
I need accountability
There is not a short cut
I do not need to be perfect
Planning+prayer+action are necessary
If I only do things that I feel like doing, I will be miserable
There is no finish line

At first I was surprised that I was losing so much weight at such a rapid pace. I was surprised that I was losing by eating regular food in regular amounts--I was surprised such a simple method of weight loss was working for me. I'm not sure why I was surprised, but I was. I was surprised that I felt so much freedom. I was surprised that I was able to run, at first a mile and eventually 13 miles. I was surprised that my whole personality began to morph (into the real me) as I began to lose weight and gain insight to my thoughts/emotions and soul. I'm surprised at the transformation on the inside because that was not even something that I could have imagined would happen. I didn't even know it needed to happen!

Many times I forget that I am still a work in progress. I think that is one of my biggest problems. I start to assume I am "fixed" and then when something happens that shows me just how "unfixed" I am, it is like a punch to the gut. Humility: I pray for it, but recieving it isn't always fun:)

More than anything, I continue to be surprised by God's grace. The scandalous, unmerited, unfair, unfathomable grace that brings me back. No matter how far I run or how loud I scream or how big a fit I throw, His grace is bigger and louder and faster. That grace is everything. Really the answer to all 4 questions.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

September 27, 2011

Monthly Weigh-In

Today I weigh almost exactly the same I did this time last year. Slightly disheartening? Slightly. I noticed it last week when I was scrolling through the photos on the side of my blog and I couldn't believe it.

I was kind of embarrassed at first. How can a person go a whole year doing the types of "weight-loss-y" things that I do and not lose anything? How? Then I felt dumb. Why did I assume I had lost lots of weight? Then I felt mad that all of those months had been wasted. I could have been to goal by now. Then I felt frustrated and defeated and blah. Waaaaaah!

When I was done with all of this, I decided to do 3 things:

1) Shut Up
2) Suck it up
3) Get to Work

Here are my no-frills, once-a-month, weigh in photos for September.

169 lbs.

In my heart of hearts I know that all was not lost over the past year. Truly, I do. Quite the contrary. I know that God has been working on different areas of my life. I guess it's just a little uncomfortable because they aren't really areas I wanted him working on ;) 

A statement that I read this week pretty much sums up my current state-of-mind:

I'm not what I wanna be; I'm not what I'm gonna be...But praise God Almighty, I'm not what I was.

Love that!

This is the physical comparison of where I was in October 2009 (229 lbs.) and where I am almost in October 2011 (169 lbs.).

Interesting to me that you can capture the physical comparison so well with photos but the spiritual/emotional/mental changes can not be photographed. They can not be seen, only experienced. There is not a sidebar big enough in this bloggy world to document the make-over that my heart is undergoing.  So thankful.

September 23, 2011

Think I Told a Lie (Retraction)

I need to correct and clarify some things I wrote in a post a couple of days ago. I second-guess things I write just about every time I write but I try to just let it go. This one I really need to correct, though. In the post entitled How Can We Do It All, a post about things that have helped me in balancing various roles of womanhood, #5 is the culprit. This is what it said ( I have removed it from the original post):
5. Take care of self, then take care of others.
I am by far a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher, PERSON now that I have taken some time and continue to take time to focus on self-care. I can do things to help others now that I would have never dreamed of doing at the size and mental state I was in before. This means that sometimes I have to leave my family to spend time alone or have true quiet time with the Lord. I have to take time away from them in order to exercise. It's a sacrifice that I think my husband (and my kids if they could express it) would say has been well worth it. Taking care of this body, that is actually not my own, is not selfish.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Another scripture to consider here is:
Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
How should we love others? The way that we love ourselves. This is not a selfish love but a sacrificial love. We should have a sacrificial love of self, with the chief purpose of our self-love being to love others well. Think about it.
A couple of things are wrong here. First of all, the heading. Take care of self, then take care of others. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Kind of. As long as you understand I don't mean LOVE yourself more than others, then I think we're okay. The message I was trying to send is that we can not do the work to which God has called us, to the best of our ability, if we do not take some responsibility for self-care first. Self-care being quiet different from self-love. Scripture clearly states that we are to love others first, to think more highly of others than ourselves and that we are to die to self, daily. In fact, we are to deny our selfish, fleshly desires and put God first. I the whole issue here has to do with our motives. We can take care of our bodies because we want to look good in a bikini so men will stare at us on a beach and make us feel good about ourselves for being so hot (loving self) or we can want to become a healthier person so that we can serve others well (loving others). See the diff?

Read this awesome post about why Pastor John Piper chooses to exercise. In a nutshell "I have one life to live for Jesus. I don't want to waste it." (Love him!)

The other thing that is wrong is my exegesis (explanation of ) Galatians 5:14.Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." I said that we should love ourselves first and then copy that love toward others. This is an error. On the same day I wrote that post I opened up a book to begin reading, Lies Women Believe. Would you believe there was a whole chapter on this very topic? ;) Here is what Nancy Leigh DeMoss has to say about Galatians 5:14:
When Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, the point is not that we need to love ourselves so that we can love others. Jesus is saying we need to give others the same attention and care we naturally give ourselves.
She goes on to say:
We are constantly looking out for ourselves, deeply sensitive to our own feelings and needs, always conscious of how things and people affect us. The reason some of us get hurt so easily is not because we hate ourselves but because we love ourselves! We want to be accepted, cherished, and treated well. If we did not care so much about ourselves, we would not be so concerned about being rejected, neglected or mistreated. The fact is, we do not hate ourselves, nor do we need to learn to love ourselves. We need to learn how to deny ourselves, so we can do that which does not come naturally--to truly love God and others. Our malady is not "low self-esteem," nor is it how we view ourselves rather, it is our low view of God. Our problem isn't so much a " poor self-image" as it is a "poor God-image." Our need is not to love ourselves more but to receive His incredible love for us and to accept His design and purpose for our lives. Once we have received His love, we will not have to compare ourselves to others; we will not focus on "self" at all. Instead, we will become channels of his love to others.
Hm. Enlightening, isn't it? I can't wait to get into this study! This is a much better and more educated explanation than the one I wrote!

Please forgive my irresponsible use of God's Word. It is so easy to manipulate scripture to make it say what we want it to say. While I believe the message I was trying to get across is not necessarily "un-biblical", some of the terminology and scripture references I used just didn't work and I'm so sorry for this confusion.

I thank each of you who reads this blog for being so gracious as you come along on my journey. I am learning every step of the way and I'm sure this will not be the last mistake I make. I want, from the bottom of my heart, to share God's word with the utmost integrity and accuracy that I am able.  May I never compromise his beautiful Truth. No matter how hard it is to read or hear--it is freedom.

For you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

September 20, 2011

How Can We Do It All?

How do you balance all the roles in your life (wife, mother, ministries etc) with making health a priority as well. How do you find the time and with small children the way to exercise and keep making new goals? -Laura

1. Don't feel sorry for self...Don't even think about it.
Honestly, the first time someone asked me this question, I hadn't even thought about it. I never thought about my kids or husband or other responsibilities making it more difficult for me to stay focused on healthy living. But once the idea was pointed out to me I could see that these things did present more challenges. I am always looking for an excuse, so the fact that these things really hadn't occured to me is simply more evidence of God's grace. Now that I do recognize these challenges, I try not to focus on them. This is my life. I am a wife. I have small children. I have responsibilities inside and outside the home, one of which is taking care of my body. These are blessings and I believe God works them all together for good. 
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

2. Ask for and accept help
I am not afraid to let people help me. I do not feel guilty about asking a friend or family member to watch my kids so I can go run. We were never intended to do things on our own. That is why God gives us community and family. We are not capable of doing things alone and it is a form of pride to think that we can or should. Now, those people we call on to help us should never be taken for granted or taken advantage of. I thank God for them! Hopefully they have a concept of #5.

"People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world." (Barabara Streisand song)

3. Prioritize
Determining priorities is as simple as asking myself the question: "What is important to me?" Once I have honestly answered that question, I am able to find the time for it. Always. We find time for what is important to us. Remember--if you want things to change, you have to change the way you do things. Your priorities must change. My relationship with God is most important. From this relationship, he directs everything else in my life. By putting Him first, the balancing act becomes much easier because He will do it.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

4. Don't listen to the world.
When we allow the world to dictate what we spend our time doing, to decide our values, that is when we get in trouble and our lives end up way out of balance. We all have values that guide us in determining what is important to us. The goal for me is to draw my values from what is important to God.  Most important to him is not how much money I earn, how well or how many sports my kids play, how cute my hair is, how clean and nice my house is, what size jeans I am wearing, how many "good" things I am doing or what everyone else thinks of me. It is very difficult to push those things to the back of the line because those are things the world is always SCREAMING and constantly whispering should be most important to us. It's a lie!
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

5. Master the art of saying NO.
This is clutch! We have been told a really horrible lie--that we can do it all. Well, maybe we can do it all but if we are doing it all I think it's pretty safe to say we aren't doing any of it well. And to make matters worse, not only have we been told that we can do it all, we've been told (or we tell ourselves) we should do it all. There was a point in my life when I thought that I needed to say yes to anything ever asked of me. Horrible times. I learned a lesson there and started to only say yes when it was a really good thing. Really good things include volunteering at school or church, attending a Bible study, helping a friend in need, the list goes on. All really good things. Problem: there is still not enough of me to do every really good opportunity that comes my way. Some really good things? A few? Yes. Perhaps. There have been points in my life recently where the only thing I was doing was taking care of myself and my family. That is okay sometimes. Guilt can not rule our lives! Trying to live up to the "supermom" fantasy is not possible so stop trying! Also, you can never please everyone and yes, saying "No" will offend people and make them mad. Sometimes it will hurt feelings. I hate that--I really do! But they get over it and even if they don't I can't let it consume me. Consider the bigger picture. Best advice ever: Sometimes we have to say no to very good things so we can say YES to the very best thing.
"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23

So after typing all of this out, I think I want to correct myself. We actually can do it all--learn to say no, accept help, prioritize our lives, tune out the world and care for our precious bodies--but there is only one Way... I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

September 16, 2011


I have been praying and praying and praying some more that I will get a real grasp on what God's grace means for me in this crazy, can't-figure-it-out life. It is a jumbled mess in my head most of the time but when I am deep in the Word or as quiet as I can possibly be or sometimes even scrolling through my twitter feed--He speaks. I am trying so desperately to listen and to take hold of what I am hearing.

My dear friend pointed out to me that I am trying really hard to understand everything. It is common for a person to experience tragedy and want desperately to make sense of it all. I'm not even in the midst of a tragedy, but I still want to understand it all. The joys, the gifts, the opportunities...I want to know what is going on and why things are happening the way they are. I can't. We can't. We just can't.


The truth is that all of these things God is working together for good. Of that we can be certain. And the fact that he is making anything good out of us or this world is GRACE defined. The waters of God's grace are deep and as the David Crowder songs says: "If your Grace is an ocean, we're all sinking."

I love this lyric because it captures the hard truth so very well. We can't navigate God's grace. We can only drown in it. We can only let the lungs of our desire to understand be filled with the water of His grace. The living water. In this death we can truly live! We can just rest and let the waters carry us, toss us to and fro, and experience life the way He intends. Every emotion, every delight, every fear, every pain and every uncertainty: through grace we can experience it rather than fight it, study it, or resent it. Instead of trying to make use of the grace or figure it out, we can just let it have us.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

I've not been on this earth too long, but with every passing moment I realize more and more (Thank you, Jesus!) that this is not my home. What a tragedy if I thought this was it! The same grace that drowns me here will complete me there. The ocean of grace that I'm drowning in today will carry me right to the feet of Jesus and in the presence of God Almighty. One day I will know. Fully and forever.

September 13, 2011

Motivated--Not So Much

How do you motivate yourself to workout on days you feel blah and don't want to do anything?

Here are a few things that have helped me:

15 minute week--I can do just about anything for 15 minutes. Sometimes when I am dreading workouts (and in effect not doing them) I will have a "15 minute week" where I only do 15 minutes of activity, but I do it everyday. That way it's not overwhelming, I don't dread it and I end up doing way more than I would have otherwise.

Get a Buddy--This can be a great motivational tool. Go for a walk with a friend. You can easily walk several miles without even realizing you have exercised when you have a buddy to talk with. It is also nice to know someone is going to be meeting you somewhere (you have to go) and you don't have to do it alone.

Purchase good gear--Getting fitted for my running shoes was one of the greatest things ever! Highly recommend doing this if you are going to be doing a lot of walking or running. It just feels better and is best for your body. Also, from time to time I like to get some new shorts or tops to workout in. Yeah, it's superficial but hey--it works.

Journal--Keep a journal of how you feel every time you finish exercising. I am always so refreshed and invigorated. I feel good about myself and what I have accomplished. Today a friend and I were saying that we never remember saying "Oh man, I really wish I hadn't worked out just then." Never happens. On the days it is tempting to stay on the couch, flip through the journal and be reminded of the pay off.

Set a goal--Goals help keep us on track and focused. Signing up for my first half marathon was AWESOME! I knew that if I didn't put in the work every day leading up to that race, then I would not be able to do it. It kept me motivated to get out there every day I needed to and on the days I still wasn't feeling it, I did it anyway knowing there was something bigger at stake.

For me, this is pretty black and white. If I don't work out, I can't lose weight. That has been proven time and time again, most recently over the past few months. We can talk motivation all day long but the bottom line is that we have a choice to take care of the bodies God gave us or not. Simple.

Now, I really need to re-read this and take my own advice!!!

September 12, 2011

Body Parts

Thank you all so, so much for the post ideas! I am so excited. It's funny because I have been having lots more ideas of my own, too! I will use them all! This is one of the topics: Favorite Body Part and Why. My favorite parts comes last, but here are a few others that I have something to say about, too:

I love my legs because they are strong. They have been the body part that has shown me I am capable of things I never even dreamed about. I ran 13 miles on my legs! That is hard to believe when I think about how difficult it was for me to even walk a mile in January 2010. My legs have definition that I never knew they could have. I like to feel them. I know that is weird! But I love the way they feel, especially when I shave.
The face is special to me. I had gotten to the point where I just didn't look in the mirror any more. I didn't want to see my face. I felt like no matter how perfect I got my make-up or how good my hair looked there was nothing that would make my face easy to look at. It was the most obvious reminder of how far I had let myself go. My face is now more alive and joyful. There is a sparkle in my eyes that I didn't even know was missing until it reappeared.

Uhhh. This is not my favorite body part at all. But it is worth writing about. All of my weight sits right in my stomach. I have two stomachs--the upper one (muffin top area) and the lower one (my butt in front). I have tried to think of something positive to say about my stomach. It is the grossest thing ever, but my fat stomach is pretty much what has brought me to my knees and got me started down this long path to finding out who I really am.

This is my new favorite body part. Many of the lies that crippled this part of me have been cleared out. The brain now enhances my progress rather than hindering it. This part of my body has seen the biggest and most dramatic transformation. Without the changes here, none of the other body parts would have been able to change either. They say the mind is a terrible thing to waste. I would agree. The mind is a beautiful thing to entrust to the truth of God's Word. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

The pattern of this world is to judge by the outward appearance. We all do that to some degree. As much as we try not to, I think it is just part of our human nature. We all want to be loved and accepted and by the world's standards, having beautiful and "standard" parts make that more of a reality. The more that I understand the unconditional acceptance that is available through Christ, the less acceptance by the world matters to me. Knowing that Jesus knew what all of my imperfections would be as he willingly gave his life for me makes the fat rolls and the double chins seem pretty insignificant.

For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Yesterday we studied Psalms 139. Wow. It speaks of the way that He knows us. The deepest, darkest worst things about us, the ugliest things about us, He knows and he sees. He doesn't care. He loves us. Oh! How he loves us. When God was making us, his focus was on the inmost being--not the legs or the face or anything else.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)


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