Monday, January 31, 2011

Loving This Monday!

I am really glad today was Monday. (Yes, you heard that right.) Monday sounded REALLY good to me today. Last week was an extremely hectic one in our household. Every day had at least two things on the calendar...and Saturday sent all 5 of us scurrying in several different directions. It felt really good to come together as a family on Saturday night and celebrate our day! The culmination of our crazy week was Dave, Luke & Hannah all attending and winning trophies at the Awana Grand Prix (Hannah won two trophies...just like her big sissy did two years in a row), Mikayla traveling to Lansing with her team and winning their game, and me spending day two of the local homeschool convention with one of my bestest friends. A very busy yet successful day. The perfect way to finish out a crazy week!

So on Sunday, I literally put "Do Nothing" on the Outlook calendar for the entire afternoon. Dave got a kick out of that when his ipod reminded him to do nothing from noon to 6:00. Of course, there were still things that were done (Dave and Luke played hockey at the neighbor's house, I took care of some computer/planning/organizing, there was a quick trip to the grocery store, etc.). But for the most part, it was a day of refreshment. (Yes, organizing does refresh me.) It just felt good to have a chance to sit in my comfy chair with my feet up and my planner on my lap...and to actually have time for my brain to think! Lots of lists were refined and designed. That's what this Mom needed.

What about you? What refreshes you when your life starts going at 100 mph? 

Want to know another thing that really finished out my Sunday on a huge high? I ran 4 miles. Non-stop. Me! I didn't think I'd hit that mark until the end of February! I totally shocked myself. I can't tell you how much head stuff God has helped me overcome to be able to get to this point. And, yes, some physical healing to my sore knee too. God is doing it though! He's allowing me to gradually believe that I CAN run! I really can't wait to run that 10K with my man right beside me. I told him a couple weeks ago that I was concerned about not being able to ever reach the point of keeping up with him. (He typically runs at over 7 mph. on the treadmill, while I'm at 6 mph.) Want to know what my sweet man told me? "That's OK. I'll just go at your pace." Girlfriends...that made my heart melt! My guy is willing to slow down his speed (and finish farther back in the race standings) just so he can run beside me and encourage his wife. See why I love this guy?!

Now that I've shown myself that I can actually run 4 miles, I'm really getting excited about the prospect of hitting that 6.2 mile marker. We're going to Florida in early March, and my hope was that I would be able to run just 4 miles at that point. Now, my goal is to be able to run the full 10K outside while we're down there. I can almost not believe that I'm saying that! This whole turning myself into a runner is SO much a mental challenge. I'm finally starting to really believe in myself now though. I am sure that God knew I needed to hit that 4 mile marker to get some of these mental monsters out of my head. I'm so geeked that He helped me get there a full month ahead of when I thought I'd be ready! Once again, God makes me smile.

Oh, before I go, I have to share the fun of tonight's basketball game! Luke scored two more shots! I think he's up to 12 points for the season. A big jump up from his 2 points last season! It's so fun to watch him improve and grow in confidence. His team is sitting in 1st place and looking like they'll be in serious contention for making it to (and possibly even winning) the State Championship again! And then Mikayla is really turning into quite the little point guard. She made her first shot last week and continues to surprise me with her ball handling abilities. It is such a joy as a parent to watch your kids do something they love so much! Homeschool basketball is definitely the highlight of our winter.

So as I learn to enjoy running and improve in the area of self-control, God's teaching me that my value is NOT determined by the number on the scale. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that I have my next official weigh-in tomorrow morning. I won't lie. There's a HUGE part of me that wants to see a great number on the scale tomorrow. I'll do my best not to get discouraged if I don't. Stay tuned for the weight loss update and this week's Made to Crave highlights.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Made To Crave Highlights So Far...

In my last post, I mentioned I'd be coming back here to share some of my Made to Crave (MTC) ah-hah moments. There are many of them, and they are very random...so I think I'll just share several bullet points. Hope you are encouraged by some of them too!

  • We should go through this journey (to overcome our cravings and get healthy) because we ARE loved - not in order to BE loved.
  • A setback is just a set-up for a comeback!
  • The food industry pushes 3800 calories a day at us! (So beware of portion sizes!!)
  • As women, if we eat 25 grams of fiber a day, we won't have to count calories because we'll be satisfied. (30 grams for men.)
  • One 16 oz. glass of water first thing in the morning will = a 25% reduction in how much we eat that day.
  • Those of us who have been fighting the battle of the bulge for a long time, will find it takes our bodies 3-4 weeks of being really good before the scale starts to show it (in order to reset our metabolism).
  • We need a GPS mentality: at the first available point (after messing up), do a legal U-Turn!
  • I have to learn to deny myself (stop caving into my cravings) and stop allowing the things of this world to wage war against my soul! I've allowed a terrible amount of damage to be done to my soul over the last 25-30 years. It's time to stop doing the enemy's dirty work for him! No more.
  • I am choosing to be "empowered" by my healthy lifestyle choices...not "deprived."
  • I have to put in the work, to expect the results. I think for many years I wanted God to make it "easy" on me. Instead, I need to do the "natural" so that God can do the "super."
  • We will always be most victorious when we center ourselves in God's will.
  • Our identity in Christ must precede activity. God said He was pleased with Jesus before He ever performed a miracle. The same is true with us. We cannot let God down...because we're not holding Him up!
  • We need to use the "find and replace" function with all the lies we tell ourselves. (Find them and replace them with Truth!)
  • Lysa's favorite go-to-Scripture: Romans 14:20 ~ Do not destroy the work of the Lord for the sake of food.
  • My insecurity is the ultimate insult to God. Wow. That one cuts deep.
  • Temptation is Satan's invitation to get our needs met his way, not God's way.
  • The more we speak truth into our lives, the more we're able to recognize lies. So write those Scriptures and positive affirmations down and read them every day!!
  • Satan has three ways he likes to tempt us (been the same throughout history): getting our physical needs met outside of God's will, distracting us with material things, and getting us to find our significance somewhere other than through God.
  • Satan's name means: one that casts something between two to cause a separation.
  • Shame distances us from God's best AND it's a lie! Our identity in Christ isn't dependent upon how well we do with overcoming our issues.
  • If we eat just 100 extra calories a day, every day, we'll gain 10 pounds in a year! Calorie counting (as much as I'd like to think otherwise) is VERY important!!
  • Any time you take a drug, you weigh the benefit to risk. We must do the same with food! Look at our daily food intake as our food budget. It must balance! Make the necessary adjustments throughout the day to make that happen.

Wow. Those are just the highlights! Are you doing the study? It's not too late to join in the weekly webcasts. It's also not too late to join me on Wednesday nights. Our group is quite diverse. Ladies are being drawn to this study for a variety of reasons. I'm SO excited that I'm able to travel this journey with so many friends! Every ounce of success gives me even more excitement and hope for the future. My knee is feeling better and the running is getting easier (please pray that injury stays away from me so I can continue training for the 10K). God is slowly unwrapping this healthier, fitter side of me! It's actually becoming FUN! Yes, weight loss is becoming fun. Did I really say that?!

So let me know where you're at in this journey. If you are reading MTC, what are your highlights? Struggles? Ways I can pray for you? I would love to make you one of my traveling buddies.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Overwhelmed with God's Love!

I'm feeling overwhelmed today. But in a good way. Blessed by how much God has been speaking to my heart lately. Overwhelmed with all He's telling me. But excited for what lies ahead. (And then back to overwhelmed for the length & difficulty of the trip.) But, yes, overwhelmed with goodness.

Overwhelmed with God's blessings. His provisions. Provisions that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes:
  • financial
  • friends
  • encouragement from others
  • mental victories (a minute-by-minute struggle most days)
  • Biblical ah-hah moments (many related to my "Made to Crave" study)
  • laughter (oh how laughter heals my soul!)
The list could go on. The Bible says that: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17) 

Every gift. Wow! I want to park here and really absorb the wonderful-ness of this verse. God loves us SO much, that he blesses us with gifts. Just like we, as parents, like to surprise our kids with something they've been wanting. Our gracious and loving heavenly Father loves to shower us with gifts we may not even know we needed! But He gives them to us at JUST the right moment. All we have to do is open our eyes to them.

Let's take a moment right now to ponder our blessings. From the BIG to the small. Every. Single. One.

Are you overwhelmed with His love right now? I hope so.

So tonight is week 2 of the Made to Crave Bible study I'm hosting in my home. God has really blessed me with this group of ladies that has chosen to join me on this journey. In fact, I almost feel like maybe I need them to join me on the journey more than they need to be on it themselves. But, of course, God brought them to the study for a very specific purpose. Perhaps some of them will be surprised what God reveals to them over the next few weeks. I am honored to have them as fellow sojourners on this very personal journey.

What about you? Have you been reading "Made to Crave"? Watching the webcasts? What has God already spoken to you about? Were you surprised by it?

I will try to find time this weekend to share more of my MTC ah-hah moments. There have been many. I expect there will be many more. Oh, and as of the other day, my total weight loss is up to 25 pounds! But the naysayer voice in my head still would have me to believe that this time is just like all the others. That voice would really like to get me to fall off the bandwagon since I'm going through some sore knee issues (still). But I will cling to the Truth. Even if it's just by a thread. I'll keep clinging. I know that the road ahead is going to be long, but the victory is already mine. I can't quite hang the victory banner and proclaim the battle over...because on my end, it's far from over. But thanks to God...victory IS mine. As Pastor Steven Furtick
said on Lysa's webcast this week, "Our identity in Christ must precede any activity."

In other words: claim this mental battle against the enemy and all his lies a victory! Claim it now! Then, once we're secure in WHO we are in Christ, we will successfully put forth the required "activity" to make the physical victory happen.

Claim it, sisters! Let's stand tall and strong and hold onto the TRUTH.

I Corinthians 15:58 ~ Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

And all my blog-readin' girlfriends said: "Amen!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Head Games

So, can I have your permission to vent here a second? I try not to use this blog to just vent without purpose. But I'm REALLY feeling the need to do that right about now. Maybe I'll accidentally say something helpful in the process.

Here's what's bugging me: people in my life who like to make comments like, "Oh, it's too bad she can't lose that weight. She's such a pretty girl." Or any of the other overweight comments that I've heard over the years, and continue to hear to some degree. And then there's the doubting Thomas comments that I hear every time I begin to see success in my weight loss journey. I hate this whole notion of being pitied or looked down upon because of my weight. I hate the downer comments that some people are so quick to spew. (And, yes, I know I'm using the word hate a lot here...but I think I really do!)

Part of why these comments irritate me so much, is that they are the EXACT things that have messed up my head for so many years! These are the things that have caused me to have a lot of these struggles I'm now fighting my way out of! AND, it just really stinks that when you're overweight...the whole world can see your struggles. They may not know exactly what has gotten you to that place, but they know that you haven't handled them well. Unlike people who struggle with other addictions, those of us who fight the food addiction battle (and whatever issues cause it to be manifested in that way) are shouting to everyone we pass that we're losing the fight. Everyone can see our issues aren't dealt with. There's no hiding this weakness.

And you know what else?! When you have as much weight to lose as I do, it really stinks that even though I'm seeing some level of success in the journey...I still look to all who see me as someone who hasn't got her head on straight. I have a LONG way to go! And most people aren't going to see the success for many, many more pounds.

This is what has made me throw in the towel so many times before. Other people's thoughtless comments have all too many times thrown me off track. Well, not this time. Somehow, not this time.

Let me tell you...this journey is ALL mental. From the finding my "why" and my "want to", to keeping myself running on the treadmill when my whole being wants to go sit down and just put it off another day. Every. Single. Thing. All mental! Some days, it's just too much to take in. That's how I'm feeling today.

I got my "Made to Crave" DVD's from UPS today. In many ways, it's been great to be able to re-visit all those sessions. I had forgotten a lot of the great things Lysa taught us! I also can tell that my appearance is showing the results on the scale (those sessions were filmed in late August...21 pounds ago for me). The struggle of watching those DVD's? Seeing just how far I have to go. How bad I really was. Hearing the prompting of the Spirit pointing out some key areas in which I have a lot more improving to do. Feeling those guilt and self-condemnation thoughts come rushing back in because of some not-so-great food choices lately. Being fully reminded once again of just HOW far the road ahead still is. Ugh. It's exhausting.

All I cay say is, today I did the best I could do. By all standards, it really was a good day! Just a brief phone call with some off-handed not-meant-to-be-hurtful comments, got me in a tailspin. There's still a lot of baggage that God has to help me work through. I guess I'm thankful right now that He only reveals a little bit at a time. And that He doesn't reveal it and then walk away. He's right here with me. I was made to crave Him. And, in fact, I do.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Time to De-Clutter

I've spent a lot of the last two days sorting, organizing, and throwing away. It always feels good to get rid of stuff! At least, it does to me. I know that's not the case for some people. What about you? Are you a purger or a hoarder? While I get great enjoyment out of clearing the clutter, I actually know some people who can't stand to get rid of things. Anything.

This idea got me to thinking last night. Actually, it was in the wee hours of the morning as I lay in bed trying to fall back to sleep. I was thinking about how important this act of "clearing the clutter" is in our lives. And I'm not just talking about the little things we have accumulating in our house. I'm thinking BIG scale here. Philosophically. What things do we have in our lives that God is asking us to throw out?

I kind of laugh at myself when I get into the de-cluttering mode. Yesterday, it was good that nothing important got in my path - like the dog, or one of the kids...or Dave. They might have found themselves on the road to the recycling center!

When it's time to de-clutter, have you ever noticed how easy it is to throw away other people's stuff? You know, like, go into the kids' rooms and find all the little stuff that is laying around and just...get rid of it! Or, even, look at some of Dave's stuff that looks unimportant to me and just toss it into the garbage. I've had to learn over the years to be careful when sorting through Dave's stuff though. More than a couple of times I've thrown something of his away that he hadn't touched in months, and then two days after it's gone he comes asking me if I've seen it. Oops! (Now, I just gave him a couple shelves in the office closet where his "stuff" is sitting in a box waiting for him to go through and determine what's really worth saving.)

So, now, imagine this whole de-cluttering scenario from the perspective of God.

God is the organized parent wanting to make things better (cleaner, more organized, less distracting)...and we're the little kid that thinks every single item laying around on our dresser is very important stuff. Too important to possibly ever DREAM of getting rid of. But God has other things in mind. God knows what we don't yet know about the clutter in our lives - it keeps us busy keeping track of it! It fogs our ability to be productive. It wastes valuable time that could be spent on other things.

Can you see it? Can you picture a few things that you're calling important and God is holding out the heaven-sized garbage can, just waiting for you to toss it in?

Here's what I know for sure: regularly sorting through the stuff in our lives, organizing it, and getting rid of what we don't need anymore is a MUST do thing in life. Both material stuff, and spiritual stuff.

Holding onto things that aren't needed just:
  • bogs us down
  • makes us less effective
  • keeps us from seeing what's REALLY important
  • allows unwanted things to sneak into our space (because things are too chaotic to notice them!)
Can you see how, on a spiritual level, not letting go of things can really cause us to miss out on a lot of blessings in our lives? God has such BIG plans for each and every one of us. Holding onto things that He's asking us to get rid of, just means we're getting in the way of being used by Him in the ways He really wants to!

What things are you holding onto that God wants you to throw out?
  • bad language?
  • poor choices of TV shows?
  • addictive behaviors (food, drugs, alcohol, sex)?
  • lack of discipline?
  • love of material things?
The list could go on. What is it for you? Have you asked God to reveal to you what He'd have you let go of?

I certainly don't want to hang onto anything that is displeasing to Him. I don't want to knowingly interfere with His working in my life.

As I continue the de-cluttering mode this week, I'm going to spend some purposeful time in prayer about what other things God is asking me to throw out. You know, other than that Shaklee catalog from 2004 and the Byron Bank work schedule from last summer.

Happy de-cluttering friends!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Mom Pledge

I ran across this pledge online and posted it in my office a couple months ago. I had kind of forgotten about it, actually. I was just sitting here thinking about my goals & dreams for 2011, and realized that this pledge fits perfectly with it all. I thought any Mom who reads this blog would be equally blessed by this pledge. So here you go:

I am blessed beyond belief.
     I am beautiful beyond compare.
I have the greatest career on earth,
     and I will perform it
          to the best of my God-given ability,
          with gratitude, not grumbling;
          with determination, not defeat.
I will rise to every challenge.
I will overcome every obstacle.
I will be productive and positive with every moment and minute I am given.
     My words will bless;
          My actions will build;
               My thoughts will empower;
And my life, my family, and my home will be abundantly blessed as a result.
I am strong enough,
     smart enough,
          and creative enough
to squeeze every bit of juice out of this ripe, delicious day.

Starting Off Fresh

Well, the holidays are completely over, Daddy's back to work, my parents are in Florida for the winter, and snow is finally on the ground. It's time to buckle down and get crackin' on life!

It's SO easy to get lazy over the holidays. At least it is for me. It's also easy for me to get my head out of the game completely during the months of January and February. The "game" being life. Notoriously, these first two months of the year are THE hardest months for my mental health. Whether it's the typical lack of sunshine we have here in Michigan, or the post-holiday blues, or the slight mourning over my parents being down where it's warm & sunny (while I'm stuck here in the cold & ice), or just that I get too much into philosophical-mode. Whatever it is...it's NOT going to get me down this year! Oh, "it" has tried already. But I'm putting it in its place right here. Right now.

Here are a couple of my Christmas vacation ah-ha moments:

  • God reminded me that I need to pray daily for my children and my husband. So I pulled out two books I've had on my shelf for years: "Power of a Praying Wife" and "Power of a Praying Parent". My goal is to re-read them both and begin to do DAILY and SPECIFIC prayers for Dave and the kids. What an amazing thing we have in prayer! I want my prayer life to get much more in-depth this year. Can't wait to see what blessings I'll have to share a year from now because of this one choice!

  • Due to slipping on the ice and hurting my knee in early December (the 10th, to be exact), I didn't spend a lot of time on the treadmill during the last three weeks of the month. Well, my weight loss for the month of December sure showed that! Of course, there were several holiday celebrations during that month too...but the effects of exercise became ABUNDANTLY clear. (As if I needed the reminder...well OK, maybe I did.) I only lost two pounds during the month of December. Whereas I lost 8 & 10 pounds each of the two months before that. The difference? Exercise. So...time to get my butt back on the treadmill! I have a goal of losing another 20 pounds before our trip to Florida. If there's any chance of that happening, this last month proved that the treadmill MUST be part of my routine. Good to know that for sure. Now to act on it!

Just a couple of "ah-ha's"...but I think a couple of really big ones. These are definitely two of my main goals for 2011: pray more specifically & exercise regularly. The cool thing is that my time exercising can also be used for praying! Gotta love those "two bird with one stone" scenarios.

So, have you caught the "Made to Crave" excitement? I cannot tell you how geeked I am for the start of the Bible study I'm hosting. In fact, I am so excited just to get all my pre-ordered materials in the mail! I hate waiting. And just knowing that the "Made to Crave" book is in stores now...but I have to wait for my package to arrive?! Oh, I'm going crazy over here!

If you want to know more about "Made to Crave", I encourage you to check out Lysa TerKeurst's website: http://www.madetocrave.org/. I'm telling you, I think EVERY woman with a heart for God needs to read this book! It's not just an overweight issue. It's any food/self-image issue that causes us to get off balance with where God wants us. Doesn't that describe most of your girlfriends to some degree? I think it does mine. I just can't wait to see what starts happening as more and more women are introduced to Lysa's teachings on this topic. God is going to do a very big thing! I just know it. Stay tuned for lots more MTC updates over the next few weeks.

Well, my mind is full of lots of great stuff right now. Time to get back to a few things that are calling my name around the house. More on my New Year revelations another day...

Enjoy your day!