Monthly Archives: February 2013

Weight Loss Journey Day 46


My very first holiday decoration, given to me by my friend, Sandra. I just love this little church!!

Today was incredible. I took off on my usual walking routine, but I felt a nudge to walk in a different direction. I just did what I felt the Holy Spirit prompted and ended up walking around 5 churches and praying for them! It was so cool! Sometimes I sang worship songs as I circled; other times I prayed aloud or silently.

Afterwards, heart full of joy, I walked down a busy street singing, “Joy to the World!” A couple nearby laughed at me, but I didn’t care. My song was for HIM not them.

What an unexpected adventure. I took off walking to burn calories and ended up in a totally unplanned spiritual experience!

About that whole tired of hiding thing I wrote about a while back. Christmas is an issue where I’ve hidden. Here’s the deal. I write for the Christian market who LOVES Christmas. My first traditional fiction release was a Christmas novella! But here’s the rub: I grew up in a church culture who believed in the incarnation of Jesus as the Son of God, but didn’t celebrate Christmas due to its connection with pagan origins. We left that church 19 years ago, but still have many family and friends who believe that way.

As long as a person believes Jesus is Lord and seeks the direction of the Holy Spirit, I say stuff like that is up to personal conviction. But at some level I’m always hiding it seems, on this Christmas thing, even at home. My husband and I struggle with what we want Christmas to be for our family. For years we fought each December about what was appropriate. Over time we found uneasy compromises, me always afraid I was pushing past his comfort zone. Him always wanting to please and love me without compromising his convictions.

So here I am world, not hiding. Christmas at our house is still sometimes confused.

I’ve been reading a book about spiritual connectivity—ways we all connect to God, called Sacred Pathways. I believe part of Jerry and my struggle with the holiday has to do with our spiritual wiring. The other day I walked past a house that had a glass front door. Inside, stairs lead from the door to a second level. The railing on the staircase was wrapped in evergreen and little white lights twinkled. In the windows of the second floor, candles glowed. I had to stop walking—despite the fact my exercise app was still running. I just stood there, staring at the beauty. Immediately, my heart rose to God in joy and worship of Jesus and His coming to earth. I doubt my hubby could relate to how my heart explodes in praise at the beauty of Christmas decorations.

Maybe it’s a girl/guy thing.

Real Time Update:

This surprise path on my walking was the beginning of some amazing December adventures. Jesus certainly surprised me as He took my exercise routine and gave it lots of unexpected twists and turns. You’ll get to hear about more of them over the next few weeks. Some of them blew my mind! And I love how I began the journey to lose weight on the outside, but how I’m having new experiences on the inside at the same time.

What About You?

Any surprises in your exercise journey? How about your inside journey?


Weight Loss Journey Day 45

Jerry and I attended a Christmas party for a company he’s done a little work for.  I ate carefully during the day, took small portions at the party, and stayed within calorie count! I’m a far cry from the girl in October who couldn’t deal with birthday celebrations. Oh, I go over calorie count as I did on Tuesday, but I’m so much better.

IMAG0603To be honest, I felt a little uptight about going. The father of this family has been known to make $100,000 in a month, and I can’t even compute such a thing. His goal is to earn a solid million next year. His giving goal is to single-handedly finance a revival campaign in Africa to the tune of a million dollars.

As I’m being remade inside and out, I have to deal with my concept of money. It was almost as if the church environment where I grew up believed it was holy to have little. Oh we spent money on stuff, just bragged about our great finds and sale prices. As an adult, I have more earning power than I’ve used because I want to be home with the children. For years, we’ve chosen to live on one salary. With my husband having an entrepreneur’s spirit, our finances have gone up and done as the businesses he built did the same. In the Bible the Apostle Paul said he knew how to be abased and how to abound. (Funny how  I remember the old King James language even though I rarely read that version now.) I know, at least at some level, how to be abased.

I’m ready to learn how to abound.

Our financial ups and downs have given opportunity for me to learn about God’s provision. We’ve done without a lot of stuff, but never without what was needed. Even in bad times I’ve often had enough in the freezer and pantry to share with others who struggle.

One year I told the Lord I needed a new coat. Soon after my friend, Jan, gave me one. She’s about the only female I know with arms as long as mine, and it fit perfectly! Over the years the kids have had amazing opportunities that I still don’t know how we paid for except that we prayed, and God provided.

That felt a bit cavalier. Struggling financially is awful. I’ve cried more times than anyone but the Lord knows. And there were times I couldn’t contain the struggle and burst into tears at really embarrassing places, like a check-out counter at the grocery store.

It’s hard to learn to trust God in this area, to pray in free-lance writing projects or book contracts for me and product sales for my husband. I hate it, but I wouldn’t trade the lessons learned for anything. It’s been hard on the kids, but there was a maturity forged in them through such struggles. It positively impacted their work ethic and taught them about faith, family, and perseverance.

I sense the LORD moving in our finances. Since Jerry has started working at Life Force International I’ve been blown away by the opportunities given him, as well as the healthy attitude from the company about money. I sense someday soon I will be faced with a new learning curve, discovering how to abound financially.

I pray if that happens money will be a tool, not an idol. That I can feel the freedom to enjoy what is given me, but that I can also be generous. There is no shame in having money. And I’m thinking Jerry and I may finally have grown enough to be trusted with it.

Real Time Update:

It’s funny what comes out in a weight loss journal. But doesn’t all of life affect all of us? I KNOW I’ve eaten to out of feelings of being deprived due to financial lack. I’m learning to think before eating mindlessly, that food doesn’t fix emotion (unless I’m truly in a blood sugar low because I NEED healthy food.) I want my transformation to be complete–inside, outside, upside down me! And if I’m living NEW and FREE, I gotta deal with money attitudes . . .

How About You?

What issues connect to your eating habits that surprise you?

Weight Loss Journey Days 43 & 44

taco salad cropped

Ground turkey is even less calories than beef. Measure the cheese, count out a serving of chips, and you have a low calories lunch . . .

Some days are easy. Some are harder. But forward progress is the goal, not perfection:

Day 43 Wednesday, December 5

Another rough Wednesday due to cheap, high-in-calorie food. But, thanks to walking and learning a little more self-control, I finished the day on track with my calorie intake!

And—here’s the good part—I lost that last three pounds to get down to a consistent 190. Truly 20 lbs down now! Yay! Not bad for six weeks of doing this. Thank you, BENew!

Day 44 Thursday, December

Had a wonderful salad with taco meat on top for lunch and walked! And . . . that left calories for a small piece of left-over birthday cake. Thanks to exercise finished the day with 208 calories still available to me!

Real Time Update:

Thought the above snippets showed the reality of a weight loss journey. It’s marathon, not a sprint, isn’t it? One day at a time, one choice at a time, we work our way to a healthier body–and the right to wear cute clothes again! Ha!

I’m learning that this isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle change. Once I reach the maintenance stage of my journey, I still have to live with intentionality. My life was desperate for balance, and thanks to BENew, I’m finding it. It is my goal to never again ignore the needs of my body.

This morning the scale was around 177 (I have the old-fashioned one, not a digital) Since I’m building muscle and almost 5 foot 9, this is looking better than it sounds. It’s a far cry from the 210 of October 24th when I started or the 190 of December 5. The weight is coming off more slowly now that I’m a more normal size with just a muffin top I’m working on, but it’s still coming. Even though the pounds are slower to disappear, the body continues to change–exemplified by earlier this week when I had to put a new hole in the belt and take a link from my watch.

Now that I’ve developed more healthy eating habits and have a concept of how calorie rich foodsphone are, I’m trying something new this week. I’m taking a break from My Fitness Pal app and NOT counting every bite that goes into my mouth. I’ll watch the scale. If it goes the wrong way I’ll return to counting, but I want to see if my new handle on healthy eating is wise enough that I can move forward without such precise record-keeping.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Oh! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

What about you?

My Fitness Pal app on my phone has been invaluable in this journey. Do you track calories? Have a way to do it that you love? Or have you simply eliminated certain foods instead of tracking all of them? If you’ve done this for a while, have you been able to step away from your tracker and still find success?

Weight Loss Journey Day 41 & 42

Yesterday the weight loss journey was good. Exercised. Stayed at 1200 calories. But had a discouraging appointment with my doc about the on-going weirdness in my head, and that’s just old news. I will get better, no matter the diagnosis or lack thereof, so . . . moving on . . .

Jerry cropped

My honey, Jerry Moldenhauer, at one of my booksignings

Happy birthday to my precious husband!

Today was one of the worst days I’ve had in a while when it comes to weight loss. No time to exercise and treats everywhere. Way over calorie count. BUT it was a glorious day in other ways. Had a wonderful session with my counselor.  I told her a bunch of my holiday angst. She said she felt the Holy Spirit say, “Let Jesus surprise you.” So I’m going to. I’m going to trust God has this all figured out.

Had our Christmas party at critique group. Everyone brought snacks. I brought myself a salad in hopes I’d eat less, but I still couldn’t resist all the treats. I do think I did less than at this time last year, but . . .

I had so much fun. It was one of the best parties ever, so much laughter! The Lord must delight in our humor, in our giggles, in our love. I think it was extra special because it was a small group, and we all know each other so well. And Kathy Kovach, Miss Spiritual Truth with a Giggle, leads the group. She loves to laugh.

Came home to finish up the famous Moldenhauer chocolate cake for Jerry’s birthday dinner. It is SO good. My mother-in-law is still known for this cake even though she is in her late 80s and no longer bakes. I’m honored to continue the family tradition. All the kids, including Sarah’s fiancé, David, made it for dinner. The best part is when the kids prayed, thanking God for their dad. David’s precious prayer started my waterworks, and they just kept welling. I was blessed when the boys asked the Lord to help them be like their as they grow up. I can’t imagine what Jerry must have felt.

I am eternally grateful to have married a man who consistently makes his family and his faith a priority. Jerry’s unconditional love has shown me God’s heart—how I don’t have to perform to be loved. God has brought much healing to me through my husband. I know few women can say that, and I am forever humbled by this gift.

Real Time Update:

Okay. So I went over calorie count. We all do that sometimes, do we? Not that I’m almost 35 pounds down and still putting new holes in my belt to keep my jeans up, I know that it’s not a day that throws you off, it’s a lifestyle. So . . . be conscious of what you’re eating every day, but don’t let one day of celebration send you into a tailspin or drown you in guilt. Enjoy the party and balance that day out with great choices the rest of the day and week.

I believe food is one of God’s gifts for times of celebration. We should embrace and rejoice . . . we just shouldn’t eat every day as though we were at a party, right?

How About You?

Do you think it’s okay to celebrate with food? Does that thought trip you up? Should we even think of food as a way to celebrate?

Weight Loss Journey Day 40

It’s sort-of shocking that this woman who was afraid to walk alone now craves it. As much as I miss being with Jerry, who still can’t walk because of a back injury, I love this quiet space with myself, God, and the blue sky.

I awoke today with thoughts of Sabbath rest and have been processing all day. I exercised a lot this week, but feel a need to be more quiet today. I enjoyed lighting some candles and making herb tea (no calories!) and reading a novella. The guys were watching football, and I felt lonely. Decided to take a walk, not for exercise, but for rest and sunshine. I didn’t walk fast and only walked about a mile. I stopped often. Sat by a little creek. Enjoyed park benches. Eventually I ended up at a second tiny park, and listened to Scripture on my phone while waiting for the sunset. I think God is teaching me to be alone and content.advent

Once back home I craved advent worship. I dug around until I found the advent candles I bought after season last year and put them out. Then I lit candles and found a hymnal with carols in it. I sang for a while, read an advent devotional on-line, and longed for Jesus to come to me in a new way this season.

Real Time Update:

I hope the next few posts don’t confuse anyone! Remember, I’m sharing journal entries from roughly 2 months ago so that puts us back in December. The next month or so will have several posts referring to the holidays (AND, thank to BeNew I kept losing during the holidays, including 5 pounds the week of Christmas!)

It dawned on me yesterday that some of you may have not noticed I have a weight loss tips page at the top of my blog.  Hopefully, you can get some ideas there. It’s simple stuff, like how licorice tea curbs sugar cravings, or that it’s good not to eat after 7:30.

How About You?

I’d LOVE to hear little tips that have helped you on your journey to a healthier, more slender body. And if you don’t mind me adding them to my blog, let me know.

A BeNew Journey Day 39

“I amazed myself today!!”

So started the entry in my weight loss journal on day 39 of my journey (which was December 1 2012) It continued:

Had to be ready to leave town by 11 a.m. for a party and then a booksigning for Postmark: Christmas in Colorado Springs. I got up, made two cakes (one to leave for the boys, one to take to the party), walked off almost 500 calories, ate breakfast, showered, and was all glamed up the time my ride arrived! I am shocked to have the energy I have! AND when I put my necklace on, I didn’t need to add an extension! My neck is normal again!

The day was totally off schedule, and we ended up eating out late at night, after all the events. That, along with party food, put me at about 1400 calories instead of 1200, but . . . what if I hadn’t walked? (And I made a good choice at dinner. I wanted grilled cheese, but ordered a salad.)

The booksigning pictures hit Facebook and guess what? Although I’m not where I want to be, I’m looking almost normal. People comment about how cute and thin I looked in those pictures. Hallelujah!

Funny, it was almost exactly a month ago when I had another booksigning and complained about being tired of embarrassing Facebook pictures!

watch link

No more need for this! Even wrists loose weight.

Real Time Update:

I took off my watch and the extra link fell out. No longer need it! Today, I put on my belt, and it was not doing its job. Since I planned to wear the new jeans I got when everything was falling off (Dec. 27th), I needed it to be tight (’cause those jeans are too loose now!)

Pretty exciting stuff.

I’ve had inquiries about the products I am using. There’s a lot of information on this blogs, so for more details, visit BENew, which explains the products I’m using in detail.

Since I’ve had some specific questions, let me try to address them. I use BeNew, a weight loss program developed by Life Force International. (This nutritional company has been around for 29 years. We’ve had great success with their nutritional products. Example: my husband’s cholesterol and high blood pressure reduced within 3 months of taking Body Balance, resulting in less medication! Also, he used OsteoProCare, a calcium/mineral combo and experienced healing of an elbow injury that occurred over 20 years prior!) When we heard Life Force was introducing a weight loss program, I wanted in! I knew they would produce something that worked made from quality ingredients AND it would be GOOD for me.

I use the whole BENew system. I’ve also chosen to count calories and to add movement into my day, usually walking, but I’ve been so encouraged by my success that I’m adding a little grunt work, like crunches and leg lifts to shape up my body as it loses the weight.

The beta testers of this product have approached it many ways. Some lost weight using only BELean without changing what they ate or adding exercise. Some of these went on to change their habits to more healthy choices because the SUCCESS they got WITHOUT the extra work made them WILLING to tackle a new lifestyle.

belt hole 2-11-2013

Another new hole in the belt . . . we’ve made a 3 or 4 now.

Yes, I replace a meal a day with the BEFull shake. If I’m on the go I put some almond milk in a shake bottle and carry a serving of the BEFull powder. If I’m home I usually put it in the blender with some frozen fruit and sometimes peanut butter or rolled oats. (There are lots of recipes on the website you’re given access to when you buy the product.) Everyone wants to know if it keeps me full. Just the powder in almond milk lasts a couple of hours, but if I need it to go until the next meal I usually need to add 1/4 cup of rolled oat or something to give it a little more staying power. Of course as I’ve grown accustomed to smaller portions all my foods are more filling and carry me longer.

Bottom line: You can use these products as you want to and as they fit your lifestyle. Like anything else, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. For quicker weight loss and more health benefits, make changes in lifestyle along with the product use. But if you’re overwhelmed with that thought, you may find (as some of the beta testers did) that tasting success by using BeLean EMPOWERS you to make the changes you thought were too hard.

How About You?

Any other questions? Fire away!

Weight Loss Journey Day 38

Lord of the rings - CopyAlong with my weight loss journey, I battle to regain my health from the accidents. Today I had another bout with head stuff while I tried to work on a proposal for a new book. Infuriating!!

(if you’re interested in the books I already have out, you can read about them on my author website.)

Still, I must be grateful for the healing I have experienced. There is much to be proud of, hopeful for, thankful about.

This journey to lose weight inside and out is not a one time push. It is a lifestyle change. It’s being willing to care about my health, to look life straight in the face. To prioritize choices that make me stronger.

I will not return to the darkness.

I’m reminded of one afternoon while I laid on my bed listening to an audio book. (It was all I could do for long hours last summer.) I immersed myself in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In one scene (which isn’t in the movie) the good guys have just won the great battle. Aragorn waits outside the city gates. He doesn’t want to enter as King until all is done properly. But there are wounded inside, in the healing rooms, who need him. He decides slips into the city under the cover of darkness, cloaked in a plain robe to hide his identity.

He goes to heal, not to rule.

Once there he calls for healing herbs, then lays hands on a wounded friend, drawing out the poison of the darkness. Those who have been closest to the enemy in the battle have the deepest wounds, and only the Healer can bring them back from despair.

I laid there and prayed to Jesus, “Draw out the darkness.”

He has.

Real Time Update:

The deep darkness is gone, but of course life still throws curve balls. The question is what do we do with the sucker punches? Drown them in calories? Climb in bed and pull the covers over our head?

Don’t get me wrong. I think there are times we HAVE to take a break, rest, refuel, heal. But in the normal curve balls of life, what choices heal instead of exacerbate the problem? How is caring for the physical self connected to the healing of the whole?

What Say You?

PS. I had a few people new the to blog the last few days. In case you’re confused, the main section of the blog is a revealing of my weight loss dairy, written about two months ago. The real time update is my commentary from today. (And the pictures on my blog yesterday show a weight loss of between 30 and 35 pounds, not the 20 I talked about in the main part of the blog.)

Weight Loss Journey Day 37

I’m panicked. Now that the world knows I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, can I keep it up??

Here’s what I posted to Facebook on November 29 in response to going public with my weight loss journey:

Remember when I posted that I was horribly embarrassed and asked you to pray for me about 2 months ago? I said if things worked out, I’d tell you about it someday. I had just applied as a beta tester for BeNew. I had to send in a picture purposely showing all my fat. I was horrified at the picture, embarrassed with the numbers I turned in. Sad I’d allowed myself to gain all that weight, unchecked. Afraid I couldn’t do anything to change it.

When Life Force chose me to test their weight loss program, I was thrilled and petrified all at once. It’s been five weeks now. This morning the scale said I’d lost almost 20 pounds, which is 1/3 of the way to my goal. (Yes, do the math, that’s how out of control this thing had gotten.)

I’m excited that my pants are baggy, but there are other rewards that I am just as excited about, which are unexpected. I’ve found the joy again in movement. I have the energy and DESIRE to walk, swim, ride a bike. Last week, for the first time in YEARS I was walking through my neighborhood and couldn’t resist the desire to RUN.

I’m also blown away by my children and their perceptions of this journey. My daughter is the reason you’re seeing this post. I hadn’t yet gotten the nerve to be public about my journey, but she posted to her dad’s new fb page last night about how proud she is of me. It was a beautiful, make you weep post, but (and I know this was not her goal) it was also incredibly convicting.

She said that for 21 years she’d watched me care for my heart in hard times, but never my body. And it’s true. I was a perfectly healthy size at her birth. Four babies came in 6 years and I never worked to get the baby fat off. I became a writer and never balanced all that sedentary life with exercise. I cook mostly homemade and healthy, but I never paid attention to too many sweets or getting enough fresh foods. The nutritional support of the Life Force products had actually made me crave more healthy options.

My sweet husband never once complained as I packed on the pounds. He told me I was beautiful and sexy always. But I’m blown away by how much he is enjoying the new me. We are active together now, often taking long walks just the two of us. I regret the pleasure my choices withheld from him now that I see how much he enjoys my new attitude, energy levels, and body.

I still have a long way to go, which is why I hadn’t yet admitted this publicly, until last night when Sarah told. Or maybe that isn’t really true, maybe the whole admitting of how out of control my weight had gotten was just too hard for me.

I do know I could use your prayers.  I do know the LORD gave me this gift. I had prayed for about two years that He would show me what to do about my weight. Until BeNew came along,  I didn’t have what it took to tackle the problem. But when I heard about the chance to be a beta tester, I knew I was ready and that there would be a good nutritional, wise approach to help me find my way.

Please pray with me for complete success!

Real Time Update:

3 month pictures 3

January 31, 2013 – my updated picture for the beta test group

front picture Oct. 24

Where I started back in October, 2012

Last night I saw the picture I sent to the beta group audition. I thought I would never, ever, ever show it in public. But if this blog is about encouraging others, I need to be vulnerable. And I think this picture speaks more loudly than my words. Change is possible.

I was out of shape. Not just heavy, but I had neglected movement as well as healthy portions. I was sluggish. Tired. Even found myself struggling to get out of a chair sometimes.

Freedom is returning. The nutritional support of BeNew has helped me gain energy and feel stronger even as I eat less. I have less cravings for unhealthy foods. I am exercising and enjoying the freedom of roaming the neighborhood.

My weight didn’t define me then, and being thinner doesn’t define me now. But my weight DID inhibit me and getting closer to the size I was created to be is freeing.

Friends, let’s move forward together for health! For life! For freedom to be all we were created to be–inside and out!

What About You?

How does all this hit ya?

Can you help?

sarah and david love

David and Sarah

Taking a break from our regularly scheduled program to ask to you vote for my girl! My daughter is a finalist in a competition to win bridesmaid’s dresses. To help her win all you have to do is follow this link and like the page. Then find the picture of the guy in a bright green shirt with “love” on the front. This is Sarah and David. Click the little square that says “vote.”

Last I checked we’re in 2nd place. Could sure use your votes!

(Regular weight loss blog resumes in the morning!)

Weight Loss Journey Day 36

I’ve gone public.

I hadn’t planned to do so until I’d lost enough weight I was sure people could tell a difference. I thought 20 or 25 pounds.

Sarah being silly up close

My girl, Sarah, who spilled the beans

But Sarah didn’t know that, and spilled the beans all over Facebook, posting my story on her dad’s business page, Yes, It’s that Good. Then of course he posted a link on my personal page.


Still, it was pretty awesome—and convicting—what she said. I’ll let her words speak instead of mine:

I’m so proud of my Mom, Paula Moldenhauer. God has let her get knocked down time and time again, so He’s starting from the ground level and building her into something even more amazing. And for the first time in my 21 years she has done something not only for her heart, but she has taken the challenge and decided to work on her outside too.

Today when she came to get her hair done I was shocked! She’d lost almost 20 pounds!!!! Not only is she one hot mama now, she walks straighter, smiles bigger, and laughs more…. I didn’t know it was possible 😛 It’s so good to see her proud looking at her reflection again. 🙂 She’s the total package! BENew has been amazing for her, even as a crazy home schooling mom of 4 (and the extras here and there) she has been able to live her life style and just make some healthier choices.

I’m so proud of you, Mom! You’re beautiful inside and out!

Real Time Update:

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about Sarah’s comment–that in her WHOLE life she never remembered me taking care of my outside.


In the last ten years or so, I’ve become increasingly passionate about freedom–the freedom to live as we were created to live. Emotionally, I worked hard to release damaging behaviors and attitudes, like my tendencies toward perfectionism and performance-driven behavior. Spiritually, I connected with the wonder of God’s grace and made efforts to get off the legalistic treadmill of trying to be good enough for God. I learned to open my heart wide to accept the unconditional love of my God and grew in my ability to offer it to others . . .

But my girl’s right. I missed the connection when it came to my body. It was like that part of me was off limits. Nobody, not even God, had the right to speak into that.

But gaining weight and not taking care of my health wasn’t freedom. I know that sounds weird. I mean isn’t freedom having all the chocolate I want???? But what slowly crept over my body was bondage.

I’m learning a new freedom as I am returning to the size I was created to be. A freedom of movement. A physical connection to joy. The power to choose healthy foods. The energy to live!

Physically, I’m getting my life back.

And you know what? I’m glad my kids get to see it. I want them to have healthy, full, free lives. I hope my recent journey is an object lesson they remember when they are pushing 50 and staying healthy takes more effort than it does for them now.

How About You?

What is freedom to you in the area of your physical self? How do your kids perceive your choices for (or not for) health? What do you want them to see?