Monthly Archives: March 2013

Weight Loss Journey Day 59

I’m amazed that only a few months ago I was spending hours in bed, gaining weight, unable to do much/ Now I can average over 4.0 miles per hours just walking! I go up the hills, down the hills. I even jog! Sometimes when I feel the urge to run a little way, I see a driveway or mailbox and sense God wants me to jog to it. Often it is farther than I want to try, so I’ll negotiate. I can almost hear Him saying, “Okay. Just that far, then.”

But the distances I run are lengthening.

Today was another of those breath-taking God days. I didn’t  want to put much effort into my God-walking time. Wanted to listen to my Scriptures and just meander. But I sensed Him directing my feet and readjusting my attitude. I ended up at one of the churches I have prayed for periodically. (Often when I turn down a side street I still don’t know where I’m going to end up!) I told the Lord, “Okay, just this one. But I don’t feel like praying for all five of them. I’m tired.”

I felt the prompting to sing. I sang lots of carols and a few praise songs. I walked around the property of this little church a couple of times since I felt led to keep going for awhile. When I finished, I started to walk across the parking lot, and a man came out. “Can I help you?” he asked.

I fumbled around, explaining that I sometimes walk around his church and pray for his people and sing praises to God.

“I heard you singing,” he said. “It was beautiful.” I enjoyed his accent. I asked if he was the pastor, and he was. I smiled and started to leave.

“Will you pray for me?” he asked.

“Sure.” I’m still moving away.

“Will you pray for me right now?”

My feet stopped. “Of course.”

Humbled, I prayed for this stranger. Soon tears fell. Overwhelmed, I felt such a great honor to stand in that parking lot, hand on the arm of a pastor, asking God to pour into him and his church, to bless their Christmas service, to speak grace and love into his relationships and into his family.

In these times you just pray. You never know what situations are behind the words that come out, but you trust that God is giving you the prayer.

We parted, me walking forward in absolute wonder that the God of the Universe would orchestrate such a sweet meeting of two strangers of faith. I never wanted to pray there that day. I was too lazy. But God had a blessing for me and for the man, and He led me anyway. Glory to God!

At this point I was ready to go home. I started to cross the busy street to return to my neighborhood, but there were too many cars. My walking app was still running so I didn’t want to stand there and mess up my average pace. I started up the hill, looking for a break in traffic. It didn’t come. I walked further.  I was just under the lip of a hill and thought it would be unsafe to cross because I wouldn’t be able to see the traffic until it crested the hill. So I topped the hill still on my side of the street, and there was another church.

And no traffic.

I laughed and crossed the road. I might not have wanted to pray for the churches this day, might have felt tired and not wanted to expend the energy, but the Lord had different plans.

There was a victorious spirit pounding through me as I walked around that church, sang praises to God and prayed. A whole different kind of prayer poured through me, and I felt like a warrior on the offensive, breaking ground for really wonderful new things. I prayed for a new release of His grace and truth, for an enhanced ability for this church to serve others, for an incredible worship time as they celebrated Christmas. By the time I finished I was crying again, tears streaming, full of power and victory and singing, “All Hail King Jesus!” with arms raised.

I’m sure the drivers of the cars passing by thought I was one crazy woman. I did get some startled looks.

I started down the hill back toward home, passing yet another church. Of course I stopped to pray; how could I not?

As I circled the little church—twice—my heart grew heavy. The grounds spoke of poverty, the little playground for the children in need of repair, the very earth barren and hard and cracked. I was sure there was no carpet of grass there in the summer. I prayed against discouragement. I felt the call to pray for the youth not to give up and turn from Christ. I prayed this little group would sense God’s grace and embrace His love and be full, not barren.

A little later, back home, I reflected on my incredible walk. Who knew one could have such adventures so close to home?

My younger boys and I packed up and headed to my brother’s house for a little holiday family time. My sister-in-law made a beautiful meal, with chicken slow-cooked a champagne sauce for the main dish, and spiced plums over ice cream for dessert. (I love how losing weight doesn’t have to mean eating nothing but lettuce.) I did a game with some little gifts for my niece and nephews, then we put the younger children to bed. I snuggled a moment with each, joining them in goodnight prayers and basking in how precious they are.

Then the rest of us curled up together for a Christmas movie, “Joyeux Noel.” I had no idea how impacting it would be. It was about WWI, when many spots on the front chose to stop for Christmas, had mass together, shared their meager supplies and even competed in soccer. I wept again, thinking of the power of the Incarnation, of the unity true love in our God brings to us, broken, lonely, sometimes desperate people. Thinking that there is hope in Him even in the very darkest places.                                            ~December 21, 2012


Real Time Update:

Sorry today’s post went a little long. I have some stuff to share about what’s going on here in March, but I’ll save it for tomorrow!

How About You?

Would love to hear about everyday adventures that surprise you.


Weight Loss Day 58

IMAG0580 (2)

Enjoying the neightborhood

If I’m not careful, I’m going to be seen as the neighborhood’s crazy lady. I wander through it almost daily, and lately I’ve taken to singing—mostly carols—as I walk. I used to stop when I passed people or cars with open windows, but anymore I just keep singing. People don’t know what to think.

Today I walked over 4 miles, which really helps with the food intake. I ate plenty and still didn’t eat enough to make 1200 calories because I’d burned so many. Thankfully, it usually averages out. Not eating 1200 would not be good for me, but I’ve been above 1200 so much this month with all the holiday stuff. Most weeks I average between 1200 and 1350 per day, so I think I’m doing okay. According to a website where I Googled my ideal weight, once I’m there I can eat over 2,000 calories and still maintain if I exercise moderately. So I think I’ll keep losing at this rate.

But! I’m still stalled out at having lost 20 pounds. Everyone assures me that the body just does that and will start losing again soon, but in my dark times I wonder if I will ever see another number on the scale.

A friend of mine, Tonya, is moving. We helped her sort through some stuff and she gave us some food, pretty baskets, and other items she didn’t want to move.


Postmark: Christmas. My novella, called, “You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch,” is fourth in the collection.

There was an unopened bottle of sparkling cider in the food stores. My daughter, Sarah, told me it wasn’t for us, that it was for our new friend. That gave me an idea.  I had some fancy chocolates and added the cider and one of my Christmas novellas. Then when I went through bath stuff Tonya sent home with me, I found a whole set of unopened bath stuff in a pretty little container.

It’s so cool that even when I’m strapped for money, the Lord shows me how to give a gift. I put all that stuff in one of the pretty baskets Tonya gave me. This woman gives so much to others, I hope it will allow her to pamper herself a bit. And I told my prayer group about the family and they added gifts, too!

Oh, and there was also an unopened Bath and Body set in a fragrance Sarah loves in the stuff Tonya gave me. Now I have something to finish out her gifts, too. I wasn’t sure how I’d do it with money so tight this year, but once again, God provides. ~Dec. 20, 2012

Real Time Update:

It’s so fun to go back to these old posts and see how much progress has been made since then! On the home front Sarah was THRILLED with the Bath and Body set. She’s been wanting that exact fragrance! As to weight loss, I’m *almost* down 40 pounds now–double what I was when I wrote this blog!

How About You?

What can you celebrate when you look back to two months ago?

Weight Loss Journey Day 57

Today I took a chance. I did something kind-of brave because I sensed God asked me to. The results were breath-taking. God is amazing. He really, really loves us. He answers prayer.

(At first I wasn’t going public with the story. I treasured it to my heart for a time, but as I reflect on December 19, I decided to share the journal entry. It is to God’s glory. He is amazing . . . So if you’re my Facebook friend and wondered what happened that day, now you can know. Here goes:)

I finally did it. I finally knocked on the stranger’s door like He told me to do a week and a half ago. I texted my son with the address, just ‘cause I had no idea what I was getting into and figured someone should know where I was.

At first no one answered. I told the Lord, “I’m only doing this once. If this is your deal, and You led me here today like I thought You did, You’re going to have to send someone to this door. I’m not going to find the courage to come back and try again.”

The door opened.

I stood there, awkward, fumbling for words.  “I . . . uh . . . can I just tell you my story?”

A woman, probably in her 30s, stood before me, brow wrinkled.

“I . . . take walks for exercise and I . . . um . . . sometimes pray for the people in the houses I pass. And well,”

I’m crying now, feeling silly, but feeling Him.

“when I walked past your house a while back, I felt like God showed me how to pray. I boxdon’t pretend to always hear Him perfectly, but . . . do you guys need food?”

The woman begins to cry. I wrap her in my arms and cry with her. “I have food in my van, can I bring it in?”

She nods.

On my second trip into the house with food, an older woman comes downstairs. She tells me how her daughter (the woman I met earlier) lost her home and moved in with her five children and how the cute little guy on the couch is her grandson. She babysits for her granddaughter, a single mom.

“My husband and I are retired,” she says. “We’re trying to help, but it’s hard. In the mornings I wake up and tell my sweet Jesus that I don’t know how we’re going to make it, and He has to help us. It’s hardest on the little ones. They don’t understand when we have no meat, but I tell them if we have beans and macaroni, we have food.” A tear traces her cheek.

The woman’s faith, perseverance, and strength humble me. That I get to serve such a faithful servant humbles me. How God loves the two of us through this incident blows me away, reminds me that He is the One who Sees. That His love is bigger than I can fathom.

Amazed by my God, on cloud nine I drive home.

(But I wish I hadn’t taken so long to obey. I wish I’d given them food sooner.)

Real Time:

I’m undone again as I post this. No updates today.

How About You?

What has happened in your life that leaves you undone–in a humble, good way?

Weight Loss Journey Day 56

by Tonya Vander

photo by Tonya Vander, who now studies at Columbia University. God is the Giver of good dreams!

I did it! Got up and walked before I left for my Tuesday appointments and the Christmas movie time with my crit group. Tuesdays are hard, and it feels good to get up early and exercise before I start my busy day. It’s a good thing I exercised this morning because there were treats everywhere at the Christmas movie celebration. *Sigh* Calorie count: 1341, a little higher than I wanted. But I did burn 367 calories with exercise or it would have been much worse.

After the movie time we had a prayer time with Tonya, who is moving to attend college at the prestigious Columbia University. Another God story but hers to tell. Suffice it to say that even after your kids move out, God can give you your dreams. Beautiful time praying with my friends. (Btw, Tonya’s photography and devotional thoughts by Robbie Iobst can be enjoyed in this gorgeous calendar, published by Harpstring.)

I’m still stalled out. Do you think it is because we told the world I was trying to lose weight???? Ugh!

(But Jerry says I’m still losing inches. I haven’t had the heart to measure, so I’m not sure.)           ~December 18, 2012


I crack myself up, reading these old journals. Yes, I lost inches. Yes, I keep losing weight. Plateaus happen.

Today I learned something that made my day. When my husband talked with his mom yesterday she told him she prays everyday that I will meet my weight loss goal.

That totally rocks.

What About You?

Where do you find support in your weight loss/get healthy journey? How do you keep a good attitude when you are doing your best and hit a plateau? Have you been given a dream you thought long gone?