Monthly Archives: May 2013

God’s Real Life Fairy Tale (Part III)

The big day finally arrived! (If you want the beginning of the story read this and this.)

brides snacksSunday started early with a Safeway run. I wanted to entice Sarah and her bridesmaids to EAT as they prepared for the big day, so I put together a platter of fruit as well as some meats and cheeses to send to the venue with our fabulous wedding coordinator, Niki, who took time out from their family ministry to take care of us!

I wanted light, refreshing food that would feel healthy and not heavy. My new healthy eating habits made this even more important to me. At the store I even splurged on blueberries, which are Sarah’s favorite. I never did ask her if she ate any. Those girls were spoiled because Niki took treats to them as well. AND she dropped off two crockpots of food at my house so my boys could enjoy a big lunch since the guys were not to arrive at the venue until afternoon.

Then it was off to get my hair done. My cosmetologist daughter sent me with four photos of updos so the stylist could capture exactly the look we wanted, and the stylist did just that. There was another amazing God moment. The stylist charged only what the salon required, saying she wanted to give Sarah and me a gift. Every time I turned around through this wedding week God provided blessing and provision. The whole wedding experience was clearly an example of the love of a generous community.

mom updo

I am overwhelmed.

At the venue Sarah’s talented co-workers dressed up her bridesmaids with amazing hairstyles while friends and family prepared the venue.

preparing venue 1

At almost every wedding in our circle there has been a bit of a cake fiasco that had to be rescued, so our wedding planner, Maggie, begged us to order from her favorite bakery instead of having a friend do the cake. Would you believe that one of the cakes was delivered with a slight mishap? I’ve started calling our friend Monique the cake whisperer because she rescued yet another cake at Sarah and David’s wedding, despite the professional delivery.

cake fix

Monique also blessed Sarah and David creating all the floral arrangements for this event. Sarah and David and their friends made over 600 duct tape flowers, which Monique incorporated along with fresh flowers. Sarah’s bouquet actually included roses made for Sarah by David. Her first bouquet from him when they were dating included duck tape roses.

wedding, Darlene's disk (83)

Monique also used the duct tape flowers in the boutonnieres and corsages.

boutinerre

This is my corsage. A fun aside is that there is a pride and prejudice charm in it to symbolize Sarah find the man she says is, “even better than Mr. Darcy.” Ronda’s mother corsage had a special charm, too, which symbolized her open heart in welcoming Sarah to the family.

wedding, Darlene's disk (84)

Sarah’s something old was her veil. A friend and I worked for some time taking apart my wedding veil and recreating it for Sarah. I embroidered silver threads into the appliques we took from my wedding hat.

Veil - mom's embroidery

Embroidered appliques taken from my wedding hat (worn 1989)

My talented friend Kordee arranged them across the tail of the veil, scattered sequins and pearls across the veil, and reassembled the veil on a comb for Sarah.

veil - Copy

Sarah also wore a lovely heart charm for her something borrowed. It was loaned to her by her honorary grandmother, Bernice. Her something new was a beautiful necklace from David, and her something blue was a piece of her dad’s blue T-shirt, tucked in her gown next to her heart. When her daddy heard this idea, he immediately pulled out a blue T-shirt from his honeymoon.

bracelet

As Sarah dressed her matron of honor and maid of honor joined mom in helping her make final preparations. A fun aside is that two of mom’s bridesmaids from 1989 were also in the room, helping mom and Sarah dress.

getting ready

Ashley, Matron of Honor, Sarah, Jennie, Maid of Honor

caryl, Kristin, Paula

Caryl, 1989 matron of honor, Paula, Kristin, 1989 bridesmaid

Sarah and David chose to do a “reveal” so they saw each other before the wedding, all dressed up. They shared a private moment together, then took lots of pictures!

Sarah - shh!

 Yes those pictures may have included running through fields and climbing trees. (Some of the pictures in this post were from my phone, but the professional ones were taken by my very talented friend, Kim of the Creative Pixel. She and I have been loyal friends for years, as have her daughter and Sarah. In fact, Kim’s daughter, Ashley, was the matron of honor.)

Before - dancing in field

tree!

tennies

Sarah and David’s siblings got into the posing fun by supposedly pulling the couple apart in front of the big red barn.

barn

And the bridal party did all kinds of clever poses, too.

David and groomsmen

Sam (Brides’s Brother), Seth (Brides’s Brother), Bryan (best man), David (groom), Andrew, Jackie, Stephen (Brides’s Brother)

sarah and groomsmen - fun! 1

Sarah and bridesmaids

Bridesmaids clockwise around Sarah: Jessica (Groom’s Sister), Kristina (Groom’s Sister), Krysta, Lydia (Jr. Bridesmaid and bride’s niece), Ashley (Matron of Honor), Jennie (Maid of Honor), and Stephany (sister of groom)

And throughout all the picture taking, David and Sarah often found time to touch noses, give hugs, and kiss!

hugging

purple

Soon it was time for everyone to get into their places. Sarah waited on the interior balcony of the farmhouse and peeked out the window watching the guests arrive. The ceremony would soon begin!

almost time

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God’s Fairy Tale (Part II)

You already know this story has a fairy tale ending.

Yesterday I shared how stressed I was about the wedding and how God had everything under control. While I won’t share all the nitty gritty details of the struggle, I will tell you one story, only because it shows how faithful God is when He has a fairy tale dream to pull off for one of His girls.

As you’ll see as I walk through the wedding countdown, the Good Lord had all the key players in place and lots of beauty flowing to us through their talented fingers and creative minds.

But two weeks before the wedding that’s not where my emotions landed. They were in a big huge falling apart heap of tears. A handful of wedding details came back at twice the expected amount, and we were short with an emptied bank account. Jerry and I cried out to God, not knowing how to rescue the situation, believing God had Sarah’s dreams in His hands, but not seeing how they could be possible.

Tuesday night I went to bed with swollen, weepy eyes. Wednesday morning I got a call from a new friend who asked if she could put a check in the mail in return for some mentoring in her writing. Breathless, I hung up thanking God for His provision. But He wasn’t done.  The mail that day held another unexpected check. Surely I would never worry again in my whole life! (Rrrriiiigggghht . . .)

Buoyed by God’s miraculous provision, Sarah, Jerry, and I were determined to trust God, let go of worry, and enjoy!

The festivities started a week later with the arrival of family and friends. On Wednesday night I watched as David’s sisters ran into each other’s arms and clung to each other, then invited my girl into the circle before then embracing their brother. My heart overflowed at the love bursting between them as I witnessed their reunion. As you can see by the picture taken on the wedding day, Sarah fits right in.

Sisters!

Sisters! Front: Kristina, Sarah, Stephany Back: Jessica

Thursday night, David’s parents treated Jerry and me to a lovely meal while Sarah and David celebrated with their friends and siblings at bachelorette and bachelor parties. We even enjoyed an Italian dessert!

eating out with grundys

(Okay, this blog IS about weight loss. Let me say here and now I chose not even to THINK about food or calories or exercise the week of the wedding! Eating less has become a habit, so I wasn’t completely out of control most of the time. I think that is one of the beauties of seeking to make the weight loss journey about sustainable habits, not drastic measures. And when I eat heavy at one meal, I know I need healthier and lighter choices at the next. The only time I really blew it was with my girlfriends the day after the wedding. I ate a whole calzone and paid for it the rest of the night with a massive tummy ache!)

But back to the wedding countdown:

Friday included covering the trees at the venue in twinkle lights and hanging a few of the handmade signs Sarah and her friends made. sign belong

Like so many of the personal touches from friends who made the wedding special, these signs made me think of the young women who designed them, carrying out Sarah’s vision for decorating in the trees, and my heart swelled again.

Friday evening brought the rehearsal. I caught a great shot of David hugging his mom beforehand.

david and his mom

Sarah arrived a little late after rushing back home to freshen up after her day of decorating, but the wait was worth it because she was stunning in purple, as usual. David, too, dashed off to dress up and returned looking quite dapper.

rehearsal sarah and david

That evening we enjoyed a beautiful rehearsal dinner thanks to the groom’s parents, Steve and Ronda. The room was classy in white tablecloths with gorgeous favors of Jellie Bellies in fun, Mexican style goblets, along with flamboyant, floral centerpieces.

jelly belly

Even my hollow legged boys ate of the fajita buffet until they could hold no more. Joy bubbled everywhere as family and friends celebrated in a room of abundance. Steve and Ronda even invited Jerry’s cousins who we bumped into at the hotel, newly arrived from California!

(I probably shouldn’t admit that my very beautiful daughter was captured on film by her soon to be father-in-law while she knelt on the ground in her lovely purple dress, mouth gaping open, determined to catch the Jelly Belly being flung toward her by her brothers. Thankfully, Steve hasn’t yet shared the picture with me so it can’t appear in this blog. Ha!)

 Saturday started with a a lovely family brunch thanks to my sisters-in-laws. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures, but it was another experience of abundance! Bonnie made her famous banana bread, Anne had several pans of a wonderful egg and sausage dish, and Darlene brought a gorgeous fruit platter. My neighbor, Bernice, Sarah’s honorary grandmother, also contributed her famous fruit salad, Sarah’s favorite.  The food was amazing, but getting to share time with loved ones made it unforgettable.

Saturday afternoon included a pedi and mani for Sarah and me. (Yes, soon after I was barefoot, fancy toenails and all.)

pedi mani

At the nail salon another God moment happened. Sarah and I had both been hiding away a little money hoping to pay for the other person’s nails. When it came time to pay we were both counting our pennies, trying to treat the other one, when a dear friend paid not only for both of us, but for a manicure for David (sans nail polish, of course), too! Blessing and abundant provision! I sighed a sigh of relief, sure now I had enough $$ for my fancy updo the next morning. Even the little stressors systematically disappeared.

Perfect closure to an amazing day came when Sarah and David asked us to attend church with them in preparation for their big day on Sunday. I once again captured a great shot of them looking very in love.

At church night before

It wasn’t easy to fall asleep that night. Not only was the big day only hours away, but Jerry and I had so much to talk about! I laughed when it was Jerry telling all the stories of wonderful moments as we whispered together in bed after midnight. (Usually I’m the only one talking after midnight!) Finally, after a bit of red wine, we settled enough to embrace a short night, only guessing of the surprises the Lord had in store for the big day.

This post is really about God’s faithfulness and us losing the emotional weight of worry. Worry weighs us down–and for many of us is a trigger to eat. But worry does us no good. Scripture even tells us that we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow because our worrying can’t fix anything!

I’ve not yet won the worry war, but the wedding did include walking as victor in several worry battles. I’ve found the best antidote for worry is to pour my heart out to God.  He always hears. In our special wedding week He acted decisively, reaching down, blessing, relieving stress, and providing in big and small ways for Sarah and David’s special day–which I’ll finally share about tomorrow!

Tweetable:

Miraculous provision and dreams coming true

Dropping worry weight

God’s Fairytale

Let’s just say when God writes the fairy tale, it’s better than you can dream up on your own.

sign - fairy tale

Penned and painted by Sarah’s friends, this wedding sign says it all.

When David and Sarah got engaged almost a year ago, I began praying for the ability to give Sarah her dream wedding. We put a little nest egg away, but soon realized the sum was nowhere near enough. One step at a time God provided, mostly through the love and skill of others and the hard work of our daughter.

There were moments of intense stress. When a big event happens largely due to other people volunteering, you can’t be a drill Sargent. Things often came together slowly, and some fell through. During one of “those” moments, I complained to God, wishing I had more money and didn’t have to feel so helpless, so dependent on others.

I felt rather than heard His whisper, “Don’t you see what I’m doing? I’m bringing the community together to love Sarah. It’s better this way.”

I was to discover the truth of His words. Gift after gift was showered upon us giving Sarah much more than we ever could have on our own. When the big event occurred, touches of love were everywhere, reminders of dear friends each time we glimpsed the results of their labor. Such joy was much deeper than if the beauty had been created by simply throwing money at it.

Thanks to the Lord and the love of His people, Jerry and I can truly say our girl got her dreams.

I write about my BENew weight loss journey, but weight loss isn’t always physical. Sometimes we have weight that needs to go in the form of false perceptions about God, about ourselves, and about life. My husband Jerry and I are dropping pounds from a poverty mindset.

Somehow in our pursuit of God we grabbed hold of some ideas about Him that are not true. We equated holiness with little and lack. With finding good deals and not spending money.

Poverty has its place. It can lead a heart toward God as a dependence on Him is fostered through struggle. Sometimes God calls people–like Mother Teresa–to a lifestyle of poverty for a greater purpose. But doing without is not always a road to holiness or even His plan for us. Sometimes He wants us to have what we want, not just the best deal.

Jerry and I too often missed the joy and celebration parts of God’s character. While He is a God of sacrifice, He is also the Extravagant One who paints a double rainbow, designs a fuchsia flower, and puts a dollop of whipped cream on the top of mountain peaks.

joyHe is the Jesus who turned the water into wine at a friend’s wedding.

Our Lord delights in giving us good gifts and in our celebration of what He has given–like the gift of love He gave our daughter, Sarah, and our son-in-law, David, and the way we celebrated that on their wedding day.

I received an email from a friend as I fought not to freak out about wedding details. She said, “I was praying/journaling for you tonight . . . I saw this . . . open wedding with a semi-covered patio with the wood slats as the roof. Everything was beautiful for the wedding, enough ribbon, food, wine, and stamina. God will meet every need you have for this wedding, the spoken and unspoken desires of the heart. I saw that everyone was soooo happy. It is going to be a great day, take joy, my friend.”

It all came true.

When Sarah got engaged she and I each tattooed the word “delight” on a foot as a reminder that God pedi manidelights in us, and we delight in each other and in Him. This circle of delight shimmers in droplets of blessings. I’ve experienced such a thing many times, but perhaps this wedding reveals a shower of blessings unlike any other I’ve ever danced in. Sarah, too.

Please indulge me the next few days as I write about a different Benew journey–one where Jerry and I drop the weight of small expectations and grow healthier, embracing the abundance of beauty and celebration. Join us as we celebrate the union of Mr. and Mrs. David Grundy.

(A shout out to Marie at Fat Girls Slim whose blog about her son’s wedding inspired me to start writing our wedding story!)

Invite your friends to the celebration:

Dancing in droplets of Blessing!

Embracing Abundance, Losing the weight of lack

God’s fairy tales are the best!

Worth a Thousand Words

mom looking for her girl (2)

May 19, 2013

Several of you asked about my mother-of-the-bride dress. This is the first picture that has come since the wedding of me in it. I’m not standing or even posing, but it shows the dress and captures my JOY in my daughter’s delight.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

In this picture I’m completely comfortable with my body in my clothes. Wow. I’m not thinking about trying to hide my double chin or suck in a tummy. I’m just sitting there, looking for my dear husband to escort our beautiful daughter down the aisle–uh, sidewalk.

fat fb picture

September 2011

I’ve told many people that you don’t know what you give up in the area of health until you start getting it back. People say I look and act ten years younger. That’s because I FEEL ten years younger. I’d forgotten what it was like to hop out of a chair or flit across a room. Fifty pounds ago I lumbered. Aches I thought were age related are disappearing as my body is once again active and carrying around a normal amount of weight.

I say all of this because I want YOU to know that change is possible. With good nutritional support, some mental focus, a little exercise, and healthy spiritual and emotional under-girding, life can be different for you, too. The pounds CAN come off. You CAN regain some of what you thought was gone forever.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words I want to remind you that I know what I’m talking about.

Tweetables:

A picture is worth a thousand words

You CAN 

Life is different as you regain your health

You, too, can live a BeNew journey

Daily Choices (Days 126 & 127)

Healthy weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen quickly. In the posts below I’m chronicling changes that have taken place over 127 days–roughly 4 months. In that time I went from wearing a size 16 or 1x in pants to buying a medium!

Sometimes I fear sharing my journal entries is a bit mundane, but folks, they are real life, and that is what weight loss is. It’s the daily choice to try a new, healthy food. To exercise. To be  think through choices. To make a healthy recipe. To go heavy on the salad and light on the pizza. To choose nutrition. To take a walk. To be intentional about portions. To care for the inner self. To enjoy food, but not let it control you To identify bad thought patterns. To choose a healthy program that is GOOD for YOU. (I chose BeNew)

This is how weight is lost. This is how bodies are strengthened.

And so I share slices of my journey.

IMAG0647Day 126: I made homemade humus for the first time! It’s easy! And healthy. Unfortunately I’d gone too long without eating and ate my humus too fast, too much, and too late. Busy, busy day. No exercise. That’s frustrating. But I DID get to the store to buy almond milk. I’m hooked on it and my BENew shake.

Despite the rushing around, I had a great lunch–homemade pizza the right way. Huge salad. One piece of pizza! HA! ~Feb. 26

Day 127: Scale dropping again! Yay! Grabbed a pair of sweats at Wal-medium!mart because mine were so lose it was hard to wear them when I exercised. I got a large—had been used to plus sizes. Large was too big. Had to go back for a medium. Can’t remember the last time I bought M in anything!

Disappointed that I’ve walked about half of what I did in January, and the month is almost over. Trying to prioritize walking again. Walked 3 miles. ~ Feb. 27

How About You:

Would love to hear some slices of YOUR journey!

To ponder and tweet:

Weight loss is one healthy choice. Then another.

Healthy weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen quickly.

Truth and Grace (Day 125)

How would YOU process this journal entry?

Day 125 ~ Down an inch in my waist and a half inch in my neck. Surprised that my thigh was actually a little bigger. Question: Is it because of the Pilates working different muscles and actually gaining muscle there or because I’ve not walked as much this month as last? Not too worried because my thighs are no longer my problem place. It’s the tummy and waist that still need to tone/lose.

I went two weeks without using My Fitness Pal App. I didn’t gain, but I didn’t lose as much as I wanted, so I think I will return to it until I reach my goal. It was nice taking a break, but I want to be a little more aggressive.

Reflecting on last week, I’m not sure how to think about the fact that I only exercised three days. It was a very difficult week between a few crises and my writing deadline.

Do I think, “Wow. I exercised three times despite snowy days, unusual stressful issues, and a writing deadline!”

Or maybe, “Okay. It wasn’t a great week. You didn’t exercise as much as you have been the last couple of months, but you DID exercise three times, something you wouldn’t have done a year ago. You just need to be more intentional this week now that some of the stress is off.”

Or should I be more proactive, “Even when you have especially difficult week, you need to prioritize taking care of the physical you. Exercise first, then it won’t get left out when the day gets more stressful than you expect.”

One thing I do know is with all the snow outside I need to prioritize Pilates or some inside work today and start this week right.

Or maybe I should just bundle up and brave the snow.  It looks really pretty out there. And that is what I would have done last December. Should I really let 8 inches of snow keep me inside?? ~ Feb. 25

Real Time Update:

So, what do you think? Which thought process would best suit YOUR needs?

All these months later I think I’m still a combination of all of them. I believe in focus and intentionality. Life gets stressful, but even in stress my health is important. Taking care of my body needs to be prioritized, but so does taking care of my heart. In high stress times I have to give myself grace. Getting more stressed because I’m not perfect in my health journey isn’t going to help me.

Maybe it comes back to something the pastors at our church say often: Truth AND Grace, not Truth OR Grace.

The truth is that healthy choices like exercise are imperative if I want to take good care of myself. Grace accepts me even when my efforts fall short of my goals. Truth reminds me that I have to take care of myself or eventually I won’t be able to take care of my responsibilities. Grace doesn’t beat me up when responsibilities push aside self-care.

Tweetable:

What does Truth and Grace have to do with Weight Loss?

Be Prepared (Day 123)

Hi Folks!

Still scheduling ahead so I can be all about the wedding for a few days. My guess is I’m completely exhausted and either sleeping or trying to sleep as you read this post. Or helping take down the wedding tent!

Just because my life is in a circling pattern doesn’t mean yours is, so I’ll continue with the weight loss journal and one of these days when I come up for air I’ll share some wedding photos and stories!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Day 123 ~ My agent liked my work. Whew! Now the wait on the editor begins.

Stephen wins tournament 3Had some success at lunch today. I went to Stephen’s Mixed Martial Arts tournament. I hadn’t seen him compete before. He’s really good! I did feel sorry for the smaller guy when Stephen picked him up and slammed him on the mat, but I was pleased when my boy got first in his division.

His success was on the mat, but my success was dealing with the unhealthy high-priced food. I took my BeNew shake (chocolate with almond milk and no add-ins). I also had a protein bar in my purse, but I chose not to eat it because I planned a nice meal for the kids tonight and wanted to limit my calorie intake so I could eat more at supper. I’ll admit the over-priced fries and chicken fingers at those stupid concession stands actually smelled good to me. I don’t know if they would have tasted good. I haven’t had food like that for some time. I’m really glad I planned ahead for when I got hungry, took my shake, and didn’t take spending money.

Between the cold of February and my increased work load I’ve struggled to walk as much as I was doing. Today I couldn’t see how I could get a walk in and get everything done. Jerry suggested I walk to Sam’s Club for the groceries, and he would meet me there so I didn’t have to carry them home. Thus I got everything done AND walked a couple of miles. He’s a keeper.

Interesting, I haven’t eaten much pasta in the last few months, but I ate some at supper when I made one of the kid’s favorite meals.  I noticed that my fingers swelled a little later than night. There was a storm coming, so it may have been barometric pressure, but I wonder if it was the pasta! ~ Feb. 23, 2013

Real Time:

I’ve admitted here before that I don’t like to be scheduled too tightly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in planning, especially for health. A few minutes to grab a healthy snack, pack a healthy lunch, or prepare a BENew shake can mean the difference between success and caving to a moment of weakness.

To Ponder and Share:

Plan ahead. Carry a healthy snack. Be prepared for hunger.

Overcome temptation by being prepared.

Preparation: the difference between success and caving to weakness.