Monthly Archives: December 2013

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Opening to Good in 2014

How can you open to the good of 2014?

Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Walking it Out

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photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

“Spiritually I feel much more weighed down by stress and problems when I’m not taking care of my body. Physically, I have less energy to serve God and more emotions to wade through when processing life.”

The above statement alone is one of the most profound discoveries of my weight loss journey. I didn’t write those words, Lysa TerKeurst did. But I so relate.

For years I prayed for joy, for the ability to overcome discouragement, for hope. I don’t see myself as having completely arrived in these areas, but I’ve found a powerful tool in discovering joy, combating discouragement, grabbing hold of hope.

It’s called taking a walk.

Eventually I usually end up talking with God, but even when it’s not a focused conversation my spirit rises up within me in worship just being outside, hearing the birds, feeling the fresh air.

There’s something about looking up into a huge tree or seeing the mountains in the distance, or gazing at the clouds or the flowers that puts me in my place, reminds me there is something bigger than I am, and HE is Good.

I grew up in church where we were often told to take care of our body because it was the temple of God. Unfortunately most of what was taught–or at least of what I heard–was the old southern “don’t smoke, drink, or chew or go with boys who do.” Once in a while I caught that I should think about what kinds of food I put into it, but I totally missed the idea of caring for my body as God’s temple by taking good care of it in the area of exercise.

I loved when Lysa wrote: “I want to . . . dedicate my exercise as a gift to Him and a gift to myself.”

Let’s join Lysa in the prayer: “Help me see the ability to exercise as a gift. I dedicate my temple to You and commit to start rebuilding it today.”

How about you? What do you do to add movement into your day? What exercise do you enjoy? Do you ever exercise just because it’s good for you even if it is not something you enjoy? If you keep doing it do you start enjoying it?

And what about schedule. How do you fit it into your busy days? If you don’t, could you add in once a week, then twice?

A Holiday Wish for You.

Saw this beautiful video and thought it was a perfect Christmas gift to share with all of you.

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Foundations for Moving Forward

What makes you tick?

Merry Christmas!

Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Daunting?

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Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

“Victory is when we pick something healthy over something not beneficial for us–again and again.” (Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave Devotional)

I love this reminder that my journey to health and weight loss needs to be a forever life change. A daily decision for health.

But that doesn’t mean it is easy.

I’m reminded of an incident last spring when I was not far from my weight loss goals. I broke my own rule to not eat after seven. In fairness to myself, I’d had a protein bar and some almonds at the baseball game about 6, but no real supper, and I was genuinely hungry. I did pretty well–a little chicken and watermelon.

Then the boys pulled out the cookie dough and said I couldn’t have any since I was on a diet. I showed them! (Okay. It was really good. Not a great choice, but at least I didn’t take the entire container from them. And I must not have eaten too much ’cause I was still a little hungry.)

You know the whole long-term focus is daunting.

As we walk through holiday temptations, thinking about balance helps me. In the Made to Crave Devotional  Lysa said there is a time to feast, a time to fast, and a time for simple daily nourishment. We eat to live; we don’t live to eat. I like that.

When we were getting ready for the wedding last spring, Sarah (my daughter, the bride-to-be at that point) and I spent a whole day working on wedding stuff. We spent a lot of time at Hobby Lobby trying to find inexpensive but beautiful solutions to items we couldn’t afford at the wedding rental shop. It was a precious day. So much of the wedding work she did herself, and with her no longer living at home, I missed time with her!

As we left the store she grinned the size of Texas and held up two Cherry Mash. When I was a child I loved Cherry Mash candy, but they didn’t have it in Colorado when I moved out here as an adult. When Sarah was little we found the candy at Hobby Lobby, and she loved it. Then they didn’t carry them for some time. But they did that day. She bought two.

I admit it, I turned it over and noticed the insane amount of calories and had second thoughts, but hey–sometimes life is about the moment, and the joy in memories and relationship outweighed the fact that I was making a high calorie, unhealthy choice. The Cherry Mash that day was about being mom and daughter again for a fleeting moment as we transition into peers with my little girl being a married woman.

Of course later I was back to huge salads, small portions, my Body Balance and BeNew nutrition.

To me, that’s balance. The cherry mash was a time to feast. I just don’t need one every day, or even every month. My daily nourishment needs to be more simple, more healthy, more life-giving. It’s not the occasional choices that define us; it’s what we do 95% of the time that dictates our health and weight.

I think that Cherry Mash choice was right because instead of eating to fill an emotional craving with something other than the Lord, I could almost feel Him grinning at the love Sarah and I shared, at the way that little moment reminded me that she remembered what it was like to be a little girl and share a treat withwedding, Darlene's disk (160) mom. And she returned the moment to me.

I think the Lord was pleased, joyful, even. Because the relationship He gave us is a treasure, and in our own way we celebrated it. Our hearts weren’t pulled away from Him by the choice, our hearts were one with His. Celebrating love.

That story is sweet, but the truth is I don’t always have good choices or good balance. While I seek to have the “sustained discipline” Lysa writes about, I don’t always turn from the temptation. The quest is not perfection, it is long-term change.

Father,
I do want to have a strong healthy body set apart for your service. I want to live in sustained discipline which looks to you for the strength to say no to unhealthy, emotional eating. I want a healthy glow on the outside to reflect the healthy glow You’re placing on the inside through the work of the cross and the Holy Spirit.

Help me to pay attention when something pulls my heart from you and to choose to seek Your presence instead. Thank you for balance–for moments of celebration and daily, long-term nourishment that is wiser, healthier, and lower in calories. Help me not to be angry about this being a long-term life-change. Help me instead to celebrate one good choice after the next, the joy of incremental victory and sustained victory, and even more wonderful, the joy of being in relationship with You.

Joy in the Journey

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I’m pushing 50 but twinkle lights bring out the child in me. For the briefest of moments I am caught up in magic when I watch them blink out their message of hope.

To me they are joy personified, shouting out the hope that “into the darkness there came a great Light!”

Part of my goal in the shedding of extra weight is the shedding of the weight of sorrow, the too-serious Paula who can easily take up residence inside of me.

Twinkle lights bring out the play.

With the holidays upon me I’ve sought to return to my walking habits. I simply don’t want to ignore every piece of chocolate or holiday cookie. And so I need to move!

As it turns out the need for movement turned into what will be one of my favorite December memories of this year.

It was a gift of time, and it was given to me by my husband. I’d asked him to take a walk, but you know how it goes, there’s always so much work to be done. The next thing we knew it was dark.

But he went anyway when I asked, despite his weariness, despite the demands of his schedule. I don’t if he thought about how much I’d enjoy checking out neighborhood lights, but it was quickly apparent that his agenda included letting me feast on them to my heart’s content.

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He held my hand and talked to me as we tramped all over the neighborhood. If there is anything I love as much as twinkle lights, it is holding hands and good conversation with my man. I may even like it better. ;o)

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I had so much fun enjoying not only their beauty, but the playful and zany scenes created by them.

IMAG3051I can’t see dog sleds without thinking of Balto,
one of the kids’ most beloved movies when they were small.

IMAG3073Did you know Mickey and Minnie have been dating since 1928?

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Good to know Santa bathes

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And that He’s got that naughty and nice list saved on the computer.

But who knew he liked pizza?

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 You’d think he could do better than an outhouse.

As much as I enjoy the silly stuff, I love the nostalgic even more.

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All in all, it was such a lovely night.

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Jerry made sure we made the trek to this place,

which has decked out like this for at least 25 years.

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Isn’t this scene sweet?

As I walked, full, happy, and alive, it was like God whispered to me, “You like this? Wait until you see the fullness of my galaxies of stars.” And I could almost see myself as some kind of cosmic being zipping in and out of space, drinking in the mysteries of the universe. As I thought about that I gazed at an almost full moon. I didn’t even try to capture it on my phone.

It was an amazing night.

So, my friends, celebrate the holidays this year by exploring your world one sidewalk at a time. Burn a few calories. Hold hands with someone special, chat with a friend, or simply get away by yourself. Pound the pavement to enjoy the lights. It’s sure to bring you . . .

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(and better thighs.)

Hush

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I love that word. It says so much more than quiet or still or silent.

It’s a breathless space. There is peace mingled with anticipation.

Yearning mixed with tranquility.

It’s calm.

There is no disturbance.

It’s a mood of the heart.

It’s part of inside-out weight loss.

Shedding of the hurry, at least for a moment.

I didn’t grow up in a tradition of Advent. Actually there was no Christmas worship of any kind.

I’ve come to treasure Advent’s hush. This year my quiet span has included a book of daily readings from a Celtic Advent tradition–which means 6 whole weeks instead of four.

Each week I lit a new candle symbolizing Father, Holy Spirit, hope, peace, joy, and love. In a few days the final candle will burn, signifying the light of the Christ child, my Lover and Best Friend, Jesus.

In this span of hush my heart is quieted, yearning without disturbance. And when the crush of struggles invade my peace, this restful space helps me realign with all that is Good and Holy.

With Him, the Three in One, the Creator of all.

There has been no moment as precious as these to me this season.

For a short time, at least, I am able to turn from the cares that invade my day and simply rest.

I light a candle, “Praise to You, Loving Father, Creator of All, Most Powerful.”

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And my heart kneels, submitting to One wiser than I.

I light a candle, “Praise You Holy Spirit. You are my Teacher, Guide, Counselor, and Friend.

I need Your direction today.”

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And my heart kneels, welcoming His Guiding Presence.

I light a candle, “Thank you for hope.”

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And my heart kneels, choosing belief over despair.

I light a candle, “Thank you for peace.”

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And my heart kneels, releasing worry, embracing calm.

I light a candle, “Thank you for joy.”

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And my heart kneels, claiming singing, dancing, swirling joy,

asking that He teach me to live like that.

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I light a candle, “Thank you for love.”

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And my heart kneels, receiving acceptance from the One.

Giving self permission for love. Allowing Love to permeate the parched places.

And soon I will light the last candle.

Breathless space, anticipating hush.

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Complete in Jesus.

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As the countdown to Christmas ticks away, my you embrace a quiet hush.

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Are You Photoshopping Your Life?

Your Life: Real or photo-shopped?

Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Reflections

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Love the Reflection in this picture by Stephen Moldenhauer

When I first started losing weight I was really convicting by something my daughter said. She said for 21 years she’d watched me take care of my heart and spirit, but never my body.

In my life there was a “do not touch” sign on anything to do with healthy choices. I simply didn’t see that as important. What was important was on the inside where God and I processed together.

Only I missed the fact that there was a connection with God in my body, too.

Part of my weight loss journey has been to process the connection of body and spirit.  One of the places this is obvious is in the area of joy. I’ve prayed for a long time for joy. I’ve pondered Scriptures like, “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” When I began losing weight, eating healthier, and walking, I didn’t expect increased joy as a result. But there is joy in worship, and when I walk worship comes more easily. When I am mindful of my healthier eating choices, I connect with Him. There is a simple joy that comes from ease of movement.

Longing is also a connection between God and my body. Lysa TerKeurst says, “When we are stuffed full of other things and never allow ourselves to be in a place of longing, we don’t recognize the deeper spiritual battle going on. Satan wants to keep us distracted by chasing one temporary filling after another.” (Made to Crave Devotional)

I want to be filled with Him. I don’t want the temporary pleasures of food or anything else to be what feeds me. I want to enjoy His blessings, but to see them simply as gifts, not as the point.

A harder concept for me is the idea of holiness being connected to the sacrifices offered up during weight loss. I’m not sure I get it, but here’s my thought: By choosing to focus on God, not food, for the long-term, those little sacrifices for a healthier body can be a part of a holy walk. HE is the supreme importance of our lives, not anything else, not other people, money, or even the very food that keeps us alive. We sacrifice desire for the greater path of obedience to His call to health.

I want to mature as a Christ-follower. Sacrifice and learning to look to God’s strength and not my own can help me grow in maturity. Letting go of addictions to food and turning from cravings for food to meet my cravings in God instead certainly deepens my relationship with Him. And looking at food in the light of caring for a body dedicated to God’s service can help me make this a sustainable journey, not a one time experience.

With that in mind, “. . . let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.” (The Message)

A Hobbit Forming Adventure

MV5BMzU0NDY0NDEzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTIxNDU1MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Last night was the chance of a life-time. You only get to see the opening/midnight showing of a movie once, right?

I’m not a huge midnight/opening night girl. But the Tolkien craze is one thing I share with my kids–and once kids are teens and young adults it’s especially fun to find common interests since Mom no longer dictates a schedule.

So at 11 p.m. last night I climbed into the mini-van with my sixteen-year-old (passenger side, of course, since he just got his driver’s license). We picked up a few friends and met my daughter and her friends at the theater for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. At 3:20 a.m. we climbed out said mini-van and stumbled into our house.

My head is swimming today, folks. But being invited along with my teen–priceless and worth it! (The movie was awesome, too!)

This was a bit of milestone for me in my weight loss/get healthy journey of the last year. You may remember this post where I chronicled Day 51 of my weight loss journey–and the fun of going to the midnight showing of the first Hobbit movie.

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Last year. About 25 pounds down and 30 to go.

I believe I was 20-25 pounds down at that point. I was serious about calorie reduction and packed a water battle, apple slices, and popcorn (with less butter than theater popcorn) into my purse. As I remember, I was also concerned about eating after 7 p.m., something I’d focused on NOT doing during those early days of weight loss. I was surrounded by junk that night and oh-so-tempted to buy a soda. But I resisted the Coke and only snitched a little of the cookies and candy the kids around me offered. It felt mostly like success.

Last night was similar except I lived in the position of one who’d reached her goals instead of one working toward them. I packed healthy treats and planned ahead for late night snacking by eating less at the evening meal and taking a walk.

This year I also planned ahead by indulging in the rarity of an energy drink. Thanks to Kaos Gold, the new energy drink by DtC, I ingested only 30 calories and 80% less sugar than if I’d chosen another brand. No doubt my energy drink kept me awake so I could act like a teenager in the wee hours of the morning.

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Kaos gold to help me stay awake! Roughly 30 lbs less than a year ago!

It’s fun to compare last year’s Hobbit night pictures with this year’s. Last year, the coat was getting too big, but I still had some pounds to lose. This year I’m in a brand new DtC t-shirt size medium! I don’t think I’ve purchased mediums since getting pregnant with my third child, 18 years ago!

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My friend and fellow Kaos Gold lover, Suzy.

Wahoooo!!!!!!!

The title for this post has a double meaning. While going to the midnight showing has become a hobbit-forming adventure, so has caring about my body and being intentional about maintaining a new life-style at the size I was created to be!

Folks, I fully intend to be at the midnight showing of the third Hobbit next year, even if I will be 49 years old! (Dying to see what happens next. They left us with a cliff hanger!) AND I fully intend to post a picture here celebrating continued health and life-style change!

Best wishes on your hobbit-forming health adventure!