Monthly Archives: December 2013

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Are You Photoshopping Your Life?

Your Life: Real or photo-shopped?

Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Reflections

reflection upside down

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.

hobbit paula

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!

Carnival Mirrors and Mocking

Pretty much any time we step out into new territory we are opposed.

If you haven’t experienced this, please let me know. I want your secret.

Several years ago I began a weekly devotional called Soul Scents. It wasn’t long before I got hate mail telling me all the reasons I wasn’t good enough or holy enough to write about spiritual things. After a few tears and lots of prayer I kept going. How? I clung to the truth. I didn’t have to be good enough. The only way anyone is that good is because they are covered by the blood of Jesus. That writing experience was one of the best of my life, and a few thousand came on the ride with me.

What if I’d listened to the critique?

Fast forward to now. I’d known for a long time I was supposed to offer videos on my blog. A few weeks ago I finally stepped up. I felt exposed and nervous, but that first Monday Makeover was a personal victory! It wasn’t perfect, but I said what I knew I was supposed to say. I DID it.

But after a day or two the opposition started.

This time it wasn’t from people; it was an oppression that became so tangible it was as though the very air I breathed cried out, “hopeless,” telling me there would never be true success, that I would never really influence this world for the better. Even the air around me seemed tinged gray.

I pushed through videoing my second Monday Makeover, sharing Truth I absolutely believed, but speaking out of a determination to move forward, not out of free-flowing joy.

That Monday was awful. Tuesday morning was not much better. I read my Advent devotional determined to embrace the beauty. While it shined pencil light into my darkness, I still felt I was suffocating.

I tried to journal, to talk to God, but instead of free-flowing conversation there was confusion and an overwhelming sense of condemnation. In my mind I saw a strong man standing before me, glaring at me, arms crossed. I cried out, “Lord, this is not the True You, the Loving God You’ve revealed to me.” I think the last thing I wrote in my journal is that I felt powerless and needed Him to rescue me.

I went on with my day, attending my critique group. When it was my turn for advice on my manuscript I asked for prayer instead. My friends surrounded me.

It wasn’t long before one spoke up. “I believe the Lord has given me a picture that reveals what you’re dealing with. I see a “fun” house full of a maze of distorted mirrors. Over a loud speaker comes mocking laughter, playing over and over. You’re fighting to look in a true mirror, but you can’t find it.”

She was right. Those three women began praying and before I went home that day the gray film no longer suffocated me.

I knew who I was. A daughter of the King.

Maybe I’ll tell you the whole story someday, but for now my message is simply this: You will be opposed when you move forward; but you will NOT be defeated.

Believe. Keep walking forward. Grab your friends for prayer and encouragement. Ask God to rescue you. Read TRUTH.

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The darkness wants to destroy all that is good in this world, to keep us captive to despair and doubt. To tell us we are unimportant, ineffective, and unable to succeed.

But the Good News is “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does NOT overcome it.” (That’s from the Gospel of John.)

I hope to hang some lights later. If you happen to drive by my house know that I’m shouting victory to the world with their every twinkle.

The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness has NOT overcome it!

Victory over the Carnival Image

Monday Morning Makeover~Voices

What voices do you listen to?

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Balance and Transformation

san diego 6How are the social situations going for you? Do you struggle even more to maintain your eating goals with all the parties and special events?

It’s super hard to resist the goodies as gatherings with friends, and I grew up in a culture where lots of yummy food equated love. I’m afraid I’ve passed that onto my family, especially our boys. Mom cooking sure seems like love to them.

This is an area where I’m trying to find balance. I want to still bake my mother-in-law’s famous chocolate cake for special occasions, treat the family to homemade pizza or challah bread, or surprise them with homemade cinnamon rolls. In my quest to be healthier and thinner, I’m not willing to give up my love of baking or the joy the family receives from such treats.

But this BeNew journey is about being transformed. Real, lasting change. Lysa TerKeurst of the Made to Crave Devotional said, “short-term sacrifices will lead to short-term results.”

While I’m not willing to forever avoid making my mom’s oh-so-good banana cake or my grandma’s apple pie, I am also learning that there has to be a life-style change if I’m going to be healthy. I don’t make treats as often, and when I do make them I practice moderation in enjoying them. Every day I seek to add in lots of healthy stuff, like spinach and nuts, cut back on pastas, bread, and sugars, and enjoy the goodness of fresh and frozen fruits.

But all of this pondering eating habits doesn’t really get to the heart of the struggle, does it? Lysa encourages, “Every time I make a choice I have to ask myself, ‘Am I being conformed, looking a lot like the crowd and staying stuck in defeat? Or, am I transformed, breaking away from the vicious cycle of defeat by courageously saying no? No more. No thank you’.”

I especially love the phrase, “every time I make a choice.” This journey is on-going. Every single day we make multiple choices, choices that either conform to social pressure to eat (or our own need to fill a void with food) or lead to transformation of our lifestyle and body. For me, this is also a spiritual journey as I draw near to God, inviting Him into my choices, my thoughts about food, my struggles and my successes.

Lord,
Please help us to trample the old ways for good. We don’t want short-term solutions, but transformation life change. Give us the wisdom as we navigate treats and holiday celebrations, showing us the balance of enjoying good things without sabotaging our health. Please pour out your strength and your guidance. Give us new desires for healthy living. We don’t want to make our bodies off limits any more. We give You permission to ALL of who we are. Inside, outside, body, spirit, mind, will, and emotions.

DTC Press-Release on Yahoo!

san diego 64Just as I sat at my computer wondering what to share on A BeNew Journey today, I found an article on Yahoo Finance about the new company Jerry and I joined, DTC. The article calls our company (the one I wrote about in my last post) an “industry changing concept!”

Had to share it with you!

We’re very excited to be on this new business journey–and a bit breathless as we watch how God is shaping unexpected opportunities for us.

Last summer Jerry spent some time processing life with a spiritual/business mentor. They prayed about Jerry’s future as a businessman.

The next morning Jerry “happened” to read this in the Bible: “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” (Duet. 8:17-19 NIV)

We’re looking to the One who teaches us how to be business leaders.

If you think this company is a fit for you, we’d love to grow together with our friends. Check out our new website, watch the videos. There’s a place where you can ask for more information.