Monthly Archives: February 2014

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Open War III

When we engage in life’s battles, we need the right resources to move forward.

If you haven’t seen the first two videos in this series, view them first:  Open War I,  Open War II

In the above video I talk about some specific resources. Click for more on weight loss and financial support.

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We need resources to engage in life’s battles

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Gratitude Empowers Success!

IMAG0212“It’s hard for someone who is satisfied with the things of this world to deny themselves.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

Ouch! Did you have to step on my toes?

I don’t like to think about sacrifice and self-denial, which might have something to do with the extra 60 pounds that needed to go. Feelings of deprivation are something I fight, not just with food but with other parts of my life. One thing I’ve found to help fight those feelings is focusing on gratitude.

In 2012 I started a gratitude wall. (This idea was from One Thousand Gifts, which encouraged writing three things a day that you’re thankful for so that you’d have 1,000 in a year). I wasn’t consistent. Instead of  daily chronicling, my typical behavior was to record gratitudes for a while, then forget until I got really grumpy. And then grab my sharpies and write 15 at a time. Or more.

Even with my haphazard approach, I reached my 1,000. Every time I planted my feet and wrote on that wall I come away better. Blown away by all the amazing blessings God gives me and my loved ones, I felt less deprived as I focused on all that good instead of what I couldn’t have.

My little wall is a bit like Lysa’s attitude adjustment. She said, “Say to yourself, ‘I’m not deprived of an unhealthy option. I’m empowered to make a healthy choice.'”

In Paula world that would be like getting grumpy because I know I shouldn’t consume a bowl of pasta or several cookies–or french fries. Instead of dwelling on that I grab a pen and write the stuff I can have:
yummy pomegranate (didn’t even know I liked them until the last 6 months)
crisp, juicy apples
baby spinach with walnuts and craisins
lettuce with salsa, chicken, and cholula sauce
Balsamic chicken and a little brown rice
Steak
My BeFull shake with frozen fruit

You get the idea.

But Lysa took it deeper. Her gratitude thoughts are:
health
renewed energy
decisions that led to confidence and peace
decisions that honor both my body and my God

I add joy to that list. Ease of movement. The twinkle in my hubby’s eyes these days. Discovering prayer walking in the midst of sunshine and birdsong.

With God’s strength self-control is possible. Instead of thinking we could never give up something, we can switch our thinking to how we are empowered to make healthy choices and embrace the gratitude of the many good gifts we get to enjoy.

My gratitude wall penning went from April of 2012 to December of 2013, so itIMAG3179 included my weight loss journey, which was really fun to look back upon. Here’s a glimpse of some weight loss gratitudes that I hope encourage you:

  • There are no calories in Cholula sauce, herb tea, or pickles!
  • Dropped 32 pounds
  • Walking, praying, and singing beneath a blue sky
  • the courage to persevere even when the struggle is long
  • lime in water
  • strength to draw boundaries
  • Jerry likes the shape of “everything” since I’ve lost 50 pounds
  • lavender and mint scenting my water
  • Sexy homecoming!
  • humus!
  • raspberries, dark chocolate, and wine
  • God promises I will not be defeated

How about you? What makes you feel deprived? How do you combat the negative emotion? What are you empowered to enjoy? Grateful for?

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Gratitude empowers success!

Ditch the Can ~ Energy for Your Pocketbook

Hubby and I are excited to share more about Ditch the Can, whose flagship product is an energy drink with 80% less sugar and 70% less calories than they typical energy drink. Great for energy drink lovers who are also serious about getting healthy and losing weight.

But we didn’t only join this company for the product. Being part of a brand-new company means great income potential. As an author having additional, consistent income aside from the unpredictable book contract allows me to continue to work from home and follow my goals without (as much) stress. My dream as Jerry and I become business builders is to help people like me–creative types who need to supplement their income–and people like Jerry–folks who struggle between the love of ministry/service and the need to support a family well–find ways to finance their passions.

Below is a quick video I made talking about Ditch the Can.

Let me know if you want to learn more. If you are in the Denver area tonight you can learn all about it from the folks who actually dreamed up the company who are in town from San Diego:

Thursday, February 13th
6:30pm Mountain Time – mixer in lobby/bar
7:30pm Mountain Time – vision/discussion
Courtyard by Marriott Denver Cherry Creek
1475 S. Colorado Blvd | Denver, CO 80222

Tell them Paula sent you!

You can watch another video I’ve made about DtC here.

Confidence to be Pretty?

Wow.

tree

My favorite tree covered in snow. Photo by Seth Moldenhauer

I rejected vanity by being lazy about my appearance.  I was lazy about my appearance because I didn’t have the confidence to be pretty . . .  Now I realize that I had robbed myself of my identity, my relationships with people (including my husband), my sex drive (sorry to be graphic),and my desire for life. ~ The Plateaued Housewife

Powerful!

I saved the above quote for a week, planning to shape a blog around it, but really, there’s enough there to ponder without my help.

To read her complete article visit:  the Housewives Quest!

 

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Open War II

If you missed Open War I watch this video first!

No good general chooses battle without first taking stock of the situation and the resources he possesses. Open war is upon us. We need to engage. But this doesn’t mean jumping into every battle without wisdom.

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Monday Morning Makeover video ~ Open War II

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ What’s Green Got to Do With Weight Loss?

IMAG1878“I Want Her Legs,” the title (by Lysa TerKeurst) read.

I know the green bug of envy. I’ve always envied flat tummies. Even when I was too skinny as a teen, I had a pooch. It’s always bugged me. (Lately I’ve been doing the 9 Moves to a Flatter Stomach, but I digress.)

In the devotion referenced above Lysa said it’s easy to forget about the gifts we’ve been given, to let them fade into pale, anemic comparisons as we look at what other people have that we don’t.

When I was a young mom I met another young mom. Like me, she had a passel of children. Like me she sang at church. Like me she homeschooled. Like me she was active and out-going. Only she sang better than I did. Was skinnier than I was. Got more solo work than I did. Was sexier than I was. Was . . . you get the idea.

There was a temptation to be jealous. For the most part I wasn’t (well, maybe just a tad bit of that flat tummy and perfect singing voice!) But I didn’t allow myself to turn green. Life had taught me that nobody is perfect, and somewhere beneath her size 4 jeans and golden voice she was a normal human being who had struggles just like I did.

The sad end to this story is even though my friend had so much going for her things fell apart in her sweet family, and everyone experienced great pain.

Lysa said that when she is tempted to view someone else’s life through rosy glasses she says, “I am not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad.” She nips the comparison in the bud so it doesn’t grow into full-blown envy. She says, “When I want someone else’s good . . . I’m also asking for the bad . . . it’s always a packaged deal.”

This devotion took me back to the word trust. Do I trust that God created me good? That His design for me, my body, and my life is good?

Do I trust HIM?

When I want what someone else has, I’m telling the Creator, the God of the universe I don’t like the way He does things. (And yes, I’ve actually said exactly that to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.)

When I throw those kinds of fits God is  patient with me, but He often brings conviction. Over time I repent of my bad attitude and tell Him I trust Him–and need Him to help me trust Him more.

Whether it’s someone else’s circumstances or body that looks so good, it’s wise to remember, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30, The New Living Translation Bible)

Lord,
I confess I am prone to envy of other people’s gifts and to lack of appreciation for my own. I confess that I don’t always trust you know best. Sometimes I blame you for the fallen parts of this world and my life, when it is my sin and the sin of humanity that has brought on the ugly stuff. Please forgive me. Help me delight in the good you’ve put into me–whether it’s my talents, my body, or my life experiences. Show me where I can apply myself to help the rough areas get better–like those crunches and leg lifts my pooching tummy needs. And help me to nip envy, distrust, and whining in the bud, choosing praise, joy, and trust instead.

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What’s Green Got to Do With It?

Devotion on Envy and weight loss

PS . . . The first time I read “I Want Her Legs” I thought, I just want MY legs back. I hope it encourages you when I say, “they’re back!” Keep on keepin’ on ’cause with time and determination, you can get stronger, thinner, and healthier. There are no quick fixes, but there is lasting change when we don’t give up.

Make Your Own Body Butter!

Body butter, pity you can't smell it
Body butter, what a pity you can’t smell it

The following is a guest post from my friend Marie Keats from “across the pond” in Southampton. We meet blogging because we have both fallen in love with walking! (Only she makes me look like an amateur!) Marie’s posts about her long walks have inspired me time and again to get outside and experience life one sidewalk at a time!

After Marie commented on my Stretchy Skin post about making her own body butter, I asked her to teach us how. This post is the result. I’m excited about trying it! I make my own laundry soap, and love it, so why not this? It’s a less expensive way to luxury (and firming up that skin!). I’m considering using castor oil and lavender in this recipe since I read it is good to help firm up skin. I have applied it directly on my loose skin since I did that research, but putting it in body butter would be much more pleasant!

From Marie:

Because I have eczema I’ve been using body butter for years and some time ago, probably around the first time I got made redundant, I got annoyed at how much the stuff cost, especially as I use tons of it. A lot of Googling came up with lots of different methods to make it at home and, as it seemed quite simple, I thought I’d have a go. Since then I’ve made so many batches I’ve lost count and I’ve tweaked the recipe over and over to get it just how I like it. About a year ago I shared it on my blog but my friend Paula in America was interested and wanted to share it with the readers of her blog so I thought it could stand a revisit.

My basic recipe is very simple, just four ingredients plus some jars to put it in. Some of the recipes I first looked at also used beeswax which would add more nutrients but would also make the butter more solid. Maybe that’s something I will experiment with at a later date but this method has served me very well over the years.

The ingredients are surprisingly cheap. My shea butter, glycerine and essential oils come from Mystic Moments, a local company that can also be found on eBay. They are based in Hampshire not too far from me but they do ship overseas. There are also masses of different suppliers on eBay so it’s worth shopping around but check out the feedback ratings before you buy.

Body Butter

Ingredients
This should make enough to fill two 200g (6.8oz) jars.

Ingredients
Ingredients

150g (5.3oz) Shea butter or cocoa butter (I prefer Shea butter)

100ml (3.4oz) olive oil (you can use any oil, almond oil is meant to be very good, but I’ve always got olive oil in the kitchen so that’s what I use)

30ml (or 2 tablespoon) glycerine (you can get this on eBay or from a good chemist)

Essential oils (make sure you use essential oils rather than perfume oils or you could have allergy problems. I buy 50 ml bottles that last for ages and most are just £5 or so. I’ve built up quite a collection over the years and they keep forever.)

Jars to put it in (I have some little kilner type jars that were once Body Shop body butter jars but any clean jar with a lid will do.

Using kitchen scales and a measuring jug if your scales don’t weigh liquids, measure out your Shea butter and olive oil then add the glycerine. I find it easiest to use a measuring spoon for this as it’s a bit like treacle. None of the quantities have to be exact so don’t get too obsessive about the weights and if you need conversion tableshere is a good website that will do the hard work for you.

Melt the Shea butter. I melt mine in a big glass bowl in the microwave but you can use a saucepan if you like, just make sure you wash it well afterwards though! Give it all a good stir to mix it all up really well.

Choose your essential oil. You can use a single oil or a combination, whatever you have or what takes your fancy. Add the oil a couple of drops at a time until you get the strength of smell you want. I find between ten and twenty drops does the trick depending on the oil I’m using. Less is more here as you can add but you can’t subtract and you don’t want it too overpowering.

image

Stir it all really well then leave to cool. Go and have a cup of coffee or something, actually go and have several because this bit takes ages. When it’s cool but not completely set get your whisk out. You’ll know when it’s ready because it will have changed from a clear liquid to a creamy colour but it will still be the consistency of soft butter when you dip your finger in. I have an old electric whisk I keep specifically for body butter but you can use your normal kitchen whisk just make sure you wash the beaters really well afterwards!

Whisk the body butter up. Use a slow setting at first to avoid it splashing everywhere (voice of experience speaking here!). Once it is really creamy leave it for a while to set further (about ten minutes or so). Now it will have gone even paler than when you stopped whisking and will have begun to harden. Give it another good whisk and you’re ready to transfer into your jars.

image

The body butter will bulk up when it’s whisked, a bit like double cream. It looks good enough to eat but don’t be tempted, it won’t taste good! It will set a little more once it’s in the jars so don’t worry if it seems a bit too thin at this stage.

Now all you have to do is wash everything up (I normally wash everything I’m going to use for food twice just to be safe although none of the ingredients are toxic) then you can start slathering it on! I do this while I’m still wet from the shower as it keeps the moisture in and my skin feels silky smooth and smells lovely.

It really is that simple. Easier than making a cake plus it saves loads of money on shop bought body butter and you can use your favourite scents. Some of my favourite combinations are orange and musk, lime and black pepper and ginger and cinnamon but it’s fun coming up with new combinations.

If you’d like a smoother, silkier body then body butter is certainly the way to go. If you’d like a fitter, slimmer more toned body to go with that silky skin I may have just the thing for you too. Motivation is the main factor in getting fitter and slimmer and I know from bitter experience that it can be hard to come by. Thing is I have a plan to help with that. At the moment I’m working out all the details but keep an eye out on my blog over the next few days and all will be revealed very soon…

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Make your own body butter to help shrink loose skin!

It Will Still Be Here

On Superbowl Sunday a ton of food showed up at my house. Lots of yummy, high calorie, not always available food. I didn’t way overeat, but because most of the food was based in flour, sugar, chocolate,IMAG3245 and/or cheese I’m sure the caloric in-take was more than I want to know. (I did start the party frenzy with an apple in hopes to cut some of the hunger space and make sure I consumed something healthy!)

Monday morning I awoke wondering how to handle the left-over treats. Would I allow myself a small piece of cake or a brownie with my morning coffee?

All of this focus on the treats left me chewing (pun intended) on a thought. Sometimes I overeat because I don’t want to miss out.

Seriously?

IMAG3246Do I actually believe I will never again see a bowl of cheese dip or a bag of chocolate?

Of course not.

Then why is there that niggling desperation to make sure I don’t “miss out?”

Here’s a truth. In most American homes treats are not a one-time experience. They show up often, not only on special occasions but in every day life.

And while it’s true with two 6-foot-tall-male-teens in my house that food disappears quickly, it is also true that it reappears with regularity. The pictures I’ve posted are treats that showed on Sunday without any effort of my own and are still in my kitchen. I didn’t buy or bake those treats, but here they are.

And when those are gone, I’ll bet something else appears.

It will do me no good to eat up now believing it’s just this once.

Just this once will be here tomorrow. And the day after.

It is a lie that if I don’t indulge now there will never be another opportunity.

Abundant opportunities will come. At a coffee shop with a friend. At a family dinner. At the movie theater.

Here’s the truth: Treats will still be here tomorrow.

And, so thus reassured, I can take less. Or skip them entirely.

At least in theory.

How about you? Do you ever have more than you should because of the lie or misplaced fear of missing out?

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Do we overeat from a fear of missing out?

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Open War I

Too often I allowed ground to be taken from me instead of advancing in life. The most visual area is in the area of weight gain. Pretending the pounds weren’t creeping on, ignoring the battle waged against my body, didn’t make it go away. Open war was upon me whether I risked engagement or not.

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Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not (Aragorn, Lord of the Rings)

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Success!

Seth

Yep–this is one of my sons, but the pose just seemed to fit the topic: VICTORY! And yes, he’s on a mountain peak!

“You were made for more!”

Great news, huh?

In her Made to Crave Devotional Lysa TerKerrst says we were made for more than stuff like failure, cycles of defeat, being ruled by taste buds, body image, rationalizations, guilt, shame . . .

I’d add my own list. I am made for more than: discouragement, inadequacy, doubt, worry, and fear.

What would you add to the list?

No matter what is on your list or mine, Lysa speaks God’s heart when she says we’re made for VICTORY.

(I heard that in my head like the cheer I used to do as a 6th grader. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! Do you hear the chant as the word is spelled out, whispered, and increasing in volume? Grab the pom-poms and shout it: VICTORY!)

The great thing about the stuff in God’s heart is that He backs it up. In this case victory is our because we get to live in His incomparably great power. The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us through the Holy Spirit.

Father,
Please enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we have hope as we glimpse the riches you’ve prepared for us. Help us to better grasp what it means to live in the power you’ve provided that gives us victory over all that tempts us, all that pulls us down, all that discourages us. Let that power be revealed in how we live, including our relationship with food. We look to you for strength for this day!

Uh . . . a devotion on victory wasn’t intentionally scheduled for Superbowl Sunday, but sometimes things just work out well. Go BRONCOS!