Category Archives: walking

Freedom to Move Forward Part II

south sudanI did something brave.

Different.

Unexpected.

(If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, this one won’t mean as much, so check it out!)

Just over a week I was surprised by the desire to visit a third world country as part of a team reaching out to spiritual leaders of a new country learning its freedom.

While I have long desired to serve others and even wished I could meet special people, like my World Vision “daughters,” I’ve never been one to jump at the idea of this sort of thing. Europe I’ve dreamed of visiting. Third world countries? Not so much.

But I couldn’t resist the truth: I was interested, longing to go, even.

But my mind went other directions, and I let the thought drop for over an hour until I “accidentally” stumbled right into the informational meeting about this trip.

Again intrigued, I stayed. Longing. Wondering.

I came home and went on-line to check out the application procedures. My computer wouldn’t let me into the system, and I walked away frustrated. Ended up in bed sick the next day and dragging for several after. But always in the back of my mind the desire lingered.

I prayed. Asked friends to pray. It seemed too big a decision to make without one of those huge, red check marks in the sky beside the “yes” (not that I’ve ever had that exact cosmic direction, but you know what I mean).

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As real life got in the way I assumed this, like many of my ideas (I’m pretty impulsive and interested in many thing!), would fall away.

Until Sunday, the deadline for that application.

Sunday Jerry and I took a drive in the mountains, lingered over a picnic lunch, and explored all the stuff 20140629_132412of yesterday’s post. As we descended back to the Colorado plains in our little silver car we were freer than when we began the climb. Hopeful for next steps. Excited about living outside the fear of getting it wrong.

We hit I-70, just below Genesee where the view opens up and reveals Denver far below, and I caught my breath.

“South Sudan,” I whispered.

“So it’s back to that,” said Jerry.

“I don’t have to wait for a cosmic sign. I can apply.”

And so I did.

God had revealed the freedom to move forward, to follow that desire inside of me calling out for attention.

To do something brave.

Different.

Hard and unexpected and adventurous.

To do it with His blessing even without a shocking confirmation of His will.

I could simply go for it.

Something that might turn out breath-takingly beautiful. Something that might hurt. Or even be dangerous. Certainly uncomfortable.

Something bigger than me.

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I came home, and my stupid computer (I say this with great affection) still wouldn’t let me into the application process. I stumbled a moment. Was it a sign I shouldn’t do this? I shoved the thought away and went with the forward motion of my heart.

Jerry offered me his computer, and I was in on the first try.

I don’t know yet if I will be chosen to even interview for one of the spots, much less as part of this team.

But I had the FREEDOM to try. The FREEDOM to reach way beyond who I am to do something I’ve never once before imagined.

The tears pool in my eyes as I type.

Where can I go in my newly-understood freedom of forward movement? What possibilities lie ahead that I never before dreamed? I have a catch in my chest where the breath should come out. It seems so crazy wonderful big.

This blog started as an inside-out journey to physical weight loss.

And that freedom plays into this one.

About a year and a half ago I was out for my walk. The pounds had dropped away. I had another 20 to go. I trotted downhill when blindsided by the urge to run. I couldn’t resist. I let those feet fly, pounding the pavement like I hadn’t done in years and years and years.

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to run! “What in the world are You doing with me, God?” I whispered. “What are you preparing me for?”

I heard no answer, but felt his chuckle in the breeze upon my face.

At 210 pounds the idea of the sort of venture I applied for on Sunday would have been immediately dismissed.

But I am freed for forward movement. Free in my body. In my heart. In my mind. In my spirit.

I couldn’t sleep Sunday night. I just kept soaring.

Wishing you a freedom discovery of your own,

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(South Sudan pictures taken from Wiki.)

Ditch the Can, the Chair, the Dolrums

 

Ditching the Desert

I believe in giving oneself the space to heal after loss. That’s why I spent the last few weeks recuperating from the long hours of hospital stay 20140405_131421and eventual death of my beloved friend who was more like family. I slowed way down. Let the blog lie mostly silent. Spent a lot of hours in my (new) chair reading, being still. I’ve been taking time with the process. Throwing in the empty nest stuff I’m dealing with as well. Cleaning out old photos. Letting the tears drip. But even as I want to grieve well, I don’t want to live in the desert. And I certainly don’t want to gain back the weight I worked so hard to lose. So I’ve been returning to healthier habits, taking my BeNew, walking, choosing raw spinach and strawberries and cashews. I’m going to walk through this valley, but I’m ditching the desert by making good, refreshing choices that aid the healing process.

Ditching the Chair

Okay, so we did get rid of the “famous” old blue recliner where I rocked all my babies. My daughter was20131222_140949 devastated, but not enough to give the worn out rocker a new home. But even as the old blue recliner goes, my memories do not. All four kids piled into one big heap. Babies nuzzling at the breast. Older kids, hot with fever and usually too old to held, clinging to Momma, rocking through the long night. Quiet hours pouring my heart into my floral journals. Whispers of heaven as I talk to God and listen to His responses to my questions and pleas. Hot tea sipped. Novels devoured along with the popcorn and chocolate. I loved that old blue recliner, but I release it just as I must release the long season of child-rearing. (But not before I proved that I lost enough weight that my brother and I could both fit in it!)

Ditch the Can

For me the Ditch the Can movement isn’t so much about ditching a Redbull or Five Hour Energy. I wasn’t IMAG3027-1-3really into those things. But what I do need to ditch is narrow perspectives. I’m ready to live a freer life on my terms, not tied to a publisher or a time-clock for income. DTC is kicking into gear for hubby and me, showing us what it’s like to live outside the boundaries of traditional thinking and to step into a place where we can ditch a lot of stuff like debt, miserly living, worry about finances, small thinking, and boxed in living. If you want to know more, visit my new page on this blog.

 

 

Ditch the Sitting

Okay. I’m still going to sit. I love  my new recliner, moved from Bernice’s house next door into my living room. I’m in that chair now, typing this blog, clinging to a bit of her presence.20140507_100115 But I’ve been sitting too much. Getting slow and stiff. This week I decided, “ENOUGH!!” I’ve clocked about 15 miles in my tennis shoes the last four days. I saw an airplane tail hanging out of a house, inhaled the fragrance of three different colors of lilacs, and strolled with a fluffy bunny (for real!). I walked with hubby and walked alone. I walked without a destination and I walked to Gunther Toody’s to have lunch with a friend. I walked in silence, strode forward while talking non-stop to my husband, and clocked multiple miles in prayer. I walked in the sunshine, the wind, and the drizzle. (I did stay home when it hailed, however.) And you know what? I loved it. Every step, every vista, every conversation and even the solitude. And walking makes me remember how it heals to get into the fresh air and notice things like bird song and flowers, lilac scents and cloud designs.

Ditching the Have-Tos

canopyDuring this season of transition and grief one thing I’m for sure ditching is the expectations I too often place upon myself to manage according to some arbitrary “have-to.” The world pushes us to rush through change, to get over sorrow, to perform instead of live. To do instead of be. I’m ditching the have-tos. I’m choosing to weep when I want to weep. To laugh when I want to laugh. To read a book even if there’s laundry. To take care of my heart and not just the dishes. Sure I’m prioritizing the stuff the calendar requires. I’m not advocating total negligence. I still believe in being responsible even in the season of grief. But I don’t have to rush through this time. I don’t have to perform, perform, perform. I give myself permission to “be.” For as long as I need to. For interludes throughout my day or week. To pause instead of push. To sit under a tree and stare upward.

Until next time,

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PS If there is a theme to these random reflections, maybe it’s ditching the doldrums. Choosing not to let the hard times of life steal away the good–like hope and dreams for the future, getting outside and enjoying blues skies, embracing good memories even as I allow for grief and season change. Even the time to mourn is ditching the doldrums. That, too, is good. Healthy.

On a Beauty Search

Some people love earth tones. You know, creamy, sandy, brown, beige and taupe.

I’m so NOT an earth tone kind of girl.

My kitchen is yellow. My office a soft green. If I had my way it would include splashes of bright pink.

Last year I fell in love with walking.

I adore cobalt blue skies paired with snow capped peaks. Rainbow hues in flowers lining a planter box. A profusion of roses. Rich green leaves–or bright yellow, red, and orange ones in fall.

But plain ole brown.

Not so much.

I usually love winter. Diamond dancing when sunlight hits snow. Frosty air. Twinkle lights and homemade snowflakes.

But this winter has grown long.

And in between the beautiful snowfalls there is sure a lot of brown.

And when it’s cold I’m finding it hard to brave the temperatures and walk.

This post is a reminder to myself that there is beauty in brown. If I will just get my you-know-what outside and put my feet to the sidewalk, I can find it.

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And if I look hard enough I might even find a little green and blue.

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So I need to dig a little deeper, hit the pavement, enjoy the world one sidewalk at a time . . .

And cling to the promise of spring.

Share it: On a beauty search

Nip it in the Bud

budOne of the biggest concerns about weight loss is: what if I just gain it back? This pesky question haunted me, and I hear it often from friends.

My answer after a few months of living in the maintenance stage? Sure, the temptation is there to forsake new, healthy habits, but nip it in the bud! Deal with the issue early on this time instead of waiting until the weight has crept up and the body is weaker again.

Of course this is easier said than done.

My goal is to approach this issue with intentionality, but not worry. (Of course sometimes the worry creeps in, and sometimes I’m not intentional, but then I remind myself that life isn’t about my ability to live it perfectly every second, but to keep on track over the long haul.)

When I lost weight I purposely didn’t do extreme changes I knew would be hard to maintain. I tried to make it simple: move more, eat less. I chose a healthy support system, not fad diet pills, but products that were actually good for me and helped me build toward strengthening my body, not just weight loss.

Now that I’m seeking to maintain, I find these values are a part of who I am instead of something new I’m cultivating. Still, it is harder to hang onto their application when I’m satisfied instead of not. Last year I took long walks in all kinds of awful weather, but this winter it’s much easier to choose comfort over cold.

But a friend shared her trick, and it seems to be working for me. (It must work for her because she is one of those spunky tiny grandma types, full of energy and keeping the weight off!) Here’s what she does: She weighs herself daily. If she notices a weight gain, she cuts calories to 1200 for a day or two until she returns to her target weight. That way she nips weight gain in the bud, dealing with it when it’s a couple of pounds, not ten.

I’m still at the stage of life when weight can fluctuate around female cycles. I’ve given myself a target weight and allow fluctuation within 3 pounds without getting uptight. But if it pops up to 4-5 pounds above that base (instead of 2-3), I cut back on calories and increase movement.

I also don’t weigh daily like my friend does, but I make a point to weigh in every few days, so i can keep things in check. I usually know when I’ve slipped on healthy choices, even before the scale tells me. Sometimes, like last weekend when I spent some time away with my husband, I choose a short season of “feasting.” Back-to-back meals out are not common for us, and Jerry and I chose to enjoy the elegance of the fancy food at the Broadmoor (pictures coming soon!)–then came home to more realistic eating! Monday morning’s step onto the scale confirmed my need for it!

How about you? Any maintenance tricks?

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A plan to overcome the fear of gaining the weight back

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PS Some of you have asked about using the BENew products during maintenance. Since the products are all-natural and healthy, you can use them long-term. I have friends who weren’t/aren’t overweight but use half doses of the metabolism booster because it’s healthier than a cup of coffee, boosts energy, and fights the unhealthy visceral fat that even skinny people have. Some choose to do the BEPure monthly cleanse for the health benefits, not weight loss. Those who were strictly weight loss focused and reached their goals have done everything from stopping the products to cutting them in half, to continuing with them. Many of them also now take Body Balance to support good nutrition and health. I’ve chosen to continue partial usage of BENew and take my Body Balance daily. Not only do I want to support the maintenance stage, but I feel good on the products and believe in their health benefits.

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Simple but not Easy

The secret to weight loss can be simple even when it isn’t easy.

Weight loss: simple but not easy

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?

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.)

Autumn Glory

I’m still in California as this entry posts. I can’t wait to share a bunch of pictures and talk about my experiences in sunny San Diego at the Life Force Convention. I expect to include some shots of the Pacific. Oh how I’ve missed the ocean!

But for now I thought we needed a break from all that heavy discovery of epiphanies, so I put together a collection of fall beauty before I left Denver. I encourage you to bask in the glory of autumn, one sidewalk at a time.

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Enjoy the simple things today. Live in the moment. Breathe in beauty. Notice the good, my friends. Take a walk. Snap a picture. Thank the Creator.

Breathe in Autumn Glory

Adaptation Not Compromise

IMAG2531Sometimes my feet know where I’m going before I’ve consciously processed my decision. This morning they headed for the brilliant red bush about a mile up the street.

Growing up in Northeastern Oklahoma meant incredible autumn foliage with a variety of colors. I’ll never forget the joy of early morning walks across Northeastern State University’s campus when the air was crisp, the leaves crackled beneath my feet, and vibrant color still clung to strong branches.

I love yellow. Honest. It’s almost my favorite color, somewhere below pink. But when I first moved to Colorado I was disappointed in autumn because I felt the season shouldn’t be ONLY yellow. IMAG2576

But my neighborhood has continued to mature over the years, bringing new color with it, and as I’m farther from my roots I suppose I’m more easily pleased. Maybe, just maybe, I’m also giving it a more fair shake this autumn, choosing to meander in the cool fall days by foot instead of whizzing past nature while looking out of a car window.

As I walked this morning I found myself conflicted. Now that I’m satisfied with my new weight I’m not sure what my walks are about. Health? Maintenance? Emotional and spiritual nurture? Joy?

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This time last year I spent hours in bed, recovering from some wonky sensations in my head after back-to-back car accidents. For a time I stepped away from most of my responsibilities, my only goal to get well. Part of my journey back to health was developing a new habit of long, meandering walks. I strolled, prayed, and didn’t care how long it took me. I was finding life again. As I healed, I began picking up the balls. I learned to fit in a shorter walk/jog to stick with my weight loss/get healthy goals when the demands of schedule increased.

But after my encounter today with the red bush and the orange leaves and the yellow canopies, my feet wouldn’t listen to my mind rattling off the to-do list. My soul engaged my gait, longing for more of this day than checking off boxes. It cried out for beauty, for quiet, for spiritual refreshment. I circled the elementary school, praying a bit for the children there, then slipped into my favorite coffee shop, not for a beverage, but for the restroom. My mind had finally caught up with the agenda my heart and feet set, and I knew the conveniences of home were still a long way off.

Another little nature trail some distance from me cried out to be explored. I wandered the path, missing the twitter of the birds that usually serenaded me on this stretch. I suppose the wind was too strong, and they chose to hunker down wait it out rather than to brave it and allow their song to be lost, carried away on the stiff breeze.IMAG2559

I tried to cut home after the trail but found myself at a cluster of three churches I prayed often for last winter, so my meanderings included prayers of blessings for them, which turned into song at my favorite of the three. I guess I don’t mind if the notes dance upon the breeze, for He hears at all times.

I still don’t have it all figured out–this juggling act of protecting the strides I’ve made in physical and emotional health, this love of the sunshine longing to wander–all while adding new balls, more commitments, more responsibility into my daily routine. Even now my schedule mocks me, telling me there was no way to conquer it.

But I must cling to what I learned in the dark of last year. That caring for myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually isn’t a waste of time; it is a necessity. If I don’t take care of myself, I’ll find myself unable to take care of my responsibilities.

IMAG2586-1I returned home today thinking the solitary rose framed by yellow leaves sprinkled upon the grass around it was a statement of summer shouting a last hurrah before giving way to autumn.

As the seasons of my life change I am forced to stretch, to adapt, to re-think. But in the midst of the struggle I don’t have to compromise on the hard-earned truths of my journey. Oh, I can’t control outside forces, like car accidents, that steal from me. But I can create margin. I can choose health. I can embrace the beauty of little moments.

How about you? Are you protecting yourself from the tyranny of the urgent?

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Life’s seasons change. We adapt, but we don’t compromise.