Tag Archives: celebrating

Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Daunting?

Spirit 17 stephen

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.

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Victorious Small Successes

IMAG2685“Self-control starts by making one good choice.” Lysa TerKeurest

Don’t you love the idea of victorious small successes?

That means we can feel successful several times a day! We can celebrate each tiny step forward. When we fall down it doesn’t have to sabotage us, we can just make a good choice the next time and celebrate victory again!

In her Made to Crave Devotional, Lysa TerKeurest said, “Sometimes victory seems so far away because we measure it only by the end goal. And end goals can seem overwhelmingly huge, daunting, and just plain hard to reach. But if we start measuring our victories by the smaller choices we make each day, victory won’t seem so impossible.”

I appreciated the Scripture Lysa chose, too. “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance;”

It’s similar to a verse that deeply impacted me in college, found in Romans 5:3-4: “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

In both of these Scriptures perseverance played an important role. Today I’m applying Lysa’s verse to weight loss. In college I studied this verse during a time of great despair. I remember life being so hard that I saw it in black and white. It was like all the color drained out. I even contemplated suicide. I have several memories of God’s intervention in that time, but two stick out. The first is that I walked to class and felt led to take an unusual route. I passed an amazing flower that was exactly my favorite color. I KNEW He was showing it to me, and the bright happy pink burst upon my black and white world.

The second was the study of that Scripture. The commentary I read talked about how hope is the mark of Christian maturity, how if we allow God to produce perseverance in our suffering, our character will deepen, and eventually we will discover hope. (And hope does not disappoint.)

Hang with me; this is all coming together in my mind. Putting these two concepts together is important, I think, for the weight loss journey.

Lysa says, “Self-control starts by making one good choice.” Her Scripture said that self-control produces perseverance, and my Scripture said that perseverance produces hope.

If we make that one good choice–whether it be in weight loss or in life–we can celebrate that small success. As we persevere, one good choice after another, celebrating each one, hope grows! We can truly begin to believe in change, that life can be different. That we can overcome our struggle, whether it be with our weight or some other life issue.

As Lysa said, “Big things are built one brick at a time. Victories are achieved one choice at a time. A life well lived is chosen one day at a time.”

Yes, Lord, help us all build a path to victory one choice at a time!

How about you? Let’s celebrate a victorious choice!

Celebrate victory one good choice at a time.

Finally Content

charm 1Last Christmas my daughter gave me a charm. The instructions? I wasn’t allowed to add it to my charm bracelet until I reached whatever weight felt right to me.

The charm, a flirty little red dress, sat in my jewelry box until this week.

I’m finally comfortable with the new me.

I haven’t actually lost weight since last summer; I’m still roughly 55 pounds lighter than a year ago. But thanks to the fat shrinking component of my BENew metabolism booster, my body has continued to shape up even without change on the scale, and I feel content.

I love the little charm, not only because it was Sarah’s way of cheering me on, but also because it continued a tradition I started with the kids. That bracelet boasts baseballs, gymnastics, skiier and hockey figurines, a drama mask, graduation hat, and even a tiny engagement ring–all to celebrate special accomplishments and moments the kids experienced. I love it that my daughter wanted to commemorate this achievement of mine.

I weigh myself every week or so, and I’ve been able to stick within 2 or 3 pounds either side of the 55 pound weight loss. It’s a bit of a trick learning to maintain, but if I notice the scale climb I charm 2am more intentional about watching what goes in my mouth for a few days and it dips back down.

So after maintaining my new weight for a few months I feel good about putting that little red dress on my bracelet and believing this really did happen for me.

A sassy red dress and a bracelet

Epiphany #6 ~ Stretching into His Arms

IMAG2573I warned you my summer was a summer of discovery. Obviously now that we’re into October and I’m still getting epiphanies, my fall is following suit.

Honestly, those first five epiphanies wore me out. Highs and lows. Hopes and struggles. Dreams and Disappointments.

Growth.

If you’ve hung with me this far, thank you. I’m hopeful that today’s epiphany will be the last I need to write about–at least for a while.

Actually, even though I was bawling when this epiphany came, it might be my favorite. With it comes a picture I cling to. I think about it all the time. Even envisioned it as I walked about my neighborhood last week.

I’m posting this blog ahead of time because as you read this I’m embarking on yet another new adventure, attending the 2013 National Life Force Convention. I’ve no doubt but that I’ll need this epiphany as I continue to discover what it means to become a business woman who is yoked with Jesus in unforced rhythms of grace. 

Learning to do something new without falling back into my negative patterns of perfectionism and performance-driven behavior isn’t easy for me. But this epiphany helps.

It came while I was praying with my friend, Jill. She told me that God liked that I was competitive and wanted to do everything I did with excellence. He just didn’t need me to get caught up in performance and perfectionism. Then came the epiphany. She said, “You push too hard to stretch yourself. All he asks of you is that you crawl into His lap, lean into Him, and let Him do the stretching.”

Let Him do the stretching.

All that struggle melted away.

I don’t have to try so hard, to question myself so harshly, to push myself. I simply hang out with my Father, safe in His arms, and let Him do the stretching.

I know if He does it I’ll bend but not break. I will grow and change, but it will be natural healthy growth, like a branch full of grapes connected to a strong vine. Not straining and groaning, just sweet, normal growth.

Yes, I’ll change as I need to.

It just won’t kill me in the process.

After all, He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

How about you? Are you resting in His arms today? Looking to Him to teach you how to do YOUR work in the unforced rhythms of grace? If not, I invite you along. It’s way better this way.

Epiphanies I

IMAG1753-1 (2)It all started on the side of that mountain. There I was minding my own business with my girlfriends minding theirs. I gazed at sloping green that opened into a valley surrounded by white-frosting-tipped peaks piercing a bright blue sky.

Beautiful.

My “baby” girl had just returned from a Mediterranean honeymoon cruise, and my sliver of travel, less than two hours from my home to Breckenridge, stirred longing. “Could I see the Mediterranean, someday, Lord? I want to cruise, to travel.”

The guilt came instantly. Starving children in Africa and all that. Me. Me. Me. Want. Want. Want. Thinking about my comfort. Fun. I have eternity to see good things. There are people who need HIM. Why am I thinking about myself?

“Why do you do that?”

His sudden appearance in my thoughts shocked me. Huh?

“Why do you feel guilty about wanting to experience the world I created for you to enjoy?”

That’s when the waterworks started. My friends clustered around asking what was wrong. It was too deep to share just then, on the side of a glorious mountain where just seconds before we’d been talking and laughing.

Anyway, I wasn’t ready. There was more to His Words and my reaction to them. It was time for another round of emotional weight loss.

Breck neighborhood 9After our hike we headed back to the cabin. I disappeared into my room with my journal and trusty pen. I often hear best with my pen in hand.

Seventeen journal pages of dialogue later I had an epiphany.

Or several.

Here’s the first: I was created to spread joy, created for delight, for celebration.

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~The Journal Conversation ~

Him: “I’ve asked you to do without in a culture where there is much. But that doesn’t mean it is more holy. It’s just been your process and Jerry’s. I’ve been teaching you to learn contentment in all things.”

I don’t think I’ve done very well with that . . .

“You have found joy in the small things. The real things–like relationship with Me, your family, and your friends. Small things like the fragrance of roses. The feel of a warm mug. The swirl of cream in coffee. The song of a bird.”

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I’m not sure those are so small.

(He Chuckles) “No. They are my gifts, more beautiful than you understand, but often overlooked . . . Even now you pause to enjoy My Aspen leaves dancing on the breeze outside the window. I like that about you.”

(Tears spring to think this pleases Him.) It’s simply how you wired me.

Us: It makes me/you more resilient.

“Can I not enjoy this trait even more knowing I gave it to you and that you have cared enough to develop it? My gift to you is your gift (our gift, really) to the world. Give them eyes to notice My beauty, Paula. And let me give you sweeping moments of beauty and joy so you can be continually refilled to pour out the celebration of the Good in Me and in My world.

“Receive My every gift with open abandon, arms stretching to Me, dancing in the falling joy-petals of My love-gifts.”

~

Of course there’s more to the seventeen pages of journaling, some of which I’ll share in the coming days. My epiphanies eventually circle back around to the curve ball post of a few days ago. I hope you’ll continue to journey with me as I drop emotional and mental weight.

For today I’m camping out here. In the joy of little things. Delighting in the idea that such simple notice of His gifts pleases Him. In letting go of the guilt barometer and learning to fully enjoy His gifts.

I’m wishing all of that for you, too, my friend. May today bring notice of the love-gifts of the Creator. My you dance in the falling joy-petals.

Tweet it:

Dancing in the Falling Joy-Petals

Glory

It’s silly really. I haven’t written a best seller. I don’t daily receive requests as a speaker.

playfulWhile I’ve won some friends and influenced some people, I’m mostly a mom. A wife. A lover of Jesus and Jerry.

A writer with little renown.

But I worry sometimes. About being successful. Receiving attention. Wanting a bigger career.

About glory.

My Benew Journey today isn’t about lugging around extra on the outside. It’s about inside weight loss, learning to let go of the stuff that bogs down my heart instead of my feet.

Lately the heaviness I’ve worked through has been a fear of myself and a twisted perspective on making sure God gets glory not me. (Like He needs my help. Ha!)

These questions surface, in part, because I will find out in a few days whether or not my first traditionally published story will win an award. And I don’t want to care whether or not I win.

But of course I do.

The big announcement won’t be a quiet email. Winners are applauded at a fancy gala where I’ll be making a fashion statement in my friend Megan’s dress.

Excitement. Bling. Bright lights.

One of those affairs where if I win I’ll pray I don’t trip over my own feet as I climb the stairs to the stage and give an acceptance speech in front of *gasp* peers, agents, and editors.

lindsey's wedding

The dress I plan to wear. Megan let me wear it to a wedding, then said I could hang onto it for the gala. (And this is my girl, of course!)

The thing is, though my hands will likely tremble and my mouth will surely get dry if I win and have to stand up in front of that crowd, I want to give that speech.

Is that self-serving?

Isn’t my life goal supposed to be about His glory, not mine?

I’ve looked inward at motives, upward to ask God’s perspective, and outward, processing with my hubby and friends. Jerry helped me think through it, then at prayer group my friend Deb said something that finally got truth from my head to my heart. Relief, followed by joy, whooshed through me.

Deb’s words were something like, “If God is glorified through His people, doesn’t that mean you share in the glory?”

gorgeous moon flashed into my my memory, big and glorious next to a Utah highway. The bright white orb had no energy of its own, but it reflected the light of the sun. As we drove beneath it, awed, I thought that’s how I should be, a beautiful reflection of the One who gave light.

With Deb’s words, with this moon memory, came sudden freedom. Freedom to light up with the joy of reflecting my Creator. Freedom to celebrate every good thing that comes my way, even if it includes winning or attention or applause.

Because every good thing I am, every good thing I’ve done is not of my own accord, but a gift of the Creator. Yes, I worked hard. Persevered. Learned. But He brought the teachers, the growth, the increase, the book contract, the recognition.

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If I win, the glory is still HIS, just shining in my smile, too.

If I get attention, and I am His kid, He gets attention, too.

So if “You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch,” wins a Carol Award, I’m going to grin real big without any self-consciousness.

That big ole smile will just be light, a little piece of HIS glory shining through me, reflecting His joy.

(And if the book doesn’t take first place, I’ll smile anyway.0smiley_winking)

Tweetable:

A glory reflection

Opposition

IMAG2347I feel like weeping tears of joy as I post this blog today. I wrote it a few days ago and scheduled it ahead.

Yesterday morning I sat in my old blue recliner and told the Lord how very much I needed new shoes . . . how I couldn’t afford them, but missed walking. I reminded him that I’ve been praying about this for awhile. I was tempted to complain. Instead I simply slowed down and told Him that I was a daughter of the King, and I knew He wanted me to have good gifts.

That afternoon a friend asked me what I was doing for exercise. I admitted I’d been struggling due to the pain in my feet and my worn-out tennis shoes. Within an hour we were at a GOOD athletic shoe store. She bought me new shoes, inserts, and socks. Everything I needed and more.

Wow!

As you read my struggles below, do it with the delight of abundance, of knowing our LORD sees our struggles. Know that HE fights our battles. Stands with us when we are opposed in every good thing. That He is the Provider for all our needs.

HE cares about you and me, our struggles toward health, and even whether or not we have tennis shoes!

Here’s the post originally scheduled for today:

I’ve heard that every good thing will be opposed.

broken

A few weeks ago Jerry and I took a lovely 5 mile trek. Lots of time alone together to just talk while also doing something healthy. Glorious! (And free!)

Only I awoke the next morning with a returning case of plantar fasciitis. I’m told plantar fasciitis is often brought on by poor support in your shoes, especially if you walk or hike. I’ve been holding off replacing my walking shoes, despite the holes in the bottom and the worn away support system. Every penny has been needed elsewhere.  But my feet hurt, and the times I’ve tried to walk anyway in my old shoes only bring negative consequences.

So I’ve tried to do more pilates with my at home DVD. Wouldn’t you know it? The exercises are done with a long plastic band, and the band broke!

Sinister opposition if you ask me!

Today I’m trying to think of another healthy way to burn calories that doesn’t make my feet hurt, and I’m seeking to be especially mindful of what I eat, returning to daily BeNew meal replacement shakes to help me guard my caloric intake since I’m not burning as much off.

I didn’t come all this way to go backwards!

How about you? What things creep into your life to oppose your victories on your benew journey?

Standing against the opposition

Celebrating Good Surprises