Tag Archives: embracing abundance

Courtship with Myself

hearts

When I started losing weight my challenge was to find ways to exercise and eat right.

Instead I found out it was a courtship.

A chance to build the love and affection I have always had for myself.

~Kim Seigle of AlwaysThinkingImFat

This week I stumbled upon simple thoughts of beauty and encouragement written by Kim Seigle. The above quote was taken from her Love Yourself Again post. I’d encourage you to check out her blog and read the whole thing.

Here’s another of her gems:

The Big Beautiful Woman & Her Man

I was out and about enjoying my day.

I love to people watch.  I was sitting eating frozen yogurt when I saw a woman about my size walk in with her man.

Her face was so beautiful and she looked lovely in the coral pink ensemble she was wearing.  The man with her was very attentive to her and was in love with every curve.  I could tell!!

It made me so happy to see such a big beautiful woman with her man.

I guess it is not the size you wear but how you wear the size you are in!!!

Paula here again:

So with these nuggets of hope and beauty from Kim, I wish you a beautiful weekend. May you stand tall, wearing the size you are in with joy and confidence. May your journey to better health become a courtship with yourself. May we all learn to love ourselves again!

Beauty in the simplicity of encouragement

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.)

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.

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Dancing in the Falling Joy-Petals

Beauty in the Everyday

As summer decides whether or not it will yield to autumn, I’m celebrating the glorious blooms that decorate the yards and sidewalks on my mini-journeys. No mountain travels for a while, but a walk with my friend Jennifer or Dani, or the rare treat of strolling with Jerry now that he’s working so much, still yields beauty.

Here’s to you finding joy in the everyday journeys~

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Everyday beauty

Extraordinary Ordinary

Life’s simple pleasures come in the ordinary, especially when someone is intentional about eking extra good out of what’s in front of them. (After my sniffling momma post on Wednesday, I’m thinking I need to embrace the joys of the good days, not just wallow in “those” days.)

Extraordinary happened for me the end of July when Sam played a double-header. Jerry didn’t have to work until later in the day and got to come to the first game.

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While the boys warmed up, he took my hand and led me on an adventure.

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The games were played at Chatfield High, which is in the greater SW Denver area, close to the foothills. Just a few steps behind the school lay a golf course, tennis courts, and a soccer field. But best of all was an untamed area, wilder than my treks through the neighborhood with foliage more desert plain than what I’d enjoyed in the mountains.

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It sung its own song, and despite prickly flowers and dry earth, we found much beauty (and a tennis ball and two golf balls, but that’s another story.)

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As usual, I was especially drawn to the yellows,

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pinks, and purples.

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But even the dry browns held a unique artistry.

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Our walk was brief, but the long, repeated flights of stairs back to the ball field made me feel I’d earned my lunch.

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Working movement into our day was only part of the importance of this snapshot of living. It was really about grabbing hold of a little bit of life, a fleeting moment that could just as easily have been lost as I sat bored, waiting for the next game to start.

Instead my hubby invited me on a mini-date. We admired God’s creation. We held hands. We were together. We saw something new.

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Eking extraordinary from ordinary

Spirit Seeker Sunday 8

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Let His Spirit move you like water in a stream. Fresh. Flowing. Bubbling. (Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer)

“I am made to live the reality of God’s promises.”

Wow, Lysa, do you have to step on my toes every time? 

Such were my thoughts as I read through Day 9 of the Made to Crave Devotional. It was a few months ago, but I thought I’d share my reaction. You might relate to what I wrote then:

Here’s the honest truth. I’m struggling today. Fighting to focus on God’s promises, to believe His heart for me in the midst of disappointments and stresses. And somehow that all snowballs into not wanting to care about my eating choices. I did a lot of compromises today–eating without being mindful. Eating because I was in a bad mood instead of because I slowed down, thought it through, and chose what to eat.

What’s bugging me as I read today’s devotional is how hard my heart can be even as I read one of my favorite verses, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).

Oh, Lord! You have given me blessing upon blessing. You have cared for me, showered me with your love, met my needs time and time again. Yet I so quickly let my heart harden, throw my little temper tantrums when things don’t go the way I want, and forget that abundance is from you. I forget all that destroys is not of your hand at all. Forgive me for my lack of faith, for listening to the lies of the enemy, for neglecting instead of embracing all the abundant, life-giving facets of my relationship with you. Come! Fill me with your hope! Take the blinders off my eyes so that I can see the abundance and have life and live it to the full!

Jesus, help me to live in the reality of your promises, not the weakness of compromise.

As I process where I was a few months ago, a couple of thoughts come to mind. The first is how my weakness in compromising, my decision to eat mindlessly to fill emotional pain, is of itself a tool of the one who destroys.

How twisted is that? I reach for food because I’m not looking to the Giver of Good Gift. As I fill my body with what it doesn’t need, my emotions don’t get a bit better. But I play right into the destruction of my goals and of the abundant life God wants to give me by leading me to a physically and emotionally healthier place.

The second thought that comes to mind is how even after days like the one I described, there is victory. Turning to Jesus, one day at a time. Choosing not to let a bad day or two stretch into a bad month or two. Reaching for God’s hand up each time I fall, forgiving myself, and getting back on the road to victory. That’s something easier to see as I write this post now in June. The victory is in my physical health, my new clothes size, and on the scale.

I think it’s in my heart, my mind, and my spirit, too. I think I’m learning to look to God, not food. To press on in hardship. To stand a little taller in my identity as one He loves.

I still trip up sometimes. I probably always will. But the new behavior is becoming more natural and so I choose the path forward one step at a time.

How about you?

What does living in the promises verses the compromises mean in every day life and in weight loss?

Are you intentional about looking to Jesus instead of food to fill those empty places?

Can you forgive yourself when you blow it, reach for God’s hand, and get back on the path to healing?

Sharing:

What does it look like to live in the reality of promise, not compromise?

God’s Real Life Fairy Tale (Part V)

wedding, Darlene's disk (160)Maybe I’m just not ready to let go.

To write the last wedding post is to move on from the big day and into the reality that my daughter is a married woman. That she and David are now their own family.

My excuse is that I’ve been busy transitioning, painting Sarah’s old room lime green and black so her youngest brother could have his own room for the first time in his life. Honestly, I could have found time to write this post.

But to write it is to place “the end” on one of the most beautiful days of my life.

It really was a joyful time, a true celebration of all the beauty, hope, passion, and wonder of the new life that began with the ceremony I wrote about last time.

After the final prayer and their first kiss and man and wife, Sarah and David skipped (literally) down the sidewalk. It was time to party.

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The guest enjoyed chips and salsa and the “fun table” activities Sarah had prepared while the family took pictures.wedding, Darlene's disk (130)

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Although I’m becoming as bad as a new grandma at subjecting people to wedding pictures, I’ll just show you one of both sides of the family all piled in together and spare you all the other family pictures I itch to post.

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Then it was time to enjoy a wonderful meal of Italian food. A fun surprise is that the caterer’s sister is a dear woman in Sarah’s life, but was unable to attend. She sent a special little love message to Sarah in the form of Sarah’s favorite Miss Maggie dish, macaroni and cheese! What’s funny is that dish went first, before all the fancier dishes offered! The tables looked beautiful, all Sarah had planned and worked to create. Minus the napkin ring holders we couldn’t find at set-up time. My friend Deb, my sister-in-law, Anne, and I probably had 15 or 20 collective hours in the making of those napkin rings, but hey, if that is the biggest confusion of the wedding, who cares! Maybe Sarah can make some money on Esty!

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Sarah’s handmade centerpieces, full of duct tape flowers and individually designed candle holders gleamed on each table. They were worth the months she spent creating them. (I think I mentioned earlier there was over 600 duct tape flowers at this wedding. She also designed the candle holders using rubber bands and paint! Each one has its own unique pattern, just like each of us was designed one of a kind!)

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Of course one of the especially fun parts of the dinner hour was that while Sarah and David wandered around greeting their guests, they had to pause often to kiss because the guests kept clinking their goblets. I love that old tradition, which I’d never experience until a couple of weeks after my own wedding. Jerry and I attended a huge family reunion full of people I didn’t know but who knew me because their cousin/nephew/great-nephew (you get the picture) had FINALLY been snagged. Since we were the newest married couple we kissed a LOT that night. As did Sarah and David on their special day.

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As we enjoyed our meal, the sun sank in the sky. It hovered on the horizon during the toast. Bryan, Ashley, and Jennie did an amazing job of honoring the couple. Ashley and Bryan made us first laugh, then fight the inevitable lump in our throats, then Jennie gave David the highest of compliments, declaring him even better than Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. She went on to say said Sarah was the only person she knew who could capture the beauty of their childhood fairy tales and take them into this real-life world. Jennie ended by toasting her “real-life hero and heroine.” I guess she and I had the same idea with the whole real-life fairy tale motif.

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The blue above them deepened as the twinkle lights shimmered, and Sarah and her daddy danced.

Dad and Sarah father daughter dance

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Then as the sky slipped to navy David and his mom, Ronda, made us all smile and emit a collective “ahhhhh.”

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It was time for Sarah and David’s first dance as man and wife. The sky had drawn its night curtain and tiny diamonds began to sparkle on black velvet. The stars showed up to witness the couple’s celebration and beam upon them, giving Sarah her dream to dance beneath their light.

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dancing in dark - Sarah

Sarah and David had practiced the dance for weeks, which always left my daughter giggling and excited to learn she could move without two left feet. The delight of their first dance is forever etched in my mind. I’m grinning with a grin the size of Texas as I type this.

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Soon the dance floor was full of young and old, graceful and not-so-much, and everyone had a great time.

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Magic joined the night dance.

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From the farmhouse where she went to warm up, Jerry’s mom, now 88 years old, gazed out the window at the dancing and celebration. She turned to her son with a smile. “It is evident HIS Spirit is here.”

Her simple statement said it all. HE celebrated with us, infusing the night with joy unspeakable. He pulled the couple together, surrounded them with a community of love, gave them this gift of lifetime partnership. And we all basked in His glory, shared with us that night.

All too soon it was time to cut the cake.

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Standing sentinel across its top was a reminder of all God was teaching us in this celebration. The words gracing it were hand-picked by the bride and groom, then hand-written by a friend. Another little touch of love, another reminder that provision was everywhere, community was irreplaceable, and His love, their love, and our love paramount.

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The big day was winding down, but not before the couple had a little fun.

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There was the search for the garter (which David’s sister, Kristina said made her blush), the bouquet toss, and one last dance. Soon the couple dashed through sparklers held by cheering guests and flew into the car, which had been appropriately adorned by the groomsman. The couple drove into the night, the obligatory tin cans rattling behind them.

And now I must type, “the end.” It makes me cry. I don’t want to let the wonder go.

Someone asked how I could let me girl go. “How can I not?” I replied, “You have to let them go when they are this happy.”

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Grundy. We stand with you cheering on your union, confident in your new beginning and the One who gave it to you.

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(Special thanks to Kim at the Creative Pixel Photography and to my sister-in-law Darlene for the photos used in this post. BTW, I added a few more from Darlene into the ceremony post so click here if you want to see what you missed the first time around.)