October 28, 2010

A Couple of Announcements

~I'm not sure anyone's noticed (if anyone's still reading)...but comments are back on every post.

~Today you'll catch me over here.

~And soon I'll have a guest post here:

What's going on in your world today?

October 26, 2010

Real Change

I haven't blogged much about my journey into the world of real food. We are eating better and feel better, but I have yet to see the results I was hoping for on the scales.

I've been frustrated, to say the least. I haven't wanted to accept the fact that my commitment to change has not been as strong as it must be in order to actually see change.  I've been cooking more real food for dinner, but hitting the drive-thru at lunch about once a week. Even though I'm eating better, I'm still eating too much.  I haven't been exercising.

Why am I surprised that I haven't lost any more weight?
I'm reading Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat, and I highly recommend it (the authors also have a blog).  This book isn't as scientific as Real Food: What to Eat and Why (which I loved, but had so much information I just couldn't keep track of it all), but it does a great job of breaking real food down to basics.  I'm still pretty early into the book, but I've already learned that I eat so much because I'm not taking time to savor my food. I've noticed a big difference in the food I've been eating, but I still rush through it instead of taking the time to really enjoy the flavors.

I've started making a conscious effort to slow down while I eat, and it's really made a difference in how much I eat. Because I actually enjoy the food, I'm more satisfied.  When my brain tells me it wants a snack between meals, I ask myself if I'm really hungry or just used to eating between meals. I'm paying more attention to what my body actually needs instead of what I think it needs.

I'm also becoming more aware of how much I eat food that I don't really enjoy.  For example, I was rushing through my lunch hour one day and only had enough time to run by a fast food restaurant. I wasn't hungry, but I knew I wouldn't make it through the afternoon without something to eat. I got a small order of chicken nuggets (no fries).  I made myself pay attention to every bite.  When I finished them, I knew two things.  First, I was full. (before, I would've eaten them and the fries, too).  Second, chicken nuggets are tasteless and I don't like them.  At first I was upset that I'd even wasted my time, money, and calories.  Then I realized that this discovery was a learning experience.

I cleaned out our pantry.  When we first started changing the way we eat,  I said I wouldn't throw away food because it was so expensive.  I changed my mind because, quite honestly, soup from a can just isn't good enough any more.  By the time I was done, I'd thrown away quite a bit of expired food and had two shopping bags of food to donate to our food pantry.  My pantry is still plenty full, but with a jar of homemade hot cocoa mix instead packets of powder claiming to be chocolate, bags of dried beans instead of canned beans with added chemicals, and canisters of different flours instead of boxes of baking mixes.

I want a life that is full, not one that is merely filled. My choices need to reflect that - in the way I eat, the way I spend my time, the things I allow in my home (decor, entertainment, social media, to name a few) and the people in my life. ALL of it needs to have one purpose - to glorify God.

It's only then that real change begins.

(And, yes, I will be exercising!)

October 22, 2010

One Year Later

The unexpected news slashed my heart.  Despair poured forthHope came a few days later.  Then the gifts came tumbling in, one after the other.  It wasn't planned. It wasn't what I wanted. It was a reality harsh and blinding.

One year ago today, our lives changed forever. I look back at the last year, skimming through posts and thinking on conversations and events.  Some days I think the last 12 months have passed by at warp speed.  Other times, I think they have been the most grueling of days.

I don't allow myself to look ahead, to one year from today when we'll be almost to the finish line of school. I can't think of the possibility that R might not find a job after he's done. When I'm tempted to do that, I remind myself of year's hard-fought battles and I count the victories won.

Losing a job isn't the worst thing that can happen. I remember saying this to R on that very first day. Meaningless words at the time.  A mere platitude.  Today I realize how much my identity and security was tied into R's job, into the mill itself. I am convicted of how much more my identity and security should be tied to Christ.

Prayer hasn't changed the circumstance, but it is changing me.  Once content to rest in my abilities, I am learning to lean on God with everything in me.  On the days when I crash, He is there.

Tears are the mark of a warrior.  I've battled harder and cried more than any other time in my life. 

Life is living, not just surviving.  I (mostly) savor the days instead of just going through the motions.  I've developed a new appreciation for being home with my family.

God is bigger, stronger, more loving, more powerful, and more compassionate than I ever imagined. I've seen Him in ways I could not have predicted.  I'm glad I didn't miss it.

The year has not been a cake walk. I struggle with wanting to go back to the old life. I want to put my hands on my hips and tell God that I've learned the lessons already, so He can just give me the reward now. I want to crawl under the covers and hide, and wake up finding this was all a dream.

It is.

It's the dream of a new life. A stronger relationship with my family and my Lord. A deeper understanding of the cost of being a disciple.

One year later I stand here and see that although I am low, I'm no longer in the valley. We're moving uphill and it's so very hard.

But I can't wait to see what's on the other side of this mountain.

October 19, 2010

Finding Margin

After the crash, it was time to reevaluate.

I recently heard Dr. Richard Swenson on the radio.  His book Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives is on my wish list.  I most certainly need to find some space in my life.  I've spent the last week trying to be more intentional with my life, in practical (and maybe not so practical) ways.

My watch battery died.  I didn't go to the jewelers to get a new battery because, for one thing, I have 5 watches. When the battery died, we were in the middle of 3-day rainstorm and I didn't go anywhere but work and home.  I decided I'd wait until I could see land again.  I pulled out the other watches, only to find they all had dead batteries.  So, I just didn't wear a watch.  By the time the rain subsided, I'd found that I really enjoy not wearing one.  I don't constantly check it to see how long I've been waiting in line (and tap my foot and roll my eyes).  I don't look at it to see how quickly I've got to be at the next place or do the next thing.  I'm more relaxed. I may never wear a watch again.

After reading this post of Ann's, I pulled out a dry erase board and put it on an easel.  Each day, we write down what we're thankful for. This practice reminds me to stop and look for God throughout the day.

More classical music, less television in the evenings. It's amazing what a difference that makes in the atmosphere of our home.

We have 30 minutes of designated family time each evening.  After CJ's in bed (if school work allows), I have an hour of uninterrupted time with my man.

I go to bed earlier.

I lowered expectations I had for myself. I've given myself permission to let some things go.

All small things, added together to give big results.

What about you...do you have enough margin in your life? What are your tips?

October 14, 2010


Standing there, I felt the weight of my head increase. Black spots threatened my vision. I had to sit. Slow, deliberate breaths chased the spots away temporarily, but they soon found me again. I mustered enough strength to tidy my desk, tell my boss I had to leave, and get myself home.

It was there I crashed.

Body crashed on the sofa.

Thoughts crashed in my head.

I let my mind wander back to a few days earlier when I crumpled to the bathroom floor in tears, pleading for my old life back. Wanting desperately to stop facing this obstacle in front of us and to go back to the comfort of captivity. Praying that somehow I would stop being torn into a million little pieces.  I'm so afraid they'll be scattered across the earth and no one will be able to pick them all up.

All of those emotions, warning signs ignored.  I plunged into the week frantic to be in the right place at the right time.

Until I was forced to stop.


For eight luxurious hours, I was alone.  No one asked for help. No chores beckoned. I reveled in the solitude. I briefly stepped out of the life where there never seems to be enough time, to a respite where there was nothing except time.

Potent medicine for a worn and weary soul.

The crash taught me something vital.  I need margin. Dr. Richard Swenson warns, "Don’t hide behind the excuse of overload.  Daily make space in your life for the things that matter most." (excerpted from A Minute of Margin: Restoring Balance to Busy Lives180 Daily Reflections).

The cross-bearing life, coming hard after Jesus, isn't easy, but it is what matters most. My family matters most. Not the bread winning or the home keeping or the homework helping. Surely important, but not what matters most.  It's only the relationship building - with God, my husband, my girl, my friends - that fuels my life and sets it aright, keeps me on course.

It's only when I remember this, and put it into practice, that I'll stay off the crash course.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Matthew 11:27-29 (ESV)

October 12, 2010

What Can I Know of Holiness?

When you think of God as holy, what comes to your mind?

The question comes at the end of Chapter 1 of The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul.

I ponder.  My first thought of holiness, always the same - Isaiah completely undone by the presence of the Lord. (Isaiah 6:1-4).

Have I ever been there, felt those same stirrings as Isaiah? I was overwhelmed by Him the first time my sin confronted me and I stood there, naked and ashamed.  I sat on my bed, toes deep in the thick weave of carpeting and a Bible open on the squares of green and white, when the filth of my sin found me and the Prince traded my dirty shepherd's clothing for his royal robe.

I  was amazed by Him when I stepped into the streets of Lima, hundreds of bodies pressing toward me as their eager hands reached for the regalo I held out, the free and priceless Word.

I was lost in Him when we learned our life would take a different path.  I've been humbled by Him as we walk on this new path.  This morning, I was in awe of Him as I watched men being pulled up from the very bowels of the earth.

But then...

Have I ever just fallen at His feet to worship in utter abandon?

Have I ever sought to make His Name hallowed?

Do I pray that others will consider His Name holy?

That I will consider His Name holy?

I bow my head and hot tears pool in the corners of my eyes. It is not enough to see Him through the veil of my flesh and earthly wisdom.  I want to know Him moreTo see Him in all His splendor. To drink His holiness in until I am drunk with it.

Today, I draw a line in the sand. I gingerly step over it and set my eyes on the Holy One.

And pray for grace to never look back.

holy experience

October 7, 2010

Food for Thought

Have you read this post by Tim Challies? It just so happens that I was giving a lot of thought to this very subject this morning, as I was once again considering the place that social media has in my life.

Is this something you struggle with, too? Comments are open.

October 1, 2010

Around the House: October

I am: 

~Wishing that cooler weather would arrive already! I have an aversion to temps above the 60s in Autumn. I'm ready to put out my fall decorations and start cozying up with hot tea and flannel sheets.

~Enjoying pumpkin spice creamer in my morning java.  Yum!

~Dreading the seasonal clothes swap that comes with the falling temperatures, but it is the only thing I dislike about Autumn!

~Giving serious prayerful consideration to what next year's theme will be. I think I know the answer.

~Looking forward to being at the beach by nightfall. Our family needs this respite, even though R will be studying for midterms and CJ will be hanging out with her cousin who's accompanying us.  I plan to whittle away at the stack of books I'm in the middle of so I can concentrate on Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, which we're blogging through at Southern Baptist Girl.

~Thankful for the prayers of faithful friends

~Thankful for the grace of a loving Father.

Happy October, friends.