Monday, January 28, 2013

My favorite things Monday - catching up with friends on the phone

In this instant gratification Facebook and text world that we live in, nothing beats the rejuvenation of the soul like chatting on the phone with a friend that you haven't chatted with in far too long. 

I'm making it a point this year to be better at keeping in touch with friends.  I admit - I am HORRIBLE at keeping in touch.  Lucky for me, my friends are EXACTLY the same so they always understand.  At least that's what they tell me anyways.  The ones who are still talking to me, that is.

I've shared my Facebook and texting love/hate relationship regarding dating here if you're interested in my thoughts on that topic.

One of my long time childhood friends who is on my Facebook, but more in the "Facebook voyeur" category (she reads everybody elses' stuff but does not post much herself).... well I thought her life was ho-hum but little did I know Mr. Wonderful invaded her life and she is a happy little in-love camper.  I was so happy hearing her share her joy!  You just don't get that from Facebook or texting.

So pick up your phone and DIAL IT and tell an old friend that you were thinking about her.  I double dog dare you!  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

messy house = messy heart

I notice this trend.  When my house is a mess, my head is also a mess.   When my head is a mess, my heart is a mess.  So….

It’s time to clean my house!
I’ve said it a million times and even blogged about it here – I cannot stand clutter.  I don’t like clutter in my house, in my head, or in my heart.  Sometimes, the clutter in my heart is difficult to organize and clean-up real quick like.  Some things just take time to pray through which makes my heart messy while the dust settles.  Sometimes I cannot control those things that make my heart messy – like when someone else does the messing-up, but I can control my house which helps clean-up my head, which helps clean-up my heart eventually.  IMHO, a messy heart manifests itself in all of us in one way or another; sometimes a messy house, sometimes excess weight, sometimes excessive partying, or other addictive behaviors (even obsessive working out), etc. 
Does this make sense?  When my heart is messy, I am looking for comfort somewhere/somehow.  Often that starts with dumping junk all over my dining room table.  (Actually, I think it starts with the shoe rug in the laundry room.  Hmmm…)  “Things” just start piling up and up and up and become such a mess to the point where I feel physically uncomfortable and irritable in my own home!  YIKES!!!  Then I get cranky and my heart issues turn into more heart issues and then I come unglued or I eat crappy foods.  Whatever happens - it’s never good. 
There is a calmness for me that comes from an orderly home.  Order allows me space to think. To breathe. To be. To pray. To get back to myself. 
So, as I clean my house, my head feels cleaner and more orderly, and my heart… well, for now, that will follow.  But that’s OK.  God is taking his time with me right now and showing me all sorts of nooks and crannies that need to be cleaned in my heart and teaching me new tools to clean with.  Like this - straight from the Good Book:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.” ~ Psalm 51:10 NLT      
Our real cleansing comes from within.  For me, though, it’s hard to get inside (my heart) without also organizing the outside (my head and my home). 
So, when you come to my house and it’s a disaster, please ask me about the condition of my heart.  There is usually a story there.     


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Get this chubby monkey off my back already!

It's been long enough.  44.5 years is waaaay too long to be carrying this load.  Time to go - chubby monkey!

I was a fat kid. (I hit 200 my sophomore year of high school.)  I'm actually the slimmest that I have ever been in my life right now, but I still have this extra layer of chub that really, really, really bothers me.  It overwhelms me and actually gives me anxiety that makes me depressed, which causes me to eat the wrong foods for comfort and fullness, which gives me anxiety that makes me depressed which makes me eat for comfort and to feel private (yes, binges)... and so the cycle goes.  I hate hearing people say, "You look great!  You don't have any weight to lose."  Well, they have never seen me naked.  It's not pretty.  And this constant feeling of defeat and failure is tearing me apart inside. I've just never quite gotten there.  Close, but not quite.  Close doesn't count anymore.  Close is Satan saying that it's OK to settle and compromise.

So I joined Weight Watchers on New Years' Eve and officially started my diet on January 1st.  Yes, I AM calling it a "diet" because I am consciously restricting my calories right now.  "Diet" helps me realize it's a temporary sacrifice.  When I think I can't have something like white sugar ever again, I panic.  With my "diet," I can have white sugar if I plan for it.  I'm already down 6.4 pounds.  I will not allow the scale to define me day to day anymore, so am only getting weighed at my meetings on Wednesdays.  I'll keep better track of my progress here on my blog.  But NO NAKED PICTURES.  Mercy.  In addition to my WW meetings, I've joined an accountability group on Facebook which has been such a blessing! You can check us out on It's called Weigh-In Wednesdays (WIW).  Clink the link below and you will be there.  I am also into the book "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst.  It's all good stuff!

While I am on my "diet," I am also making lifelong lifestyle changes like less carbs and more veggies and fruit.  I haven't been very disciplined about working out this winter, but I ran/walked 3 miles yesterday on my treadmill.  I'm getting my MOJO back slowly but surely. 

Back to the chubby monkey on my back....

I feel that it is Satan telling me that I can't do this.  I'm this close to feeling like my best self (16.4 pounds away, to be exact) and the enemy is telling me I can't do it.  Oh yeah?  God says I CAN!!! 

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:13    

And my God is way stronger than the enemy any day of the week!

But - I have to believe this truth.  REALLY believe this truth.

Something has clicked this time.  I am determined to break free of this chubby monkey.  I have my WIW Sisters praying for me and supporting me, I believe in myself, but most importantly, my Creator wants me to be the best version of me that I can be!  He wants this chubby monkey off my back too.

Bye bye chubby monkey!  I won't miss you one bit!

Friday, January 18, 2013

”Hold on to the Promises “

My Bible this morning seemed to magically open right up to this verse:

“… ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’…”  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Jesus said that!  He promises that his power works best when we are weak.  It does not say He likes for us to be weak, but says He promises to be our strength when we are weak.  (Paul wrote this, and at that time he was being persecuted for sharing the gospel.)  His grace is all I need. 

So, if I fill myself with Christ, I will be stronger that I could possibly ever be on my own.  In this, it draws me closer to Him.  So in that way, like Paul, I understand the good that comes from pain.  His grace is all I need.    

I will focus on grace today, and the promise that He will show his power - just for today.  I will deal with tomorrow, tomorrow. Today, I choose to hold on to this promise.  I get anxious when I think about the “big picture,” not knowing what lies ahead, but I will focus only on today, today.  I’ll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.  (I am a slow learner sometimes, so need to repeat this to myself over and over and over…)  His grace is all I need.

“Your day to day choices determine what your tomorrows will become.”  I don’t know where I heard that, but there is so much truth there.  If I chose grace today, and then again on the next day, then the next – my tomorrows will become much stronger and before I realize it, I will be flexing my Jesus muscles because I have healed and feel strong again.

Can I get an Amen!?     

What promises get you through tough spots? 

“Promises” by Sanctus Real (tidbit: Matt, the lead singer, goes to my church when he is not on the road performing.  I saw him sing this live last fall at our church.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

PB2 – I love you!

If you have not tried this – go get some now!  This stuff is the answer to getting your creamy, dreamy peanut butter fix without all of the fat and calories. 

They somehow take slow roasted peanuts and press them to remove 85% of the fat and oil, and then put the powdered peanut stuff into a jar.  I bought this at Whole Foods in Ann Arbor, because my little hometown IGA is just not hip to the healthy beat. If you know what I mean.  I heard that Kroger has it in the health food aisle. There is also a chocolate version which I will try next and give you a full report.   It was about $5 for the jar and worth every cent for this delicious milkshake.

In a blender, combine:

1 cup milk - I used to use skim, but 1% just tastes better and it’s only 2.5 grams of fat – so I say, “live a little!”  I recently discovered that this is actually better with unsweetened almond milk and less calories! 
1 chopped banana
3-4 ice cubes
2 Tbsp. PB2

That's it.

Now blend. 

It was very thick and frothy.  I should have taken a picture of the finished product, but I was so excited to taste it that once I started in on it I could not stop.  So here is my empty glass.  Cheers!

4 WW points+ with 1% cow's milk
2 WW points+ If you use unsweetened almond milk, and I think tastes better.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Push your groove button!

Sustainable spiritual growth only happens when we do whatever it is that grows us closer to God with and through the Spirit.  Those things are different for each of us (because we are his masterpieces and uniquely made), and different for me as well in different seasons of my life.  Sometimes it is prayer in solitude, and sometimes TobyMac pushes my groove button.  At times, I sit with my Bible and nothing seems to grab me – other times a quick YouTube video from a favorite pastor brings me closer to God. Sometimes it is serving.  We can’t just think of going to church, reading our Bibles and such as the ONLY way to grow closer to God.  These are important, but not THE only thing. The Holy Spirit is all around us! 
Here are some of the things that push my groove button:

Prayer in solitude
Prayer with a friend
Prayer with several friends
TobyMac, Needtobreathe, Casting Crowns
Reading my Bible
Reading my Amish books (love those!)
Going to church podcasts
Camping - being outdoors
Running, biking, yard work (seriously)
Serving the poor
Lively conversations with Christian friends
Encouraging a hurting heart
Watching my kids sleep
Watching my kids play
Watching my kids eat
Watching my kids pray
Making up rhyming words that end in -ay
Family shin digs

What pushes YOUR groove button?  What gets you flowing with the Spirit?

Monday, January 14, 2013

It’s not all about YOU!

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord – and he will repay you!”  ~ Proverbs 19:17

Want the best therapy in the world to take you mind off yourself and your issues?  Go serve the poor!   We wallow in our self-pity about this, that, or the other thing and totally forget that the world is not all about us. People are lonely.  They are hungry.  They are unloved.  They are unwanted by the world.   We have SO much to be thankful for.  Forget about yourself for a bit and share the love of Jesus by serving others.  It will take your mind off of your problems real quick! 

This morning, my son and his buddy and I volunteered at our church's food ministry feeding the poor and homeless.  I do not mean to boast about my good deed for the day, but want to share my experience and maybe inspire you to serve in some way as well.  You will get so much more out of it than you give – which makes me feel kind-of guilty! 
One of my happy places is serving the poor.  I also will admit that I feel a little guilty about serving the poor because although I am doing it to share the love of Jesus as we are instructed to do in the Bible, I get so much gratification out of it that I feel almost ashamed of myself.  It fills me!  It makes me overflow with JOY by being a servant and that repayment is enough for me.  There is a great big world out there full of people who need food, clothing, shelter, but most of all - to experience the LOVE of Jesus.  When these people come for nourishment and you smile and say hello, it may be just enough to brighten their day.  Even if just for that moment you help them feel the love of Jesus pouring out through you, isn’t that enough?  You know, that “… love your neighbor as yourself” part that is so easy to overlook.  Put others before yourself and see what happens.  Being a vessel is the coolest thing ever!    

Also, I want my kids to see that there is a hurting world out there and we all need to do our part to grow the Kingdom by telling the world about Jesus.  And through our acts of kindness, hopefully my kids experience Jesus flowing through them.

Now, please go out and serve! J

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”  by Mother Theresa