Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 60
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: 198 (Last weigh-in 2/13/13)
Total weight loss: 22 pounds! I'm back to my pre-surgery weight!

Last week's dream focus: Keep my eyes on my dream - doing what I have to do to overcome this crazy adversity; trust in God's timing, remembering this is all happening for a reason and there's some lesson to be learned; eat better than the week before - making good choices when dining out; and amp up the fitness!
What went well: I've eaten better this week and made smarter choices when eating out.  I attended my Zumba classes and, after getting trapped in by 16+ inches of snow, I dusted of my Zumba DVD's and did a couple of sessions!
The main thing I did well... I didn't give up in the midst of some really awful times.
Challenges:  The adversity has increased... and I think this time it may have really hit its peak.  (God, please tell me it won't get worse than this!)  I wish I could share more details with you.  It's difficult to keep it to myself when I'm usually an open book.  At some point this will all be behind me and I can fill you in. 
When you decide to pursue your dreams, prepare yourself for some tough times ahead... and know it's going to be worth getting through.  I believe this wholeheartedly and I trust God will lead me to my dreams.  This adversity isn't a mistake.  It's all happening for a reason.  Soon, my "mess" will become my message!
This week's dream focus: Keep my eyes on my dream - doing what I have to do to overcome this adversity; trust in God's timing, remembering this is all happening for a reason and there's some lesson to be learned; and eat better than the week before - making good choices when dining out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's Your Road

As a person who naturally desires to encourage others and help them through their struggles, it's sometimes difficult to reach out for help when I need to.  It's not healthy to internalize your feelings and I know that.  But when life gets super-overwhelming, I find myself retreating... wanting to shut down and shut out the world.  That may be okay for a bit, but letting it go too long becomes a problem. 

Even a life coach needs a life coach!

I have terrific parents who encourage me and remind me that God will never fail me, He has a plan for my life that's better than anything I could imagine, and He's in control!  I have an incredible husband who wants to make the situation better, who is willing to sacrifice his own wants and needs to make me happy, and who has absorbed the majority of my groaning.  I have amazing friends who offer different perspectives, help me refocus, remind me what's really important, who encourage me, and pray for and with me.  And above all, I have a gracious Heavenly Father who is by my side through it all, comforting me when my heart is breaking and my spirit is crushed!

To all of you, I pour my heart out with gratitude and humbled thanks for never letting me down.  You help me continue moving in the direction of my dreams, even when you don't realize it!  I refuse to allow Satan to keep me from seeing them come true.  I'll endure many obstacles and barriers along this road, but I won't allow them to overtake me or stop me from getting to my dreams!

Monday, February 25, 2013

When God Speaks

Have you ever felt that the Sunday morning sermon was speaking to you so loudly you're certain the pastor must know what you've gone through all week?  Well, when the pastor's your dad there's a good chance he may.  But he probably doesn't know all the details and he certainly hasn't walked in your shoes. 

That was my experience Sunday morning.  All the garbage and mess from the previous week weighed heavy on my heart.  I shared some of it and my emotions spilled out before Sunday school even started.  But I wasn't the only one who'd endured adversity during the week.  Others found themselves facing different kinds of struggles and the sermon spoke to them in different ways.

At this moment, it's so clear that God used my dad's sermon to begin preparing me for what happened at 2:34 PM today.  It involves the recent struggles I've shared with you the past two weeks.  Each time I think I've hit the depths of the valley, I find another cavern, another sink hole.  I can't share details.  I can't say much.  But I can say when God is at work, continue trusting Him - even with the faith of a mustard seed.  God WILL make a way.

I reached out to some prayer partners and they prayed me up, asking God to give me the words to say and the wisdom to know when to say them.  It worked.  I feel good about the outcome.  I feel better about my future.  I feel less anxious about what's to come.  I know it's not behind me yet, but it's clear God is in this. 

One of my friends forwarded an amazing devotion to me and again, I feel led to share it with you.  I know it was meant to find me at this perfect time... and God was the real sender!  Have hope, don't give up, and keep believing that God will NOT fail you as you pursue the dreams He's placed in your heart!

by Ron Hutchcraft

Let's look at our Word for today from the Word of God. Because it's a promise for people who are in the oven, you might say, who are suffering in some intense heat right now.

1 Corinthians 10:13, New Living Translation (NLT)
"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure."

Listen to these familiar words: "No temptation (or testing, it could be translated) has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted (or tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted (or tested), He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Don't you love the promise of those words, "Not beyond what you can bear"? Those are words with your name on them maybe today because of what you're having to bear. God promises He will not take you beyond what you can bear.

I've always found potters to be intriguing. When we go to colonial villages I always enjoy watching them. I saw an interview with a potter, and she talked about how they take this formless lump of clay. And with their skilled hands on that wheel, they're able to make it into something beautiful and useful, and then the oven. They cook that piece of pottery that they've molded. They cook it at temperatures of up to 2,200 degrees to make sure that the shaping will last. It actually takes extreme heat to make the beauty and the usefulness permanent.

The interviewer said, "Well, is it possible to get the oven too hot for the pottery?" She said, "Oh, yeah. For example, if you get it up to say 3,000 degrees it will just melt down." But then she said, "The potter always knows the melting point." So does yours. God's bottom line in Romans 8:29 , "He has predestined that you would be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus." He wants you to be like Jesus, so He uses the heat in your life to burn off the junk that might otherwise never come off. And God has been building in you lately a new love, a new patience, new purity, new faith to trust Him, new character. But if it's never tested, it won't last. You have to take that new you into some intense heat for it to become tough and permanent. If the new you can get through this heat, you'll have a powerful new confidence in God's work in you.

Right now, maybe all you know is it's really hot. Well, you have a guarantee from the Master Potter, "not beyond what you can bear." Oh, He might take you to the edge, but He'll never allow you to go over. God will let the heat make you stronger, but He'll never leave His masterpiece in the oven too long.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wait Training

God KNOWS what He's doing!  He knows what we need and when we need it.  He knows what will speak to us and when it will make the most impact.  He knows our heart and when it's hurting.

I usually write my own blog posts, but sometimes I need to share what someone else has written - especially when it touches my heart.  Today, I read a devotion by Karen Ehman.  It was evident that God was speaking to me through Karen's words the more I read.  I felt led to share it in today's blog!  

*The following devotion was written by Karen Ehman.  I am sharing her words in the hope it will touch the lives of others.*

Wait Training 101
by Karen Ehman

"... but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

Ever feel like God signed you up for an intense "wait training" class?

You pray. You ask. You anticipate God's answer, but like an Internet page taking a long time to load, you must wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

I had to wait years before I became pregnant. During that time I attended baby showers while choking back tears.

I had to wait nearly three years for our too-expensive-for-our-new-financial-situation home to sell. During that time, I pinched pennies and lost sleep.

And I'm still waiting on many prayer requests: for a spiritually lost loved one, a family friend in ICU, a plan for my high school son's future. Waiting, waiting, waiting ...

But just as physical weight training builds strength, so does spiritual "wait training." We are promised this in Isaiah 40:31:

"... but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

How can waiting renew our strength? After all, doesn't waiting seem to sap our strength as we worry and fret and drum our fingers impatiently? It's exhausting playing the "What if?" game in our minds:

What if this doesn't work out?

What if God's answer is "No"?

What if the thing I fear the most actually happens ... what then?

All of this worry-laden waiting drains rather than strengthens. How can we turn this around and actually find ourselves renewed?

I have found that to shift my perspective in the waiting times replenishes my strength. I try not to think of those times of seemingly silence from God as waiting in the sense of sitting and anxiously anticipating a response. But as in waiting like a butler, maid or restaurant server.

Those who "wait on the Lord"—as in serve Him, cater to Him, help Him accomplish His work; those who take His order and bring Him what He wants—they are the ones who renew their strength.

They mount up with wings as eagles.

They walk and do not faint.

As we serve, we become more aware of what the One we are waiting on desires. We become alert, attentive, and in tune with His wishes. We begin to take our eyes off of our problems and fix them on the Lord instead. As we do, we get a glimpse into His heart.

Then, instead of the wait sapping our spiritual strength, it is renewed as we seek to do the Lord's will ... to make Him famous ... to give Him glory. Even in those long, hard times of waiting for an answer, we continue to serve Him. 

Dear Lord, teach me to shift my perspective during those times of waiting and doubt. May I stop fretting and worrying, and busy myself serving You instead. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 59
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: 198 (Last weigh-in 2/13/13)
Total weight loss: 22 pounds! I'm back to my pre-surgery weight!

Last week's dream focus: Keep my eyes on my dream - doing what I have to do to overcome this crazy adversity; eat better than the week before - making GOOD choices when dining out; and amp up the fitness!
What went well: I was able to rock my Zumba classes!  I channeled my aggression, frustration, and fury in a productive way and I felt so much better after each session.  (If I weren't snowed in with 11" of snow today, I'd find a class and get rid of some more!)
Challenges:  Oh, the ongoing adversity... it's getting more and more difficult to handle and I'm beyond overwhelmed.  The tears have been flowing EVERY SINGLE DAY.  And they don't stop... they just aren't running dry.  I trust this will soon pass and I honestly believe something big is about to happen in my life.  The change I'm so desperate for is about to come.  But my timing and God's are proving to be very different... and I struggle with the in-between, the transition.  
In looking at my food log, I've noticed I consumed more calories on days when the adversity seemed too much to handle.  I'm glad I'm aware of this because it's clearly something I need to work on - breaking the habit of eating when those emotions are high.
I've been so overwhelmed lately that it's all I can do to go to the gym, to keep eating the way I'm supposed to, to write this blog, to be the happy girl I should be.  But you know what?  We all go through valleys.  It's normal.  And it's okay to cry and let go of those emotions.  That's healthy and it can move us forward if we use it as fuel rather than an anchor holding us back.
This week's dream focus: Keep my eyes on my dream - doing what I have to do to overcome this crazy adversity; trust in God's timing, remembering this is all happening for a reason and there's some lesson to be learned; eat better than the week before - making GOOD choices when dining out; and amp up the fitness!

Monday, February 18, 2013

More and Less

Beautiful words for living! 

I hope you soak them in... absorbing the power in each one. 

How would your life change if you did these each day?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Do It Now.

It's an amazing feeling to put your dreams on paper.  To see them written down, in your handwriting, straight from your heart.  An even better feeling is when you start taking steps to make them come true - moving in that direction.  And the best feeling is to one day look at your list and see dreams that have become your reality!

I have a long list of dreams that I've captured in my dream book.  I have more dreams in my heart that I haven't written down.  Some dreams have come true, several are in progress, and many are still dreams on my list.  Let's be realistic, you can only focus on so many at once!  One specific dream that's been on my list since day one has been to become a certified Zumba instructor. 

When I first verbalized this dream over two years ago, Satan instantly went into attack mode whispering things like:
"You aren't fit enough to be a Zumba instructor"
"What will people think if they walk into your class to see you - an overweight instructor - leading Zumba?" 
"People might talk bad about you behind your back."

WHATEVER!   *everybody talks*

I tried to shut him up with responses like:
"What if seeing that I'm not super fit and toned helps them to feel more secure with themselves and allows them be comfortable moving and shaking their bodies?"
"People frequently ask me when I'm going to become certified to teach so I can lead a class at work or church.  They aren't saying that because they think I'll be a bad instructor."
"I lead worship every Sunday morning at church.  I can lead Zumba, too!"
"The point is FITNESS.  We're all there to get fit and be healthy... and we're all at different places in our journeys.  It will work out."

And just like that, he left me alone.  I've checked into Zumba certification training several times in the last two years, but it seemed as though the timing was never right for one reason or another.  Well, there's an upcoming training class nearby on Friday, March 22.


I've decided it's going to happen.  The timing is right.  The money is available.  I've attended Zumba classes consistently since October and I feel ready to get it started!  I can't believe how great this feels.  I'm so hopeful for the future and where I'm going.  I want to help others have fun while working out!  I want to help be inspired and encouraged to move in the direction of their dreams.  I want to make a difference.

And I'm going to.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 58
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: 198
Total weight loss: 22 pounds! I'm back to my pre-surgery weight!

Last week's dream focus: Dance my buns off at the Retro Zumba Party Friday night; don't allow the current adversity to prevent me from getting to my dream; continue eating well; and don't make poor choices when dining out!
What went well: Getting back to the gym has made me happy.  I really love that I now miss it when I can't be there.  It's a neat feeling!  I didn't let Sunday's "Donut Incident" mess me up... and I resisted my FAVORITE kind of donuts on Fat Tuesday at work!  I'm so proud of myself!
Challenges: Due to a family situation I was unable to attend the Retro Zumba Party... and I was heartbroken.  I've missed the last three Zumba parties, but I hope the next one will work out! 
This difficult situation I'm going through (that I thought I was at the peak of last Wednesday) has continued to get worse.  I always think I'll be able to make it through times of adversity easily, relying on God through it all and trusting His plan for me.  Well, I'm certainly relying on Him and I do trust His plan, but I'm NOT finding it easy to overcome.  Of course, nobody said it would be easy.
I've cried so many tears this week.  I sometimes feel like no one understands or cares.  I feel stuck. 
But I'm not sitting around feeling sorry for myself.  I'm taking action to change things and make them better.  I'm trying to be patient.  I'm trying to focus on the right things.  I'm trying not to be a victim.  I'm trying not to fall into old habits and eat as a result of an emotion.
I'm not doing a perfect job, but I'm definitely trying.  And trying is really helping.
This week's dream focus: Keep my eyes on my dream - doing what I have to do to overcome this crazy adversity; eat better than this past week - making GOOD choices when dining out; and amp up the fitness!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Today, I Choose

Today, I stayed positive.
Today, I was hopeful.
Today, I was aware of temptation.
Today, I resisted.
Today, I focused on my dreams.
Today, I thought about my future.
Today, I laughed.
Today, I made others laugh.
Today, I danced.
Today, I sang.
Today, I began the pursuit of another dream.
Today, I saw myself thinner.
Today, I saw myself healthier.
Today, I helped others.
Today, I was helped.

Today, I was an overcomer.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Brand New Day

It's super easy to allow struggles and adversity to get us down and stuck where we don't want to be.  When we've messed up, it can seem like the hardest thing to do to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. 

But you know what?  It can be done.  I'm living proof!

I was so frustrated first thing yesterday morning.  I was filled with anger and tension and I wanted to destroy something!  Obviously, I would never harm another soul and I've learned from the past that destroying material things does little good for a situation (however, demolition can help channel that anger into something productive!). 

On our way to church we stopped to put gas in the car.  Our family has a habit of grabbing donuts and drinks from QuickTrip on Sunday mornings, but I corrected that habit months ago by choosing parfaits, fruit, and protein bars instead! 

Yesterday, I lost control.  I lost my MIND!  I was MAD.  I was OVER IT.  I was getting a donut. 

I stood there for a bit just looking at the donuts.  I argued with myself.  I had myself talked out of getting one.  But before I knew what happened I'd talked myself right back into it. I chose a pudding-filled, chocolate iced donut to go with my big bottle of water.  I devoured it.  I liked it.  But then, I realized it was gone.  It was in my stomach... all that sugar and grossness adding little to no nutritional value.  Not the best way to start my morning.

I spent time evaluating that chain of events; my emotions, my actions, my reactions, my feelings when it was all said and done.  And I decided I had to let it go.  It happened.  It's behind me.  I'm not the person I once was!  I stood there and contemplated getting one where as, in the past, I wouldn't have considered NOT getting one.  I didn't get two or three donuts.  I didn't get a bottle of flavored milk!  I don't have to allow it to mess up my eating for the rest of the day.  I don't have to allow it to keep me from doing good things, like going to the gym!

Do you know how much stronger I feel after going through that?  I feel like a ROCK STAR today!  I couldn't believe I went to the gym and worked for an hour to burn that donut.  It felt incredible... and I can't wait to go back!  I'm continuing to make good eating decisions and have probably done even better SINCE eating that donut. 

The song "Brand New Day" has been stuck in my head since the donut incident of 2013.  I can so relate to it.  Reaching out to God has been the one thing that's kept me holding on for this long because I know He'll get me through each trial, as long as I move aside and let Him do amazing things!  I hope you enjoy it!

"Brand New Day"
by KJ-52
Wooooah oh oh
Staring over in a brand new way
Woooahh oh oh
Shout it out it’s a brand new day
And I’ll never ever ever be the same
No I’ll never ever ever be the same

Your sun light is on my face
Your life is all I chase
I run right upon this race
Cause in You I’m gonna put all my faith
When some nights I lose my way
Sometimes I walk and stray
But You come right inside my space
And each time You come You give me strength
This time I'll fix my gaze
This time I wont be the same
This time I wont be ashamed
So this time I can’t help but say that...

Your sunlight is on my face
I look back how far I came
I think about how much I’ve changed
It was hard at times but I’m not the same
You deserve all this praise
You deserve all the fame
You deserve all my ways
I point back to You each and all my days
I reach and grab all You’ve gave
I see Your Hands all You’ve made
I see Your plan and all You’d save
That we can have life (You've got me singing…)

I’m not where I want to be
But I’m not where I used to be
I’m not where I want to be
But I’m not where I used to be

Friday, February 8, 2013

Getting Somewhere


Where are you in your journey?

Is it where you want to be?


If not, do you know where it is you really want to go? 

If you don't know exactly, do you have an idea?

Are you willing to do what it takes to get there?

Would you be happy a year from now if you continued doing nothing to move closer to where you want to be?

Have you considered the results of continuing to do nothing?

Is that what you want for your life?

Does is seem too scary to step out and make a change?

Wouldn't facing that fear be worth it in the end?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 57
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: 205 (I’m breaking my dependency on the number on the scale. Last weigh-in 11/29/12)
Total weight loss: 15 pounds!

Last week's dream focus: Stay on the road to feeling better and regaining strength; get back to the gym when I can finally physically handle it; as I regain my appetite, continue eating healthy; and don't make poor choices when dining out!
What went well: I'm finally feeling normal (for me) again, but it took a while!  Dehydration was rough and I didn't become fully hydrated until Monday.  I went back to the gym and did so well Monday night, then rocked my Zumba class last night!  My appetite is back and it's kind of neat that I'm craving foods that are good for me... and desiring those "other foods" less.  That virus detoxed me more than I realized!
Challenges: I'm at the peak of a difficult situation (or at least I hope it's the peak and not the start... Lord, please continue to help me through this!).  It's unrelated to my weight loss journey, but the reminders still apply.  I have to constantly remember that the journey to turning our dreams into our reality can be SUPER CHALLENGING.  I've determined how much I really want this.  And the more I realize how much I want it, the less I can tolerate anything else.  Finding the balance has proven to be really difficult and overwhelming.  I know I can overcome, but man - this is hard.
This week's dream focus: Dance my buns off at the Retro Zumba Party Friday night; don't allow the current adversity to prevent me from getting to my dream; continue eating well; and don't make poor choices when dining out!

Monday, February 4, 2013

You Don't Have to Be Great to Start

Tonight was my first night back at the gym in a week and a half.  I'm finally over the Norovirus and am no longer dehydrated.  YAY!  I never knew how severe dehydration could be and how terrible the effects can be on your body.  Awful.  

"Lord, thank You for getting me through that mess and allowing it to detox my body.  Although I never want to experience it again, I appreciate the extra weight loss and time of clarity it provided.  I feel blessed to be renewed and restored.  Amen!"

I missed going to the gym when I was so sick.  I missed it BAD.  That's how I know I've got a good thing going!  A NEW HABIT!  

I was not "great" at fitness when I started, but I made it happen.  I started slow and increased the level and intensity each time, if even just a little.  I joined the gym in mid-October; three and a half months ago.  I can't believe I'm actually running on the treadmill now!  I could barely handle Zumba a year ago when I started doing the DVD's in my basement (FLASHBACK!  Read about that first time here), and now I go hard in class twice a week and participate in Zumba theme parties every chance I get (another one this Friday night)!

Okay, back to tonight.  I'll be truthful... I did NOT want to go.  I felt tired and didn't really feel like doing anything but Zumba.... and there's no Zumba class on Mondays at our gym.  I knew I needed to go no matter what.  I went.  The devil tried to throw every excuse at me to make me stumble; "I'm too tired", "I shouldn't have eaten that for lunch - this heartburn is killing me", "There will probably be too many people there", "I can just go tomorrow and get back into it with a Zumba class", and others I've since blocked out.


"You are NOT going to keep me from my dream, you dream killer.  You are the author of lies and I'm not going to listen.  Get behind me and SHUT UP!"

And, like that, I went in, rocked my run/walk like I'd never had time off!  I  burned just over 400 calories and I no longer feel tired or have heartburn.  I feel accomplished and proud of myself... and I'm one step closer to my dream!  

Remember, when Satan talks, you don't have to listen.  These are your dreams.  God placed them in your heart.  This is your life.  You deserve better than what the devil wants to see happen to you.  Take it back!  Put your faith in God and watch Him bring you through.  Rely on His strength and MAKE IT HAPPEN!  You can do it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Full Transition Mode

Remember times of transition in your life? Think back...
You had that moment when you recognized a dream and you made the decision to act on it. You take a step forward. It felt good. You took another step... then another.  You begin to think “This feels right –this is definitely what I want!” You keep moving in that direction, envisioning the future; feeling empowered and feeling hope of what's to come.
Then, a barrier is thrown your way. One you didn't see coming. It's uncomfortable and you don't want to face it. You now question your dream. "Is this what I really want?  Maybe I'm not meant for this after all.  Maybe I’m being unrealistic.”  You contemplate giving up on the dream. 
You’re in full transition mode.
You must now make a critical choice.  Keep trying or give up.
To find your answer, ask yourself:
·         How important is this dream to me?
·         Is the barrier really that big?
·         Am I willing to allow this barrier to keep me from my dream?
·         How will I feel later if I do?
·         How will I feel later if I don’t?
·         What can I do to get around it?
·         Who can help me get around it?
·         Do I need to modify my dream?
Your answers will help you decide how much you really want this. 

When you overcome life’s challenges and barriers, you feel accomplished.  You gain a sense of empowerment that drives you to see that dream become reality.  You no longer want to settle for the way it’s always been.  You stand up for yourself.  You find ways to make it happen.  
So what will you choose?