Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You CAN Change!


It can be a really scary thing.

But in order to become better versions of ourselves, to move in the direction of our dreams, to truly be happy and fulfilled, we can't continue to do what we've been doing.  

We must be willing to get uncomfortable.  We must make progress.  We must change.  

So how do I even start?

If you're unhappy with your life in general, start by narrowing it down to one area.  You might find that starting there will change your perspective and help you discover happiness in places you didn't feel it before!  

Try not to change everything at once.  Understand it takes time to develop new habits and overcome the old ones.  It takes repetition, determination, and a lot of picking yourself up when you stumble... because believe me, YOU WILL.  

And that's okay.

Be okay with slow progress.  Slow progress IS progress and it's much better than continuing to do the same old things (or "nothings") that kept you miserable before.  Remember that.  Reflect on how you felt when you were unhappy... then begin to see your dreams, your future.  How would it feel for that to become your reality, leaving the old junk behind?  

Do you deserve to be happy?  Absolutely!  

Do you deserve to have those dreams come true?  Definitely!  

God places dreams in your heart so you'll pursue the life He wants you to live!  He wants you to use the story of how you overcame to glorify Him and help others come to know Him.  He wants you to shine not so that others can see you, but through you, others can see Him! (Ephesians 5:8)  How do you want your story to turn out?

To change, you must:
Be dedicated.  Devote yourself to seeing this through.  Be aware that it will get difficult at times, but don't give up when it does.  
Concentrate.  Fix your eyes on your dream, your future, and on God, and don't look back for long. 
Evaluate.  Reflect on where you once were and remember how unhappy you felt back then.  Do you really want to feel that way again?  Use those feelings to propel you forward and leave 'em in the dust behind you!
Cooperate.  Don't fight the process, roll with it!  Be patient with the timing because this change won't happen overnight.  It takes time and effort, so give it.
Affirm and stay positive.  Be okay with the fact that you'll make mistakes! You knew you would, so don't beat yourself up over it.  Forgive yourself and keep moving forward.  Maintain a positive outlook and put aside those negative, self-sabotaging thoughts!
Be motivated.  Be your own cheerleader!  Congratulate yourself when you do things right, said "no" when you wanted to say "yes", or vise-versa.  Don't ignore the little victories because they're powerful and they add up!  Surround yourself with others who inspire and cheer you on.  Spend little time with those who drain you or try to crush your dreams.  When you can't avoid those people, ask God to help you stay motivated and deflect negative comments that could tear you down.

Don't give up... believe that you CAN change!  You CAN be happy!  You CAN turn your dreams into reality!  


Monday, April 29, 2013

Trust is a Must!

I had a bad dream last night.  It had to do with something I've been worried and stewing about lately.  In my dream, it came true and I was so upset.  I woke up frustrated, hoping I didn't have to feel this way in real life.

Isn't it interesting how our worries weave their way into our subconscious and seep into our dreams?  It tells telling me I'm spending too much time rehearsing things I can't control in my mind and not enough time relying on God and being patient in His timing.  

My focus is skewed.  I'm trying to fool myself and others into thinking I'm giving my worries to God when the truth is I'm stressed out, anxious, and impatient.  I'm tired of waiting.  I'm tired of wondering.  I just want to know something.  

But God wants us to wait on Him and TRUST HIM!  Trust that we don't need to rush everything.  Trust that He's got it all under control.  Trust that He gives us dreams for a reason and He won't tie our hearts to a dead-end dream.  There's always some lesson we can take from each situation.  There's always a story we'll be able to tell that can help others later.  We just have to be okay when results aren't instant.

One day we'll understand why things happened in that timing.  Until then, we must trust!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Must Be a Mermaid

If asked who'd be willing to jump off a high cliff or go sky diving or bungee jumping, I'm not the first person that comes to mind.  That kind of adventure doesn't excite or appeal to me in any way.  I've never really considered myself an adventurous person.  

Adventurous is defined as "willing to take risks or to try out new methods, ideas, or experiences".  I also saw it defined as "to cope with the new and unknown." 


Maybe I'm more adventurous than I thought.

I see that I'm willing to take more risks and do things I've never done when it comes to pursuing my dreams.  I'm open to new ideas and styles.  I'm seeking new experiences.  And I'm willing to risk my own dreams if it means I'll help others because of it.

That's pretty darn adventurous. 

The truth is we don't know what God has in store for us but we can have no fear and trust His plan, His direction, and His timing... easier said than done, I know.  I don't want to live an ordinary life with boring stories about nothing really happening.  I want to experience the ups and downs and use the highs and lows to help others.  I want to make an impact.  I want to question the way it's always been and offer new perspectives on how it could be.  I want to be proud of the things I've done and those risks I've taken.  I want to inspire and make a difference.  I want to please God.  

I want to be... the adventurous me!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 68
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: 195  (Last weigh-in 4/18/13)
Total weight loss: 25 pounds

Last week's dream focusPain management - don't do more than I can handle; keep trusting, having faith, being positive, and moving forward; thank God for His blessings and divine appointments and encounters; keep that chin up and SMILE!!!
What went well: I was able to get through every day without it completely impacting my life!  The pain is always there, sometimes it's worse than others, but it never really goes away.  I'm not allowing it to stop me from being happy, from being thankful, from living my life.  I press on and I trust.  I take each moment as it comes and I'm working on the challenge of having patience, especially in waiting to hear what it is and what's next.  The load is pretty heavy so I'm asking God to carry it for me as I build endurance.  He's pretty incredible!
On a topic unrelated to pain, one of my biggest, most exciting dreams of my life is beginning to manifest!  I CAN HARDLY CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT ABOUT IT!  It's in the very early stages, there are no certainties, and I don't know the timing of it (another test in patience), but I've never been closer to something I've envisioned - something I feel deep in my bones, in every fiber of my being.
This is one of those times I wish I could beg every one of you to pursue your dreams relentlessly and never give up.  I want you to feel this kind of blissful anticipation that makes your heart overflow!
Challenges:  Clearly, the pain is still my biggest challenge.  I'm so thankful to God for delivering me from my previous work situation (completely disengaged, overwhelmed, and crying daily) just in time for me to adjust to the new one before this pain fired up.  There's a big sigh of relief in my being when I envision how much different things could be for me right now had this position not been available and I had to endure more of the same.  It seriously would not have been a good place to be.  Like honestly.  It couldn't be clearer to me how brilliant and incredible God is!  The timing wasn't a mistake or a lucky coincidence.  No sir.  No ma'am.  It was SO God!  This really does help me to have more patience where I am now... I love reflection!
I'm trying hard not to dwell on the fact that it's been over three weeks since I've been to the gym or any kind of fitness class (my beloved Zumba, I totally miss you).  The pain trumps my ability to move like I normally would so I have to be patient, rest, and relax.  Could I go to the gym and walk slowly on the treadmill or lift some light weights?  Possibly.  I just fear hurting myself worse than I'm already hurting.  So, for now, I have to be okay with this downtime.
This week's dream focus:  Pain management - don't do more than I can handle; keep trusting, having faith, being positive, and moving forward; thank God for His blessings and divine appointments and encounters; keep that chin up and SMILE!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Breathe Deep

Ah, patience.  :)

I'm reminded how difficult it can be to remain still and not worry about what's ahead.  To trust in God's plan and be thankful for the present has been more than a challenge for me the past few days.  It might be easier if I wasn't in continuous pain... I just want to know what's going on with me!

The honest truth is I want what God wants for my life.  I trust that His plan is much better than my dreams, and I believe He's given me these dreams for a purpose... to fulfill that plan.  Although my heart has been set on something my entire life, it's preparing to adjust those plans and welcome new ones, if necessary.  I know I could use my story to help others and I know God would use me for His glory.  

I'm not worried.

I'm thankful for all I have and for all I've overcome.  I'm thankful for my dreams; the ones I've turned into reality and the ones I continue to pursue.  I'm thankful for second chances, for do-overs.  I'm thankful for storms as they help me grow and learn.  I'm thankful for family and friends and for everyone who supports and encourages me.  This life is amazing and I have every intention of living it fully with joy, laughter, and happiness!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Devil is an Idiot

The devil is an idiot.

He's clever, but a total idiot.

When we learn how to stand against his stupid tactics, it's much easier to move forward and not allow them to ruin your day - or life!  Let me share an example...

An insecurity I've struggled with for years is my nose (I've blogged about this before).  It's not as bad as it used to be because I'm working to overcome it, but the devil's very aware of that and he enjoys bringing it up.  This morning, while looking at my blog stats, I noticed something.  The picture below shows specific keywords that led someone to my blog, and how many times this occurred.  It won't take long for you to see what the devil searched for...

My first thought was "seriously?"  Then, I was like "whatever."  I was instantly aware who was behind this.  He's an idiot who tried to ruin my day... but it's not gonna happen! 

In the past, this may have hurt my heart and torn me down.  But today I look at this with different eyes!  I see that 8 of the 9 searches were positive, uplifting, and self-improving!   They're people looking to make changes in their life or surround themselves with something good, something that will propel them towards their dreams!  They're people with a desire to no longer settle for the way it's always been or an unfulfilled life!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 67
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: 195
Total weight loss: 25 pounds! 

Last week's dream focusKeep moving forward; continue making good food choices; manage the pain and don't do more than I can handle; don't put pressure on myself to learn Zumba choreography... it will all happen in the right timing.
What went well: I weighed myself again and found I'd actually lost 2 pounds!  That makes sense because I haven't been able to consume my typical caloric intake... I get full really fast and waste so much food.  
I saw a different doctor to get a second opinion and, although I don't have test results and I'm in wait and see mode, I feel much more confident about the care I've received.  I'm beyond impressed with the "Life Care" mentality at Mosaic Life Care and feel as though God has placed me in these hands for several good reasons!  I'm seen as a whole person with many different needs and conditions.
Dreams are unfolding and my heart is jumping inside me!
Challenges:  PAIN.  The pain is getting worse.  No Zumba.  No gym.  Missing the boy's baseball games.  No praise team practice.  Not much relief.  Sometimes it's worse than other times.  Regardless, it's seriously impacting my life and I'm really over it.
When I weighed myself again this week I was expecting to see weight gain.  Sunday, my stomach was super swollen and I couldn't even get close to wearing any of my new pants in the smaller sizes.  Thank the Lord I kept three pairs of my bigger pants for the "just in case" scenarios.   I don't understand how my stomach could be that much bigger - almost overnight - when I'd been eating half the portions of food I normally do.  The swelling has gone down, but it's still super painful.
This week's dream focus:  Pain management - don't do more than I can handle; keep trusting, having faith, being positive, and moving forward; thank God for His blessings and divine appointments and encounters; keep that chin up and SMILE!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Just Breathe

I worried last night. Lying in bed feeling excruciating pain in my abdomen, resisting my husband’s pleads to take me to the ER, I contemplated my future and what’s next for me.  What’s causing this pain?  What will the doctor say at my appointment Wednesday?  What if the path I was headed down takes an unexpected turn and I watch my dream vanish into thin air?  What if it’s really what I think it is?  What if it’s further along than we know?  Are we prepared for such a life-altering change?  Did I expect to deal with this at 35 years old?

I was worked up.  My heart was racing.  I couldn't breathe.

But wait...  

I don’t officially know anything yet.  

All I really know is how the pain feels inside.   It doesn't seem good.  I know what I’m preparing myself for, but it's not official.  I don’t know that’s what it is and worrying about something I can’t change is never going to propel me forward.  It’s not going to add a second to my life.  It’s not going to make my dreams become my reality. 

God reminded me that everything that happens is part of His plan.  He isn't going to let me down or let me go.  I’m His daughter and He will take care of every need, desire, hurt, struggle, pain, and emotion I feel.  He reminded me that everything that happens in my life is a story to tell… a testimony of His amazing love and grace!  A declaration of how He carried me through yet another difficult time!  He doesn't want us to worry or be anxious... He wants us to trust and have faith in His plan.

I immediately felt peace when He reminded me to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6.  I can rejoice in the waiting and be thankful for the beauty around me!

I now rest with the assurance that my life is in His hands and, no matter the outcome, He will carry me through!

So stop feeling anxious and just breathe...

Monday, April 15, 2013

He's Got Your Back

No matter what you're going through, God can use it for good.  I'm finding this reminder really helps me when I'm faced with adversity, no matter how great or small.  The more I focus on the dreams God's placed in my heart, the more determined my spirit is to prevent anything from getting in the way of those dreams... especially Satan.  He obviously doesn't want me to be happy or fruitful or doing good things that align with God's plan.  That's why he's always throwing something new in my way to make me lose hope.  But my life, my heart, my future belongs to my Heavenly Father... and He won't let me down!

I've been thinking a lot about the question "Why do bad things happen to good people?"   I learn a person who does so many good things in the world to help others, and makes the world a better place, is suffering from a disease, loss, or tragedy and find myself thinking "Why couldn't that happen to a rapist, murderer, or child molester.  It's the least they deserve for the things they've done.  It's just not fair!"  

But God doesn't see it that way.  Everyone on this earth has good in them... and bad.  We all make our own decisions based on our past, our present, our ideas about the future, the lies Satan tells us, and the insecurity and inferiority he leads us to feel.  We react.  We have regrets.  We want do-overs.  We want to take things back.  We learn our lessons.  We all sin.  

And God loves us anyway.

Good things happen to people.  Bad things happen to people.  This is life.  However, our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we respond to those things. 

God knows the impact our story can have on others if we allow Him to use it.  He knows what our heart wants... but He also knows what we NEED.  We may begin to realize our dreams might not turn out the way we wanted or expected.  That maybe God has a different plan for us than we've ever had for ourselves.  

A better plan.  

It can be hard to comprehend this when you feel your dream beginning to dissolve, making room for a new one.  But when you open your heart to God's plan for you, and put aside your own ideas, He will follow through on His promise to never leave you or forsake you, no matter the outcome.  It's in His hands and He's got your back!  

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."  Deuteronomy 31:8

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 66
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220 
Current weight: 197 - MY LOWEST WEIGHT YET!
Total weight loss: 23 pounds! 

Last week's dream focus: Forgive myself for making mistakes - then move on; continue making good food choices; prioritize what MUST be done and what can wait; find/make time to work on Zumba choreography!
What went well: I finally weighed myself and I'm at my lowest since I started... 197!  Satan wants me to focus on how much weight I could've lost by now and that it should be much more than 23 pounds.  But he can shut up!  I'm focused on how many new, good habits I've created and how many times I've picked myself up when I've stumbled.  Frankly, I'm still rockin' it because I continue to get closer to my dream every day.  So put that in your book, Beelz.
I used birthday money to buy some new clothes as the majority of mine are so huge I can't keep them on my body!  I donated six trash bags of clothing... like a serious purge.  It felt great!
Challenges:  Pain.  I've been in so much pain this week and haven't been able to go to the gym or my favorite Zumba classes.  Remember last summer when I was in so much pain I couldn't work out for months, then had surgery for stage three endometriosis?  It's a similar kind of pain, but it's highly unlikely that it's more endo.  I've taken Lupron shots since August to give it time to heal and not grow back, so I'm not certain what's causing it. 
After going to the doctor Monday, I wasn't satisfied at all with his diagnosis.  I'm getting a second opinion.  I know my body and I don't have a good feeling about something.  I'm trusting God to place me with the right medical staff and reveal the true issue.  I know He'll take care of my needs and won't let me down.  Everything that happens in my life is part of my story.  I truly believe if my adversity can help someone else through their challenges, it's worth it!
This week's dream focus:  Keep moving forward; continue making good food choices; manage the pain and don't do more than I can handle; don't put pressure on myself to learn Zumba choreography... it will all happen in the right timing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

We Are Called to Love

I wanted to share an article I wrote for our church newsletter.  Sometimes it feels like the world is so focused on "self" that respect and manners go right out the window.  It's super easy for us to get caught up in that, too...

* * * *

Do you consider yourself a loving person?  Do others feel better after being around you?  How about people you encounter in public... those perfect strangers?  How do you make them feel?

Without saying a word we can change the way somebody feels inside.  A casual smile, holding the door open, letting someone ahead of you in line, a hateful look or gesture, cutting someone off in traffic, arguing with the customer service associate, or avoidance altogether.  As Christians, we are called to love others.  This doesn't mean you should pick from a category: strangers, friends, family members, church members, or people who can get you what you want.  It means we are called to love EVERYONE. 

"And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  Ephesians 5:2

When you stop to consider the things God has forgiven you for throughout your life, it's a humbling moment.  We've all been unlovable at times.  We've all said and done thing we wish we could take back.  But God continues to love us, even when we don't deserve His love.  In John 13:34, He's clearly calling us to follow that example when He said "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

This isn't a suggestion, it's a command.  It's non-negotiable.  We are to love others, period.  But God doesn't tell us to love without telling us how!  He gives us the scoop in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Simply put, you must have patience with people.  Be nice and use manners.  Don't just talk about yourself but ask caring questions about the other person and listen.  Do nice things and don't gossip, disrespect others, or put them down.  Don't do things for selfish reasons but think of how the other person will feel.  Keep your cool and understand that change takes time (as it has with you).  Don't keep a list of the things someone has done against you but forgive them and keep moving forward.  And speak the truth, IN LOVE, with a kind heart and humble, caring spirit.   

Every act of life is to be guided by love to God and man.  Have you loved others as Christ has loved you or have you treated those you should be loving in ways that don't align with 1 Corinthians 13?  What wrongs do you need to make right?  Do you owe someone an apology for the way you've been treating them?  Is the pain you're feeling spilling out and affecting relationships with others in a negative way?  In this very moment you can begin loving others as Christ has loved you.  It will not always be easy, but God will bless you for obeying His command.  People want to feel loved and cared about.  Imagine how many more lost people could come to know Christ because of the love you show.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

GVHS Shout-Out!

Three months after I began (this round of) my weight loss journey, I kept feeling the need to share my blog posts on Facebook with a desire to help others going through similar struggles.  But insecurity overwhelmed me and for weeks I wouldn't take that leap. 

My mind was filled with fearful thoughts like "what if people don't care to hear about my journey", and "what if they take it the wrong way, like I'm seeking attention", and my biggest fear "so many friends from high school will see these posts and know I've gained a bunch of weight... it's just too embarrassing!"

But the day came when God spoke clearly to me, saying, "Take My hand and trust Me.  You can do this!  Not everyone will need to hear your story but many people will be impacted by it if you just put yourself out there.  Close your eyes and take the leap... I'll won't let you down!"

So I closed my eyes... and I jumped.  The rest is history!

To all of you who've known me at any weight and continue to support me, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude!  To those of you who haven't met me personally but encourage and inspire me to keep chasing my dreams, I thank you from the depths of my soul!

And to my Grain Valley High School classmates who support me in my journey, you'll never fully understand just what it means to have you on my side.  Your encouragement, friendship, and motivation has really blown my mind!  None of you have ever discouraged me or said a negative word to throw me off track.  Rather, you've helped me believe in myself, you've reminded me I could do it, you've been right there with me through the ups and downs sharing positive words to help me move forward, and you confirmed what I already knew... you're amazing!  I'm sorry for ever doubting you... but that's how Satan uses insecurity and inferiority to hold us back.  I'm just glad I trusted God enough to shut him up and take that leap!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 65
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220 
Current weight: 198 (Last weigh-in 2/13/13)
Total weight loss: 22 pounds! 

Last week's dream focus: Keep making good food choices; continue shutting the devil down when he tries to creep around me; continue giving God the praise for helping me through such difficult situations and making it worth my while to hang in there; and make time to work on Zumba choreography!

What went well: I am getting back on track with eating... and that started yesterday!  I faced a lot of challenges last week and didn't do so well.  I made poor choices and gave into temptation more than once.  It happened.  I'm over it.  That's all behind me now and I'm moving forward!  
Yesterday, I went to a new Zumba class I've never attended and had fun!  I saw yet another instructor leading in different ways with a different style and that inspires me!  It helps me to get ideas of what I can do when I lead my own classes.  The best part?  After talking with her, she also said I could jump in and lead a song any time.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?  I now have three opportunities to get used to leading!  God is so good...

Challenges:  Blogging, in general, has been so difficult for me lately.  I don't have writers block, I just have SO much going on and struggle to find time to write EVERY day.  I could stay up late and get a post in, but I know when my body needs rest.  If I deny it, it wont' be pretty!  I'm glad you understand and are patient with me... it means more than you know!
It seems like I was tempted all week long and pretty much gave in every time.  I rarely said no to anything I wanted to eat.  Easter lunch, ball park food, candy, birthday dinner, cookie cake, key lime cheesecake, and the list goes on.  I was dumb.  I don't like what I saw in me last week.  That's not who I want to be at all!  I've made so much progress and I want to keep going!  
So you know what?  That's what I'm doing.  I'm not going to sit around and cry and mope about how I messed up.  I'm not going to wallow in the fact that I made some mistakes.  It doesn't mean I've ruined everything I've worked so hard for since December 28, 2011.  The fact that I don't like seeing myself slip back into old, bad habits tells me I've made new, good ones... and Satan wants to trip me up.  NOT GONNA HAPPEN!  Maybe I've hit a plateau, but it's no reason to throw in the towel!  Instead, I'll use it to wipe the sweat off my brow during Zumba!   :)

This week's dream focus: Forgive myself for making mistakes - then move on; continue making good food choices; prioritize what MUST be done and what can wait; find/make time to work on Zumba choreography!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

When Life Throws Curve Balls

In honor of the beginning of baseball season, PLAY BALL!

I'm sorry that lately my blog posting has been less frequent than it once was!  I've found myself super busy with life and doing all the things I should.  Some days it seems almost impossible to accomplish everything I need to right now.  I'm trying to prioritize what I should focus on and let the rest go.  It's not always easy but sometimes focusing on getting a workout in, going to the boy's baseball game, or spending time with family trumps a blog post. 

I do my best to continue connecting on my Overweight... AND OVER IT! Facebook page as much as possible.  I hope that helps you as much as it helps me!

In the past few weeks I've gone from a disengaging job to an engaging one; I've become a Zumba instructor; we've celebrated Easter, the boy's birthday, and mine; we've taken a trip to Baton Rouge, LA and Columbia, MO to watch the LSU Tigers sweep Washington and Mizzou; and we've endured super-crazy snow storms!  Oh, and let's not forget daylight savings time where I feel like I continue to lose an hour of sleep each day and can't catch up!  WHEW!

All things considered, I feel so happy with where my life is headed and I'm okay with posting less frequently on my blog.  I will continue to share my struggles and victories with you.  I will continue to support and encourage you.  I will continue to make dreams come true... even if that means I'm doing more work and writing less! 

Thank you for being part of my journey.  Thank you for encouraging and supporting me when I've needed it the most.  I'll never be able to tell you how much it means... Y'ALL ROCK!