Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mind Shift

Shifting our thoughts, our focus, and our outlook is not impossible.  Although it seems far away some days, we CAN change our way of thinking!  When we do, we will overcome!

Please be advised...

It takes effort.  
It takes time.  
It takes love.
It takes commitment.
It takes hope. 
It takes faith.
It takes patience.  
It takes endurance.
It takes forgiveness (of yourself and others).
It takes picking yourself up and starting over, multiple times.

These things will make or break your success in overcoming the old habits and developing new ones!  Trust me, you CAN OVERCOME!  You just can't give up.  You just can't quit when it gets difficult.  What you can do it dust of your wings and get ready to SOAR!

(Source - I do not endorse or promote Red Bull)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 73
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: ?  (Last weigh-in 4/18/13)
Total weight loss: 25 pounds

Last week's dream focus
Continue managing pain; shut Satan down when he uses his little tactics on me; continue to pray, trust, have faith, and remain positive; be still and patient; keep my eyes on God and His blessings!
What went well: The Lidoderm patch is still helping the pain and I'm able to live life closer to normal.  It's really getting me through what is now week 10.  I had a pipida scan on Tuesday to check my gallbladder and I'm awaiting the results.  The pain management appointment left me more frustrated and feeling like we may never figure this out, but I press on and do everything they ask and suggest, in the hopes we'll make progress.  The pain management doctor referred me to a physical therapist and I had my first appointment today.  The PT didn't feel this was a PT issue and didn't seem to think this was going to solve the problem.  (Yay!  We were on the same page and I didn't even share my feelings about it ahead of time!)  However, we are going to give it two weeks (two appointments a week) and see if it makes an impact.
Oh, and you might have noticed the new AMAZING banner and social media icons on my blog!  Thank you, David Roberson, for rocking my world and whipping these up.  You're beyond FAB and super talented!  I'm just sad we didn't get to work together for very long! :)
Challenges:  Staying positive and shutting down the negative frustration is wearing me down.  I just want to get this fixed!  I just want to move on with life!  I just want to get back into the gym and make weight loss progress and make dreams come true!  It's so difficult sometimes not to feel completely helpless and overwhelmed.  But I'm fighting hard to turn to God when I find myself here... and it always works!
This week's dream focus:  Continue managing pain; shut Satan down when he uses his little tactics on me; continue to pray, trust, have faith, and remain positive; be still and patient; keep my eyes on God and His blessings!

Friday, May 24, 2013


I mean... did I seriously just read these words?  After fighting the annoying devil and his negativity all week, this was exactly the confirmation I needed to keep going!  I can't express how much I love these words: "This is the ground I have gained, and I am NOT giving it up, devil.  YOU ARE NOT driving me back into the hole that God pulled me out of.  I am going to stand strong in the power of God until He delivers me."  (emphasis added) They empower me beyond belief.  


My heart seriously JUMPS inside my chest when I read those words.  And it's not getting old!  I keep reading them over and over again and it's more exciting each time!  I want to memorize and say them in my head, out loud, in front of my friends, my family, my church... whenever I need to say them - no matter where I am!  

We DON'T have to sit back and take his attacks!
We DON'T have to believe the lies he whispers in our ear!
We DON'T have to allow him to keep us from our dreams!
We DON'T have to settle for an ordinary life!

We CAN turn our mess into our message!
We CAN encourage ourselves, and others, to keep fighting and overcome!
We CAN forgive ourselves, and others, for mistakes made!
We CAN be happy!

"There may be times when it seems that you cannot go forward, but at least you do not have to go backward.  You may not know how to forge ahead, but you can stand firmly on what you know of God."  So...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Enthralled With Your Beauty

You know when you're at a backyard barbecue in the middle of summer and a gnat or fly won't stop swarming around you, annoying you while you're just trying to live your life and eat your juicy, grilled food?

That's what Satan is doing to me.

And I'm over it.

God is helping me swat him, AND his gross comments, away... but it still gets old.  He knows what works.  He knows what hits us right to the core.  He knows what will make the biggest impact to trip us up.  And, because we're human, we often fall into his traps. Traps like being hateful to ourselves and saying - and thinking - negative comments about our progress, our bodies, our past, our future.  

I find myself struggling to fight negative thoughts about myself lately.  I feel like I've finally arrived at a place where I've created good, healthy habits and I was gaining momentum in my weight loss and healthy lifestyle until the pain arrived.  It's like it came to a screeching halt. In addition to the swelling in my abdomen, I'm beginning to gain wait from the lack of working out and not eating as well as I should.  I've been making poor choices and Satan is conveniently reminding me of those.  

"...clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."  1 Peter 3:4 (NLT)

When faced with temptations like this, we must ask God to help us see ourselves through His eyes, the way He sees us.  He'll help the comments of our critics - this includes ourselves - fade away and the love He feels for us will increase in our hearts!  When we turn to Him, He will never let us down.  Even when we start to think negatively about ourselves, we shouldn't feel as though He's not there for us.  He is... He ALWAYS is!  Don't confuse Satan's tactics with the absence of God.  God is never absent.  He's always right there waiting for us to turn to Him, to seek His face, to thank Him for the blessings He pours out on us, and to worship Him in all trials.  

He loves us with an unmatched love that can never be found in material things.  If we're looking there, we'll always be let down.  He's patiently waiting for us to come to Him for help when we're at our weakest and worship Him through it all!  It's a beautiful relationship no one should miss! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 72
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: ?  (Last weigh-in 4/18/13)
Total weight loss: 25 pounds

Last week's dream focus
Manage pain; keep praying, trusting, having faith, and being positive; find ways to be patient and fight this depression Satan wants me to fall into... focus my eyes on God and His blessings!
What went well: The Lidoderm patch is helping the pain and enables me to do more moving.  I'll admit I'm nervous to wear it because I'm secretly afraid it will somehow delay progress with resolving the issue, whatever it is.  I know that sounds strange, but I don't want a temporary fix - I want a full resolution.  I'm trying to focus on this patch as a blessing from God to help me until we figure it out.
My visit with the surgeon yesterday was fantastic!  She was so open, caring, and understanding.  She listened to everything I had to say and she addressed all my concerns.  She did a lot of pushing around on my stomach and it hurt so bad... I was still really tender.  She couldn't feel a hernia, but didn't want to rule it out just yet.  There's a possibility there could be small holes in a layer of muscle through which pieces of abdominal fat could protrude, pressing on nerves and causing pain. She said the smaller the hole, the greater the pain.  

She's also questioning if:

  • I have adhesions from my surgery last August
  • a sciatic nerve is compressed and causing the pain
  • my gallbladder is functioning properly.  She indicated I did not appear to have the typical symptoms of gallbladder issues and my pain is located much lower than that type of pain.  I'll have a pipida scan next Tuesday to see how it's functioning so, if there were problems, she could correct it during surgery.
The other great news is she will definitely look for endometriosis during surgery and remove any she finds!  That thrills my soul!  In the meantime I'm trying to be patient until we find answers.  I'll put it this way... I'm REALLY being tested here!
Challenges:  Shutting Satan's voice out and being patient are my greatest challenges right now.  I'm just so darn ready to move forward with my life and fulfill dreams.  It feels like I'm wearing concrete boots and can't move forward!  I keep reminding myself I must be okay with God's timing, that this is for reasons only He knows and I have to trust and worship Him as I wait!
This week's dream focus:  Continue managing pain; shut Satan down when he uses his little tactics on me; continue to pray, trust, have faith, and remain positive; be still and patient; keep my eyes on God and His blessings!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Confuse The Enemy

Sometimes I feel so frustrated with where I am.  

Satan reminds me how long it's been since I started this weight loss journey... December 28, 2011, to be exact.  Next Tuesday will make it one year and 5 months.  He points out how many pounds and dress sizes I could have lost by now had I not been in so much pain, resulting in surgery and a recovery last summer, and now a second round of pain, resulting in another anticipated surgery (not yet scheduled) and recovery.  He points out how I seem to lose 25 pounds but can't make it past that number for various reasons.  He reminds me of all the new, smaller clothes I purchased recently but can't wear because of the swelling in my abdomen.  He reminds me how many friends, family, and others follow my blog and "progress" and he tells me they're going to get sick of waiting and watching to see if I'll really make this dream come true.  He brings to mind the fact that I finally reached my dream of becoming a certified Zumba instructor but haven't been able to do anything about it since... and haven't worked out in 8 weeks.  And he conveniently brings up, over and over again, how a HUGE dream I've had for two years has never been closer - it's right in the palm of my hand - yet I can't move forward until my health is better. 

He laughs when he sees that he's gotten to me.

Do you see the amount of negativity in that paragraph?  It actually sickens me to read it.  But it's real.  This is how Satan works on us.  This is how he keep us from turning our God-given dreams into everyday life.  This is how he holds us back from being truly happy and fulfilled.  

But we don't have to listen.

Although those things he brings up may be facts, I refuse to dwell on them.  They will not stop me from turning my dreams into reality!  God helps me remember that I haven't given up when times were difficult, when I was overwhelmed, when this seemed to be more than I could handle.  He helps me recall the fact that slow progress is still progress!  He reminds me of all the lessons I've learned and how many new, good habits I've created in that year and five months.  He tells me it's not about reaching a number or a deadline, but having real, long-lasting results.  He helps me feel the love I receive from my friends, family, and all the followers of my blog and Facebook page and reminds me how much support I feel from them, helping me hang in there.  And God asks me to trust Him, to remember He has everything under control and this is all working out according to His plan... and it's much better than what I could ever come up with.  He asks me to be patient and believe that He won't let me down.

So I wait, I try to have patience, I forgive myself for mistakes and move forward, I continue to believe in my dreams, and I thank God for standing by my side and never letting me go.  And when the enemy fires up those tactics on me, I'll worship God even louder! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

I'm So Ready

Today is a great day!  I'm in the office, I'm having a really good hair day (for not having washed it since Friday - yay dry shampoo!), my pain is minimal, and I feel closer to pain a resolution!  The specialist I saw last week prescribed me the Lidoderm patch to wear for 12 hours each day.  The Lidoderm patch is a local anesthetic that stops nerves from transmitting painful impulses to the brain.  It took a couple of days to set in, but it's working pretty well now.  I still feel discomfort but it's reduced and I'm able to do more than I have these past eight weeks!  

Tomorrow afternoon I meet with a surgeon to discuss the inguinal hernia possibility and determine next steps.  I pray this surgery will be scheduled sooner than later so I can begin the recovery process and get back to normal!  Although the Lidoderm patch is helping, it's not a long-term solution.  It's only masking the problem and I don't want to rely on that. I'm ready to fix, heal, and turn dreams into reality!

I know God is at work and His hand is in this.  I trust the path to my dreams won't lead to a dead-end and this delay is part of what will make it great.  I have so much faith in what's to come and, although it's hard to sit still during the down time, I know it's for my own good.  I'm ready to turn my "mess" into my message and help thousands of people overcome their challenges!  I'm ready to reach out my hand and help others out of the mire!  I'm ready to cheer them on and help them believe in themselves and in their future!  

I'm just SO ready...

Proverbs 16:9

Friday, May 17, 2013

Can I Get a YAY?

While my health is not failing, it's not at its peak!  My spirit was challenged this week with pain, questions, and uncertainty, but I put my trust in God and He's carried me through!  The pain is still constant and I've been exhausted this week, explaining the lack of posts.  But the great news is my CT scan results showed no sign of ovarian cancer... CAN I GET A YAY?  I was very concerned about that possibility but fortunately, this is not something I have to face right now.

As we eliminate ailments, I continue to endure the pain, keep my spirits up, and strengthen my faith in God.  Our focus is to continue searching for the cause and we might be on the right track.  

The GI specialist referred me to a surgeon to talk about another possibility; an inguinal hernia.  After reading this article, it hit home in a big way.  I could totally relate to the symptoms... it sounds so much like what I've been going through.  When I read "Symptoms can be suggestive of other problems — ovarian cystsfibroidsendometriosis or adhesions from a previous operation..." I felt validated that I wasn't alone on the path I took.  I researched and questioned every one of those conditions!  If it is a hernia, it's very treatable and I could be back to normal by mid summer!

I'm not sure what's to come or what the surgeon will say, but God is giving me peace that there IS an end in sight!  And my dreams, while currently on hold, WILL come true in HIS time!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Strengthen My Heart

So the past several days have been a real struggle for me.  Thursday, I began coming down with a fever that went as high as 101, accompanied by a headache and body aches.  I was beyond miserable.  I couldn't eat, the pain would not go away, and nothing seemed to help.  Friday, I had a CT scan and another visit with my nurse practitioner.  I still don't know the results from the scan, and the best outcome of my visit was additional pain meds that work when I take two - but then it totally knocks me out and I'm useless to the world.  

Sunday at church I really pushed to do everything I needed to.  As worship leader, I now find it super difficult to sit still while I sing!  But Sunday, I didn't have a choice.  I was in pain.  I made it through practice, the Mother's Day breakfast, and the worship portion of our service, but it really started hurting during my dad's sermon.  I tried to stand during the invitation, but cramping went into full force and it brought me to my knees.  In tears and in pain, I was surrounded by people who loved me and prayed with me.  They also encouraged me to go to the emergency room.  I decided I would... so my husband went to get the car.  On the way, home the pain improved (like from a 9 to a 7) so I changed my mind and decided to go home, take two pain pills, and get into bed.  That's where I stayed for five hours.

Truthfully, I'm just spent.  This is week 7 of constant pain with no relief.  I don't know what it is.  My suspicions aren't being confirmed or ruled out.  I take medicine to mask the pain and continue waiting on more results to figure out the next step.  I don't like that.  I'm at a loss for what to do... how can I make someone feel this is serious and needs immediate attention?  As much as I want to avoid the E.R., it may come down to that. 

I'm praying that God will continue directing my steps, to show me what to do and when to do it.  I'm praying He'll keep me patient and willing to submit to His plan.  I'm praying He'll keep me from feeling depressed and sinking into a dark place.  I'm praying He'll use me and my story to further His kingdom and help others.  I'm praying He'll use this time to strengthen my heart...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 70
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 220
Current weight: ?  (Last weigh-in 4/18/13)
Total weight loss: 25 pounds

Last week's dream focus
Manage this pain; keep praying, trusting, having faith, and being positive; find ways to be patient and fight this depression Satan wants me to fall into... focus my eyes on God and His blessings!
What went well: I'm not letting the pain defeat me!  I'm pushing through as best I can and I'm winning the battle over feeling completely helpless and depressed!  Those are big victories, let me tell ya.  God is carrying me through this!
My visit with the GI specialist today left me feeling really positive and hopeful that answers are soon to come.  He scheduled a CT scan for this Friday (which is awesome) and our follow up is next Wednesday - my day off.  I know God is placing these people before me and the appointments are in His timing.  I'm trusting, I'm hopeful, and I'm willing to submit to His plan.  I'm just so happy we're closer to knowing what's going on and how to fix it!
Challenges:  Obviously, my pain is my biggest challenge.  But I'm also struggling with a swelling stomach and weight gain.  It's so hard to have been on a great weight loss stride, getting new, smaller clothes... then not be able to wear most of them and start adding pounds back on.  I know my situation prevents me from being as active as I'm used to and the swelling is out of my control, so I'm trying to just be okay with it.  
This week's dream focus:  Manage pain; keep praying, trusting, having faith, and being positive; find ways to be patient and fight this depression Satan wants me to fall into... focus my eyes on God and His blessings!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You Won't Be Stopped

"Unfortunately, we cannot issue the insurance coverage you requested. Your application was declined due to your build and depression." 

A friend of mine received a letter this weekend from the insurance company at her new job denying her coverage for the reason noted above.  I'm pretty sure I would have felt crushed and defeated after reading words like these... words about me, personally.  

I had no idea insurance companies denied people coverage for reasons like this.  Apparently they do.  It really, really stinks.  The good news is she does have options!  They are:

  • find another job with better insurance coverage 
  • allow this rejection to lead her deeper into depression and become completely defeated
  • use this "rejection" as the fire she needs to pick herself up, dust it off, and hop back on the healthy lifestyle train to make her dreams come true, showing that insurance company they'll eventually have to eat their words and insure her little, shrinking buns!
I know she likes this new job and there's no telling what another company's insurance might be like... more of the same?  Better?  Worse?  She might not know what she's getting into by choosing the first option.

I know one thing... she's not the victim type.  She's a God-fearing woman who will surrender herself to Him and His plan for her.  She wants more for her life than to let something like this stop her.  She WON'T allow Satan to keep her from the dreams that God laid on her heart.  Now that she's aware of his little scheme, she can tell him to shut up because SHE'S MOVIN' ON!  She won't let him win.

Girl, you've got this!  

I've got your back... and so does God!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Big Reveal!

I needed this reminder desperately today.

I've been so consumed with wanting to know what's causing my pain, why it takes so long to figure it out, "do I really have to see all these specialists"... and it's led me to a dark place.  It's a place I haven't been in a while and a place I don't want to return.  I say I've been placing it in God's hands and trusting Him, but being consumed with anxieties rather than consumed by God is proof I'm not trusting.

When you're in constant pain, it's normal to have a desire to understand why and fix it, right?  It's safe to say that's a given.  But today it became clear to me that I'm not trusting the way I should, my focus is on the wrong things, and my patience needs a lot of work!

God gave me a clear picture of the source of my frustration.  I've been making so much progress towards my dreams for 15 months or more... and it came to a screeching halt when the pain started again.  

  • I became a Zumba instructor the week before the pain returned... and I haven't worked out at since April 2.  That's frustrating.  
  • I'm pursuing a big, exciting, life-changing dream, but will this pain affect or delay it?  
  • All my new clothes that fit well a few weeks ago are now getting tighter as my stomach swells... and I donated all my "big girl" clothes to charity.  
  • I really want to make updates and improvement to our house but my body can't handle doing the amount of work I want to do.
  • I keep having to cancel praise team practice on Thursdays because I'm in too much pain to handle driving 40 miles each way, then sit for two hours to sing and learn new songs.  
I'm not pointing these out to dwell on the negative, but they all have one main thing in common; I'm being slowed down.  

I just realized I've made it a habit to move forward, make progress, and turn dreams into reality!  I'm not just dreaming without acting... I'm DOIN' WORK!  BOY HOWDY, Y'ALL!!!   

That's so exciting to me!   

My heart rate, blood pressure, mental state, and outlook changed the moment God revealed this to me.  I'm calm.  I feel patient.  I'm focused on the right things.  I'm trusting.  I'm blessed.  And I'm thankful.

"Thank you, Lord, for helping me through this!"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

When You're Sad, Just Remember...

Hello beauties!  

I'm struggling with pain, nausea, and just feeling bad today, so I don't have a long post for you.  If there are a few days without posts, just know I'm in need of rest and it's all going to be okay!  

The best thing I've seen all day is this... and boy, does it apply to me (and if I had easy access to a picture, I'd insert it here)!   

Y'all have a blessed day!  :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 69
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 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!!!
What went well: I had two days where my pain was minimal... much less debilitating than it normally is.  Those two days were followed by a big increase in pain - like it was making up for lost time or something.  But I fight hard to not let it stop me from attending the boy's baseball games, church, and work.  So far, I'm winning the battle!  I'm doing everything in my power to stay positive and surround myself with inspiration and motivation.
Challenges:  I seriously feel like I'm in a battle with the devil, fighting feelings of depression.  Living in constant pain, day after day, wears even the most positive, upbeat person down.  I'm so tired all the time.  I feel exhausted.  I can't get any relief.  My stomach is swollen and I'm almost to the point where I can't wear any of my new pants. I feel frustrated that no one has confirmed what's causing this pain and offered a solution to resolve it.  I've dealt with this for five weeks and it seems like there's not an end in sight.
This week's dream focus:  Manage this pain; keep praying trusting, having faith, and being positive; find ways to be patient and fight this depression Satan wants me to fall into... focus my eyes on God and His blessings!