Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The View From Up Here

In October Hubby and I had a little weekend getaway to Eureka Springs Arkansas.

We had never been there and we enjoyed every minute.



On our last day, we left the town and drove around the surrounding countryside.

I have never been to that part of Arkansas was surprised by the beauty and also the farmland.

Because of the rolling hills we could look down and see the farms all plotted out like a quilt.

Everything was just so neat and tidy and beautiful. I was awed by the loveliness.




As I was drinking in the country side and thinking how lovely it must be to be an Arkansas farmer,

and maybe I could be one too, Dear Hubby said, "boy it sure must be hard to farm that land!".


Well, I was so surprised at that thought. . .that something in the middle of all that beauty could be 
difficult.

I asked, why he thought so.

He began talking about how rocky the soil was and being hillside and the such.

I just sat there beside him thinking two distinct thoughts:

1) this conversation pretty much sums up how we each see the world (one of us the eternal optimist and dreamer the other well . . . his nickname is Eeyore for a reason.)



2) Isn't that how we often tend to judge each others lives.  We look down as we're just cruising by,

whether it's on social media or stories swirling around us, and only see the high powered jobs or 

amazing trips, the super star kids and perfect marriages.

But, we don't see what it's really like up close.  We don't see the hard stuff they've worked through or 

the dark valleys they might be going through or the flood that's washing them away piece by piece.



We can get so busy comparing our lives to theirs, even when we don't have an up close view, that we 

begin to become unsatisfied and ungrateful for our own lives, jobs, even our own people.



And what damage that can do.  



Never mistake your hilltop view of someones life to an up close reality of what it is really like on the 

ground.

I've never once met a perfect person, met a perfect couple, heard of a job that wasn't difficult or knew

perfect kids.

Now, I have known people who have walked through the valley's and come out on the other side 

changed and marked for life.

But, you and I, we have got to tend to our own soil, in our own little patches of land that we've been

given to tend.

Let's make a promise to ourselves and to our Dear People, not to compare them or the lives we are 

living  to those we're just cruising by with only a snapshot into their lives.

Let's be a people who are thankful and content, grateful to God for every gift.


Love your people today, even the difficult ones, thank God for all He's given you, even the hard stuff.

It will change lives, beginning with yours.





Grace and Peace,












Saturday, January 9, 2016

What a Difference a Year Makes

January 7, 2015 I found myself sitting my endocrinologist office for my bi-yearly check up.

I don't know what I was expecting, but what I heard shook me to my core.

I tipped the scales at a little over 300 pounds.

I was embarrassed, angry, shamed.  All I wanted to do was hide.

She'd never given me a lecture before, but I got one that day.

I either needed to lose weight or pursue weight loss surgery.

Something had to change.



New Years Eve 2015
There are no full body pictures, because I wouldn't have posed



I was the speaker at an event for single moms in October of 2014
I am at my heaviest here.
And completely loved.
No one in my life ever made me feel anything other than beautiful.



I was having heart palpitations, my blood pressure was beginning to skyrocket,  my knees where painful to the point where I was facing surgery on one.  I was exhausted ALL THE TIME.

But, I was also loved and cared for and often the funniest one in the room -even when I didn't want to be.

God was growing my ministry and sphere of influence, but in the middle of the night when I was still and being completely honest, I was so miserable and embarrassed -for myself and for husband and kids (Who let me be VERY CLEAR have never NOT ONCE said one thing to me about my size).


Well, I left her office and cried.
And cried some more.

Didn't she know I couldn't do it?
I'd been heavy most of my life, I have Thyroid Disease -which makes everything harder, I'm over 40-everyone knows it's to hard for women over 40 to lose weight.  
So, I cried some more.

I looked into the surgery.  (I should tell you, I've  had some scary reactions,  life treating reactions  to anesthesia.) And came to the conclusion that it wasn't an option.

So, on January 8, 2015 I basically threw my hands in the air and said 'FINE'.
My goal that this point was to prove I COULDN'T do it.

Then the first 25 pounds came off, then 50 . . .

In July, I was back in the Dr office.
This time she's the one who got all teary.  She talked about how she often has to tell people the hard things and they get mad at her or don't listen.  She thanked me. I cried and thanked her.

Along this journey, I've come face to face with the sin of gluttony in my life.

I confessed this sin to God and my Dear Husband.

A year into this journey, I've learned many lessons.  Some of them painful.

Things like, not everyone wants you to change.
People get mad or hurt or offended.

I've been told I talk about my journey, on social media, to much and not enough.

I've been told I'm an inspiration and that I've hurt feelings by tackling my weight.

One year later, I can say I've learned much about myself, my God and my friends and those who
became detractors.   

I'm also down 121 pounds and 8 ounces.  I'm at a BMI of 31 (with the goal of 25)-in July it was 37- I don 't know what it was when I began because I could never look at those numbers.

When I began I was wearing a 24/26 or 3x/4x.
I'm now wearing a 12/14 on top and 14 on bottom or a Large.

When I was back in the Dr office this week  my blood pressure was 118/70 and my pulse was 60.

I no longer experience heart palpitations and have NO knee pain whatsoever.

The Dr didn't tear up this time, she cheered my on to finish this race well.  

I have 30 more pounds to to get to my goal.

I will do it.

Not because I've got it all together now or have all the answers but because God has brought me to far now for me to quit.

I can keep up with my kids.  I'm physically so much stronger.  I'm happier.
I actually feel good.

(and for a girl who loves fashion the shopping has been fun-just keeping it real)

Here I am exactly one year later.


I saved one pair of jeans so I will never forget.
Also, excuse my puppy in the background.


I love my shirt in these pictures. It also makes me chuckle, because in the beginning I did not believe I could.  I set out to prove I couldn't and yet, by God's Amazing Grace, here I am, almost half the girl I used to be.


To every person who's prayed for me, loved me, supported me and cheered me on--

Thank you.  You'll just never know.  I wish I could tell you, but I don't have enough words to tell you how much it has meant to me.

What difference does a day make? A  year?  Well, it can make all the difference in the world.



Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14 (ESV)


Grace and Peace Along the Journey,












Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

Hello Friends,

If you are stopping by for the first time or the 100th-thank you!

The reality that anyone would want to read what I write is still a mystery to me and one I thank

the Lord for often.

Your faithfulness and encouragement has been a huge blessing to me. Thank you, for going

along on this journey with me.



I pray this Christmas finds you living in the knowledge that Emmanuel, "God with us", has

come. And He has come for you.

Just like He came amidst  the darkness, turmoil, poverty and chaos 2000 plus years ago, He is here

right now in the middle of all you have going on.

And He didn't just come, He also brought His peace, joy, hope, love with Him. All you need to

do is receive Him.

I pray that the reality of Jesus surrounds you and me this Christmas season and all through 2016.


From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Red Heels and Freedom

My Hubby and I had the VERY BEST DATE NIGHT EVER  last Saturday night.

I mean VERY BEST EVER!

We went to see WICKED.  I cannot begin to explain how much I've been wanting to see this show

and how long I've waited.


We got all spruced up and headed out.  Suit and tie for him, LBD (little black dress) for me.

Granted we were in our minivan, but still a night out on the town.

It was SPECTACULAR!  Hubby had gotten us fabulous seats and the actors did an amazing job.

It is a night that will stick with us for a long time.


Along with my LBD, I also bought some gorgeous red heels.





Now, you have to understand, I haven't worn in heels in a very long time.

I've felt like I was to fat,  knees hurt to much, heel might break under my weight.  Which basically all comes down to fear. Fear of embarrassment, fear of facing the truth about my weight.

So, listen I know it's silly. It's superficial.  It's maybe even vain. . .I'm not sure?? 

But, I do know that these gorgeous red heels are an outward symbol of the freedom I now feel.


Freedom is a beautiful thing.

Not everyone needs freedom from weight like I did, but everyone needs freedom from something.

Can I encourage you?

 Fight for it!

Fight for your freedom!

Freedom from addiction, from fear, from anxiety, from anger, from pornography, from greed.

Wherever your struggle lies, fight for your freedom.

No one or no thing is going to hand it to you. It is a battle and fight it you and I must.

Break the chains, the cycles that leave you where you are and leave you tied down and unable to move.

I'm still fighting for my freedom, and maybe always will be this side of heaven. But, I do know this. .. 

It is worth the fight.  I am worth the fight.I am a Daughter of the King.

You are worth the fight. Owning that is half the battle.

 I was not  meant to live enslaved in bondage-even if that bondage was 

of my own making. And neither are you.

Let's kick up our red heels and fight for our freedom!


Fighting with you,




Monday, September 14, 2015

Ashley Madison and Me

As news broke of the Ashley Madison security breach a few weeks and all the fallout that would

come to result from it, I found myself becoming more pious and judgmental with every

'celebrity' name that was thrust out there for the world to see, scorn and scoff at.

After all, I would never. . .and you would never. So they were getting what they

deserved right?


______________________________________________________________

Yesterday, I celebrated losing 101 1/2lbs.

I've been posting some of my success here and lots of it on social media.  I am

praised and patted on the back and called an inspiration.


But, perhaps 2 months ago now, I became so convicted and grieved in my spirit.

I had to go to my precious husband and apologize.

Apologize for the sin of gluttony.

He, ever so kindly said I had nothing to apologize to him about.

But, I had to My GOD.  For every time I let food fulfill some hole instead of him.  For every

hurt I ate away, every joy I ate instead of celebrating with Him.

Yes, I spent some serious time in confession and repentance with Him.

Turns out, I'm not so different from those on Ashley Madison after all.

____________________________________________________________

Sin is sin is sin is sin.

Yes, different consequences and repercussions are different, BUT sin is sin.

Where sin is reigning free, God is not. Plain and Simple.

Hard to admit, but truth sometimes is.

___________________________________________________________

Of course, as good church going folks, we have our categories of 'real'

sin, and then put the other in a nice neat pile somewhere else.

Not, that God ever does that.

Gossip, Slander, Gluttony, Anger. . .we don't like to talk about those.

We like to giggle a little about them or we like to justify them.

But, I knew and I KNOW that in my heart I was, I am no different than

those on Ashley Madison.

I sinned against God and my family.

I am now restored. God is on the Throne once again.  I am made whole.

But, it doesn't mean it wasn't true.

__________________________________________________________

Please don't hear me saying that all overweight people are in habitual sin.

I don't know each person story, and you don't either.

My job is not to judge, but to speak truth  in love and to love people right

where they are.

If Jesus has NEVER ONCE required me to clean up first before coming to Him, that

why do we insist others do that to come to us??

I am saying I was.

Admitting it has opened my eyes.

Repentance wasn't a weight that has held me back- IT HAS SET ME FREE.

____________________________________________________________


Whatever your habitual sin is: a life of promiscuity, adultery, lust, gossip, greed, malice, lying,

or like me gluttony.

God loves you. He wants to forgive you. Your sins have already been nailed to the cross.

Confess them to Him, and live FREE.


And always always alway remember; You are dearly loved.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Try Try Again

My Mother in Law is here  for a visit this week, so the kids and I have been cleaning machines over the weekend. (Nothing motivates cleaning quite like company)


My Sweet, Belle was in charge of the windows and doors.

The only trouble was she was spraying higher than she could reach.

 So, I told her she didn't have to get all the way to the top, just from where she could see down.
When she looked at me and said "I can do it Mom. I'll just aim higher and jump if I have to."

And she did.
Know what? It wasn't perfect. It was streaked in some places and some of the spray left in others.

But, that's ok. (There was a time in my life when that wouldn't have been ok. But perfection is such a useless pursuit. She learned more in the trying than she ever would have if I would have gone back and 'fixed' her work)


She aimed as high as she could and when she couldn't reach any higher, she jumped to try even more.


What a life lesson wrapped up in a little girl, a bottle of windex and a paper towel.

It's the trying that counts.


Let's all aim a little higher than we can reach this week, and jump if we have to. And if it's a little messier than we'd planned and not quite perfect. . .well, that's ok. You tried.

It's the trying that counts.


Practicing with you,


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

When Your Faith Squeaks Instead of Roars

Yesterday was difficult.

While news broke of political deals with Iran and body parts of precious babies being sold by

Planned Parenthood, a sweet childhood friend of mine passed away after her hard fought battle with

cancer.  She left behind a loving husband and six beautiful little children, grieving parents and big

sister and friends to numerous to count. And while I watched from the sidelines those closest to her

grieve, my heart shattered into pieces for them.

Yes, yesterday was difficult.

I found myself over and over throughout the day, thinking-praying, "Jesus, just please come and take

us home".

I was talking with a friend about everything going on and she said "Sometimes my GOD WINS roar

sounds more like a mouse squeaking,  and today is one of those squeaking days."


I could not stopping thinking about those words.

Yes, somedays it is easy to stand on our proverbial mountain tops and shout for the whole world to

 hear,"GOD WINS", but if you and I are very honest, somedays we are over in the corner, rocking


back and forth squeaking, whispering "God wins", as if we're trying to convince ourselves as much

as anyone else. And, we are. At least trying to remember.

Maybe that offends you. Maybe you've never faced a dark night of the soul. Maybe what is

happening in the world around you doesn't effect you the same way. Maybe the cruelty of death

has never snuck up on you. . .because I promise no matter how prepared you are that it is coming,

death is evil and wicked and is like a thief who leaves devastation in his wake.

But, here is what I've come to know and believe, God applauds and cherishes our squeaks and

whispers just as much, if not more than, our roars.

After all, it's easy to stand and roar when everything is easy. The sun is shining and life is good. Our

people are healthy and happy, the bank account is thick and friends are all around us.  Yes, of course,

we can stand and say with the confidence of a movie superhero's megavoice "GOD WINS".

But what happens when the storms come and life is difficult. Our people are sick and sad and anxiety

or disease has taken over, the bank account now has red ink instead of black and it's difficult to find a

friend.  If when -because it's always when not if-these things happen, and our voice gets a little

quieter and we find ourselves barely able to squeak out, "God wins" but still find the courage and

faith to whisper those words, I believe God stands and applauds.


Anyone can shout from the mountain top when life is easy, but it takes a faith that is down to our

marrow to proclaim this truth in the darkest night.  But, whether a roar, whisper or squeak you can

be assured that God hears it all.  And if life has beaten you up, you just keep whispering it over

and over-even if you think you're the only one who can hear it.

God sees you, your faith in the middle of the darkness is precious to Him.

And remember this, it is true. God does win.

No news cycle, betrayal, murder or death is a surprise to Him.

When you've cried all you can and then some more, and haven't slept for days, remember you're not

alone in this journey.



Psalm 56:8
You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?



Your tears are precious to him --every sleepless night--He knows and understands.

He has promised to make things right and to dry your tears.

Isaiah 25:8-9
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
    This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”



Hold on, keep waiting, and if you find yourself whispering instead of roaring during the waiting. . .

well, you just keep on whispering, someday --someday, you will be able to roar again.


God wins.

Yes. He does. And He WILL save His people.

GOD WINS. 



Grace and Peace Precious One-You are dearly loved,