Friday, March 25, 2011

Maybe One Day....


This morning, I find myself day-dreaming of buying a beautiful baby grand piano. We could clear out the formal dining room and put it in there. The acoustics would be fabulous. Ahh....isn't it lovely to dream??

God is Good!

I found out this morning that I won’t even be interviewed for the job I applied for. It’s not because of my qualifications or anything like that. They simply said my salary requirement was too high. And I suppose it’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want to go through the entire process just to find out they couldn’t pay me what I need. Obviously, God wants me to stay at UMB for now.

I can’t help but be a little disappointed, though. My prayers have been focused on one word lately: Freedom. I thought that maybe this job could be part of the answer. My heart sunk just a little knowing it isn’t the answer I was hoping for.

My devotion for today focused on the story of Abraham.

This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me. Genesis 22:16-18

Do you catch the excitement in God's words here? How he loves it when we trust and obey! How eager he is to bless such trust and obedience! How expansive his blessings are! All I can do today is trust that He has everything under control and obey His will for my life. The blessings will come, in ways I probably can’t even fathom right now, but only in His good and perfect timing.

God is looking to bless ALL of us. Eva, you WILL find the satisfaction you are seeking. Chelle, your business WILL soar. Steph, you WILL complete all the things you hope to this spring. Alicia, you WILL reach your goal weight. Dawn, you WILL finish your degree. Insert your name and your dream here. Because you have been good and faithful servants. Because you haven’t lost hope. Because you have been obedient. Because He loves you more than you can imagine.

Wow….this morning I cried a few sad tears but now my heart is overflowing with excitement!!! Our God is SO AMAZINGLY GOOD all the time!!! He definitely turns our mourning into dancing!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WLW: Listening to My Body


Please visit Alicia at Confessions of a Snowflake to join in the sharing of your weight loss journey.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I thought for sure that I lost weight this week. Because I was dealing with my nasty virus, my diet this week consisted mostly of Advocare's Meal Replacement Shakes and soup. No, I wasn't active at all, but I was still convinced I would see a victory on the scale. Not so much. I'm still exactly at the weight I was two weeks ago.

I was going to dwell on this seemingly negative fact, but I realized that I gave my body exactly what it needed at the time - rest. This morning, my body woke up at 4:15 AM craving movement. I listened and spent an hour on the treadmill. It wasn't a strenuous workout by any means, but I felt great afterwards. I think it's because I gave my body exactly what it needed.

I have to trust that the Holy Spirit will always speak to me about what my body needs. I just need to obey when He speaks. (Which isn't always easy for someone as stubborn as me!) Only then will I see the positive results that I know lie ahead.

Romans 8:11 - "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Still Sick and a Possible Job Opportunity

The illness that found its way into our home two weeks ago is still wreaking havoc on our bodies. Poor Bianca sounds like she could cough up a lung at any minute, and Harry is still feeling achy. Yesterday, I was feeling so drained that I took a three hour nap and went to bed early – and I still had a terrible time getting out of bed this morning. I am struggling to stay awake at work. I literally feel like I am running on zero energy – and I’ve already had two Sparks today. My body hurts, my head hurts, my stomach hurts, and I just want to crawl back in bed and hide. How long will this yucky bug rear its ugly head? I just want us all to be better!

On a totally different topic, I applied for a job on Friday. I don’t want to divulge too much information or get too excited about it – because whenever I do, I end up jinxing myself. Let’s just say that I think it would be a good move for me.

~ The location is closer to home, which would cut down on my daily commute.
~ I would also be closer to Bianca during the day.
~ The closer commute would also mean less gas and no more tunnel tolls.
~ The salary range is right where I need it to be.
~ I would gain direct supervisory experience.
~ I would be able to help families in a tangible way.
~ I wouldn’t be chained to my desk all day.
~ Interactions with people would mainly be face-to-face, not on the phone.
~ There is a possibility of working three 12-hour days per week.
~ That schedule would allow me more time to spend with Bianca and more time to go to school.

Of course, I know it’s all in God’s hands, and ultimately I want His will for my life – no matter what the outcome. BUT if it would be as good a move as I think it could be, I pray that God sends His favor. (and calms down my butterfly-filled heart!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: A Conversation with God for Women


You can preview the beginning of the book's content on the Thomas Nelson product page.

Have you ever been thirsty to ask God certain questions and longed to hear his audible answers? In A Conversation with God for Women by Marcia Ford, you have the opportunity to do that just that. This book asks 55 questions that many women may find themselves pondering. The topics covered include God, Jesus, the Bible, Life, Prayer, Relationships, and Good and Evil. God, Jesus, and other biblical characters take turns answering the inquiries. You literally feel like you are part of a true conversation.

I found myself taking my time with this book. Usually the books I read slowly are the ones I don’t like, but this one was totally different. I truly enjoyed and savored each chapter. After reading the answer to a question, I liked to ponder it further and let all the information sink in. While I didn’t learn any new information from the book, I loved having a different perspective. Instead of reading and trying to make sense of the sometimes-confusing Bible, this book afforded me the opportunity to hear the answers in a direct, modern way. It made God feel so much more tangible. I loved it! All the answers, by the way, are taken directly from Scripture. Each verse is referenced in the Notes section in the back of the book. This book is the perfect resource for a new sister in Christ and anyone who wants to draw a bit closer to our Creator. I highly recommend it.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher’s BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WLW: Accomplishments and Getting Back on Track



Please visit Alicia at Confessions of a Snowflake to join in the sharing of your weight loss journey.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The combination of getting sick, attending my husband’s playoff games, and fulfilling church and family obligations has led to a pretty bad week where my weight loss is concerned. I didn’t exercise once, I didn’t watch my diet as closely as I should have, and I certainly didn’t drink enough water. That being said, while the number on my scale didn’t budge at all this week, I am still proud of the small accomplishments that I have achieved since beginning this new weight loss journey:

~ I have gone down a pants size.
~ I can climb four flights of stairs without too much struggle.
~ My wedding ring is lose again.
~ With more energy, I don’t have to hit the snooze button so many times in the morning.
~ My daily cravings for a café mocha or two have drastically subsided.

Hopefully I can get back on track starting today. I have given up too many times in the past, but this time, I'm really hoping it will be different. This time, my eyes are focused on the Lord. The weight loss journey will still be difficult (it's already proving to be), but I know that if I stick with it, the rewards will be so great.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not Enough

Today is one of those days when all of my thoughts seemed to focus on “not enough.” My face isn’t clear enough. My clothes aren’t stylish enough. My hair isn’t neat enough. My body isn’t thin enough. My teeth aren’t white enough. My job isn’t satisfying enough. I don’t take care of my husband and daughter enough. My lifestyle isn’t green enough. My diet isn’t healthy enough. My exercise isn’t consistent enough. My house isn’t “homey” enough. My car isn’t cute enough. My social life isn’t fun enough. My prayer life isn’t effective enough. I’m not grateful enough.

Ok…let’s face it – The truth is I’m NEVER going to be good enough. I’m never going to measure up. I am always going to fall short.

But, the great news is I don’t have to be good enough! The only person who ever WAS good enough came to earth and died for me. He died for you, too. The wages of sin is death, and Jesus gladly bore our sins in His body on the cross. I certainly don’t deserve this mercy or this freedom. I know I will fail time and time again. And yet it is freely given by our God who loves us beyond our human understanding.

No, I’m not good enough. I never will be. But Jesus’ sacrifice is more than enough. What an amazing, humbling thought!

"and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." 1 Peter 2:24

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holy Women

I am currently reading A Conversation with God for Women by Marcia Ford. So far, I'm loving it. The following excerpt from the book seemed to fit perfectly as we enter Lent - the holiest time of the year. This passage is written from God's point of view:

Don't be thrown off by the word holy, by the way. Yes, when it refers to Me, it implies spiritual perfection. When it is applied to my people, it simply means that your life is dedicated to worshipping and serving Me. Unfortunately, your culture has so misused the term that some people think holy women float through life with their palms pressed together in prayer, wearing a dreamy, saintly smile at all times, and thinking and speaking of nothing but Me.

Let me tell you what a holy woman might really look like. She looks like a young mother dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt pushing a cart full of kids and groceries and thinking about her next stop on the list of errands to run. She might look like a divorced, middle-aged woman sitting in a cubicle intently studying a computer screen filled with insurance liability statistics. Or she might look like an exhausted widow scurrying from one table to another at the restaurant where she works, trying to forget the still-raw grief she feels over her husband's sudden death. If My Spirit lives within them, then these are holy women doing holy work. Their lives are still dedicated to worshipping and serving Me, no matter what else they may be engaged in.

I truly love that thought! We can all be considered holy if our lives are dedicated to worshipping and serving the Lord. It's not a status reserved just for the saints. And it doesn't just apply to us when we are at church or in the middle of prayer. Once we accept Jesus into our hearts and dedicate our lives to Him, our holiness will shine through - no matter what we're wearing or what task we may be concentrating on at the time.

Over the next 40 days, as we anticipate the arrival of Easter and spring, I challenge us to remember our holiness. As we go about the busy-ness of our lives, may we be consciously looking for ways to worship and serve the Lord.

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” - 2 Timothy 1:9

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Fat Tuesday!


Ecclesiastes 9:7-9 (The Message)

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes - God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don't skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange For the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one!

Monday, March 7, 2011

What's Your Story?

At church, we are currently exploring the topic of evangelism within the series “Walk Across the Room.” For many people, the term “evangelism” conjures up negative images like loud, sweaty preachers in shiny suits. (Think Jonas Nightingale in Leap of Faith.) But true evangelism simply means “to spread the Good News.”

1 Peter 3:5 instructs, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (NIV)

Sharing your faith can happen anywhere, like on the sidelines of a soccer game. When an opportunity presents itself and someone asks you, “So why are you so passionate about this Jesus thing,” are you prepared with your answer?

It’s important to know your story: How has your life been changed after coming to know Jesus? When someone loses a lot of weight, the bottom-line answers others want to know are, “How did you do it? How much did you weigh before you started? How much do you weigh now?” The same is true with those curious about the faith. “What did your life look like before becoming a Christian? What is different now?” Are you able to tell your story in 100 words or less, steering clear of religious jargon?

Once you have pared down your story, it’s important to practice telling it. That concept may seem odd, but think about it. If you are going on a job interview, you go through possible questions in your head. You may even practice with someone else. If you are asking someone out on a date, you may play the scenario in your head over and over until you get it right. What is so different about telling your testimony? The end results are so much greater: we have the opportunity to win lives!

I’ll be honest – I found it difficult telling my story in 100 words or less. My faith journey has some big twists and turns in it – which leaves me with a wordy testimony. But I will begin my story in 2008, when I rededicated my life to Christ.

I was married, was expecting a child, had a decent job, and had close relationships with my family and friends. I was doing my best to live a “good” life. On the outside, I seemed to have everything going for me. But on the inside, I was empty. I was exhausted carrying the weight of my sins and tired of living in a fog that never seemed to lift. When I found my way back to God, everything changed. After truly accepting His forgiveness, I finally felt free. I have a peace, joy and satisfaction that simply weren’t there before.

So, that’s my story in exactly 100 words. What does yours look like?

As you go about your busy lives this week, try to think of at least one person who may need to hear your story. Pray about that person. And be prepared. You never know when God will open the door for you to share.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Review: Love Food & Live Well

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

The underlying message of Chantel Hobbs’ “Love Food & Live Well” is that you can love food and lose weight at the same time. You don’t have to deprive yourself of the foods you love; you just have to start looking at food in a whole new light. Changing your life begins with changing your mind. By doing this, you can learn to love a carrot as much as a piece of cake. You don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying the occasional brownie; it just can’t be a daily indulgence. Hobbs asserts that your eating has to be disciplined in order to fuel your body while losing weight, becoming fit, and getting strong; however, if you commit yourself to making good nutritional choices 80% of the time, you are free to celebrate 20% of the time. Hobbs covers many topics in this book, including the differences between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and how each one fuels the body. She also includes recipes and exercises and weaves the story of her personal weight loss of 200 pounds throughout the narrative.

Truthfully, the majority of the ideas in this book are not new. It was nice, however, to hear them from someone who’s been there - someone who knows firsthand the pain and humiliation that can result from carrying around excess weight. The best message in Hobbs’ book is that in order to succeed in reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight, you need to give up all control over to God. Completely surrendering to God is the only real and lasting solution to food addiction, yo-yo dieting, a negative self-image, struggles with body image, and every other area of bondage. I was happy to see some Scripture sprinkled inside the book; however, I would have liked to have seen more. I was also disappointed that a more-detailed eating plan was not included. All things considered, “Love Food & Live Well” is a good resource for anyone needing a little encouragement and truth when it comes to getting healthy and losing weight.


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our Thoughts

This post is going to look very different from the one I was originally composing. I had a bit of a bad morning, complete with an anxiety attack about coming into work. I was on my fifth “woe is me – I hate my job and I can’t do anything about it” paragraph when God nudged me over to my friend Chelle’s blog. In the middle of her Thursday’s Thoughts list, there was this bullet:

• Last week, I reconnected with an old friend. While it was nice to hear her voice, every single conversation we had involved her complaining about someone or something. After multiple days of this, I finally said, "Well, you can keep complaining and remain where you are, or you can make some changes and decide to do things differently." Needless to say, I haven't heard from her since. Our thoughts our powerful, and if we fill ourselves with negativity, and spew only negativity, well friends, our lives will become as such. We reap what we sow friends.

Yeah, I was just a little convicted. Philippians 4:8 popped right into my head at that moment: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Chelle is absolutely right. If we fill ourselves with negative thoughts, our lives will become as such. I have been thinking negatively about my job pretty much since Day 1. I started at UMB in the middle of August 2008. In September 2008, I wrote in my journal about how unhappy I was going to be. “This job isn’t my destiny. I was created for so much more.” Well, the unhappiness has definitely come to pass. I have had more anxiety attacks and days where I simply could not function at this job than from all my previous ones combined. (ok – Allstate may be the exception!)

So now the question becomes: will I keep complaining and remain where I am? Or will I make some changes and decide to do things differently?

Obviously – the latter is the better option. I just wish I knew how to change. I feel like I have been stuck in this area for eight years because I don’t know how to move. I’ve said it before, but I need help. I realize my first attempt at working with a life coach didn’t go so well, but maybe I should try to find someone local with whom I can sit down face to face. I really do want to change. I just need help formulating an action plan on how to achieve it.

Hmmm….I just realized that once I finally begin the Me Project, I should concentrate on making an action plan for my career.

Thanks, Chelle, for the reminder about how powerful our thoughts and words can be!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WLW: Surrender is the Key



Please visit Alicia at Confessions of a Snowflake to join in the sharing of your weight loss journey.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This morning I was listening to a worship song that proclaimed, “There is freedom and joy in your presence, Lord.” I started pondering what true freedom and joy looks and feels like, and I came to the conclusion that I haven’t quite experienced it to the fullest yet.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

I look at my overweight, unhealthy, lethargic body and realize that I am not honoring God with my body. I don’t think I can ever really experience true freedom and joy until I get to a healthy body weight – living life to the fullest in the body that God intended for me.

Yes, I want to lose weight to look better and feel better. I want to stop feeling tired all the time. I want to be a good example for my daughter. I want to be more attractive to my husband. But more than any of that, I want my body to reflect God’s glory. Just as the Temple was designed with immense care and furnished with greatness because it was to be the house of God, I need to treat my body with great care. If the Holy Spirit truly dwells within me, I need to tidy up a bit to show Him the honor and respect He deserves.

I also know that I need Him more than ever as I embark on this new weight loss journey. I have been struggling with my weight since I was in elementary school, where I was always the “big” girl in class. If this time is going to be different - if this time I will see real and lasting change - the first thing I need to do is surrender all control over to God. I can’t do this on my own. I have tried in the past and have failed. This time, it all needs to be in God’s hands. Only then will I succeed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

24 Day Challenge

Chelle is an Advocare distributor who is very passionate about the company’s products. It’s true that enthusiasm is contagious. After months of reading about her positive experience and seeing her before and after pictures, I decided I wanted to jump on the Advocare bandwagon, too. Me being me, I was ready to jump in head first and just place an advisor order. (But me being me also ultimately got me in $17,000 worth of credit card debt.) So me with my husband’s voice in my head decided that I would try the products as a retail customer first before I gave any serious consideration to the business opportunity. (And who could blame me after my not-so-successful attempt to start a Pink Papaya business.)

I had to beg and plead, but my hubby finally agreed to let me try the products. I purchased the 24 Day Challenge Bundle. Days 1-10 are spent in the Cleanse Phase, which is aimed at cleansing your body of toxins and preparing for optimal nutrient absorption. Days 11-24 take you to the Max Phase which gives your body the best tools you need to achieve your next weight management goal. The average weight loss during the 24 days is 15 pounds.

I started my Cleanse Phase yesterday. Just to clarify, you are not fasting during this time. You are simply eating more clean – filling up on fruit, vegetables, lean protein and complex carbs. Like Chelle said, “it’s the food we should be eating anyway.” You are also not constantly running to the bathroom, so you can take part in the cleanse without interrupting your normal routine.

For me, Day 1 was a little hectic. I have a grant application due today, so I was working diligently to get it done. I completely skipped my mid-morning snack and almost skipped lunch, as well. I realize this isn’t healthy, but once I’m focused on a task, I like to get it done with little interruption. Anyway, while I was at work, I ate strawberries, 2 egg whites, and a rice cake with peanut butter. I also had a Spark around 3:00 PM. After work, I picked up Bianca and went to Harry’s basketball game. I didn’t get home until close to 8:00 PM. At that time, I took my OmegaPlex and had the salad that I originally packed for lunch. For dinner you’re supposed to eat a lean protein and steamed veggies, but basketball season makes it a little difficult to cook. A few hours later, I took the Herbal Cleanse pills. I had hoped to fit in some exercise, but it just didn’t work out.

So how am I feeling after Day 1? Honestly, not much different. In fact, (this may be TMI) I haven’t even had a bowel movement yet. My energy level hasn’t picked up any; I still hit the snooze button when my alarm got off this morning. And I was craving both pizza and chocolate like crazy yesterday. But I know that if I stick with it, I will feel better and look better in the end – which will be totally worth the effort.

Last Thursday, as I was moving a chair out of the conference room, someone said to me, “Are you expecting? If you are, you know you shouldn’t be lifting anything.” I was a bit mortified. I knew that I was gaining weight. I just didn’t realize it had gotten to the point where people were wondering if I was pregnant. If I didn’t already have any other reason, that comment alone gives me motivation to stick with the program!